Monday, September 22, 2014

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.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Movoto Prices The Overlook!

The crew over at Movoto, (the fun real estate blog) have been having some fun indeed -- with Stephen King's THE SHINING. The blog focuses on fictional real estate listings. So, with the release of Doctor Sleep, they decided it would be super heaps of fun to check out the value of the Overlook Hotel!

In the process of researching the Overlook's value, a lot of interesting facts surface.  How many sq feet is it?  How many bathrooms?  

This is re-posted by permission from


What’s the scariest thing you can think of? I’m betting it’s probably a ghost, a monster, or some kind of psycho killer with a chainsaw. Unless, that is, you’ve ever read Stephen King’s horror masterpiece, “The Shining”. In that case, like me, you were thinking of the Overlook Hotel.

While there have been many a terrifying piece of property in the history of horror books, film, and TV—the “Amityville Horror”, “Insidious”, and “Psycho” houses spring to mind—none can compare to the hotel that King created in his landmark 1977 novel. It might look like a building, but those who’ve read the book know it’s a living, breathing epicenter of paranormal dread.
What got me thinking about the Overlook again is something every true horror fan should be eagerly awaiting: this week’s release of “Doctor Sleep,” King’s latest work and the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining”. While the Overlook obviously doesn’t feature in the new novel, we here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog figured there was no more appropriate time to perform one of our patented fictional property evaluations on the sinister inn.

You know, just in case some steel-nerved ghost hunters out there want to fantasize about buying it—or at least the real world equivalent.

I don’t scare easily, but as returning readers will know, these evaluations can sometimes be so complex they’re scary in their own right. Fortunately, I came away from this one unscathed, and with a price of $1,292,000.

How did I scare up that figure? Read on—if you dare!—to find out.

How I Did It (Without Using the Shining Power)
Whether you’re valuing an evil hotel or one from a beloved British comedy, you’re going to need to know some of the same information. Specifically, I had to track down:
  • How big the Overlook is
  • Where it’s located
  • How much it’s worth per room
That first piece of information was easily the most challenging—and rewarding—to find, so I think that’s the best place for us to start. You might want to carry a fire axe just in case.

One Spooky Hotel, Many Inspirations

Although I’ve read “The Shining” and seen the movie (many times) and watched the TV miniseries, I still needed to do a good amount of research to bone up on my Overlook lore. My first stop was, naturally, one of the scariest places I can think of: the Internet. It was here that I reinforced some things I already knew, such as the fact that the Overlook Hotel isn’t a real place, but that it was based on an actual hotel that King once stayed at (in room 217) called the Stanley Hotel.

In fact, the Stanley is obviously extremely proud to be known as the inspiration for the Overlook, not to mention the “fact” that it is haunted (something that may or may not have driven King to have a nightmare that led to the idea for the novel). The hotel conducts regular ghost hunting tours and an annual “Shining” theme ball on Halloween.

Based on this alone, it would seem like a pretty cut-and-dry process to find out how big the Stanley is—16,000 square feet, by the way—get values for some nearby hotels for sale, and call it a day. I should know by now that it’s never that easy.

That’s because, you see, there’s another real hotel that’s associated with the Overlook—the Timberline Lodge. This ski resort is what most people probably most associate with the hotel because of the fact that it was used in 1980 movie adaptation of “The Shining” by director Stanley Kubrick (no relation to the Stanley Hotel, as bizarre as that would have been). The Timberline Lodge served as the exterior of the Overlook in some scenes and inspired the matte paintings used in others. It’s not a 100 percent match for several reasons, not the least of which is that the interiors are not at all alike and it doesn’t have the infamous hedge maze from the film.
I was torn for a while as to whether or not I should use this 60,000 square foot, 70 room resort to base my evaluation on, but I eventually came back to the Stanley—for the most part—for a reason I’ll get to in a second.

As it turns out, neither of these hotels could actually be a 100 percent match for the Overlook because they both have too many rooms. The Stanley has 140 and, like I just mentioned, the Timberline has 70. Going back and reading “The Shining”, I discovered that King’s hotel has exactly 40 guest rooms. Its makeup is as follows:
  • 30 Double Rooms (including room 237)
  • 10 Single Rooms
  • Offices (including Mr. Ullman’s)
  • Lobby
  • Storage Room
  • Gold Room
  • Colorado Lounge
  • Banquet/Ballroom
  • Basement
King never goes into how many square feet the Overlook is, but since it’s a hotel I’m evaluating, I don’t need to know that—different rules apply. It still helps to know the location, though, so I tracked that down next.

One of Colorado’s Premier Resort Destinations

If you couldn’t guess from the name of one of those rooms listed above, the Overlook Hotel is meant to be in Colorado—just like the Stanley Hotel that inspired it (although, in his introduction to the book, King claims it’s not based on any actual hotel). But where in the state?
Well, going by King’s inspiration, the Stanley, I placed the Overlook in Estes Park, Colorado, where it’s located. The Timberline Lodge’s location wasn’t really an option, since it’s not in Colorado; it’s in Government Camp, Oregon, at the base of Mount Hood.

