“You're dead, George. You just don't have the sense to lie down.”
Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Half’ was published in 1989 and was written shortly after Stephen King was revealed to have been the real author behind the Richard Bachman books. ‘The Dark Half’ was the 2nd best-selling book in 1989, and it was adapted into a movie in 1993 by director George A. Romero.
‘The Dark Half’ is a book where Stephen King delves once more into the darker side of his writing and his attention, in this book, is given to a writer whose pseudonym is unmasked, which is quite obviously a reference to the unmasking of Richard Bachman. It has been said that King found ‘The Dark Half’ a difficult book to write and, initially, King didn’t want the book to be published.
It has also been reported that Stephen King’s wife, Tabitha hated the book, perhaps because it was a bit too close to home being about a writer consumed by his own alter ego. ‘The Dark half’ is like reading Stephen King’s own closure to his excursion with Richard Bachman, a final epitaph that put finally put the other half of King to bed.
The main character in ‘The Dark Half’ is recovering alcoholic and writer, Thad Beaumont. Thad’s own books are not that successful, but the crime novels, which he writes under the pseudonym of ‘George Stark’, are hugely successful. When the true identity of George Stark is publicly revealed, the real author stages a mock burial for the alter-ego at a local cemetery. Stark later emerges from the mock grave to embark on a gruesome killing spree.
We eventually learn that Thad Beaumont had a twin that was unborn. This unborn twin was absorbed into Thad while he was still in the womb and parts of the dead twin are found within Thad’s body during neurosurgery. So, is Stark an evil spirit seeking revenge, or is it Thad himself demonstration a dual personality? What is for sure is that Thad’s wife doesn’t like the way that things are going because not only did Thad create Stark, but he actually seems to quite like him.
The book is gory, even by Stephen King’s standards and for that, it received criticism in some quarters. ‘The Dark Half’ reads a little like a mix between the supernatural horror of King and the more psychological horror of Bachman.
The movie of Stephen king’s ‘The Dark Half’ is a good one. Directed by George A. Romero, it starred Timothy Hutton in the lead role of Thad Beaumont and Amy Madigan as his wife and it is an adaptation that stays faithful to the book. Though the movie of ‘The Dark Half’ was made in 1990/1991, it wasn’t actually released until 1993 due to the financial difficulties at that time of Orion Studios.