Stephen King: The Iconic Horror Writer

Stephen King

Stephen King: The Iconic Horror Writer Who Continues to Inspire Filmmakers

Stephen King, the writer who terrorized cinemas with his work, has inspired numerous filmmakers and actors with his many novels and short stories (Getty Images). At 75 years old, he still holds the title of "the number one living literary icon of horror" and is considered by American critic Alison Foreman to be "the writer who played a role in shaping our nightmares."

King's first novel, "Carrie," was made into two films separated by four decades. The classic first version was released in 1976 and starred Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and John Travolta, with direction from Brian De Palma, who was influenced by the style of British director Alfred Hitchcock. De Palma used the opportunity to experiment with split-screen technology for the first time, and later became famous for it. The film was highly successful, received critical acclaim, and was nominated for two Academy Awards.

The second version of the film was released in 2013 and was directed by Kimberly Pierce, starring Chloe Grace Moritz and Julianne Moore. Both versions showcased King's ability to "extract a special artistic taste from the heart of horror," according to Foreman. The story follows a shy teenage girl who is shunned by her peers and lives in a small town with her devout mother. After being expelled from a party she wanted to attend, she develops a psychological problem, and when her own mental abilities are revealed, she is able to control things from a distance, unleashing revenge on everyone.

King's inspiring work at the forefront:

Through his dozens of novels and short stories, King has inspired many stars and filmmakers. In 1986, he presented director Rob Rayner with a golden opportunity to direct Stand by Me, which was the closest to King's heart and "the first semi-autobiographical of adulthood". The movie was nominated for an Oscar and ranked 217th on the most-watched films list on "imdb". King then collaborated with the brilliant director Reiner in the 1990 film Misery, which garnered several awards including Kathy Bates' first Oscar win.

Furthermore, King paved the way for director Frank Darabont to receive an Oscar nomination for the timeless classic The Shawshank Redemption, which has been the highest-watched film since 1994 and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Darabont also directed two films based on King's short stories, The Green Mile (1995), which received four Academy Award nominations and ranked 27th on the most-watched films list, and The Mist (2007).

King also collaborated with writer and director Mike Flanagan, who directed the 2019 film Doctor Sleep and co-wrote the screenplay. According to Indiewire, King was the mastermind behind Flanagan's highly successful Netflix anthology, such as The Haunting of Hill House, which ranked No. 167 on the most-watched list.

King's influence on the film industry extends beyond just working with directors and writers. He has also made numerous cameos in film adaptations of his work, such as The Stand and Maximum Overdrive.

In addition, King's novels have been adapted into successful television series, such as Under the Dome and Castle Rock. These shows have introduced a new generation of viewers to King's stories, cementing his status as a cultural icon.

Despite his success in the film and television industries, King continues to write prolifically. His works have sold over 350 million copies worldwide, making him one of the most successful authors of all time. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including the National Medal of Arts and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

In recent years, King has also become more politically active, using his platform to advocate for social justice causes and criticize the Trump administration. He remains a beloved figure in popular culture, revered for his contributions to horror fiction and the entertainment industry as a whole.

Mystic River:

Clint Eastwood's crime thriller Mystic River, released in 2003, grossed approximately $157 million, against a budget of $25 million, and won two Oscars.

The film is set in the mid-seventies and tells the story of two men who kidnap three boys while posing as police officers. The events that unfold culminate in a tragic tragedy, resulting in the death of an innocent person.

Mystic River is one of the films that King found most interesting due to its classicism, character development, and focus on telling a true story with strong performances, particularly by Shane Bean and Kevin Bacon. In a 2007 article published on Entertainment Week's website, King urges viewers to watch the film, as he believes it will completely absorb them, to the point where "they will never be able to look at their watch."

King is not the only one who has praised the film's performances and direction. Mystic River received critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards, including six Academy Awards. Sean Penn won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Jimmy Markum, a man consumed by grief and seeking revenge for his daughter's murder.

The film's success also solidified Eastwood's reputation as a skilled director, particularly in the crime thriller genre. He went on to direct other acclaimed films, such as Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino.

Mystic River, based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, explores themes of guilt, grief, and redemption. Its complex characters and intricate plot have made it a favorite among both critics and audiences, and it remains a powerful and unforgettable film to this day.