Again, as with the square footage, the location of that Overlook actually didn’t matter (much) to the overall evaluation. It did affect part of the formula I used, which I’ll get to next.

That’s a Scary (Expensive) Soda

Now, if you’ve read one of our fictional evaluations of a hotel property before—like Fawlty Towers, for example—you’ll know that they’re valued differently than residential properties.

There are actually a couple of shortcuts to figuring out their prices; one being to take the price of a can of Coke in their mini-fridges, multiplying it by 10,000, then multiplying that by the number of rooms. The other is to find a similar hotel for sale in the area and divide its listing price by the number of rooms, then apply that to the number of rooms in the hotel being evaluated. I decided to go with the former, mostly because it meant I got to call the Stanley Hotel.

So, I rang up the Stanley and posed my question to their chipper staff. The result: a can of Coke there costs $3 plus tax (at least my wallet was afraid). Knowing that the Stanley is in Estes Park, CO, I was able to look up the sales tax there, which is 7.5 percent. So, a can of Coke at the hotel costs $3.22 all told.

With that number, I could do some simple multiplication and determine that one room of the Overlook would be valued at $32,200. Now I just had to do what Jack Torrance never could and finish what I’m writing.

You Can Check-In But You’ll Never Leave
To wrap things up, I just needed to multiply the value per room ($32,200) by the number of rooms (40) to end up with a final price of $1,292,000—a price that’s actually scary in how cheap it is. Of course, you’d still have to contend with hallways filled with blood, scary twins, murderous partygoers, and all the other nasty things the Overlook holds within its haunted halls. But, for the right buyer, I guess those might actually be plusses. Heck, I hear there’s actually a premium on little kids yelling “Redrum” these days. Go figure.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Down East Pulls Back The Curtain On Stephen King Circa 1977

10,000 Magazines, #9,998
Down East, The Magazine Of Maine, November 1977
First published: September 13, 2012

Do you remember 1977?  I was four.  The magazine is fun because it reads like a home town paper of sorts.  Very professional and fun, it is full of local ads and happenings throughout Maine.

One reason I love the old magazines is because they capture a particular moment in time.  Prices, fashion and ads are all frozen in a 100 page time capsule.  It is strange to see ads that require you to write in – no websites advertised here!

The November, 1977 issue of Down East had an interesting article by Lois Lowry titled, “King of the Occult.”

With a picture of a young Stephen King sitting on the hood of his Cadillac, the caption reads, “Stephen King has written three best-selling horror novels that have made him a millionaire at thirty.  Now friends and critics wait to see if he can do it again.”

Lowry takes time to discuss King’s mother in some detail, “He called his mother Ma.  She brought him broken cookies from the bakery where she worked at night while he was sleeping; and told him, with a fervor that came from a combination of resolute fundamentalism and the staunch New England belief that grit and stubbornness bear fruit like aple trees in rocky soil, that he would someday be a success.”

She also discusses his reception in Maine:
“Maine natives are not effusive people; nor are they likely to look kindly on a blue-jeaned upstart who has written of their home territory in allegories heavy withe vil and permeated with the violent bizarre, and occult.  Nevertheless, they come clutching their books, to get a glimpse and the signature of the man who has prodded at the perimeters of their lives with his perceptions and  his pen.”
Now that’s interesting, since of the three books King had published up to that point, only two of them were set in Maine.  The Shining was set in Colorado.  Also, Carrie is not heavy on the Maine setting.  But Salem’s lot overshadowed all other works when it came to location.  The novel told what a small Maine town would be like if it was taken over by vampires.  But the novel wasn’t just a blood and guts horror novel, it told the story of a small town, and that is what really drives the story.  It is appropriate that the story bears the towns name.  Lowry writes, “Country life suits Stephen King.”

At the time of the article, King lived in Bridgton, Maine.  Lowry describes it:
“To meet him there, in a spacious, toy-strewn house filled with the high voices of children and the sunshine that reflects brilliantly from Long Lake, it is hard to believe that murderous creatures are brewing in his brain like newts in a cauldron.  It’s a placid, unostentatious kind of country living that reveals nothing of the lurking horrors of the mind that made it possible. 
It’s a hard house to find.  A visitor must know the landmarks, the right turn to make in the narrow, winding road that runs along the lake.”
Later in the article, Lowry says that the house Is for sale. King was headed to England, where the  filming of The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, would be done.

(Check out the Down East article, “Stephen King Doesn’t Live In Bridgton Anymore”)

The article traces the story we now know pretty well – but never really get tired of – of King rising from nothing to becoming a best selling author.  The article also, almost off-handedly remarks that Stanley Kubrick has bought the rights for The Shining.  We all know how that came out!

