THE MIST: THE TELEVISION SERIES BASED ON STEPHEN KING’S NOVELLA OF THE SAME NAME. (2017) WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN TORPE. STARRING MORGAN SPECTOR, ALYSSA SUTHERLAND, GUS BIRNEY, LUKE COSGROVE, RUSSELL POSNER, DARREN PETTIE, DANICA CURCIC, OKEZIE MORRO AND FRANCES CONROY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. © I loved this mini-series, despite the fact that it’s been described by Chris Scott of the Observer as ‘relentlessly bleak, mean, and downright sadistic at nearly every turn.’ It is pretty grim, but I still loved it, though it could have done with some fat-trimming at times. Released a full decade after Frank Darabont’s film adaptation of THE MIST, Stephen King’s famous novella, it tells the story of a mysterious mist that comes one day without any explanation to the fictional (I think?) town of Bridgeville in Stephen King’s beloved Maine. The Copeland family is the main on-screen family in the series. Kevin, the dad, is famous for writing one well-known children’s picture book about owls, if you please. Now he thinks he’s da bomb, lol. Hoot, hoot…! It’s his tall, lanky wife, Eve, a high school teacher whom everyone in Bridgeville refers to as the town slut, who wears the trousers in that house, and make no mistake about it. Eve is beyond furious with the curly-haired Kevin when he unwisely allows their teenage daughter Alex to attend a party, at which she is supposedly date-raped by Jay Heisel, the handsome quarterback of the high school footy team and son of the town’s sheriff. I say ‘supposedly,’ because there’s a question mark throughout the show as to whether or not Jay really ‘did it.’ He certainly denies it vehemently, but then, he would, wouldn’t he…? Alex’s best pal, the wimpy little goth boy, Adrian, comforts her while steadfastly maintaining that it was definitely Jay who committed the rape. When the mist comes, Eve and Alex become trapped in the local mall with Jay and a load of other townspeople (Alex shell-shocks her mum by becoming friendly and even romantic with Jay, her alleged rapist), while Kevin the dad and Adrian the goth boy end up hopping between the police station and the hospital in their efforts to get back to the two women. Kevin and Adrian pick up a couple of waifs and strays on their travels, namely, Mia, a good-looking but intense drug addict with a murky past, and Bryan Hunt, an amnesiac soldier who comes running into town at the start of the first episode (ten episodes in all) to warn everyone about the encroaching mist. He doesn’t have a clue how he knows that the mist is evil, except that he’s aware it killed his poor doggy. Meanwhile, police chief Connor Heisel, Jay’s dad, is stuck in the church, mediating between the dodgy Fr. Romanov and Nathalie Raven, an old hippy lady whose hubby Benedict was killed by the mist. Fr. Romanov thinks the mist is caused by the ‘traditional’ God we read about in the Bible, whilst crazy old Nathalie thinks it’s the doing of an angry Mother Nature, hell-bent on reclaiming some of her planet for herself. She refers to the current apocalyptic situation rather ominously as ‘the Black Spring.’ They decide to have a sort of highly risky ‘face-off’ between their respective ‘gods.’ They could each stand to learn some harsh lessons. Fr. Romanov, that you don’t send a boy to do your dirty work for you, and Mrs. Raven, that you really shouldn’t believe your own hype. The Mist will separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys. Or will it only make things more unclear…? The mist, which seems to personalise and tailor a person’s end to the life they lived and the actions they performed in life, is hardly to be trusted, after all. (The mist in the 2007 film was filled with horrible monsters, stomach-churning gigantic insects and tentacled beasts. The mist here seems to be more sophisticated, comprising metaphors and appropriate individual torments!) My favourite part of this extremely violent mini-series was the bit in the mall where everyone has to sort of club together to form a society in order to survive. They have rules and regulations, enforced by Gus Bradley, the mall director (I call him Paul Blart, Mall Cop!), such as if you endanger your fellow mall-dwellers, you’ll be booted out of the mall and expected to take your chances in the mist. Eve Copeland kindly tells everyone about the ‘nine meals from anarchy’ theory, which only puts the willies up the survivors even more. Some of them might be secretly hoarding food, which is strictly against the rules of this new mall society. As their position in the mall becomes ever more hopeless, with grub running short, tempers even shorter and no sign either of help coming or the insidious mist dissipating and going away, anarchy in fact looms ever closer. If the series had gone on for any longer, the mall-dwellers would have been drawing lots as to whom they would have to cannibalise first. Interesting the way, the longer these things go on, the more it’s every man for himself and the less people give a shit about others. It’s probably an ingrained thing that we can’t help, but it’s kind of grim nonetheless, isn’t it? Even the most complex of societies will break down in a crisis such as this one. And the presence of the crisis, and the mist, seems to give people permission to do things they wouldn’t dream of doing in peacetime, wicked, murderous shameful things. I hope what happens in the mist stays in the mist… I love the suggestion that the army might somehow be involved with the mist, in a bad way, and I even love the ‘draw your own conclusions’ ending and the way things look open to a sequel at the end. I’m just sad that there probably won’t ever be a sequel to the series, as viewing figures apparently weren’t impressive enough beyond the pilot episode. Great viewing, anyway, if a little depressing, with little or no levity to lighten the gloom. The series also explores the theme of homophobia, with the character of Adrian, the little goth boy, experiencing severe abuse for his sexuality, both from his father and from his fellow high school student, Tyler. Good work in highlighting this kind of abuse. Good work overall. Over and out.
A telephone rings somewhere.
‘Good morning, this is the Mist speaking, how may I help you today?’
‘Um, hi, I’m Sandra Harris, I’m just phoning to book a Mist-related death, please?’
‘Certainly, Ms. Harris. May I ask if you’ve lived a good life and tried to help others wherever you could?’
‘Oh yes, absolutely, your Worship!’
‘Very good. Have you ever caused harm to anyone through your writings?’
‘Not that I know of, your Eminence.’
‘Very good, very good. Any weaknesses?’
‘Only bad boys and chocolate, if it please your Honour.’
‘Excellent. I’ll schedule you in to be battered to death by giant rubber penises and drowned in a hail of miniature Snickers Bars.’
‘Could I have it the other way around, please, your Grace? Miniature rubber penises and giant Snickers Bars?’
‘You’ll have to pay extra.’
‘That’s okay, I don’t mind. Can I keep any leftover bars?’
A sigh. ‘If you must, though most people don’t. It’s not like you’ll be alive to enjoy them.Can I interest you in a theme tune while you die? Thus Spoke Zarathustra, perhaps, or the music from the ROCKY movies?’
‘Nah, I’m good, thanks, your Highness. Just the standard death is all. ‘Bye then.’
‘Good day, thank you for calling the Mist, your one-stop-shop for all Apocalyptic deaths.’
Dial tone, then silence.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: