The Asphyx (1972)

asp2Probably more one of those fairly obscure film coincidences rather than one of those film connections that leaves me scratching my head at the sometimes arcane synchronicity of movie-watching, but it turned out that The Asphyx was directed by Peter Newbrook, who was the director of photography on Corruption, which I watched just a few days earlier. While the two films are both of the horror genre, they couldn’t be more different- Corruption was a present-day horror calculated to shock, reflecting the growing trend at the time for nastier horror thrills for audiences jaded by the more traditional horror films that Hammer had been making for over a decade, and The Asphyx was much more restrained, a period piece that deliberately avoided being graphic or gory, and wouldn’t have seemed out of place had it indeed been from Hammer.

Barring an ill-judged present-day opening and close which bookends the story proper, the film takes place entirely in Victorian England, and the peculiar obsession of Sir Hugo Cunning (Robert Stephens) a scientist who notices grim shadowy artefacts in his photographs of the recently, or imminently, dead. He deduces that his unique photographic chemical solutions are capturing the image of the Asphyx,  the spirit of the dead of Greek mythology, and proposes a way of trapping the creature in a device of his own devising, thus granting immortality to the subject of the creatures attention (the Asphyx unable to take possession of a dying person, that person would then be unable to die). While Stephen’s experiments prove successful with a family pet and then later upon himself, things start to go awry when he attempts to immortalise his daughter…

It is to the cast’s credit that the preposterous plot is taken absolutely seriously, in the best tradition of Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee in any of their own Hammer yarns, and Robert Stephens certainly lends some weight to it all. A well-respected actor who was at one time tipped to be the successor to Laurence Olivier for his theatre work, he was very much a theatrical actor, very intense. I recall him appearing in Ridley Scott’s first film, The Duellists, and voicing the part of Aragorn in the BBC’s marvellous radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings. I’ve always struggled with him, personally, but oddly enough he works well here as the typically slightly manic, deranged scientist whose personal tragedy during a family boating accident drives him to ever greater extremes. The central premise of the film is daft but its treatment is actually quite disturbing, especially with someone like Stephens as the star: for once I’m not going to suggest its a horror film that would have been better with my old favourite Cushing in the starring role.

Indeed, I have to wonder if Stephen King was at all familiar with this film, because it shares some striking similarities to his story The Green Mile, and the film directed by Frank Darabont: maybe its a stretch, but an immortal character accompanied by his immortal guinea pig through the decades seems rather akin to The Green Mile‘s immortal Paul Edgecomb and his similarly immortal pet mouse, Mr .Jingles, and both tales share grisly scenes of an Electric Chair doing its ‘thing’. One of those film coincidences maybe.

The Boat (2018)

tboat2This film is so easily summed up (one can imagine the pitch): Stephen King’s Christine (one of my favourite books, growing up) out on the ocean. A fisherman, ‘the sailor’ (Joe Azzopardi) gets lost in dense fog, his small boat literally bumping into a luxury yacht in the murk. The fisherman calls out but nobody responds, and after tying his boat alongside, he explores the vessel and discovers the yacht is abandoned. Mystified, he moves to return to his own boat but finds it has become untethered and drifting away in the current, trapping him on the yacht. Convinced someone must be onboard after all (how else to explain his knots becoming undone), he sets on another search but again, he finds no-one. But he’s not alone.

Strange accidents and occurrences happen and it becomes clear that this yacht is a bitch (like Christine) or a bastard (like the truck in Duel) out to kill its unwelcome new crewman. Yep, the yacht is possessed; its presumably killed its previous occupants and the fisherman is next. The fog clears and, marooned on the yacht he tries to commandeer it and head for shore (wherever it is, as he realises he is lost out in the ocean and the radio doesn’t work).

Its a simple idea and at times a very involving character piece, but it struggles to maintain its premise for the length of a movie, labouring its concept (a section of the film with him  locked in a toilet cubicle inside the hold of the ship is more interminable than it is tense). I did like the film though. Its really haunted (sic) by too much familiarity to other books and films, but it certainly feels like it could be a great Stephen King novel that he has yet to write. I felt a little cheated that our lonely hero doesn’t find an old logbook which might possibly explain the mystery a little (which itself might have formed a flashback to help fill the running time, but that’s possibly where budgetary issues raise their head).

