"A superior adaptation of one of King's lesser books."
More interesting than scary, Stephen King’s source novel was, like 'Misery,' a successful writer’s expression of self-pity.King, who’d written several books under the pen name Richard Bachman, imagined a serious writer — Thad Beaumont — writing trashy bestsellers under the pseudonym George Stark (a nod to Donald Westlake’s pen name Richard Stark). When Thad “kills off” George, the pen name literally comes back to haunt him. Since “Bachman’s” books sold comparatively few copies before it was revealed that King wrote them, the concept didn’t really scan; the book was a gimmicky idea shakily executed.
George Romero’s adaptation, handled with a lot more conviction, is another story. Romero’s more personal projects (Martin, Jack’s Wife) are virtually unseen, while people can’t get enough of his zombies. It's as though he’s always wanted to be Thad Beaumont but has been forced by his financiers (and his fans) to remain Stark.
The film is sleek and enjoyable, with a highly amusing Timothy Hutton in the dual role of nice-guy Thad and vicious George. As the kick-ass pseudonym from beyond the grave, Hutton gives a new performance; he’s actually frightening — not an adjective one generally associates with Hutton. There’s also a small, great turn by Julie Harris as Thad’s wise, pipe-smoking associate.This was one of two solid 1993 movies based on mediocre King books ('Needful Things' was the other).