Stephen King is best-known for creating massive, sprawling horror stories that go on for hundreds of pages and involve large groups of characters battling monstrous villains across multiple settings and timelines. Name a prototypical King story and one's mind immediately goes to something like IT, The Stand, or even his multi-novel epic The Dark Tower. In short, Stephen King is one guy who doesn't mind killing lots of trees in the name of a good yarn.
But King has been known to dial back his wordy tendencies and craft tight narratives involving small numbers of characters and limited settings. Perhaps his best-known endeavor of this type was his thriller Misery, which came to the screen as a successful movie with James Caan and Kathy Bates. Of all King's novels, one of the most minimalist is Gerald's Game, which, like Misery, is now being adapted into a film.
Even though its narrative is rather spare, Gerald's Game could present a lot of challenges for director Mike Flanagan, the guy tasked with bringing the story to the screen for Netflix. How is Flanagan doing so far? According to Stephen King, he's doing fantastic. King tweeted about the early cut he's seen of the movie:
Saw a rough cut of Mike Flanagan's GERALD'S GAME yesterday. Horrifying, hypnotic, terrific. It's gonna freak you out.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) February 11, 2017
Gerald's Game tells what happens when Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald engage in some kinky sex play involving handcuffs, and Gerald happens to die, leaving Jessie cuffed to the bed. Of course because this is Stephen King, things aren't quite as straightforward as they initially seem. The helpless Jessie, suffering from thirst as well as terror, begins seeing an apparition she dubs "The Space Cowboy." Or is it possible that The Space Cowboy is actually a real living threat and not a mere hallucination?
In some ways, adapting Gerald's Game might actually be tougher than taking on one of King's sprawling novels. At least a novel filled with characters presents multiple opportunities for interaction. In Gerald's Game, Jessie is mostly alone, except when she's being menaced by The Space Cowboy. Carla Gugino has the role of Jessie and her performance will obviously be key to whether the movie works.
If King's tweet is any indication, Flanagan has pulled of Gerald's Game big time. However, King fans will likely wish to see the movie for themselves before they make up their minds. Many of King's works have been adapted and a lot of them have not turned out as well as fans hoped. Gerald's Game may not have the devoted fan base that something like The Dark Tower has, but rest assured King fans will be ready and willing to give their opinion when the movie comes to Netflix later in 2017.
Source: Stephen King
- IT (2017) release date: Sep 08, 2017
- The Dark Tower (2017) release date: Aug 04, 2017