Stephen King didn’t just show how bad Christine was, he explained it, or at least suggested an explanation- The Boat leaves its evil yacht a mystery; call me a cynic, but I rather suspect this was a deliberate move by the film-makers to leave room for a prequel or sequel. How very post-Millennium.

Later by Stephen King

laterHaven’t read a Stephen King book for awhile, but this one was recommended by my brother and hey, by Stephen King standards this thing is practically a short story, running just under 250 pages which absolutely fly by. It has none of the padding and excess that weakens so much of Kings work- he’s always been a great writer in desperate need of a good editor in my opinion but there’s no such problems here; this book is tight and concise and pretty much has all Kings good points and few of the bad.

It also finds King on very familiar ground, with shades of his own The Dead Zone and The Shining and, as commented upon in the story itself, the Brice Willis film The Sixth Sense (I suppose one could describe this as King’s own spin on the latter). The main character is a child who realises he can see and speak to the recently dead, a ghoulish talent that finds surprising exploits as he grows up. Its probably assisted by being published as part of the Hard Case Crime imprint, which is dedicated to pulpish crime potboilers and therefore the book is not being essentially sold as a standard Stephen King horror yarn. I actually kept on expecting the crime element to come more to the fore when it really doesn’t; its there but not as much as the cover painting might suggest.

As a piece of pulp horror in the guise of a crime potboiler its really, really good, and as I have noted its brevity is perhaps its best asset. Its so easy when reading this to imagine King going off on a tangent or two and spreading the same storyline over 600 pages or more but thankfully he doesn’t, although perhaps the endearing main character and the clever premise might have some of Kings hardcore fans wishing it was indeed a 600-page opus.

My chief concern with the paperback edition I read was some bad proof-reading, as there are some pretty glaring typos that really should be unforgivable in this day and age- or is it rather indicative of how books are electronic files these days and such things are somehow easier to creep in (when I would have thought the opposite was true)? I just find them very irritating- there’s a few instances of sentences missing words, breaking the syntax although when reading it your brain will likely fill in the blank, hardly noticing (I grimaced at one and asked Claire to read the paragraph and she didn’t even notice it until I showed her- which is an interesting point perhaps regards how our brains work when reading).

I’ll not go into the plot or its twists/developments as they are the rewards of reading the story. Suffice to say this is a great little read that doesn’t out-stay its welcome, I really quite enjoyed it. Wouldn’t surprise me though if it turned out to be the start of a series…

Doctor Sleep: Directors Cut (2019)

sleepI finally got around to watching the Directors Cut disc that accompanied my 4K edition. Its something I’ve been trying to get around to ever since I watched that 4K disc of the films theatrical version, back when it came out (early March, I think, which seems a lifetime/Covid-time away now, like it was back in some other world). Its been so long, in fact, that there seems little opportunity to really remark upon any major differences, simply because I’ve only seen that theatrical cut once and all that time rather blurs everything, you know?

On the other hand, the fact that little in this cut really stood out to me, considering its 180 minutes long compared to the theatrical cuts 150 minutes, would suggest to me that the 150-minute cut wasn’t broken, and then therefore there’s nothing the DC really fixes. Indeed, one of the additions I did easily spot, an early sequence with Abra (child incarnation played by Dakota Hickman) was a scene that shouldn’t have been included in any version. Abra is shown playing the piano the night before her birthday party, told to go to bed, and then her parents wakened during the night by the piano playing only to go downstairs and see the piano keys being played with no-one there (Abra obviously playing in her sleep),. Its awkward and sure, typical of the worst excesses of author Stephen King in describing supernatural stuff as commonplace, when in reality it would send people to the nuthouse. Didn’t work for me. Maybe it was too literal in displaying Abra’s supernatural powers, her Shining,  like we were in some Marvel origin story. The beauty of Kubrick’s film was the strangeness, the mystery. King has a tendency to display this stuff like a can of Coca Cola on the shelf, so ordinary, so American, and just so easily accepted.

I don’t know much about the making of Doctor Sleep and have never read King’s book, but I would suspect that the DC of the film is the full shooting script, pretty much, that was subsequently shortened as it became clear the film was running long. Most of the additions are scene extensions, added lines of dialogue or shots, rather than revelatory new scenes, and the death of the baseball boy is more graphic and disturbing (but then again, it was harrowing enough on the original version to me). A funny thing that endlessly fascinates me, though, is how scenes can be shorter and longer by such small margins of shots and lines of dialogue, with neither short or long version really feeling broken or disjointed- its so difficult to see the joins/cuts, the scenes feeling fine and organic in either version.

