Friday, November 21, 2014

William Shatner joins the cast of Haven



Greetings Captain Kirk!  tvbythenumbers is reporting that "William Shatner (Star Trek) is set to guest star in a four-episode arc on the Syfy fan-favorite series in 2015. Shatner will play a pivotal character that has the potential to forever impact the fate of the town of Haven and its troubled residents."

tvline.com puts it this way:
William Shatner will seemingly throw the Prime Directive out the window when he sets foot in Haven later this season. The iconic Star Trek captain recently teased on Twitter his gig on the Syfy series. Now, TVLine can exclusively reveal that Shatner will recur in a four-episode Season 5 arc in “a seminal role,” as a pivotal character that has the potential to forever impact the fate of the town of Haven and its Troubled residents.

(thanks Stephenkingonly)

The Stand to be FOUR movies



Good news on THE STAND.  Previous ideas  floated that it would be done as a single film; which is, of course, insane.  Mike Fleming at Deadline posted  an article  titled, "Josh Boone Says Warner Bros Will Turn Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ Into Four Films."  

Fleming writes:
 Boone told Kevin Smith in his Babble-On podcast (I heard it on Aint It Cool News) that after he boiled down the tale to a single script for a three-hour movie, Warner Bros actually suggested to him a more ambitious plan for what he calls “The Godfather of post-apocalyptic thrillers.” Said Boone: “They asked, would you do this as multiple films. I said f*ck yes. I think we’re going to do four movies. Do The Stand at the highest level you can do it at, with a cast that’s going to blow peoples’ minds. Production in the spring.” Boone said he’s writing that first installment, based on the script he has happily scrapped.
I like this line, "Do The Stand at the highest level  you can do it at..." YES!

Fleming rightly says, "It all starts with a studio decision maker, one with a spine, saying, yeah, I want to see this."  This series of films will take someone with spine.  He compares the work to  the multi-part adaptation of Tolkien's work.
There are opportunities for visuals from The Stand that rival what Stanley Kubrick put on the screen in King’s The Shining. The depiction of the apocalypse in The Walking Dead, you just know that and other filmed works were informed by some of what King presented in his seminal novel. Stay tuned.
Check out the full article at:  deadline.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Flashback to 2003


For throw back thursday, King posted this November 19th, 2003 picture of himself and Tabitha at the 54th National Book Awards.

The text of his speech is at nationalbook.org.  The speech is like a public love letter to his wife; it's beautiful.

"Tabby always knew what I was supposed to be doing and she believed that I would succeed at it."
"She's what the Bible calls a pearl beyond price."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Will There Really Be A Running Man 2?

cinemablend.com and digitalspy.com are citing Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent comments that he might be returning to the role of Ben Richards in a new Running Man movie.

Cinemablend writes:
The Austrian-born actor is currently in London, and it was while speaking during a Q&A that he revealed talks of a possible Running Man 2 in the works. According to Digital Spy, Schwarzenegger didn't exactly elaborate on what might be happening with the property or if he is actually attached to a project, but he did say that there have been rumblings about a return to the 1987 sci-fi film. This comment was looped in with a lot of other talk about in-development sequels, including The Legend of Conan (the actor saying. "It's an honor to be asked back after all these years, back to the franchise. This is really wild") and the Twins sequel, Triplets (the script for which Schwarzenegger says he's read the first draft). 
Wait. . . Twins 2?  Or, to put it another way -- Hollywood is now officially out of ideas.  Between sequels and remakes, there aren't a lot of original stories.

Of course, we are also enduring talk of a single movie version of The Stand.  King suggested maybe this would not just be one movie.  And there's the IT remake.

If they're looking for something great to film, here's some ideas:
1. THE DARK TOWER
2. The Talisman
3. Duma Key
4. Rose Madder
5. From a Buick 8

Really need to remake something?  How about getting on that IT project?  I watched the miniseries recently and thought, "This could be a lot better than it is."

Of course, no one is really looking to remake or do anything with the Stephen King property, The Running Man.  The movie had very little to do with the novella.  I loved the novel -- and the movie, not so much. The book had an almost 9/11 type ending.  The movie was actually less suspenseful.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Revival Journal #3: Not Vintage King

EDEL RODRIGUEZ FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Journal entries are my thoughts as I read.  This is not a review.

Revival has the feeling of returning the constant reader to some home turf.  With Castle Rock near by and characters who have a special place in their heart for drugs -- the hard kind -- it has traces of novels offered long ago.  But the story is no rehash.  It's new, and written by a much more cynical man than penned The Green Mile.  Are the dark musings in Revival a phase he is passing through, or a final resting place he's stepped onto?  I don't know.  King does what most people do; he wrestles with the issues of life.  Only, King does it in public while most people work issues through in the privacy of their heart.

It is King's ability to work things through while all eyes are on him that make his stories so engaging.  We enjoy the ride because we're taking it with a man who's not quite sure of the road ahead himself.  Thought he novel is tight and moves quickly, King has said more than once that he does not write with an outline in hand.  That is to say, he doesn't always know where he'll end up when he starts the journey.

After the terrible accident that takes pastor Charles Jacob’s wife and son, and the terrible sermon, the novel follows Jamie Morton as he bounces about as a rock musician and sinks deeper into drugs.  I found this portion of the novel difficult to get into, because I was so interested in what would happen with the preacher.  As with Christine, the story is not told from the position of someone who would always be in the “know.”  This makes some scenes a little awkward, as Jamie drops us in on scenes he had no way of being there for.  How does he know?  Well, he listens a lot.  In Christine, when the narrator broke his leg at a football game, King ran into a problem and switched to third person.  No third person in Revival.  Instead, we continue to travel life’s road with Jamie.

Revival is as much about Jamie’s coming of age as it is the evil preacher.  It seems the older King gets, the better he is at reviving the flavor of first love.  His recent novel Joyland had a wonderful story of first love.  But unlike Joyland, Revival is about two young people coming of age together.  There is no one to guide Jamie in the way of love – he and his girl must explore that path together.  And the scenes are rather tender.

It is amazing how King can take us back there.  Back to another time and era.  More than that, back to young love and young thinking.  For instance, Jamie discusses how easy it is to make a promise about life when your fourteen.  That's true -- but most of us forgot that.

The rock band Jamie joins was originally called the Gunslingers.  They dropped that name, and the new name – I’ll let you find it – combined with the old name is almost a direct nod to Guns n Roses.

It seems obvious that in many ways, King lives through his characters.  Of course, he has had a taste of the rock star life; but that was always overshadowed by the fact he's a famous author.  That is, the question of could he have made it onto the stage just on his music powers, had he not first been the author of some super-duper novels -- is really in doubt.  There is a sense that Jamie is a shadow, an alter ego, of what King might have been.  Not what King was, or was ever in danger of actually becoming -- but in some other dark tower  world, King mixes bits of his own personality and experience with his fictional characters.

It is funny when people ask him if these characters are based on himself.  Of course.  That was true of Devon and Stu and even Jamie Mortion.  But, it's also true of Pennywise and Mr. Mercedes.  GASP!  Because they are all coming out of the same guys head.



