Stephen King published his novel The Regulators in 1996, more than two decades after his first book Carrie. Unlike King’s other titles, The Regulators did not carry his name. But instead, the novel was written under the name Richard Bachman. In fact, The Regulators was the sixth in a series of books devised under the name Bachman. However, this book was unique.
The Regulators is said to be one of Stephen King’s only works published after he retired the name Bachman, making it a posthumous publication. Despite King’s experiment with writing books under an alias, he soon realized talent is often too big to be hidden behind a moniker. Regardless of his methods of disguise, King’s imprint was unmistakable. The Regulators, like his other works, stood out. The novel was horror encapsulated in the written word and magnified by the reader’s imagination.
The Regulators’ Plot
While King tends to set most of his works in the New England state of Maine, The Regulators is set in a small town in Ohio. Interestingly the setting is said to be in a universe parallel to another of his 1996 works entitled Desperation. And there are some similarities between the works. For example, it is noted that the same characters carry the action in both Desperation and The Regulators. But the beauty of these two novels rests in their comparative aspects and the nuanced differences in plot. The King/Bachman stories depict the same people in vastly different circumstances and environments.
In the novel’s opening, King draws the reader a picture, a portrait of a small suburban town. This town is not unlike most others, where the neighbors are a close-knit bunch, the kind privy to a bit of everyone’s business. It is the height of summer. However, it is a summer unlike any of the townsfolk have experienced. But, unfortunately, it will be one they will not forget. Invaders violently disrupt the monotony of the quiet town life.
Cary Ripton, a young paperboy full of hope and life, is the first to taste the bitterness of the summer fruits. And it isn’t long before a good portion of the town is pitted against forces beyond human comprehension. Little did the residents of Wentworth know that this summer, they would be thrust into the fight of their lives.
The Adaptation Needs to Stay True to the Source Material
In a most interesting turn of events, fans got an out-of-the-blue announcement that an adaptation of Stephen King’s eerie and nightmarish novel The Regulators is on the way.
Many of Stephen King’s novels have been adapted for the big screen, such as It, Pet Sematary, The Tommyknockers, Thinner, Carrie, Firestarter, and Desperation, but never The Regulators. And while some may balk that we have enough King adaptations, the diehard fans will echo, never. And by and large, an adaptation of this book is long overdue. This is not the first time the prospect of an adaptation for this novel was pitched.
The idea for an adaption was swirling around over eight years ago. Rumor had it the book was to be adapted into a television series in 2014. However, such never came to fruition. Now things are looking much more promising. Bohemia Group has signed on to see the fulfillment of the project. And according to Deadline, George Cowan has been selected to write the script. And King himself is pleased with what’s on the horizon. King told Deadline:
“I’m delighted that the excitement of ‘The Regulators’ is coming to the screen. This is going to be good.”
Like all good films, there are a few elements that, from book to screen, adaptation must have to make such a project a success. While some things may be negotiable, these are definitively nonnegotiable. Primarily the story should remain true to its literary work. If there is one thing that sinks an adaptation is a divergence from what was penned in the original novel. That means that the characters and their characterizations should remain unaltered. Additionally, it is vital that the setting and the sequence of events are mirrored as closely as possible. And finally, the bad guys must remain true to form.
The Authenticity of the Characters (and Monsters)
The most identifiable part of a story is its characters, as their development is what bond the readers to the literary piece. Excessive character alteration reeks as inauthentic and can spell disaster for a film. Most importantly, fans expect the main characters within an adaptation to be apt reflections of who they are in the book.
Within the story, we meet the likes of Collie Entragian, a down-and-out ex-policeman. We are also introduced to Peter Jackson, a man who loses his wife in a most insane fashion. King also introduces us to Seth Garin and his aunt, Audrey Wyler. Seth is pivotal to the book. He is an autistic boy with limited speech who plays host to an awful entity named Tak, the monster pulling the strings.
Tak is the most inhospitable of parasites. The entity ravages, twists, and contorts its host and pulls Audrey’s strings like a sadistic puppeteer. It is ruthless and cold-blooded. And finally, there are the alien assassins, foreboding hosts from hell who terrify the good townsfolk. And given the importance of these characters to the story, fans will expect a near-accurate translation to film. It would be a disservice to alter these characterizations.
The Book’s Nightmarish Plot
Another incremental component of a successful adaptation is the alignment of the plot. The Regulators has a plot line that bleeds with savagery. There is a great deal of rawness in the novel and much that may not appease the sensibilities. The events on that summer day are bloody, awful, and unforgettable events that bore searing images into the brain. This adds to the invasion’s nightmarish nature and makes the story compelling. This is the primary element of horror, and it’s not far-fetched for fans to expect the components remain intact. It is only apt that these bloody bits stay as they were written and fully fleshed out.
Fans of King’s work look for adaptations to reflect the worlds he has created within his novels. Unfortunately, while many have succeeded, quite a few have fallen short. Therefore, the announcement of an adaptation of this work arouses a sense of expectancy. Although not much is known about the project, hopes are high. As goes the sage adage, good things come to those who wait. Hopefully, the adaptation of The Regulators will give fans the story they had been awaiting since the first rumblings of an adaptation back in 2014.