Apt Pupil
Release: September 09, 1998

Bryan Singer directed this Brandon Boyce adaptation of Stephen King's novella about teenager Todd Bowden (Brad Renfro), who discovers Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander (Ian McKellen) living in his California hometown. Fascinated with Dussender's wartime atrocities, Bowden blackmails the former death-camp commandant by promising to keep his identity a secret in exchange for Holocaust horror tales, or, as Todd puts it, "everything they're afraid to show us in school." Dussander complies, and as the weeks pass, their tense confrontations become increasingly malevolent. This is the third film to derive from King's 1982 book of four novellas, Different Season. The others are Stand By Me (1986, from "The Body") and The Shawshank Redemption (1994, from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, leaving only one remaining unfilmed tale in the book ("The Breathing Method"). Signet felt King's "Apt Pupil" to be so intense and horrifying that editors asked him to leave it out of the 1983 paperback. A 1987 attempt to film "Apt Pupil" (with Rick Schroder and Nicol Williamson) ended when funding ran out. Shown at numerous 1998 film festivals (Venice, Toronto, Chicago, Sitges, Tokyo.

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