I’m reading a lot of people who say this is “vintage” King.  I disagree with that entire line of thought.  Even when it comes from King and his publisher.  There is no vintage King.  Vintage King is Salems’ Lot.  And the author who wrote that has moved on with life.  He can’t dull his skills back to that age.  In other words, while Revival and Joyland might contain themes and flavors of the old dark novels, these are written by a man who has traveled much further in life and has a better grasp of his artwork.  While I don’t enjoy every Stephen King book, I enjoy books from every era.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Can't Kill Stephen king on DVD and Amazon



I saw this on Amazon instant  the other day.  You Can't Kill Stephen King has confirmed that the film has a platform that can reach an audience.  Posting on Face Book, YCKSK wrote:
Our movie will be released on DVD on December 9th and is available for pre-order from Amazon, BestBuy, and other retailers! We'll be digitally available at a later date. Thank you so much to everyone for all your interest and support! It is finally here! www.amazon.com

What They're Saying About REVIVAL


csmonitor.com: for the millions of us who keep ignoring Camus and Proust in favor of “Cujo” and “Carrie,” King scatters a few Easter eggs in “Revival.” Among them: references to the amusement park setting in his short novel “Joyland” and a setting in Maine near Castle Rock, King’s version of Yoknapatawpha County. This book isn’t as much fun as “Mr. Mercedes,” published way back in the summer of 2014, but King fans won’t lose any faith in his powers while breezing through “Revival.

nytimes.com: He does not ramble on, as he did with “Dreamcatcher” and “Duma Key,” which at 600-plus pages each both seemed endless. “Under the Dome,” his best behemoth of recent years, might have been 1,074 pages, but each one was worth it. “Revival” is much shorter, but it, too, is a well-built book that unfolds on a big canvas.

. . . and: “Revival” winds up with the idea that to be human, you must know what it is to be inhuman — and to know that only this thin partition separates that horror from ordinary life. So it’s not just a book that delivers its share of jolts and then lets the reader walk away unscathed. Older and wiser each time he writes, Mr. King has moved on from the physical fear that haunted him after he was struck by a van while out walking to a more metaphysical, universal terror. He writes about things so inevitable that he speaks to us all.

bostonglobe.com: Stephen King has taken a more expansive — and less apologetic — approach to describing the world. In book after book, he has poked, prodded, and thumbed open loopholes in the fabric of reality. He has questioned the mysterious, and then expanded on it in novels of fabulous and intensely wrought prose.

Friday, November 14, 2014

MERCY -- we have a problem

That sinking feeling when what was an interesting movie begins to slide, and then drag, and then sink.  That's the feeling I had watching Mercy, which is based on Stephen King's short story, Gramma.

What is an interesting short read, is a painful long watch.  Simpy, this is a movie that needs -- BEGS -- for an editor.  Because somewhere in all this mess is probably a good movie.  But what comes to screen is not enjoyable.  The music is good.  The acting is pretty good.  But the dialogue is belabored, and the scenes ramble on so long they fail to scare.  No quick shots.  No suspense.  Simply put, the movie commits the deep sin of boring the audience.

There are elements that are just hokey.  Throwing a flower at gramma causes her face to burn.  Yeah, whatever.  This is starting to feel like kids telling a story. "My gramma is a witch.  And if you throw a flower at her, her face will burn.  But it has to be a verbena flower."  Say, very nicely to the child, "Oh really."  The child is excited someone believes them.  "Yeah.  Then a piece of wood came from the wood chipper and stabbed my brother in the stomach."  "wow, that must have been something," you say to the kid.  "Yeah, and we were about to put the weeping book inside the wood chipper. . ." pat the kid on the head an ignore them.

Whatever, let the Langoliers have this movie for dinner.

Speaking of the Langoliers, I think the special effects are just about as good as  that mini-series.

One nice touch: The R.L. Flagg home of the aged.

Revival Journal #2: Darkness Descends

The journal  entries are my thoughts as I read.   There are spoilers, because I'm talking about the book, and issues raised by the book.

Darkness descends quickly in Stephen King's latest novel, Revival.  We meet the preacher; he's awesome; his wife is pretty and everyone loves his little boy.  Then there is a terrible accident (was she drinking?) and the preacher, Charles Jacobs, is out of commission for a few weeks.  When he returns to the pulpit, he is bitter and has lost every bit of faith.

The sermon that follows the tragedy, the bad sermon, is really built up.  I was pretty hyped,  thinking something truly inspired was going to drip from the pulpit.  Unfortunately, the preacher didn't have anything really new to say.  I would have outlined his sermon with these points:

The bad sermon:
1. There is a lot of bad things that happen to good people.
2. There are a lot of bad things done in the name of God.
3. There are a lot of people claiming to follow God, but they send mixed messages.
4. There is no proof that there's an afterlife.

This would be interesting, if I sensed it was true to life.  Since I actually do deal with people often when they slam into life's worst storms, I feel it fair to say that I have  some understanding of the way people of faith respond to storms.

What is more likely if a person who once held a deeply rooted, even a trained faith, were to walk away is that they will do so in gradual stages.  They begin to question, struggle through terrible, dark nights, and the bitterness begins to grow.  It doesn't strike like lightening.  Tragedy does.  Tragedy hits and we are swept away in grief.  But for a genuine believer to drop into unbelief usually takes some time.

Here's the thing: There are people who hold one or all those views.  (The views presented in the bad sermon.)  But they don't stumble into them over a three week process.  World views don't usually change to the negative that quickly.  More likely, if a person with a relatively robust faith experiences a sudden tragedy, their initial response is not to say, "There's no proof of an afterlife."  At that moment, people reach for their core convictions.  This isn't the point where most walk away.

Reverend Jacobs never preached an Easter sermon?  Or he preached it with no application point?  These are pretty straightforward messages.  1. Jesus physically died.  He was put to death by trained executioners.  Dead people usually stay dead.  That's how the world works.  2. On the Sunday after his death, his tomb was found empty.  3. Over a forty day period his disciples encountered him in a variety of situations in which he proved to them he was still alive.  4. All of those he appeared to (of the Apostles) would go to their deaths, one by one, saying they had encountered the risen Jesus.  APPLICATION: If God could  raise Jesus from the dead, then the other things discussed in the Bible are not so far fetched.  As Gary Habermass says, "The resurrection is a rock that can bear the weight of Christianity."

Why does  this matter?  Well, if Jacobs is a farmer who just lost his wife, the four point "bad sermon" is pretty normal.  But if Jacobs is a preacher, he should have already dealt with some of these issues.

So here's what strange about the novel: All of the points of the "bad sermon" are things any person with a strong faith has thought seriously about.  What's more, they are things anyone who has been theologically trained at a seminary has been forced to wrestle with.

Pre-Doubt and the building blocks of faith:

A guy who's been to seminary doesn't say, "There's no proof."  A writer in Maine might.  But someone who has given their life to pastoral ministry doesn't do so without some pre-doubt.  That is: Before the storms in life smack us, we've already  had some restless  nights where we've asked these very questions.  How do I know this is true?  Why is there suffering?  And for those who continued on, there were answers they were able to accept at the core of their being.

