Sunday, October 19, 2014

is IT in California?

Rebecca Jacobson at has posted an article titled, "Police arrest one of 20 clowns terrorizing county in California."  Jaconson's first lines include references to Stephen King.  
If the movies “It” and “Killer Clowns from Outer Space” gave you the heebie-jeebies, there’s another reason to be scared of clowns: An outbreak of clowns in the San Joaquin Valley are terrifying residents.
Great.  Evil killer Clown in California.   Jacobson reports on the arrest of what amounts to pranksters terorizing neighborhood children.
The recent creepy clown trend started on social media on October 1. Photos of an eerie clown posed carrying balloons in poorly lit streets of Wasco, California appeared online. The “Wasco clown” photos were taken by a husband and wife team and posted to an Instagram account as part of a year-long art project.
And now, Jacobson says, there are "armed-clown copycats."  This reminds me of something King's fiction often makes clear -- often the real monster is the people.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

UPDATED: Big Driver, Let The Whining Begin

Don't you love it when a new Stephen King project comes out, and everyone gets their chance to complain?  I'll post my thoughts on Big Driver in a couple days -- until then, here's a summery Sara Stewart's whining from  Her article is titled, "Stephen King’s ‘Big Driver’ stuck in neutral."
  • Bello is an engaging presence, but she’s above this material. Ditto Ann Dowd. I can’t say as much for rocker Joan Jett, though it’s still a kick to see her brief appearance as a weathered barkeep with a glass eye.
  • “Big Driver” can’t seem to decide if it’s a straight-up thriller or a dark comedy about what writing about murder for years does to a person’s brain.
  • It’s a line King often walks with finesse in his stories, but doesn’t always survive the leap to the screen since he’s usually not writing the screenplay.
Stewart nails something that I mentioned when I first read the book; it's hard to believe Tess would respond the way she does to the scenario she's given.  Stewart writes:
There’s an essential implausibility to Tess’ reactions — and while it might, in a different genre, have been amusing to watch her developing an in-depth internal relationship with the voice in her GPS, the fact that it follows a traumatic rape feels way off, tonally.
I wrote in my journal entry about the NOVELLA:
 Tess' reasoning at several points still troubles me. Sorry to mention this. But I was not really convinced on her reason for not calling the police. And, her note to herself, "Don't get caught" . . . but she didn't really carry out much of a plan. She followed an emotion, but didn't execute a flawless play. Instead, she plans backward. that is, she carries out an idea, then figures out how to cover her tracks. 
While the story is dark, the ending is fantastic. King masterfully pulled the strands together. It is dark, but perhaps not as dark as some of the other novella's contained in FDNS.
By the way, I liked the Lifetime movie. More about that later.  What did y'all think?

UPDATED: Mary McNamara has her own share of whining, declaring that King "often" deals with the subject of rape in "long, graphically detailed and brutal scenes."  I wonder who she's been reading!

Check it out:
Carrie, no rape.
Christine, no rape.
Cujo, no rape.
The Shining, no rape.
Pet Sematary no rape.
The Green Mile, no rape.
. . . So what exactly is McNamara talking about?   Well, as is often true of the press these days, it's accusation an without any supporting evidence.

McNamara isn't done trashing King and Big Driver.  She writes, "If only it weren't such a disturbingly retro and sadistically sensationalized take on the subject. If only it were any good at all." And, "The story is simple, manipulative and ghastly." She goes on to say, "this story is so nonsensical that it, at best, exploits its subject matter and, at worst, insults it."  She calls Big Driver, "criminally limited material."  Criminally?  Now here's a reviewer who apparently just needs to just use words randomly without concern for their meaning. Big Driver has "CRIMINALLY limited material" ?

Know what the problem is -- McNamara, and many reviewers, are looking for King's "message" instead of looking for the STORY.  These reviewers aren't along for the ride, they're looking for a cause and a protest, and upset King did not set up a good rally for them.

Friday, October 17, 2014

So That's How You Read A Stephen King Book!

image credit:
It’s not the same year as the one in “From a Buick 8″, but pretty close.
 All I could think of when I saw it was “Low men in yellow coats”
 driving big shiny cars.

I'm waiting for Revival.  It's like watching the clock with an hour left the day before school lets out for summer.  Time is moving ever slower.  Ticktock.

In the meantime, I've started my way back through books I never finished the first time.  Wizard and Glass and today the novel From A Buick 8.  I tried From A Buick 8 at least 3 times before -- and no magic.  Sorry.  Is something wrong with me?  What gives? I snapped it up on my way out the door because -- well, it was there on the shelf.  It's hard not  to pick The Stand up again.

As I drove, I listened to From A Buick 8.  I expected nothing; honestly, I've listened to this first CD already.  But as I listened, I forgot about the "plot" and got involved with the characters.  Especially a kid named Ned.  As I got more interested in the book, I realized what my problem has been with this particular novel.  I know there is something up with a  Buick; it's an alien car or something.  And I'm so excited, I think the story is about the Buick.  After all, Ned isn't in the title;  the Buick is!  But the novel isn't really as much about the Buick as it is the human characters.  

When I read From A Buick 8, I want King to tell me early on what's up with that car.  GET TO THE CAR!  But he takes his time with a lot of police jargon and character background.  Impatience has been my downfall.  But as I listened this time, King's magic worked and the characters and plot found a rhythm that worked for me.  I started falling in love with this little book.

So, not to self and the rest of you stuck on a King book -- stop worrying about plot and spaceships and settle into the characters.  As King talks about people, he will start to unravel a pretty awesome plot.

The book is also distracting because it's told from multiple points of view.  And, to make matters worse, it starts with a lady named "Sandy."  Only, Sandy is a guy.  But the opening line just says, "Sandy."  Only when I LISTENED  to the novel did it dawn on me, "OH!  Sandy is a dude!"  How long before I was supposed to pick up on that in print?

There are actually quite a few Stephen King books I never finished.  Do I feel bad about that?  No.  It just means I got impatient with the story telling and lost interest; but I'll be back.  But I do notice that many of the books I find most frustrating come from an era stretching from the mid 90's to early 2000's.  Books like Rose Madder, From A Buick 8, Gerald's Game and Cell.  (I did finish some of these books, they just didn't sweep me away.)  

The most recent story King has written that I failed to complete was Lisey's Story.  Yes, I get impatient with it.  There's a lot of build  up, and I can't figure out what this book is about!  I prefer the likes of 11.22.63 -- which runs hard  on plot early on and then settles into character development mid novel.  But King doesn't always play that game.

Finally, The Talisman is a novel I find difficult to engage with.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe things feel a little forced to me; Jack Sawyer = Tom Sawyer and I roll my eyes.  The Talisman has one other  thing working against it, and I'll admit right now it's a stupid reason to complain.  I don't like the cover.  It doesn't say to me, "come read me."  It says to me, "If we print King's name big enough, you'll buy the book." 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just How Much Blood Do You Need To Fill An Elevator?

filmschool rejects asks an important question: Just how much blood would it take to fill an elevator at the overlook ?  See, I'm glad someone is thinking about the important things in life.   Kevin Carr explains his love for The Shining before explaining that he has been diving into the "thought provoking" Room 237.  Now, maybe that's just a kind nod, because when I watched Room 237 I came away thinking I've been in the room with the UFO believers a little too long.

Discussing the scene where the elevator doors open to a outpouring of blood. Of course, Kevin Carr asks what all of us asked when we saw that -- How much blood would it actually take to fill the elevator lobby?  Yeah, that's what I thought!  Carr writes, "The Answer: About 3,000 gallons… and possibly much more."  WAIT!  More?  So that's not the answer.

Carr explains how the scene was filmed:
The actual shooting of the blood elevator scene was, of course, an effects shot. Achieved decades before CGI blood would even be an option, the sequence was shot on a soundstage in miniature. Kubrick wanted to literally have 200 to 300 gallons of Kensington Gore fake blood available for the shot, and it reportedly took days to reset. 
Visual effects expert David Ridlen generated a computer model of the blood elevator sequence using RealFlow 4 and LightWave 9.6. What resulted was a strikingly accurate recreation of the original practical effect from The Shining. In the process, Ridlen’s work debunked the theory that there is a body or some other object hidden in the blood. (Ridlen tells me, “I am absolutely 200% sure there is no such thing.”) 
Ridlen used a 1/2-scale set because he felt Kubrick would have wanted his shoot to look as close to reality as possible, though there is evidence that the set itself might have been 1/3rd-scale. Regardless, in Ridlen’s recreation, he used 366 gallons of digital blood. Doubling the size of Ridlen’s elevator set would mean the volume of blood needed to fill it increases by a factor of eight. This results in 2,928 gallons of blood. So there’s your shopping list. 
However, while a set was used to shoot the scene in The Shining, within the film itself, the elevator hallway is opened to the rest of the hotel. Within the actual scene, you can see chairs floating and the blood pooling rather than draining away. So… 
One of the hallmarks of Kubrick’s film is that the Overlook Hotel is constructed with impossible geography. Maps are available online which attempt to lay out where the different rooms are. However, many of the rooms, hallways, and corridors seen in the film cannot fit together in normal space. 
Of course, the concept of impossible geography in film and television is nothing new, especially for anyone trying to figure out the layout of the house or apartment in The Golden Girls, Roseanne or any other popular sit-com. However, Kubrick deliberately used impossible geography in The Shining to disorient the viewer (and, at times, the cast and crew).
And then Carr asks the great big question I was actually wondering; Where did it all come from?

Check out the answers at: filmschool rejects

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Real First Edition Of THE GUNSLINGER

Here is an ebay offering for the true first appearance of The Gunslinger.  The book was originally published in the magazine of Fantasy and science Fiction section by section.  Kind of cool to see all the editions together,  I bought mine piece by piece.  It's starting bid is $80.  A lot for a bunch of magazines; but not so much for a true first appearance of The Gunslinger.  (No, I do not know the seller.)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Good Marriage: Why Does Darcy Live In The Amityville House?

I'm sure there are spoilers here.  If you don't want spoilers, don't read reviews.

Approaching a movie with absolutely zero expectation can be a good  thing.  I have not read many other reviews of the movie because I spotted early on that it was getting a lot of negative press, and I didn't want to pick up on others complaints.  I want the whining to be my own.

The script, written by King, certainly has  the marks of a literary undertaking. Nice, tight, opening narration that is truly haunting.

I thought the main characters, Joan Allen as Darcy and Anthony LaPaglia as Bob played well against one another.  Early scenes make the "good marriage" almost a little -- too good.  But that's petty.

The scene where Darcy discovers the truth  is, indeed -- horrifying.  Music, tone, visuals, acting -- it all works.  The realization begins with the discovery of naughty magazines. . . but there's more for her to turn up.  Interesting, the scene's setting is exactly how I imagined it when I read the novel.  Of course, all that's really presented is the work bench.

When the full realization of what's going on settles on Darcy, the viewer feels her horror.  What I like about the  movie is that it plays with the theme much more than the book does.  What if an unsuspecting wife found out her husband was a terrible serial killer?  Here's what's fun about the movie: He knows she knows.  Of course, that's also what doesn't work!  Because a serial killer who has their nasty secret discovered isn't really too friendly about the situation.

There are moments you think, "How does Stephen King get inside a serial killers head."  The scary thing is, I don't think it's that hard.  Fleeting thoughts others have and (hopefully) push aside, writers more willingly embrace.  And then, when Bob the serial killer's secret is exposed and he thinks he can move on with  life with someone knowing his secret -- I think maybe King fell out of the serial killers head.  Our friend Mr. Bob doesn't seem bright enough to be a serial killer in the second half of the movie.  Not that they give an IQ exam when applying.

What seems unreal to me is just how quickly Bob fesses up.  Usually if a guy gets caught doing something -- especially something really bad -- he tries to worm his way out.  He doesn't go, "Hey, you were in my stash, and now you know I'm that bad guy.  But hey, we can still be cool, right?"  I don't think that's how it would work.  Do you?  And, to make it more unbelievable, it's not she who confronts him, leaving him speechless and confused with no explanation.  But he knows she knows before there is a confrontation. This gives him time to think things through and offer an excuse. Instead, he chooses confession.

Darcy doesn't plan and act fast enough.  This is not the Darcy we know from the novel; this is a very different woman.  She misses so many good opportunities.  She could stab him while he sleeps.  She could drop the car on him while he's working under it.  Why does she not movie faster?  She wanted to spare her children the pain.  And she needed time to plan.

A lot of the movie is flashes going through Darcy's head.  The newscaster talks to her; scenes are played out -- but in her imagination.  It gives the viewer pause when this is done more than once; is this really happening, or is the writer playing with me again?  It lessens suspense.  When something truly scary happens, the viewer is numb; is the camera going to pan out in a moment and we're just playing games in Darcy's head again?

There's a plot hole in A Good Marriage that King himself has addressed when discussing a stories plot.  "Why doesn't she just call the police?"  yeah. . . why?  I think the short answer is that she is afraid people will think she's in on it; that at the least she knew, and at the worst, she participated in the murders.  In fact, Bob uses exactly this logic on her.  So, instead, she carries out a murder of  her own.

Now consider -- in a house that could possibly soon be crawling with investigators, she commits murder.  Her not getting caught at that point is not a matter of how skillful  she is as a murder, but how skillful He is as a serial killer.  Any single clue he left behind at any crime scene could lead a massive police force into her home to investigate, and ultimately expose not only him, but her.  She cleans up the blood; forgetting police use a thing called luminol.  What she is counting on is that the police will  never follow Bob's trail home.  But doing away with him doesn't remove the clues he's left behind. Know what would be easier?  Calling the police.

When Darcy does act, it is great because the viewer doesn't know when it's going to come.  BAM!  How long will she wait?  How many opportunities will she pass up?

There is one case that I know of where a serial killer was outed by a family member; that's unabomber.

So there's a lot of whining here for me to conclude with this -- I liked it.  Yep, I did. I liked the book,  and I like the movie.  It's certainly not my favorite Stephen King movie, but is a good film.

