The Dark Half (1993)

Horror, Mystery
Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris
A writer's fictional alter-ego wants to take over his life...at any price.
  • Orion Home Video Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 23 Apr 1993 Released:
  • 14 Aug 2001 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Stephen King (novel), George A. Romero (screenplay Writer:
  • George A. Romero Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

"The sparrows are flying again."5/10

The Dark Half is one of the finest Stephen King adaptations. It's also one of George Romero's most under-appreciated works. The two of them have collaborated on many occasions to produce nothing but good things, but this takes it to a new level. Romero is known for casting unknowns for his leads. This time he went against the grain. He used the amazing Timothy Hutton. Hutton, in a dual role, plays both mild-mannered Thad Beaumont and mean b*stard George Stark. But when he's Stark, he really comes to life. He's both cool and creepy. The sparrows are also a crucial part of the overall eeriness of the movie. Although he will always be known for the unforgettable Dead trilogy, this may be Romero's finest, most high-brow picture to date. The production values are the cleanest I've seen in any Romero flick, the acting is top-notch, and story is solid. Getting a scare at the theater is fairly easily achieved. Getting me to jump in the privacy of my own home in another thing altogether. Romero made me jump while watching the movie on a crappy 19 inch television.and I've seen the movie before. That's saying something. Royal Dano and Michael Rooker co-star.
just okay5/10
Sadly a rather bland version of King's sadly rather bland novel. Romero had apparently been slated to direct Pet Semetary before commitments (Monkey Shines) pulled him off - now that would have been worth watching. This on the other hand is a rather tepid slasher flick punctuated with a few inspired moments (the dream sequences and the whole sparrow things in particular). It's hard to know who is a fault here - certainly Dark Half - despite its intriguing premise - is one of King's weaker novels - but Romero's screenplay is little more than a rather one dimensional collection of deaths. There is some suspense and some good effects but overall a rather dull affair.
Very Scary And Unique!!7/10

This is one of the few horror movies in which I was truly frightened. Unlike most horror movies these days, this one was serious from beginning to end. I
saw this movie before I read the book and knew very little about it. I was on the edge of my seat all night. Timothy Hutton is wonderful as the evil George Stark and the good Thad Beaumont. Amy Madigan was good as his confused wife, too. This movie is a wonderful adaptation of the Stephen King book. Very little is left out. If you haven't seen this movie, which many people have not, you should rent it. I give it a ten out of ten.
You'll like this one, Hoss8/10

The Dark Half is great. Put two of the masters of horror together in a box, shake ‘em up, and you get this very entertaining and darkly humorous story. Can you believe this is the latest film from George Romero? 1993? It's a crime that this man isn't doing movies on a regular basis anymore. I hear he has a couple of projects on the horizon, but seven years is just too long, George! Stephen King movie adaptions can be pretty damn good, or really, really awful depending on who's behind the camera. Well, no worries here, King and Romero have had a great working relationship in the past (and I expect good things in the future).

But give credit where credit is due, it's Timothy Hutton's outstanding performance that really makes this film special for me. He's good enough as ordinary Thad Beaumont, with just a hint of evil underneath his nice husband and father persona, holding back the nasty as best he can. Then Hutton is George Stark, and he doesn't even look like the same person. That's why Hutton is so damn good. With just a few minor changes, slicked-back hair and some facial stubble, he's a completely different person. You have to see it to believe it, he's that good. And he delivers the films darkly humorous lines perfectly ("What's going on out here?", "Murder. Want some?"). I know, the murderous joker has been done to death, but Hutton's good enough that we can forgive it. I love, love, love horror movies and this is one of the reasons why. 8/10 stars. G'night!
A film that deserves far more than it's given credit for5/10
Somewhere in the dark recesses of over-fluffed and processed Stephen King movie adaptations, there lies this jewel of a film: "The Dark Half."

After having it watched it about three times, I'm still quite at a loss as to why this movie has been, more or less, forgotten or simply passed over by the horror movie community. Not only is it a fairly neat adaptation of a great King novel, but it's also directed and written by a true horror movie icon: the one and only George Romero. Isn't this the kind of "team-up" that fans would, under normal circumstances, go absolutely bananas over? I know that I did.

Anyway ... the movie is about a writer, Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton), whose past - quite literally - comes back to haunt him. As a young man, he wrote pulpy crime novels (that I can only imagine were directly inspired by Richard Stark's hardboiled, master thief, Parker) that sold well ... though his literary yearnings tended to veer toward a much less marketable direction. We learn that when he was writing those pulps, his personality suffered. He drank, yelled at his wife, probably slept around, too. Having successfully exorcised that particular demon, when we meet him, Beaumont has a couple kids and an office at some New England university, teaching - you guessed it - creative writing. But when the bodies of folks close to him (i.e.: his agent, biographer) begin cropping up, the small-town police fun finger is pointed at Beaumont. But ... there's a much more sinister twist in this jet-black yarn. We learn that Beaumont indeed has a "dark half."

The direction is perfect, the writing is perfect, the acting is perfect. What more do you want in a film? I'm not exactly certain what King's response was to this film ... I've heard rumors that if he's not directly involved in the production process, he generally scoffs at the final film product. (For example ... he's all but urinated on all the goodness that was Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of "The Shining," which not only marked a substantial turning point in horror cinema, but it's also one of my personal favorites.) Then again ... from what I understand to be true of King and Romero both ... they're friends. Hell, they made "Creepshow" together ... which is another favorite of mine, though I'm more than just a little bit guilty about it.

"The Dark Half" also does one hell of a job at creating a genuinely creepy atmosphere. And who could listen to "Are You Lonesome Tonight" again the same way ... after hearing its soft melodies during a particularly uncomfortable dream sequence?

All of this, compounded with the fact that Timothy Hutton is a damned fine actor (albeit sinfully unknown by most these days) ... makes "The Dark Half" an explosively well made horror/thriller. The proverbial mind meld of King and Romero made "Creepshow" an instant cult classic. So, I ask again ... why was "The Dark Half" a blink-or-you'll-miss-it flop? Maybe these horror titans just can't share the same marquee, anymore.

I dunno.