Cover image for Hollywood's Stephen King
Hollywood's Stephen King
Magistrale, Tony.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, [2003]

Physical Description:
xix, 233 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3561.I483 Z758 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3561.I483 Z758 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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For the past three decades, Hollywood has faithfully adapted much of Stephen King's fiction into film. Of the many major films that have been made, not one has lost money. Part of this may be explained in terms of King's own popularity in American culture; he has been, after all, a best-selling writer since the late 1970s. But more interesting is what this cinematic fascination reveals about postmodern American culture. In the first overview of Hollywood's major cinematic interpretations of Stephen King, Tony Magistrale examines the various thematic, narrative, and character interconnections that highlight the relationships among his films. Opening with a revealing interview with Stephen King, the book takes us through chapters that explore such popular films asStand By Me,Misery,The Shining,The Green Mile, andThe Shawshank Redemptionamong others.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ever since Stephen King's first book, Carrie, became a bestseller, Hollywood has scrambled to cash in on the appeal of the most popular novelist in recent history. More than 17 films have been adapted from King novels or stories, including such commercial and critical hits as The Shining, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption. In this perceptive and enthusiastic book, Magistrale, an expert on the American gothic genre, examines these films in the context of their sources, demonstrating how they elaborate on and, in some cases, distort King's meaning. Magistrale investigates such topics as the fear of menstruation in Carrie, infatuation with technology in Christine and male hubris in Pet Sematary. He also explores some of the conflicts King has had with the high-profile auteurs who adapt his books. Brian De Palma ruthlessly simplified Carrie's experimental narrative, for example, and Rob Reiner ditched the violent ending of The Body for his sentimental Stand by Me. For his part, King initially abandoned the Rose Red TV miniseries because of disagreements with Steven Spielberg, and he rejects Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining because it's "too artistic to operate effectively as a horror film." Of course, not every King film deserves this kind of analysis: for every rose, there's a stinker (e.g., Children of the Corn; The Lawnmower Man). Magistrale acknowledges some of these films are "celluloid disasters," but he maintains the rest constitute a body of work deserving of scrupulous academic treatment. Beginning with a lengthy interview with King himself, this book is a useful elucidation of King's work through the skewed lens of Hollywood. Illus. (Nov. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Stephen King has held his readers rapt for more than 30 years. For almost as long, Hollywood has been adapting those narratives for the big screen. Magistrale (English, Univ. of Vermont) offers a unique perspective of the King novel/movie phenomenon. After an insightful interview with the author, she presents her text in chapters on recurring themes, character relationships, and how the filmmakers perceived the story. On the whole, King has been happy with the film interpretations; however, late director Stanley Kubrick did not portray The Shining as he had envisioned it. With Brian DePalma's Carrie, the author admits that he did not have a clear picture of what his protagonist should look like, only that she should be beautiful at the prom. DePalma brilliantly directed Sissy Spacek as Carrie, giving the story a visual life of which King approved. In addition, Magistrale analyzes and critiques the accuracy of the films in terms of the books. Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Misery are also covered in this informative and well-written study for students and King enthusiasts alike. Highly recommended.-Rosalind Dayen, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Against the cultural climate of much of the literati establishment, Magistrale (English, Univ. of Vermont) honors the creative bogeyman genius of writer Stephen King by analyzing how Hollywood has adapted his ideas, themes, and characters into remarkably bankable film commodities. Out of the morgues and casks of Edgar Allan Poe, the horrific and liquid imagination of King spills onto the celluloid products that bear his signature. Having conducting a fascinating interview with King on locales, his mixing of humor and horror, and other salient topics, Magistrale marshals his material to provide clear and insightful readings. From the King canon of some 70 cinematic adaptations, the author classifies about two dozen films and teleplays into six very appropriate categories: childhood (e.g., Carrie), maternal and paternal archetypes (e.g., Misery, The Shining), heroic figures (e.g., The Shawshank Redemption), technologies of fright (e.g., Christine), and the various miniseries (e.g., Storm of the Century). Magistrale digs deeper than mere plots, excavating compelling and disturbing themes in the gothic oeuvre of the master storyteller; he deserves accolades for bricking a foundational context for interpreting the enduring visions of King. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All collections; all levels. T. Lindvall Regent University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1. Steve's Take: An Interview with Stephen Kingp. 1
2. The Lost Children: Carrie, Firestarter, Stand by Me, Silver Bullet, Hearts in Atlantisp. 21
3. Maternal Archetypes: Cujo, Misery, Dolores Claibornep. 51
4. Paternal Archetypes: The Shining, Pet Sematary, Apt Pupilp. 85
5. Defining Heroic Codes of Survival: The Dead Zone, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Milep. 117
6. Technologies of Fright: Christine, Maximum Overdrive, The Running Man, The Mangler, The Night Flierp. 147
7. King of the Miniseries: 'Salem's Lot, IT, The Stand, The Shining, Storm of the Century, Rose Redp. 173
Films Citedp. 219
Works Citedp. 225
Indexp. 230
About the Authorp. 235