Stephen King movies, based on his books and short stories, are notoriously scary. Within many of these macabre movies are some downright depressing tales of love and loss.
*Caution – Spoilers*
The Green Mile
John Coffey is a strapping black man, who has been put on death row for supposedly murdering two young girls. It turns out that when he was caught red-handed, he was not actually killing the girls, but was trying to bring them back. It turns out that the scar,y dumb over-sized man has a special talent for sucking the bad out of people and helping them.
One of the more emotional parts is where John Coffey is secretly taken to Warden Hal Moores’ house. His wife, Melinda, has been suffering from a brain tumor. She is chronic pain and cannot control her violent outbursts. She rants and swears, and had never done so before. The night guards have to hold back the warden as Coffey stands over his wife, and sucks the black badness out of her body. She becomes illuminated and smiles at her husband, completely healed and back to her old self.
Coffey’s sentence must still be carried out, as there is no way to prove his healing powers. Paul Edgecombe, the narrator and one of the night guards, offers to let John go. He says no, that he is ready to die. They strap him in the chair. John begs to not have the bag put over his head, as he is afraid of the dark. They have to pull the switch, and one of God’s miracles is snuffed out.
The first death occurs when the Creed’s cat is killed on the road in front of their new house. Daddy quickly buries the cat, ironically called Church, in the pet cemetery across the street. Instead of sticking to the area used primarily by children, hence the misspelled title, he ventures over to the portion that was formerly a Native American burial ground, now cursed. Church comes back to life, but in an evil form.
This early part of the story blatantly foreshadows the main part of this horror story. The Creed’s two year-old boy, Gage, is killed by a speeding truck as he runs out into the road to chase a kite during a family picnic. You know it’s coming. Your heart leaps in your throat as you see the mother screaming in terror, and the father desperately chasing after his baby, only to trip at the last second. The loss of any small child is one of the worst, ever. You cannot help but cry.
Louis Creed is so distraught, he figures he can bring his son back by also burying him in the Pet Sematary section that brought back Church. Despite warnings from Jud Crandall, the neighbor, Louis desperately goes out in the middle of the night, digs up his son’s body, reburies him, and just waits.
Gage comes back, alright, but is evil and maniacal, with a freaky baby voice and laugh. When Louis comes home and discovers that his precious baby boy has killed his wife and Jud, Louis has to make the horrible decision to kill his son. Again. You’re rooting for Daddy to triumph, and are relieved when he finally fatally injects his son. But then, the real Gage comes back out, if only for a moment. “Not fair, Daddy! Not fair!” He stumbles around, and dies.
This movie is heartbreaking, as it shows how desperate a parent could be when losing a child.
Stand By Me
No one ever has friends as special as those he has when growing up. Your childhood buddies are the ones who see you at your worst, and love you anyway. They are the ones willing to go on adventures with you, no matter how much trouble you may encounter. And even if you lose touch with each other, you will live in each other’s hearts forever.
In this story, based on the short story “The Body” from Stephen King’s Different Seasons, narrator Gordie Lachance has just found out that his childhood buddy, Chris Chambers, was murdered in a knife fight. This prompts him to tell the story of their most memorable summer adventure, ever. That year, Gordie, Chris, Teddy, and Vern go on a mission to see a dead body that they overheard the older boys talking about. The dead kid, Ray Brower, was struck by a train when walking along the tracks, and his body was thrown into the brush next to them. Out of sheer morbid curiosity, the four friends want to check it out.
Each of their stories are sad. Gordie’s older brother, Denny, was killed in a car accident a few years ago. His parents continue to mourn his death, and ignore Gordie. Chris has an abusive older brother, and abusive father. He is considered a hoodlum, and is accused of stealing milk money at school. Teddy’s father is mentally ill, and also abusive, having burned Teddy’s ear on the stove one night, in one of his rages. Vern is fat and whiny, making him an easy target for bullying. The friendship between the four is all they have.
When they find the dead body of Ray Brower, innocence is completely lost. Again, there is that moment of feeling the loss of one’s child. The boys realize that they will never be the same again. In fact, when they return to town, they say goodbye, and “See ya ’round,” and never really hang out again. Chris and Gordie do stick it out through school, though, and Chris manages to turn his life around. In fact, when he is stabbed, he is trying to break up a fight. There is tragedy in the loss of someone who has worked so hard to be so good. It is also ironic that the tragic character of Chris Chambers is played by one of the legendary tragic actors of the generation, River Phoenix.
Stephen King is more than the master of thrills and suspense. He is a bona fide storyteller, who has always had more under the surface of his stories than the gross out factor. Keep a box of Kleenex on hand when watching these movies. You may just need them.
The Green Mile on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120689/
Pet Sematary on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098084/
Stand By Me on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092005/
Stephen King Movies A to Z http://www.stephenking.com/library/movie/