I like these lines:
“Smile.  Wince.  Reach for a cigarette.  An asprin.  Turn on some country music and hum.  Tease Tabby.   Scold little Joe for riding his plastic Batmobile around the living room too noisily.  Stoke the yellow cat named Carrie.  Diaper the new baby who smiles in the sunny bedroom.  Downstairs, the typewriter waits.  The terrors and spooks   and nameless, faceless creatures are all down there in the study, waiting to be written.  And the public waits, the critics wiat, to see if he can do it again.”
See, the fun of this article is that we already know – yes he can do it again!  The people who inhabit the distant world of 1977 don’t even know about The Stand, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone or. . . the Dark Tower!

*** And wait a minute, did the article just reveal he had a cat named Carrie?  What's wrong with Church?  Church is a good name for a cat.

The article also discusses the issue of genre and typecasting.  “Shelly and Toker wrote successful horror.  So does King.  But what is it that distinguishes good horror from the old Tales From the Crypt” that you read with the kind of gleeful fear when you were a kid?”  For my money, and a lot of people’s I would venture to guess, we like King’s gleeful joy as he leads us through his stories.  Lowry quotes King, “All I am is the phosphorescent ghost at the funhouse.   I’m the guy who jumps out and yells ‘Boo!’”

Lowry rightly accesses King’s strength is his ability to combine the real and imaginary worlds.  Thus he takes issues we know and understand – alcoholism, small towns, little boys and mixes  them with freak-a-zoid things like vampires and haunted hotels.  King also says, “People grow up, and their need for fantasy remains.  You’re made a child again, through fear, and that’s a normal desire.”

About the fans, King had an easier time of it back in 1977 than he would through the 80's and beyond.  But still, even by then, the fans were starting to encroach on King’s personal life.   The article says,
King appreciates his fans, answers the letters they write him, and carries in his wallet a photograph of a young girl from the Southwest because she sent a note that touched him.  But he’s had his phone number changed, and the local operator tells countless people every day, “No, I’m sorry, we are not permitted to disclose that number,” because strangers call from all parts of the country to ask for money, interviews, help in finding a publisher for the 800-page novel they’ve written about werewolves, or advice on how to do away with the demonic neighbor who has caused their vegetables to succumb to root rot. 
Sometimes he opens his eyes wide behind the horn-rimmed glasses and realizes that Tabby is at home on the edge of the lake witht eh kids, listening to music, and he’s on a plane to at own whose name he has temporarily forgotten, to sign his name for people he’s never met, and to be interviewed for a magazine that will make him sound glamorous and oracular and start the stream of phone calls and unwanted guests all over again.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here's a page my beloved mother-in-law scanned. . . and I have no idea why!  but I love that lady.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Swan Song Journal #2: Direction

I go running at night for two reasons:
1. I want to lose weight.
2. I am in love with Swan Song.

The book is difficult to predict.  I am honestly kept guessing at each page.  I have no idea what will happen with any of the characters.

When I read  The Stand, it became obvious via the dreams that the forces of good would be gathered to one place, and the forces of evil to another.  Swan Song is not so immediately clear.  The AOE (Army of Excellence) is certainly growing ever more powerful.  And there are two elements McCammon certainly intends to bring together; the ring and the girl.  Swan has the power to give life, while the ring hast he power to give direction.  Together, they may be the key to bringing healing on the earth;  and possibly to defeating the AOE.

Though I've heard others complain about this; I like the ease with which McCammon introduces  and then dismisses characters.  It gives the story a feeling of bigness; grandeur.

None of that is a spoiler -- because I have no idea what is ahead.

There are certainly a lot of battles in Swan Song.  I like that a lot.  The action is fast paced.  There are moments when McCammon introduces us to characters  that seem like they could have come from The Stand.  Alvin Mangrim wants to rise high in Colonel Macklin's army, even though Roland is suspicious of him.  What's more, Mangrim cut off the head of one of Macklin's most wanted  enemies.  Somehow, I'm thinking -- Trashcan man!

The AOE is completely evil.  Colonel Macklin wears a Nazi uniform and a wood hand with nails  sticking through it, just to be clear that he will show no mercy to anyone.  I suspect who he should really fear is the boy, Roland.

Elements I really like:

  • The ring.
  • The Shadow soldier.  (An imaginary friend who keeps Colonel Macklin cool under fire)
  • Swan's ability to give life.  How far will that go?
  • The mark of Cain.  A strange growth that crusts over some survivors like a hard shell, closing them in.
  • The flies crawling out of the man of a thousand faces so go and search the earth for the woman with the ring.  That is really great!  The flies are really his eyes, an extension of himself.
Concerning the flies, get this passage:
More flies penetrated his face. More images whirled through him: a woman scrubbing clothes in a lamplit room, two men fighting with knives in an alley, a two-headed boar snuffling in garbage, its four eyes glinting wetly. The flies crawled over his face, being sucked through the flesh one after the other.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Awesome Movie Art For Carrie and Misery!

