The Woman in the Room (Frank Darabont, 1984, USA)

Perhaps the most well-known of King's "dollar babies," and King's favorite, The Woman in the Room is an adaptation of a story published in King's 1978 collection Night Shift. What makes this short film stand out from other King short films is that its director, Frank Darabont, went on to become a successful director - primarily of King properties (The Shawshank RedemptionThe Green MileThe Mist). The Woman in the Room was one of the first dollar babies - i.e. titles that Stephen King sold the rights for student films for a dollar. Perhaps because of Darabont's later success, Woman is notable for being one of the few dollar babies available for commercial distribution. It was released on VHS in the 1990s as part of a Night Shift Collection along with The Boogeyman.

King's "Woman," tells the story of a man, Johnny, who decides to euthanize his mother, riddled with cancer. A personal story for King, whose own mother's death by cancer inspired it, the film and story are notable for being some of King's first purely dramatic works published. Darabont renders the story professionally and faithfully, with only one spooky dream sequence that was no doubt intended to please King fans who thought they were getting some horror.

The film is notable for the performance of Brian Libby as a prisoner that Johnny is representing. Libby would go on to appear in all of Darabont's films, and he appeared as a character actor in several other notable films including Heat. While The Woman in the Room is very obviously a first effort, it is easy to see why the film impressed King and garnered acclaim. While it took Darabont another decade to make feature films, his debut was an indication of what was to come in his career.



Popular Posts