Lawnmower Man (1987)


“Sure is a nice-looking lawn, though.”

Main Cast: E.D. Phillips, Andy Clark

Director: James Gonis

One of the strangest King stories ever has to be The Lawnmower Man from NIGHT SHIFT.  This is the story of Harold Parkette who, due to an accident involving a neighbor’s cat the previous summer has sold his lawn mower.  But it’s been a while now and the grass is in desperate need of mowing.  So Harold calls a lawn service and when the man arrives and starts mowing, he finds the man naked, following behind the self-running mower, eating the grass clippings.

The image that always stuck with me from this story was the woodchuck that gets stuck beneath the mower and the lawnmower man eating its remains as well.  Not much else remained of that story for me, but the rest of it goes like this: the lawnmower man is a disciple of Pan and he tells Harold he makes sacrifices of unbelievers.  Harold lets him continue with his job, then tries to call the police.  The lawnmower man is not pleased.

That’s basically the gist of the story, and I’ve often wondered just what the hell King was thinking when he wrote it.

In 1987, a dollar baby version of the movie was released, written by future President of Production for New Line Cinema and the writer of the classic John Carpenter movie IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, Michael De Luca, and directed by the future casting associate for BIRDEMIC 2: THE RESURRECTION James Gonis.

Shot for $5,000, THE LAWNMOWER MAN (1987) is a faithful adaptation that suffers only in the quality of the film stock, the acting, and the script.  But it is VERY faithful to King’s story, which is something to take into consideration when you remember the big budget version that followed a few years later.

The cast consists of a handful of characters.  E.D. Phillips as Parkette and Andy Clark as Karras the lawnmower man get the most screen time and it’s easy to see why neither went on to big time stardom.  Parkette’s wife, played by Helen Hanft, though, apparently had quite the career before and after this project, including a role in MOONSTRUCK and several appearances on Law and Order.

The 1987 adaptation of THE LAWNMOWER MAN only runs a little over 12 minutes and is an interesting look at this version of the story, but award-winning work it is not.  Still, what King completist can pass it up?  I’m not aware of it being for sale anywhere, but you can watch it for free on YouTube.

King on Film

Carrie (1976)

‘Salem’s Lot (1979)

The Shining (1980)

Creepshow (1982)

The Boogeyman (1982)

Cujo (1983)

Disciples of the Crow (1983)

The Woman in the Room (1983)

The Dead Zone (1983)

Christine (1983)

Children of the Corn (1984)

Firestarter (1984)

Word Processor of the Gods (1984)

Cat’s Eye (1985)

Silver Bullet (1985)

Srazhenie (1986)

Gramma (1986)

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Stand By Me(1986)

The Dark Half (1993)

The Tommyknockers (1993)

Needful Things (1993)

The Stand (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)

The Mangler (1995)

Dolores Claiborne (1995)

The Langoliers (1995)

Sometimes They Comes Back … Again (1996)

Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)

Thinner (1996)

The Shining (1997)

Ghosts (1997)

Chattery Teeth (1997)

The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson (1997)

Trucks (1997)

The Night Flier (1997)

Chinga (1997)

Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)

Gerald’s Game (2017)

1922 (2017)

The Stand (2021)

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