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Horror of Horrors: The Stand

Disclaimer: I expect this to have a great deal of profanity, because sometimes it’s hard to express my misery with normal words. I’ll try to keep it civil, but if you don’t like swear words, then you are a soulless husk. I am sorry to be the one to tell you. Also, there will be some humor, so calm down.

the stand

Welcome back all of you heathens and super flu survivors. I, as always, am your bringer of the end and ender of the beginning, Arthur Harkness. I know you guys haven’t seen too much of me over the last few months, and there is a reason for it, but we shan’t go into it here ( hint: I accidentally let loose Belial, and in the process, wound up going on a sort of pilgrimage to kill the fucking thing,) but in my sort of half vacation/half fuck you, I wound up catching something I have been wanting to watch for quite a while, but I just couldn’t devote the time to. I rarely have an opportunity to sit for 8 hours and watch a whole miniseries, as I like to watch it all at once, so it took a while for me to actually get to it….and I got to it, and I wish I had left it there. If you follow me on Twitter @ArthurHarkness, you’ll know that I live tweeted my entire foray into this dangerous bog of bullshit. All 8 hours of it. Ladies and gentlemen, take my hand and delve into the world of Stephen King’s The Stand, and make sure not to fuck around as we could all easily die.

Stephen King wrote the Stand a while ago, shall we say the 1780’s? Just kidding, it was 1978, but this is not what we will be talking about, as the book is really good. We shall be taking a look at the mini series that tried to bring us a visual interpretation of the novel, but in reality just gave us something that will most likely embarrass us when we are finally overcome by whoever fucks us over in years to come. It’s basically a training guide on how to suck balls, but I still fell in love with it anyways. Let me explain. There’s something about overacting that drives me nuts with pleasure, and If I was of a different ethic persuasion, that could sound suggestive. Overacting isn’t in total abundance in this movie, as some of the people do quite well, but the ones who do give us 150%, give us 150 fucking percent. The gist of the story is this, and without any spoilers, everyone is dead. Like literally almost everyone, due to a super flu that breaks loose in the first 5 minutes. The ones who are immune, all start having these crazy dreams pulling them into one of two directions; The good guys, who flock to Mother Abigail, and the dickfaces, who flock towards that badass motherfucker Randall Flagg. I fucking love him. This sets up our story, and casts the players in a deadly game of who gets to bang Molly Ringwald first ( spoilers: it’s Gary Sinise, and now you know what hell is,) and who gets to survive in this wasteland of a world.

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The thing about the Stand is that it was a made for TV movie, so we know the quality isn’t going to be amazing due to the 90’s essentially murdering media in most forms, and such an ambitious project isn’t going to attract a big enough budget to properly do what it wants to do. So we are left with up and comers/ slightly established actors filling in roles and making us want to claw our eyes out while watching the story unfold. So many things go wrong, yet so many things go right at the same time. Out of the entire cast, there are, shall we say, 5 actors who stand out in terms of just sheer fuckery and ridiculousness that they essentially made the entire movie for me. Rob Lowe plays a deaf mute who manages to pile all of Keanu Reeve’s roles into one asshole. Gary Sinise plays the guy who finally wins over Molly Rinwald’s character enough to bang her and bring a child that isn’t really his into a world where literally everything is dead. The neighbor boy who is in love with Molly Ringwald, but is such a fucking creep that he completely changes his whole personality from whiny bitch into fucking asshole. The lady who eventually defects to Randall Flagg’s group, gets banged by Flagg, and then turns into Danaerys Targaryan, and Mr Flagg himself, who is the only guy who looks like he’s actually enjoying himself. Now you somewhat understand what we’re dealing with here. These five form the keystones of this series, and I use that term loosely, as it should have been called an abomination of the best kind.

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Now, with that being said, the overacting and brutal portrayals of these characters may seem like it’s killing me, which it was and still is, but I do need to give some credit to them as well, because yes it is ridiculous, but given the fact that I am drawn to this shit like teenagers are drawn to murderous situations, I can’t help myself. Shit happens in this movie that forces us to take a look at our own lives, and what we choose to dedicate our time to. I love Stephen King. I am currently in the process of reading all of the Dark Tower books, which I am ashamed I haven’t read before, but some things just simply should not be made into film, because it will lose most of its power and influence. I hope not to sound like a book snob here, but there is a difference between the written word and the spoken word, to the point that certain things need to be played out in your mind, and converting them to a visual aspect that your eyes will get the brunt of, really takes away from certain magics and charms that the story conveys. It is not to say that television cannot form that sort of connection with the viewer, because it can and I would be a fool to say otherwise, but certain works just cannot be made into film, at least not the way they were originally intended. It sucks too because I would fucking love to see certain things on screen, like the Dark Tower for instance, but the Dark Tower has action and brooding characters that go through a lot of drama and heartache, which is perfect for visual interpretation, but certain things in the Stand, like the dreams and the visions of Flagg, are better left to your own mind to interpret.

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While reading, we form our own versions of characters and settings that feel almost like we invented them, even though the author did all the work and gave us the building blocks and descriptions to form the mental picture, but when we see it on film, does it not feel slightly dirty sometimes? It is not to say that it can’t be good, but it definitely feels like someone is raping my brain and my own personal thoughts on certain things and making me accept their version of things, if that makes any sense. It takes away from the impact the novel makes, but it also broadens the reach of the story to more people since not everyone reads books unfortunately. It’s like a double edged sword. It gives and it takes. The mini series is far from good, and if I watched it live, I would have been rather upset, but since I caught it years later, I had already been exposed to these sorts of issues, so I was better prepared to deal with it. Also, I was a kid when it came out originally so it wouldn’t have made that much a difference on me. A young Roger Ebert I was not. Now, if you do decide to take a gander at the 8 hour long Rob Lowe/ Gary Sinise career starter/ender, depending on how you see things, I would strongly recommend not reading the book first, and also keep in mind that this was made during an awkward time in media. I mean, it is a good chance to see some people in here that you may have seen somewhere else, if that’s what you’re into, or it could give you something to play in the background while you kill yourself. It’s right up my alley, and if you have been with us for a while, you know my obsession with awful things is strong, so I am slightly biased. Yes it is awful, but it is also awesome to behold….kind of like watching a shark attack. On a side note, if there is anything you guys would like me to live tweet or anything that made you disgusted that you think I should watch, drop a line in the comments or hit me up on social media. Who knows, maybe we can be disgusted together? Also, I do plan on revisiting the Stand eventually, and giving you guys a more detailed look at all 8 hours of it. I just need to prepare my soul for it.

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Follow me on Twitter @ArthurHarkness !

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About Arthur Harkness

I like things, and things like me back

Posted on April 23, 2014, in Features, Geekology, Horror of Horrors, Reviews, TV and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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