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Neil W

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2008
1,203
2,584
Isle of Wight UK
#1
Writer Thad Beaumont takes part in a publicity scheme where he buries his pseudonym, George Stark, in a fake funeral after someone tries to blackmail him over the subterfuge. Then murders start, apparently in the name of George Stark. Has Thad gone mad?

The story behind the Stephen King novel on which this film is based is an interesting one. The film itself is a straightforward adaptation of the book (one character is sex-changed), and works well on both the page and the screen. Timothy Hutton is convincing as both the decent Thad and his murderous alter-ego, and the supporting cast are all fine (I preferred Ed Harris as Alan Pangborn in Needful Things, but Michael Rooker does well enough). The story builds well, and the conclusion (which one might think, from the book, would be unconvincing) is actually pretty good.

George Romero's work on Stephen King's stories has been successful - I would have liked to have seen him do more, rather concentrate (for almost his entire career) on Living Dead.
 

Ivy13

Well-Known Member
Nov 8, 2015
58
215
#10
I like
No! Needful Things is a great movie! Excellent acting, especially from Ed Harris and the kid. I loved that movie even before I knew it was from an sK story.
I liked the film Needful Things too, but I know not many people did. Probably similar to how a lot of people love The Mist film and its ending, but I absolutely hated how it ended.
 
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Kurben

The Fool on the Hill
Apr 12, 2014
8,745
57,528
53
sweden
#11
No! Needful Things is a great movie! Excellent acting, especially from Ed Harris and the kid. I loved that movie even before I knew it was from an sK story.
I liked Needful too but Harris wasn't especially good. he was ok. It was Von Sydows Leland Gaunt that made that movie for me.
 
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Senor_Biggles

Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2015
188
878
45
#12
Writer Thad Beaumont takes part in a publicity scheme where he buries his pseudonym, George Stark, in a fake funeral after someone tries to blackmail him over the subterfuge. Then murders start, apparently in the name of George Stark. Has Thad gone mad?

The story behind the Stephen King novel on which this film is based is an interesting one. The film itself is a straightforward adaptation of the book (one character is sex-changed), and works well on both the page and the screen. Timothy Hutton is convincing as both the decent Thad and his murderous alter-ego, and the supporting cast are all fine (I preferred Ed Harris as Alan Pangborn in Needful Things, but Michael Rooker does well enough). The story builds well, and the conclusion (which one might think, from the book, would be unconvincing) is actually pretty good.

George Romero's work on Stephen King's stories has been successful - I would have liked to have seen him do more, rather concentrate (for almost his entire career) on Living Dead.
A long, long time ago I seem to recall that there was talk of George Romero adapting/directing IT as a mini-series. If I am remembering correctly there had been some sort of approach and he felt like it needed five two hour episodes to do it justice. I guess they bailed on that pretty quickly (this was a year or two before the original IT mini-series). Not sure how accurate it was, it was just something I remember reading in a magazine (Starburst perhaps?).
Flashing forward, apparently he has a script for The Girl who loved Tom Gordon, but nobody is interested in producing it. He’s also expressed an interest in adapting Gerald’s Game, but same problem.
Dark Half movie is okay I think, but still not a patch on the book.
 

Gerald

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2011
1,481
4,413
The Netherlands
#15
Romero worked on The Stand, It, Pet Sematary and The Girl who loved Tom Gordon, so he could have done a lot more than just this and Creepshow. He seems to be having a lot of bad luck with King-adaptations being taken away from him.

I rewatched the film. Even though it is a faithful adaptation, I don't think it's a fully successful film. I think the problem lies not so much with the film as with the book. I think it's a quite mediocre book. The premise is intriguing and fun (and close to King's own experience with mr. Bachman), but the story never manages to do something truly special with it.
Unlike Paul Sheldon and his nr. 1 fan, the relation between Thad Beaumont and his alter ego is not all that interesting. The difference is, Annie Wilkes is a fully round character, she's obviously scary and dangerous, but she also has a sweet side and emotions you can identify with (like how she feels strongly writers shouldn't 'cheat' with their stories).
George Stark is a walking stereotype: the ruthless, alcoholic gangster, as flat as his character Alexis Machine in his novels. Annie and George basically have the same goal: have Paul/Thad write a new novel. But Stark doesnt have much beyond that, he wants a novel and kills everyone that is close to Thad (because he can't kill Thad himself) - that's about it. And since he is a pseudonym come alive, he's also a little abstract, which prevents him becoming truly menacing.

The film does a good job of following the book and has good performances from a strong cast, but because the basis material is average, it becomes average as a result. It keeps your interest, but never truly involves you or grips you.
One of the best scenes is a dream scene. It's the scene where Thad arrives at his summer home and finds his wife captured. It is done almost like a lucid dream: at first it seems like a regular scene with Thad pulling up his car, but you realise it's not when you see Stark's black Tornado in front of the house and get inside. It's done very subtle, but it has that typical feel of a dream scene from a SK novel.
 
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Gerald

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2011
1,481
4,413
The Netherlands
#16
A long, long time ago I seem to recall that there was talk of George Romero adapting/directing IT as a mini-series. If I am remembering correctly there had been some sort of approach and he felt like it needed five two hour episodes to do it justice. I guess they bailed on that pretty quickly (this was a year or two before the original IT mini-series). Not sure how accurate it was, it was just something I remember reading in a magazine (Starburst perhaps?).
This is true. It's in Cinefantastique, but may have been in other magazines as well. I don't get the feeling it was a real different project from the mini-series. Just an early incarnation of that. The reason he bowed out was not creative differences, but rather scheduling conflicts as he was shooting the Night of the Living Dead remake, with Tom Savini directing.
 
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Doc Creed

Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2015
15,545
70,755
41
United States
#19
i loved this book! read it in a few afternoons.
Same for me; over the course of two days. George Stark is one of the scariest characters King ever created because of
the power he held over Thad Beaumont (mentally and physically) and because he is so vicious. They are, at once, creepily similar and dissimilar. I think the novel is a kind of window into Stephen King's psyche.
 

Tery

A homeward angel on the fly
Moderator
Apr 12, 2006
13,935
37,301
Bremerton, Washington, United States
#20
Same for me; over the course of two days. George Stark is one of the scariest characters King ever created because of
the power he held over Thad Beaumont (mentally and physically) and because he is so vicious. They are, at once, creepily similar and dissimilar. I think the novel is a kind of window into Stephen King's psyche.
I agree. George is one scary mofo. And Tim Hutton gave a masterful performance as both Stark (perfect name!) and Thad. I love both the book and the movie.
 
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