Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital The Entire Series|
Actors: Jamie Harrold, Diane Ladd, Bruce Davison, Jack Coleman, Julian Richings
Genres: Horror, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Kingdom Hospital is the first television series written and produced by Stephen King, the legendary master of horror. Kingdom Hospital is not like other hospitals - it is built on the wreckage of two horrific fires. The fi... more »
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Reviewed on 4/13/2008...
I watched this one on the television in the original broadcast and then bought it the moment it came out. I personally am keeping my copies. I loved this series. I thought Andrew McCarthy was perfect as Doctor Hook. I love the way it takes horror and adds camp. You never quite know what is coming next. Will it be something utterly absurd that makes you laugh out loud or will it be something jarring that makes you jump. I am a huge King fan and in my opinion this is one of his best on the screen big or small.
4 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Someone's dying to meet you....
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, let's clear up a misconception. "Kingdom Hospital" was created specifically as a limited series with a beginning, middle and end. Like "The Prisoner", King had envisioned it as a "true" novel for television. If ABC had chosen to renew it, King would have developed a series of different story arcs. So it wasn't cancelled so much as it concluded. Another point to clear up--King's series created in collaboration with co-writer Richard Dooling, director Craig Baxley, executive producer Mark Carliner was an attempt to graft King's unique sense of humor and horror to Lars Van Trier's original allowing it to reach an American audience better.
King's series is every bit as effective in its own way as Lars Van Trier's "The Kingdom" but one made for a very different audience. An American audience. Since Lars Van Trier was an executive producer on the series, I doubt that he would have given it his blessing if he didn't see King's version as a quirky complimentary vision to his own. A warning, though, about "Kingdom Hospital". This is a ghost story not a horror thriller. The show unfolds at a leisurely pace allowing the story to unfold gradually creating suspense vs. a rapid fire horror story. "Kingdom Hospital" has more in common with, say, "The Stand" or even "Twin Peaks" (and the original source mini-series as well) in that regard.
Anyhow, on to the DVD. Looks terrific and the CGI effects are top notch throughout most of the series. The campy over-the-top acting style of this "E.R." meets "Twin Peaks"series is crossed with King's twisted imagination. In the first episode we're introduced to most of the main characters at The Kingdom--Hook (Andrew McCarthy), Sally (Diane Ladd) the psychic who appears to be more than a few bricks shy of a full load, Jack (Peter Rickman)an artist who, due to a terrible accident, ends up at Kingdom (and is a stand-in so to speak for King in a bizarre collison between art and life). Oh and who can forget Stegman (Bruce Davison)who has an aura of...evil about him. All must help save Kingdom Hospital and a little girl who died on the same grounds the hospital is build on by the name of Mary. By the way, the number 19 shows up quite a bit in the series...linking it to King's The Dark Tower series.
The two hour pilot has an audio commentary by King, director Buxley, producer Carliner and the visual effects supervisor. There's also a number of great featurettes included on this four disc set including "Inside the Walls" which focuses on the making of the series, a discussion of the various characters,a discussion on the creation of the visual effects for the bizarre looking Antubis as well as a tour of the hospital. King also contributes a two page essay on the series in the booklet enclosed with the first two disc set. The transfer is in high definition so it looks amazingly sharp and crisp.
While the series doesn't quite live up to its potential by the conclusion, it's still a fascinating and fun ride while it lasts. It's not exactly a horror series per se more a glimpse into the haunted lives of those bound to serve in "the kingdom"."
The Remake Actually Improves Upon the Original
Staci L. Wilson | USA | 01/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Stephen King miniseries takes place in a haunted hospital in Maine, which was built on the site of a Civil War-era fire where a score of helpless children perished. It's King, so you can bet the ghosts aren't too happy with their lot in the afterlife. The chilling but comedically off-kilter teleplay (one installment was entitled "The Young and the Headless") features a strong ensemble cast and a few searingly memorable talking animal characters. One is a German Shepherd complete with a Teutonic accent named Blondie (voiced by Julian Richings), and another verbose pooch is called Charlie (Ryan Robbins). Most striking of all is an often malevolent but always judicious phantasmagorical anteater (CGI, modeled on a real giant anteater; voiced by Kett Turton) named Antubis. Antubis's long tongue finds ants hiding in some very unexpected places ("Antsolutely delicious!" he chortles, dipping into an insect-infested human brain). Based on a Danish miniseries called The Kingdom by Lars von Trier.
What a difference a DVD makes. Without the concentration-blowing commercial interruptions, and the luxury of being able to watch as much (or as little) of the 13 hour opus as one likes, Kingdom Hospital plays a lot better. That is not to say that it's a perfect miniseries. It's pretty weird, takes some getting into, and it almost lost me a few times with its weirdness. I felt some of the music choices were really inappropriate and rather irritating, and thought one scene of the doctors breaking into a song-and-dance routine was far too "Cop Rock". But if you stick with it throughout all it's quirky eccentricity, Kingdom Hospital will reward you with some terrific characters, excellent acting performances, and an intriguing storyline.
Staci Layne Wilson
Best Miniseries Ever by the "King" of Horror
Jason Peikoff | Tuckettown USA | 08/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is true, this is one of the most chilling miniseries ever put together by Stephen King himself. Parts of it are actually based upon his personal experiences after being hit by a driver in Maine. While it was being aired on television it was a little touch and go there for a while, since the evil network was putting off the subsequent episodes for the longest time. Luckily they finished the series and I must say, this was definitely something I looked forward to watching week in and out. Thus, it would be something worth watching over and over again on DVD, so I highly recommend that you buy it if you enjoy the creative genious and irony of Stephen King. Yes, this series is very ironic and full of odd twists, but that all adds to the mystique. This DVD is one for the ages, and one that will not truly be appreciated for a year or two to come, because it is such a modern piece of artwork. If you watch all of the episodes in order on this DVD then you will understand how great Kingdom Hospital really is. I knew of a few people who missed several episodes while it was on television, and therefore justice just was not done in their eyes, but that was their fault! The unifying theme is the hospital itself, the people contained in it, and the tragic events they all must grapple with and live through. Dr. Hook was perhaps the funniest and best character in the entire series, a true man's man in every sense of the word. Dr. Stegman also made the series very interesting and humorous at times, although you always wanted to just see the old coot get his just desserts (which he often did). Then of course you have the old, sometimes seen as senile, Mrs. Druise. She definitely made the series what it is and made for a great character analysis. So in conclusion, I highly recommend this DVD series and think that you will enjoy it extremely if you like the paranormal, horror, irony, and creative genious of Stephen King. No library of King material would be complete without it!!!"