Leeches Suck

Stand By MeStand By Me/The Body
Book release: 1982
Movie release: 1986
Where to watch: In a treehouse with your best friends in between games of cards.

Every time I’ve seen the part at the beginning of the movie which states that it was based on a Stephen King novella, I’ve said to myself, “I’m gonna to read that.” I’ve seen this movie countless times since it’s release date (which was a mere month after my birth, mind you). That’s a lot of “I’m gonna’s.” Well, the day has finally come, and it’s about darn time.

The story:

Having discovered the whereabouts of a missing boy, four friends go on an macabre adventure to see his body. These boys are in the final stages of boyhood, when dares and sneaking cigarettes are more important than girls and grades. Adventure, supreme lingo, friendship, a dead body… just how I like all of my stories.

Better in the movie:

  • One and a half hours of baby-faced Jerry O’Connell; future lady killer, River Phoenix; pre-vampire hunter, Corey Feldmen; and…Wesley Crusher.
  • According to the DVD booklet, Columbia Pictures changed the title because the screenwriter said “…it sounded like either a sex film, a bodybuilding film or another Stephen King horror film. Rob [Reiner] came up with ‘Stand by Me,’ and it ended up being the least unpopular opinion.” To me, the title The Body doesn’t speak to the overall theme of the story. Death is a major theme, yes, but I’m sure for most the theme friendship comes to mind first; rather than the destination of seeing said body, it’s more about the journey. Now, Stand By Me? You’re humming that little ditty for days to come much to the annoyance of those around you. (Two for flinching!)

Worse in the movie:

  • This is a rich character story from Stephen King sans any element that causes the reader to, like Joey from Friends, put the book in the freezer to feel a wee bit safer. It’s easy to find pieces of yourself in these characters, and it’s just gosh-darn good storytelling with little bits of profundity sprinkled on top.

    The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them–words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is burried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear. 

  • Buy Different Seasons, a collection of four of Stephen King’s short stories. Along with The Body, included are Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil, and The Breathing Method. My DVD only has a mere two previews. (The Karate Kid and Fly Away Home in case you were wondering.)


  • I was hoping that the scene with the leeches would be easier to read than to see. Why I thought that would be true, I don’t know. It was equally traumatizing, so I’m calling it a draw. Does anyone else feel like they may suffer from a sympathy fainting spell at that part?


When you read this (yes, when) you will hear Mr. Holland Richard Dreyfuss narrating in your head. Sincerely.

%d bloggers like this: