Stephen King is the mastermind of horror, and pours all of his love, and care, and weirdness into his books. He’s been intimately involved with several of his movie adaptations in the past, but admitted in a 1992 issue in Fangoria that even he can’t keep up with all the different adaptations they’re making.
This, Stephen King explained, is why he never saw one of the most bizarre and worst movies based on his work: The Lawnmower Man. Released in 1992 with a 37% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the best ’90s movie it is not. It stars Pierce Brosnan as a learning-disabled man who develops telepathic abilities after being experimented on by a scientist. With cheesy effects, wooden performances, and kind of ableist overtones, The Lawnmower Man is a far cry from some of King’s best movies like It.
“Back when I was just starting out-this goes back to like 1978. By 1979, I’d done my first collection of short stories, Night Shift, and there was a bunch of stories from there that got sold to British producer Milton Subotsky,” he recalled to the outlet. “He was at Amicus Productions for a long time: they were Hammer’s chief competition at that time and made Tales from the Crypt and some other anthology movies. One of the stories he bought was The Lawnmower Man.”
“Before Milton died, Dino De Laurentiis bought some of those stories to make his own series of not-very-good movies, including Sometimes They Come Back, which was made for TV. One of the ones that De Laurentis didn’t get was Lawnmower Man. When Milton Subotsky died, that became part of his estate. So. whoever inherited those rights was able to do whatever they wanted. because the sale was a deal that was done outright by Doubleday. They served as my agent, and they didn’t give a shit what happened to any of those stories.”
He continued, “They didn’t make very good deals for me. because they didn’t care that much about me. which is one of the reasons why Doubleday isn’t my publisher anymore and hasn’t participated in anything that’s happened since those days. So the moral of that story is that if you misuse the talent, you get screwed in the end. But regardless of that, it ended up that another company got The Lawnmower Man and they did something interesting with it. But I didn’t even know about the Lawnmower Man movie until about three weeks before a poster for it turned up in my local theater.”
Perhaps King got off lightly in never having to see The Lawnmower Man. I certainly wish I could unwatch it. For more on King’s new movies, check out our recent The Boogeyman review. Or, if you want to watch some of his classics, you’ll definitely love our list of the best horror movies of all time. But if you want something a little more spooky, here’s what we know about Wednesday season 2.