Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Poor Annie Wilkes.  She only wants to save her favorite author’s life, and help him get back on track with his Misery novels.  I mean, how dare he kill off Misery Chastain, whose exploits give Annie reason to live.  Paul Sheldon should be grateful to her for saving his life, and be happy to write another Misery novel.  Annie is only trying to help!!  Too bad she is a deranged lunatic who has him locked up in a bedroom in her house, and has not alerted the authorities to his whereabouts.  Too bad Paul just isn’t the perfect patient she hoped for, and is trying to escape.  Paul obviously has his hobbling coming to him!  Annie is determined to keep Paul to herself, and she will do whatever she needs to in order to keep him locked up in her house.  If she needs to knock off a few people in the process, she will do that.  She has obviously killed before, and has kept a scrapbook of all her wonderfully demented activities.  One of the most terrifying things about Annie is that sometimes she seems so motherly, and caring, but she can snap in a second and become a crazy maniacal killer.

A piece of advice if you happen to encounter Annie Wilkes.  DO NOT SWEAR.  She doesn’t like it!  If you feel the urge to swear, please use the words “Oogie”, and “Cockadoodie” instead.  This may save your life.

Body Count: Annie’s exact body count in unknown, but it is speculated that she has killed over 70 people!

Weapon of Choice: Annie likes many weapons- especially sledgehammers.  If you are nice to her, she will  also use different types of medicine (pills or injections) that will cause a pain-free death.

Habitat: She now lives in Colorado (or did), but she used to be found primarily in hospitals

Tonight’s double feature will be Carrie and The Burning

….in each, stupid teenagers make some stupid decisions, and the pranks that they thought would be hilarious don’t turn out the way they planned, leading to some not-so-fun consequences.

Carrie (1976)

Directed by Brian De Palma (Sisters, Scarface, The Untouchables)

“You were warned never to push Carrie to the limits.  Now you must face the evil consequences.”

Adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Carrie is a story of a lonely teenage outcast who is constantly made fun of and tortured by her peers.  We never get a background of specifically why Carrie White (Sissy SpacekCoal Miner’s Daughter, The Ring Two, An American Haunting) has been singled out to be picked on, but we can assume it’s due to her upbringing by her fanatically religious mother.  Our story starts on the day Carrie gets her first period while taking a shower in the locker room after gym class.  Her mother (Piper LaurieThe Hustler, The Faculty)has never taught her about menstruation (and we can assume that sex-ed was not a subject of curriculum in Carrie’s school), thus she freaks out when she sees the blood and runs to her peers for help thinking she is dying.  They begin to laugh hysterically at her, and throw tampons and pads at her, shouting “Plug it up, plug it up!”, primarily led on by the class bully Chris Hargensen (Nancy AllenDressed to Kill, RoboCop, Poltergeist III).

When the gym teacher, Miss Collins (Betty Buckley“Eight is Enough”, Wyatt Earp) sees what is going on she puts a stop to it.  As Carrie screams and freaks out, we get a first hint of her telekinetic ability when one of the lights in the locker room blows out.  A bit later, when in the principal’s office getting permission to go home he constantly calls her by the incorrect name, and she gets so angry that an ashtray flies off his desk.  Later at home she is confronted by her mother who is very angry that she is now a woman, Carrie asks why she never told her, and her mother just goes on and on about the sins of the woman, and then locks her in the closet so that she can think about things.  Later that night, Carrie breaks a mirror in her room with her telekinetic ability, which she then begins to research at school the next day.

Also the next day, those that tortured Carrie are sentenced to detention with Miss Collins, instead of refusal of prom tickets.  Chris Hargensen is very unhappy about this, and freaks out on Miss Collins during this detention, and thus is not allowed to go to the prom.  Another of Carrie’s classmates, who also is in detention for torturing Carrie, but feels bad about it, Sue Snell (Amy IrvingThe Rage: Carrie 2, Hide and Seek), asks her boyfriend Tommy Ross (William KattHouse, Jawbreaker) to ask Carrie to the prom.  Eventually Carrie accepts.  Meanwhile Chris has cajoled her boyfriend Billy Nolan (John TravoltaGrease, Pulp Fiction) into slaughtering a pig so that they can dump the blood onto Carrie at the prom….death and destruction ensues.