This isn't void lofty talk for me this week.  I'll be doing the funeral of a three month old.  What do you think a mothers asks the preacher in that situation?  "Why did this happen to me?"  My core isn't rocked by this, because I've already had some storms before  this one where I asked those same questions.  The questions, the doubt, was healthy for my faith because it forced me to seek answers.   Am I an idiot to believe?  Is faith foolishness?

So, here's a simple problem: Has our dear minister never previously wrestled with these issues?  He never took Apologetics in seminary?  While preachers might be emotional, and some do walk away and leave the faith -- they don't do it three weeks after a crisis.  It takes more time to break down the emotional/spiritual fortress that's been built up.  One tsunami doesn't usually wipe it out.

Doubts force us to move either form a childish faith to a mature faith, or to walk away.  But Jacobs responds to tragedy like someone who has never ever experienced doubt at all.

It's hard to believe Jacobs loses his wife and son, and then suddenly goes, "Well if that's the way life works, I'm out!"  Give him a year, and he might end up there.  But he isn't going to start there.

Why would faith disappear in such a short period like that?  
1. Faith was shallow an immature.  That happens all the times!  Someone starts out great, but their faith is lost during a great crisis.  The truth is, their own faith never matured, so when the crisis comes they fall away.
2. Their faith relied on another person.  The removal of that other person causes personal faith to collapse.
3. They never really had personal faith.  The faith is full of fakes.   Crisis exposes fakery.

But I don't get the feeling King was building toward either of those caricatures with reverend Jacobs. Yet, when tragedy strikes, he drops  out pretty quickly.  His "bad sermon" isn't really that bad for anyone who's heard people in pain talk for very long.  He doesn't bring anything new to the table.  Nothing that makes others go, "oh my goodness!  There's suffering in this world!  And many denominations with different views?  I'm done with God."

What Jacobs does have is something of his own idol; electricity.  Perhaps it was electricity he really worshiped all along.  Tragedy struck, and he turned his back  on God and leaned into the lightening.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thoughts on BIG DRIVER


Lifetime's "Big Driver" leaves little to be discussed.  Mostly because -- it's not THAT interesting.  It's one of those things that you watch and think, "that was interesting.  I wonder what's on HBO."  It doesn't have a lot of sticking power.  I did not find myself out running or doing daily tasks while I mentally rehearsing Big Driver.  I was not left dwelling on elements of the story.

As with the novella, I  am left totally confounded by decisions Tess makes after she is raped.  Most of it just doesn't make much sense.  The Lifetime version of the novella becomes little more than a toned down retelling of "I Spit On Your Grave."  (And your mothers grave.  And your brothers grave.)

Did I like it?  Shhhh, I can't admit this very loudly.  I did.  I read lots of reviewers who hated it.  I mean, all out hated it!  But I think it's okay.  Maybe it's not much more than a C, but it kept me watching.  This is not cinema with lots of subplots; and it's not a mini-series where characters were able to be fleshed out.  It is a single story driven by one terrible event and the aftershocks.  The characters are pretty shallow, including Tess.  That said, I declare my favorite character to be Tom.

I thought the rape scene was long and drawn out; especially for television.

Things in Big Driver go from having what a real-estate agent might declare as "potential" -- to something more awkward.  "This isn't really working," you start to realize.  And here's the thing; when a story isn't really working, it better at least pull off its main objective.  So this is a story of revenge.  Parts of it don't work.  But as a viewer, I'm a little forgiving of some of those things that don't work, so long as there is some payback given; and that there is. So on a very surface level, it works. In truth, it's not much more sophisticated than an Erector set.

Tess is a crime novelist, so the movie suggests she knows how not to get caught.  I'm a crime expert -- because I watch television -- and I suspect Tess isn't as safe as she thinks she is.   Her biggest safety net is that she lives in the pretend world called TV land, where the police will not look too hard to figure out what happened.  She has a lot of unaccounted for time; she used her gun; she drove her car and she had her GPS on the whole time.  None of this was resolved.

As the movie progressed, a little  too much just worked out for Tess.  She got all the luck; all the information; everything just worked for her.  So, for a revenge story, it was this splendid happy ending.  Which is kind of messed up.  I agree with Brian Lowry, who writes, "the climax . . . is not as satisfying — or for that matter, morally challenging — as it should be." (variety.com)  Thus the show leaves little to think over after it's been viewed.  It was just another block of time eaten up by the glowing box.  But I enjoyed it while the box ate my time.

My wife liked it much more than I did.  She thinks the bloody dead guy who talks (the brother) is reminiscent of Pet Sematary.  I think she's just trying to get me more excited about this film by lumping it with one of my favorite Stephen King works.

So there you have it.  Big Driver has problems.  I liked it.  My wife liked it more.  I'll  probably forget I liked it -- or watched it -- and watch it again and possibly have totally new feelings toward it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

REVIVAL journal #1: Electricity Is In The Air



I started through revival tonight.

About the Journal entries:

Here’s the deal: Journal entries are my thoughts as I read through a book.  There are lots of spoilers because – gasp – I’m talking about the book!  If you don’t want to discuss the book yet, don’t read the journal entries.  Sorry that sounds grouchy.

I’m not offering reviews.  I decided years ago that there are great sites that do reviews of King’s books; my favorite is Lilja’s Library.  Reviews are usually written after the book has been read at least once, sometimes multiple times.  A brief overview of the book is given and usually a final verdict, declaring if the novel is top grade meat or a second edition of The Tommyknockers. I decided instead to journal through the books.  That is: To talk as I read, not knowing as I write each portion how the book will end.  It also allows me to include much more personal notes.

The Old Stephen King Is Back! – not really

The book is being pushed as King back to his old self.  The Stephen King who gave us Pet Sematary and The Shining is “back.”  Whatever.  He never left, ya know?  I understand that the publisher and writer want us to know up front that the novel will be dark; maybe really bleak.  It’s as if everyone has forgotten a set of short novels in Full Dark, No Stars.  Remember 1922?  That was pretty bleak.  And there were rats.

The “old Stephen King” (which makes no sense, because we now HAVE the OLD Stephen King!) won’t be coming back.  Why?  Because even if things have a similar tone to his earlier novels, King himself is a better writer.  The writing is crisper, in many ways even more energetic.  King dives into the story itself with more vigor.  The young Stephen King eased his way into a dark novel – the old guy dives in.  Yeah, there’s character development and stories that build toward the main story; but there are not the long sidebars that King used to offer up.  I can’t think of another way to put it, but his writer is crisper.  That sounds like potato chips.

Army Men


A strange thing happened as I read the opening scene in Revival – I became suspicious that Stephen King had somehow spied on a childhood event.  In the novel, a boy named Jamie meets the new preacher, a man named Charles Jacobs.  The boy, six I think, is playing his army men in front of his house when the shadow of a man disturbs his play.

