I picked up the short story collection Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King last week at Half Price Books, along with Fight Club and the novelization for Suicide Squad. Of course, I read Fight Club first, and started Full Dark, No Stars the other night. The first story in the collection is ‘1922’, which I finished this morning. Having read the story, I decided to watch the film starring Thomas Jane, my second favorite Punisher actor, via Netflix.
1922 is the story of Wilf, a family man & farmer in Nebraska. When his wife inherits 100 acres of land after her father passes away, she wants to sell it & her husband’s farm to a slaughterhouse and move to Omaha, or maybe even St. Louis. Wilf wants to stay on his farm, and tries to convince his wife to let him buy the 100 acres from her. This disagreement causes a rift between the couple, and Wilf convinces his teenage son to take his side against his mother. Concerned about losing the quality of the land, and what the slaughterhouse would do to his farm, Wilf decides the best way to deal with things is to murder his wife, and get his son to help.
After doing the deed, Wilf is haunted by rats and his son Hank starts acting out, gets his girlfriend pregnant, and they have a run as Bonnie & Clyde-type criminals. As Wilf’s life falls apart, visions of his dead wife torture him past the point of no return.
The movie picks up years after the murder, and is narrated by Wilf as he writes his confession in an Omaha hotel room that slowly fills with rats.
The movie, with a screenplay & direction from Zak Hilditch, follows the Stephen King story pretty closely, a few minor changes here & there, up until the ending. King’s short story has a more defined fate for Wilf, while the movie goes for a more supernatural conclusion.
Not sure I’d recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the story, definitely not to anyone with a phobia about rats, vermin, dead bodies, reanimated corpses, or cows. The trailer creeped me out when I first watched it, which is why I waited ’til after reading the story to get to the movie.
Thomas Jane does alright as Wilf, sounding like he has chewing tobacco in his mouth the whole time. House of Cards’ Molly Parker is Arletta, the wife with the 100 acres. And Neal McDonough, from Star Trek: First Contact and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, is the Harlan, the pregnant girl’s father & Wilf’s neighbor.