Friday, May 26, 2006

TV: Stephen King's Desperation

Genre: Horror
Logistics: Aired Tuesday on ABC while everyone except me was watching the American Karaoke final; a DVD release will follow
Cast: Tom Skerritt, Steven Weber, Annabeth Gish, Ron Perlman, Henry Thomas
Verdict: &&

After all these years, TV proves once again it has learned nothing in adapting Stephen King novels for the small screen, resorting to tired shots of a roomful of spiders and snakes and insulting "ooh the car won't start and he's coming to get me" tricks. (King himself apparently doesn't get it, either, referring to Desperation on his web site as "probably the best TV movie to be made from my work.") This is particularly disappointing since the story comes from about the last time that I found King truly exciting – when Desperation and The Regulators were simultaneously released in 1996 as companion piece novels, and because the first half of the movie, the story of an evil presence called Tak in Desperation, Nevada, is good King fun. Early in the movie, Ron Perlman has a blast hamming it up as the larger-than-life police officer finding reasons to haul well-meaning highway travelers into his remote jail. Led by a boy of strong faith, the group tries to defeat the vengeful entity, which was unleashed from a nearby mine. This all works much better in the novel than on TV, and, by the last third of this overly long affair, there's too much silliness going on to care how it ends. Let's hope for better results from TNT's Stephen King anthology series, Nightmares & Dreamscapes, premiering July 12.


Darrell said...

You're right, Ron Pearlman had a good time, and he was the best thing in the movie. If only there'd been at least one other reason for me to like it.

I didn't know about Nightmares and Dreamscapes as a series. There are some good stories in that collection. Let's hope the made-for-tv versions are good.


David said...

Perlmas does steal every scene he's in, but I agree, once he vanished the movie sunk into run of the mill horror along with a bad kid actor.