Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Diary of the DeadGeorge Romero began what was supposed to be a trilogy in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead; it became a tetralogy with the big budget Land of the Dead in 2005. And now, Romero has brought the zombie series full circle by returning to the beginning in Diary of the Dead.

A group of film students are shooting a horror movie in the woods when “the shit hits the fan.” News stations begin reporting incidents of the dead rising and attacking the living. Everyone’s first instinct is to deny the reports, calling it a hoax, but they soon witness the horror that has become their reality. As in all Romero flicks, the government and military prove unreliable very quickly and the characters must engage in a lone struggle to survive and get home. Jason (Joshua Close) swiftly turns the focus of his camera towards documenting the apocalyptic events and it is through his lens the audience witnesses the story.

All Romero’s zombie films have been rife with political and social commentary. As the 21st century is the information age, most of the characters’ knowledge is gained and shared via the Internet.

The DVD features commentary by Romero, director of photography Adam Swica and editor Michael Doherty; while Romero does provide some insight into the film’s creation, the trio is somewhat obsessed with pointing out invisible edits that don’t necessarily fit the documentary-style narrative. The unedited recordings of three of the famous voices in the film (Guillermo del Toro, Sam Pegg and Stephen King) are amusing but not as much as the five Myspace zombie film contest winners’ short films.

In addition, the confessionals bring a little more life to each character but is less effective after the film’s conclusion – a version with some of them included in the feature would have been interesting.

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The MistFrank Darabont’s collaborations with Stephen King have not failed to date, achieving acclaim nearly 15 years ago with The Shawshank Redemption, then The Green Mile in 1999 and now The Mist. Darabont has the ability to transfer the core of King’s stories to the screen without diminishing the horror. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) was only going to the supermarket for essentials after an intense electrical storm the night before; his eight-year-old son and obstinate neighbour accompanied him. In the meantime, a strange mist is rapidly rolling in over the lake. Soon, the shoppers are holed-up in the supermarket while hungry creatures emerge from the soup-like mist seeking food and shelter. However, it is not just the monsters outside they have to worry about but also the fear-crazed ones that begin to materialize inside.

The creatures developed by KNB Effects and CafeFX are noteworthy and explored in two separate featurettes. Furthermore, the short feature introducing movie poster artist (and occupational-basis for the Drayton character) Drew Struzan is intriguing.

Those that have read King’s novella will appreciate the closeness of Darabont’s screenplay to the original narrative but if you are wondering where a couple of scenes may be in the theatrical version, they are likely in the deleted scenes section with an explanation of their exclusion. On the other hand, Darabont’s feature commentary will only appeal to those interested in the minutia of filming this picture.

An interesting inclusion on the second disc is “The Director’s Vision: The Complete Feature Film in Black & White.” This extra will please admirers of the anti-realism of mid-60’s black and white creature features.

The real horror of The Mist comes not from what is waiting in the parking lot but what is lurking inside the store. Marcia Gay Harden is brilliant as the religious doomsayer and the addition of a scene later in the film reinforces the idea that people can be scarier than anything that lurks in the dark. Conversely, the ending differs from the literary one and is controversial but memorable.