This is something i have read in Stephen King’s introduction to « THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE » (Stephen King Horror Library) :
« I have always wanted to publish a novel with the last thirty pages simply left out. The reader would be mailed these final pages by the publisher upon receipt of a satisfactory summary of everything that had happened in the story up to that point. That would certainly put a spoke in the wheels of those people WHO TURN TO THE END TO SEE HOW IT CAME OUT »
BAG OF BONES, Mick Garris’ miniserie will be broadcasted tomorrow (sunday the 11th) & monday (the 12th of december).
Just before Christmas, a good way to start the upcoming holidays!
I was able to see BAG OF BONES a week earlier. The main role is held by Pierce Brosnan (the former James Bond), and he is is almost every single scene. The director therefore had to find the perfect actor for Mike Noonan, and Pierce Brosnan did a good job.
The version that i have seen is not exactly the finale version*, it was a bit like a workprint version, and it could be noticed in the video that was a bit blur and slow.
However, this did not ruin the pleasure i had to watch this adaptation of a novel that is deeply appreciated by King’s readers.
I did read the novel BAG OF BONES when it became available as a paperback edition in France, in 2000. Although i must admit that i dont remember the whole novel perfectly, i believe that the mini-serie is quite loyal to Stephen King’s novel, but some elements have been shortened or taken off in order to fit with the duration which is of 2h40.
I wouldn’t say that BAG OF BONES (the TV version) scared the hell out of me, but i definitely enjoyed watching it. As Mick Garris says in his introduction to the DARK SCORE STORIES book BAG OF BONES is a love-story, but an haunted one… that will take place in a small town. I don’t think that i need to tell you more about the story, as you know the synopsis.
But i will tell you this : the sceneries are really nice (the woodhouse is located on the side of a lake, in Nova Scotia, Canada… where is also shot HAVEN)… the scenes that are taking place in 1939 are really enjoyable, so is Sara Tidwell’s voice), the SFx are successfully done, the casting plays well (and it’s also the case of Caitlin Camichael which is only 7yo).. and it’s based on Stephen King.
What else could we ask? References to Stephen King? The Dark Score Stories website have plenty of them, and the mini-series have a few as well (just to mention couple of them : « Bachman », « I am your number one fan », « Cujo »…)
The whole adaptation is good, and i am certain that the King fans that will be watching this 2 nights-event (2h40) will enjoy it too.
PS : It will definitely not stop me from getting the final version and watch it too!
PS2 : I would like to congratulate the A&E team for their promotional material. They created a developped system that was using numerous promotional means : an officiel promo website, a complementary promotional website (DARK SCORE STORIES – a « prequel »), as well as a book version of DARK SCORE STORIES, the coolest press kit that i have ever seen ever, as a phonograph, and Sara Tidwell’s songs that are available both on iTunes & the BAG OF BONES website. And i didnt even mention the teasers, making-of that were shared on Facebook. A developped promotional system!
A few pictures :
« Dark Score Lake is about halfway between Castle Rock & Derry in the state of Maine, not too very far from Jerusalem’s Lot. It is a rich tapestry, woven through the works of Stephen King in novels, short stories, films and television. It is a part of Americana, a testament to the deep, relatable, real-world elements of the author’s work.
I have always said that King’s work is not nearly so much about the monsters in the closet as it is about the people who live in the house with the invaded closet. They live in a world we can all relate to, with deep, emotionally-resonant lives that begin before Page One, and continue (if they’re lucky) beyond The End. King sets his work on a very familiar planet, and we are all the richer for it.
And then he takes us to hell and scares the shit out of us.
Bag of Bones is, in my humble opinion, one of his most passionate books, a ghost story that is as much about the nature of love and romance as it is about retribution for the sins of the father. It’s a story about secrets, a long-harbored mystery, a series of brutal murders and a battle between two spirits caught in the netherworld : one of them motivated by love and the other by hatred and revenge.
For me, the main job adapting King’s book to film is through the characters, to ground it in a world that we can understand, to make the world of Dark Score Lake rich and mysterious, ominous in its dark beauty. It’s why i am so drawn to his work : as filled with fear as his tales are, they are deeper than that. His stories are not so much about external terror as they are about the horrors within, those fears that fill us from inside and fight their way out of us. King’s litterary Maine is entirely his own, and yet we feel we’ve all lived or vacationed there.
Shadows and water and color – the elemental blue of water and rebirth and the deep red of blood & passion – as well as the Lake House itself, they are all characters as well. It is a basic thruth that film is external and prose internal. Our job was to make the internal external, if that makes sense.
Dark Score Lake harbors secrets, some of them deeper under the surface than others. Order the Village Burger at Buddy Jellison’s place, and you just might learn a bit more about batty old billionnaire Max Devore than you want to know. Or the plight of Mattie Devore, who’s doing her best to raise her little girl all on ther own, now that Old Max has cut her off… especially after what she did to his son.
Brand Meserve has been around the Lake the longest, perhaps, aside from Old Max, and she sems t o be a front of information, but Rogette Whitmore is the guardian of the darkest, most clandestine secrets. The Warrington’s Resort might be a faded harridan now, but back in the 1930s it was a lively gateway, and the heart of a prospering town. Small towns that prosper are harder to come by these days, and Dark Score Lake has turned a bit more hardscrabble. The young folks don’t hang around long, and the older ones are dying off, with some of their horrible secrets.
As you turn the pages and meet the people of Dark Score Lake, look deeper below the surface and see if you can decipher the secrets that they hide.
Copyright Mick Garris, A&E, reprinted with their permission.