Dollar Deal and A Face Among The Masters SALE

Greetings gunslingers!

Thou art invited to dig a little deeper into the Stephen King graveyard this Thanksgiving.

Good news, I got word from Shawn Lealos that Amazon will be doing a countdown promotion of his book, Dollar Deal from Tuesday through Friday of this week. (No rush, but the best price is Tuesday, at $2.99.)

And inspired -- I decided to follow suit and offer a countdown deal on my book, Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters. My countdown deal goes from Wednesday November 25 -- November 29.

Here's what's cool: Both books look at a part of the Stephen King universe that's often overlooked. Dollar Deal focuses on oft unknown movies based on Stephen King's work. Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters looks at the literary works that infuse the Stephen King universe.

Each of the books has 4 amazon reviews, all giving them 5 stars.
(If you like the books, rate them.)



NINETEEN SIXTY THREE: The Day Kennedy Was Shot

One of my favorite books is Jim Bishop's "The Day Lincoln was Shot" by Jim Bishop.  He also has a wonderful book titled "The Day Kennedy Was Shot." 

In honor of the release of 11/22/63 , here is a taste of what that day was like. . .

YAHOO gives us: An Oral History of 'Stephen King's It'

This article from Yahoo is a great insight into the making of the mini-series, IT.  (

Ethan Altar writes in his introduction to a series of interviews, "Twenty-five years later, Stephen King’s It still has the power to push its way into your slumbering mind in the dead of night, filling it with nightmarish visions of fortune cookies stuffed with eyeballs, balloons filled with blood and clowns with razor-sharp teeth."

Well, unfortunately -- not really.  But I wish that's how it was, so let's pretend that's reality.  (The truth is, the second half of the film is terrible.)

The Participants (In Alphabetical Order)
Dennis Christopher (Eddie Kaspbrak)
Larry Cohen (Screenwriter)
Stephen King (Author)
Bart Mixon (Special Makeup Effects Supervisor)
Annette O’Toole (Beverly Marsh)
Emily Perkins (Young Beverly Marsh)
Tim Reid (Mike Hanlon)
Marlon Taylor (Young Mike Hanlon)
Tommy Lee Wallace (Director)
Gene Warren Jr. (Special Visual Effects Supervisor)

A few of my favorite insights:

  • ABC was always nervous about It, primarily the fact that it was in the horror genre, but also the eight-to-ten hour commitment. They loved the piece, but lost their nerve in terms of how many hours they were willing to commit. Eventually, they were agreed to a two-night, four-hour commitment and at that point, a couple of things happened. 
  • His script for Night 2 wasn’t nearly as successful, in my opinion. For reasons of his own, he had completely moved away from the plotting of the book, and created a much smaller story, a very interior melodrama focusing on Beverly’s husband as the ultimate bad guy, or something to that effect. (That explains a lot)
  • Most of the adult casting was “telephone” casting, which is, “No need to audition so-and-so for the role, they’d be brilliant.“
  • Casting the kids came after casting the adults.
  • Obviously the piece of casting that worked the best in the show was Tim Curry as Pennywise. (King)
  • The movie, really, is only as good as its villain, and Tim carved out a place for himself as one of the great movie villains of all time.
  • Filmed over two to three months on location in Vancouver, It proved a demanding shoot
. . . a lot more interesting stuff here.  Check out the article.  You'll like it.

Lealos Delivers DOLLAR DEAL

Think you know every dusty corner of the Stephen King universe?  You don't.  And I'll bet I know at least one dark corner you know very little about -- the Dollar Baby.

I'm really enjoying Shawn S. Lealos' book, Dollar Deal: The Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers.  This is a project I've been following for some time, so the finished product is a real treat for me.  I interviewed Shawn a couple years ago, and I'm really happy to say that the finished book is a slam dunk.  I love it!

What's a Dollar Baby?  It's a Stephen King film that is made for purposes other than profit.  That's right -- they are made not to make money.  They are sheer art.  A story is given away (sold for one dollar) and the artist is allowed to work with the story all they want to make it the best movie they can.  But the movie will not appear on DVD or digital download, as the filmmakers agreed from the get-go not to make it a money making enterprise.

Those of us that have seen Dollar Babies know they are a special brand of film.  They are actually an uneven lot.  Some are great.  Some aren't.

In July 2012, Shawn told me,
The book will be formatted to allow each chapter to focus on a specific filmmaker. While I cannot see their movies (unless I already saw them at a film festival), I am interviewing each filmmaker about making their movies and will tell their stories, including what the dollar baby led to in their careers. 
I’ll also be talking to Bernd Lautenslager, who runs and maybe one or two other people outside of the regular filmmakers. This is not a book so much about the movies as it is about the fans who made them. I hope to give regular fans who never got a chance to see a dollar baby a chance to see inside the making of them. While I cannot ask to see the movies, Mr. King’s attorneys have let me know they don’t mind the book written in this format.  (talkstephenking: interview-shawn-s-lealos
Lealos writes in Dollar Deal, "This book includes stories of people who used their Stephen King Dollar Baby films to launch successful careers as a sci-fi film director, a television showrunner, a published true crime author, a stage show performer, an actor, and much, much more."

