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The Dark Half [DVD] [1994]

22 customer reviews

Price: £5.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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The Dark Half [DVD] [1994] + Needful Things [DVD] [1993] + Stephen King's The Stand [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Timothy Hutton, Amy Madigan, Michael Rooker, Julie Harris, Robert Joy
  • Directors: George A. Romero
  • Writers: George A. Romero, Stephen King
  • Producers: George A. Romero, Christine Forrest, Declan Baldwin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Danish, English, Norwegian, Swedish, German
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Oct. 2001
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OA81
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,212 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Novelist Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) makes a healthy living writing pulp thrillers under the pseudonym George Stark, but is frustrated that his more literary endeavours continue to go unnoticed. Eventually he decides to dump Stark for good, but as soon as he does so, his friends and colleagues start to get picked off in grisly murder scenarios. Then, when the police discover Thad's fingerprints all over the crime scenes, the novelist realises that he has a dark side to his personality which is not going to be laid to rest easily. Directed by horror maestro George Romero and based on a story by Stephen King.

From Amazon.co.uk

Although it lacks the creepy subtleties of Stephen King's celebrated novel, George Romero's underrated adaptation of The Dark Half is among the best films based on King's fiction, with Romero taking care to honour the central theme while serving up some gruesome gore in the film's much-criticised finale. Inspired by King's own admission that he wrote several novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, The Dark Half explores the duality of a writer's impulse, ranging from literary respectability to the viscerally cathartic thrills of exploitative pulp fiction.

Author and teacher Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton) finds himself torn between those extremes when he "kills" his profitable alter ego, George Stark (the bestselling dark half to Thad's light), who then assumes evil, autonomous form (again played by Hutton) to defend lethally his role in Thad's creative endeavours. Forced to wrestle with this evil manifestation of his own unformed twin, Thad must fight to protect his wife (Amy Madigan), their twin babies and himself. While Romero skilfully develops the twin/duality theme to explore the writer's dilemma, Hutton is outstanding in his dual roles, playing Stark (in subtly fiendish makeup) as a redneck rebel with a knack for slashing throats. Julie Harris adds class in a supporting role, and horror fans will relish Romero's climactic showdown, in which swarms of sparrows seal Stark's fate. It favours a pulp sensibility with clunky exposition to explain Stark's existence, but The Dark Half is a laudable effort from everyone involved. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "jackbower2" on 26 Sept. 2003
Format: DVD
I have to disagree with a lot of people who add this adaptation of a stephen king book to the existing badly executed king movies (children of the corn, the mangler, ... the list goes on). About 3 out of 4 King adaptations lack substance, style, performance and are just out to cash in on this writer's succes. This movie however, is a return to the likes of 'the dead zone' and 'misery', a well crafted thriller that has a slow build up, but doesn't undermine the premise of the book. Romero (Night Of The Living Dead trilogy) collaborated with King on this movie (he worked previously with King on Creepshow and Knightriders) and delivers the goods; An intelligent movie that captures the essence of the book, the characters are beautifully outlined and the directing skills of this genre director pay off; Add to that the excellent performances of Timothy Hutton, who plays both Thad Beaumont and his 'dark half' George Stark, next to Michael Rooker as sheriff Alan Pangborn. The musical score by Christopher Young is also pretty amazing, allowing never a dull moment in the movie and keeping it at pace, like the suspence thriller it is. The whole movie is shot in Pittsburgh, hometown of Romero and this adds a nice touch to the scenery. The region 2 (european) dvd has the widescreen version which I prefer over the full screen region 1 (american) dvd. I would have liked a commentary by Romero, since there were some budget problems during last month of shooting, and I would like to have had his take on that. But all in all, this movie keeps amazing me; It's an example of what true horror is about, and that intelligent scripts do have a place in this often commercial genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caramba! on 5 Jan. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This review is of the American blu-ray release.

First and foremost, please be aware that you will need a multi-region blu-ray player to play this as it is region A locked.

The movie: I won't go into plot details, but will say that time has been very kind to this film and it certainly plays better now than it did in the 90s. It's Romero's first foray into a studio controlled production and I have to say that he did a fantastic job with it, despite pressures to the contrary. But, to focus on the blu-ray quality. Picture is really great and definitely a step up from any dvd release. Very little grain apparent and pleasing tones on the shadowy night-time sequences which give good clarity. Sound quality is also extremely crisp and clear. If you're a fan of the film, upgrading is highly recommended. All in all, 9/10 for audio-visuals.

The extras: This is really where the blu-ray is a triumph - there's a fabulaously frank commentary from Romero et al, an incisive 45 minute and very frank 'making of', featuring most of the cast and crew and detailing just how difficult the production was, great deleted scenes which extend some scenes and also show the original ending, plus galleries and trailers. Really, you couldn't ask for more, and if the upgrade to blu-ray for the movie isn't enough to tempt you, the extras really should.

Essential for Dark Half and Romero fans, and really worth getting if you're a horror fan and don't own it on dvd.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of the better King adaptations with George A Romero, the master behind Night of the Living Dead trilogy directing a fine cast. Thad Beumont(Tim Hutton) has been writng under the name of George Stark but is forced to stop when someone threatens to blackmail him, but George Stark isn't happy and comes back to get revenge. This film has an excellent storyline and doens't slaughter the original book. It manages to scare and a lot of parts make you jump. Their is quite a lot of gore but not to much. The scares are more psychological. I would recommend this to any fan of the horror genre as it is an enjoyable but scary film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Corey Newcombe on 17 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD
Thad Beaumount has buried his alter ego George Stark, a pseudonym he used when writing fiction of a dark nature than he would using his real name.

When a local man is killed, evidence leads Sheriff Pangborn to George's grave, and he begins to suspect Thad.

Thad is beginning to have visions of sparrows flying, something that hasn't occurred for twenty-three years since he had brain surgery. As the string of gruesome murders continue, someone claiming to be George Stark starts calling Thad on the phone.

Thad fears for his family's safety, and Pangborn can't decide whether or not Thad is the murderer.....

Another year in the nineties, and another generic Stephen King adaptation hits the screen. For every Shawshank, Misery, and Dolores Claiborne, you get a Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, Langoliers, and this.

Hutton is great as Thad and his Doppelgänger, but as expected, the bad guy is more enjoyable, has lots of funny one liners and is hardly in it.

The rest of the film has Michael Rooker not shaking hands with Hutton one mi ute and then getting him beer the next.

And while all this is happening, there are lots and lots of sparrows flying around the place.

Romero starts the film off very promising, but as soon as Stark is introduced, the film, despite Stark being the highlight of the film, goes down the toilet.

If you are a King enthusiast, go ahead, ruin your day.
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