Carrie is a great movie that highlights the common problem of bullying at school, but gives Carrie a tool to fight back.  Her telekinetic ability gives her the power to get revenge on those who have bullied her, the kids at school, and also gives her the ability to fight back against her domineering mother, who possibly has caused her to be an outcast.  Is it a good thing that she ends up killing a multitude of people, including SPOILER those who have only tried to help her?  No, but when someone like Carrie is bullied relentlessly, her pent up anger had to go somewhere, and in this case it was released in a very violent way.  Chris Hargensen was such an awful evil spoiled brat that she just couldn’t leave Carrie alone, even though Carrie really had done nothing to her, she was the one who incited the bullying against Carrie, and she was the one who pulled the prank on Carrie that caused the destruction.  I look at her as the real villain in this film.

The Burning (1981)

Directed by Tony Maylam

“If you go down to the woods today… Watch out for Cropsy!”

The Burning begins at Camp Blackfoot.  Some campers are planning a prank to scare the handyman, Cropsy (Lou David), because apparently he is a sick bastard who revels in torturing the campers.  They decide to put a burning, worm-infested skull next to his bed, and then wake him up by pounding on the windows of his cabin.  Well, the prank works, but Cropsy gets so terrified that he knocks over the skull onto his bed which ignites the bed, and his pants.  He then gets up in fright, and knocks over a can of gasoline which he keeps next to his bed for some reason, and so he gets completely lit on fire.  He runs out of the cabin, to the horror of the campers, falls down, and rolls down a hill into some water, finally extinguishing the flames.  Cropsy survives and is brought to a hospital, where one of the orderlies uses him a scare tactic for aspiring hospital workers.  Very nice!

Five years later, Cropsy is released from the hospital, he harbors resentment for the campers who put him in this situation of course.  He also is horribly disfigured, and the skin grafts that the doctors tried to repair his burs with did not take.  He leaves the hospital, ends up in a scandalous area filled with peep shows and prostitution, he goes home with a prostitute, but stays in the shadows, and turns off the lights in her apartment.  Unfortunately for him, there is a thunderstorm, and when some lightening lights up his face, the prostitute freaks out on him, and he ends up stabbing her with some scissors.  Now, did he stab her because she freaked out on him, or was he planning on killing her anyway?  We’ll never know.

Cut to a different camp, Camp Stonewater, which is across the water from old Camp Blackfoot.  One of the campers who was in on the prank that burned Cropsy, Todd (Brian Matthews) is now a counselor, and Cropsy has come back to this camp to get his revenge.  We meet a group of campers, including a young Jason Alexander as Dave!   This was also both Holly Hunter’s and Fisher Stevens‘ movie debut.  There is some antagonism between some of the campers, as there is an outcast named Alfred (Brian BackerFast Times at Ridgemont High, Loser) who is a peeping tom, and has snuck up on a girl named Sally (Carrick Glenn) in the shower to scare her.  Her “boyfriend”, Glazer (Larry JoshuaDances With Wolves, Unforgiven) is angry about this, and threatens to beat Alfred up.  Later, as the campers are swimming, Glazer pushes Alfred (who can’t swim) into the water.  To get back at Glazer, some of Alfred’s friends shoot some kind of pellet gun at Glazer.  The next day, the older campers, along with Todd and a female counselor, Michelle, are to go on an overnight camping trip downstream.  Cropsy follows the campers on their trip, and that night the killing begins…

Cropsy is a terrifying movie villain.  We only get a few glimpses of his disfigured visage, but that is enough.  He has been horribly burned, and will never have a normal life again, so we do have some sympathy for him in that respect, but he does not take his anger out in a good way.  His weapon of choice is a pair of ultra-sharpened hedge-clippers, and they cause a lot of destruction.  This is a very bloody movie, and the raft massacre is the most infamous scene in the movie.  The special effects are great, and were created by Tom Savini!  This is one of the best summer camp horror movies in my opinion.

Thoughts on the double feature

Some SPOILERS may follow

–        Both of the movies have a prank that goes bad in some way, which ends up causing death and destruction. In the case of Carrie, Chris Hargensen and her cronies decide to slaughter a pig, and then dump the pig’s blood onto Carrie at prom.  In The Burning, our campers decide to put a burning skull into Cropsy’s cabin.  Of course, neither prank goes exactly as planned.  In Carrie, after the blood is dumped on her, she uses her telekinetic powers to kill everyone at the prom (excluding Sue Snell who is locked outside), the auditorium ends up engulfed in flames.  She then causes Chris and Billy to get in a car accident which causes the car to explode.  When she returns home, and her mother tries to kill her, she ends up killing her mother, and then the house implodes on them, and she dies as well.  In The Burning, Cropsy is lit on fire when he knocks the skull onto his bed, and then knocks over a can of gasoline.  He then returns to kill the campers, and counselors at a nearby camp.  He then dies a fiery death.