There are three scenes I really enjoyed:
1. Darcy's discovery of naughty Bob.  Moving from the anger of finding a bad magazine to the real horror of who she is married to is powerfully portrayed.
2. The moment she acts.  The fight scene actually reminds me of Misery.
3. Her confession.  This part  I think works much better than the book.  The retired cop reveals how difficult it is going to be for her to put up with people talking about the "good ole days."  She will have to keep close to her heart the fact that Bob was actually a very naughty boy.

Favorite lines:
"I enjoy the hunt."
"I'm powerless over my nature."
"I'll just do it once, get it out of my head."
"All good things come to those who wait."
"Here I am Bobby, on top -- just the way you like it."
"Two can keep a secret, if one of them is dead."
"The only thing I have to do is pay my taxes.  It's not for me to punish you."
"You did the right thing."

What if. . .
Know what would have been a messed up Twilight Zone ending -- if she killed him and then after his funeral, the killing's began again. (No, I don't really want the story to make that turn.)

What I would have really liked -- if Darcy had been able to make him suffer just a little more.

Out of curiosity,

does Darcy's house

Look like this house?

Did Darcy ever  think, "Hey, maybe I'm living in the Amityville house with a serial killer."  no.  Okay.

Here's a note about the House I found interesting: 
This old off-white home, slightly creepy in its emptiness and subtle dilapidation, and yet a real potential gem with that backyard idyllic farm, caught the eye of location scouts. . . 
The house belongs to Historic Hudson Valley (you can tell because it enjoys the same new stretch of farm fencing) which wasn’t using it for anything lately. It used to house offices but has since become too deteriorated. So it’s a win for them to get the house fixed up and a win for the village, said Giaccio. (

King and Carpenter: A Match Made in Hell?

King and Carpenter: A Match Made in Hell?
by Brandon Engel

The most compelling monsters are the ones who illicit our deepest sympathies. John Carpenter’s The Thing, however, elicits sympathy in a surprisingly pathetic way: he got his ass handed to him by E.T.! The fearsome shape-shifter of Carpenter’s misanthropic visions just couldn’t hold his own in the box-office against Hollywood’s favorite doe-eyed, feeble weakling (no, not Spielberg, but the alien).

And it’s really too bad that the film didn’t enjoy a more dignified theatrical run, because a.) it deserved to and b.) the rumor is that if Carpenter’s film hadn’t tanked, he was going to be brought into direct a big-budget film adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter. And it’s really too bad, in a way, because the Firestarter film that ultimately was released was an enormous let down.

It didn’t prevent Carpenter and King from teaming up, however. Not long after the release of The Thing, Carpenter was recruited to direct a feature length adaptation of King’s Christine (1983), which tells the story of a bloodthirsty 1957 Plymouth Fury. This was perhaps, the most appropriate King story for a collaboration between the two men, and I say this for a couple of reasons. For one, King’s stories can become so involved, with so many characters introduced, that, in many situations, it would be impractical and distracting to compress all of them into a single film. One of the things that distinguishes Carpenter’s work on the whole is that he’s capable of telling captivating stories with very few principal actors (think Halloween, Dark Star, Starman, The Thing). Christine is a story with relatively few characters, and with much of the narrative tension borne out of the intensity of a few key relationships. For another thing, Carpenter is versatile in that he has shown a facility for both visually driven narratives (The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York) and narratives that downplay the importance of intense visuals and make economic use of what is not seen (Halloween especially). King has an extremely colorful imagination, and while there are certain images that he evokes successfully through his writing, attempts to translate these images directly to screen have in some instances, fallen short.

One of the things that becomes clear looking at the work of both men, is that Carpenter and King spoke the same language, and had many of the same cultural reference points. Both men drew liberally from the influences of EC Comics. Both men, in fact have spoken in interviews about the significance of those horror comics, and both men have paid tribute to them: King with Creepshow (1983) and Carpenter most directly with John Carpenter’s Body Bags (1993). Both men were also huge admirers of Ray Bradbury, who might have, in some way,s provided the seedling for the idea that would blossom into Christine. Ray Bradbury was a pre-eminent purveyor of cold-war era technophobia. Themes of rapidly evolving technology (amplified by the arms race between the states and the former U.S.S.R.) are prevalent in his work, and King and Carpenter have integrated elements of this into their work also.

While critical response to Christine was mixed up its initial release, the film has aged pretty well in many ways. After all, we live in an age of cars that can drive themselves, and wireless home security monitoring systems that control everything. One of the things that has perhaps kept it relevant to modern audiences is the fact that technology is still creepy. It’s creepier now than it’s ever been.

With Halloween season upon us here again, let’s toast to two masters of menace! And here’s to hoping that King will manage to pull Carpenter out of semi-retirement and provide him with a decent script to work off of (something that Carpenter, sadly, has been lacking for a few decades now)

Brandon Engel is a Chicago-based blogger with a keen interest in all things horror. Among his favorite Stephen King novels are: Firestarter, Cujo, The Shining, Carrie, Hearts in Atlantis, and Misery. Follow him: @BrandonEngel2

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If LITTLE HOUSE was a horror film

catch the IT reference?

What Was The Best Stephen King Miniseries?

I love Stephen King miniseries -- sometimes.

So here are a few of my favorites, and a few of the real stinkers!

1. Salem's Lot (Original)  If you've seen it, then you know I don't have to make much of a case for this being the best.  I love it!  I love the 1970's era feel; the look of the vampires.  Even when it's quirky, it works for me.  And by the way, that house really is creepy lookin'!  

2. The Stand.  I love this miniseries -- minus Molly.  Sorry, but she wasn't Franny!  Yes, it's dated and feels very 90's.  But so what.  Every telling of The Stand gets stuck in the era it's released in.  Try reading the original version of The Stand, it's got 1970's all over it.  I'm hopeful the new movie (MOVIES!) might bring the Stand to life for a new generation.  Ebola anyone?

3. IT.  Okay, this wasn't genius stuff, but the story was good -- and Tim Curry was really good.  What's more, the miniseries will live with me forever because of what it did to me as a teen.  That story actually messed with my head!  Especially the first half.  The second half. . . yeah, that's best not discussed.
4. Storm of the Century.
5. Carrie.  Don't judge me, I liked it.  What I really liked was the end.  I know it was supposed to be a series -- but it never took off.  That's fine, because the story is great as a stand alone.  Maybe what I like is that it so surprised me.  I thought it would just follow the original Carrie plot, but this took some new turns that were very welcome.  
6. Bag of Bones.  
7. Tommyknockers.  This has some pretty good moments, okay?  I like it when the kid makes his brother disappear as a magic act and can't get him back.

Favorite Hatreds: 
1. Langoliers.
2. Desperation.
3. Golden Years

Haven't seen:
The Dead Zone, Rose Red.

Books that should be miniseries:
1. The Dark Tower.  I liked the movie, TV series, back to movie -- plan that was proposed by Ron Howard. 
2. Needful Things.  This book is perfect for a three night miniseries; with a bit of rewriting!
3. Under the Dome.  No, you haven't seen Under The Dome.  You've seen CBS playing Under The Dome.  I mean the Under The Dome where Junior is a serial killer -- that one!
4. The Talisman.

What's your favorite?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mercy Trailer

Wizard and Glass

I've been reading a lot lately.  Well, listening a lot.  I just finished Swan Song -- and loved it.  And started a book called Lucifers Hammer.

