Stephen King compared a black phone to Me, but in Hell


After viewing a preliminary copy of “Black Phone“, Stephen King compared the horror film to “Stay with Me” in hell. The Black Phone tells the story of a boy named Finney (Mason Thames), who is kidnapped by an insidious kidnapper named Grabber (Ethan Hawke) and keeps in his soundproof basement. There, Finney finds a black disk phone, which the killer’s victims use to contact him in the hope of helping him avoid their fate. The film is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Doctor Strange) and co-written by K. Robert Cargill based on a story by Joe Hill.

“Stay with Me” is also based on a story about children facing death, but under slightly less terrible circumstances. The 1986 coming-of-age film tells the story of four boys from the 1950s who form strong family ties when one summer they escape from their hectic home life to go on a journey in search of a dead body. It is based on Stephen King’s short story “The Body” from his collection “Different Seasons”. In a decade that has spawned so many memorable stories about growing up, “Stay with Me” is considered one of the best. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the author of “Black Phone” Joe Hill is King’s son, which explains their shared interest in stories that combine elements of growing up and horror.

Link: Stephen King: Adapting to different seasons

In an interview with /Film, Derrickson revealed that Hill shared the film with his father. It is reported that the master of modern horror liked the film, and he praised the film simply as “Stay with me in Hell”, a quote that, according to Derrickson, he would like to see on every poster of the film. Derrickson agrees that there are similarities between the two, and attributes King’s praise to the truthfulness of the portrayal of childhood trauma in both films. This is especially high praise from the author, since King has officially stated that “Stay with Me” is his favorite adaptation of his work.

Like “Stay with Me”, “Black Phone” tells about children who have experienced trauma. And just like the hard home life of the main characters of “Stay with Me”, it is clear that even before Finney was captured, his home life is not the best. According to Derrickson, the emotional essence of the film lies in the connection between the smart and persistent Finney and his younger sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), whose dreams seem to predict the truth. Finney also creates connections with the other five victims of the Grabber, who are connected to him in time and behind the veil of death.

Although the themes of the films are undoubtedly dark, especially since children participate in them, they are also full of hope: the hope of finding stability through the strength and support of others. Childhood can be hellish, the feeling should touch an almost universal chord, but watching children overcome their dark circumstances and move more strongly to the other side can cause a feeling of deep catharsis. It’s the feeling that reaches Stand By Me that has led to its enduring appeal. While the first rumors of a “Black Phone” call it deeply disturbing, if King’s quote is any indication, there is hope that it will also touch on a deeper sense of catharsis.