Yesterday, Spike released two 2.5-minute-long featurettes for its upcoming show based on Stephen King’s novella of the same name, The Mist. The featurettes are by far the most detailed glimpse into the show’s story we have gotten to date. One of them focuses on the differences between the TV and novella iterations of The Mist, as well as mentioning several broad thematic similarities. The other was released exclusively on the Youtube channel of horror authority Bloody Disgusting, and it looks at how those involved with the show were directly inspired by Stephen King’s books.
The first of the two featurettes is intended for more general audiences than the second one, which is more oriented towards horror fans specifically.
“Entering ‘The Mist'”: The Differences and Similarities Between Spike’s The Mist and Stephen King’s The Mist
The first featurette, reported by SyFy Wire, was released on Spike’s Youtube channel. It lets audiences know that, although The Mist will retain the main story beats of Stephen King’s work, the narrative themes and overall structure will be all original.
“On one hand, it’s the story of a seemingly innocent mist that one day drifts into the town of Bridgewill, Maine,” says The Mist‘s creator and showrunner Christian Torpe in the featurette. “Pretty soon, it becomes clear that whatever is in the mist is not natural, and if you go out there, you will die.”
That sounds like the premise of Stephen King’s literary iteration of The Mist. It is what the most recent trailer for the TV show, which the Inquisitr reported was quite gory and intense, had led us to expect from Spike’s series.
Torpe continues, however, that the TV show’s plot will quickly diverge from its source material.
“On the other hand, it’s a more character-driven story about a family facing its own worst fear when the daughter is sexually assaulted. The parents are torn apart in an argument.”
As many Stephen King fans are aware, The Mist in book form does not have anything to do with sexual abuse or family issues, and it will be interesting to see how Torpe weaves those things into the established narrative.
Darren Pettie, who will play a police officer on The Mist, then unveils another huge deviation from the novella’s plot that was already suspected, but never before confirmed outright. The series will follow multiple stores full of people who form factions and rivalries.
“There’s a group stuck in the mall, there’s a group that ends up in the church,” Pettie says. “Even in there, partnerships and alliances start. And then people’s true natures start to come out.”
The heavy emphasis on characters and the baser aspects of human nature are actually very Stephen King-y themes that appear in a lot of his works, possibly including The Mist. It sounds like the creators of the Mist TV show plan to take that character development aspect to a whole other level with the 10 one-hour episodes they will have at their disposal, but it is encouraging to know they are playing up something that made the book work instead of adding in random elements that will muddle the plot, like many critics accused Under the Dome, a recent TV adaptation also from a Stephen King book, of doing.
Another element of The Mist revealed in the featurette that is faithful to Stephen King’s body of work is the concern with the inner workings of a small town — or lack thereof.
“The basic functions of a town are no longer working, so the things you take for granted everyday are wiped out,” explains Frances Conroy, an actress who will play a charismatic but cold-blooded religious zealot named Natalie Raven.
“All the characters in the episodes, especially as you continue, are so fully drawn,” she finishes.
“The Influences Of Stephen King”: The Mist‘s Featurette For Horror Fans
The second featurette is actually titled “The Influences of Stephen King,” which says it all: it’s nearly 150 seconds of the show’s crew and cast discussing why they love Stephen King. The clip was released exclusively to Bloody Disgusting, which suggests it was made for a very specific audience: horror fans, the type of people who would be reading Bloody Disgusting in the first place. That makes sense, as fans of horror are the most likely to get excited about Spike’s The Mist based on the knowledge that those involved are fans of King’s work.
The featurette begins in true horror fashion with a pretty terrifying scene of some cockroach-like creatures landing on a policeman and gnawing his face off.
Fans of the genre will be happy to hear that Torpe, probably the person most important to the show’s success, seems to really understand some of the key ingredients of King’s work due to a longtime love of the author.
“I grew up in a very small town,” Torpe reminisces. “Every Monday I would go to the local library where I actually worked so I would always get first access to the books coming in, and it would always be the Stephen King books. The first one I read was Carrie, when I was 11. I grew up with them.”
“I think Stephen King understands human nature,” Torpe points out. “To take his knowledge of fear and humanity and put it into a character and have that character evolve or devolve as he sees fit, that’s really the mastery of his books.”
“He makes people seem like your neighbor,” adds Frances Conroy. “Recognizable kind of a person. And then with one word, he just takes you right off the cliff into this moment of great fear.”
The featurette contains a few more monologues about why those speaking love King’s work, but nearly all of them seem to rotate around one central theme: that the “King of modern horror” writes great characters and develops them extremely well. Which is a very reassuring thing to hear from actors who will soon be portraying characters on a show based on a Stephen King story.
Some of the actors who speak in The Mist’s featurette seem to have less of a grasp of King’s books, but they are still very familiar with the movies they inspired.
“I grew up with The Shining, and Carrie, and It, and all these films that I saw when I was way too young,” laughs Danica Curcic, an actress on The Mist.
The Bloody Disgusting exclusive featurette was intended to convert as many existing horror-heads as possible to fans of the show. The first trailer was meant to convert the remainder, those who are hungrier for fresh and original content. Time will tell if they will be successful when The Mist airs on Spike TV at 10 p.m. on June 22.
[Featured Image by Spike]