I was so impressed with “The Haunting of Hill House” that I immediately checked out writer-director Mike Flanagan’s previous horror work, which is easy to do in these days of streaming services. Although his IMDB goes back to the turn of the century with student films, Flanagan didn’t enter the mainstream until this decade, when he directed six horror (or horror-adjacent) films. All are worth checking out to see the progression of an emerging genre talent. It’s interesting to look at rankings of Flanagan’s films on the web and see that there’s nowhere near a consensus on the order, but here are my personal rankings:
The 2017 “It” remake – now available from Redbox — is the most Stephen Kingy Stephen King adaptation to hit the screen in a long time, as the interactions between the heroic nerds and villainous bullies are palpable, and a lot of the action with titular clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and other monsters feels like King’s words brought to life with modern special effects – something not possible in the 1990 TV miniseries.
Anyone who has driven through a thick Atlantic Coast fog that limits vision to 5 feet in front of your car knows that few experiences are tenser – especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Therefore, “The Mist” (10 p.m. Eastern Thursdays on Spike) – a TV series that follows in the tradition of the Stephen King short story (1980) and the movie (2007) – should theoretically be scary. But it makes the weird decision to create fairly safe environments in the first three episodes (which can be streamed at spike.com).
“Under the Dome” (9 p.m. Central Mondays on CBS), a 13-episode series based on Stephen King’s novel, starts with a rapid-fire opening hour where we meet the main characters and learn the nature of the dome the covers the small town of Chester’s Grove, Maine.
“Bag of Bones” (1998) is one of my favorite Stephen King books, so it’s refreshing to see A&E doing a beautiful job adapting it. (Part one was on Sunday, and the final two-hour installment will be at 8 p.m. Central Monday. If you missed part one, you can catch it at 6 p.m., or at the A&E website.)
“The X-Files” fifth season (1997-98, Fox) is one big appetizer for the main course — “X-Files: Fight the Future,” which would hit movie theaters in the summer of 1998 and presumably give epic answers to those nagging mythology questions.