TV cameras and Stephen King's horror books rarely combine for great things. Or even good.
Movie cameras have had better luck think "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand By Me" though I remain steadfastly bitter over director Stanley Kubrick's change to the ending of "The Shining" in 1980.
Just so you know, freezing is not how Jack Nicholson's deranged character dies in the book. Nor does the haunted hotel at the center of the story survive. Jack and hotel are blown up together.
And poor Scatman Crothers. His character not only doesn't get an ax in the heart, a la Kubrick, but in the book, he's kind of the dude who saves the day. Or night.
Whatever. It was just all wrong, wrong, wrong.
Going down as worse still in the annals of King horror adaptation missteps was the casting of Shelley Duvall in the role of the beleaguered mother in "The Shining." Duvall's acting remains the single most abysmal display in a Stephen King rendition, giving a new, double-whammy meaning to the phrase "The horror, the horror!"
Of course, Molly Ringwald did everything she possibly could to out-abysmal Duvall when she played Frannie in a TV miniseries adaptation of King's phenomenal book "The Stand" in 1994.
That miniseries had potential, but Ringwald completely sucked the life out of the Frannie character a major one in the story.
As any fan of his books can tell you, one of the main things that makes King king is his talent for creating charac-ters. He pens people you feel like you're friends with, people you feel like you're standing side-by-side with as they weave through their stories. So it's only obvious that casting should be the No. 1 thing to get right when filming his works.
Ringwald's zombie-walk through "The Stand" cast an unforgivable pall on the entire production. (For the record, there weren't any zombies in "The Stand." Apparently, Ringwald was just going her own horror way there.)
So it's with some trepidation that I look forward to the upcoming TV series this summer based on King's "Under the Dome" on CBS. Reportedly, 13 episodes have been ordered, so far.
On the good news side, Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment is producing the series and King is on board as an executive producer, all this according to a Los Angeles Times story last week.
"Under the Dome" is the supernatural tale of a small New England town that finds itself suddenly trapped and cut off from the rest of the world beneath a massive transparent cap. If written well, "Under the Dome" has potential. But here's sobering news, according to one Web report: "Writer Brian K. Vaughan kept the general conceit and many of the characters from the book, but also introduced new characters as regulars and tweaked some details and backstory for the existing ones."
Oh no. Tweaking? Please, no tweaking.
Granted, it would be hard to adapt every piece of a King novel to film. That's especially true in a motion picture. King's stories are epic, and movies are limited to a couple of hours. That's square-peg-in-a-round-hole stuff. (Note, "Shawshank" and "Stand By Me" were based on King short stories, not novels.)
Just don't change the ending, for goodness' sake.
Of course, the "Under the Dome" writers can't actually end their story. Not if CBS wants to do multiple seasons, which also is being reported online.
No matter. I'll tune in. It's Stephen King and I'm a glutton for film punishment where his works are concerned.
Unless Shelly Duvall and/or Molly Ringwald find their way into the cast. Oh, that truly would be a horror! A horror, a horror!