Here's an insight I never picked up on until Peter Sullivan (Night Surf) pointed it out in chapter 9:
Stephen King’s writing style sort of started to evolve after The Stand ,and a lot of his books afterwards became less and less about one or two characters and more about this big huge cast of characters, much the way The Stand was.
Table of contents:
Chapter 1: Frank Darabont, “The Woman in the Room”
Chapter 2: Jeff Schiro, “The Boogeyman”
Chapter 3: Jim Gonis, “The Lawnmower Man”
Chapter 4: James Cole, “The Last Rung on the Ladder”
Chapter 5: The Good and Bad of Film Adaptation by James Cole
Chapter 6: Jay Holben, “Paranoid”
Chapter 7: Shawn S. Lealos, “I Know What You Need”
Chapter 8: Doveed Linder, “Strawberry Spring”
Chapter 9: Peter Sullivan, “Night Surf”
Chapter 10: Robert Cochrane, “Lucky Quarter”
Chapter 11: Nick Wauters, “Rainy Season”
Chapter 12: James Renner, “All That You Love Will be Carried Away”
Chapter 13: James Cox, “Grey Matter”
Chapter 14: Mikhail Tank, “My Pretty Pony” and “Willa”
Chapter 15: Rodney Altman, “Umney’s Last Case”
Chapter 16: Juan Pablo Reinoso, “Flowers for Norma”
Chapter 17: Warren Ray, “Maxwell Edison”
Chapter 18: J.P. Scott, “Everything’s Eventual”
Chapter 19: Derek Simon, “A Very Tight Place”
Chapter 20: Damon Vinyard, “In the Deathroom”

Lealos describes his journey:
Not only am I a Dollar Baby filmmaker, as well as a huge fan of Stephen King and movies, but I have become a big fan of the men and women who have made Dollar Babies. These filmmakers know they may never have a chance to screen their movies for a large audience, but they made their films because they love King’s works, and wanted to create something of their own based on the worlds that he created before them.
What's fun is the behind the scenes glimpse at movie making.  It's a fast read, with each chapter offering an introduction and then interviews with the films directors.

By the way, I'm so enthusiastic about this book -- I should tell you up front: No one pays me anything to run the blog.  I did not get the book for free, I purchased it.  No one pays me to say nice stuff about their book -- I could write nasty stuff if I hated the book.  So this is the truth: Dollar Deal belongs in your Stephen King collection. It's about a part of the Stephen King universe most of us know very little about.

A Possible Inspiration for The Mist?

by Chris Calderon

I don't know what influenced Stephen King to write his much liked novella The Mist.  By his own word, the idea almost seemed to spring whole in his mind while he was out shopping one day and wondered what would happen if a pterodactyl were suddenly to come flying over the food aisles.
However that hasn't stopped some from speculating.  For instance, an earlier entry in Wikipedia once noted "The Mist bears resemblance to the earlier H.F. Arnold short story "Night Wire," in which a radio operator details how a malevolent mist falls over a city, containing creatures that consume townspeople "piecemeal."  The page also contains a link to a copy of the Arnold story.
Whether or not there is any truth to those speculations, I don't know.  This is just something I ran across from someone I don't know and is probably just a wild guess on their part in the first place.  That said, even for a wild guess, I have to admit, it's pretty entertaining.
As it happens, the H.F. Arnold story was anthologized as part of a YouTube audio series called Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, a series of narrated (sometimes dramatized) short stories in a similar vein to those quasi-camp fire stories from the golden age of the audiobook era.  Watch and listen to Arnold's story in the clip below, and judge for yourself whether or not King may have subconsciously remembered such a story from his past.  Even if such an idea is unlikely, I have to admit, the Arnold story still makes for a very entertaining October read.

9/11 The Things They Left Behind

Stephen King's short story, "The Things They Left Behind", recounts a young man who escapes the terror attacks on September 11.  He is plagued by survivor's guilt.  Things come to a head when objects that once belonged to people in the towers begin to appear in his apartment!  Creepy?  Indeed.  But also wonderful.

9/11, Our Choices, and Making a Stand

I really enjoyed Julie Davis' insightful article at Patheos titled "9/11, Our Choices, and Making a Stand."  She graciously gave me permission to repost it here.  Note her insights on The Stand and faith. 

9/11, Our Choices, and Making a Stand
by Julie Davis

Two days after 9/11, my father-in-law had a massive stroke. My husband and I drove from Dallas to the hospital in Houston. Largely in shock between the double burden of terrorist attacks and personal tragedy, we were nevertheless stirred with pride at the many flags and hand-made signs we saw along the road. Tears sprang to my eyes when we passed a battered pick-up truck complete with obligatory shotgun rack and "We are all New Yorkers today" written on the rear window.

My husband said, "Those terrorists don't know what they have done. This guy would've spit on a New Yorker last week. And now he'd fight for them."

We were lucky. We didn't know anyone, then, who had died or been in the attacks. But we still suffered with the rest of the nation. It changed us as a people and as individuals.

It taught me a big lesson in forgiveness; as I expressed my forceful wish to see the people behind this attack "killed," a gentle friend from our parish looked at me with a troubled face. "I don't know," she said slowly. "But that doesn't seem right either."

I was taken aback and began to pray, even as I expressed anger. Gradually, the anger faded and the ability to forgive crept in.

Ten years later, I mourn the 9/11 attacks as much as ever. Easy tears still spring to my eyes when I look over the old pictures, video footage, and exchange "what I was doing when I heard" stories with others.

I also think about the opportunity that we had to go forward as a people united—to bring something good out of the evil. We are more divided than ever, and ruder than ever. We squabble and complain about the red states, the blue states, the liberals, the conservatives, the Muslims, the Catholics, and on and on it goes.

Some of this is basic human nature, as old as the stories in Genesis, of brother striking brother. It seems to me, though, that some of it is Evil pushing its way into the world, and we are failing to push back for the common good. We listen to the siren call of "my way," which goes hand in hand with pride.
As always, when it comes to thinking things through, I find that others have pondered the matter so much more thoroughly than I could. Recently I picked up one of my favorite "good versus evil" books and found the words defining my thoughts.

It is said that the two great human sins are pride and hate. Are they? I elect to think of them as the two great virtues. To give away pride and hate is to say you will change for the good of the world. To vent them is more noble; that is to say the world must change for the good of you. I am on a great adventure. (Harold Emery Lauder, in Stephen King's The Stand)
Twenty-three years before 9/11, Stephen King published one of his best-known and best-loved books, The Stand. It tells a tale of the United States, laid to waste when a biological weapons-grade virus inadvertently gets loose. As survivors roam the post-apocalyptic ruins, they begin to have dreams about an incredibly old holy woman, named Mother Abigail, or of a supernatural entity—Randall Flagg—who is her opponent.

