Lawnmower Man - Scream Factory

Scream Factory: The Lawnmower Man Collector’s Edition

The Lawnmower Man had an interesting cinematic journey. When it was first being advertised back in 1992 it in fact had Stephen King’s name attached to the film. Based on his short story from 1975. Problems arose however when King began to realize the movie had very little to do with his version of The Lawnmower Man.
Lawnmower Man - 1992 Poster

King’s The Lawnmower Man was first published in the May 1975 issue of Cavalier. Although I first read it in a copy of his 1978 Night Shift, a collection of his short stories. The King tales concerns a man who had a rather bad incident while mowing his lawn the previous Summer. Moreover this incident involved a neighbor’s dog chasing another neighbor’s cat under his lawnmower!

I think you can see why the protagonist might feel like letting the yard grow. Finally of course he needs to hire a service and that is when the true terror begins. A large and overweight man comes to mow the lawn and he has a peculiar way of taking care of the grass to say the least. In fact the story was adapted into the Marvel Comics magazine title Bizarre Adventures #29. Furthermore using King’s text and the legendary Walt Simonson’s artwork.
Lawnmower Man - Bizarre Adventures
Lawnmower Man -Walt Simonson
Lawnmower Man - Walt Simonson - Bizarre Adventures #29

I apologize, I got off on a tangent there. Stephen King apparently felt the 1992 film adaptation didn’t have anything really to do with his work. So he successfully sued to have his name removed from all advertising as well as the movie. It was upheld twice in court but New Line Cinema didn’t fix the issue until the third time the author brought them to trial. I found out that King won additional damages as well when the home video release featured his name. New Line was ordered to pay King $10,000 a day for every day they didn’t strike his name from the home media. In addition they had to forfeit all profits earned from those sales.
Lawnmower Man - Laserdisc

Be that as it may, The Lawnmower Man has become a cult film. One of those reasons of course is the then impressive CGI work for the virtual reality sequences.
Lawnmower Man

The story for the film concerns Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) who is employed by Virtual Space Industries. The good Doctor is attempting to craft a software program that uses virtual reality and an experimental drug to boost a subject’s intelligence. In this case it is being tested on Chimpanzees – which of course goes wrong. Dr. Angelo is against the military aspects of his project in the first place and when things go wrong he decides to do research on his own. With the help of Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), a gardener who is slow-witted but has a gentle heart.

Obviously the movie wouldn’t be very interesting if everything went according plan. While Jobe is becoming much smarter, I would say super-humanly so as he learns Latin in just two hours. The man who quite frankly has been abused most of his life starts gaining disturbing abilities. Such as telekinesis and even telepathy. It turns out that Dr. Angelo’s former “boss” has secretly been administering the aggressive drug into Jobe’s treaments. As you can probably imagine this certainly doesn’t bode well for those who used to mistreat the young man.
Lawnmower Man - Mower
Lawnmower Man - Jobe loses it

So it becomes up to Dr. Angelo to confront his out of control creation in the wilds of cyberspace. Up for grabs is nothing short but the fate of the world itself! You’ll have to pick up the The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition to learn who is victorious.
Lawnmower Man - Virtual Reality

This marks the first time the film has been available on Blu-Ray. Scream Factory has of course packed this two disc collector’s edition with all sort of extras:

Disc One – Theatrical Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Cybergod: Creating The Lawnmower Man – Featuring Interviews With Co-Writer/Director Brett Leonard, Actor Jeff Fahey, Editor Alan Baumgarten, Make-up Effects Artist Michael Deak And Special Effects Coordinator Frank Ceglia
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Electronic Press Kit With Cast Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Edited Animated Sequences
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot

Disc Two – Director’s Cut:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive With Additional “Director’s Cut” Footage From The Original
  • Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Conceptual Art And Design Sketches
  • Behind-The-Scenes And Production Stills
  • Storyboard Comparison

So prepare yourself for the coming of The Lawnmower Man on 6/20. In addition you can hop on over to Scream Factory and pre-order your copy today!

