Stephen King is king, he has the ‘It’ factor

Published 9:00 am Friday, September 8, 2017

By Rick Baldwin

Greetings, spooky kids and cinephiles of Winchester!

September is already upon us and we are being spoiled by her cool breezes, idyllic afternoons and the already hectic schedule of post-Labor Day releases, just in time to cash in on autumn’s ever-popular film fare with its pre-Halloween cinema scares.

Email newsletter signup

This weekend’s release that is the talk of the town is none other than the terrifying remake of Stephen’s King’s “It.”

Andy Muschietti’s adaptation has minor tweaks to the popular 1990 TV miniseries and King’s original epic novel.

To catch you up to speed, the terror tale is about a group of kids who band together as they come to grips with their own childhood fears, the prepubescent rites of passage and the loss of innocence all the while trying to survive and kill an evil clown.

Stephen King is one of —  if not the — most popular writers in history and in our current time.

His books, novellas, screenplays and short stories have been adapted for cinema and TV since the mid-70s and he still continues to inspire and create quality work even if he makes claims that he’s slowing down to enjoy his golden years and “retire.”

If you have been under a tombstone for the last 40 years, let me refresh you with this list of the most popular film adaptations of his work: “Carrie” (1976), “Salem’s Lot” (1979), “The Shining” (1980), “Creepshow” (1982), “Cujo” (1983), “The Dead Zone” (1983), “Christine” (1983), “Children of the Corn” (1984), “Firestarter” (1984), “Silver Bullet” (1986), “Maximum Overdrive” (1986), “Stand by Me” (1986), “The Running Man” (1987), “Pet Sematary” (1989), “Misery” (1990), ‘The Tommyknockers” (1993), “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), “The Green Mile” (1999), “Secret Window” (2004), “1408” (2007), “The Mist” (2007), “Under the Dome” (2013), “11.22.63” (2016) and “The Dark Tower” (2017).

That is just a few of his titles. The list is about three times longer. That’s pretty impressive in my opinion.

You may not enjoy horror, or King’s material (some of his best is not even his horror fare), or his recent public war with the president on Twitter.

I won’t discuss the latter because politics and the banter associated with its horrifying rhetoric and ruthless arguments have no place in this lighthearted film column no matter what side of the graveyard you vote or rest in.

King does indeed have a gift for capturing nostalgia, childhood and memories of Americana that still ring true. That is why his writing is so effective and perfect for the silver screen.

He can paint pictures with his words, and the best part is you don’t forget those images when the movies end or when you arrive to last page of his stories.

One thing I have learned from King’s massive body of work is the importance of events which take place in your childhood and how they stick with you even through the years as your hair becomes peppered with gray and your soul grows wiser from years of marinating in life experiences.

So this weekend, get in touch with your inner child and give “It” a try. It may scare the heck out of you, it might make you laugh as well.

Remember when you were a kid and got scared on a ride or a movie and started to giggle after it was all over? That’s called catharsis.

It’s a healthy release of the rollercoaster ride of adrenaline you took as you tiptoed through the darkness into the unknown. Every once in a while, we are all in for a good harmless scare … “It” might make your night.

Enjoy kiddies and have a FILMtastic day.

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society ( Find more from Rick on Facebook at and online at He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at