Earlier in 2014, Skuzzles partnered with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in developing artwork for 13 cult classic horror films. The DVDs and Blu-rays feature illustrated limited edition artwork created by a collective of incredible artists from all over the globe (Ghoulish Gary Pulin, Jason Edmiston, Todd Slater, Randy Ortiz, Josh Budich, Justin Osborne, Paul Shipper, Gregorz Domaradzki "Gabz", Francesco Francavilla) . The films are offered at all major retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Best Buy Canada and Walmart Canada. The films can be found on Blu-ray for $7-9, and on DVD for only $5-7.

THANKS BRYANT BURNETTE! thetruthinsidethelie.blogspot

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Dark Tower: FOUND!

Dark Roasted Blend has made a connection that's -- well, out there.  Until you see the photo's!  Seems the Dark Tower actually exists, in our world! 

Dark Blend writes,
Maybe you've read Stephen King's huge fantasy epic "The Dark Tower" . . . you'll be surprised to find the fantastic huge black tower actually exists... on a small island near Africa. More precisely, on the São Tomé island in the Gulf of Guinea. It's called Pico Cão Grande, or the Great Dog peak.
The photo's are credited to   Inna Moody.  The painting is the always awesome Michael Whelan.

Get these ominous lines,
"Fearsome black snakes live on this peak."
"approaches to it are filled with impenetrable giant ferns and lianas"
"Among the animals who live in the nearby jungles and come to pay respect to the tower are the Leatherback Sea Turtle"
"Vertical climbing of this peak is complicated by the thick mist that lingers around it."
About Devil's Tower in Wyoming, "Big monsters tend to find such towers and climb them to their doom. Here is a (bear)? trying to scale the Devil's Tower in Wyoming."
Huuuuhhhh!  Sounds like the tower rising in our world.  Snakes.  The turtle.  The bear.  Difficult approach.  ehhh?!

In all honesty, this would make some great shots for a movie. . . if they were to ever make a movie.  You know, someone should do that!  Someone should make a Dark Tower movie. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

List of Good Movies Ruined By Bad Endings

Andrew Dyce posted an article at titled, "10 Good Movies Ruined By Bad Endings."

The List:
10. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
9. The Ninth Gate (1999)
8. Signs (2002) (HEY!  I liked that ending!)
7. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
5. The Wolverine (2013)
4. High Tension (2003)
3. I Am Legend (2007)
2. Sunshine (2007)
1. Superman (1978)

Why did this list catch my attention?  Because the yahoo link had an image of The Mist.  So where's the Mist on this list?

Green Mile Veteran To Narrate REVIVAL has announced that the Unabridged Audiobook Edition of Revival will be read by veteran actor David Morse.

King's website notes:
David's acclaimed performances can be seen in The Green Mile, Dancer in the Dark, Proof of Life, The Crossing Guard, The Hurt Locker, World War Z, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Morse portrayed George Washington in the HBO mini-series John Adams (Emmy Nomination), and has appeared on Treme and House (Emmy Nomination), but is best known for his role as Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison on St. Elsewhere. Morse made his Broadway debut in On the Waterfront, starred in The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, and received an Obie Award for his performance in How I Learned to Drive.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Swan Song Journal

You read that right.  I'm journaling a non-King novel. Why? Swan Song goes beyond the scope of most books, requiring more than one entry. I've been reading the book for quite a while now on nights that I go running alone.  I have to admit that I've fallen in love with the book.

"I thought this was a Stephen King blog."  It is.  And if you only want discussions about Stephen King -- then don't read Stephen King.  Because King's own work is wound with commentary on other works.  So our discussion of King and the world of Stephen King should be wider than King's own stream of novels.

That was a long way of saying -- I've been reading Swan Song and want to talk about it.

I wrote a short article years ago on the similarities between Swan Song and The Stand.  I read both books in high school.  But I read the Stand many more times after that.  But Swan Song was given a single reading, and I was left with only impressions of where the book had taken me.  What I realized when I began reading Swan Song again is that I had no idea where  the book was going.  That's strange, since I usually know at least who is going to die and major plot twists. Except for a few scenes, my mind was a blank slate.  How could that happen?  I remember reading it.  I knew enough to have made a mental list of ways the book is like The Stand.

It comes down to this: I read Swan Song in study hall.  Do  you remember study hall?  I mostly don't.  I read IT in study hall, too.  And the Langoliers.  Might I -- gasp -- have skimmed major portions of the book?  The novel was popular at my school; as popular as any book could be.  My friends and I were mostly interested in girls, monsters, girls, writing books and did I mention girls?  Yeah, I'm ready to say now what I wasn't willing to admit to myself much earlier -- I had to have skimmed a lot of this book.

Is McCammon King?

How much is Robert McCammon like Stephen King?  He's not.  Not at all.  And, though there are amazing similarities between Swan Song and The Stand, the truth is, Swan Song can stand on its own heap of pages.  McCammon has his own narrative voice; his own plotting and a pace that is unique to  himself.

