We're Learning The Real Monster Is Man (Again) In 'The Mist' Trailer

'The Mist' premieres Thursday, June 22 on Spike. Spike TV

The first trailer for The Mist doesn’t look anything like the movie or Stephen King novella, but it’s hard to tell exactly what it offers instead.

Stephen King’s The Mist is about a mysterious mist settling over a town, trapping some of the citizenry in a grocery store, where they are besieged by monsters until paranoia breaks into cultism and blood worship. Frank Darabont’s movie version is just as much about the collapse of society along its pre-existing fault lines as it is about monsters. Tribalism breaks out in the grocery store. Confronted with the breakdown of civilizational sanity on one side and titanic, Lovecraftian monsters on the other, The Mist ’s protagonist David Drayton believes only one option is left and he arrives at one of the most infamous endings in horror movie history (some laugh, some love, some both). It’s about as perfect an adaptation as can be made.

Christian Torpe, creator of the new adaptation, The Mist TV series coming to Spike, could see the problem.

“I wanted to be respectful to the source material, but my feeling was there was already a great adaptation out there by Frank Darabont,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “The novella is 200 pages and one location, and we needed to change that to make an ongoing series. But we wanted to remain faithful to the heart of the story.”

That first meant establishing multiple locations other than the grocery store from the novella and movie. And that makes a lot of sense. It’s exciting — every place people are trapped is like a little besieged micronation, each one a new set of characters embarking on a quasi-political survival adventure. There’s a church where theocracy can find its foothold and a mall with hundreds of trapped people where a local bureaucrat tries to establish his own little fiefdom.

“We establish different little pressure cookers under the influence of whoever the leader would be in those locations. Each of them come up with different theories or beliefs about what’s going on. Eventually, the story lines will dovetail and turn into conflicts,” he said in the interview.

“Leader”? Could it be no one would try anything other than listening to some other clueless comrade-turned-authority-figure? But really, the trailer depicts a version of The Mist that doesn’t seem to be about society at all (what I would have described as “the heart of the story”). Instead, as one character puts it, the Mist “screws with your mind.” Big portions of the trailer seem to be more mist-induced fantasy than reality.

Maybe there’s some monsters here if you look real close…

But if other versions of The Mist were about the monsters we fight and the monsters we collectively build ourselves, of our own bodies, then this adaptation of The Mist looks to be about our own internal monsters. Torpe said he pitched this version of The Mist as “Ingmar Bergman’s Jaws.”

The Mist premieres Thursday, June 22 on Spike.

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