Following their dreams, two communities begin to form—Mother Abigail's in Boulder and Flagg's in Las Vegas—and the stage is set for a final "stand" between Evil and God.

King has expressed frustration that so many fans call The Stand their favorite work, even though he has written scores of books since its publication.

Well, it's a heck of a book for one thing, so it's no wonder people love it. And although this is a horror novel, it is very translatable to our own lives. We no longer worry about bio-terrorism the way we did back then, but we can still relate to the scenario King paints.

In The Stand, King holds up the mirror to us. God and evil are present, of course, but they work through men, as ever, and we recognize ourselves in the pages.

Harold Emery Lauder was the quintessential misunderstood nerd, picked on in school, crossed in love, and finding power in hatred. His note could have been written by any of the terrorists who flew those planes into the World Trade Center. I imagine that, like Harold, their betrayal of innocents was the culmination of a long trail of choosing their own desires first. King shows us enough of Harold's choices—sometimes made despite the screaming of his own instincts—so that we can see a little of him in every selfish choice we make.

Harold's end is not a good one, and it is made pitiful by the fact that he is tossed aside like a worn out doll when evil is done using him for its own purposes. We cannot hold onto our anger at him because he has been misled so completely. In a similar way, when I think of those terrorists and their deliberate evil, I have a bit of that pity for them as well.

Once they were somebody's babies. I don't know what led them astray, but I lament the loss of the people they could have been.

King directly juxtaposes a rock star, Larry Underwood, against Harold.
"You ain't no nice guy!" she cried at him as he went into the living room. "I only went with you because I thought you were a nice guy" . . . A memory circuit clicked open and he heard Wayne Stuckey saying, There's something in you that's like biting on tinfoil. ~ The Stand
After the plague, Larry is haunted by those words, "you ain't no nice guy"—they jump to mind whenever he contemplates a selfish or cowardly act. Ultimately, he actually becomes a "nice guy" by consistently choosing the nobler act, if only to prove those words wrong.

Larry is no different than you or me, or anyone who can see themselves with a modicum of self awareness. None of us are "nice guys" deep down because we are all stained with Original Sin. And we know it.

We have help, though, that Stephen King didn't give Larry Underwood. We have the grace of Christ, the sacrament of reconciliation, and our faith to strengthen us. Like Larry, though, we have to keep picking ourselves up and trying again. We must practice until we are more perfectly "nice guys."

9/11 has presented us with a chance to practice forgiveness over and over again. We're all in this together and lifting our thoughts (or hands) in hatred belittles us and our targets. We are Christ’s followers, charged to see Him in everyone they meet. We all have the same choice. Do we embrace Harold's way, or Larry's?
There's always a choice. That's God's way, always will be. Your will is still free. Do as you will. There's no set of leg-irons on you. But . . . this is what God wants of you. ~ Mother Abigail, The Stand

Julie Davis blogs at Happy Catholic and discusses both books and movies at A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast. Her new book is Happy Catholic, published by Servant Publishing.

VIDEO: The National Medal Of Arts Awarded To Stephen King

President Obama awarded Stephen King the National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony today. cites president Obama saying, "Without them there would be no edible schoolyard, no ... really scary things like 'Carrie' and 'Misery.

The article also stated:
The official citation, read by the president's military aide, cited King as one of the most popular authors of our time and praised his work, saying he has both delighted and terrified audiences around the world. 
Which is pretty close to the White House statement:
"Stephen King for his contributions as an author. One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. For decades, his works of horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy have terrified and delighted audiences around the world."

Stephen King Jeopardy Round


I enjoyed Sandra Harris' review of the 2013 Carrie.  She kindly allowed me to repost her review here.  Check out Sandra's blog, it's full of some great movie reviews.

reposted with permission:


This is the reworking of Brian De Palma’s classic 1976 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, CARRIE. The book was Stephen King’s first major success and some people still regard it as one of his best works, along with THE SHINING, PET SEMATARY, SALEM’S LOT, IT, MISERY and CHRISTINE.

Sissy Spacek was unforgettable and perfectly cast in the original film as the lonely, socially awkward Carrie White, whose single mom Margaret is a religious fanatic with violent tendencies and mental problems that have clearly gone untreated for some time.

While Sissy Spacek is a hard act to follow, newcomer to the role Chloë Grace Moretz certainly gives it her best shot. She’s a beautiful young woman with a fabulous head of strawberry blonde hair and I actually think she does a good enough job in the remake, which seems to be a straightforward take-for-take reimagining of the original movie.

Julianne Moore plays Mommie Dearest this time around. As I’m a big fan of hers, I actually prefer her to Piper Laurie. It’s nothing personal, I just love Julianne Moore, that’s all. She’s gorgeous and I loved her in such films as HANNIBAL, THE END OF THE AFFAIR and JURASSIC PARK 2- THE LOST WORLD.

She really works the role of the self-harming Margaret White. It’s horrible to watch her banging her head off the wall, hitting herself in the face and stabbing herself in the leg with scissors. The two leads also really look like mother and daughter, which certainly helps.

What I don’t like about the remake is the fact that it’s inevitably set in a much more modern and technologically-advanced world than the one in which Stephen King initially wrote it, but that’s not the film’s fault. It’s now the era of boring old cellphones, so the remake is full of the bloody things.

The famous scene in which an hysterical Carrie gets her first period in the school showers after gym class is actually filmed by the little bitches in her class on their cellphones and uploaded to the Internet. They all think that Carrie’s ignorance of what’s happening to her body is a big hilarious joke and they can’t wait to share that joke with the rest of the world.

They don’t know, of course, that they’re sealing their ultimate, terrible fate with every act of nastiness they commit against the telekinetic Carrie, who has the power to move people and objects with the force of her mind. Her powers have been considerably ramped up for this remake. Books and knives and all sorts of households objects spend half the film flying around the place.