The real test, I am sure, is when I give my 4K disc of the theatrical cut a spin, and if I suddenly realise the shots/lines that are ‘missing.’ It may well be that watching the theatrical, I miss those additions and wind up preferring the DC, but at the moment I really can’t say that I do. To me the theatrical cut tells the story pretty well and actually benefits from the shorter running time. More isn’t always necessarily better.

Still a pretty damn fine film though, and those shots that harken back to the title sequence of The Shining, when Dan and Abra are driving back up the mountain road to the Overlook, and that wonderful chilling music comes up… well, that’s spine-tingling stuff. Maybe its really just fan service but wow, it remains one of the most intensely rewarding cinematic moments of 2020 for me. I still think its quite remarkable how director Mike Flanagan managed to create a sequel that works for both the original King book/s and the Kubrick film.

 

Stand By Me and counting the years

standQuite how it had taken so many years for me to finally watch this film is quite beyond me. Its not as if I never read Stephen King stories or watch the movies based on them- quite the contrary. And yet it has taken so many years- Stand By Me was released back in 1986, which is what, 34 years ago, now. I suppose its nice that even after watching so many films over the years, there are still some genuinely good ones waiting for me to catch up with them. Films are patient. There’s great ones waiting for all of us.

That length of years is frightening, though. For instance, does anybody else think its scary that the length of time since the film came out is more than the distance in time between the films original release and when it was set, in 1959- a gap of just 27 years. So the narrator looking back and telling his tale is looking back 27 years, and me, I’m now 34 years distant from when the film came out. I imagine viewers in 1986 thinking that the films period setting was a distant time ago, and yet here I am now…. crumbs.

It just lends the film a certain feeling, seeing some of those actors -Will Wheaton, Richard Dreyfuss, Corey Fieldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusack- all looking so young, not to mention the added poignancy of seeing River Phoenix. Just on the evidence of this one film, its clear that he was an actor of considerable merit and screen charisma, destined to be a future star possibly as great as Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp… who knows where his future might have lead? As it turned out, he didn’t have that future, because he died of a drug overdose just 7 years after Stand By Me was released.

So Stand By Me is like some kind of impossible bubble of spacetime with those actors so incredibly young, the kids with their whole lives ahead of them… and me, sitting here in 2020 watching it for the first time. Suddenly appreciating why people have praised the film and sometimes remarked to me “what? You’ve never seen that yet?” in disbelief. The realisation that I have only watched it now because of something of a whim, having noticed the 4K UHD edition in a sale for £9.99 and thinking, maybe its worth a punt, maybe its as good as people say, and the film might cheer me up. We all need cheering up in these uncertain times. Chalk up one more positive to Covid19 then.

stand2Its a lovely little film. Hardly perfect but still, very good, and certainly one of the better Stephen King adaptations. Naturally it reminded me of American Graffiti, not just because Richard Dreyfuss features in both: the films are cinematic cousins, really, both period films about growing up, and how they used Rock n’Roll songs to form a soundtrack. I thought Jack Nitzche’s score and its use of the Ben E. King song was particularly fine, delicately done. Hey, American Graffiti– now there’s a film I really should find time to watch again.

Me, now, wondering what in the world I was doing back in 1986 that meant I was too busy to go watch this film or catch it on VHS rental or watch it on television showings over the years since. 1986 was the year Aliens came out, wasn’t it. And The Mission, and Day of the Dead, Poltergeist 2, Big Trouble in Little China… and Howard the Duck. Those were the films I watched at the cinema that year. Its funny how I remember years by what films I saw, sometimes its the only sense of perspective of time that I have now.

But that’s how films trick you, and release dates in particular- Stand By Me may have been released in late summer of 1986 in America, but digging around a little I discover that the film wasn’t released over here in the UK until early 1987. We forget it was a bigger world back then, and releases of films were spread across several months over International Territories.I remember one of the most exciting things about having a region-free DVD player when they came out in the late nineties (mine was an American machine with a transformer the size of a house brick) was that we could see films at home that still hadn’t even been released in the cinemas over here. So sure, Stand By Me was released back in 1986 in America but for us in the UK it was 1987, the year I went to watch other films like The Fly, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Innerspace instead. That’s just how I count the years.

