Here’s how ‘Midnight Mass’ draws from the novels of Stephen King

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Midnight Mass (2021)the third and unmissable horror miniseries that the American Mike Flanagan has directed for Netflix, draws from the works written by his compatriot Stephen King. Before The Curse of Hill House (2018), he made Gerald’s Game (2017) for the platform, and after and prior to The Curse of Bly Manor (2020), he set about Doctor Sleep (2019) for Warner Bros. both film adaptations of the novelist’s eponymous books. That is to say, there is no doubt that he is interested in his narratives.

So, due to this circumstance, we understand without problems that his new proposal pushes us to think about two stories about an unspeakable evil that hovers over a small population, seduces it and ruins it as Father Paul Hill (Hamish Linklater) to Crockett although it was not his intention:

Tommyknockers (1987)which was made into another miniseries by John Power in 1993, and The Shop (1991)which was made into a feature film directed by Fraser Clarke Heston the same year; and more specifically, in The Mystery of Salem’s Lot (1975)which Tobe Hooper made into another miniseries in 1979 and Mikael Salomon, in 2004, for the atrocious vampire plague, and in The Storm of the Century (1999)a novelized script for the television filming in identical format by Craig R. Baxley, for the insular environment.

Maine novelist’s characters in ‘Midnight Mass’.


On the other hand, in Revival (2014)which Mike Flanagan himself was going to translate into moving pictures, another preacher with a lip can miraculously cure all sorts of ailments and, behind it, lurks horror. In addition, the character of Riley Flynn (Zach Gilford) in Midnight Mass is an alcoholic in the process of recovery like Jack Torrance in The Shining (1977)whose pages serve as the basis for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film. Like his son, Danny, in Doctor Dream (2013)who also attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

It cannot be forgotten to note, finally, that the religious fanaticism of Beverly Keane (Samantha Sloyan) has been exploited to great effect by Stephen King in Carrie (1974)adapted by Brian de Palma in the 1976 film, by David Carson in another 2002 film and by Kimberly Peirce in the 2013 film, and during the nightmare of The Fog (1980)then a 2007 feature film by Frank Darabont and a cancelled series by Christian Torpe from 2017. The protagonist’s mother in the one, Margaret White, and the infamous Mrs. Carmody in the other are first cousins of this character devised by Mike Flanagan for Midnight Mass.

Bonus: nods to the film adaptations of Stephen King’s work.

midnight mass mike flanagan netflix stephen kingNetflix

The most obvious Easter eggs in the six episodes of Netflix’s miniseries, which we can highlight among the best of the year, about movies based on Stephen King novels are related to The Shining and The Mystery of Salem’s Lot. In the residence of Father Paul Hill, there are an old photograph of his supposed predecessor at St. Patrick’s parish, Monsignor Pruitt, when he was a young man. But we know that they are the same person and that vamping has rejuvenated him.

Such a photograph, of course, reminds us of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) at the New Year’s Eve party at the Overlook Hotel in 1921 at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s film. And the specific scene from Midnight Mass in which… Leeza Scarborough (Annarah Cymone), cured of her paralysis with the blood of the Israeli vampire, calls Warren Flynn (Igby Rigney) in the middle of the night from outside the window of his room on the top floor of his house cannot but bring to mind the vampirized Ralphie Glick (Ronnie Scribner) floating in front of his brother Danny’s (Brad Savage) in Tobe Hooper’s miniseries: his most memorable moment for viewers.