–        Both movies involve a bully- In Carrie we have Chris Hargensen and her cronies. In The Burning we have uber-cool, and uber-old for camp, Glazer.

–        Each movie involves an abundance of long, curly, man hair!

–        Each movie has an abundance of tube socks!!!!

–        In each, some sport is played briefly.  In Carrie, the movie begins with a volleyball game.  In The Burning, when we cut to the second camp, we are introduced to most of our characters as they play a game of softball.

–        Each movie involves a relationship between a girl and a guy where the girl pushes a guy away, but the guy keeps coming on to her.  In Carrie, Chris has a weird relationship with Billy, where she will seemingly invite him to kiss and fondle her, but then she pushes him away.  This happens multiple times, with her finally using this relationship to get him to agree to participate in her prank.  In The Burning, we have two relationships, one involving Eddy (Ned EisenbergMillion Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Father) pursuing the shy Karen (Carolyn Houlihan). When he goes too far, she pushes him away, and he ends up getting angry and yelling at her.  When she runs off she is killed by Cropsy.  The other relationship is between Glazer and Sally, she seems to be slightly pushing him away, and is not sure whether she wants to go further in her relationship with him, but they do end up together after a bit of teasing. Unfortunately they are then both killed.  (Obviously they broke one of the cardinal rules in surviving a horror movie!)

For tonight’s double feature I am watching The Fog and The Mist.

… I’ve stated before, I love fog!  I don’t love driving in it, but I love it’s presence in horror movies.  It’s just so utterly creepy, and you never know what could be lurking in it.

The Fog (1980)

Directed by John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing)

“Lock your doors. Bolt your windows.  There’s something in THE FOG!”

Antonio Bay is celebrating its 100th anniversary!  But, what the residents of Antonio Bay don’t know is that 100 years before, the founders of the town plotted to kill a group of lepers, and those lepers are about to get their revenge!

Our story begins with a group of children on a beach being told the story of the Elizabeth Dane, a ship that sunk 100 years before (the ships that the lepers were sailing on), when a fog rolled in, obscuring their sight of land.  They followed a fire on the beach, which they thought was a light to guide them, and instead of landing safely on land, the ship was sunk when it hit upon the rocks.

Meanwhile, a none-too-sober Father Malone (Hal HolbrookCreepshow, Wall Street) is in his study late at night, when a piece of the wall breaks off, and revealed beneath is the journal of one of his ancestors, also named Father Malone, who was one of the original plotters in the death of the lepers.  At the same time Father Malone finds the journal (which is during the witching-hour- 12am-1am), the rest of the town falls apart.  Car alarms go off, gas starts pumping by itself, and televisions go on by themselves.  Nick Castle (Tom AtkinsCreepshow, Halloween 3, My Bloody Valentine 3D) is driving down the road, minding his own business, and has just picked up a hitchhiker, Elizabeth, (Jamie Lee CurtisHalloween, Terror Train, Prom Night), when all the windows of his truck shatter.  We also meet radio personality Stevie Wayne (Adrienne BarbeauEscape From New York, Creepshow), the weather station man, and some fishermen.  The weatherman tells Stevie of a fog bank which is approaching the fishing boat, the “Sea Grass”, and Stevie Wayne broadcasts this.  Our fishermen do not see the fogbank at first, but it rapidly approaches.  This is not a typical fogbank, as it glows with an eerie light.  A couple of the fishermen go up to the deck of the boat, where the see a huge old-fashioned boat approaching them.  Behind them we get our first glimpse of the ghostly lepers, and death ensues…

The next day we meet the committee chairwoman (Janet LeighPsycho, The Manchurian Candidate, Halloween H20), and her assistant (Nancy LoomisHalloween, Halloween 2, Halloween 3) as they prepare for the anniversary celebration.  They go to see Father Malone, and he tells them of the ghastly deeds of the founders of Antonio Bay.  At around the same time, Tom Atkins and Jamie Lee Curtis go out and try to find the missing boat, the “Sea Grass”, they find it, and also discover one of our dead fishermen, who falls onto Jamie Lee Curtis- eeeeeek!  Stevie Wayne is also becoming nervous, because her son found a piece of driftwood on the beach, which said “Dane”, and when she brings it to the radio station, it begins to leak water, the words change to “6 must die”, and then it shorts out her electrical equipment, and starts a fire, when she puts it out, the original word “Dane” returns.

That night, the fog rolls in…………who will die?  Will our lepers get further revenge?  Will Antonio Bay succumb to the curse?