Carrie can fly now too, a little bit, and she has the ability to fling her crazy mom through the air and slam her into the wall or into the dreaded ‘prayer-closet,’ the one with all the Jesus statues and pictures, etc. Carrie’s extra powers are accompanied by a lot of arm-waving, finger-pointing and mad facial expressions as little Chloë hams it up big-time in an effort to do the job well. She ends up looking a bit like Kate Bush in one of her early videos, but she still gets the job done, I think.

The ‘bucket of pig’s blood at the prom’ scene lacks a little of the sheer power (there’s that word again!) of the same scene in the first movie, and I prefer the original Tommy Ross and Billy Nolan to the chinless wonders (sorry, guys!) playing the parts this time around. The teacher, Miss Desjardins, is maybe slightly less effective than the teacher in the first film and, overall, I think I prefer the film when it’s set in the ‘Seventies. It has a grittier, more authentic feel to it, somehow.

Still, if a remake was unavoidable and seemingly it was, haha, I think that this is a perfectly decent effort. It does everything the first film does, just with a different cast and a more contemporary feel. Of course there’s a loss of atmosphere and it’s not as frightening, but I’m happy with the two female leads and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them take on these two iconic roles. I don’t know what more you can ask for, really.

* * * * * * * * * *


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man.

reposted from:

SYFY Contest -- GAME ON!

Let's have some fun!

We all know Haven is a quirky place to live.  I'm not even sure I'd want to visit!  Season 5 has just come out on DVD -- and guess what, I have two prize copies ready to send to you; maybe.

Now for the contest:
David Letterman style, send me your top five (or you can do 10) reasons you would -- or wouldn't -- want to live in Haven.

email me your list at:

CONTEST: September 7-16
PRIZE: Copy of Haven Season 5
RULES: Email a list of at least five reasons you would or would not want to live in heaven.

In the town of Haven, ME, residents are cursed with superhuman afflictions known as "The Troubles." Audrey Parker and her friends try to help the "Troubled" while uncovering deeper mysteries.

 In Season Five our heroes struggle to keep the towns secrets under wraps becomes even more difficult when Haven is visited by a whip smart CDC doctor, who comes to believe that there may be an underlying genetic marker to the troubles, and possibly a cure. But there may be more to her agenda in Haven than first meets the eye.


I'm really excited to announce that Talk Stephen King will be hosting its first contest in partnership with SYFY channel.  

When:September 7-15
Prize: Haven Season 5 DVD

How Uncle Huey Got Religion

I just released my first novel, How Uncle Huey Got Religion.

OH!  This isn't very Stephen Kingish.  Gripe if you want.  Really love griping.  Yes!  You should!  Someone should post, "What's this have to do with Stephen King?"  It makes my day when we get to complain.

Someone contacted me in early August to ask where I had gone.  Was Talk Stephen King still on my radar?  Yep.  Where I went -- I was finishing my  novel and then doing the intense back and forth with the editor.

Some personal notes about Huey:

I've been writing How Uncle Huey Got Religion since I was in college.  I think I've written the book at least 3-4 times, start to finish.  And it changed a lot.  When I started writing this time, I knew it had the flow I wanted.  And, I certainly knew where I was driving the thing.

I'm actually a pretty fast writer.  I have a box full of novels I've written.  So why Huey?  It seems this was the story I felt I needed to tell, even when it was more difficult for me.  Huey was a tough nut because it's historical fiction.  Writing about life in North Carolina, 1938 was more challenging than writing up a horror story set in. . . hell.

By the way, yes I did write a story about a guy racing through hell, diving down bottomless pits and avoiding pits of fire.  But, my wife convinced me to stick with Huey.  I think she was concerned that I would arrive on judgment day and God would hold up my book on hell and go, "Not funny."  I told her I would write under another name.  She just gave me this look -- stick with Huey.  I'm glad I did.

I'm much more drawn to dark stories.  The story about the house that burns down -- and then is back the next day, but burned and blackened.  The story about the ordinary guy who wakes up strapped in the electric chair.  . . . my loved ones think I'm messed up.  I think some of us are helped by exploring the darkness, following through on an idea.

So Huey was not an easy thing for me to write.  I stuck with it, and decided to go ahead and put down money to have it edited.  And that was an issue.  I was not thrilled with the number of mistakes I found in previous self published books.  I was paying an editor real money, and the work came back nice and clean.  But friends would point out big mistakes.  I felt like I was caught going to school in my undies.

A good friend of mine, a man who helped me go through college, read one of my books.  He would send me corrections by email.  When he learned I was writing Huey, he let me know he was ready to help.  Turns out, editing was his job.  (I didn't know that.)  Here's what I learned: The editing process is very intense.  I thought writing was hard and editing fun.  That's true.  But editing is also tough stuff.  You have to argue and discuss and think through all kinds of things.

I wrote Mr. Editor one day, "Does the novel work?"
"Does it work?" tough Mr. Editor asked.
"You know, the engine that drives this thing.  The story itself.  Does it work?"
"I don't know.  I'm looking at spelling right now."
A week later.  "Hey, I read the whole thing over.  To answer your question, yes, it works."
Sweat swept from my brow.

How people talk:
I had a lot of fun writing dialogue -- mostly.  I would watch movies from the thirties, just to get an idea of words they used.  I youtubed 1930s North Carolina, to hear people from that era.  Also to note how they dressed.

What was difficult: racism.  Race plays an important role in the book as Huey's church defies some cultural norms of the day.

Stephen King advises a writer to play it straight, even if its costly.  yeah, your mom is gonna read it, but we have to stay true to the characters, King argues.  I think he's right, or his audience.  He can have cussing and racism and people accept that.  But i wasn't comfortable with that.  My own hangup?  Maybe.  Probably.  It meant I cleaned up some of what the KKK group in the book said.  I knew how they would really say it, but I wrote around that.

