Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Mist

When I was in Movie Stop the other day, they were running the trailers for The Mist, based on the Stephen King novella of the same name. The trailer didn't make me want to see the movie, but it did make me decide to read the novella. Somehow that one had escaped me during my King reading binge of a few years back. I knew I had it at home though, in one of the collections of King's work. Went home and dug it out.
It's a great little monster fest, one of King's tighter and more suspenseful stories. At 153 pages it's really a short book and sometimes I think King does better with that format. His novels tend to ramble at times. The Mist is just right in terms of length and tone.
The basic story is that a storm of biblical proportions tears through a small Maine community. When the storm clears a strange white mist rolls slowly across the town. The hero, Dave Drayton and his son Billy have gone to the local grocery store to pick up some post storm supplies. When the mist arrives they are in the store with about 80 other shoppers. The mist surrounds the store, muffling sound and obscuring the outside world. It soon becomes apparent that there are things in the mist. Terrible, monstrous, HUNGRY things. After that it's pure Stephen King land as the people in the market try to stay alive.
King makes a few small attempts at offering a possible explanation of what has happened. There's a government research project located close to the town and the basic theory is that perhaps the storm affected their equipment and opened a rift into another dimension. It doesn't really matter. King is all about the results and not the causes. I've always kind of liked that 'Twilight Zone' approach to his work. We rarely know why anything occurs in a King story. It just does and you'd better deal with it or be prepared die a messy death.
And speaking of messy, the monsters in this one are particularly frightening. Usually when I read horror novels I figure that if I had a gun or even a sword I could deal with most of the monsters that writers throw out. Not this crowd. There are just too many and they are too fast and have too many horrific abilities. That's all I'll say in case any of you care to read the story.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it. From what the reviews say, the movie is a decent adaptation of the novella. Maybe I'll rent it this Halloween.

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