Space Ramblings

1408 Stephen King’s story vs 1408 the Movie

The most obvious gap between Stephen King’s original 1408 short story included in the Everything’s Eventual short story collection and the cinematic adaptation of 1408 by director Mikael Håfström is that 1408 the movie discards the most basic concept of 1408, which is not that 1408 is a room haunted by ghosts, but that the room itself is a horrific alien gateway to a creature from some other dimension that eats human souls, where the light shines like the Australian outback and whose arrival is so horrific that many of those in 1408 killed themselves in order to escape it, while those who died of natural causes, died of having their souls devoured.

Granted some of that might be hard to put down on film but it’s a long way from 1408 the movie’s hotel room filled with ghosts. In 1408 the movie ghosts themselves are the issue. In 1408 the story, there are no ghosts, not a single one. Repeated people have died in the hotel room but the closest we come to seeing any of them is when the picture on the wall changes to feature everyone who died in the hotel room depicted on a sinking ship. That’s it.

Of course none of the ridiculous antics in the movie, like a hotel room that can access the internet, chat with Mike Enslin, appear in the story. The story’s disturbing air comes from Mike Enslin’s steady derangement, followed by his final escape by setting himself on fire with a match book. Even that escape comes at a high price. In 1408 the movie, the derangement only begins occurring somewhat toward the end, and before then 1408 explodes several times over, chats with him over the phone, talks to his girlfriend, logs into his email and throws a lot of ghosts at him.

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