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Kingdom Hospital was a 2004 mini series based on the teleplay by Stephen King who also excutive produced this weird but wonderful ride. The series takes its' name from the fictional hospital which it portrays in Lewiston,Maine.The building was erected upon the ground of a mill which burned down(due to arson)in 1869 killing outright most of the child slave labourers but one,Mary Jensen.She escaped briefly only to be caught by the factory owners' sadistic brother and "medical practitioner".He used medically unauthorized procedures on most of his patients/victims and poor Mary succumbed as a result. Fast forward in time and we enter the world of Kingdom Hospital with its' eclectic variety of medical and support personnel.The story kicks off with the tragic hit and run of a famous local painter and from what I have read probably a close proximity to Stephen Kings' own terrible ordeal some years ago.He is rendered comatose with multiple internal and external injuries and has virtually no hope of recovery.Soon he begins to experience some strange things and he slowly begins a recovery thought impossible by the admitting physicians.However the restless undead are at work and in a battle on this property and he is the pivotal key in the story.Two figures are important to the painter throughout and that is Mary Jensen herself and her "companion" Anubis the mythological Egyptian gatekeeper between our world and the next,who she mistakenly calls Antubis.Antubis closely resembles a giant ant eater,the difference being this one has a long and large mouth with very sharp and powerful teeth. As the story weaves its' way to its' inevitable climax, many characters come in and out of the story and all are in some way directly affected by the strange malevolence that abounds throughout the hospital.Read more ›
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This is rather unusual even for Stephen King.It's a bit slow in parts but I enjoy looking at the background details anyways.The story is very good and of course is based on an incident in the past which occured on the property on which Kingdom Hospital was built.And so it all comes to a big climax eventually involving the hospital staff and patients, and it is about all the incidents leading up to that.It has moments of humor,and frightening moments, especially for those of us who have to go to the hospital.It makes you think about parellel worlds beside you and what is happening to people who appear to be in comas.I think it is very entertaining!
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135 of 141 people found the following review helpful
Someone's dying to meet you....Oct. 12 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
First, let's clear up a misconception. "Kingdom Hospital" was created specifically as a limited series with a beginning, middle and end. Like "The Prisoner", King had envisioned it as a "true" novel for television. If ABC had chosen to renew it, King would have developed a series of different story arcs. So it wasn't cancelled so much as it concluded. Another point to clear up--King's series created in collaboration with co-writer Richard Dooling, director Craig Baxley, executive producer Mark Carliner was an attempt to graft King's unique sense of humor and horror to Lars Van Trier's original allowing it to reach an American audience better.
King's series is every bit as effective in its own way as Lars Van Trier's "The Kingdom" but one made for a very different audience. An American audience. Since Lars Van Trier was an executive producer on the series, I doubt that he would have given it his blessing if he didn't see King's version as a quirky complimentary vision to his own. A warning, though, about "Kingdom Hospital". This is a ghost story not a horror thriller. The show unfolds at a leisurely pace allowing the story to unfold gradually creating suspense vs. a rapid fire horror story. "Kingdom Hospital" has more in common with, say, "The Stand" or even "Twin Peaks" (and the original source mini-series as well) in that regard.
Anyhow, on to the DVD. Looks terrific and the CGI effects are top notch throughout most of the series. The campy over-the-top acting style of this "E.R." meets "Twin Peaks"series is crossed with King's twisted imagination. In the first episode we're introduced to most of the main characters at The Kingdom--Hook (Andrew McCarthy), Sally (Diane Ladd) the psychic who appears to be more than a few bricks shy of a full load, Jack (Peter Rickman)an artist who, due to a terrible accident, ends up at Kingdom (and is a stand-in so to speak for King in a bizarre collison between art and life). Oh and who can forget Stegman (Bruce Davison)who has an aura of...evil about him. All must help save Kingdom Hospital and a little girl who died on the same grounds the hospital is build on by the name of Mary. By the way, the number 19 shows up quite a bit in the series...linking it to King's The Dark Tower series.