Why I Gave Up The First Time

I also started reading the one Dark Tower book that so far I've avoided -- Wizard and Glass.  Why did I avoid it?  Because I'm lazy.  I heard that the entire book was a flash  back, and so I could easily skip from Wasteland to Wolves and not really miss anything.  Besides, King gives us an overview at the beginning of each book.  And, as I moved into the second half of the series, I never felt I'd missed anything by passing on Wizard and Glass.

I did read the first portion, which involves Blane the Mono.  It was both incredibly exciting, and enough to convince me I did not want to continue with the book.  I was blown away when the crew exited Blane (FINALLY)  and discovered  that Topeka had been ravaged by an evil plague -- Captain Trips.  Woha!  Seriously, I was blown away.  It was the first time I realized Stephen King's Dark Tower series was incorporating other books.

But there was a problem; I did not connect at all with the Blane the Mono scenes.  They went on forever, and it was all about a computer who loved riddles.  Of course, I knew they were going to beat the evil train, so there was little suspense.

So, I dropped out.

I'm back!

But I'm back with a problem.  As the novel moves to Roland's past, King drops into third person.  No problem there, right?   Wrong.  He doesn't just narrate what Roland experienced, but tells the story from the omniscient narrator vantage point.  But it's Roland telling the story.  Roland is not an omniscient narrator!  How does he know what the old witch is thinking?  How can he tell about scenes he's not in?

Now, I'm frustrated because I seem to be the only person noting this.  I asked my wife, "Did it bother you that the book, which Roland's story, is told in third person?  How does he know what other people are thinking?"  She shrugged, "Nope."  That was it.  Nope. So I've been driving and listening to Wizard and Glass, wound up about something my wife was able to shrug off and move on with the novel.

Prequels are hard on me.  I'm not sure I "get it."  Imagine me as the kid in class raising my hand after a forty five minute lecture.  "Yes?"  "I don't get it."  Sigh.

What I Love

Wizard and Glass does a very nice job giving the characters greater depth.  Insights into men, women, sex, and human nature are all discussed with a level of maturity King had not previously brought to the series.  Roland is no cardboard cut out; he's deeply emotional.  And we learn this through Suzannah.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Face Among The Masters lands another positive reivew

WHOO HOOO!  My book, Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters, was reviewwed at by Sandra Scholes.  She has previously reviewed other books about King, such as "A Brief Guide to Stephen King."

Scholes summerizes the book, noting unique features and offering her commentary along the way.  She notes that at the end of each chapter is a recommended book.  "After this chapter, Brighton David Gardner recommends Lord of the Flies by William Golding as the readers may like the book and notice its similarities. Gardner does this at the end of most of the chapters. I found it helpful to know that there are other books I would enjoy."

In particular, she seems to have liked the chapter on Alfred Hitchock.
One of the more interesting chapters is 4: Which Book Would Alfred Hitchcock Film? Hitchcock's movies are iconic; Psycho, North by Northwest and Vertigo stand out as popular ones. The meaning of this chapter is that if Hitchcock was alive today; there are certain novels by King he might like to turn into movies. Some of them, Cell, The Running Man, and Dolores Claiborne all have similarities to Hitchcock movies; therefore they are prime examples of the horror genre and ideal for his type of movie making. 
My favorite line, "Gardner makes what could have been an ordinary book about a writer a true pleasure to read."

Monday, October 6, 2014

KING: The Stand Might Be More Than One Movie

 In a recent MTV interview, Stephen King expressed excitement at Josh Boone's work on The Stand adaptation.  Of course, many of us have been less than excited about this feature ever since Boone announced it would be a single three hour movie.  Good grief.  But King isn't ready to give up on Boone, or the idea of multiple movies.
"I think that his take is terrific. And don't count on it being one film. Because there's talk about doing it in an entirely different and innovative way. And I don't want to go into it because it's Josh's baby."
Check out Kelly West's article at titled, "The Stand Movie Could Be Planning Something Really Different."  There's some pretty good commentary worth checking out.  West writes:

Now let's get to speculating and theorizing. On the surface, saying "don't count on it being one film" could mean simply that more than one film is planned. But that's neither "entirely different" nor particularly "innovative." What would be different is a TV series, miniseries or movie that sets up the story and/or some of the characters without interrupting the flow of the film. Meaning -- and this is pure speculation here -- maybe they're planning to do some kind of lead-in project which would help capture more of the story than what would be able to fit into a three-hour movie. If they divided the story the right way, the movie would ideally hold up on its own, without people needing to have seen the TV movie/miniseries. But those fans who want to see this book properly fleshed out on screen would get to enjoy both. That'd be my idea of "entirely different" and "innovative." 

Misty Brew Introduces Carrie

Stephen King's Seven Scariest Cars, Trucks & Trains

Steve Levenstein posted an article at titled, "Stephen King's Seven scariest cars, Trucks and Trains."

Here's the list, but check out the article:
Green Goblin Truck from Maximum Overdrive
George Stark's 1966 Olds Toronado
From A Buick 8's Buick 8
Pet Sematary's ORINCO Peterbilt Truck (OH YEAH!)
Cujo vs 1978 Ford Pinto
Blaine the Mono (Sorry, Blaine didn't scare me)
Christine: 1958 Plymouth Fury (yep!)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Swan Song Journal #4: The Long End

I finished Swan Song tonight.  I didn't plan to, didn't even know I was that close to the end.  In most formats you can track the distance left to the finish line.  In books it is simply pages; or when listening the number of tapes or CD's left.  But on my Ipod, the book was broken into so many parts, I actually lost track  of where I was.  So it was a surprise  to me to realize I was closing in on the final pages of the massive novel. Where had the time gone?  I ended up walking almost six miles tonight, extending the walk ever further to finish the book.

There are spoilers ahead:

Swan Song is rightly compared to The Stand.  Both books stand on their own; McCammon's novel certainly doesn't even edge close to any kind of intellectual plagiarism.  I think perhaps the author is afraid of that accusation, but Swan Song is truly its own story.  Still the similarities are striking.  Here are a few:

1. Both novels feature strong women of faith with familial titles -- Sister/Mother.  The transformation of Sister Creep into Sister is difficult for the reader to accept at first.  How could this crazy lady come into her right mind?

2. Both novels show survivors of a devastated earth seeking to rebuild civilization.  In The Stand, the destruction is much greater, leaving only two major civilizations -- The Free Zone and the Vegas crew.  In Swan Song, the survivors are in cities and towns, spread out.

3. Both novels give a final battle that while exciting, leaves me a little empty.  I went a long way for that?

4. Both novels introduce God as a character.  In Swan Song, God lives on Warwick Mountain, and in The Stand, God lives in heaven.  There is a final battle in each book, and in each book  it is God who is ready to bring about the end of evil.

5.  In The Stand, God is -- God.  He gives dreams to his people and assigns  the righteous tasks so that they might stand against evil.  In Swan Song, God is an aging thin man.  Track with me -- I'm walking and I think, "Man, wouldn't it be interesting if this guy on Warwick mountain who says he's  God, if he turned out to be The President.  His plane went down, but McCammon sure  spent a long time with him at the beginning of the novel.  But he'd never do that.  Even if I was sitting in the room while he wrote the book and I suggested the idea, he'd blow me off."  Then -- as the voice in my headphones clamored on -- it turned out the man who called himself God really had once been the president.

