It’s hard to believe there is anything left of Stephen King’s work to adapt for the big or small screen screen. His wide array of works meld genres of science fiction, horror, and suspense in a seemingly effortless fashion, and with the eagerly anticipated remake of IT set to be released this September, there is sure to be a renewed interest from audiences for more Stephen King adaptions. Thankfully, there are many more stories by King that are worthy of making their debut on film and television.
Some may take note of the obvious similarities between The Hunger Games and The Long Walk, but where The Hunger Games glosses over the evil nature of its participants, King’s novel relishes in it. The real horror comes from the unwilling participants themselves and the uniquely terrifying task they are forced to accomplish. In the story, 100 teenage boys must walk at a pace of no less than four miles per hour. After too many repeated stops they will be executed and the last surviving boy will win. It is important to note that the rivalries and partnerships are the meat and bone of this story. With each step you wonder who will double cross who, and who is willing to die for another competitor. Currently, Frank Darabont owns the rights to adapt the story. If he was to move forward on the adapting the original story, one could only hope that he would make the ending just as much of a gut punch as his adaptation of The Mist (2007).
Duma Key is the story of Edgar Fremantle, a man who recently had an amputation and a divorce. In his attempt to recover and move past his depression, he travels to the island of Duma Key. On the island he discovers his love for painting and the inadvertent power to manipulate time with his art. Like any time-manipulation story, Fremantle’s actions have consequences. King’s best works derive from his innate ability to explore the human psyche within fictional scenarios he creates, and Fremantle’s psychological journey is chilling. The novel is made all the more compelling and suitably heart-wrenching as the would-be painter’s actions influences those around him, most often for the worst.
End of Watch is the third and final book in a trilogy about Detective Bill Hodges. The first book in the series, Mr. Mercedes, is already in production to be adapted into a television series, but it’s the conclusion of the trilogy that really caps off the entire series. The antagonist of the first book returns in the finale as a man capable of making people kill themselves. The story goes beyond a normal cat and mouse game as Hodges witnesses the people around him slaughter themselves. The horrific events are made all the more terrifying and tragic when it’s made abundantly clear that his heroism in the first book is a direct result of mayhem occurring in this final entry. Personally, this is one of my deepest fears. I simply can’t fathom the idea that I’m not in control of my own destiny.
Now I understand that Trucks has already been adapted twice, with the first adaptation, Maximum Overdrive (1986), most notably being directed by King himself, but the original film fails in that it is simply too campy and poorly made. What a proper adaption needs is a general sense of disillusionment. The idea of having objects come to life and killing humans should only be cool initially before it finally dissolves into a scary test of “man vs. machine.” The original film tries to act “cool” with its concept, but it ultimately wears out its welcome quickly. If anything, it’s best to keep the film’s gruesome deaths, but to also provide characters we actually want to survive the entire ordeal.