As October races along, I’ve been trying to catch what Halloween television programming I can before it all goes away on November 1st.
One of the things (that I posted about back in August) that I was looking forward to was Turner Classic Movies' documentary: The Horrors of Stephen King. And it doesn't disappoint...
The documentary, at its core, is really just the horror author waxing philosophical about his favorite horror films. For such a simple concept, it really offers a lot of insight into King, horror movies, the making of those movies, and their history.
For instance: First movie that scared him?
A funny answer by itself (though he explains why) but even more so as I just re-watched Scream 4 on DVD and Hayden Panettiere's character answers a similar question with the same answer.
As far as insight: there's a quote that really made me think as King describes why, he thinks, we return to horror movies for repeat viewings.
King says, “I think that the shelf life of horror films is limited in terms of the emotional response of the viewer. The first time that you see Night of the Living Dead, you’re absolutely riveted. The second time, you’re scared. The third time, the film has lost something essential that it had the first time.
“Now people continue to go back and see Night of the Living Dead, but what they’re experiencing isn’t horror at that point. It’s the memory of the horror that they felt the first time they saw it…
“But that’s also one of the magic elements of the movies. It not only causes us to experience emotions, it causes us to re-experience them and then to remember where we were and how we felt.”
What I, personally, was most interested to see was what King thought of the movies based on his own material. For instance, I’d always heard that he hated Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining but didn’t know why and certainly had never heard it in his own words.
King tells some tales about phone calls with Stanley and the like but summed it up best when he said "In my novel, the hotel burns, in Kubrick's movie the hotel freezes." Without splitting every hair, that line speaks volumes.
He also acknowledges the iconic moments of the film and things he likes about it like Nicholson's face in the door and the "Heeeeere's Johnny." immortal line.
Other fascinating things I learned about Mr. King:
- He’s never really been into werewolf movies.
- He likes the Dawn of the Dead remake in addition to Romero’s original.
- He loves the original The Amityville Horror.
- He thinks Dee Wallace deserved an Oscar for her performance in Cujo.
- He still gets goosebumps talking about The Blair Witch Project.
Be sure to keep watching through the end credits as King is asked the impossible to answer question “If you were stranded on a desert island, what ONE movie would you take with you?”
His answer surprised me.
Overall I enjoyed the documentary, as it's a welcome change-up from just another network playing a string of horror movies for the Halloween season. You're in good hands with Laurent Bouzereau and there are plenty of clips and stills to give film junkies something to chew on.
As for the rest of TCM's horror movie schedule, and re-airs of the doc check out the schedule:
Monday, Oct. 10
8 p.m. The Wolf Man (1941)
9:15 p.m. The Uninvited (1944)
11 p.m. Dead of Night (1945)
1 a.m. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
2:15 a.m. Cat People (1942)
3:45 a.m. Curse of the Cat People (1944)
5 a.m. The Devil Bat (1940)
6:15 a.m. Dead Men Walk (1943)
Monday, Oct. 17
8 p.m. Horror of Dracula (1958)
9:30 p.m. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
11 p.m. The Tingler (1959)
12:30 a.m. House of Wax (1953)
2:15 a.m. Curse of the Demon (1958)
4 a.m. TCM Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King – Encore
5 a.m. A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Monday, Oct. 24
8 p.m. Carnival of Souls (1962)
9:30 p.m. TCM Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King – Encore
10:30 p.m. Dementia 13 (1963)
Midnight Strait-Jacket (1964)
1:45 a.m. The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
3:15 a.m. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
5 a.m. The Devil’s Bride (1968)
Monday, Oct. 31
8 p.m. Village of the Damned (1960)
9:30 p.m. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
11:15 p.m. TCM Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King – Encore
12:15 a.m. The Innocents (1961)
2 a.m. The Haunting (1963)
4 a.m. Repulsion (1965)