 

 

Doctor Sleep = Shining Chills

drs1All being well I’ll post a review tomorrow, but having just seen Doctor Sleep, I just wanted to post my initial feelings: the spookiest thing about this film is how much it reminded me of BR2049. There were moments in Doctor Sleep -music cues, aerial shots details of which shall remain spoiler-free – that frankly gave me chills, and had me thinking about similar sentiments regards BR2049.

Denis Villeneuve’s film was that most miraculous thing, after so many decades, of being a perfect sequel to a film that never needed one. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was as different to its source novel as was Blade Runner from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, both films were met by fairly negative (scathing at times) critical response and subject to critical reappraisal over the years after, and both were self-contained and not in the slightest bit needed a sequel. Indeed nobody, I’m sure, ever really expected one for either film.

Yet here we are, both films have gotten really fine, respectful and sincere sequels that expand upon the original work while each treading a new path. Decades after. Its almost beyond bizarre. In a similar way to how BR2049 returned to the original source novel as well as the 1982 film’s rather distant adaptation of it, so does Doctor Sleep return to the original source novel of The Shining as well as the Kubrick film – in some ways both films turn the tone and themes back to the source in ways that enrich original and sequel. Of course Doctor Sleep is itself based upon Stephen Kings own sequel novel to his The Shining book, and I haven’t read either King book in all honesty, but it seems clear to me that this film is not simply that book, its clearly a sequel to both the widely different King book and Kubrick film, as well as the King Doctor Sleep book, and manages a brilliant balancing act.

It was just the strangest thing; watching BR2049 I had this sensation of the hair on the back of my neck standing on end, a kind of magical meta-reality going on, returning to that Blade Runner world after so many decades, and it feeling so authentic. I had that exact same feeling with Doctor Sleep, particularly two-thirds in when there are suddenly a few shots which… well, lets stay spoiler-free awhile yet. But wow. What a feeling. Its when pop-culture becomes something rather more than just pop-culture, when years in the real world are mirrored by years in the artificial film world, and there’s this weird clarity, almost, a feeling of meta-reality.

Anyway, I liked it.

Pet Sematary (2019)

PET SEMATARYI’m not one of those that believe the 1989 Pet Sematary is a great horror movie; I wrote a post last year when I rewatched it that expressed my mixed feelings about it. So it may not seem too a great surprise to anyone that I actually quite liked this, considering that when it came out it was blasted by those that ranked the original highly. To be frank, although I enjoyed the original book when I read it many, many moons ago, having mixed feelings regards the 1989 version I really didn’t expect very much of this film- well, chalk it up to another case of diminished expectations and all that.

I would imagine that the reasons I was pleasantly surprised by this film are the same reasons why champions of the original disliked it. I thought the cast was better in this version, particularly Jason Clarke, John Lithgow and Jete Laurence (I wasn’t enamoured by the 1989 cast who seemed pretty wooden to me), and I quite liked how it diverted from both the 1989 film and indeed the book in its latter stages (why remake a film and slavishly regurgitate the same old events/tropes?), at least offering something ‘new’ (for better or worse) to give some purpose for its existence. I would imagine fans of the original were quite appalled by some of the changes, but to me it felt like the directors (Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer) were using them as cheeky nods to audience  expectations and. yeah, whats the point of a remake if you don’t do something different?

In fact, the only thing I really, really missed in this version was the originals evocative Elliot Goldenthal score, which ranks as one of my very favourite horror soundtracks (Christopher Young’s score here is no disaster but it doesn’t really imbue the film with its own character, it feels more generic- although I have to confess Goldenthal’s score shares a lot with Goldsmiths Poltergeist). I also think this film was a little short, even though it ran a little over two hours, as I think while it maintained most of the beats of the original story I think it needed more character moments, to help cement the mood and effectiveness of the scares. Empathy, afterall, is everything in a horror movie- its no good being assailed with jump scares and gore if you don’t really care very much for the protagonists. Another twenty to thirty minutes, I think, would possibly have improved the film no end. For one thing, the last third of the film feels so rushed it unfortunately seems to lose some impact, even though I welcomed how it diverted from what I expected. ironically, its almost as if the film-makers lost confidence the more they moved away from what happened in the original book and film.

