There was a popular narrative in the ’90s and aughts that Stephen King adaptations for film and television were usually bad. It’s a ridiculous narrative, because if you’ve written the source material for Carrie, The Dead Zone, Stand by Me, The Shining, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption, Hollywood has done pretty well by your work.Or maybe the truth is that those strong productions aren’t exactly exceptions that prove a rule, but rather the counter-evidence that makes disappointing adaptations even more disappointing? Paramount+’s take on The Stand was disappointing because the writers tried too hard to fix a structure that wasn’t broken. Apple TV+’s version of Lisey’s Story was disappointing because the writer — in this case, some guy named Stephen King — prioritized the integrity of the books to the needs of a different medium.And yes, Epix’s new 10-part limited series Chapelwaite is disappointing, in large part because nobody involved really wanted to adapt King’s short story “Jerusalem’s Lot,” but kinda did it anyway.Chapelwaite Season 1 Download
“Jerusalem’s Lot,” part of King’s 1978 Night Shift collection, is a slight but creepy tale. It runs a few dozen pages and involves only two or three characters. It isn’t exactly an origin story for King’s second- or third-most-beloved cursed Maine town, but it definitely involves the author’s thematic fascination with locations in which generational rot descends into pure evil. It’s more unnerving than scary, more rats scurrying in the walls than vampire children knocking on windows in the dead of night.Peter and Jason Filardi’s adaptation for Epix does away with most of the plot of “Jerusalem’s Lot” and jettisons everything insinuating about the story in favor of overly spelled-out and familiar horror tropes that might recall Salem’s Lot. Chapelwaite is more purely horror and yet somehow duller, especially in a plodding first half. If the first five episodes of Chapelwaite had been condensed to two hours and the last five episodes had been trimmed to another two, I would still say that the miniseries was a slow burn, while acknowledging that there’s schlocky fun to be had in the home stretch.