Joseph Maddrey, my producer on The House Between (2007 – 2009) and the writer/producer of Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (2009) has prepared and conducted a book-length interview with director Tom McLoughlin, the talent behind such classic eighties horror films as One Dark Night (1983) and Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986).
During his career, McLoughlin has done everything from playing a robot (Captain S.T.A.R. in The Black Hole ) to adapting a Stephen King story to film.
Maddrey’s project is currently being excerpted at The Modest Proposal, here
, and I wanted to point out the article to readers of this blog who enjoy the horror genre.
Here’s a snippet from “Art Imitates Life… and Death: A Conversation with Tom McLoughlin:”
In 1990, you adapted Stephen King’s short story “Sometimes They Come Back” to the screen. Are you a Stephen King fan?
I’m a huge Stephen King fan. Obviously he saw the same Twilight Zones we all saw, the same Outer Limits, the same Corman movies—he loved that stuff—and because of his writing talent he was able to take those basic ideas and stories and fill them with the thoughts of his characters. That’s his brilliance. He shows us our dreams and our nightmares in [his characters’] thoughts, which allows his readers to have a personal relationship with the stories.
In my opinion, most of the Stephen King movies don’t work. You can’t get that same experience [of the characters’ thoughts], so the filmmakers usually substitute something else. The movies that really succeeded were the ones that had stronger characters—Carrie, The Dead Zone, The Stand. But a lot of the other ones didn’t quite get there for me, because you’re trying to condense something that’s so rich in the books into 90 minutes of screen time. You can sell a title and you can sell the idea, but it’s got to be fleshed out differently.
I think that’s what Sometimes They Come Back suffered from—lit wasn’t fleshed out properly. The writers had to expand a short story, so they put a lot of “the best of Stephen King” moments into it. Like the evil car [from Christine]… a lot of things like that were borrowed from other works to flesh out the story.
I have to admit that when I watched Sometimes They Come Back, I was confused about the nature of the monsters. Are they ghosts or are they the living dead? Do they exist in the flesh or only in the main character’s imagination? What are the rules?
When Dino DeLaurentiis offered the project to me, I remember saying to him, “This really doesn’t work.” The writers had moved on because they were not going to do another rewrite without being paid a fortune, so Dino brought in Tim Kring, the future creator of Heroes. Tim is a great guy and very smart, and we saw eye to eye right away. But whenever you deal with Dino, there are a lot of stipulations—”don’t lose this, don’t lose that, because I like that…” So we were trying to Frankenstein things together…
Please check out the rest of Maddrey’s interview at The Modest Proposal for a very involving and informative read.