Three mini reviews, which are part of my 60 days of Stephen King summer movie project.
The best and worst feature of this film is how difficult it is to categorize. On one hand it’s about a sleazy journalist (think National Enquirer, TMZ) trying to stay on t
op and on the other it’s bout a vampire pilot with an affinity for brutally murdering small town folk. Both plotlines are given equal time and, honestly, both could be separate movies in their own right. But that’s also the flaw, not enough time is given to one or the other to allow the audience to really sink their teeth either. But I don’t care, this one has enough creepy imagery to scare the piss out of 13 year old me and the baddie is a truly frightening looking dude. Throw in an amazing performance by Stephen King adaptation regular, Miguel Ferrer (Twin Peaks, Robocop) and you have one of the better low budget adaptations of King’s work.
Another flick with a strong male character and performance, this time it’s from Stephen Macht (Monster Squad, Crucible), who plays the asshole boss of a rat-infested textile mill in Podunk, Nowheresville. The plot is a little goofy even by Stephen King standards, though not anywhere near the goofballness of Trucks. A drifter takes a job as part of the overnight cleanup crew responsible for clearing out up what Dante described as “too hot, humid and horrible to be considered for a circle in hell.” To make matters worse, rats are everywhere and they like to push people into the “wool picker” which is basically one of the most horrific deaths one can imagine. To make matters even worse, there is a very big and very pissed of subterranean monster living in the bowels of the mill as well.
This film has a little bit of everything: Rampant sexism (mostly courtesy Mr. Macht), a crazy comic relief pest exterminator, a cemetery and a down on his luck hero who must transform into a total badass just to survive. Plus it ends with a rather fun‘80s cheeseball song.
This is the movie that was responsible for ruining my childhood. Before this movie I lived in the perfect American suburban bubble of kidhood. I played with friends, roamed the streets and had zero cares. But then my family moved into a new house across town. That very first night in the new house full of dark corners and unfamiliar shadows, a brand new mini-series was premiering. Fully sensing that my mother was exhausted from the move and in no condition to argue with me I convinced her to let me watch Stephen King’s IT.
I didn’t sleep a single wink for a month. Instead, I stayed up late and devised traps that would slow down Pennywise the Killer Clown. For example, I would place a stuffed animal where my head should have been on the pillow. I would cover up the animal and sleep at the base of the pillow, under the covers. The thought being that if Pennywise tried to chop my head off with an axe that he would get the stuffed animal first, freeing me to escape. By year’s end I had no less than 20 traps set up around the house and in my backyard fort to keep me safe (keep in mind Home Alone came out this same year). And I’m happy to say that besides hundreds of hours of lost sleep the bastard never got me – though the cat often walked into my traps and left pissed.
Fast forward to last night. The movie certainly doesn’t hold up, but because of my previous trauma I still had a goddamn nightmare about Pennywise. The only other thing I have to say about this film is RIP John Ritter.