The Lawnmower Man demands you roll for initiative!

Lawnmower Man - D20

Apt Pupil - Novel

Remember The 1987 Apt Pupil Film…Wait, What?!

At first you might be thinking I’m joking about an Apt Pupil movie from 1987. In this case though I certainly am not. While there was of course the 1998 feature film by Bryan Singer. Starring the late Brad Renfro as well as Sir Ian McKellen. The fact of the matter is we came very close to a 1987 adaptation of Stephen King’s Apt Pupil.
Apt Pupil

Apt Pupil was a 1982 novella by King. Published in Different Seasons. The story concerns a young man named Todd Bowden, who has realized the terrible secret of Arthur Denker. This secret turns out to be that Arthur is in fact a Nazi war criminal known as Kurt Dussander. Soon Kurt and Todd’s friendship results in murder.

Both unknown to the other are stalking the homeless community in an attempt to rid themselves of nightmares. Things spiral out of control for both Todd and Kurt, thanks to not just the homicide but the web of lies and distrust the two spin.

Bryan Singer’s film in my opinion does a remarkable job of capturing the feel of the novella. The darkness of Kurt’s past of course as well as Todd’s acceptance and desire to feel the same. Some critics even made note that Singer’s adaptation managed to make King’s story even more darker by changing the ending. Having said that, I am in the camp that feels the ending doesn’t live up to the source material.

I was working at the Razorback Theatre back when Apt Pupil was released. I can tell you that it played to mostly empty auditoriums. It seems to have been mirrored in it’s theatrical run elsewhere as well. Regardless, as I’ve already mentioned in spite of the ending, I do like the film.

So imagine to my great surprise yesterday when I learned that there was a 1987 film adaptation. As much as I wish I could point you to a finished product at the present time there is none. Bear in mind, Apt Pupil wasn’t scuttled in the pre-production phase. Quite the contrary, as Director Alan Bridges had already been filming for ten weeks. I have read that nearly 40 minutes of footage had been shot.

So I’m guessing at this point you must be wondering why the film was never finished. It turns out the production company ran out of finances. And when after a year had passed Apt Pupil was ready to resume production, the actor who was chosen as Todd had aged too much to match the previous footage. Now who might you ask was the young man who becomes seduced by Kurt’s evil? Would you believe me if I told you it was Ricky Schroder from Silver Spoons?

I tell you it’s all true, friends. Now what about the role of Kurt Dussander? Before production began Apt Pupil had an embarrassment of riches in regards to the actors approached to the play the part. Salem’s Lot James Mason was asked to play the role but passed away from a heart attack before filming. Then you had the likes of Richard Burton, who I believe would have been amazing, but he died from a cerebral hemorrhage before signing on.

The actor who in fact played the role of the escaped Nazi war criminal was Nicol Williamson. Who I bet you film fans know best from his role as Merlin in 1981’s Excalibur!

So I will leave you with this. That 40 minutes of footage is of course not readily available. Although it has been said that Stephen King once saw the footage and thought highly of it. Perhaps in the future we shall be lucky enough to see what was filmed for 1987’s Apt Pupil?

Castle Rock

Castle Rock Series Promises A Stephen King Multiverse

The announcement of Hulu‘s Castle Rock series has made one thing rather clear. This is in fact a very good time to be a fan of Stephen King. In July we will have a film adaptation of The Dark Tower as well as It in September. It was just a few days ago that I shared the amazing piece of fan art inspired by that 1986 novel.

Read: Fan Transforms 1958 Stereo Unit Into Derry From Stephen King’s It

Castle Rock is an upcoming 10-episode series, furthermore it is an exclusive for Hulu. Produced by J.J. Abrams with show creators and writers, Sam Shaw & Dustin Thomason. Whom you might know from the criminally underappreciated Manhattan.

