Stephen King’s (literal) Desperation (2006)


Stephen King’s Desperation

Starring: Ron Perlman, Tom Skerritt (sorry guys)

3 part mini series by the Master of Horror, directed by the guy who’s making Masters Of Horror. Which I really wanted to love, or like, or enjoy in any way.

Never was a show more aptly named. I’m not actually sure what was more annoying about it – the lack of ‘best thing about it’ Ron Perlman after episode two, the total thickness of the hapless ensemble cast, or the pathetic ‘Jesus will save us if we blindly believe in him’ message at the end. I’m all for God/Jesus/Flying spaghetti Monsters rescuing us, okay? But they need to do a little more than ‘believe in him blindly’. Ugh.

I should start with the plot, I guess. Based on the novel by Stephen King, and directed by Mick Garris (Masters of Horror, The Stand), Desperation follows the fortunes of a bunch of people unlucky enough to be on a lonely American desert highway when Ron Perlman’s possessed Sheriff pulls them over and arrests them. Taking them back to his office, he then proceeds to do, er…sweet FA with them.

Ron Perlman’s evil Sherriff proves how serious the situation is, if you’re this guy.

After he arrests Tom Skerritt (obligatory ‘writer with a dark past’ and Stephen King’s Mary Sue), the writer’s show organiser, and the plucky hitch hiker lady he recently picked up follow him to the ghost town. On finding a room full of dead bodies, the couple decide to…?

a) Run back to the car and call the cops

b) Make out

c) Hang around looking at the dead bodies going ‘uuuurgh’ for an entire freaking episode

????

Did you guess?

Well, it wasn’t a) or even b), so…

While the dumb couple examine dead bodies until dead bodies start getting really dull for them, the little group of captives in the Sherriff’s office figure out how to escape. It involves a saintly young boy, (hereafter named Saintly Little Kid), getting a bar of radioactive soap (from his murdered little sister…) with which to slip through the bars, and outwitting a dog.

Anyway, the short version is that they escape. And what do they do?

a) They all immediately escape in the nearest working car and get the hell out of Weirdsville

b) They all make out

c) They all go to the local theatre and swap stories about what has happened in the town, and what MAY happen in the town, and who Tac might be (he’s a demon. Or something) until the demon comes to find them

So, meanwhile, Ron Perlman has vanished as the demon wore out his body, and it’s now in the far more flimsy form of the Saintly Little Boy’s mother. And it’s about as scary as Doctor Zoidberg. Seriously. Now, Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978). THAT’S scary.

Insert obvious ‘let me out of this chicken-shit outfit’ gag

Naturally they escape this not-at-all-scary image of the demon, even after one of them is killed by a mountain lion (not making it up). Then they escape…and decide to try and kill the demon at the local mine where it was released from by a bunch of mistreated Chinese miners in the 1800s. As you do. The Saintly Little Kid says they must all BELIEVE IN GOD AND HE WILL SAVE US. And they all agree. Only Tom Skerritt’s writer character, who HAS A DARK PAST decides he won’t let the kid do the killing of the demon, and he runs into the mine. At Tac’s altar-slash-condo he kills the demon by exploding dynamite and a shotgun shell with a hammer, or his head or something. Saintly Little Kid maintains that GOD WANTED his entire family to die horribly, to prove he loves him. Or something. So, that’s okay, surely?

Barf. It starts off okay, but twenty minutes in something goes horribly wrong, and this latest Stephen King adaptation is another big pile of poo. At least Rose Madder had production values, and a fairly interesting cast. This had Ron Perlman, who at least has Hellboy 2 and a lot of other cool stuff to look forward to. Too bad for Tom Skerrrit. Death by Alien going ‘boo!’ is a lot more dignified.

In super-super-short terms: AVOID

Oh wait! I thought of a good bit! There’s a dead body of a cop with pencils stuck in his eyes! Yeah, that’s pretty cool. It is. There, now there’s no reason AT ALL to watch this crap.

Too harsh? Nope.

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2 thoughts on “Stephen King’s (literal) Desperation (2006)

  1. Why WHY do they NEVER manage to make any half decent adaptations out of Stephen King novels? Except for The Shawshank Redemption and nobody seems knows that was written by him anyway. And the ginger guy in that got played by Morgan Freeman (hence why the character was called RED.)

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