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King On Screen (Film Review)

3 min read
Red balloons falling out of an elevator in King On Screen

Courtesy of Signature Entertainment

It's safe to say that is the undisputed ‘king' of . Since the release of Carrie all the way back in 1974, King has been haunting our dreams, telling tales that conjure the most terrifying nightmares. Many of his works have burst from the pages of books right onto the silver screen as directors have tried to encapsulate what makes King's work so bone-chilling and retell it through the art of cinema.

There are many reasons that Stephen King has inspired generation upon generation of horror fans, and it is this devotion of his fanbase that King On Screen explores in loving detail. The is billed as ‘the ultimate guide to the King of your nightmares,' and it's a title director Daphné Baiwir proudly earns in this lovingly detailed journey through the lauded author's career through the onscreen adaptations inspired by his works.

King On examines a number of big-screen films based on novels by the author, from Carrie to IT, Misery, Stand By Me, Cujo, Children of the Corn, and more. Directors and stars of the films such as Tim Curry, Tom Holland, James Caan, Mike Flanagan, Frank Darabont, and more recall their own personal journey through the world of King as well as explore the cultural impact of his novels and how they were translated to the screen.

Frank Darabont in King On Screen
Courtesy of

Where King On Film grips you right from the start is in its unashamed love for Stephen King and that passion and excitement for his work can be felt in every inch of the documentary. The opening scenes are the perfect tribute to the horror titan, marrying various Easter eggs and stars from across his works into an eerie, suspense-filled tribute that perfectly encapsulates the buzz that runs throughout the feature.

From the uninitiated to the hardened King fan, the documentary has something for everyone as it covers everything from the beginning of his career to his more recent works, and delves into how he has influenced genre cinema and TV every step of the way. King On Screen acts not only as a deep dive into the films themselves and how they were received but also the novels they were based on and what was going on in King's career and his personal life at the time of writing them. It offers a rounded look at both media texts and gives a deeper sense of appreciation for them individually by exploring how King on paper and on-screen are intertwined.

While those involved in the documentary are clearly huge lovers of the work of King, they don't shy away from looking at the dark times of the author's life as well as addressing the things he doesn't like about adaptations of his work and the criticisms he aired. Particularly, the documentary takes a look at the revered The Shining and why King so famously hated the film, drawing comparisons between the novel and the film that again adds to the thoughtful, all-encompassing narrative of the documentary.

Mike Flanagan in King On Screen
Courtesy of Signature Entertainment

Those speaking in the documentary come from a wide array of backgrounds within the King universe, from people who brought his iconic characters to life to those who transformed his writing into scripts and everything in between. Even the most die-hard King fans are bound to learn something new as the meeting of all these great minds explores new depths of King's back catalog.

As enjoyable as it is informative, King On Screen is a thorough and heartfelt look at the legacy Stephen King has created through his much-adored novels, and the film adaptation inspired by him. This is a film for the fans, inspired by the fans, and one they are sure to adore for years to come as the love for King runs through the very heart of this documentary, embodying the author's own bold spirit that still produces timeless works to this day.

King on Screen will be released on Digital Platforms 26th June & Blu-ray 18th September presented by Signature Entertainment