Home Entertainment Stephen King Horror Adaptation The Stand Inspired Director Mike Flanagan

Stephen King Horror Adaptation The Stand Inspired Director Mike Flanagan


Stephen King published “The Stand” in 1978, although a complete version — with over 400 pages restored — wouldn’t be released until 1990. The longer version renewed interest and a miniseries was put into production. It had to be a miniseries as “The Stand” is notoriously long, spanning 1,153 pages (King’s longest book to date).

“The Stand” is about a deadly plague that sweeps the Earth, killing off most of its population. The survivors, seemingly immune, find themselves mysteriously under the psychic influence of one of two newly-risen deities. The “good” survivors receive visions from the angelic Mother Abigail (Ruby Dee in the miniseries), while the “evil” survivors enter the cult of Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan), a demonic figure.

The miniseries starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, and a host of others. It was directed by Mick Garris (“Critters 2,” “Psycho IV,” “Sleepwalkers”) and was a massive undertaking broadcasted as four separate two-hour TV movies. It was a major event for those who were teens in 1994, including Flanagan. When asked about his favorite adaptations, he replied:

“There are so many great ones. The one that Daniel [Thomsen] wanted to get into it was Mick Garris’ adaptation of ‘The Stand’ in ’94. Which I saw when it first aired, and was blown away. That was the first time I thought ‘this is a book on television.’ and I was in high school. But that one really kind of set me on the path.” 

For Flanagan, the rest was history.

“The Stand” won two Emmys and was ubiquitous in VHS form for many years thereafter. A heavily-altered version of “The Stand” was also made into a nine-episode miniseries in 2020, although that version is not as celebrated.

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