The two hour pilot has an audio commentary by King, director Buxley, producer Carliner and the visual effects supervisor. There's also a number of great featurettes included on this four disc set including "Inside the Walls" which focuses on the making of the series, a discussion of the various characters,a discussion on the creation of the visual effects for the bizarre looking Antubis as well as a tour of the hospital. King also contributes a two page essay on the series in the booklet enclosed with the first two disc set. The transfer is in high definition so it looks amazingly sharp and crisp.
While the series doesn't quite live up to its potential by the conclusion, it's still a fascinating and fun ride while it lasts. It's not exactly a horror series per se more a glimpse into the haunted lives of those bound to serve in "the kingdom".
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Awesome Series!Oct. 18 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
I first want to clear up a misconception here. A reviewer stated on here that after watching the first of the four disks he noticed that several scenes were cut out of the DVD as broadcast on television. I purchased my copy of Kingdom Hospital and watched the first disk and saw no such scene cuts.
Kingdom Hospital was an awesome series that did not get the credit it desevered. Watching it on DVD made the experiance twice as memorable. It was great not having to deal with commercials. The picture was also so clear that I was able to pick up on so many more things that I missed watching it on my home taped version. I enjoyed the feature on the magic behind Antubis and I enjoyed listening to the film makers commentary.
I wish I could give this series/dvd more than 5 stars!
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Best Miniseries Ever by the "King" of HorrorAug. 30 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
It is true, this is one of the most chilling miniseries ever put together by Stephen King himself. Parts of it are actually based upon his personal experiences after being hit by a driver in Maine. While it was being aired on television it was a little touch and go there for a while, since the evil network was putting off the subsequent episodes for the longest time. Luckily they finished the series and I must say, this was definitely something I looked forward to watching week in and out. Thus, it would be something worth watching over and over again on DVD, so I highly recommend that you buy it if you enjoy the creative genious and irony of Stephen King. Yes, this series is very ironic and full of odd twists, but that all adds to the mystique. This DVD is one for the ages, and one that will not truly be appreciated for a year or two to come, because it is such a modern piece of artwork. If you watch all of the episodes in order on this DVD then you will understand how great Kingdom Hospital really is. I knew of a few people who missed several episodes while it was on television, and therefore justice just was not done in their eyes, but that was their fault! The unifying theme is the hospital itself, the people contained in it, and the tragic events they all must grapple with and live through. Dr. Hook was perhaps the funniest and best character in the entire series, a true man's man in every sense of the word. Dr. Stegman also made the series very interesting and humorous at times, although you always wanted to just see the old coot get his just desserts (which he often did). Then of course you have the old, sometimes seen as senile, Mrs. Druise. She definitely made the series what it is and made for a great character analysis. So in conclusion, I highly recommend this DVD series and think that you will enjoy it extremely if you like the paranormal, horror, irony, and creative genious of Stephen King. No library of King material would be complete without it!!!
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
The Remake Actually Improves Upon the OriginalJan. 28 2005
Staci L. Wilson
- Published on Amazon.com
This Stephen King miniseries takes place in a haunted hospital in Maine, which was built on the site of a Civil War-era fire where a score of helpless children perished. It's King, so you can bet the ghosts aren't too happy with their lot in the afterlife. The chilling but comedically off-kilter teleplay (one installment was entitled "The Young and the Headless") features a strong ensemble cast and a few searingly memorable talking animal characters. One is a German Shepherd complete with a Teutonic accent named Blondie (voiced by Julian Richings), and another verbose pooch is called Charlie (Ryan Robbins). Most striking of all is an often malevolent but always judicious phantasmagorical anteater (CGI, modeled on a real giant anteater; voiced by Kett Turton) named Antubis. Antubis's long tongue finds ants hiding in some very unexpected places ("Antsolutely delicious!" he chortles, dipping into an insect-infested human brain). Based on a Danish miniseries called The Kingdom by Lars von Trier.
