In the mad-dash to cash-in on the big Stephen King adaptation revival, producers are having to go far and wide to find fresh tales of terror that have yet to find their way to the screen (or they’re just shrugging their shoulders and remaking older stuff). The CW wants to get in on this King action, and they’ve gone to a very unlikely source: “The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson,” an obscure short story that has yet to be collected into any of the King short story collections published so far. Going by the working title Revelations, the CW show follows a woman chosen by Jesus to prevent the apocalypse.
“The Revelations of ‘Becka Paulson” is definitely not one of Stephen King’s better-known short stories. The 1984 tale appeared in the collection I Shudder at Your Touch, which features “twenty-two tales of sex and horror” from numerous authors, including King. It has yet to be included in any King’s short story collection books, but it was adapted into an episode of The Outer Limits reboot of the 1990s (with Catherine O’Hara (!) playing the title character).
Now, the story hopes to find new life as a CW series. Deadline says the network is developing a one-hour drama based on the story from writer Maisie Culver (Last Man Standing), Katie Lovejoy (Dead Inside), and Warner Bros. TV. The synopsis says that “after accidentally shooting herself in the brain with a nail gun, a Pollyanna-ish Becca Paulson is recruited by an over-it Jesus to be his ‘chosen one’ in stopping the apocalypse. In order to save the world, Becca will have to prove that our deeply backward planet Earth is redeemable — starting with her quirky midwestern hometown.”
In the King story, “Becka Paulson is receiving messages – ‘revelations’ – from a 3-D picture of Jesus which sits atop her television about her husband Joe’s infidelity.” The Outer Limits episode has a much different synopsis:
Becka Paulson accidentally shoots herself in the head while searching her closet for Christmas decorations. The bullet lodges in her brain, and begins to have some strange effects. In a stroke of ‘luck’, the bullet does not kill Becka, but her severe brain damage causes her to begin to hallucinate that the picture of a tuxedoed stranger on top of the TV, who calls himself the “8-by-10 Man” (in the original story it was a picture of Jesus), is talking to her.
Under the advice of the 8-by-10 Man, Becka eventually decides to kill her worthless husband, and in a bit of “damaged savantry”, rigs the television (using instructions from the 8-by-10 Man) to deliver a fatal electrical pulse to whoever touches the knob. Becka, in the end, tricks her husband into touching it, but as he begins to be fatally electrocuted, she finally realizes just what she’s done and tries to save him. All she does is alter the circuit by touching him, and the two fall dead, the victims of a tragic quirk of fate.
The fact that this is destined for the CW doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence, but the premise is wacky enough that it might turn into something interesting. As your resident /Film Stephen King Superfan, I’m always interested in more King stuff, but I can’t help but think this might be a “scraping the bottom of the barrel” kind of adaptation.