6. In both novels evil is personified.  In Swan Song, he finally takes the name Friend, and in The Stand it's Flagg.  Though I find Friend much more frightening throughout the heart of Swan Song than I did Flagg, in the end he is simply lead to his death without much fanfare.  It is interesting that both Flagg's evil empire in Vegas and The Army of Excellence basically implode.


There are things left incomplete in Swan Song.  The glass crown is only used once on Swan's Head, when she radiates power.  It seems the full effect of the glass crown is never revealed.  Why is it so important?  What does it do?  Why does it belong on her head?

After evil is confronted and Sister dies, Josh sets Swan out on her own.  She must go forth and heal the earth.  Now wait!  He guided her from childhood and protected her; but now sends her and Robin alone into the world to heal it?  It seems once the final struggle at Warwick Mountain takes place, the towns immediately go from being hostile, evil places to being sweet farming communities!  What happened?  Does Swan no longer need her giant protector?  Would she not need  him all the more now that she is about to step up and begin to really use her power to heal the broken wasteland?

Finally, why did the AOE keep Josh and Robin alive?  They only needed Swan?

Some quick notes:

I like it that the code to end the prayer to end the world is "amen."

McCammon's narrative style is intrusive at times.  Let me explain; McCammon talks over the story quite a bit, using his narrators voice to press forward, instead  of building  the story scene by scene and causing the reader to learn by observation.

When Stephen King tells a story, he usually tells it the way you see it on TV or the movies.  Each scene moves the story forward in progression.  Only when really necessary does a narrator break in to tell you what's going on. McCammon often dumps the scene by scene work load and instead simply talks over the character.  This allows him to tell big, sweeping, things in just a few pages.  It gives the characters  a "thinner" more cardboard feeling, while giving the book itself a sense if greater scope.  It feels big.

I realize it sounds like I'm being critical of McCammon's narration in Swan Song.  Truth it,  I liked it very much.  He never got bogged down in a scene.  I never felt like, "man, will this scene ever end?I'm not saying that style  would always work anymore than King's present tense narration in Mr. Mercede's  would always work.  But I am saying that at least  in Swan Song, McCammon has his own unique narrative style that is not at all like King's.

By the way, justice comes to the wild, broken world a little too easily.  Get this line:
Settlements struggled out of the mud, built meeting halls and schoolhouses, churches and shacks, first with clapboard and then with bricks. The last of the armies found people ready to fight to the death for their homes, and those armies melted away like snow before the sun.
Oh!  So that's how we get peace on earth; armies melt away like snow before the sun.  It feels a little neat and tidy for a book that was pretty grim.

Final Word:

I liked it a lot.  It left me plenty to think about and talk about.  It was good enough to keep me running/walking through the long hours of the night.  Or, perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that I will miss reading it very much.  It could have  been another 50 pages.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SHORTLIST: 25 Songs Inspired By Books has a fun list of 25 songs that were inspired  by books.  What's even cooler -- the videos are embedded in the article, so you don't have to hunt them down.

Several of my favorite books were mentioned, authored by people like Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Below is from the article.  But the full post at is great.


Artist/Song: Ramones – Pet Sematary (from 1989’s Brain Drain)
Book: Stephen King’s Pet Sematary
Lyrics: “Molars and fangs, the clicking of bones/Spirits moaning among the tombstones.”
Also: The Ramones’ Pet Sematary was written for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. It was also covered by the German industrial metal band Rammstein.


Artist/Song: Elton John – Rocket Man (from 1972’s Honky Chateau)
Book: Ray Bradbury’s The Rocket Man (short story)
Lyrics: “She packed my bags last night pre-flight.”
Also: Bernie Taupin’s lyrics condense the plot of Bradbury’s short story, which tells of an astronaut leaving his wife and son on a journey into space.


Artist/Song: David Bowie – 1984, (from 1974’s Diamond Dogs)
Book: George Orwell’s 1984
Lyric: “They’ll split your pretty cranium and fill it full of air/And tell that you’re eighty, but brother, you won’t care/Beware the savage jaw of 1984.”
Also: Other tracks on Diamond Dogs feature other Orwell references including the song titles Big Brother and We Are The Dead (Winston Smith’s final words before being captured by the thought police in the book). Bowie was intending to do a 1984 musical, though the project was killed off when Orwell’s widow objected.


Artist/Song: Led Zeppelin – Ramble On (from 1969’s Led Zeppelin II)
Book: Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings
Lyric: “'Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor/I met a girl so fair/But Gollum, and the evil one crept up/And slipped away with her.”


Artist/Song: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand (from 1994’s Let Love In)
Book: A poem, more specifically – the title is taken from John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Lyric: “On a gathering storm comes/a tall handsome man/in a dusty black coat with a red right hand”


Artist/Song: The Strokes – Soma (from 2001’s Is This It?)
Book: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
Lyric: “Soma is what they would take when/Hard times opened their eyes.”
Also: Soma is the name of a hallucinogen given in Huxley’s Brave New World – the drug is also referenced by the Smashing Pumpkins and deadmau5 in their songs of the same name.


Artist/Song: Rick Wakeman – Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (from the 1974 album)
Book: Jules Verne’s Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Lyric: “Five days out on an infinite sea, they prayed for calm on an ocean free/But the surface of the water ws indicating some disturbance…”


Artist/Song: Alt-J – Breezeblocks, from 2011’s An Awesome Wave
Book: Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are
Lyric: “Do you know where the wild things go? They go along to take your honey, la la la”


Artist/Song: Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls (from 1984’s Ride The Lightning)
Book: Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls
Lyrics: “Men of five, still alive through the raging glow/Gone insane from this pain that they surely know.”
Also: The same book also inspired a Bee Gees song of the same name. Proof that literature doesn’t care how it sounds.

UPDATED: Dennis Rader's Daughter Has A Bone To Pick With Stephen King

photo credit:

I hesitate to post this tonight.  I think Kerri Rader really is a victim of her father's evil, and has shown amazing courage and faith in moving forward.  However, the story is directly related to Stephen King. I find her faith inspiring, and her comments about King misguided.  So, if you comment, be kind.  Don't nuke this lady.
Resposted, with update. posted a sympathetic article about Kerri Rader Rawson, the daughter of  the Wichita, Kansas serial killer known as BTK.  Seems she has a bone to pick with Stephen King.  Apparently she just figured out that King's 2010 novella, "A Good Marriage" was based partly on Dennis Rader.

Instead of taking interest in the character study,  Rawson's moral compass spins on King and declares that he is exploiting the victims her father terrorized.  Apparently she is their spokesman.  Of course, she goes on to state that she and her family feel personally exploited.  In fact, she goes so far as to say that  she and her family are the "11th victim."  Of course, they are victims.  But it's not Stephen King who is victimizing them.

The movie, and story, discuss  the fact that people can live together in family while hiding terrible, sometimes horrific,  secrets  from one another.  Kinda like. . . DENNIS RADER!

