(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In The Regulators, as in King's It (1986), The Stand, and the Dark Tower series (see entry under Dark Tower), a small group of ordinary people put aside self-interest and unite to defeat the monster that threatens them. Both The Regulators and Desperation powerfully affirm King's faith that personal ethical choices have the power to effect change. In The Regulators, the residents of Poplar Street align themselves with the forces of good or evil, according to their willingness to subordinate personal and family interests to those of the dwindling group of survivors.

Although he has hitherto lived the selfish life of a literary lion, Johnny Marinville, in both novels, rises to the demands placed on him and risks his personal safety for the welfare of the group. In The Regulators, an indication of his spiritual change can be seen in his reaction- to Audrey's dirty, wrecked house: Johnny deplores that he had been the Wyler's neighbor but not realized the family's distress. In contrast, other Poplar Street residents respond to the demonic attack by withdrawing. Gary Soderson retreats into a drunken stupor. Kim Geller sits with her arms around her daughter, refusing to comfort the orphaned Carver children. As in other King works, it is the characters who embrace community who are saved at the end. Like Desperation, The Regulators affirms the power of community.


(The entire section is 517 words.)