Like King, McCammon uses name brands, develops strong characters, and gives the reader two major "camps" -- the good guys and the bad guys.  Swan Song is a larger book; not in page count, but in scope.  McCammon pulls away more often than King did to show what's going on with others affected by the destruction.

One strange thing:

The book has a strange format, in my opinion.  Each book opens with a page that lists the chapter titles.  But then, the chapters themselves do not bear those titles.  This is true in both the paperback and audio edition.  So to know the chapter title you are on, you have to go back to the opening section and count down.  I'm really not sure why this is.

I like chapter titles, as it gives a portion of text a sense of perspective and purpose for both writer and reader.

What I Like About Swan Song:

Anticipation: McCammon is able to keep the reader guessing as to who is going to survive.  I remember turning the pages of the Stand in total disbelief when King killed off some major characters.  I was hooked after that, because anything could happen.  I have the same feeling with Swan Song.

At one point a woman sees a skull when she looks at Josh.  Previously seeing the  skull meant that person was going to die.  This feels like it came right out of a Twilight Zone's episode titled, The Purple Testament. However, the woman who sees this precursor to death shining on Josh's face dies; leaving the reader wondering if Josh is indeed marked for death.

Children: There are both good and bad children in Swan Song.  Swan herself (Sue Wanda) is nine, heading quickly into ten; while evil Roland is a young teenager who sees himself as the "King's Knight," ready to defend and obey the Colonel.  There is a scene in which Roland is required to cut off the Colonel's hand.  It's great.  I mean, really fantastically freaky.

And he sucked in his breath and brought the cleaver down with all of his strength on Colonel Macklin’s wrist. 
Bone crunched. Macklin jerked but made no sound. Roland thought the blade had gone all the way through, but he saw with renewed shock that it had only penetrated the man’s thick wrist to the depth of an inch. 
“Finish it!” Warner shouted. 
Roland pulled the cleaver out. 
Macklin’s eyes, ringed with purple, fluttered closed and then jerked open again. “Finish it,” he whispered. 
Roland lifted his arm and struck down again. Still the wrist wouldn’t part. Roland struck down a third time, and a fourth, harder and harder. He heard the one-eyed hunchback shouting at him to hurry, but Macklin remained silent. Roland pulled the cleaver free and struck a fifth time. There was a lot of blood now, but still the tendons hung together. Roland began to grind the cleaver back and forth; Macklin’s face had turned a pasty yellow-white, his lips as gray as graveyard dirt.
The brutality in Swan Song is pretty strong.  Mccammon cuts away at key moments, leaving it to the mind to fill in; usually.  But sometimes he sticks around, telling the story as the reader thinks, "I can't believe this guy is going there!"

 I'll save more for the next journal entry. Suffice to say, I am swept away once again into the world of Robert McCammon.  I'm loving it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Freeman and Kimmel talk Shawshank

"Jimmy Kimmel Live," Morgan Freeman reflected on, "Shawshank Redemption."  Of  particular  interest -- why he thinks it didn't blast into theaters as a hit.

He said it was hard to gain popularity through word of mouth because people couldn't pronounce the word Shawshank.

Freeman also said that he's only stopped to watch it once or twice over the past 20 years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Josh Boone Is Making Me Cringe

Does anyone get nervous anytime they see a headline about the upcoming movie, The Stand?  I do.  Because it seems like so many bad decisions have already laid a foundation that cannot support

Tommy Cook at Collider has an interview with director Josh Boone on The Stand.
  • Here are the bullet points
  • I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. 
  • Stephen [King] absolutely loved it.  
  • It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him. (Seriously, Josh?  King WROTE the original screenplay for The Stand.  I doubt YOUR version is the first script he ever approved!)
  • It might begin filming in Six to eight months.  Possibly in Spring 2015. 
  • [It'll be] a single version movie of The Stand. Three hours. 
  • It hews very closely to the novel.  
Wait a minute.  Hold the bullet points.  Three hours. . . close to the novel.  That's not possible.

When asked how he would trim down a story as big as the Stand, Boone gave this answer:
 I just focused on the things that I felt strongly about, that I have strong memories about, that are evocative to me even when I read it now . . . 
. . . I just focussed on the things that were more important to me and felt essential to me and were based in the characters.
So the movie is really, "Josh Boone's favorite parts of The Stand" -- not Stephen King's THE STAND.

Boone goes on to discuss the fact he's an atheist/agnostic.  Frustrating, since for many of us, The Stand is an intensely spiritual book.  We already had a rather flat rendition by Garris; but at least Garris gave the story the room it needed to breath.

