MGM Home Video

“Most of us keep that inner-being locked up, hidden away.  A fiction writer doesn’t have to do that.  He doesn’t have to hide it.  He doesn’t have to keep it from anything.  He can let it out, bring it out into the open.  Let it live, let it breathe.  Hell, he can let it party – give it the car keys, let it ride!”

Horror writer Thad Beaumont hopes to distance himself from his murder novels and from George Stark, the name he has used to anonymously author them.  To achieve this, he cooks up a murder of his own: a publicity stunt that should lay Stark to rest forever.  But when the people around him are found gruesomely slain and his own fingerprints dot the crime scenes Beaumont is dumbfounded until he learns that Stark has taken on a life of his own and begun a gruesome quest for vengeance.

In 1989, Stephen King’s novel The Dark Half was released during the peak of my obsession with the author.  I didn’t get a chance to read it until it was released in a more affordable mass market paperback, but even then the concept of an alter ego taking on a life of its own tantalized my budding 16-year-old imagination.  Of course, The Dark Half was made into a movie, in 1993, with the script written and movie itself directed by none other than George A. Romero.

So, with that all said, I’ll bet you’re all wondering why it would take me so long to get around to watching the movie The Dark Half, let alone do a review of it.  Well, the answer to your question is SHADDUP!  No, wait, that’s Deadpool, sorry.  Sometimes the synapses in my brain get rewired and stuff, but you should be well used to that by now.  The rational answer would be, because life.  And by that, I mean The Dark Half was released at a time when my interest in both Stephen King and horror movies in general was waning.  And even when I started back with this wondrous hobby of mine, getting around to seeing it finally was still a ways off.  But now I have, and here it is.  Better late than never, yes?

So anyway, after a rather creepy opening flashback involving an eyeball where an eyeball is not supposed to be, we’re introduced to Thaddius Beaumont,  a writer, college professor, husband and father who wants to find as much success writing straight literature under his real name as he does writing cheap potboilers under the pseudonym of George Stark.  After an encounter with a would-be blackmailer, he decides to take his alter ego public, and put George Stark to rest once and for all.  Only, Thaddius’ made-up persona decides he’s not ready to, um, die just yet, and goes about trying to persuade Thad to let him live.  Something tells me logic isn’t going to factor much into Stark’s arguments, here.  I mean, the last time my alter ego decided to go for a walk without me…well, okay, that’s something I’d rather not revisit right now.  But, in any case, as you may have guessed by now if you’ve paid any attention to any of my reviews, wackiness ensues, and things get a bit messy by the time things get wrapped up in a neat little bow.

Overall, I found the movie adaptaion of The Dark Half to be moderately entertaining.  First off, this is a movie by George Romero, the godfather of the modern zombie movie, doing a Stephen King story for the big screen.  And for the most part, he does a pretty good job.  Timothy Hutton as Thad Beaumont / George Stark is, well, not who I pictured in my head back when I first read the novel, but he did a decent job methinks in the duel role.  For some reason I really think they should have gone with Mark Hamill, who could have really chewed the scenery as the George Stark altar ego, but whateve’s.  Yeah, I just said that.  And for all of you genre actor buffs out there, Michael Rooker stars as Sheriff Alan Pangborn, which should also interest the Stephen King nerds out there.

Overall, not a bad movie, kinda low-key and more a late-nigh time-waster than anything.  Worth a rental, in tandem perhaps with the adaptation of Needful Things.