Director Mike Flanagan is becoming quite adept at adapting the work of horror author Stephen King for the big and small screen. Having helmed both Gerald's Game for Netflix and last year's The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, Flanagan has now called King's sweeping epic The Dark Tower his "Holy Grail" of stories to bring to life.

"The Dark Tower is forever going to be the story I wish I could tell. That would be the Holy Grail. I mean, talk about an adaptation challenge... So many very talented people have poured so much time and heart and soul and blood, sweat and tears trying to crack that."
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The Dark Tower was last adapted back in 2017, with disastrous results. Directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel, and starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as hero and villain respectively, The Dark Tower is an ambitious and expansive story from one of the world's most celebrated authors, that sadly failed to live up to even the lowest of expectations. Following Elba as The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, who has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, Deschain is determined to prevent the toppling of the titular Dark Tower, a structure that holds the universe together. Thrown into the fantastical world is eleven-year-old Jake, who meets the last Gunslinger in Mid-World as he pursues the Man in Black.

The Dark Tower was mauled by critics, and currently sits at a putrid 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. While the source material is hugely well-regarded, containing dense plotting, wonderful characters, and a sprawling mythology, the big screen adaptation is a dull, lifeless slog of a movie that never sparks to life and lays waste to both its talented cast and the King novels on which it is based.

Following this unfortunate failure, recently there were plans to adapt The Dark Tower into a television series, and given that the original narrative spans eight novels, this could well be the way to go for any future adaptation. Amazon Studios was attempting to develop the project into a long-running series but sadly that endeavor was ultimately scrapped.

Both of Flanagan's forays into the world of Stephen King, Gerald's Game and Doctor Sleep, were very well-received by both audiences and critics alike, so, if anyone can pull off adapting The Dark Tower, Mike Flanagan could very well be the best man for the job.

For the time being, Flanagan is far from done with the horror genre and is busy directing the upcoming series The Haunting of Bly Manor for Netflix. The series, which is a creation of Flanagan's, tells the story of a young governess hired by a man to look after his niece and nephew at the family country house after they fall into his care. Arriving at the Bly estate, she begins to see apparitions that proceed to haunt the premises. The show is scheduled to premiere on Netflix later this year on October 9, 2020.

This comes to us courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge