Talking ‘Riding the Bullet’ With Mick Garris [Watch]
Growing up, made-for-television horror was a Halloween perennial in my house. My mom especially was always eager to watch the latest and greatest Stephen King adaptation. We watched Storm of the Century, the original It miniseries time and time again. Not only did we watch Rose Red religiously, but we even sought out the I-had-to-confirm-it-was-real prequel The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer. And, of course, we watched any number of adaptations from the indomitable, inimitable Mick Garris. The Shining, Desperation, and even Bag of Bones in the later years Garris has had a storied career, one best conceptualized in what might be his most personal film ever—Riding the Bullet.
An adaption of King’s novella of the same name—the first ever major e-book release ever—Garris remained faithful to King’s tale of guilt and grief. Expanding on the 30-page story, Garris shifted the year Riding the Bullet was set to 1969. The story of Jonathan Jackson’s Alan Parker and his trip home to see his ailing mother, Riding the Bullet is abounding with gothic sensibilities, a banging soundtrack, and a genuinely curative exploration of grief and the choices we make. It’s hypnotic and elegiac. Tragic and hopeful in equal measure, unspooling painful yet necessary truths. Years later, it transcends its contemporaneous reception as one of the strongest, most personal King adaptations ever, with Garris melding his own pathos with King’s.
In honor of Halloween and Riding the Bullet’s legacy, Dread Central had the honor of chatting with Mick Garris himself about the movie in retrospect, its core themes, and the role of horror in healing old wounds, preparing audiences to better confront new ones.