When I was a boy, I had a huge collection of army men.  Our family lived next to the church.  One day while I was playing, a big ethnic church event was taking place.  (Korean, I think.)  As I played a shadow fell across my army men.  I looked up, and an Asian man had come up to the house.  At first I thought he was going to ask for my parents; but instead he began to speak to me.  “I want one,” He said.  Huh?  He held up a single finger. “Just one.”  Then, rather boldly, he reached down into the grass where I had sat up my army men and plucked up one of the troops.  “Just one,” he said.  I did not protest – I had a billion and my parents had taught me to “share,” (something Jamie’s parents have also taught him to do with his army men.)

I have wondered sometimes what that man anted with my single green soldier.  Was there something unique about mine? Was he an Asian preacher who used that toy to hold up in church and condemn American kids for playing war?  Was it personal for him? I don’t know.  I was too young to look at an adult and say, “You can have it, but what do you want it for.”

Electricity

Revival is a book about electricity. The power of electricity to heal a boys voice.  Electricity as a picture of the Gospel.  Electricity to light a miniature town.  As I was walking/running (mostly walking) and listening to the novel, I was loving all the electricity talk.  But at points, buzzing over me in the quiet desert was that sound of electricity.  It burns in the air at spots, humming a steady reminder that it’s there.

Over the town was a pretty bright moon tonight.  I ran down a long hill beside the highway coming into town, and then looked back.  Overhead the electric lines hummed.  The moon hung over the hill, and the nights sky was absolutely huge.

The promise of something Frankenstein-like – something with electricity – has me excited.

Haunted Religion

Remember that short novel of King’s, Secret Window?  The writer is accused of stealing a story.  Part of me keeps doing a slap to the head.  For years I’ve been thinking that an evil preacher would be the perfect set up for a novel.  What if a preacher fame to town with the power to heal – maybe raise the dead – but his powers were not from God?

Some church’s are spooky places.  Send the crowd away and walk through long corridors, and you might be surprised.

No real fears about losing the novel I’ve got tied up inside.  Just real pleasure at reading King do his magic.

Why Revival Makes Me Uneasy:

I approach Revival with some hesitation.  I’m not sure I’m going to like this.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I won’t.  I downloaded the book to my ipod last night, but waited all day to even start listening.  In fact, I put off walking tonight because – why?  A new Stephen King book should propel me into the dark desert.  I realized that I was dreading this book.  A new Stephen King book about a preacher who loses his faith?  I wasn’t sure I was totally game. This one promised to strike home a little closer than I was totally comfortable with.

The book is quite addicting.  And here’s what I appreciate so far; what makes it less painful. Thus far, the people of faith are painted as genuine believers.  They aren’t nasty hypocrites – though I’m sure there are plenty of those.  The church goers have arguments with their spouses, financial and health problems, and suspicions about the preacher.  They’re very real; and King doesn’t mock their faith.  Why am I on edge about this?  Two words: Needful Things.  In Needful Things in particular, and several other novels as well, it has seemed King painted Christians – Baptist and Methodist in particular – with a pretty wide brush.   “Self righteous worms,” would seem to be words that would appropriately describe some of the people who inhabit Castle Rock.

Now King has written some great stuff about religion – and Christianity in general.  And I’ve documented that pretty carefully in Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters.  The Green Mile in particular was almost a parable of Christianity.  But there is a stark difference in a book like The Green Mile and Needful Things; organized religion.  In The Green Mile, King gives an enthusiastic retelling of some central aspects of the Gospel.  What the novel does not have is any real hint of church.  After all, they’re on death row.  But when we get to Needful Things, we have Baptist and Catholics calling names, fighting and getting pretty nasty – in Jesus name.

Of course, I’m well aware that happens.  But the people who do those things are all a little deeper than King has previously shown the ability to explore.  It seemed that the religious church goers were simply sprinkled into Needful Things when King needed bias, ignorant wide-eyed idiots spoiling for a fight.  And there are certainly folk like that!  But most people in church aren’t; and many in church are the salt of the earth type.

The question I approach the book with is: Are you going to play fair, Mr. King?  Or are you going to use your big paint brush and cast everyone who loves the church in the same hues?

King’s own views on church, religion and God seem to be evolving as he moves further away form the Methodist faith he grew up with.  Some of this thinking is really digging at a question: can King deal with characters who he might personally disagree with -- politically or spiritually?  Will be draw a literary straw-man and use them as a kind of punching bag, or will he show them as truly three dimensional characters?  So the question seems valid.  Is everyone going to be Carrie White’s mama, or Mother Carmody, or reverend Rose?

In the early pages of Revival, we are given people of genuine faith living out very real lives.  They are not fanatics or nuts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stephen King on Today Show (Nov 11th, 2014)


THE STEPHEN KING A to Z CHALLENGE

Wow, this is quite an endeavor!  To celebrate the release of Revival, Rolling Stone has posted a "Stephen King A-Z" article.  (rollingstone.com)

Now, in my opinion -- the list could be a little more KINGLY.  (X-Files ?)  The article states it is, "26 places, faces, and nightmares that rule King's kingdom."

(By the way, the Rolling Stones is an ARTICLE, not just a list.  So check it out.)

Let's make it a challenge.

ROLLING STONE:                
A: Annie Wilkes
B: Bachman, Richard     
C: Captain Trips           
D: Derry                              
E: Eddie Dean                       
F: Flagg, Randall                   
G: Gerald's Game                     
H: Hearts in Atlantis                  
I: It                                             
J: JFK                                        
K: Kids                                      
L: Lisey's Story                          
M: Mr. Mercedes                     
N: Night Shift                           
O: Overlook Hotel                      
P: Pet Sematary                           
Q: Queen Laura DeLoessian      
R: Riding the Bullet                    
S: Storm of the Century             
T: The Tommyknockers            
U: Under the Dome                    
V: Vampires                               
W: White, Carrie                       
X: X-Files, The                          
Y: Yankees, New York              
Z: Zihuatanejo                            

TALK STEPHEN KING:
A: A Face Among The Masters 
B: Bag of Bones
C: Castle Rock
D: Derry
E: Everything's Eventual
F: Four Past Midnight
G: Golden Years
H:Haven
I: In the Tall Grass
J; Joe Hill
K: Kingdom Hospital
L: Low Men In Yellow Coats 
M: Maine
N: Nineteen
O: Old Dude's Ticker
P: Poems
Q: Quizzes
R: Rock Bottom Remainders
S: The Stand
T: Telekinesis
U: Under the Dome
V: Very best of new horror
W: Willa 
X: X-Files (leave me alone.  You do it.)
Y: You Can't Kill Stephen King
Z: Zenith Rising

Alright fellow gunslingers, your turn --

Revival Hits Stores

Annie, Barnes and Noble

Revival editions picture



via: Stephen King Constant Reader Fan Club

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lilja weighs in on REVIVAL


Check out my favorite Stephen King website, www.liljas-library.com.  He has posted a review of Revival.  Now, honestly, Lilja's reviews are my favorites because -- well, he actually understands Stephen King's work. He's always honest when something doesn't work; and is able  to spot unique things King does.  

