Castle Rock’s Triple Premiere Scares Like Only Stephen King Can
Stephen King fans will love the nods that Castle Rock, the new series based on the world the horror writer has built over the course of his career, makes to his previous work—the series’ three-episode premiere alluded to everything from Cujo to Stand By Me. But the real lure of the show lies in its ability to weave together all those pre-existing storylines to create something new—also, to scare the hell out of you.
At the centre of this new story is a place familiar to King fans: Shawshank prison. As the series opens, we witness the old warden’s suicide-by-Cadillac (with a side of garroting) and wonder why the hell he did it. It soon becomes clear (er—or ish at least). Deep in the heart of Shawshank Prison, in a cage in a hole in an unused wing of the jail, there’s a boy… who might be the root of all the evil that’s descended upon the town of Castle Rock, Maine. The old warden, a religious man who seemed to have given up on the church, believed the boy to be the devil himself. But he wasn’t without doubt…
Now there’s a new warden in town, and she orders a bed count in the unused wing (private prisons are all about profit, after all). That’s when devil boy is discovered and a former denizen of Castle Rock is called back to town. “Henry Matthew Deaver” are the only words this mysterious prisoner will utter.
It’s not his name but the name of a renowned Texas death row lawyer, one that has his own dark history in Castle Rock. Deaver grew up there, the adopted son of the town’s preacher and his wife. When he was a preteen, he went missing for 11 days in the dead of winter. The cover story is that his father died looking for him. The real story is far more frightening.
It has to do with a neighbour of Henry’s, Molly, who can feel what he feels. In episode three, that begs a certain question: as a boy, was he feeling homicidal towards his adoptive father? And why? Young Henry reappeared claiming to have no idea what caused his dad to fall off a cliff and break his back—and no memory of where he’d been for a week and a half. Molly Strand might know, but she has her own secret to keep (unplugging the recovering reverend’s ventilator was most definitely murder, FYI).
Molly’s power (or is it a power that Henry has over her?) finally allows Henry to connect with ‘The Kid’ who was found in the hole. The Kid has his own weird powers (we don’t recommend touching him) and he also has something in common with Henry’s dad. Both men asked him the same question: “Do you hear it now?”
Scared? Us? Maybe a little…
Castle Rock features a killer cast (Sissy Spacek, Melanie Lynskey, Moonlight’s André Holland, Don’t Breathe’s Jane Levy, and the always creepy Bill Skarsgård) and a collage of strange moments that seem like they might be random at first glance (kangaroo court featuring a bunch of prisoner’s kids in creepy animal masks, anyone?) but we’re betting that these pieces will fall into (a super terrifying) place soon enough.