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.