So anyway. I think there were many positives in this film. Sure its not perfect (maybe a third attempt in another twenty years will finally get it done right) but on the whole I thought it was an atmospheric, good old-fashioned horror yarn and really enjoyed it. Hmm, diminished expectations and all that might be the answer to anyone considering watching this film- give it a shot and you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

 

In the Tall Grass

tall1Here’s a film which is clearly one in which the creative team just lost control. It starts well enough and seems competently staged; decent cast, intriguing premise… everything seems to be in place for an effective and rewarding horror film, but at the midway point it just falls apart. Its weird, it takes this weird turn and you can see it unravelling before your very eyes, like the whole film just gradually collapses in front of you. By the time it ends, if you manage to stay with it that far, its an aimless mess of a film that makes absolutely no sense. Which had me scratching my head: at what point did this ‘people get lost in a maze’ film get so complicated and become such a messy genre mash-up that it ends with a dumb time travel paradox?*

The director, Vincenzo Natali also wrote the screenplay so likely deserves most of the blame. The film is based on a slim short story co-written by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill (slim in that it lasts about 60+ pages and possibly would have made a great thirty-minute short film),  Evidently in his attempt to enlarge the story into a full movie Natali  got into all sorts of trouble. I haven’t read the original short so have no idea what he took  from it and how much he thought up himself, but I find it difficult to believe King and Hill let themselves get twisted up in a tale of an ancient and very evil rock, wormholes, cults, time travel, religious symbolism, mystical creatures, unwanted pregnancies, obsessive brothers, reluctant boyfriends etc. Well, maybe they did, you never know these days, but certainly Natali throws everything including the kitchen sink into it… except, of course, for a lawnmower (Damn. I thought I’d managed to forget that bloody awful film The Lawnmower Man).

One of my issues with horror films (or films in general, I suppose) when they get all weird, spooky, obtuse and Lynchian, for want of a better word, is that they should still have some kind of internal logic. Being obtuse shouldn’t necessarily mean being confusing. In the Tall Grass has several leaps of logic being excused by cutting to spooky imagery and effects as if that strange imagery is explanation enough- which it isn’t, its just the director’s lazy sleight of hand, an awkward excuse for what happens next.

So its all something of a shame. I wanted to enjoy it, and did for awhile. Sometimes short stories or novellas can be great launchpads for movies, you know, great ideas to spin a great film out of. So many films based on Philip K Dick material became their ‘own thing’ after spinning off the base ideas of a short story- so much so that few of them actually properly resemble the story they are based on (Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric SheepTotal Recall and We Can Remember it For You Wholesale). At the same time though, once they go off and do their own thing they can also fall apart (Minority report and the original The Minority Report story). I suspect this is a case in which the original story was pretty slim and by expanding it into a full movie, it all just fell apart. Perhaps only worth watching to see Patrick Wilson absolutely chewing up the scenery as if he’s convinced he’s in a horror film as good as The Shining and that he’s up to the task of emulating Jack Nicholson (answer: it isn’t and he isn’t).

 

*Spoilers: our pregnant heroine and brother are saved from the grassy horror, resetting back (and we’re just expected to go with it, its not explained how) to just prior to when they entered the field, and instead turn back and, er, go back home.  But it was because they disappeared that our heroine’s estranged boyfriend came out there looking for them and ultimately sacrificed himself to save them. If they don’t disappear, he won’t look for them, so he’ll be back home too. But if he stays home, he won’t have come out searching for them to save them, so they will perish in the field…. Its one of those causality loops that bugs me all the time, including Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. I know, I should just go with it. Its only a movie, as dear old John Brosnan used to say.

On this day, a year ago… IT.

That title almost sounds scary, doesn’t it? Curious that it refers to a horror film that wasn’t scary, but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes. I am often shocked, browsing through past posts, when the whim takes me to look back exactly a year, and I suddenly see reviews of films and think, ‘a year ago? Already?!!’ It can be quite brutal, the passing of time- or certainly the tricks time seems to play on us. For instance, today, a year ago, is when I posted my review of IT. I cannot believe it has been a year already. Mind, I did read a little while ago that IT Chapter Two (because the novel was split into two movies) is due soon, in September I think. Which should be two years since the first film was released (as I ruefully recall it making a mint and then BR2049 failed to muster the same excitement the following month).

