The premiere of ‘Black Phone’ has entered a good position at the US box office, especially in the case of a horror movie for adults. As we mentioned in our review, this film from Scott Derrickson adapts a story by Joe Hillwho, as we know, is a pedigree writer, since his father is none other than Stephen King and this time, the imprint of the creator of Maine is so noticeable at all times that it seems like a tribute.
There are details like the suburban setting in the 70s, the history, the dark tone closely linked to King but with its own identity that is also very similar to Derrickson’s work. In a way he is a little coming of age which, as in many of King’s works, narrates the loss of innocence through a horror film allegory, but there are also many more specific references, almost a collage of the author’s imagination scattered at different times. Let’s review the most striking connections.
An unearthly version of ‘IT’
a girl with yellow raincoat running in the rain, bullying at school, bicycles and posters of missing children spread out all over the neighborhood. ‘Black Phone’ looks like a great postmodern reconstruction of the Maine’s most famous work, only with a realistic look and a real monster.
The fact that Ethan Hawke’s killer is a 70-year-old boy predator leads directly to John Wayne Gacy, and even in the story he dressed up as a clown. Here he only keeps the balloons, black in color, but his pale devilish mask is a representation that is very reminiscent of Pennywise, which by the way, was inspired in part by Gacy, who used to appear at block parties in his Pogo outfit, the clown.
count me in hell
Derrickson revealed that Stephen King, father of Joe Hill author and modern master of literary horror, made a comparison when his son showed him the film, saying he loved it and called it “it’s ‘Stand by me’… in hell and I think it’s brilliant”. An idea that is not so far from reality, apart from Gwen and Finney’s relationship, it is also about eThe link through time between Finney and the five previous victims of the kidnapperthe loss of innocence with dead children instead of the body they find.
‘Carrie’ and ‘Eyes of Fire’
The figure of the father who hits his children is a classic of King, but the most direct thing is that the daughter, Gwen, has powers that she inherited from her mother. A reference point would be ‘Eyes of fire’ with a dysfunctional family dynamic with the girl with powers, but and her little boy with powers. However, it ends up being more like ‘Carrie’ in the way an abusive father tries to suppress his own daughter by her powers and by the very pervasiveness of religion as part of education and oppression of the girl.
Clairvoyance, murders and ghosts
In the Stephen King universe there are countless sensitive people, mediums or with some kind of power. One of the most common abilities in your world is extrasensory sensitivity and clairvoyance.what in ‘The Shining’ and ‘Doctor Sleep’ we would call the glow, with which Danny Torrance guesses that something bad is going to happen —there is also an ax in the film that is very reminiscent of Halloran’s death—, or also Johnny Smith from ‘The Dead Zone’ (1979).
They don’t always work the same or have the same strength, Gwen wouldn’t be at Abra’s level, but she also has contact with the dead children and it’s her powers that make them find the bodies. There are theories that the captor would also have glow. Like the captor, the vampires in ‘Doctor Sleep’ have a certain fixation on infants. The ghosts of the dead that appear to the protagonists is a classic of the genre, but is significant in King’s works such as ‘Animal Cemetery’ or ‘A Bag of Bones’, perhaps the most similar to ‘The Last Step’ by Matheson, one of King’s great influences.
Crimes, alcoholics and terrible basements
IF in ‘1922’ King had a ghostly woman tormenting her husband, both ‘Tommyknockers’ and ‘The Shining’ had alcoholics as protagonists, reflecting the great dragon that King has faced all his life. Hill’s adaptation is tremendous because draws a drunken father who beats his children, a bit the same fear that King had of becomingbut of course, it is not the same as the one who describes it is his son, who by the way, has revealed that the idea of the terrifying basement comes from his father’s own house, the definitive influence.