I asked a friend of mine from the region to give me every bad name for blacks he knew.  I only knew one, the N word.  Oh man!  He came back with a list and gave it to me in person.  I did use some of them, just to convey racism -- but by no means all.  As I stuffed his list into my pocket, my friend said, "Do me a favor, don't get hit by a car with all those words stuffed in your pocket.  They'll think you're some kind of right wing racist."  I pointed out it was his handwriting.

Stephen King rules I did not follow: I did not follow King's "door closed" and "door open" rule while writing.  I brought my wife along on the process.  In fact, a lot of people went with me on the journey, because there was so much to verify and learn.

Rule I did follow: I printed the whole thing up, tried to read as fast as I could, and cut about 30k words out of the story.

I am sure you are now aching to read by novel.  You've been waiting for that link.  Go ahead, buy lots, I've got four girls to send to college.  (and buy my Stpehen King book while you're at it.)
14.95 paperback
3.99 Kindle
0.00 Kindle Unlimited.

Wes Craven 1939 - 2015

This is reposted with permission from one of my favorite blogs, The Girl Who Loves Horror (Thanks Michele!)

The loss of the great Wes Craven has been a terrible blow to the horror community. I know there are dozens of posts like this out there right now, and I know that we have lost so many great people recently, but this has truly saddened me and hurt my heart. Last night I was actually in a really good mood, watching a funny DVD, and enjoying the last few hours of my weekend. Then I absently checked my Facebook feed and was hit with the awful news. I thought it wasn't real at first, but it was: an icon was gone, and the life and career of my favorite horror director was no more.

It was a shock to say the least, because Wes Craven has always been an important part of my horror life. I came to horror a bit later in life than other fans - though I had always watched them as a child - and Scream was an important part of that. Then I saw more of Wes's films and realized just how much I loved not only the things this man has created but the man himself. I didn't talk about him enough when he was around, and I won't make that mistake now.

Wes was a kind, soft-spoken soul with a wonderful sense of humor and an aura of sweetness that you couldn't help but be attracted to. It was hard for me to equate the gentle man I saw behind the scenes with the dark things that came out of his mind on film. But at the same time, that's what I always loved about him. He wasn't afraid to bring real horror to film, and be gritty and raw about it. He also wasn't afraid to have fun with the genre and with himself, and he constantly did new and different things. Even then, you could tell when you were watching a Wes Craven film, as he had a distinct style and voice that I always enjoyed. He was beyond smart, analytical and creative, and his films were about so much more than what was on the surface.

Perhaps it seems weird to people outside the community that we are so affected by this, crying over somebody that we never met. As soon as I got home today, I put on my favorite Wes film, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, and as soon as Wes himself showed up on screen, the tears started coming. Reading all the messages that people have left on various platforms proves just how much he touched the lives of fans with his work and what an influence he has had on so many people around the world. We all experienced his career separately, but at the same time together, having the same feelings and gaining the same reverence each time we enjoyed another one of his films.

Thank you, Wes, for being the man that you were, and for bringing all those amazing characters, stories, and worlds to life. We will never forget you and we will never let your legacy die.

Thanks for the nightmares.

How Scary is IT?

Finders Keepers Journal #3: Spoilers and Whining

I think this is the picture referred to

I finished Finders Keepers the other night.  Obviously --

there are spoilers ahead.

The purpose of this blog is to talk about the book.  There is also a lot of whining ahead.  Not because I didn't like the book; I liked it every much.  The whining is just that, me thinking and rethinking things perhaps beyond necessity.  Feel free to comment and tell me I've lost my mind -- or that I sound like a sulking child.

1. Surprises.  I'll admit: King got me.  I thought mama bear was dead.  Then it turns out to be -- A SCALP WOUND?  Okay, Mr. King, you're directing this movie and I'll go with it -- but I'm getting doubtful.

2. Hodges.  Did he need to be in this book?  Of course, he's needed to save Peter, so his presence is important if you're Pete.  But I'm not sure that other than the final scenes, Hodges and company really did anything to advance the plot.  There was a lot of running around, and a lot of talking -- but when it really got down to it, they were stuck in traffic and only showed up at the last minute to serve as Pete's trap door of escape.

For a hard boiled crime book, may I ask -- did Hodges do any mystery solving this time?

I think I enjoyed the story more when it was focused on Pete and Morris.  That was a great story line!  A crook hides his loot, and a boy finds it.  The boy uses the loot to pay his parents bills.

Would a real teenage boy be able to pull off half of what Peter does in the novel?

3. Misery.  Finders Keepers reminds me of Misery.  It's a novel about books -- and writing.  While Misery was a very closed novel -- just two people -- Finders Keepers happens on a much bigger stage.  Remember Paul Sheldon jamming his burning novel into Annie's mouth?  Remind you of the end of Finders Keepers?

4. Frustrating.  The final plot twists between Morris and Peter are frustrating.  First, the entire thing seems illogical.  So Peter's plan is to stave off Morris by holding a lighter over the precious manuscripts?  As soon as the book took this turn, I was going, "Wait. . . what?!"  The scene plays out not the way I really think it might have, but the way King wants it to.  His direction feels heavy handed in the final scenes.  He's forcing the plot along, making it work because he wants it to work out for Pete.

Why would Pete burn the only existing Rothstein manuscripts?  Obviously the answer is that it was the only way to get himself out of the mess he was in.  But it really did make for a ridiculous scene as he held a lighter over the notebooks and Morris held a gun on him.  I was thinking, "Is this seriously a stand off?  Morris the murderer is held off by a boy with a lighter?"

That whining aside, I really liked it when Morris began to dig though the flaming notebooks.  Realistic? No.  But great stuff!  A man burning alive as he chases the thing he's killed to get.  Ultimately the very thing he's had to have, he's done anything to get -- is the thing that has him.

