Say, are you a Bag of Bones fan? Are you looking forward to the Mick Garris-directed movie coming up on A&E this December 11-12?
If you answered yes to those questions, then you need to check out a website: Dark Score Stories, which contains a lot of photo-essay material, as well as some audio clips of characters from the movie.
If you're familiar with my site, then you're also probably aware that I've been somewhat opposed to this movie. I'm not a Mick Garris fan at all: I feel like the movies he's made from Stephen King books and stories have been, on the whole, fairly poor. The Garris/King association began with the wretched Sleepwalkers, and has gone on to include The Stand, The Shining, Quicksilver Highway (the "Chattery Teeth" segment was based on the King short story of the same name), Riding the Bullet, and Desperation, all of which have been problematic. I'm aware that Garris has a lot of fans in the King community; I'm not one of them.
So, naturally, I've been dreading Bag of Bones. This was not helped by the apparent miscasting of the lead role (Mike Noonan doesn't exactly scream "James Bond," and while I know that Pierce Brosnan is more than a former 007, it's hard not to see the suave spymaster anytime he's on screen), or by the apparent major changes to the plotline involving Mattie Devore.
I'll say this, though: Dark Score Stories has turned my opinion slightly back toward the positive.
The photo essays are fictionalized, by which I mean that they are a part of the narrative within which the movie itself takes place (not photo essays about the making of the movie). Here, the essays are written (and the photos taken) by an unnamed character who was sent to Dark Score Lake by his/her publisher, Zenith House. The essays are nothing special; they're just a prop to hang the photos on, and many of the photos -- there are roughly eighty in all -- are beautiful. They were taken by Joachim Ladefoged, who appears to be rather talented. I know very little about photography, but I know when I see a purty picture, and there are a lot of purty pictures here.
As several other sites, including Lilja's Library, have pointed out, there is a lot of fun to be had here in scrolling through the photos and checking out the many amusing homages to other Stephen King stories. Bag of Bones (the novel) has a great many tie-ins, including ties to Insomnia, Gerald's Game, The Dark Half, and It, so it's completely appropriate for the movie to follow suit. It's hard to say how many of these will end up in the movie, of course, but examining the photos, I found references to the following:
- "Secret Window, Secret Garden"
- "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption"
- "Big Driver"
- "The Sun Dog"
- "Quitters, Inc."
- The Dark Tower
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
- "Umney's Last Case"
- "The Library Policeman"
- The Plant
- "Mile 81"
- Rose Red
- The Dark Half
- The Shining
- The Tommyknockers
- Lisey's Story
- Duma Key
- The Regulators
- The Dead Zone
- The Stand
- The Colorado Kid
- Hearts In Atlantis
- 'Salem's Lot
- Needful Things
- and a host of real-world King-related things like The Rock Bottom Remainders, Dollar Babies, and Lilja's Library itself!
There is a TON of love for the Stephen King universe evident in the set design of these photos, and a lot of artistry on display in the photos themselves. If the movie overall manages to have this passion and artistry, then we might be in for something special.
For now, I'm going to remain dubious. Garris isn't a particularly gifted director, and screenwriter Matt Venne's highest-profile work to date is the (highly unsuccessful) sequel to White Noise. The credits simply don't inspire confidence.
But Dark Score Stories, the website, does, after after spending an hour or so poking around on it, I feel a lot more excitement mounting for the movie than I would have thought possible. Regardless, the site itself is a beaut.
Go check it out, won't you?