Review: ‘The Dark Half’

The writer's desk intriguingly becomes a gladitorial arena for warring manifestations of the same personality in The Dark Half, George A. Romero's adaptation of Stephen King's 1989 bestseller, a classic Jekyll-and-Hyde story.

The writer’s desk intriguingly becomes a gladitorial arena for warring manifestations of the same personality in The Dark Half, George A. Romero’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 1989 bestseller, a classic Jekyll-and-Hyde story.

After a 1968-set prologue establishes Thad Beaumont as a precocious kid writer and a grotesque operation gives physical evidence of a twin in Thad’s brain, story proper picks up in the current day, with Thad (Timothy Hutton) married to the solid, resourceful Liz (Amy Madigan). Under the pseudonym George Stark, he’s authored four disreputable bestsellers.

When a grungy student discovers Thad’s double life and demands money to keep silent, Thad literally buries ‘George Stark.’ But Stark begins manifesting his existence in places other than the bestseller list. The killings mount up.

Hutton’s George Stark is a terrific contrast, a cowboy greaser in black who’s all razor edges, cigarettes and booze. All performers register favorably, including Madigan, Michael Rooker as the cop reluctantly on the writer’s case, and Julie Harris as an eccentric academic colleague.

The Dark Half

Production

Orion/Dark Half. Director George A. Romero; Producer Declan Baldwin; Screenplay George A. Romero; Camera Tony Pierce-Roberts; Editor Pasquale Buba; Music Christopher Young; Art Director Cletus Anderson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 122 MIN.

With

Timothy Hutton Amy Madigan Michael Rooker Julie Harris Robert Joy Chelsea Field
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