When the lights are on, he’s a mild-mannered, #1 worldwide bestselling author. When the lights go down, he watches his creations come to shattering, electrifying LIFE! (Cue horror movie music)… On the big screen, that is. For Stephen King, the experience of seeing his works of short fiction adapted for major Hollywood films has created stories of its own, and he shares them here – five of his celebrated short stories, plus King’s personal commentary, his all-new introductions, and essential, behind-the-scenes insights.
When I first saw tis interesting-looking mass paperback sitting displayed prominently on the New Release rack at Wal-Mart, it looked on the surface to be another non-fiction book, the author musing about his stories that have been turned into movies. That would have been one heck of a read- the master of modern storytelling discussing the various adaptations through his career; the chapter on Stanly Kubrick’s take on The Shining would have been worth the price of the book itself.
The cover on Stephen King Goes To The Movies makes it seem like one of those type of books: the blurb up top reads “The #1 bestselling author reflects on the filming of five of his most popular short stories. Follow him into darkness- if you dare!”, so I think I can be given a pass by immediately picking this title up on that assumption alone. Had I read the back cover description, I would have come across the part that read “five of his celebrated short stories, plus King’s personal commentary, his all-new introductions and essential, behind-the-scenes insights.” There it is. Nobody’s fault but mine, really.
So, essentially Stephen King Goes To The Movies is a repackaging of three short stories and two novellas that have appeared in other story collections – “The Mangler” and “Children of the Corn” from Nightshift, “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” from Different Seasons, “Low Men in Yellow Coats” from Hearts In Atlantis, and “1408″ in Everything’s Eventual – the common thread being that each one have been made into full-length movies. The newer introductions by Stephen King are interesting enough, but far too brief, each being a page or so in length. Otherwise, I already own the collections four of the stories appearing; the lone holdout would be “Low Men in Yellow Coats”, and at nearly 350 pages in length somewhat justifies my buying this rehash collection without feeling too ripped off.
The cover of Stephen King Goes To The Movies looks pretty cool- a mock-up of an old worn EC Comics horror comic, complete with the stress marks on the staples. Other than the all-too-brief story intros by Stephen King, there’s really nothing to justify this rehash, especially for those who already possess the books the stories appear in. Good introduction for curious novices, but for people like me, you’re nothing much if you pass it up.