‘Made in Maine’ film fest honors American horror-master Stephen King

Writer known for such hits as ‘It’ and ‘The Green Mile’

STEPHEN KING at the PEN America Literary Gala in New York, last year. (photo credit: LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)
STEPHEN KING at the PEN America Literary Gala in New York, last year.
The works of Stephen King are the focus of Made in Maine, a film festival now taking place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque in honor of the 72nd birthday on September 21 of the American fiction writer.
Maine is King’s home state as well as the location of many of his works, such as the fictional town of Derry, where the plot of the 1986 novel It is set.
The best-selling novel was recently adapted to the big screen by Andres Muschietti, who made two films depicting both parts of the book. The first film was released in 2017, and the second was released in Israel on Thursday.
Both movies tell the story of a group of teenagers who call themselves “The Loser’s Club,” and how they must confront, and eventually defeat, an evil entity known as “It.”
The entity takes on the form of a murderous clown who has the power to alter reality, invade the private lives of his victims, and prey on children.
The clown is presented as being intimately involved with the history of Derry, making him a stand-in for real horrors that inhabit American history and modern society such as racism, antisemitism and misogyny.
Other films in the Made in Maine festival include Misery (1990) The Shawshank Redemption (1994), the 1983 John Carpenter adaption of Christine, and the 2013 remake of the 1976 hit Carrie.
King, who is not Jewish, has written about Jewish characters not only in It but also in his 1982 Apt Pupil novella, in which a young all-American boy realizes his next-door neighbor is an aging Nazi war criminal. The young man is drawn to the evil the older man represents and gradually morphs into a deeply dark and disturbing figure. 
King is a popular writer in Israel. In what might be surprising to those who reject the literary merits of the horror novel, King’s works have been adapted to local theater twice in recent years. The Green Mile was produced by the Beersheba Theater, and Misery is still ongoing at the Cameri Theater.
King, who is famous for being a hard-working writer able to produce a great volume of pages, took on the pen name of Richard Bachman in 1977 in order to see if his success was luck or due to talent. The Bachman novels sold well and inspired movie adaptations of their own in The Running Man (1987) and Thinner (1996).
In an introduction to one collection of short stories, King shares how a woman at a supermarket recognized him and told him she hates his scary work and prefers uplifting movies such as The Shawshank Redemption. When he informed her he wrote that movie too, she huffed and walked away in disbelief.
The Made in Maine Film Festival – An Homage to Stephen King continues through September 13, which happens to be a Friday. For details, go to cinema.co.il.