Directed By: George A Romero
Starring: Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, Robert Joy
Synopsis: When author Thad Beaumont is on the verge of success, he decides it’s time for his pseudonym George Stark to cease writing. He soon finds out that Stark is not ready to be done.
Thoughts: Hoping to recreate the success of Creepshow, George Romero was tabbed to direct another Stephen King adaptation. The Dark Half marks Romero’s first collaboration with a major studio, something that has never gone well for him.
The star of the movie is Timothy Hutton, who plays a duel role as the protagonist and antagonist. When he takes his turn as Stark, he just exudes evil. It’s pretty amazing to see an actor be able to deliver such split roles in the same movie and sell them both whole heartedly. Michael Rooker plays a supporting role as the sheriff investigating the murders surrounding the author. While I normally love Rooker’s work, his character was a little off in The Dark Half. The sheriff let Beaumont get away with way too much to be realistic. Having not read the book, I had a feeling that there was more to this relationship that didn’t come out on screen.
Romero’s work here was solid, but what really made for a successful adaption was the screenplay. Like I mentioned, I haven’t read this particular King work, but the script and flow of the story was very good. Out of the many Romero movies I’ve watched and rewatched over the last month or so, this one feels the least like one his. I can’t put my finger on it, but I imagine a lot of it has to do with Romero struggling with the studio over creative control.
Even with Romero’s struggles, this is still worth checking out, even if it just for Hutton’s performance. It isn’t one of my favorite Romero movies, but there’s a lot of completion in that realm.