I like this -- "the last 50 pages are really dark."

Check out the review for yourself.

Needful Things



I enjoyed this  short comment by a French reader about Stephen King's Needful  Things: 
thediaryofhonoriadardaine.overblog.com

I am currently in the process of reading a Stephen King, which is called Bazaar. 
This is the story of a small American town called Castle Rock, who lives a life of more common, until a small shop called "The Needful" opens its doors in the neighborhood. It turns out that this little shop is wonderful because it gives us what we love the most, even if we did not know before coming! But the seller, Leland Gaunt, is charming and very charismatic, does not require any money at all, no, it takes a little although specific service in return ... He asks that the person has a turn to another resident of Castle Rock. This obviously leads to considerable tension and draws some people against each other, or even to kill .. But this is only the beginning of the downward spiral. 
Stephen King has created this work, drawing on 80 years, because at that time, everything had a price, bought everything we could absolutely, and that's where it leads us ...

I find this very well written book, and even if it is very thick and quite impressive, you'll be going through King.
It is interesting to see what  people in other countries think of the very American -- Stephen King.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bangor Daily News: Stephen King Still Wants to Scare You!



check out the entire interview at bangordailynews.com

The author of The Shining, Pet Sematary and Carrie is BACK!  Yeah, I know, he never went anywhere.  But -- he kinda sorta did.  Christine and Carrie were blood baths.  Some of his later novels -- not so much.  Here's my favorite quote from the interview:
“I think that one of the things behind ‘Revival’ was [for] people who really like books like ‘Pet Sematary’ and ‘The Shining,’ I really wanted to see if I could still bring a real scare to people and write the sort of book that people would say, ‘It’s a great story, but it scared the hell out of me and I had to keep the lights on,’” King says. “I was sort of aiming for that in particular.”

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams



King has announced that in the fall of 2015 there will be a new collection of stories called The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.  He said it will collect about 20 short tales. Kin noted, "It should be a pretty fat book."

Goodreads Interview With Stephen King

Freelance writer Catherine Elsworth posted an interview with Stephen King at Goodreads. It's a great interview because it includes a lot of questions from readers, not just Elsworth.

Elsworth reveals that Revival is dedicated to "some of the people who built my house," including Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Of course, King spends some time in the interview smashing stupid sayings.  Remember his rant about how dumb an authors notebook is?  Well this time his gripe is with the advice, "Write what you know."  It's bad advice, King declares!  He then says it's good advice if you use it as a "foundation."

Also on the subject of writing, Elsworth cites a line from the book, "Writing is a wonderful and terrible thing. It opens deep wells of memory that were previously capped." She asks King if this is true from him and his fiction. "Writing is like being in a dream state or under self-directed hypnosis. It induces a state of recall that—while not perfect—is pretty spooky."

King does reveal he's working on a project with son Owen, but he doesn't say what.

Asked what  his scariest monster is, King declares it a tie between Pennywise and Flagg.  (Really?)



And then, discussing the Stand and ebola, King said:
There's one Stand story that still needs to be told, although it's not a long one. I happen to know that when [Stand characters] Stu Redman and Frannie Goldsmith headed back to New England (with their baby), Frannie fell into a dry well. That's all I know. I'd have to write the story to find out what happens. 
When asked what books inspired him, King gives a list which includes, surprisingly to me the Dean Koontz novel Watcher.  Also Lord of the Flies, all things Lovecraft and several others.  File this under shameless self promotion -- Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters discusses King and the novel Lord of the Flies as well as giving some space to Lovecraft's influence on King.

What Happened To Jim Carrey In Room 237?



I was watching Dumb and Dumber last night with my daughters.  It's sad when you reach the age when things that were hilarious in your 20's are now just -- stupid.  What did catch my eye was The Stanley Hotel.

James Parker at The Atlantic wrote:
 Jim Carrey requested 217 during the filming of Dumb and Dumber, but checked out—so the story goes—after only three hours. “That’s a shady one,” says the hotel’s tour guide Kevin Lofy. “What happened to him in that room, we don’t know. He’s never spoken of it.” A fantastic, if apocryphal, image: Carrey the rubbery actor-medium, the channeler of presences, windmilling out of the Stanley in a post-ghost panic.
Advocate "In Focus" editor, Lindsay Maynard, reports a similiar details about Carrey's stay at the Overlook -- I mean Stanley Hotel.  Maynard took the hotel tour and wrote a very nice article in which he wholeheartedly embraces the spooky elements of the old place.  In fact, she says the hotel is deemed one of the "most haunted."  HERE is the article, titled "Tour Estes Park's most haunted hotel."



Maynard also includes the tid-bit about Jim Carrey's stay in room 217, and also reports he did not stay the entire night.  Seems a few hours after checking in, he left the room and "never returned."  Why?  He's never said a word about it.  Could it be that the woman in the tub bothered him?  She was so very pretty!  Or perhaps the two dead girls made it hard to settle down.


Some interesting facts gleaned from the article:
  • Ghost Hunters has visited the hotel nine times!
  • Travel Chanel's "Ghost Adventures" has also paid their respects.
  • In June 1911, during a power outage, a chambermaid named Mrs. Wilson entered room 217 to light a candle.  A gas leak caused the room to explode!  What's amazing is that she lived, and was given a job at the hotel for life.  Maynard says that she is known to appear from time to time and even put away clothes for guests.  Nice ghosty.
  • On the fourth floor, there is sometimes the sound of unseen children playing.


MTV Pet Sematary Review


I like the reviews and interviews that are close to  when a project was made and there's still a lot of energy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is FROZEN the Disney version of THE SHINING ?



cinemablend.com's Kristy Puchko posted a fun article, asking if maybe Frozen is actually a "remake" of the Shining.  Go to the link because after building her case Puchko gives  you the opportunity to vote.  How should you vote?  Well, it's obvious -- right?

Add this to the Room 237 theories.

Citing blogger Mary Katharine Ham, (the original blog post by Ham is at mkhammer.squarespace.co) the article lists out several amazing -- or not so amazing -- similarities to The Shining.

Here's the argument  broken into simple bullet points:

Similar characters.
  • Elsa = Jack.  "Both have something inside them that is a danger to their loved ones. And when given a position of power--be it queen of Arendelle or caretaker of a remote mountain resort--they lose control. Also, both tend to favor a place of solitude high in the mountains."  Ah, now it's clear as day!  But wait. . . there's more!
  • Anna = Danny, because they are both left to "their own devices" in high ceilinged posh buildings.  One a castle, the other a hotel.  NOW YOU SEE IT, right?  Ham notes, 'while Jack dislocated Danny's shoulder in a moment of out of control (drunken) rage, Elsa nearly killed Anna twice."
  • Wendy = Olaf. Because, like Olaf, Wendy will do whatever necessary to protect the innocent Danny Anna.
  • And that means Kristoff = Dick Hallorann, who acts as both Danny and Wendy's protector.  

