“Running away from myself, I guess.” From the moment Ghost Scatman appeared to dump exposition, we know this is gonna be a big obvious movie. This was my token stinker of the month, which I watched in segments while falling asleep after having watched a proper movie… most of my notes consist of the timecode where I left off, and variations on “movie is so bad.”

“I know that head of yours is like a radio sometimes” – nice True Stories reference. Shining-era flashback actors are recast, and present-day Danny (Ewan McGregor) teams up with his 12-step sponsor (Cliff Curtis of M. Night’s Last Airbender) and a young psychic named Abra. Meanwhile, King turns this into a mini-Stand, the villains also gathering. We get an intro to Rose The Hat’s vampire gang who feeds on shining-kids when Rose (Rebecca Ferguson of the Missions: Impossible) recruits Snakebite Emily Alyn Lind (who was in Enter The Void when she was six, oh my) outside of the Plaza Theater (!) and we meet the others, led by Carel “it is happening again” Struycken, who soon dies of shining-starvation.

Billy dies when our heroes ambush the baddies, killing most of them, then Danny leads Rose to the Overlook to trap her somehow. He chats with Lloyd the bartender doing a mild Jack impression, played by the E.T. kid (another Spielbeg-Kubrick crossover so soon after Ready Player One). Danny blows up the hotel (what, again?) to kill the vengeful ghosts that killed Rose, I guess. Think I heard a Dark Tower reference… definitely noticed one house address was 1980 (ugh). Real TV-movie energy with very talky villains – the actors seem game, so I’ll blame this on King and Flanagan.

I’ve either never seen Christine before, or like Carpenter’s Starman, I may have seen it on network television in the 1980’s. Watched at Alamo on 35mm with The Car, and the best part of the double-feature is that they pasted the two film descriptions onto one page without bothering to revise, the Christine blurb arguing that the film is “masterful” and “brutally underrated,” and the other writeup saying The Car is totally badass and that Christine is “a total puss.”

Arnie (Keith Gordon, director of Mother Night) is the very nerdy, bullied friend of sporty dude Dennis (John Stockwell, also a director now). We meet Christine in 1957 claiming two victims while still on the assembly line, and Arnie sees it all junked up in 1978 and gets obsessed, buys it and moves it into a garage to restore. Later the seller (named LeBay, not quite LaVey, played by the next-door neighbor in Home Alone) admits that his brother’s whole family died in the car, so Dennis gets suspicious – more so when Arnie’s enemies start dying in unexplained accidents. Meanwhile, Arnie is looking late-50’s slick, has stolen the girl (Alexandra Paul of the Dragnet movie) whom Dennis liked, and Dennis is injured in a football game, so the cool/lame friends get reversed.

Chief tormentor is the extremely Travolta-looking Buddy, who sneaks into the garage with his boys to murder the car. Arnie takes this badly, acting like a shitter (the movie’s insult of choice) to his girl and his parents. The movie has been a disappointing teen drama shot with too many closeups until Buddy’s overweight henchman Moochie (of video store horror section standbys Popcorn and The Curse) gets killed in retaliation. He’s chased by Christine into an alley where the car can’t fit, but it scrunches in, destroying itself to splatter Moochie. Next it hunts the others down, blows up a gas station killing a couple guys, then runs down Buddy while on fire. Finally it drives to the garage, implodes to crush the curious garage owner (and Arnie’s surrogate father who’s been giving him odd jobs: Robert Prosky, the big bad in Thief), then fixes itself good as new overnight. Eventually the friend and the girl show up to save Arnie, battle the car with a tractor and win, the final line: “God I hate rock and roll.”

Also featuring investigating officer Harry Dean Stanton (the year before becoming a legend with Repo Man and Paris, Texas), Arnie’s supercold superbitch mom Christine Belford (a nazi villain in the 1970’s Wonder Woman series) who I’m surprised didn’t get car-murdered, and as the school hottie, Kelly Preston (future wife of the real Travolta). I guess if you’re stuck with Stephen King’s Christine, you do what you can – at least Carpenter wasn’t assigned Cujo.

I’d planned to fill this out post-SHOCKtober with some Netflix originals or Star Wars spinoff sequels but never got around to it, so this is a short one.


1922 (2017, Zak Hilditch)

New movies of Stephen King’s It and The Dark Tower and Gerald’s Game came out this year, and if it was 1993 I would be so excited. Two new Kings went straight to streaming, so I’m starting with the one I’ve never heard of. Slingblader Thomas Jane (The Mist, The Punisher, The Predator) is trying to unload some land on Neal McDonough (Minority Report, Ravenous), who is complaining that their children have died, says the land is cursed. Then Jane shoots his dying horse and the voiceover tells us “that was the end of 1922,” but not of 1922, since there’s an epilogue where Jane loses the farm, drinks heavily and is haunted by rats. “I went to Omaha, city of fools,” then in the final seconds the ghosts of his dead family arrive to murder him. Zak is following up two apocalyptic movies in a row: a short and a last-day-on-earth redemption drama.


Gerald’s Game (2017, Mike Flanagan)

Carla Gugino (Watchmen, the Spy Kids trilogy) is out of bed and driving under a red eclipse sky, being haunted by Moonlight Man, (Carel “it is happening again” Struycken) then slams into a tree. I remember about a quarter of this book, but don’t recall the ending at all. Months later she’s had surgery to fix the hand she messed up while escaping, and she gives a long, terribly explainy voiceover telling us Moonlight Man was a real person and not a supernatural dream figure, then she busts into the courtroom where he’s being sentenced to deliver a pithy kissoff line. Flanagan also made Hush, which I watched the last ten minutes of earlier this year.


Children of the Corn (1984, Fritz Kiersch)

“I think we’re safe in here for now,” says a man in a dilapidated barn being battered by a supernatural evil. Holy shit, Linda Hamilton plays the mom. The man enunciates very clearly, which is handy when shouting orders at your family while under attack by He Who Walks Behind The Rows. He runs outside like an idiot and gets attacked by sentient corn, then a fake-looking red cloud rolls in as he sprinklers the corn field with gasoline and lights that sucka up. Mostly it’s members of an overly large family shouting each other’s names, which is consistent with my experience of living in Nebraska. Our man Peter Horton worked on Amazon Women on the Moon, which I was just thinking about, and the local kid who helps him start fires was one of the Monster Squad. Sadly, I didn’t see the main kid with the big black hat, but there was a jump-scare scythe-girl in the final scene, at least. Kiersch went on to greater successes, directing an Armand Assante film and a couple episodes of Swamp Thing.


The Reaping (2007, Stephen Hopkins)

Yesss, a Christian-apocalypse thriller. Lincoln, Nebraska’s own Hilary Swank is about to re-murder her resurrected daughter in a field of burning trees while having major culty flashbacks. Bleeding white guy David Morrissey (The Walking Dead, Red Riding) shows up, is revealed to have killed Idris Elba, then 200 people are destroyed by God in a hail of videogame fire effects. This movie actually seems better than the previous two. Swank realizes she might be pregnant with the antichrist, then cut to credits, nice.