The article notes that  until she figured out that her father was the source material for A Good Marriage, King was her favorite writer.  Again -- the story was released in 2010.  So  did she read the novella and not go, "hey, this seems familiar."  Or, did she not read the book?

Here is the meat of Rawson's complaints:

1. She thinks it'll give her father "a fat head." 
But honestly, I don't think Stephen King will be  responsible if Dennis Rader's ego gets out of control!

2. She is offended King will make money off the story.
Now, understand,  this is a fictional novel.  It's not a novelization of  Rader's life; King was simply interested in the fact that Rader's family was unaware of his evil activity.

This is from the article:
She said King will make money, as she said he always does, only this time from the grief of all the victim families. “How many millions does he already have?” she said.
It seems she thinks attacking Stephen King will give voice to her fathers victims.

The bottom-line is, King is not making money off her fathers story; he's making money from a novel her wrote.  The novel contained observations from real life -- which is how books are written.  Can you imagine banks being mad at John Steinbeck for The Grapes of Wrath?

Understand, King did not recreate  the entire family in his novel.  In the book, the couple are older and the entire family dynamic is quite different.

3. She suggests that reading Stephen King might have "influenced" some of the bad things her  father did.
That's vague, so get the full quote: "She said her father was also a huge King fan – she worries that King’s books might have influenced some of the bad things her father did in some of his later murders."  Apparently there was something in the "later" murders she feels came from the work of King.

Later in the article she confesses that she has no  idea what drove her father to do  what he did.  Her emotions are obviously still a whirlwind.

Why not leave the family out of it?

BTK's daughter acknowledges that King has a right to tell a story,but asks why he had to tell what the inspiration was. Why not leave the family out of it?  Well, the answer is two fold.

First, I'm not aware of King ever personally outing the family. He didn't give their names or say much about BTK's real family.  She's the one who got her photo on the cover of a story linked to BTK, not Stephen King.  It's in the article about Rawson that her husbands name is given, the number of years she's been married, her occupation, her former occupation, and the number of children she has, how long her brother was in the Navy, how many degrees she has;  Stephen King didn't give that information; she did.

In other words, she is revealing more of her personal details in her attack on King than King did in his book.  King used an IDEA -- she's actually the one who made it personal.

Second, King revealed the source of the story because he was asked what the inspiration for the novella was.  He answered a question.  He probably never  thought, "Gee, if I answer this question, I might offend BTK's family."

What is good about the article:

Rawson reveals some real kindness on the part of police, who helped the family "get through" the terror of what the head of  the family did.  She says that detectives on the BTK task force were "very kind" to her and the family.   “They helped us get through it, talked to us with a lot of kindness. I am sure they kept a lot of media crap away from us afterward. And there was a lot of that.”
She’s grateful to Landwehr for two other reasons.

I suspect she is right when she says that she probably suffers  from PTSD as a result of her father's actions the media's hounding.

Stephen King makes her case

Maybe she should read the novella.  The article points out that the family, and in particular Rader's wife Paula, knew all along what he was doing.  Which is the very heart of King's novella!  What if a spouse who had no idea their beloved was committing murder discovered the true character of the one they love?  Well, in King's novel, a very strong wife is able to take care of some serious business.  If the family really sees themselves that deeply in the story, they should  feel  complimented.

Rawson says, “The hardest thing: Once you find out this horrible stuff about someone you loved and live with, you had to really work through it."  Which is very much  what A Good Marriage is about.  What do you do with the information you have?  In A Good Marriage,  the evil is discovered and dealt with in a way much different than reality.  It's not the FBI who cracks the case, it's the wife.

I Feel For this Lady:

While Rawson's attack  on King is irritating, I feel real empathy with her.  She's wishing she had a way to defend those her father hurt;  and this is, she thinks, a way to protect them.  She admits to having "bad days" (I'll bet) and that it's tough to keep moving forward as a mom.  I respect her courage to tell her children the truth and work with them in dealing with it.

I also respect her  courage  to tell her story to 200 women in her church.   That takes guts.  As part of the talk to the women, she revealed that she had not forgiven her father.  However, that Christmas (after sharing her story), she said that on the way home from a movie, she found the power to forgive her  father.  "God gave me that forgiveness," she acknowledged.  I'll tell you, I believe that with all my heart.  Because we are  unable  to forgive  really big wounds in life without the power of God. “God gave me that forgiveness,” she said. “My faith is my rock under me.”  After choosing to forgive him, she then wrote a six page letter to Rader, explaining that  though she forgives him, she does not understand why he did what he did.

The article includes a letter to "to Stephen King, the media from Dennis Rader’s daughter.”  The part I like out of the letter, "My mom is the strongest & bravest woman I know." I think King's novel actually compliments this sentiment.

The letter reveals a person still tortured by the evil in the past; and some of those wounds will  be with her all of her life until the final day when tears are wiped away by the Creator.


(Wednesday, October 1)

Stephen King posted this well worded response at his message board:
I don't think Mr. Rader's daughter has to worry about her father getting a big head; there's nothing glamorous about the portrayal of Bob Anderson in A GOOD MARRIAGE. He's depicted as a banal little man, and none of the murders are shown. As for making millions from the project…not going to happen. AGM is a very small, independently financed feature that is opening in less than two dozen venues. How it does as a video on demand feature film (VOD) is hard to predict, but we don't expect huge returns. The story isn't really about the killer husband at all, but about a brave and determined woman. And while I understand Ms. Rawson's distress, the BTK crimes have already been chronicled in no less than 4 feature films, and there may be more in the future. I grant there is a morbid interest in such crimes and such criminals--there have been at least a hundred films about Jack the Ripper, who claimed far fewer victims--but there's also a need to understand why they happen. That drive to understand is the basis of art, and that's what I strove for in A GOOD MARRIAGE. I maintain that the theme of both the novella and the movie--how some men are able to keep secrets from even their closest loved ones--is valid and deserves exploration.
 - Stephen King

Salem's Lot Commercial

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

King Talks About A GOOD MARRIAGE

A Good Marriage lands a 5/10 From JoBlo

Lilja's Library pointed King fans to the first review of A Good Marriage, posted at  How'd it do?   Chris Bumbray gave it a five out of ten.

"Sadly," Bumray writes, "King's connection is really the only thing that distinguishes the movie from your run of the mill low budget thriller."

That's disappointing.  I had high hopes for this movie.  So, what will I do?  Ignore Bumray until I see the movie for myself.  As Bumray notes, "if you're a Stephen King completist you'll want to see this regardless. . . " YEP!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

King: believing in God is enriching

Wow, an article from Huff Post about Stephen King about religion that can make a conservative preacher smile and nod -- that's a feat.

It's been a week with headlines announcing that famed scientist Stephen Hawking is an atheist.  His view is that science alone can explain the origin of the universe.  Not that Hawking has yet explained how science can do that.  For many of us, it always comes down to an issue of first cause; where did the stuff, the building blocks of creation, come from?

In turn, Stephen King told HuffPost Life in an interview Wednesday that the universe is too complicated not to think it did not originate from a supreme being.  In other words,  there has to be something outside of creation to bring it into existence.  "It's so complex," King said.  "So I have a tendency to believe in intelligent design."

