Stephen King is one of the world’s most successful contemporary authors. Selling over 350 million books since his career began, King has seen the vast majority of his stories adapted for both the big and small screen. It all started in 1976 when King’s first novel Carrie was adapted by director Brian De Palma. CARRIE starred Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie and a then unknown John Travolta, and saw outcast Carrie turn the tables on her tormentors at her high school prom thanks to her newfound telekinetic powers. Since the film’s success, numerous other stories by the author have come to life and most have been lucky enough to follow in Carrie’s footsteps. This week we see things come full circle as CARRIE receives the remake treatment courtesy of BOYS DON’T CRY director Kimberly Peirce. Chloë Grace Moretz (KICK ASS) will be stepping into Spacek’s rather big shoes, with Julianne Moore (BOOGIE NIGHTS) taking over from Piper Laurie as Carrie’s overbearing mother.
The big question is which side will the film land on? Successful works include THE SHINING, MISERY, STAND BY ME and THE GREEN MILE. However, for every SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION there is a mediocre counterpart. What follows below are what I consider to be some of the worst book-to-screen adaptations of the great author’s work.
THE MANGLER (1995) dir. Tobe Hooper
THE MANGLER is based on the Stephen King short story of the same name from collection Night Shift. The film starred horror icon Robert Englund as Bill Gartley, the owner of the titular laundry press. When accidents involving the machine start happening, police officer John Hunton (Ted Levine) is called in to investigate. As he delves further into the goings-on he discovers that the mangler has developed a bloodlust thanks to a nasty demon which has decided to inhabit it. With director Tobe Hooper having previously created THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and POLTERGEIST, you could be forgiven for expecting better things of THE MANGLER; unfortunately the film is completely over-the-top and is void of any tension or suspense. The silliest part of the film has to be when the the machine detaches itself and becomes mobile, stalking our ‘heroes’ through the warehouse. The even worse part is that it somehow managed to spawn an equally rubbish sequel THE MANGLER 2 which changed the mangler from laundry press to deadly computer virus.