"Dementia 13" is better than The Godfather 3:

In the same article, King shares his bold opinions on certain cinematic works. He brings attention to older films that haven't gained fame or success and criticizes others despite their modernity, fame, and success. One film that deeply impressed him was "Dementia 13," a black-and-white horror film that he described as "old, simple, disturbing, and gut-wrenching." Directed by Francis de Coppola in just 9 days with a budget of $40,000, King considers it an important film that represents De Coppola's true starting point.

King even goes so far as to claim that the famous film "Psycho," directed by veteran Hitchcock in 1960 and nominated for 4 Academy Awards, and ranked 33rd on the list of the most-watched films, is "worse than De Coppola."

Additionally, King looks down on De Coppola's work in The Godfather Part III (1990) compared to his performance in Dementia 13. He considers The Godfather 3 to be a boring, incoherent, and insignificant film.

King's opinion on De Coppola's work doesn't stop there. He believes that The Godfather Part III was a weak effort, especially in comparison to De Coppola's earlier work in Dementia 13. King feels that The Godfather 3 lacked the same impact and quality that De Coppola was able to achieve with his earlier film.

King's views on cinema and film-making are passionate and often controversial, and he doesn't hold back when it comes to criticizing movies that he feels don't meet his high standards. However, his praise of Dementia 13 and his recognition of its importance in cinema history may encourage more people to seek out this classic film and appreciate it for its unique qualities.

"Change". Supernatural horror:

In 1980, Peter Medack directed "The Changeling" starring George C. Scott in what King describes as his last great movie role. King categorizes the film as a psychological thriller that falls under the umbrella of supernatural horror. Unlike other horror films that rely on exploding monsters, "The Changeling" utilizes more subtle tactics to create a sense of terror. For example, the simple act of rolling a child's ball down the stairs is enough to make viewers jump out of their seats.

King praises "The Changeling" for its ability to create a sense of horror through psychological manipulation rather than cheap jump scares or over-the-top gore. He believes that the film is a great example of how horror can be effective when it relies on a strong script and excellent performances rather than flashy special effects.

Furthermore, King's endorsement of George C. Scott's performance in "The Changeling" as his last great movie role may encourage more viewers to seek out the film and appreciate its eerie atmosphere and gripping plot.

Overall, King's appreciation for "The Changeling" demonstrates his deep understanding of the horror genre and his ability to recognize films that stand out for their unique approach to terror.

"The Hitcher". Amazing stunts:

An abstract horror road movie called "The Hitcher" (1986) showcases not only some astonishing stunts but also the exceptional supernatural acting by its superstar Rutger Hauer in the role of John Ryder. This enigmatic murderer is approached by a frightened child who asks him: "Where did you come from?" to which he answers in a hushed voice: "Disneyland."

Throughout the film, John Ryder's character continues to be both terrifying and intriguing, as he hitchhikes and murders his way across the country. The movie's tense atmosphere and Ryder's captivating performance make it a must-see for horror movie fans.

In addition to Hauer's exceptional acting, "The Hitcher" also features some stunning cinematography and a haunting soundtrack that perfectly complement the film's eerie mood. The combination of these elements creates a truly unforgettable horror movie experience that continues to be celebrated by audiences and critics alike.

Despite its initial mixed reviews, "The Hitcher" has since gained a cult following and remains a classic example of the horror genre. Its lasting impact on popular culture is a testament to the film's enduring appeal and the timeless talent of Rutger Hauer.

The confusing "Venetian Road":

In an article, King referred to the crime thriller "The Way of the Gun" as one of the "witty, important, and confusing" films. The movie was directed by Christopher Macquarie in 2000, marking his directorial debut after having written the two-time Oscar-winning film "The Usual Suspects," which is ranked as the 40th most viewed film.

"The Way of the Gun" follows the story of two criminals who kidnap a surrogate mother to obtain a ransom from a wealthy couple. The film features a stellar cast, including Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, and Juliette Lewis, who deliver outstanding performances that bring the movie's characters to life.

Macquarie's direction is notable for its raw and gritty style, which adds to the film's overall intensity and suspense. The action sequences are expertly crafted and the film's pacing keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.

Despite receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, "The Way of the Gun" has since gained a devoted fan base and is considered a cult classic in the crime thriller genre. King's praise of the film as "witty, important, and confusing" highlights its complex themes and multi-layered storytelling, which continue to captivate audiences to this day.