Which brings up the harsh realisation that BR2049, which I always seem to think of as still a ‘new’ or even recent film, is actually nearing its second anniversary….

But anyhow, returning to IT– I wasn’t particularly impressed by it (when a horror film isn’t at all scary, then it’s doing something wrong in my book) but the film was extremely popular indeed with the public and I wonder if they will return to cinemas in droves to watch the second half. It has been two years, afterall, even if it may not feel like two years. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, comparing the first films box office and the second films, as Villeneuve’s Dune project will be emulating this with its own part one/part two, with the first film coming in December 2020. I suspect the gap between the two Dune films will be longer than two years, simply due to the scale of the project, but I suppose you never know these days, with so much post-production occurring during filming- the old preproduction/production(shooting)/post production being so blurred now.

I’m not suggesting two years is too long, but will the public still think IT is sufficient part of the cultural zeitgeist that Chapter Two  will be a must-watch at cinemas? I can’t say I’m particularly enthused enough to even catch up with it on (eventual) home video release, as that first film was more than enough for me but as patently shown on this blog before, I’m not exactly in tune with the mass public. Maybe people are really excited.

Its a curio, almost, in this age of binge-watching seasons of tv over a weekend, for people to return to the bad old analogue days of waiting years for a film to come out. When I was a teenager, three years between Star Wars films felt like forever. These days it’s like three years passes by so quickly, it’s as if I’m sitting in George Pal’s Time Machine and everything is just racing past- and I don’t think it’s simply just me getting older, I think it’s partly how the world is now. Films come and go now, here today, forgotten tomorrow, replaced by the next blockbuster- there is simply so much content. In the old days, a film like Jaws seemed to hang around in the mainstream culture seemingly for years, films now seem to be more disposable. Which is ironic, as thanks to streaming and discs, it could be argued they stick around longer now, but you know, what teenager cares a hoot about Avatar now? Or even the Matrix films?  But maybe in a funny way, that helps films like IT, and waiting two years for the second entry- these days, two years doesn’t feel like anytime at all.

Afterall, I still can’t quite believe its been a whole year since I saw that first one.

The Dark Tower

dark1Here’s something of a disclaimer: I have not read any of the Dark Tower series of books written by Stephen King, of which I understand there are several. I have no idea if this film is based on the first book, or is a rushed compendium of all of them, but I suspect it is the latter, as it would explain why the film races by in 95 minutes bereft of any weight or meaningful pause. This film is so rushed its unable to expand its characters beyond basic archetypes, it’s some kind of good vs evil saga, in which the bland battle against the bored.

There is clearly some kind of grand mythology at play, some kind of melting-pot of science fiction and fantasy that I guess can be found in the books, but it’s utterly AWOL here. Its confusing to people like me who are unfamiliar with the book saga and likely frustratingly simplistic to fans of that book series- perhaps like what condensing the Lord of the Rings trilogy into a single movie would be like- it just can’t work.

We have teleport stations to other worlds, demons attempting to invade our universe from some Outer Dark, a Dark Tower (I feel like asking Stephen King whether it should have been a White Tower, as its protecting the universe from Darkness but perhaps I’m being tetchy and its explained in the books) at the centre of the universe that thwarts them. Our bad guy Walter Paddick (Matthew McConaughey) is attempting to destroy the Dark Tower and our hero, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba, who between this and that Star Trek film should perhaps just give up on Hollywood), is the Gunslinger, who is trying to destroy Paddick before he succeeds. Its hardly mind-bogglingly imaginative stuff, and it’s not aided by having some kid who is (yawn) the Chosen One who Paddick can somehow use to power some weird laser cannon to finally destroy the Dark Tower and wreak the Apocalypse upon all creation. It really is that stupid. Maybe there was nuance and dramatic tension in the books, but there’s none of that here.

I suspect that this would have worked much better as a series on HBO or Netflix, across several seasons. Why exactly anyone thought this would satisfy as such an empty, thrilless, joyless movie is beyond me, the irony of the ending teasing further adventures just another example of Hollywood thinking absolutely anything can be a franchise. I am getting so pissed off with the films that don’t just end (ta da! ‘THE END’ like films used to), instead closing with a tease for something that will never happen- it’s just insulting to the audience and anyone who has invested any time watching it.