Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Shut the doors! Shut the doors! Something in the MIST!"

When I was 13 I joined one of those Book of the Month Clubs. The first book I received through the post was Stephen King's enormous book of short stories "Skeleton Crew", which also contained a full length novel called The Mist. It was about a group of customers in a supermarket in small-town America who see a mysterious mist come over the horizon and cover everything. It might be something to do with the strange experiments that the military have been conducting on a nearby base... Anyone who leaves the supermarket vanishes, never to return, two soldiers from the army base have committed suicide in the back of the store (clearly they know something has gone very wrong), and there are weird HP Lovecraftian creatures floating around and banging on the windows. Oh, and inside, there's a religious nut called Mrs Carmody who starts calling for human sacrifices.

It scared me to bits and for the next five years or so I devoured all the Stephen King I could find.

Now I'm a "grown-up" I don't read Stephen King any more. In my early 20s I started to find his books a bit formulaic (all those male writers as heroes), often sentimental and a bit too easy-to-read. Also, the novels where he tries to include the thoughts and actions of every single member of a small town are a bit long-winded for my busy 24/7 lifestyle. But there are a few stories that I still like, and I sometimes think that some of King's older novels are even more relevant today than when he initially wrote them. The Long Walk - for example, is about a televised walking contest where anyone who drops out is gunned down by ultra-conservative police. And Mrs Carmody is probably a much better example of the religious right now than she was when the novel was first written.

I'd often hoped that someone would make a film of The Mist. And guess what, they have. It comes out on general release in the US on the 21st of November. Initial reviews at the IMDB look positive. I'm really hoping it's a good film (even though I've heard rumours that they messed with the ending). Let this be Misery or Carrier rather than The Lawnmower man.

The trailer looks pretty good anyway. I love it when Mrs Carmody starts going on about the "end of days"... Dessie (and other horror fans), what do you think?


Olaf said...

The Mist was one of my favourite King stories as a teenager, as well. It had a nice blend of creepiness and plot development that, while pretty straightforward, was pretty effective in giving me the chills. I fully plan on seeing the film when it comes out, I just hope, as you do, that they don't ruin it by making the ending too happy or pat. Guess we'll find out.

Dessie said...

I'd never read the book, though it seems very Koontz-ian, like you I did love the Bachman Books. I'll definitely watch this!!

Fin De Fichier said...

I like what Tom Shales said about King: "pesky old hack" as in:
"Stephen King's Storm of the Century" differs from most of King's past ABC miniseries in one significant way: The pesky old hack actually wrote it. That is, King himself did the script, not just a book or a short story or a memo or a sentence fragment that was then handed to some other writer to adapt for TV.