Episode 20 – Stephen King special

In episode 20 (20 EPISODES?! That’s crazy!) of the CTGY podcast, Rich and Kelly celebrate by discussing a whole bunch of Stephen King movie adaptations and books. Just in time, too, as the 21st of September is Stephen’s birthday!

Movies discussed in this episode include IT, Misery, Cujo, Christine, Sleepwalkers, Stand by Me, Cat’s Eye, Creepshow, Silver Bullet, The Dead Zone, The Shining, Maximum Overdrive, The Running Man and Salem’s Lot. Very brief mentions also include The Mist, Secret Window, 1408, The Green Mile, Thinner, Needful Things, Firestarter, Carrie Pet Sematary (episode 13 is dedicated to that film).

Also discussed is the shocking fact that Kelly has never seen Big Trouble in Little China. Is this worse than Rich never seeing The Silence of the Lambs? Listeners chime in on Twitter to give their thoughts. Also, you should let us know! Lastly, other topics include a brief rant regarding Kelly defending the new Blair Witch, an Annabelle 2 teaser, The Bye Bye Man trailer and.. 50 Shades Darker…?

As ever, if you enjoyed this episode please let us know! You can rate, review, subscribe, follow, comment, email and tell of all of your friends.

Mentions – Sal Roma @jtalley986
duplicantCC2568 @CC2568
AimeeDubz @AimeeW666
Brad @BradPearton

Cheers!

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One thought on “Episode 20 – Stephen King special

  1. Another 2014 horror review:

    Title: Needful Things
    Country: United States
    Year: 1993
    Director: Fraser Clarke Heston

    My earliest memories of Needful Things takes place at some point in the mid 90’s. I seem to recall I was at a relative’s house and it was likely around a holiday as several members of the family were there. Anyways, Needful Things was on the television, whether on a movie channel or a VHS rental, I don’t know. I don’t remember a whole lot about the film other than some random pieces. I can remember a kid throwing apples. I remember the basic idea of everyone doing these horrible things. Yet, the one moment I remember best of all and the one I think of whenever Needful Things is brought up is the shocking reveal of the dog. Perhaps it was just my age, but it was so gory and right in your face that I’ve never forgotten it.

    Naturally, being a horror fan, I’ve seen a lot of films based on Stephen King’s books and I own and have read many of his novels, both the classics (The Shinning, Carrie, Misery) and his more recent works (Mr. Mercedes, Joyland, Doctor Sleep). Along with F. Paul Wilson, he’s one of my go to authors when I’m in between books. For the most part, King delivers, even if his recent books do not generate nearly as much attention as his older ones attain. While he may not have much to do with this, I’ve enjoyed many of his film adaptions more than I’ve disliked them. It’s quite rare for me to have a story like Salem’s Lot where I can’t get into the two different film adaptations due to all of the changes. Even if the books are better than the movies, the movies rarely disappoint. Before I officially begin the Needful Things review, I feel compelled to make it clear that I have not read the book before. My entire opinion of the movie could very easily have changed if I were to read the book. With that discretion out of the way, let’s get to the real meat of the review.

    The best part of Needful Things is what a scary idea it is. While the film may not be scary on it’s own, it is when you think about it happening in reality. At first, it’s easy to dismiss the idea. Once you get past the supernatural aspect of the movie, I don’t think it’s that unbelievable. To put it bluntly, we’re living in a pretty fucked up world. Guys are being beheaded in the middle east, priests are fondling little kids, police are shooting first and asking questions later and riots (Such as the British one in 2011) shows that in a group environment, people can do things that they wouldn’t have dreamt of doing on their own. Perhaps the whole set-up for this film with the Devil giving the towns people of Castle Rock whatever the desire as long as they do his bidding is a bit over the top, but do I believe it’s possible for a large group of people to do terrible things when the opportunity presents itself? I do. What makes it even scarier in the film is that other than Polly, the residents of Castle Rock are doing these terrible things to each other for what? A baseball card? A little glass figure? Their old high school jacket? It’s a play on society’s over importance on THINGS. It’s a scary enough situation to have to fear for your life against one of your neighbors, but knowing you’re having to do so for such a frivolous reason? That’s brutal.

    The brightest star of the film is Satan himself, Leland Gaunt, played by Max von Sydow. Von Sydow is certainly no stranger to horror films based around dealing with true evil seeing as he played the role of Father Merrin in The Exorcist. Here, he plays for the other team, as the seductive and wholly convincing Gaunt. What’s great about Gaunt is he goes so out of his way to try and reach everyone on a personal level. The idea that he’s the devil? Pfft, he’s like your grandfather, always willing to listen to your problems and give you some classic advice. As you get closer to the end, Gaunt put up less of a fake front and begins relishing in the fact that Castle Rock has become a land of horror. By the time the credits roll, the character is incredibly likable due to all of his one liners. Gaunt may be the devil, but how can you not like a character that is having so much fun? If nothing else, Needful Things is worth checking out just to watch Von Sydow’s acting and hearing all of his lines.

    Another thing I liked about the story and Gaunt is how he plays with everyone. Rather than have a simple means of trying to create a little murder, he creates an elaborate web of deadly acts. At first, he gains the admiration and love of the people of Castle Rock. Giving them their prized item helps, but it’s also his attitude too. Then he asks them to do something simple. It’s less of breaking the law and more just being a bit mischievous. However, by having little Billy smear mud and shit all over Wilma’s sheets, Guant knows that Wilma will naturally blame Nettie. That causes Nettie to assume Wilma is responsible for her dog’s death, even though Hugh was given the task of doing that. By the end, without any actual direct contact between the two rivals, Gaunt has caused two seemingly normal people in Wilma and Nettie to fight with knifes to the death. Gaunt is brilliant in how evil his mindset is.

    While not one of King’s more popular or most well known adapted movies, Needful Things is a quality little movie. It feels like you’re watching the lives of real people, thanks to King’s tendency to stick with the simple Maine residents that he was so used to living with. Everyone has their own little quirks, with most having some likability, even if they end up doing terrible things. Since the story takes place in Castle Rock, Maine, it takes place in the same world as other King’s projects of The Dead Zone, Cujo and the Dark Half. In fact, the main character of Alan Pangborn (Played here by Ed Harris) is also featured in The Dark Half (Played by The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker). So while it’s not a true sequel or series, you can consider all of these movies as in the same “Group” (Or whatever you want to call a series that isn’t actually a series). Speaking of which, literally the final horror film I watched before starting my 2014 October horror reviews was ironically the Dark Half. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s another good one that plays on King’s own personalities in trying to balance his work as Stephen King and the world of Richard Bachman. The best way to sum up The Dark Half is that it’s John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness, only better. So yeah, watch The Dark Half before watching Needful Things if you wish to get the full Alan Pangborn story. All of those Castle Rock set films are worth watching though.

    Grade: B

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