What a difference a DVD makes. Without the concentration-blowing commercial interruptions, and the luxury of being able to watch as much (or as little) of the 13 hour opus as one likes, Kingdom Hospital plays a lot better. That is not to say that it's a perfect miniseries. It's pretty weird, takes some getting into, and it almost lost me a few times with its weirdness. I felt some of the music choices were really inappropriate and rather irritating, and thought one scene of the doctors breaking into a song-and-dance routine was far too "Cop Rock". But if you stick with it throughout all it's quirky eccentricity, Kingdom Hospital will reward you with some terrific characters, excellent acting performances, and an intriguing storyline.
Staci Layne Wilson
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Kingdom Hospital Fascinating and Just Off Beat Enough to Keep Your InterestDec 2 2006
THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF
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First this is a Stephen King adaptation of another work of Danish fiction as so many others have already said so I won't go there. This being a Stephen King led adaptation you know he has a certain style all his own that he invested into Kingdom Hospital and you either like it enough to give it a chance or not. Just remember before dismissing it out of hand, Kingdom Hospital is not exactly typical Stephen King fare.
I stumbled on the hacked up all day version of Kingdom Hospital while watching SCI FI Channel during a recent day off. I had always caught bits and pieces of Kingdom Hospital and always found it profoundly eerie, camp and creepy yet funny in ways I feel no words can adequately convey.
Basically a state of the art medical center is built on the site of an old New England sweat shop employing children. Most of these civil war era child workers died after being abandoned by adult overseer's more intent on saving themselves.
Then there was "The Old Kingdom" hospital built on the site of the civil war factory where a mad doctor performed many evil horrid experiments on patients. The Old Kingdom Hospital was replaced by a pretty new chrome and glass state of the art medical center. The New Kingdom Hospital or New Kingdom is beautiful. This nice modern new Kingdom hospital rests on the haunted site rich with restless ghosts, troubled, spirits and a tangled weave of both the psychic and the psychotic goings on.
Kingdom Hospital is not really a horror movie with overt shockingly sick twisted tortured horrid things popping out of the woodwork at every turn as was the case in Stephen King's Rose Red. Kingdom Hospital is amazingly subtle in its slow but steady pace each episode constructing a complex interplay of odd characters and even odder situations. Yes there is the giant anteater like creature Antubis who does some really weird stuff. There is the lost little girl Mary trapped in the New Kingdom who walks the line being at times both frightened and frightening.
The odd ball doctors, patients and others working at New Kingdom Hospital effectively suggest that at the Kingdom Hospital as in real life, the more things change the more they stay the same. Among the doctors of the New Kingdom Hospital you have doctors with the same character flaws and twisted self indulgent, arrogantly self absorbed over inflated egos that ruled the twisted mad doctor(s) of the Old Kingdom Hospital. It is the subtle interplay between good and evil like a devils dance that makes Kingdom Hospital so much a joy to watch. Is Kingdom Hospital one of Stephen Kings better works yes! but only if you allow Kingdom Hospital to be the ode to a quirkish unsettling brand of unease bordering on horror that never crosses the line that it was meant to be in my humble opinion.
Kingdom Hospital stirs the good and evil inside each viewer's brain and allows the plot to develop differently for each individual. Kingdom Hospital is neither Horror nor Thriller. Kingdom Hospital if you allow it becomes something unique in the minds of any viewer to gives it an honest and fair chance. I love Kingdom Hospital so much I brought the whole set because, sometimes I do not want to be horrified, shocked or thrilled sometimes all I want to be is fascinated and that's what Kingdom Hospital does well, it FASCINATES THE MIND IN PLAYFUL BLACK MACARBE WAYS THAT INTOXICATE THE SOUL!
Kingdom Hospital deserves to be part of your collection because it fascinates the dark portions of your mind in the most unique ways if you allow it to do its work.