King told  HuffPost Life,
"The very construction of the world and the fact that we seem to be the only blue-populated planet in the universe — and we've been looking for quite a while now, at least since the late 50s —it makes you have to believe that if we happened by accident, it would make winning the lottery look like flipping a coin," 
Cosmology is the very issue that brought long time atheist apologist,  Anthony Flew, to a belief in God.  Flew wrote in his book, There Is A God, “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence.  I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the mind of God.  I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for half a century, the short answer is this: This is the world picture as I see it that has emerged from modern science.”

King went on to affirm that in his  view faith was  enriching to life.  He said he did not have any belief in the afterlife "one way or the other" saying he is agnostic.  That's an interesting view, since a lot of King's work revolves around the afterlife.  (Pet Sematary come to mind first; and The Shining.)

"I love the idea that there could be a power greater than myself that's sort of writing the script," King said. "I try to live my life by saying that God may be watching out for me. . ."

The full article is at

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Swan Song Journal #3

As with all journal entries, don't read the journal if you didn't already read the book.

Just some brief notes:

1. There's a lot of war.  The battle  at the mall against the religious cult was great.  I was really surprised when the Army of Excellence didn't run them over hands down.

Up to that point in the book, it seemed like whoever McCammon was following would have the upper-hand in a scene.   But then -- BAM!  He knocked around the AOE and left a few battered bodies strewn about.

After enduring heavy losses, The Army of Excellence regroups and builds an incredible siege machine.  It's a massive rolling tower  reminiscent of a roman trebuchet.  Listening to the novel as I ran, I wondered if McCammon actually built a model of  this war machine.  He described it so  energetically -- but the ideas can't be fully conveyed.  As a reader, I'm left going, "Okay, Robert, I trust you.  It's a big rolling machine with lots of parts."  But he so obviously wants me, the reader, to see what he sees.  Did he build  it out of legos?  I really would ask him that if I could!

The battle at Mary's Rest is extremely long,detailed and quite engaging.

2. I have no idea where this book is going. But I DID know Job's mask had to be a cocoon.  But what comes out of the mask was a surprise to me.

3. It's interesting how McCammon shows characters progress and slowly change.

This is particularly true of Roland.  So far, though, no "bad" characters have repented and turned good.

Also, in the area of character progression is the town of Mary's Rest.  McCammon not only shows individual people changing, but in the case of Mary's Rest, the entire town changes as Swan gives them hope.

When Josh and Swan (and Mule -- which is a horse) first arrived in Mary's Rest, the people were  a bunch of scavengers.  They tore the wagon apart and revealed an amazing cowardice. But as the story progressed, the town changed.

I kept thinking the town would sell out when the AOE demanded they hand over Swan.  (Think Storm of the Century here.)  But instead, the town fights with everything it's got to protect their fields, their homes, their water -- and most of all, the girl with the power to give life. No one even broaches the idea of handing her over to the enemy.

4. There are parts of this book that are really scary.  But then, I am reading them as I run alone through the desert at midnight.  Yes, I do hear Coyotes howling.  Might be adding to the fear factor here.  I really do think the dark man, the man of a thousand faces -- is much more scary than Flagg.  But it's really pointless to compare the two.

5. I really wish they had put the chapter titles with the chapters and not just a list at the beginning of the part.  It makes it impossible when listening to know what chapter you are on; while in print you can just glance back and count.  Which is still awkward.  Why did they do that?  WHY?

6. I read one review that complained there are no animals.  I don't know what book they read.  There's a horse called Mule.  Lots of wolves.  Dogs.  Cats.  And rats.  OH!  Enough rats to keep Stephen King happy.  And, what's even better, they eat the rats.  Rat stew anyone?

7. Everyone who has read this book gives me these vague warnings.  "Oh, that's a really good book.  Things aren't going to come out the way you think."  What's that mean?  Does Swan die?

8. The announcement that God is on Warwick Mountain is ominous.  
I like Roland's excitement at the thought that maybe it isn't God -- but a giant computer with a power source.  I'm anxious for them to get to the mountain and find out what's up!

9. Comparing the book to the Stand, which is almost impossible not to do -- brings about an obvious difference.  The Stand is very character driven; Swan Song has a lot more action. In fact, The Stand promises a giant battle; and the reader presses forward, anxious to see the gigantic battle between  good and evil. But that doesn't quite go down in traditional battle  format.  But in Swan Song, there is war all over the place.  I would love it if someone drew a map, like one of those old Civil War maps, and marked out the various battles.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Are King's Towns A Tribute To Lovecraft?

Why I Wrote "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters"

I was at a book signing a few weeks ago at my church.  There was a table promoting books I'd written, and all the books were blown up huge. I was startled to see the Stephen King book in the mix.  (I hadn't expected the church to promote it.)  Not to mention, I hadn't written the book under my name.

That night, as I signed books, I got asked the question several times, "So why did you write a book about Stephen King?" 

Here's the short answer:
Because I don't think Stephen King has been taken as seriously as he should.  I think he's made a genuine, and lasting, contribution to American literature.  He as described through novels our era as much as Dickens gave us Victorian England.  Stephen King might be known for writing a bunch of scary stories, but really, his work is much more important.   I think future generations will study Stephen King the way I  studied Poe and Dickens.  He has left a huge cultural imprint."
There were other factors as well. As I blogged and researched,  I was slowly accumulating a mass of research material on subjects I didn't feel had been covered well in other books.  Why was no one talking about King's use of Poe in The Stand?  Did anyone notice King gave a nod to HP Lovecraft?  And why were there no chapters in the many books I had that discussed Stephen King and vintage radio?

It seemed to me that King was often asked, "Who influenced you?" But few people were looking directly at King's writing to examine independently what had impacted the writer and his style.

I do wish I'd written a chapter  on Mark Twain.  It seems Twain was a huge influence on King; and a lot of The Talisman is a nod back to  Twain.  But, I didn't think of it until the book went to print!  So It's a new area to study.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

LINK: Marvel Preview: SK The Drawing Of The Three - The Prisoner #3

Jamie Lovett at posted exclusive Marvel previews of Stephen King's The Prisoner #3. The comic goes on sale October 1.

The article gives this synopsis:

•  Eddie Dean, the troubled young man gifted with the ability to open doors to other worlds, has survived to his 10th birthday. But will he live to see another?
•  What horrors lurk within the Dutch Hill Mansion?
•  A bold new chapter continues by writers Peter David (All-New X-Factor) and Robin Furth (The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance), and artist Piotr Kowalski (Marvel Knights: Hulk)!
 Parental Guidance

Stories With GREAT and not so great Endings

Does a stories ending matter?  Sometimes.  But if you're a Stephen King fan, you've learned that the landing can sometimes be a bumpy ride.

Hey, sometimes, like in the case of The Mist,  he doesn't end the story.   He just leaves it for the reader to choose their own adventure.  Remember choose your own adventure books?  I want a Stephen King choose your own adventure story.

This is pretty random.  My six favorite story endings.  And some of my least favorite.