[Via] BD Horror and Trailer Clips

I’m not sure about you but I am totally digging the vibe of that teaser trailer. As to why this in fact looks to be a Stephen King Multiverse series, I will let the Hulu Press Release explain:
“A psychological-horror series set in the Stephen King multiverse, Castle Rock combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. Castle Rock is an original suspense/thriller — a reimagining that explores the themes and worlds uniting the entire King canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories.”

Of course, fans of Stephen King know of Castle Rock all too well. 35 works of King’s fiction feature or mention that fictional town in Maine. Starting with the Dead Zone in ’79 up to 2014’s Revival.
Castle Rock

J.J. Abrams went into a little more detail when appearing on a recent episode of The Tonight Show. As well as describing the surreal experience of watching 2005’s The Descent with the author in a movie theater.

[Via] The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

Fan Transforms 1958 Stereo Unit Into Derry From Stephen King’s It

1986’s It wasn’t my first brush with Stephen King’s work. That honor of course went to a few film adaptations like 1980’s The Shining as well as 1983’s The Dead Zone. Having said that however, It was one of the first books I read of Stephen King. The first two being his early short story collections Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. I recall vividly in fact my Junior High School teacher praising It and finding the paperback for sale that very afternoon, at a local supermarket.
It - Stephen King

For the next three days I could NOT put the book down. Not during class nor for that matter on the way home on the bus. Furthermore even eating dinner, you could find my nose planted firmly in the engrossing novel. While I am and always shall be a Stephen King fan – no book has captured my attention so much so like It. Until the publication of 2013’s Joyland that is!

Read: Check out my review of Joyland

When I was growing up – almost to the point of High School. We weren’t fortunate enough to have a bathroom with a shower. So for most of my young life I washed my hair in the bathroom sink. An act that I admit I was quite hesitant to do after reading King’s book…for fear of looking into the drain and finding something looking back at me!

Read: Speaking of fear – check out this vintage American Express commercial to see what scared Stephen King

Imagine my surprise and delight when the other day I stumbled across the lavish work of Kassiopeya. Who took it upon herself to craft a magnificent piece of artwork entitled Welcome to Derry. This was done by converting a 1958 stereo unit into the facade of the bright and sunlit town of Derry. As well as when the cabinet doors are opened, presenting the dark and festering domain of Pennywise.

It - Welcome to Derry

All images courtesy of Kassiopeya.

To say that Kassiopeya lovingly included scores of detail from the 1986 novel itself is an understatement. I’ve rarely seen such a work of art that has taken my very breath away as Welcome to Derry has. Don’t take my word for it – gaze on this small sampling yourself.

As I’ve already mentioned, the artist made sure to include the dangers below Derry.

Of the project itself, Kassiopeya has said of it:
“My Derry – including its underground world of the sewers – is now integrated in that furniture. The novel, with all its references to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Fifties has merged into a whole with that furniture, and has become part of it. The surface represents the romantic sight of a Derry street bathed in the golden light of a late summer day. Only when you flip open the cabinet door you do see what is underneath: The sewage pipes way down below… in the green glowing light of the deadlights.”

I implore you fans of It to immediately follow the link to Kassiopeya’s website – there you will find so many more photos of Welcome to Derry. Now if you will excuse me I believe I must revisit Derry myself by rereading the book once again!

On the other hand I suppose I could go ahead and watch the 1990 miniseries for It

Take The Stand with The Alarm!

U2? Never heard of the blokes...

U2? Never heard of the blokes…

During my misspent youth, most of the Ouija Board Kid’s days were spent in front of the ol’ boob tube; its cathode rays bathing me in soft, blue light. And what channel held my interest the most? Why, Mtv of course! While I whiled away the days during those burgeoning years of the art form known as the “music video”, one band that caught my attention was The Alarm; whose video The Stand was on heavy rotation. I loved their catchy tune and their rock/punk fusion style…oh, and the fact that the song was based on one of the greatest Stephen King novels of all time didn’t hurt either!