This is directly from Ham's blog post:
When Anna and Olaf realize they are stuck in the Arendelle castle as Elsa's power begins to throw icicle daggers in their way, Olaf throws open an upstairs window, and sends Anna sliding down the snow to the ground. Olaf follows. 
In "The Shining," as Jack corners Danny and Wendy in an upstairs bathroom with his ax, Wendy throws open a window and sends Danny sliding down the snow to the ground. In this version, of course, Wendy cannot escape as easily as Olaf does.
Yep, that pretty much did it for me.  I'm never watching either movie again.

10 Best Stephen King Books



Rolling Stone did a poll, asking what the 10 best Stephen King books are.  The answers -- a little ridiculous.  (www.rollingstone.com) I am glad they allowed novella's to count.

Here is the Rolling Stone line up:
10. Wizard and Glass. (REALLY?!)
9. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.
8. The Dead Zone
7. The Green Mile
6. 11.22.63
5. Misery
4. Salem's Lot
3. The Shining
2. IT
1. The Stand

I wonder if Shawshank might be getting a huge boost from movie memory.  I read the novella recently, and was struck by how much butter the movie is.  In fact, the same is true of The Body, which was turned into Stand By Me.  I liked the movie better.  In turn, I wonder if books like Bag of Bones might be overlooked because of the poor performance of the mini-series. Notice all the books selected were adapted nicely to screen, with the exception of Wizard and Glass.  In fact, The Deadzone and The Shining have both been given multiple treat

And I'm glad a Dark Tower novel made the list. . . but Wizard and Glass?  My favorites of that series were Drawing of the Three and Wolves of the Calla.

What would a correct list look like?  Glad you asked. . .
10. Christine
9. The Green Mile
8. Joyland
7. Salem's Lot
6. Dolores Claiborne
5. 11.22.63
4. The Shining
3. Pet Sematary
2. IT
1. The Stand

So I chose a lot of books people tell me they don't like.  (Pet Sematary, Christine, Joyland, Dolores Claiborne.)  But in many ways, these novels are much stronger than they are given credit for.  Dolores Claiborne in particular is an incredibly intense novel that is driven by both character and plot.  In fact, there are two plots moving through the book, and a connection point to Gerald's Game.  Frankly, it's brilliant.  Why is it so easily overlooked?  Because it was written in a period that was experimental for King.  So books like Needful Things, Gerald's Game, Rose Madder were not as strong and to some degree, I think, caused Dolores Claiborne to be lumped in with them.

Also, Pet Sematary is a dark, terrible novel.  (Expect a similar darkness to loom over Revival.) But it is also a strong novel.  In fact, I think it is better -- even scarier in theme --than The Shining.  Think about it, the guy digs up his dead sons body!  King takes you there!  The Shining is an exceedingly closed in novel; at points it's a tough read.  The Shining has been romanticized, so people give it a little more grace than they might otherwise. The thing is, The Shining is very closed in; almost claustrophobic.  In fact, note what reviews at the time said compared to modern readers.  The story is almost solely carried by three characters trapped in a hotel.  It is slow going for a few pages.  Yeah, when it starts rolling, it's good stuff!

I also think Joyland is too easily skipped over. What's great about that book is not the plot;  the mystery is secondary.  What makes the novel really strong is King's ability to take us back to 1973 and to the feelings of first love.  It's one thing to read a book King wrote in the 70's and think, "wow, this feels like the seventies alright."  Try reading the original edition of The Stand.  In fact, the revised version of The Stand still has flavors of the seventies.  But with Joyland, King wasn't writing during the period; but he perfectly recreated it. He did something similar with both IT and 11.22.63.

Does Christine deserve to be on a Stephen King top ten list?  I think so.  Not only is the novel a good one, but it represents the young Stephen King anxious to just drive the horror home.  It's a bloodbath; and unapologetically so.  The reader can feel King's joy.  Cars, rock and roll, and girls -- oh, and a ghost. It's not "deep" -- but it is a delight for the horror fan. King got himself into a hole when he wrote his narrator into a hospital bed.  So mid novel, he switched to third person!  I'm surprised he didn't rewrite the novel to stay with one perspective; but ultimately it is fine with me.  Who really cares if a writers switches between narrative styles?  Only my English teacher; and she's dead.

Don't you hate top ten lists?  Me too.  Good,  now give  me yours. . . 

Far more fun than a 10 Best list is a 10 worst list. And the funny thing is -- I still read and enjoy several of the books off this list.  They're just not King at the top of his game.  But, unable to come up with TEN -- here's five.
5. Gerald's Game
4. Insomnia.
3. The Tommyknockers
2. Dreamcatcher
1. Cell

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Waiting For A New Stephen King Book



Waiting for a new Stephen King book is like waiting in line for a roller coaster.  You try to find things to talk about with your friends as you wait in line.  Little snippets of the coaster thunder by as you wait,  building the anticipation.

I didn't get to read  this one early.  (I did Joyland.  And was quoted on some of their publicity stuff.)  But I know Lilja has already read it and has expressed pleasure.  See, there's always people getting off the ride going, "Yah dude!  That was awesome!"  Of course, there are also people getting off who are puking their guts up.

As you near the gate, everyone gets a little quiet.  Both scared and excited.  Scared -- in terms of a book, what if this thing is a total bummer?  Excited because it might just blow us away.

Did I mention I live in SoCal -- where there seems to be more roller-coasters  here than anywhere else on planet earth.  We have Six Flags, Disneyland (yes they do have good coasters), Knotts Berry Farm and Legoland.  Yeah, there's no cool coasters at Legoland!



But this is Stephen Kingish -- this year my favorite wood Coaster got torn down.  Magic Mountain decided it was time to take out the old wood structure, which had been a park staple  for years.  It was once a duel track coaster, but in later years  they just ran one track because. . . I don't know.  At Halloween time, they'd run the coaster backward, which was indeed the freakiest, funniest thing I'd  ever been on.  It was awesome!  When riding a coaster, your eyes do a lot of talking to your brain as you judge  how much further you have to fall.  Without seeing the drops, even little  drops felt like dips toward a bottomless pit.

