5 Ways to Prep: Dark Tower

By George Rose

August 3, 2017

James Bond and Han Solo get their cowboy up.

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With the release of The Dark Tower, we are being offered a story that focuses on two different realities colliding. Since my birthday is in October and I am a libra, I feel that I am capable of seeing both sides to most stories. Usually, I feel strongly about one side and shortly after seeing the other, eventually settling on indifference. Each week when I write an article, I feel strongly about my positive or negative viewpoint and either praise or pummel the new film release. Then I read it online and hate myself because the other interpretation presents itself and I regret my initial opinion. Then a day later I’m over it, already fine with whatever article the fates drove me to and start planning next week’s picks. It’s a vicious cycle.

No person (in my initial opinion) better reflects this dual-reality of criticism than Stephen King. He is supposed to be a great writer, a master of horror and one of the best storytellers around. In reality, the best thing he’s written was a memoir-slash-instruction manual on how to write (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft), which I had to read in college for one of my publication classes. And again, in reality, his most accessible stories (from the list of films I had seen) come from the drama department (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and not horror (Pet Sematary, It, Children of the Corn, Secret Window). For every one good King drama we are given two horror duds. That was at least my truth in 2004 when I started college. After I read King’s memoir, graduated, and went on to watch some of the good horror movies his books have led to (The Shining, Carrie, Misery, 1408, and more) I grew the biggest horror boner for King.


Skip ahead a decade and now it’s 2017. King has two stories becoming movies; this weekend we have The Dark Tower, a bland looking fantasy-drama-western hybrid thing. Then in September, we have It, a remake of the campy 1990s TV mini-series that early word and trailers promise will be one of the best scary movies in years. I find myself lost and confused with King. It’s like somehow I worship the ground this man walks on, but I always have the desire to spit on his grave. I look up to him, but don’t want my future novels to have his unbalanced appeal. And even though I’m more excited to see It in September and think The Dark Tower this weekend is sure to remind me of some of Hollywood’s other worst western/fantasy hybrid dumpster babies, I refuse to talk poorly about the iconic writer.

Despite my often harsh criticism of King’s classic stories, I’m going to try and find the balance and hope in The Dark Tower. Though this is sure to be the lesser of King’s two book adaptations this year, I want to be friends with Stephen one day, so I’m going to prep you by watching some bad western/fantasy films that help make Dark Tower seem better.

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