5. Ending.  The novel returns to the world of Mr. Mercedes, as Bill goes to visit Brady.  Is Brady possibly finding a way to get up and play tricks -- maybe even murder -- on the hospital staff?  The ending, which has a splash of telekinesis, is the only place I can think of where the paranormal has entered the trilogy.  Makes me wonder: Will the next novel center on Brady?  Will it involve more element of horror?

All that whining aside, I liked this a lot more than Mercedes.  Why?  Well, the plot itself, the engine that drove the book, was much more engaging.  And, King didn't try to make Morris sympathetic.  In Mercedes there were those strange scenes between mama and her boy; stuff that served to help us understand what made Brady tick.  Morris might be jut as complicated (he did, after all, kill his favorite author because he felt the guy sold out) but we don't have to spend too long in his head or his past.

Can A Writer Write Too Much?

What do readers want?  More books. What does Stephen King give us?  More books.  But not nearly fast enough, some of you would scream.

Here's a great essay by King Can A Novelist be Too Productive? that appeared as a NY Times opinion.

King not only looks at the volume of material some authors produce, but the gaps.  (I expected him to mention Harper Lee.)

A couple short notes:

Interesting, King discusses the relevance of  John D. MacDonald, a writer who praised King in his introduction to Night Shift. I'll never forget this idea: MacDonald suggested that King is a good writer because he's written piles of junk. (My summary.) But staying faithful to the craft made King a strong writer.

King mentions that he wrote Running Man in a week. And that he once published four novels in a year. Not a bad pace!

I love this:
As a young man, my head was like a crowded movie theater where someone has just yelled “Fire!” and everyone scrambles for the exits at once. I had a thousand ideas but only 10 fingers and one typewriter. There were days — I’m not kidding about this, or exaggerating — when I thought all the clamoring voices in my mind would drive me insane.


What's nice about a writer like King -- a writer who produces a lot -- is that I can look back at seasons in my life and remember what King book I was reading. I am particularly fond of Needful Things, Gerald's Game, Dolores Claiborne and The Wastelands because they came out around my senior year of High School and freshman year of college. This was the first time I found myself waiting for King to write another novel.

Before that, earlier in High School, I was just blown away by all the stuff he'd already written. It, The Stand and all those early novels just had to be read. But once I made it to my senior year, I'd read most of the "old" stuff. There were a few false starts -- Tommyknockers and Salems' Lot. I don't know why I couldn't do Salems' back then, but it was tough.

Finders Keepers Journal 2: There's A Lot Of Blood Here

I was out walking tonight, innocently reading a well written mystery novel when -- the mystery novel turned into a horror novel.  Oh yeah. . . this is Stephen King at the wheel.  Sweet!

A few random notes on Finders Keepers thus far.  (I'm in the final pages.  1 hour 30 minutes left on ipod.)

1. There are no "nice" bad guys here.  Often Stephen King makes you feel kind of warm toward those monsters in his books..  You might not like them, and yet when their scenes came you quietly rooted for them.  That's not the case here.  There's nothing to like in ole Morris; the sooner King dispenses with him the better.

2. King is a master not only of horror, but suspense.  Yes, I know that's Hitchcock's playground, but King fits in just fine.

3. The story is built on an interesting premise.  What if. . .
What if a famous author was murdered and along with a small fortune in cash, his hand written first drafts of some unpublished novels were taken.  Then, after hiding the loot, the criminals were either killed or landed themselves in prison.  And then, what if. . . a boy found the loot.  What insues from there is edge of your seat stuff.

4. I like Hodges.  Not sure why, since he seems your run of the mill gumshoe.  But I like the guy.  He really is cut of the most simple "mystery novel detective" cloth.  Maybe that's why I like him; I don't have to take a lot of time to get to know Hodges, because I already know him from American lore.

5. As is so normal in a King story, characters make decisions that are absolutely nuts.  You want to yell at them.  They ought to get knocked off just for being so stupid.  I'm not saying who, because some of you whine about spoilers -- but let's just say there's a certain teen who isn't good at decision making.  What's more, teeny boy resists the most natural "outs" for the difficult situations he gets himself into.  He consistently makes his own path more difficult.  Just like a teen, right?  Not really.  Teens tend to take the path of least resistance.  This character is actually pretty self assured.

6. King has not forgotten how to identify with the working family.  The stolen cash is given to the family in increments of about $500.  For them -- this is life changing.  For King, its a drop in the bucket.  (Not that he showed me his checkbook recently.)  But it can be easy for a person with means to forget when just an extra hundred or more can do for a family.  My wife started working this year and it was almost instantly life changing; and we're not even talking about a lot of money.  I'm glad King didn't bump the number up to something like a thousand or more.

Like Mr. Mercedes, Finders is told in the present tense.  I like it a lot -- but I didn't know it was legal.  Sure, the kid in creative writing did it; but he was weird.  Stephen King does it justice.

Finally, I want to note something that should be an entire blog post: Finders Keepers is about books.  Books King made up and books we all know.  The murdered author, John Rothstein, reminds me of J.D. Salinger, who wrote the acclaimed Catcher int he Rye. (I'm not sure why I had to read that in High School.)  

Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters

This is my book:

Stephen King did something crazy; something brilliant – he interconnected his many books and stories. Characters appear in one story only to have their story completed in other books.  Worlds collide and genre’s crumble.  But King did more than just connect railroad tracks through his own stories, he built long, wonderful stretches that moved through the lands of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and even Alfred Hitchcock.

Ride the train long enough, and you might see a door coming toward you, because you are about to enter the Twilight Zone with Mr. King as your host. King’s stories are more than just a rich texture of classic works, they include long bridges over theologically deep waters.  What does Pet Sematary tell us about resurrection?  What is the real meaning of The Stand?  Is the Green Mile meant to be read on a spiritual level?

Pause long enough, and you will hear the not so distant voices of a generation ago as they pass their stories over the radio waves.  Perhaps the scariest medium ever invented, radio once drove a nation to sheer panic, and scared a little boy named Stephen King.

