The director of upcoming horror film The Boogeyman says to have made a movie that “scared Stephen King” was a “pinch me moment”.

British director Rob Savage said it had been “nerve-wracking” to show his film to the renowned horror novelist, but King had “apparently had the best time” watching it.

The Boogeyman is based on King’s 1973 short story of the same name, but expands on the famous tale.

Stephen King on Woody Allen memoirs
Stephen King (Joel Ryan/PA)

It follows the story of high school student Sadie Harper and her younger sister Sawyer, who fall victim to a terrifying supernatural entity that preys on families and feeds on the suffering of its victims.

The film stars Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, Vivien Lyra Blair and David Dastmalchian.

The Boogeyman is only Savage’s third film, following the immense success of his debut feature Host in 2020, which was shot mostly on Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the Los Angeles premiere of The Boogeyman on Tuesday, Savage attributed his success to his first film.

“It’s crazy and it all came from Host,” he told the PA news agency.

“We made that movie for nothing, mostly on Zoom during the lockdown, mostly just to stay sane during the pandemic and immediately got all these scripts offered.

“I got offered this one and I had read the short story as a kid and it freaked me out.

“So I immediately was like ‘ok, if I could make audiences feel like I felt as a kid… then we’re really onto something’.”

Savage said he had not met King in person, but the pair had corresponded via email and text.

“When he doesn’t like a movie he’s pretty vocal about it – he doesn’t like The Shining – so it was pretty nerve-wracking showing him the movie,” he told PA.

“He’d read the script and loved the script so I knew that if he didn’t like the movie it was all my fault.”

Ahead of the film’s official premiere, Savage said they had rented out King’s favourite cinema in Maine, where the author is based, and that he had gone to see it with his nephew.

Director Rob Savage with David Dastmalchian (Mike Bedigan/PA)

“He apparently had the best time, it scared the shit out of him,” he said.

“He sent me this lovely essay (after) about how much he’d enjoyed the movie.”

Savage said it was not up to him to say whether he had made a “better” movie than The Shining, but added: “To have made a movie that scared Stephen King, that’s a pinch me moment.”

Dastmalchian said being in the film was a “nightmare come true” and praised Savage’s direction on the project.

“He did a phenomenal job. He asked a lot of us as actors he didn’t settle for anything and that’s the kind of director I want to be with.

“He had such a strong vision for the film that he knew he needed to make.”

He added: “I heard that Stephen King liked the movie and messaged with Rob and that’s just surreal man, I can’t believe it’s true – but I can because I’ve seen the film and I know how good it is.”

The Boogeyman is due for release in UK cinemas on June 2.