Are you a Stephen King fan? Well one Cork venue is paying homage to the writer ahead of Halloween

The acclaimed horror writer Stephen King is the subject of a suitably scary Halloween season at the Triskel in Cork. CARA O’DOHERTY analyses the film choices.
Are you a Stephen King fan? Well one Cork venue is paying homage to the writer ahead of Halloween
CLASSIC HORROR: Kathy Bates as the twisted superfan Annie Wilkes in Misery, which is showing at the Triskel as part of the Stephen King season

WITH Halloween fast approaching, Triskel Arts Centre is getting into the spooky spirit with a season of freaky flicks.

For the last number of years, head of programming Chris O’Neill has selected films befitting the horrors of Halloween. This year he has chosen the work of Stephen King to thrill and scare audiences.

King has written more than 60 novels, and over 200 short stories. His books have sold in excess of 350 million copies worldwide and his work has been made into at least 80 films, many television mini-series, and have even been adapted into stage shows and musicals.

King is an icon to millions and the films inspired by his work have been some of the most successful box office smashes in cinema history.

He recently made an appearance in It: Chapter 2, the follow-up film to 2017’s It, which was the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, making more than €700 million at box offices worldwide.

As O’Neill says: “Stephen King is a name synonymous with horror. His work is probably the most influential in contemporary genre literature and cinema.

“Every Halloween, Triskel Arts Centre (under its Twisted Celluloid strand) presents a season of classic movies and for 2019 we present a four-film season of his most notable film adaptations.”

First up is Misery, a huge box office success which saw its leading lady, Kathy Bates, win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as the stalker Annie Wilkes.

James Caan plays Paul Sheldon, a best-selling novelist, who has made his fame and fortune by writing Victorian romance stories. He has a car accident and wakes up, badly injured with two broken legs, in Annie Wilkes’s house.

She is his biggest fan, and rather than taking him to the hospital, she has decided to care for him herself. But it doesn’t take long for Paul to realise that he is in a bad situation, and things turn truly horrid when Annie finds out that Paul has killed off her favourite character, Misery — forcing him to rewrite the novel on pain of death, literally. Chilling stuff.

Sissy Spacek is a star turn in Carrie.
Sissy Spacek is a star turn in Carrie.

Christine, released in 1983, has a unique leading lady. The star of the show is a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury car called Christine. The car’s previous owner carried out a terrible act and is now possessing the car.

The new owner, 17-year-old Arnold (Keith Gordan), has fallen under the sway of the car, but whenever he does something that Christine doesn’t like, terrible things happen to the people around him.

According to O’Neill, Christine is a cult classic.

“A John Carpenter film, it is a stylish and creepy picture best experienced in the cinema in its full Panavision dimensions. It grew a huge cult following due to home video in the eighties and nineties.”

The third film in the Stephen King season is Pet Sematary, which was recently remade and released earlier this year. Triskel has opted to show the original film, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

The plot revolves around the Creed family, who move from their busy life in Chicago to a remote country house in Maine. They meet their neighbour, Jud Crandall, an elderly man who seems kindly but might have a secret to hide.

The house is surrounded by a forest and hidden in the forest is pet burial ground which has been used by children for decades. The old graveyard has a sign, Pet Sematary, wrongly spelled by the local kids.

The cemetery is more than just the last resting place of beloved pets, it is something more than that. Something dark and ancient lies there.

When tragedy befalls the Creeds, the darkness in the pet cemetery presents a lifeline that might also be the worst mistake of their lives.

O’Neill says this adaptation of King’s book is noteworthy for being one of the first studio-funded horror films directed by a female filmmaker.

Traditionally, horror is the play area of male directors, but Mary Lambert has directed horror for most of her career, later going on to direct the Pet Sematary sequel. This is one of the only adaptations of his work where King himself wrote the screenplay.

For the last film in the season, O’Neill has opted for Carrie, which was the first novel King had published and was the first film to be brought to the screen.

The movie is notorious for its bloody scenes and O’Neill calls it “a bona fide classic of ’70s cinema, one that made a star of Sissy Spacek and made director Brian De Palma a major name in cinema.”

Released in 1976, Carrie is regarded by many as one of the best horrors ever made. It is critically acclaimed and loved by audiences. It became a massive commercial success as well as receiving many numerous award accolades.

Spacek stars as Carrie, a 16-year-old whose life is made a nightmare by her fanatical mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). Tormented at home and bullied at school, Carrie struggles daily, but when a change occurs, she finds herself developing powers.

She could use the powers for good, but instead chooses to wreak havoc on those who made her life a misery, with devastating results. The film also stars John Travolta who made this one year before his breakout turn in Saturday Night Fever.

The Stephen King Season runs from October 28-31. More information can be found on triskelartscentre.ie

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