It annoys me whenever I hear someone say of some novel that has been turned into a film, “the book was way better.” To reach such a conclusion requires one to place two disparate things upon equal footing. It is comparing a painting to a sculpture, or, in keeping with that clichéd food analogy of apples and oranges, it is in this case comparing a piece of fruit to, say, a rutabaga. The comparison doesn’t hold. I love books and I love movies. The two should be enjoyed as the separate works of art that they are, not compared to judge which form is superior. In the best case scenario when a movie has been created based on a book, the two complement each other. The two examples that come immediately to mind are the LORD OF THE RINGS books and movies and the novel DRACULA and its closest cinematic adaptations, like BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA.
Now I can add a third example to this list: SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, the books and the movie. Does the latter perfectly capture the thrills one received in childhood (or adulthood) from reading the former? A better question would be, is it possible that it could? I say that it is not. No movie could do that. But the movie has legs to stand on its own, and if you’ve read the source material, it is a thrill to see some of the entities created for the page brought to digital life on the movie screen. Which is better, the movie or the book? The answer is always the same: Yes.