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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gerald's Game

      Stephen King's novel "Gerald's Game" is a first-rate chiller that for some reason has not made the transition to the big-screen.  Odd, considering how many of King's other works have been adapted.  "Gerald's Game" is vintage King, and it's scary.  For those of you not familiar with the story, it goes something like this.
     A forty-ish married couple, Gerald and Jessie, take a small vacation up to their lakeside cabin in Maine.  It's October, which means they're basically alone up there.  Gerald has invested in some handcuffs, to add a bit of kinkiness to their lovemaking.  Jessie doesn't exactly relish the idea, but decides to be a good sport and indulge her middle-aged husband's fantasies.  Gerald handcuffs his wife to the headboard, and at the worst possible timing, decides to drop dead of a heart attack- leaving Jessie cuffed to the bed.  Alone.  Her only company is a mangy, starving dog that has been abandoned in the woods.  A desperate dog who either has to eat or die...
     Now this alone could be a harrowing tale all in itself- how is Jessie going to get out of these handcuffs before she starves to death?  They are miles from a living being- she hears a chainsaw off in the distance, but it could be across the lake for all she knows.  And then there is that dog to deal with...  But King ups the ante here, and sends the story straight into full-blown horror.  As if Jessie trying to get out of those handcuffs and dealing with that darn dog who's hellbent on making a feast out of her dead husband lying on the floor beside her aren't bad enough, later on she wakes up in the middle of the night and sees a shape of a man standing in the corner of the room...
     "Gerald's Game" is a terrifying and highly entertaining read.  And this could be one hell of a horror movie, if done right, that is.  Because it's so simple.  Think about it.  Being handcuffed to a bed in a cabin on a deserted lake in late October is scary enough- without adding a mysteriously spooky figure standing in the corner of your bedroom.  This is the stuff nightmares are made of, and King has fashioned a highly entertaining one here- and for fun cleverly intertwines the character of Jessie with the unforgettable Dolores Claiborne.    This book was released in 1992, and while there's been lots of speculation and talk about a film version, so far, nothing.  While we're waiting though, in case you have not read this book- I highly recommend it.

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