I’d call myself a casual Stephen King fan. I’ve read maybe half a dozen of his books and seen about as many of his movie adaptations. I’ve always liked him but considering how prolific he is as a writer, I cannot even began to call myself a true believer. Actual fans could argue all day over which of his many books are the best but the general consensus seems to be that his Dark Tower series is up towards the top. To call it an epic is to not understand who Stephen King is as an author. He’s written single novels that deserve that name, but The Dark Tower is something else entirely.
King calls it his magnum opus. Thus far it encompasses eight different novels totaling about 4,250 pages but its themes and characters have been seen and are linked in various other of his novels. It interweaves genres including dark fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the western. King continues to fiddle with it having recently made changes to the first novel in the series, The Gunslinger, and periodically makes notions that he’s going to combine all of the stories into one super gigantic novel.
I’ve not read a word of it, and frankly I’m a bit nervous to take on such an enormous task, but it remains firmly on my list of things to do before I die. When a movie based on the series was announced, the fanbase got excited. This, I thought, might be a way to more easily enter into the world of this story. With Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the starring roles, I was ready to love it. But then it came out and critics were brutal while audiences shrugged.
The film was designed to be the first part of a multi film and television show multiverse and as such the movie seems to have tried too hard to be the door to that world and screwed up on actually being an interesting film.
Still, I’m willing to give it a shot and will cross my fingers pretty much the entire world got it wrong on this one.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Kidnap: Halle Berry stars in this thriller about a mom who will stop at nothing to recover her kidnapped son. I’m hoping it's like Taken but with a badass mom replacing Liam Neeson.
Slaughter High: The not-so-classic slasher flick (that was apparently originally titled April Fool’s Day until they realized that title was already being taken by yet another '80s slasher) gets a nice release from Lionsgate Films.
Sherlock: The Complete Series: Calling it the complete series seems a bit premature as everyone involved in this modernized version of the Sherlock Holmes books seems to be on board with making another season. That’s not a lock and getting Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, and Steven Moffat’s schedules to once again align seems a Herculean task, but as far as I can tell there has not been a definite stop to a potential future for the series. Beyond the possible titular snafu, this is a nice set that combines all four seasons of the series plus the one-off Abominable Bride episode. It looks like they’ve just packaged up pre-existing sets with nothing new but if you don’t already own them, then you’ll get a discounted price just in time for Christmas.
Orphan Black The Complete Series: This series actually did officially end. Again this doesn’t appear to do anything more than bundle previous season releases, but again the price is right if you don’t have it.
J.D.’s Revenge: Arrow Video brings this Blaxploitation horror flick about a young man who gets possessed by the spirit of a 1940s gangster who launches a revenge campaign to kill all those who wronged him back in the day.
The Devil’s Rain: Severin Films brings this 1975 cult horror film to Blu-ray. It stars Ernest Borgnine as a Satanic priest looking for a book that contains all the names of folks who sold their sold to the devil. William Shatner is the man who has it. Sign me up!
Outcast: Season One: Horror series based upon a comic book created by Robert Kirkman (who also created The Walking Dead) about a young man who has been plagued by spiritual possession his whole life and is about to embark on a journey to find out why.
The Lift/Down: The Lift is a Dutch horror movie about an elevator that gains a soul and starts terrorizing people. It was remade in America as Down a few years later. Luigi Bastardo has reviews of both for your reading pleasure.