I must say that I LOVE this movie.  The first time I saw it, I remember being disappointed in it, as I did not think it was scary enough, but it has grown on me enormously.  I especially like to watch it late at night, in the dark…bonus points if there is a thunderstorm going on.  Its tone is so dark, and ominous, I can’t but feel a deep sense of dread as I watch it.  It is a slow burn of a movie, but I find the build up so suspenseful, and the music is so eerie, it adds wonderfully to the tension building.  I love the scenes of the fog slowly creeping up on the town, and I love that most of the time, our villains are obscured by the fog.  They are just shadows, and outlines….I think it works so much better to have them partially hidden from view.  Of course we do get one close up of a rotted, worm-infested face, but I don’t think we need any more than that.  It’s better left to the imagination.

“I don’t know what happened to Antonio Bay tonight.  Something came out of the fog and tried to destroy us.  In one moment, it vanished.  But if this has been anything but a nightmare, and if we don’t wake up to find ourselves safe in our beds, it could come again.  To the ships at see that can hear my voice, look across the water, into the darkness.  Look for the fog.”

The Mist (2007)

Directed by

Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile)

“Belief divides them, mystery surrounds them, but fear changes everything”

In The Mist, based on a novella by Stephen King, a group of people are trapped in a grocery store when an unearthly mist arises after a devastating storm, and brings with it terrifying creatures.

A local Maine artist, David Drayton (Thomas JaneDreamcatcher, The Punisher), his son Billy (Nathan GambleBabel, Marley & Me), and a neighbor Brent Norton (Andre BraugherPrimal Fear, City of Angels), drive into town after this devastating storm to get supplies.  As they shop, a bloody man coming running into the supermarket, terrified, and says that there is something in the mist.  At first people are skeptical, and some stay skeptical, including Brent Norton, but most believe that something awful has happened, and that there are unknown creatures out in the mist that are terribly dangerous.  The fear grows after a few deaths at the hands of these creatures.  A few groups of people form- those that don’t believe in the creatures, led by Mr. Norton, a handful of religious fanatics led by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay HardenMystic River, Into the Wild) who believe that this is an act of God, and also a group led by David Drayton who decide finally that their only hope is to escape the grocery store.

Will they escape?  Will the religious fanatics take over and resort to blood sacrifice?  Will the creatures end up devouring them all?

This is one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations, along with Carrie, The Shining, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and some others.  I think the character development in quite good, we really feel for David and his son, and we really HATE Mrs. Carmody, well at least I do.  The old woman played by Frances Sternhagen (Misery, Julie & Julia) is pretty much my favorite character, and my new hero!  I love it when she throws the can on vegetables and hits Mrs. Carmody in the head when she is babbling her fanatical/insane dialogue.  I also love that she has no mercy when it comes to these creatures, and does not hide in a corner, but rather improvises a flame thrower!  I also think the creature design is awesome, and there are some generally disturbing, nauseating scenes with the destruction these creatures wreak on these people- especially the scene in the pharmacy with the MP’s face exploding with baby spiders.

Thoughts on the double feature

Some SPOILERS may follow

–        I chose to watch these two movies as a double feature because obviously The Fog and The Mist share a similar plot of an unearthly fog/mist rolling into a town and bringing with it unearthly creatures.  In The Fog’s case it brings ghostly lepers, and in The Mist it brings creatures from an alternate dimension.

–        In each, the creatures that the fog/mist brings are caused in some way by the action of man.  In The Fog, the ghosts are coming back for revenge on those who plotted, and caused their death 100 years prior.  In The Mist, the creatures are unleashed due to the experiments at a military outpost during a project called “The Arrowhead Project”, when a portal to another dimension is somehow opened.

–        Both involve people holing up in a location to try to survive the wrath of the creatures.  In The Fog they hole up in a church, and in The Mist, they are holed up in a grocery store.

–        Both have similar lines of dialogue when they discover that the mist/fog is something dangerous.  In The Fog, Stevie Wayne cries out “There’s something in the fog!” over the radio, and in The Mist, the old man in the beginning who runs into the store (Jeffrey DeMunnThe Green Mile, Burn After Reading) cries out, “Don’t go out there.  There’s something in the mist”.

–        In the beginning of The Mist, prior to the storm, when we see David’s studio, there is a drawing based on John Carpenter’s The Thing.

–        Both movies have downer endings.  In The Fog, after we think everything is over, Blake returns to kill Father Malone.  In The Mist, when the car that David, Billy, and some others are escaping in runs out of gas, rather than be killed by the creatures, David chooses to shoot everyone, except himself because he has run out of bullets.  After he has completed his awful task, the military come to rescue everyone….super sad!