Dir: Tom Holland
I loved Stephen King's Four Past Midnight, his 1990 collection of four short horror stories. My favourite story of the four by far was The Langoliers. There was a part in the book where a young character was forced to kill someone with a toaster that had me shaking, I remember I was reading it on a Spanish beach and my mum commented that maybe I'd had too much sun and should go inside for a bit. I think it was my first Stephen King experience and I was soon hooked on his work. It wasn't until the late 90s until I discovered that the short had been made into a two-part mini-series on ABC. We didn't have ABC in the UK, so I waited until it was released on VHS around 1998. By that point I was well aware that - The Shawshank Redemption aside - that Stephen King adaptations were not highly regarded, something I never really got, as I can honestly say I've enjoyed them all. However, it is quite hard to defend Tom Holland's 1995 adaptation, as it's a bit of a shambles. The budget is clearly minuscule and the script is rubbish. All of the best elements of the story are missing and some of the casting choices were possibly the worst they could have made. Christopher Collet is horrible as Albert "Ace" Kaussner, a young violinist on his way to Boston on the red eye from LA. He and a group of other passengers fall asleep during the flight and wake up to discover that most of the people on board have turned to dust. We later find out that the plane has gone through a time rip, something humans can only survive when asleep. They find themselves out of sync with the rest of the world, being chased by time itself which will eventually consume them in the guise of giant flying balls with teeth. The toothy balls - called The Langoliers - aren't the best villains of film or literature but the suspense and apprehension they conjure is pretty special, at least in the book anyway. Dean Stockwell brings a bit of old school calibre to the film and David Morse was good (it was the first film of his I'd seen and I kept an eye out for him thereafter). However, it was Bronson Pinchot, at his over the top best, who really stole the show. The film made a great little sci-fi mystery into a cheap and laughable b-movie and it was a shame. The ending is horrible but there is still lots to like about it. Personally, I like cheap and laughable b-movies and this was so far removed from the book that I really didn't feel that upset about it. All these years later, I'm actually grown relatively fond the film, it's utter garbage, but it's my kind of utter garbage. If only Tom Holland had had the same budget and support he had when making Child's Play and Fright Night, it would now be something of a classic?