Brighton David Gardner has spent years researching the world of Stephen King.  He has interviewed Stephen King scholars, enthusiast and film makers.  Brighton has been interviewed by CNN on the subject of Stephen King.  He is a frequent contributor to

Is there more to Stephen King than just haunted cars, rabid dogs and cities trapped under a dome?  Will his work be lost in histories unforgiving shuffle, or has he created a lasting body of work?  In Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters, Brighton Gardner discusses how King’s work compares to other outstanding artist.

Exploring not only King’s lasting legacy, Gardner takes a closer look at the novels themselves.  Did Stephen King write the father who abandoned his family into his novels?  What Stephen King movie did Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds inspire?

KINDLE: $7.99
Paperback: $9.89
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 87%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon.

The Stand Will Be An 8 Part Mini-Series

YES! yes yes yes!
Sorry, I'll try not to be excited.

Jeff Sneider at posted news that The Stand "will take a revolutionary detour to the small screen."  Wait, whats happening?  Warner brothers and CBS are in talks with Showtime to turn the novel into an eight-part miniseries.  But that's not all; it comes to a big massive end with a big screen "big-budget" feature film.

Of course, the miniseries format allows for a bigger story; one more true to the novel.  By going with showtime instead of network TV, the story is more leeway to be a true horror pic than the previous miniseries offering.

Here's the facts as reported by
Josh Boone will write and direct the miniseries.
The miniseries should start shooting early next year "as one cohesive production."
"Boone is expected to set his sights on several A-listers."
WB will handle the theatrical distribution of the movie.  (Which explains why showtime is involved.)

What was great about the 94 version of The Stand: Gary Sinise, and Rob Lowe.
What was not so great: It was very 90's.  Molly Ringwald.  Television.

Finders Keepers Journal 1: Oh Yeah!

Finders Keepers is the sequel – kind of – to Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.  But, in typical King fashion, the novel doesn’t quite feel like a sequel.  Because the story doesn’t pick up where Mercedes left off, it backs up and moves through scenes we’ve already been to in the first novel, but this time with different characters.  Thus we the reader relive the horror once again, but from a new angle.

Finders Keepers is certainly it’s own book; but it is wound tight with Mr. Mercedes references and story twists.

I’ve been away from reading Stephen King for a while, and the arrival of Finders Keepers caught me by surprise.  “Oh, is that this week?”  And then a little fear.  I couldn’t even remember everything Mr. Mercedes was about; details had slipped away.  Was I ready to return?  What if the magic had left?  But the warmth hasn’t gone anywhere.  Those “OH YES!” moments of reading a Stephen King novel come quick in Finders Keepers.  That’s partly because it is a second novel, so King is giving us easter eggs right from the get go.

You know about Stephen King “Oh yes!” moments, right?
That’s when Carrie burns up her school, and your heart goes, YES!
When a writer pulls off something, maybe something you didn't see coming, and you're amazed at how they did it.  When Roland steps into the world of The Stand.  Or, when the corpse comes to life in Revival.  Or when the grieving father carries his dead child up to the pet cemetery, and you know this novel has some traction.  Inside, you're going, "Oh yeah!"

I love it when two books come together and you feel distant sparks.  Like when Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne touch.  Of course, Mercedes and Finders are supposed touch.  But the way King does it is mesmerizing.  He doesn’t just bop on with the story, picking up where Mercedes left off.  He starts a new story, running alongside and intersecting the time line of the first novel before eventually starting on a fresh track.  This is brilliant!  And powerful when done by a master like King.


As with any King book, the characters take center stage in the story telling.  What I like is how very complex King makes characters.  These people feel real.  Someone injured by the evil Mr. Mercedes isn’t just a poor pitiful victim in a Stephen King novel; they are a real person.  King shows us the emotional pain a physical injury can bring to a marriage.  I like it that King allows characters, children, to make up expressions for their parents behavior.  Adults don’t just argue, it’s the arkie barkies.

By the way, any time someone digs up a buried treasure chest in a Stephen King book, your heart should start pounding.  Because -- I mean, it's Stephen King!  Who knows what's in that chest.  Could be pirates gold or money.  But it could be rotted body parts or a clown nose.


A quick note here about the style of the book.  First, unlike Mercedes, I have not detected that the novel is told is strict present tense.

Second, there are points where the narration allows dialogue to flow like a play.  You know:
(A side from the one observing.)
This is interesting because I haven’t ever seen King use this approach in a novel.  Certainly he’s written plenty of scripts, but novels usually have the normal back and forth flow of quotes mingled with narration.  In fact, I was unaware that it was “okay” for a novel to use this style until I read The Keep, by Jennifer Egan.  I was so startled by how easy she made the dialogue using this format that I incorporated into my own writing.

Just under the surface of Finders Keepers is the ever evolving discussion about The Writer.  King gave us a first glimpse into the writer in Misery.  In Finders Keepers, a writers notebooks become part of the driving force of the novel.

Of course, King has insisted he doesn’t use an idea notebook.  In fact, he’s said that a writers notebook is a great way to preserve bad ideas.  The good ones, King says, stick with you.  (This is like preachers who insist they don’t use notes. The truth is, they don’t always stay on topic and tend to talk too long.)

That aside, there are certainly piles of Stephen King notebooks we would all love to see.  Much if not all of Dream catcher was written by hand and filled a pile of notebooks.  Wouldn’t you like to have that in your collection?  Finders Keepers is partly about a guy who steals a writers notebooks.

Link: AVCLUB review of Finders Keepers

I enjoyed the review of Finders Keepers at

we learn:

  • Finders keepers isn't really Hodges book.
  • "Finders Keepers is a direct sequel to King’s 2014 novel Mr. Mercedes, though it takes a while for the connections to appear."
And now I'm off to read the book.

NEWS: IT is sinking

A film production of Stephen King's epic novel, IT
-- True scares
-- Theaters
-- Big budget
-- Tight editing
-- Not television!