Is The Stand a religious novel?  From Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters:
In 2008, King told novelist John Marks in Salon magazine that The Stand was his attempt to give God his due. “Too often, in novels that are speculative, God is a kind of kryptonite, and that’s about all that it is, and it goes back to Dracula, where someone dumps a crucifix in Count Dracula’s face, and he pulls away and runs back into his house. That’s not religion,” King told Marks. “That’s some kind of juju, like a talisman. I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to explore what that means to be able to rise above adversity by faith, because it’s something most of us do every day.” He then said that he wanted The Stand to “be a God trip.” (Stephen King A Face Among The Masters)

Christine verses Herbie

Yes, you did read that right. Chris Vognar's has posted his list of "Top 5 movie cars." His list. . .
5. The Love Bug. 4. Death Proof. 3. The Italian Job. 2. Christine. 1. Dark Knight. Hey, where's Maximum Overdrive, huh!

Just seeing the Love Bug on a list with Christine brings some wonderful images to mind. Of course, Herbie could run and pull all kinds of tricks, but in the end Christine would pulverize that little VW. Truth is, it wouldn't even be that difficult for Christine!

But we would all have to admit that the Batmobile would probably be more difficult to destroy. But not much. In fact, the reason Love Bug and Christine seem well slated for a fight is because they both have a life of their own. Makes me wonder exactly who is haunting Herbie. But just supposin' Batman decided to take up the fight against Christine. . . I'm afraid there would be nothing left of him except tire marks on his cape.

Anyone who disagrees with me will have to spend the night in Darnell's garage.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

King Appearing On Finding Your Roots

Stephen will be appearing on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in Season Two’s first episode, “In Search of Our Fathers,” premiering September 23rd at 8PM EST
Thanks to Professor Gates’ research, Stephen King learns an enlightening fact about his Southern ancestors’ 19th Century journey from Tennessee to Indiana.

BIG DRIVER poster looks awesome!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review Of Stephen King Action Figure

I love this line, "What's so great about this figure is that authors don't usually get action figures made out of them.  Actually, I don't think an authors ever been made into an action figure."

Waiting for my Ray Bradbury, Rod  Serling, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, Robert Bloch, Poe action figures.

"As to any kind of likeness to Stephen King, this would  get a zero."

I first saw this at my favorite Stephen King website,

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Even More Shawshank Facts You Didn't Know

GIFs created by Lisa Aileen Dragan

It seems every day I see postings about The Shawshank Redemption.  The movie is a true American gem.  Because it is so popular, every bit of minutia is dug up.  And, truth is -- it's all kind of cool.

Archana Ram at posted an article today titled, "13 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Shawshank Redemption'

  • Morgan Freeman’s son makes a cameo.  On Red’s parole papers, that’s not a picture of an extra, but Freeman’s son, Alfonso, who’d come to set often with his father. He also appears as a rowdy prisoner when Andy first enters the yard.
  • What Happened to Rita Hayworth? (But I did know that)
  • King never cashed the $5,000 check he got for the movie.
  • Freeman suggested Robbins for the role of Andy.
  • Remember when Red was white and Irish? Darabont made some changes.The director took some dramatic license, the most important of which was changing Red from an Irishman to an African-American. “Once I got over my preconception of what the character was, it became such a good choice,” Darabont says on the DVD. “[Freeman] has become indelible in the role.” (In fact, when Andy asks him why he’s called “Red,” Red quips, “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish.” Darabont chose not to change the line.)
  • Real wardens played extras.
  • Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for nine hours.
  • Robbins did some time in solitary for research.
  • ‘Goodfellas' was one of Darabont’s inspirations.
  • Freeman had to record his voiceover over again from scratch
  • The opera scene was a memento from Darabont’s writing process.
  • That water Andy crawls through was toxic.
  • The final scene on the beach was a late addition.

The full article is at

Friday, September 5, 2014

Double exposure: Films about twins has a fun article titled, "Double Exposure" which looks  at movies with twins.  Featured is one of the most famous horror movies ever, The Shining.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


A big welcome from talkstephenking to

Stephen King Only is a new Italian blog, obviously devoted to discussing -- Stephen King only.

Will Errickson: Danse Macabre by Stephen King (1981): Oh, Baby, Do Ya Wanna Dance?

This is from Will Errickson's blog, toomuchhorrorfiction. Of course, there can never REALLY be too much horror fiction, right Will?  Reposted with permission. Check out his blog!

Danse Macabre by Stephen King (1981): Oh, Baby, Do Ya Wanna Dance?

He may not be Harold Bloom, Leslie Fiedler, or Michiko Kakutani, but Stephen King once wrote what I consider one of the most perfectly devastating criticisms of bad writing ever. Comparing a now mostly-forgotten novel by an unknown writer that he felt was "written pretty good" to the then-current rulers of the bestseller lists, King wrote this author was no Saul Bellow, no Bernard Malamud, but at least not down there in the steerage with people like Harold Robbins or Sidney Sheldon, who apparently wouldn't know the difference between a balanced line of prose and a shit-and-anchovy pizza.

