Stephen King's Desperation (film)

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Stephen King's Desperation
Stephen King's Desperation (intertitle).jpg
Intertitle
Created by Stephen King
Directed by Mick Garris
Produced by Bruce Dunn
Mick Garris
Stephen King
Mark Sennet
Kelly Van Horn
Written by Stephen King
Starring Ron Perlman
Tom Skerritt
Steven Weber
Annabeth Gish
Shane Haboucha
Sammi Hanratty
Music by Nicholas Pike
Editing by Patrick McMahon
Production company Touchstone Television
Buena Vista Television
Sennet-Gernstein Entertainment
Budget $12 million
Country United States
Language English
Original channel American Broadcasting Company
Release date May 23, 2006 (2006-05-23)
Running time 130 minutes

Stephen King's Desperation is Stephen King's television movie adaptation of his own novel of the same name, which was filmed in 2004 and broadcast in 2006. The film is directed by frequent King collaborator Mick Garris and stars Ron Perlman as Collie Entragian, Tom Skerritt, Steven Weber and Annabeth Gish. Filming primarily took place in Bisbee, Arizona, in the nearly deserted Lowell borough, with other sequences in Old Bisbee, the outskirts of Bisbee and Tucson, Arizona. During filming, a set in the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) caught fire. Five people were injured. The fire destroyed everything on the set, including all production gear and equipment, and the TCC was heavily damaged.[1]

The film closely follows the plot of the novel and has received moderate reviews, including a 46 rating from Metacritic.[2] Though originally intended as a two-part miniseries, Desperation aired in its three-hour entirety on May 23, 2006, on ABC, after a red-carpet premiere screening at Tucson's historic Fox Theatre (built in 1929). ABC aired Desperation at the same time as Fox's American Idol, an action that King himself was upset with;[3] thus, it did not do that well in the ratings with only 7.5 million viewers.

Plot[edit]

In the Nevada desert, a couple, Peter and Mary Jackson are driving just as they are stopped by a sheriff, Collie Entragian. He soon learns they are in possession of marijuana. In response, he takes them to jail. After they enter the police station, they see a little girl, dead, on the floor and Entragian shoots and kills Peter. Mary is thrown in a jail cell along with a young boy, David Carver, his parents, Ralph and Ellen, and an old man, Tom Billingsley. It's also learned the little girl is the Carver's daughter named Pie. In jail. David is praying to God, which he's been doing since his best friend Brian was struck by a drunk driver. In a flashback sequence, David and Brian are bike riding when a drunk driver strikes Brian, the impact causing Brian to fly through the air and into a building. Brian has suffered severe head trauma and injuries to his face. David immediately begins praying to God, offering to sacrifice anything, and to do what ever is asked of him in order to save Brian. At which point, Brian, who was on the brink of death, miraculously regains consciousness. The doctor at the hospital describes Brian's recovery as "miraculous".

Meanwhile, Steve Ames is in his truck following famous author Johnny Marinville who is some 50 miles up ahead. Steve soon picks up a young female hitchhiker named Cynthia Smith. Johnny stops in the desert to urinate just as Entragian shows up behind him and puts the same bag of marijuana he got from Peter and Mary in Johnny's motorcycle bag and "arrests" him.

Later, David realizes Entragian's skin is breaking out and he keeps saying "Tak" because he is possessed. Entragian then takes Ellen so he can shift his spirit into her body and puts a vicious dog in charge of things. Pie's ghost appears and gives David a bar of soap. He proceeds to scrub his body with the soap and while the dog is distracted, David slips through the bars of the jail cell and gets out of the room. David searches the police station and finds a gun on the corpse of another sheriff. He returns to shoot the guarding dog to free everyone.

Meanwhile, Steve drives up to where Johnny was captured by Entragian to find Johnny's motorcycle hidden behind dry bushes. Cynthia and Steve later search the town of Desperation, where they find all the residents dead. That night, they both meet up with the gang. They gather at a theater and Tom tells a story that took place 120 years ago, when Chinese workers digging in a mine discovered an evil spirit named "Tak." The now possessed Ellen sends in a mountain lion and Tom is killed. Mary is captured by Ellen so that she can have a new body.

David sees the ghost of Pie in the theater again and she leads him to the movie editing machine revealing the truth of how Tak came to the town. Mary wakes up to find herself trapped in a shed waiting to be the next host for Tak. With the help of Pie, she manages to escape, while seriously injuring Ellen's body forcing Tak to take over the body of a raven.

Johnny later confesses 40 years ago in Vietnam he saw a guy, possessed by Tak, blow up the bathroom of a bar killing 87 people. The group decides to return to the cave with some explosives they found to put an end to Tak. At the entrance, a vulture comes out and kills Ralph. In order to redeem himself, Johnny goes into the mine and falls in a hole leading to a small hole where Tak is. Johnny ignites the explosives, blowing up the mine while the rest of survivors drive away in Steve's truck.

Along the route driving away from the town, they pass by the RV vehicle owned by David's family and Peter's sister's car. Mary tells Steve to stop the truck to retrieve an overnight case from the car. In the back seat Mary finds an album belonging to David with a frontispiece picture of Johnny and Pie together, which Steve identifies as being signed by Johnny.

Cast[edit]

Promotional still from the film featuring the cast members.
  • Tom Skerritt as Johnny Marinville - A famous author who was in Vietnam when he was young
  • Ron Perlman as Collie Entragian - The sheriff of the town of Desperation, having already been possessed by Tak at the start of the movie
  • Steven Weber as Steve Ames - A man who works for Johnny
  • Annabeth Gish as Mary Jackson - The wife of Peter
  • Charles Durning as Tom Billingsley - An old veterinarian who lives in the town
  • Shane Haboucha as David Carver - A boy who talks to God
  • Matt Frewer as Ralph Carver - David's father
  • Kelly Overton as Cynthia Smith - Female hitch hiker
  • Henry Thomas as Peter Jackson - The husband of Mary
  • Sylvia Kelegian as Ellen Carver - David's mother
  • Sammi Hanratty as Pie Carver - David's deceased sister
  • Ewan Chung as Shih - Chinese miner, brother to Cha'an
  • Alain Uy as Cha'an - Chinese miner, brother to Shih
  • Trieu Tran as Young Viet Cong
  • Tom Parker as Young Johnny

References[edit]

External links[edit]