If you’re tossing up between the movie adaptation or the TV series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist, we’ve got you covered.
I’ve been a horror buff for many moons now. I cut my teeth on Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allen Poe, to name a few. The one thing they all have in common is that they do not use blood and gore as their calling card for their horror stories.
Instead, they concentrate more on the psychological aspects of the story. Take normal everyday people and stick them right in the middle of something that they have no experience in dealing with, and see what happens.
I do not believe blood and gore contributes to a horror movie, but rather detracts from it (I know, I know, everyone has an opinion, feel free to be passive aggressive in the comments).
That preference has a big impact on this comparison, not just because I’m biased, but it’s the Stephen King style. Let’s get stuck in.
The Mist film
The movie was released in 2007. Thomas Jane portrayed David Drayton, the main character who is stranded in a grocery store with his young son, separated from his wife who stayed home.
An eerie mist has shrouded the small Maine town Drayton lives in, and there are monsters on the loose.
The Mist movie is adapted from a Stephen King (hero) short story with the same title. The ending is different in the story than in the movie, but who am I to quibble.
The director and writer is Frank Darabont, who many fans of The Walking Dead will recognize.
The Mist is basically about an army experiment gone bad. A mist that is hiding something very dangerous is released and the mist cloaks the inhabitants from the view of the few survivors hiding in the grocery store.
The audience only catch glimpses of what the mist hides, and that’s enough to scare the survivors half to death. This is where the story shifts its focus.
What The Mist movie focuses on
Stephen King is a master at weaving a great story, but even better at revealing people’s true characters in stressful situations. Locked in a grocery store with creatures coming out of the mist trying to eat you, I would say constitutes as a stressful situation. How the people in the grocery store deal with the creatures, as well as each other, becomes the focus.
The movie becomes less about the creatures in the mist and becomes more about how people treat each other when their own life is threatened. It isn’t pretty.
The group huddled in the grocery store divide into three groups. A very small group of people remain sane and logical. A larger group contain fanatical fundamentalists ruled by a self-proclaimed speaker for God, Marcia Harden. The third group is an even smaller group of people who refuse to believe the situation they are in. They are stuck in denial and will probably end up sacrificed by Harden or eaten by the monsters.
From here, the bulk of the film focuses on the occurrences within the store between the different groups of people. How these once law-abiding citizens and friends suddenly turn on one another because of their fear – fear of death, but most of all, the fear of the unknown.
So who are the real monsters? Is it really the unknown creatures outside, or are the monsters locked inside the grocery store with him and his son?
The Mist TV series
The TV series version of The Mist has the same plot as the movie, but is (naturally) spread over multiple episodes.
The problem with this is that the series creator Christian Torpe took the blood and gore route. He concentrates more on the violence and less on the interchange between the characters. And that neglects the psychological thriller that King wrote (and the movie achieved).
Torpe took a great movie and turned it into a another blood and gore-type flick with no plot or character growth whatsoever. Happily, the series was cancelled after the first season. In fact, Ben Travers, writer for Indiewire wrote that the series “made a mockery of Stephen Kings book” (which it did).
So what’s the verdict?
The movie had a great plot and strong characters, without the blood and gore of many horror movies – including the series. It concentrated on the psychological aspects of the situation these people were thrown together in, and was more about the monsters that live in each of us than the monsters roaming the street in the mist.
The Mist TV series didn’t care about the characters – only the monsters that roamed the streets and only the blood and gore when the monsters meet the characters.
It’s not a question: The Mist movie vs TV? The movie wins hands down.