Some stories with great endings:
1. Pet Sematary.  Would there be another way to end that novel?  What happened to Rachel after she killed Louis?
2. The Dead Zone.  This book kept me turning pages to the end.  I hate saying that because. . . it's so over used.
3. The Green Mile.  Yeah, it's sad and all, but  I like it.  So there.
4. The Shining.  King once said that his original idea was to kill them all.  A total blood bath.  I'm glad he didn't go with that.
5. Joyland.  Yes, I do think it worked.  In fact, I think Joyland is one of King's strongest books.  There's some magic in that little novel that can't quite be described.  Maybe it's King's ability to time warp the reader back into the 1970's.  He so  beautifully describes young love, and old love revived.
6. Mr. Mercedes.  But now that I read the novel, I don't have any desire to go back too it.  Because once you understand the end, it doesn't seem like a road that needs to be traveled again and again.

And a few that weren't so great. . . 
I find that often the larger books are the ones I feel fail to really end with a bang.  They build and build and build and then King brings them in for a nice, gentle landing.  I think this is the case in both IT and The Stand.  I liked both endings.  In the case of The Stand, the final battle against evil takes place, and then the story continues with the long journey home.  The plot tension is the question: Will Stu survive?  Will humanity survive?  Will Fran's baby the the flu?

I have begun to come to terms with the ending to The Dark Tower series.   Maybe I even like it.  Bev Vincent just about convinced me in an interview he did with me and in his wonderful Dark Tower companion book.

Needful things did not end well in my opinion.  The whole video tape of Pangborn's wife's death was strange. King did such a good job moving multiple storylines together, and then at the very end it just didn't play out quite right.

Duma Key was a great ride, but it took so long to get to the end that I wasn't sure I was still fully engaged in the story.

Under  The Dome has got to be the novel which has, in my opinion, the worst ending -- yet is one of the best stories.  the entire cause/purpose of the Dome made little sense in the novel.  If the TV show is doing anything, it is redeeming the Dome itself.  Giving the giant structure purpose.

Some of the classic books leave me wanting more.  Carrie was a great book!  I wish there had been more to it at the end.

Your turn. . .

King Is A Halloween Grinch

some quotes:
  • "I'm sort of the Halloween Grinch.  It's just like, you get this scary reputation, and you're sort of like the Santa Claus of Halloween."
  • "I started to think, I wonder how many of us are sleeping with strangers and what we really know about the people that we think we're close to."
  • "I sometimes say to people, there are people who have complexes and fantasies and they go to a psychiatrist and they pay $50, $70 an hour," King said. "I do the same thing, and people pay me."
  • (One of my favorite stories) "I was in the grocery store down in Florida, and I came around the corner of the aisle, and there was this elderly woman who was pushing her cart," he said. "And she looked at me and she said, 'I know who you are. You write those scary things, and that may be OK for some people. I respect you, but I don't read things like that.' And I said, 'Well, ma'am, I wrote "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand by Me,"' and she said, 'No, you didn't.'" And the woman just walked right past him.
  • "Guys like me, guys who are actors, writers, sculptors, painters, we live by our wits - comedians. I think that what really scares me is, you know, starting to strip my gears a little bit - Alzheimer's, dementia, things like that. I hate the idea of that."
  • (About why Tabby bought the car that  hit him) "The reason she bought it was she was afraid somebody would put it for sale on eBay, so she had it put in a car crusher."

King on TV

This is reposted  from my favorite Stephen King website,

Don't miss King on TV today!

CBS This Morning
WHEN: approximately 8:30am ET/PT (live on the east coast) (“CBS This Morning” airs 7am-9am ET/PT)

The View
WHEN: approximately 11:25am ET/ 10:25am PT (”The View” airs 11:00am-noon ET/ 10:00am-11:00am PT)

HuffPost Live
WHEN: 2:00pm-2:30pm ET/ 11:00am-11:30am PT (live)

Late Night with Seth Meyers
WHEN: approximately 12:50am ET/PT (“Late Night w/ Seth Meyers airs 12:30am-1:30am ET/PT)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hulu Takes On 11/22/63

direct-to-series order for “11/22/63."

Here's the  bullet points:

  • The show is anticipated to be a nine-hour miniseries.  
  • A release date has  not been announced.
  • Executive producers are King, Abrams through his Bad Robot Prods. (“Person of Interest,” “Fringe,” “Lost”), Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk. Bad Robot’s Kathy Lingg is co-executive producer, and Athena Wickham is producer.
  • Bridget Carpenter will write the teleplay. 

Spangler article notes that in announcing the pact, Stephen King said:
“If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event-TV programming, ‘11/22/63’ is it. I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”

Stephen King Meets Judy Blume in ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE

The Ringwald Thater will be running a parody musical titled, "ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE"  Talk about mash-up!  The musical promises to combine the best of Judy  Blume novels witht he "creepiness" of Stephen King.

. . . . . . . . . .

This is from

It's the 1970s, and pre-teen Carrie White and her religious nut of a mother have just moved to an idyllic New Jersey suburb. There she is befriended by a group of girls and together they form The PTS's (Pre-Teen Sensations) where they talk about boys and wait impatiently for their periods to arrive. But we all know that Carrie White and blood don't mix. As the girls gear up for the big school party, will everything go off without a hitch? Don't bet on it!

Featuring a jukebox full of 70s pop songs, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE promises to be a bloody good time (sorry, we couldn't resist)!

Featured in the cast are Meredith Deighton (Carrie), Lauren Bickers (Mrs. White), Brittany Michael (Nancy), DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton (Gretchen), Katy Schoetzow (Janie), Dyan Bailey (Laura Denker), and Joel Hunter (All the Men).

Dyan Bailey will direct with choreography by Katy Schoetzow. Set design by Gwen Lindsay, costume design by Lisa Melinn, and lighting design by Brandy Joe Plambeck.

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE opens Saturday, October 11, 2014 and plays through Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8pm on Saturday and Monday nights with 3pm Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are $20.00 for Saturday performances, $15 for Sunday shows, and Monday nights are HALF OFF the original ticket price at only $10 a ticket. All students can now receive a $5 discount off normal ticket price on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances (available at the box office the day of the show with valid student ID). Tickets can be purchased at or at the theatre box office. The Ringwald box office opens 45 minutes before performances and tickets can be purchased with cash or Visa/Mastercard.

The Ringwald opened their doors seven years ago on May 11, 2007 with Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy. Quickly, The Ringwald became a mainstay of Detroit's theatre community. Past Productions include: Angels in America, Into the Woods, The Motherfucker with the Hat, August: Osage County, When the Rain Stops Falling, The Bad Seed, Making Porn, The Book of Liz, Rent, and Love! Valour! Compassion!. The Ringwald was named 2009, 2012 and 2013 Best Theatrical Troupe by Real Detroit and Best Place to See Local Theatre in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the readers of Metro Times.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Is The Dark Tower movie Back?

Isn't it great when the whole  world knows your age?  Stephen King turned 67 Sunday.  Of greater interest to me is that news is spreading the Dark Tower might be moving forward. reported:
There's also news going around about Ron Howard making an attempt to green light "The Dark Tower" adaptation with Aaron Paul in talks to play the ex-drug addict Eddie Dean. King has also been known to appear in his own films, much like Alfred Hitchcock did back in the day.