Down there in the steerage. A shit-and-anchovy pizza. Holy living fuck, do I love that. Inelegant, crude, and yet right on the money. In fact, I love nearly everything about King's Danse Macabre, which is where you'll find that immortal dismissal. Written after he'd just made a name for himself with the hardcover success of The Shining (1977), it's a very personal and informal rumination on horror entertainment in the latter half of the 20th century, coinciding mostly with King's life specifically and baby boomers in general (he was born in 1947 - which means he was nearly 10 years younger than I am now when he wrote this book. Sigh). I first read it as a young teenager, and it also served well in introducing me to various cultural touchstones I wasn't learning about in high school: the uneasiness Americans felt after Sputnik (a pivotal event in a young King's life), the Charles Whitman and Kent State shootings, Charles Manson, the Vietnam War, Black Panthers, and Erica Jong's charming concept of the "zipless fuck."

Almost effortlessly (the genesis of the book was his college lectures teaching a course on supernatural literature), King relates background info on horror in all media: he fondly recalls the Cold War "bug-eyed monster" horror films of the '50s and '60s but heaps scorns on Plan 9 from Outer Space and Robot Monster. Then there's old-time horror radio star Arch Oboler and his "Lights Out" series, as well as TV shows like "Thriller," "Night Gallery," and "The Outer Limits." He muses about changing tastes and sophistication in audiences as well as root causes for our fascination with the macabre (or "mcbare" as he pronounced the word as a youngster). Tying all this together are autobiographical sketches about his youth as an American kid brought up by a single working mother, moving from one town to another and engaging with some of the odder members of his extended family. And then one day he discovers a box of old pulp fiction paperbacks that had once belonged to his now long-departed father, read his first H.P. Lovecraft tales, and a fate was sealed (Lovecraft; as it ever was, as it ever shall be).

As you can probably guess, this is no academic tome filled with references to "hermeneutics" or "metatextualism" or anything like that; Danse Macabre is digressive, insightful, funny, unpolished, wide-ranging, wrong in some places and oh-so-right in others. King's background as a one-time English teacher and lifelong committed reader with catholic tastes allows him to expound, if only briefly, not simply on the horror fiction we all know and love but also commonly venerated writers like Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Theroux, James M. Cain, Joan Didion, and Jim Thompson. And ever the rock'n'roller, King references late '70s punk rock kings the Ramones and the Sex Pistols - at a time when few music fans in America had any inkling who they were - noting a similarity between their gleeful noise-making and anti-establishment rabble-rousing and the seemingly antisocial aims of many horror movies. He admits he kinda likes The Prophecy, a much-hyped film failure in the late '70s but says his favorite horror movie of that day is the little-seen Tourist Trap. King is one of those guys that just soaks up whatever's out there; it is as if he is quite literally no snob.

As one might expect, he devotes an entire long and thorough chapter on horror fiction in which he covers a handful of modern works that he feels define various aspects of the genre: Peter Straub's Ghost Story, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Jack Finney's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Harlan Ellison's collection Strange Wine, Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man, and Ramsey Campbell's first novel The Doll Who Ate His Mother. While expressing disdain for the lifeless aridity of grad-school student theorizing King does some of his own, but it's a livelier, chummier, albeit just as informed approach he takes, sometimes graceless and glib, but often apt and unpretentious.

Whether it's breaking down the famous opening paragraph of Jackson's novel, or marveling at the "ominous jocularity" of Ellison's stories, or discussing how the Gothic tradition is twisted around in Straub's early novels, King really just likes kicking back and talking about what he loves and knows. He lets the authors speak for their own works by quoting at length their letters to him, although acknowledging that sometimes authors are not the best critics of their own work.

A few of King's ideas in Danse Macabre have become pretty well-known as part of horror criticism: the horror genre is "as conservative as an Illinois Republican in a three-piece pinstriped suit" because it wants us to reject the maniacal and monstrous outsider, to see the taboo and avoid it and celebrate our healthy selves (this was some years before Clive Barker, remember). He posits that when a horror movie builds up suspense and then shows the audience a 10-foot tall insect, they sigh, "I can handle a 10-foot tall insect; at least it wasn't 100 feet tall, that would've been pretty bad" (I don't think that one holds up well today in the CGI age; modern audiences are more likely to complain "A 10-foot tall insect? Why wasn't it 100 feet tall?"). But most famous of all is this honest admission, which seems to sum up Stephen King and much - but absolutely not all - of his fiction:

I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.

Two appendices complete Danse Macabre: one on essential horror film and one on essential horror fiction since the 1950s or so; I've mentioned here before that I've used the latter list as general guide over the years. This is a book I have dipped into over and over again over many years with a deep and abiding pleasure and which inspired in me the desire to look at horror in a larger and more thoughtful way, rather than just taking in the latest movie or novel everybody's talking about. All serious, and burgeoning, horror fans should own a copy. Functioning like a kind of alternative education in art high and low as well as in 20th century Americana, Danse Macabre is an absolutely unmissable and essential piece of horror entertainment itself, from the one and only King.

