From The Written Works of Stephen King 5 Movie Collection                        review by Bobby Blakey

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Throughout his career author Stephen King has delivered some of the most iconic novels of all time. During this time they have brought a ton of them to the big screen in various forms from feature films to mini-series. Now Paramount is bringing a select group of five films together for one collection including The Stand, Silver Bullet, Dead Zone and both the original and new Pet Sematary with the From The Written Works of Stephen King 5 Movie Collection.

 

In 1983 director David Cronenberg brought The Dead Zone to the big screen that follows Johnny Smith who gets in a horrible accident which forces him into a coma for five years. Once Johnny wakes up, he discovers he has the ability to read a person's life just by making physical contact with them. When the local police find out about Johnny's "powers", they bring him in on a murder case. Soon Johnny's abilities gets him into more trouble then he may be able to handle.

 

I had never seen this one for some reason, but despite it being dated it still holds up well. I really dig this story and Walken is just so good here. There is so much greatness to this one that it further irritates me that I took so long to check it out. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep you invested right up until the perfect ending.

One of my all-time favorites is the 1984 film Silver Bullet. The film follows the small town of Tarker's Mills that was a place that was very peaceful, where nothing extraordinary ever happened until one night when murders began. The townspeople believe it's some maniacal killer on the loose whom they intend to hunt down. Marty, a young handicapped boy, believes the killer is no man at all, but a werewolf. After a run-in with the werewolf, Marty and his sister Jane hunt all over town for the man who is the werewolf.

I love this movie on every level. The story is simple and keeps thing moving with just enough depth to keep you engaged in the mystery of it all until the secret is revealed. I have always been surprised that they make the big reveal so early, but it adds to the mystery of Marty trying get people to believe him. The cast is great with the late Corey Haim in one of his earliest roles doing a great job. For me though Busey steals the show with his over the top lines and persona that continues to make him stand out. Where it works the most is in both the reveal and transformation sequence of the werewolf itself. Practical effects and smart camera work keep it from falling too cheesy and still giving it that classic look that I love.

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In 1989 King’s book Pet Sematary was brought to the big screen follows the Creed family's cat that is killed after wandering onto the highway after moving into their new home. Jud, an elderly neighbor, shows Louis, the father, to an isolated hill behind the local Pet Cemetery and instructs him to bury the deceased feline there. Not long after, the cat reappears at the Creed home -- only he is not the same. The docile cat is now vicious and destructive. When a dear one meets with a fatal accident, the distraught Louis buries him in the same location hoping to revive him. Unfortunately he unleashes far more than he had bargained for.

After revisiting this horror classic it holds up really well all around. I forgot how gory it actually is and was instantly brought right back into the world of King’s masterpiece like I had been watching it every day. ​The cast are all great with Fred Gwynne stealing the show for me. His southern drawl and every man persona was not only great but opposite than anything that I had seen him do and made him stand out. The effects hold up well and the overall tone is still creepy and great bringing this classic right back to the forefront. 

Like most of his films they remade Pet Sematary in 2019 that followed the same plot with a few twists. Here they did a good job at capturing everything that was great about the original and add a bit more to it while still leaving a few things out. I was impressed that they still kept the original sequence intact and instead just added a new twist to it. The cast all do a good job, but with Fred Gwynne so great in the original my biggest focus was on the always great John Lithgow. I love both of them in this role although Gwynne’s over the top country delivery did add more to the famed line, but Lithgow’s more subtle variation works great as well.

The cat Church stole the show with some great visual moments and evil personality that shines through making you really worried about what he is creeping around doing. If I had any issues here it was with some of the pacing. It is slow at times and feels like they draw somethings out a bit longer than need be, but this can be said for the original as well. I was hoping for a more scary approach, but instead it is more creepy thriller like which still works, but I can’t lie and say I wasn’t hoping they would push the boundaries a lot more. They did leave some of the back story stuff out but none of it really affects the overall story or tone. I did enjoy this new version overall and think it does a great job at serving as almost an alternate reality of the original tale that has a place for both for fans.

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The Stand mini-series hit TV in 1994 and follows a government-run lab that accidentally lets loose a deadly virus and most of the population of the world is wiped out. Survivors begin having dreams about two figures: a mystical old woman, or a foreboding, scary man. As the story tracks various people, we begin to realize that the two figures exemplify basic forces of good and evil, and the stage is set for a final confrontation between the representatives of each.

Of all those collected here this is probably the most-timely with the new take on the mini-series heading to CBS All-Access in December. The entire mini-series is here and while very dated in regards to the effects and overall tone it still works. This being another I never sat down to watch it was great fun to watch. I have to admit with everything going on it made the first episode a bit too real across the board and in turn made it all the better for a first time viewing. I always love seeing actors in their younger performances and there are so many great ones here I didn’t even know were in it. It’s a bit all over the place at times and feels like some holes in the story, but overall enjoyed it and got me all the more excited for the updated version.

Love them or hate them all of these films give fans the chance to relive their favorite King stories. I have no doubt that those that have read the books no doubt have issues with them in some way, but as someone that gets to just enjoy them for what they are I had a blast taking this journey. This collection not only features all these films but also bonus content for both Pet Sematary films.

Grab your copy of the Stephen King 5-Movie Collection available now from Paramount Home Entertainment.

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