Written by: Eddie D. Shackleford
Stephen King is considered the greatest horror storyteller to ever transform our collective fears into words. When it comes to television adaptations, Stephen King has had his share of stories morphed into the TV series and TV mini-series mediums: “Salem’s Lot,” “It,” “The Stand” and “The Dead Zone” just to name a few that are aired on cable TV. But when it comes to creating a modern Stephen King project for television, exactly which horror novel would make the most interesting TV show?
The name of the horror book from Stephen King that would make the greatest television series is “Night Shift,” which is a collection of 20 short stories that King concocted and released in 1978. Actually, two of them went on to become fairly popular major motion pictures (with many others earning cinematic transfer, including the titular tale, “The Mangler” and “Sometimes They Come Back”) : “The Lawnmower Man,” which was originally printed in a May 1975 issue of Cavalier and “Children of the Corn,” which originated as a short story published in a March 1977 issue of Penthouse magazine. Instead of making a TV series with episodes adapted from every short story in the “Night Shift” horror book, it would be incredible to see a TV show based on only one of them – “Strawberry Spring.”
The basic premise for “Strawberry Spring” revolves around a nameless narrator who recalls the horrors of his college life, eight years prior, on the fictional college campus of New Sharon College when a serial killer named Springheel Jack was killing random students. In “Strawberry Spring,” one particular student takes a big interest in the murders and becomes fascinated by these horrible experiences that are taking place so close to his idyllic academic setting.
The fact that it is a serial killer that is putting the college campus and the New England town as a whole into an uproar makes for extremely intense suspense to add to the integral horror elements. Instead of depending on horrific blood, guts and gore, “Strawberry Spring” would be able to have a creepy psychological vibe that would keep audiences guessing where the killer is hiding, who the killer is, why the killer is killing, who will be the next victim and who will be able to put a stop to this serial killer’s madness?
Springheel Jack would make an excellent television antagonist because his myth would continue to expand gradually with each episode. The key to making him the most menacing figure on television would be to show as little of him as possible to make audiences get totally spooked out whenever he does pop up. By making Springheel Jack’s arrivals and departures completely unexpected, instead of following a repetitive story template, would also keep viewers glued to their screens.
Being that “Strawberry Spring” is a short story, there is plenty of room for the TV writers to expand the world that the story takes place in and the murders themselves. Being that the protagonist is a curious college kid, and not a muscular super hero, he would also be very relatable and easy to root for and worry about.
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