When Magic Mountain decided to tear the Colossus out, it was a sad day for many of us.  But the old pile of wood did not go down without a fight.  A big fight.  The thing caught fire as they tried to tear it down!  The fire department had to be called in to put out the fire.  Imagine the person who had  to call 911 on that.  "911, what's your emergency?"  "Yeah, well, I work for Magic Mountain, and our roller-coaster is on fire.  You'll probably need a ladder truck, it's pretty big."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

CHRISTINE among MSN's 20 best movie cars



MSN has an article titled, "Movie cars: 20 best of all time." (msn.com)

OF COURSE -- Christine has to make that list!
Along with the leading man or woman, sometimes a car becomes a co-star in a certain movie — or even eclipses a film's animate characters. After all, can anyone name an actor from the cult horror classic "Christine"?
Christine comes in at #12 with this note:
Based on Stephen King's novel about an evil hunk of automotive metal, the 1983 horror classic "Christine" featured a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury as its title character. A sentient but possessed car that could mysteriously repair herself, Christine could also communicate her murderous intentions. Although there were some human actors in the movie, they've long been forgotten. Who could upstage an evil 1950s land yacht with huge tail fins?
The list includes:
 1962 Volkswagen Beetle, ‘The Love Bug’
1981 DeLorean DMC-12, ‘Back to the Future’
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California, ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’
1981 Porsche 928, ‘Risky Business’
1983 Wagon Queen Family Truckster, ‘National Lampoon's Vacation’ (haha!)
1977 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition, ‘Smokey and the Bandit’
1974 Dodge Monaco, ‘The Blues Brothers’
1941 Lincoln Continental, ‘The Godfather’
2008 Audi R8, ‘Iron Man’
1970 Porsche 917K, ‘Le Mans’  (never saw it)
1958 Plymouth Fury, ‘Christine’
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’
1949 Mercury Eight, ‘Rebel Without a Cause’
1959 Cadillac Ecto-1, ‘Ghostbusters’ (that car was great!)
1963 Aston Martin DB5, ‘Goldfinger’
1968 Ford Mustang GT, ‘Bullitt’
1932 Ford Coupe, ‘American Graffiti’
1973 Ford XB Falcon GT351, ‘Mad Max’
1980 Lamborghini Countach LP 400S, ‘The Cannonball Run’
1970 Dodge Charger, ‘The Fast and the Furious’

what about 
1948 Fruehauf Tank Trailer, DUEL.  (Steven Spielberg)



Capacity:  7000 Gallons
Length:  33 Feet Overall Length
Number of Product Compartments:  5
Construction:  Steel
Suspension:  Page & Page 60/40 spring suspension

(You can buy it at www.stlouisdumptrucks.com0


Friday, October 31, 2014

Highlights From the ROLLING STONE Interview



Rolling Stone has  posted their interview with Stephen King (rollingstone.com/culture)

The interview is interesting.  King admits he still feels insecurity.  He also admits that there is a cost to being "too political."  King says he never liked Tom Clancy, not because of politics, but because he did not feel Clancy was a good writer. Keep in mind, Clancy is almost totally plot-driven, while King is character driven. However, King likes an author named Stephen Hunter, and he's a republican.  So his taste in books and writing are not driven by his political views.  Or, put another way -- you can read novels by someone you politically disagree with.  (Sounds familiar to me)

Funny thing, King says he watched  about half of the room 237 documentary and then got "impatient" with it. He also says he doesn't "get"  the cult following that's grown up around Kubrick's version of the Shining.

Discussing his upcoming novel Revival, King said he's had the idea since he was a kid. He also noted that actually writing a book takes at least a year for him as it moves through various drafts. "I read this story called The Great God Pan in high school, and there were these two characters waiting to see if this woman could come back from the dead and tell them what was over there. It just creeped me out. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about this Mary Shelley-Frankenstein thing."

When asked if he is done writing the Dark Tower books, King said he's never done with the Tower.  He then drops something of a Tower-Bomb by revealing "those books were never edited, so I look at them as first drafts." Really?  King says the problem is in finding time to rewrite the books.  He acknowledges, "There's a missing element – a big battle at a place called Jericho Hill. And that whole thing should be written, and I've thought about it several times, and I don't know how to get into it."  I've been reading Dark Tower books -- and I agree with him.  I like the novels, bu it does feel like there is more to be done.

The interview also covers familiar ground about addiction and how in the world King would churn out bestsellers while hooked on coke.

Discussing his best and worst novels, King fesses up that in his view The  Tommyknockers is "an awful book."  The problem?  Well, he  says there might be a 350 novel in there -- but it's 700 pages!  That's insightful.  I've thought for a long time King should give us a revised/smaller version of the book, just as he gave us an expanded version of The Stand.

King also admits that he does not like Dreamcatcher.  That's a novel  I also struggled with; even though the early pages were totally engrossing.  But what is his favorite book?  Well, it's another I can't get through!  King chooses Lisey's Story. "That one felt like an important book to me because it was about marriage, and I'd never written about that. I wanted to talk about two things: One is the secret world that people build inside a marriage, and the other was that even in that intimate world, there's still things that we don't know about each other."

After discussing his struggles with organized religion, King spoke about his personal belief, stating, "Yeah. I choose to believe in God because it makes things better. You have a meditation point, a source of strength. I don't ask myself, Well, does God exist or does God not exist? I choose to believe that God exists, and therefore I can say, God, I can't do this by myself. Help me not to take a drink today. Help me not to take a drug today. And that works fine for me."

Asked if he wants to go to heaven, King replied, "I don't want to go to the heaven that I learned about when I was a kid. To me, it seems boring. The idea that you're going to lounge around on a cloud all day and listen to guys play harps? I don't want to listen to harps. I want to listen to Jerry Lee Lewis!"

As I read views on religion, I wonder -- who taught this guy?  People on clouds?  That's -- NOWHERE.  Harps?  He must have had like the worst Sunday School teacher ever.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

PREPARE FOR REVIVAL!



Stephen King has launched  a new website called Prepare For Revival.

King's website shared this word about the new website (and novel),
Prepare For revival is a social experiment intended to help readers understand just how dark Revival actually is and to help them deal with the emotionally intense concepts and themes within Revival. Without exaggeration we feel it could be Stephen’s darkest novel to date and we really want the fans to know this before they read the book.
 The website notes,
 Those who have read Revival know its themes are a return to the Stephen King of yesteryear when books such as The Shining, Pet Sematary and IT frightened readers at the very core of their inner self. 
Indeed Revival is a novel for those ready to experience the complicated emotions of Faith, Tragedy, Disillusion, Addiction, Curiosity, Obsession, Death and what may exist on the other side of life.
The site appears to be something like a blog, with entries on subjects like Faith, Tragedy, Delusion, Addiction, Death and even "the other side."  Each subject also includes opportunities to respond back  to the articles, seeking to make the book an interactive experience.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the MIST on Google Maps



Hey, check out the shortlist.com article, "Horror Movie Locations On Google Maps."  Interesting to see where  things were filmed. And YIKES -- the poltergeist house is in Southern California.  Actually, most of these are in California.

Included is The Mist with these notes:

  • Location: Tom's Market, Vivian, Louisiana
  • Known for: The supermarket where a variety of nightmarish creatures attack

Also mentioned are: 
The Omen, All Saints Church in Fulham, London
Rosemary's Baby, The Dakota, New York
Halloween, 1530 N. Orange Grove, Los Angeles
Poltergeist, 4267 Roxbury Street, Simi Valley, California
Scream 2, The Rialto, South Pasadena, California  (I've been there)
Drag Me To Hell, 1031 Everett Street, Echo Park, California
The Fog, Point Reyes lighthouse, Marin County, California
The Birds, 17110 Bodega Lane, Bodega, California
Shaun of the Dead, Monson Road at Balborough St, London

(thanks Fans Of Stephen King)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rolling Stone Gives Us A Glimpse Of REVIVAL

rollingstone.com has posted an excerpt of Stephen King's upcoming novel, REVIVAL.

