Review: The Dark Half
I love this story. As a writer, especially someone who has dabbled in horror, you kind of have to. I like a lot of Stephen King also, and this represents a very common theme of biographical story telling. This one is even a bit inception like because it a writer putting himself into his writing in a story that about a writer who REALLY put's himself into his writing.
I say I love the story because my first introduction was in the 1993 move of the same name. I would call this a trans-formative experience for me. Timothy Hutton out acts the movie at every turn. The body horror at the start of the movie was my first experience in the work of George Romero, and a gateway to the works of Cronenberg and Carpenter. It was the first time that I really gave a thought to the idea that writing is something that isn't just made for the reader, but is something that can change the author. I love that idea, and I've found it to be totally true in my own life with my own writing.
Amazingly this is one of the instances where the movie is better then the source material. Where the movie focuses mostly on one character the novel moves it's perspective around between the full cast, usually separated by chapter breaks which makes scenes seem to stutter sometimes. This is something from the 90s part of King's bibliography so there are parts of the prose that if you like King might be ok, but they pull a groan from me that you'd hear watching any "good" Roger Corman movie.
I'll admit that reading this novel after having loved the movie for so long probably meant I didn't give the story the same shake I might have in '89 when the novel released, but for now The Dark Half gets three stars out of five.