King fans were super excited to finally get an actual trailer for the upcoming Castle Rock show on Hulu. Do we have any idea what it’s going to be about? No. Are we any less excited? No. It’s full of King references we’re excited to see pay off in a weekly series and I personally and wishing the year would hurry up so we can get into 2018 and get closer to the premiere.
While we wait I have constructed a list below that makes it so we can sort of create our own Castle Rock universe with movies that are already available. You’ve probably seen them all but may not have noticed that they are all actually connected accidentally just by adapting the source material that is connected. So here is your list in viewing order. And spoiler alert I’ll be giving a quick synopsis of the movies and also how it’s connected to the rest in the list and possibly the books they are based on. Just be warned.
Stand By Me (1986)
One of the more sentimental Stephen King movies. A group of boys go to find a dead body of one of their classmates and along the way each comes to terms with their place in the world.
This movie sort of sets the stage. It’s summer in 1959 so we get to see a more quaint version of Castle Rock. The town is only really our starting point and stopping point but all of our characters live there. There’s not much crossover here for our movie universe other than this happened in our main setting for this viewing session. In the book Kiefer Sutherland’s character Ace Merrill actually plays a big part in the book NEEDFUL THINGS as he gets out of jail and returns to Castle Rock just as things are starting to break down in Castle Rock. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
The Dead Zone (1983)
One of my favorites on the list. After getting into a car crash and being in a coma for 5 years Johnny Smith finds out he has a gift. If he touches you he can see your future. Good or bad. Once he shakes the hand of Greg Stillson he sees a future filled with death. What can he do to stop it?
Here we start to see the dark side of Castle Rock. For part of the first half of the movie we see that a serial killer is stalking the streets attacking women. Sheriff Bannerman (played awesomely by Tom Skerritt) is at the end of his rope trying to find the killer so he turns to Johnny to see what he can find. They find their killer and from there Johnny moves on to stop nuclear armageddon. This section of the film though will feature heavily in our next movie.
Cujo (1983) –
Simple concept. A woman and her son are trapped in their car at a lonesome farm by a rabid Saint Bernard.
Again we’re present in Castle Rock. Here we find a pretty simple story. Woman in the car with the dog right? Well here’s where our connections come in. In the beginning of the movie Tad is afraid of the monster in his closet. In the book that monster he’s afraid of is the boogeyman that the serial killer from The Dead Zone had become around town. People whispered about it and Frank Dodd has become sort of an urban legend around town. So Tad is afraid of the killer from The Dead Zone. And later in the book it’s sort of just thrown around (not seriously but Tad sort of thinks about it while trapped) that the evil that possessed Frank Dodd has now gone into Cujo.
The other big connection we have is that the sheriff that ends up out at the farm is none other than our friend Sheriff Bannerman (not awesomely played by Tom Skerritt).
The Dark Half (1993)
Thad Beaumont is a successful writer who’s pen name has just been outed. He decides to publicly kill off his alter ego rather than paying a blackmailer. Bad news is his alter ego doesn’t want to be dead.
In this George Romero directed movie Michael Rooker plays the sheriff Alan Pangborn (who is supposed to be a main character in the new Castle Rock series). He’s Bannerman’s replacement. He’s now in charge of the strange things that happen around Castle Rock. Also we meet his deputy briefly Norris Ridgewick.
Needful Things (1993)
A new shop opens up in Castle Rock. It claims to be able to give you whatever you desire . . . for a price.
Max Von Sydow plays the devil and has shown up to reek havoc in Castle Rock. This time out our main character is Sheriff Alan Pangborn (this time played by Ed Harris). He tries to keep Castle Rock from destroying itself but it’s a hard task. Helping him is his trusty deputy Norris Ridgewick. In the book we actually visit a lot of the famous locations from these previous movies/stories. Some old characters come back. Ace Merrill plays a big part.
So there you have it. That’s your cinematic journey through Castle Rock. I will say you could also do The Shawshank Redemption but it doesn’t feature in our journey here. It does seem that it will play a part in the new Hulu series.