What excites me is King's statement that the book was a play on Frankenstein.
Stephen King's new book Revival, in stores on November 11th, is a modern-day Frankenstein story about a electricity-obsessed minister that turns on God after his family dies and his five-decade relationship with a drug-added rock guitarist. "I've had the idea for this book since I was a kid," 
Of course, this should come with a request -- "Oh please Mr. King, don't pull one of those Koontz 'I Frankenstein' things on us!"  Of course he won't.

I've got to admit, this book has me a bit nervous.  Not because I'm scared to be scared, but because King and religion sometimes go well together, and sometimes it's an unhappy marriage.

By the way, speaking of religion and horror --I've always thought a haunted church (with a twisted preacher who could raise the dead) would make an awesome horror story.  Most people don't know how truly spooky some parts of a church can be after midnight.



Monday, October 27, 2014

King Runs With The Classic Masters Of Horror

 Ken Raymond at newsok.com posted an interesting list of books titled, "Don't read these at night: Oklahoman reviewers' picks for scariest books."

#2 on the list was The Shining.  Raymond writes about the novel:
If one name is synonymous with modern horror, it’s Stephen King, and “The Shining” is our pick for his scariest novel. The book centers on frustrated writer Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who accepts a winter caretaker position at the sprawling Overlook Hotel in Colorado. The hotel is closed to visitors, so there’s no one there for months besides Jack, his wife and their son Danny. No one, that is, except the ghosts. As Jack’s madness grows, he turns on his wife, and the peaceful, snowy refuge becomes a claustophobic trap. Can Danny’s special gifts, known as “the shining,” save him and his mother? The entire book is a slow burn gradually building up the suspense until it’s nearly unbearable.
What interested me were the other books listed.
 3. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.
4. “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
5. “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.
6. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.

#1 on the list was a book I've not heard of, "In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote.  But note the other four: Irving, Stoker, Poe.  All three are classic authors.  And who's right smack in the middle of them?  Stephen King!

This seems like a good place to point out that Stephen King really is a face among the masters.  That is, his work will have a lasting impact on generations to come; much the way Poe and Stoker do today.



What is the scariest NON King book you've read?

NONFICTION: For me it's the book I'm reading right now, "Haunted: The Incredible True Story of a Canadian Family's Experience Living in a Haunted House."  It reads like the Amityville Horror -- but no stupid pigs feet left in the snow.  There is a scene where the lady is laying in bed next to her husband, and sees a woman standing in the doorway looking at her.  It scared me!  So I'm supposed to be out running right now and listening to the book. . . but I'm scared.  Or lazy.  no, scared.  Anyway, the book is creepy.

I read Fatal Vision when I was a kid, about an army doctor who was accused of killing his family.  I thought it was terrifying, and the scenes from that book still haunt me. I saw the miniseries first, then read the book, so the images were already seared in my minds eye.  I have since come to believe that the doctor is innocent -- which leads to an scarier series of events.

FICTION: Swan Song was pretty scary. It may just be fresh on my mind because I just finished it.   But there were definitely scenes that I thought were over the top crazy.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If King Had Written Poltergeist



10,000 Magazines, #9992
Forrest J. Aackerman's Monster Land, April 1985 

Monster Land is -- well, the best.  I love it!  Forrest J. Ackerman was an early fan and collector of old horror props.

Magazine's are like time capsules  Locked in the pages are reviews and all kinds of cultural references.  There was a completely new Godzilla, and an article on the popular scifi television series "V."  It was actually dreadfully bad, but when I was a kid I liked it.

Charles Grant's interview with King is a great peek in a young Stephen King.  they discuss Tabitha King's writing, King's book Danse Macabre and Creepshow.  The  discussion also turns to what is now well worn ground: The Kubrick version of The Shining.

Grant also asked King if he would like to adapt one of his own works, and specifically asks about The Stand.  King quickly responds with a hearty, "No."  Interesting, since King did write the script for the mini-series of The Stand. "I'd like to do another feature," King says.  "something long.  God help me, I'd even like to do a novel for television.  Everyone has their own sword planted int eh sand and they go by it twice a day and say, Sooner or later I must rush on that sword; disembowel myself.  I think that's mine."

King goes on to say that he's convinced that network tv is still viable.  And he's stuck to that conviction, sans Under The Dome.  But then things get interesting as King begins to imagine the Dukes of Hazard as a horror flick.  "If you give somebody enough time and get the audience involved in the characters, you can scare people," King said. "You could even scare people over programs like The Dukes of Hazard if you could kill off one of those creepy kids.  Can you imagine the reaction of all those nerdy 11 or 12 year-olds sitting in front of their tvs watching The Dukes of Hazard and some 10 wheeler comes and just rams those duke boys right down!

When asked if there is a particular director he'd like to work with, King names Spielberg.  'i think that would be fun," King said.  "I came very, very close to writing Poltergeist."  WOE!  i wish the interview had backed up at that point for some more info, because that movie was SCARY!  And, not to mention there was that nasty creepy awful clown in Poltergeist.  I wonder what the movie would have been like with a King script.  Personally, I think I'm glad King didn't write that script.

King also says he would have liked to have worked with Don Siegel, the guy who did the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Which, by the way, is on Netflix this October.


Stephen King, 1985

Here  are some of my favorite bits of the interview:

Grant: would you like to direct?
King: I'd like to do it once.  I've always had the feeling i could probably do a horror picture and scare people.  But that is yet to be proven.  There comes a moment when you're writing, that you see something some other writer has done and been paid for and you say, "I know I an do better than that!"  i don't know that I could do better than anybody else but sometimes I'd like to try it.  I think it would be possible to really give people the tremors, send them out of the theater straight to an ambulance.

Grant: Which of your stories is your favorite?
King: Think my favorite novel is still Salem's Lot in terms of the way it makes me feel.  I don't think it's the best but it's my favorite.  As far as short stories are concerned, I like the grizzly ones best.  however,r the story Survivor Type goes a little bit too far even for me.  After 4 years of fruitless efforts to get the thing published, Charlie Grant bought the story.

Grant: Do you really think that story is funny?
King: I think it's hilarious!  A guy cuts himself up and eats himself, piece by piece.  It's the grossest thing you've read!
Grant: Why did I buy that?
King: You bought ti because of King's name!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christine For Sale


Have you started your Christmas list yet?  Well, if not, shortlist has posted great news -- you could own Christine.

There were actually 23 "Christine's" (1958 Plymouth Furys) used in John Carpenter's film.  However -- shortlist notes that only two are known to still be in existence, and one of them is up for sale as part of an Arizona auction from the estate of Ron Pratte.
Pratte is believed to have a personal fortune of $350m (£218m) - it's not known why he's decided to sell off his collection - widely regarded as one of the biggest and most impressive private car collections in the United States, but everything must go at the annual Barrett-Jackson auction, which will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona early next year.
The entire collection is estimated to be worth $50m (£31m); as yet there's no guide price on 'Christine' but we'll get saving anyway.
what would you pay for Christine?  

IKEA Loves THE SHINING