Stephen King Calls Box Office Bomb Brilliant, Director Responds

Stephen King has tipped his hat to a recent film that movie goers didn't show up to see; at least not in the theater

By Annie Banks | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

stephen king

The horror genre has been open for interpretation and has birthed subgenres galore, though has kept its key tropes close to its chest while exploring the many ways to thrill those who seek out new scares. Stephen King’s library of horror, supernatural, and other suspenseful novels have been adapted for live-action production, and the author praises director James Wan’s work on his latest incredibly bizarre film, Malignant.

It isn’t uncommon for industry figureheads to praise the work of others who are busy working on their own reputation, and while Malignant is a polarizing installment into the horror genre, the off-kilter slasher film has been complimented by Stephen King. The author took to Twitter to share with his followers that he thought Malignant was “brilliant,” and has expressed similar attitudes towards The Evil Dead and Midnight Mass. Stephen King’s fame roots from works like IT, Carrie, and The Shining, three cornerstone horror novels that remain essential in the rapidly expanding world of horror.

Malignant may have won over the favor of Stephen King, though he has been vocal about movies that just couldn’t take to his liking. He calls out Blood Feast by name, Tweeting that it was the worst movie that he had ever seen. The Newsweek-proclaimed “king of horror” had to turn off The Blair Witch Project at its midpoint as it was too much for the literary icon to handle.

Stephen King’s one-word stamp of approval was celebrated as a momentous occasion for the director, who has served at the helm of the Saw and The Conjuring franchises. CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg chimed in Stephen King’s accolades, paying special attention to Wan’s means of “bonkers” storytelling, though not every critic stands in agreement with the enthusiasm around the divisive thriller. Wan responded to Stephen King’s put praises through a post on Instagram, and in his comment, referred to himself as a genre/horror outcast. He then said that “there is only one person’s validation that we seek,” referring to Stephen King.

Malignant may have bombed at the box office, even if it was given the Stephen King seal of approval. The lack of attention given by theatergoers was recovered by those curious enough to stream the movie through HBO Max. There’s still concern being conveyed by those who are anxious to return to the theaters as the COVID-19 pandemic combats variants of the original virus. Film festivals and in-person screening events have pressed on, though there’s a swell of concern around just how long these face-to-face events can continue to be hosted. There is urgent encouragement for those who are determined to return to theaters to be fully vaccinated and to wear face coverings, as the simplest of health precautions taken can chip away at recovery for not only theater businesses but dwindle away at the current health threat.


James Wan is currently shooting DC Films’ addition to the Aquaman franchise, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, but still has made the time to publicly thank Stephen King for his acknowledgment – something that he indicates that he’s always wanted.