. . . is it too good to be true?  Maybe.

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that New Line Cinema has indefinitely cut production on IT. EW says that director Cary Fukunaga reps say that he has left the project.

I've grown leery of remakes in recent days.  In fact, I opted not to see Poltergeist this weekend because reviews were -- it's just not scary.  Bu IT wasn't just another remake; it truly was a re envisioning of the Novel.  The previous work had been for television; a worthy effort, but Pennywise has always belonged more on the big screen.

So of all the Stephen King projects that I was really excited about coming to the big screen, I was excited about this one.  And the Dark Tower.  While the novel is slowly dating itself, the movie promised to bring an update to the story.  

Finders Keepers Cockadoodie Brat

Stephen King recently noted:
If you liked MISERY, you're probably going to like FINDERS KEEPERS. Some fans are just cockadoodie brats. 
Molly, aka The Thing of Evil, is also a cockadoodie brat. Can't say more. She's in the room. And listening...

10 Best Stephen King Books

Rolling Stone did a poll, asking what the 10 best Stephen King books are.  The answers -- a little ridiculous.  ( 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

Final Cover or Bazaar Of Bad Dreams

I think this looks great!

The Guardian notes that the book will also include notes from King on the craft of writing.  Of course, King hasn't taken on the subject of writing since his classic book, On Writing.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, due to be published on 3 November, will bring together 20 short stories by King, a mix of new writing and work already collected in magazines. But it will also include an introduction to each story by the writer, in which he will provide “autobiographical comments on when, why and how he came to write it”, as well as “the origins and motivation of each story. His editor at Hodder & Stoughton, Philippa Pride, predicted the inclusion would “delight all his readers including those who love his insight into the craft of writing”.

Shawshank Was Almost Real

Check out Michael Miller's article at the Washington Post titled, "‘Shawshank’ prison escape ends 56 years later with cinematic stakeout." 

In 1957 Frank Freshwaters was a 20-year-old Ohio bad boy.  On a July night, he hit and killed a pedestrian while speeding.  He was given 20 years, but the sentence was suspended.  However, he got back behind the wheel of a car, and so he went back to prison in 1959.  He landed in the Ohio State Reformatory.  

Now, track with this: The Prison closed and became the set for the 1994 Stephen King classic, "The Shawshank Redemption."  

Freshwaters secured a transfer to a nearby “honor camp,” and disappeared in 1959.  (See the link for the rest of the story.)

Will Poulter will be PENNYWISE reports that Will Poulter is "in negotiations" to play the evil clown, Pennywise, in the upcoming IT movie.  The movie is not a remake of the mini-series so much as it is a retelling for the big screen.

Justin Kroll at Variety reminds us that the IT project is really two feature film.  Kroll notes, "Fukunaga has been very vocal recently that the latest script will stay true to the King story while also giving the film a new look."

The plan is for the first movie to tell the kids’ story and the second movie to focus on the adults.

About Poulter as Pennywise, Kroll says that New Line originally looked at older actors like Mark Rylance and Ben Mendelsohn to play the evil clown.  However, they decided to "go younger" with Poulter.  Why?  Because Poulter rocked the audition with Fukunaga -- leaving the director unable to say no.

Honestly, Pennywise does seem like the role of a lifetime.  What fun. notes taht Will Poulter, best known for his roles in The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Maze Runner.

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

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.

Stephen King Video Games

Doesn't it seem like there should be more games based on Stephen King books?  I'm still waiting for someone to give me an edition of THE  STAND Civ 5.  Really, no one has wanted to drive Christine?  Think about it -- it would be a lot more fun than Pole Position.  Actually, a lot of things were better than that game.

Here is a list of video games based on King's work.  I am not including Discordia.  If you know of others, tell me in the comments section (or email me).

1985: THE MIST:

Was a text adventure game.  Remember Zork?


The Running man was released as a Commodore 64 game.  It also inspired a game called "Smash TV."

1992: THE DARK HALF: gives us this review of The Dark Half video game:
The Dark Half is a point and click story based adventure game based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It was released in 1992 by Capstone and even though many consider it to be a terrible game, it is highly sought after and considered a cult hit.
The Dark Half was developed by Symtus and published in 1992 by Capstone. It is a ScummVM-esque point and click adventure game that is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Although the mechanics of the game are very similar to many adventure games released around the same time from LucasArts, it is possible to die / be arrested in the game, bringing your adventure to an eary finish. 
The game itself is a poor reflection of the novel and is riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies. Even with these inherent flaws, The Dark Half remains a cult classic, a title that is still highly sought after even this long after it's debut. The ease of getting a "Game Over" screen is such that it's vital to save often and in different files, which is a turn off for many gamers with games such as Monkey Island setting the benchmark of a "deathless" game.

1994: The Lawnmowerman 

This was a Sega Genesis game. I never got to play it because we were Atari people.  Then Commodore.  

For more, check out David Finniss article at
Finnis' article covers all of the above games,and also a wallpaper program called F13: "The only thing that I was able to find on my own was a program called F13. It wasn't so much a game as a program that gave you wallpapers for your desktop. There were some mini-games as well as an electronic copy of Everything's Eventual. It received a mixed review at best."

10 King Novels That Should Be Video Games:

I liked this article by Clayton Ofbricks: 10 Stephen King Novels That Should Be Video Games.  He gives a nice outline of how each game would be played out.
1) The Shawshank Redemption: 3rd Person Stealth Action 
2) The Stand: Post Turn Based Strategy 
3) The Green Mile: Construction and Management Simulation 
4) Misery: Tower Defense 
5) The Dark Tower: Action RPG 
6) Christine: Extreme Driving Sim 
7) Rose Red: Survival Horror 
8) Pet Sematary: FPS 
9) Salem’s Lot: Sandbox 
10) Cujo: Trivia
Or. . . you could just play The Sims 3 Supernatural!  Or, Naughty Bear.