In the next few weeks I'll be adding my money to the $93 million that "It: Chapter 2" took in on its first weekend of release. Even though I've read Stephen King's 1,100-page tome a couple of times, I still need to rewatch "It: Chapter 1" before I see the sequel, just to make sure I'm up-to-date.
Horror has always been my go-to when it comes to movies, books and TV shows. There are some great horror films that straddle both the original book and the filmed version. Some are great; some stink like roadkill in the sun:
* While there were some effective scenes and the production values were top-notch in "Bram Stoker's Dracula," director Francis Ford Coppola (of "The Godfather" fame) turned it into a love story and the book — which is quite frightening — certainly wasn't that. The biggest problem I had with the film? Dracula cries in it, and Dracula does not cry.
* "The Shining" was ruined by director Stanley Kubrick, who is one of my Top Five favorite directors. Stephen King's "The Shining" is one of the scariest books I've ever read, and Kubrick's visual style offered some amazing scenes — the blood gushing out of the elevator, Danny riding his Big Wheel through the hotel halls. But Kubrick made the movie more of a psychological thriller instead of supernatural. And the last 45 minutes or so were just a guy running crazily around and swinging an ax.
* "The Exorcist" film actually is better than the book, and that's saying a lot because the book is pretty terrifying. There are very few movies, though, that have the visceral impact of "The Exorcist." It's so frightening that a girl in the movie theater behind me burst into tears after the scene in which Regan uses the crucifix in a manner for which it was never intended.
* "The Haunting" from 1963, based on Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," just about tore me out of frame the first time I watched it. No ghosts or demons or anything are ever shown, but the intensity and slow-build terror is more than enough.
I had read a review that said "Don't watch this alone," and a few days later I was up at 3 a.m. because I couldn't sleep. Turn on the TV, flip through channels and "Oh cool! 'The Haunting' is on.'" So I watched it. Alone. An hour in, I was scrunched up in my recliner, knees at my throat. I had to turn it off. I couldn't watch it alone.
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.