You might also like: 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey, Want To Visit Shawshank? posted a story today announcing that the visiting public can now take a tour of The Ohio State Reformatory, which was the main location for the 1994 movie's prison.

is now being opened for tours. The move came after the prison, which closed as a working building around 25 years ago, had successfully hosted ghost tours, a Halloween and murder mystery festival last year and a Shawshank anniversary celebration last weekend. The roof has now been fixed and plans are afoot to upgrade the rest of the building so that it will be visitable all year round.
The article says that the tour will be a 13-stop bus tour which includes:

  • The reformatory 
  • The bench where Brooks fed the birds, 
  • Malabar Farm State Park where Andy followed his wife 
  • The Bissman building where Brooks and Red live after they have been released.

The article explains,
Up until now, fans have organised their own tours, but these have carried their own dangers; tour guide Pastor Ron Puff has said that, "To be honest, we don’t have keys for some of these [cell doors]", so don't close them behind you, or you could be doing some time yourself.


King Gives A REVIVAL Warning

Looks like we're back to good ole straightforward horror.   Are you excited?  I am.
The book coming in November, REVIVAL, is a straight-ahead horror novel. If you're going to buy it, better tone up your nerves.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark - Stephen King's IT

For Fun: Worst Book You Ever Read

image credit HERE

Just for fun (which is what a blog is, right, just for fun). . .

Stephen King shared some bad novels in his book On Writing.  He has also openly stated some of his own least favorite books.  You don't want to take Mr. King to a Twilight book signing -- things would get quickly awkward.

Copy the questions, write your own answers.  Or copy my answers, I feel secure about what I wrote.

What is the worst book you ever read?  (You have to have read it all, not started it and stopped)
The Beast Within by Edward Levy.   I read a tattered used copy, and hated it big time.  I thought it was all out stupid.  But then, it gave me great hope.  If that  could get published -- and a movie made of it -- then maybe I would someday be able to write something and get a movie made of it.

Twilight got the highest rating when goodreads asked that question.  (HERE)  Unfortunately the goodreads  poll didn't stick with novels, so it got  pretty political.

Rank right up there with The Beast Within the book Amityville  Horror.  Before you tell me what a great story this is, consider  this:  It's like listening to children tell a big lie.  "And then the bed was  floating. . . and then a pig was in the window. . . and there were pig tracks in the snow. . . and then the water was all black and stuff and it started oozing out the walls. . . and then the cross turned  upside down. . ." I wanted to scream at these people throughout the book, "If you're scared of ghosts, don't move in a house where a whole family was murdered and then let your children sleep in their beds!"  I wonder if the pig was named Misery.

What is the worst classic book  you have read?
A Separate Peace.  The book was slow and I never understood what it was actually about.

What is the worst Stephen King book you ever read?
I have not completed a novel I was unhappy with -- that I can think of.  I found Rage pretty depressing, but the writing was strong.  I even enjoyed the pages King released of The Cannibals, and that wasn't even edited.  I think I just decide ahead of time -- I'm going to like this!  and I do.  When I don't like a King book, I stop reading.

What book were you forced to read that you did not like?
The Heart of Darkness.  I might have liked it,  had it not been forced on us.  Add to that, for the same reasons, Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.  None of us in High School "got" it.  Of course, we may not have  been a real  bright class, as we were also scratching our heads on what in the world Catcher in the Rye was about.  Oh, and there was a Vietnam book called "In Country."  It was so dry that I bought the abridged audio version just so I could pass the test.  I passed.

When  it comes to books I don't like . . . it's just my opinion.  Obviously other people thought they were great books,  as most of these have  been turned into movies.  Not good movies!

Your Turn!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Shawshank Facts has an interesting article (if you can make it through all their pop-ups, flashes, ads and whatever else they've come up with to slow the page) titled, "10 Things You Never Knew About "The Shawshank Redemption."

Here's a couple.

Why is it on cable so much?  "There is a very good reason this movie is on basic cable nearly every day. Ted Turner sold the distribution rights to his network TNT, opening the door for it to be one of the most aired films."

And this is really interesting: "The ASPCA objected to the scene depicting Brooks as he feeds his pet crow a live maggot. The animal rights group declared that it was cruel to the maggot, so the crew had to find one that died of natural causes before shooting the scene, according to IMDB."

That's just great.  I understand animal rights; but do maggots even count as animals?

(A final note of complaint -- I hate articles with short comments that make me click forward and reload a new page for each part of a list.)

A Good Marriage trailer

This looks AWESOME!

It appears there will be a lot more than the book offered.  Which, in this case, is a good thing.

The scene where she discovers the evidence is very much the way I imagined it.  I think-- just based on this trailer -- they captured the heart of the novel.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Authors I Always Wanted To Read -- But Mostly Didn't

So as I wait -- ever so patiently -- for Revival to come out, I am left reading the other guys (and gals.)  Mostly theology lately.  But I realized, there is a small pile of writers I've always wanted to read, but just haven't yet.  Here's my list:

1. Robert Block
2. Leo Tolstoy.  Yes I did try War and Peace.  Too much peace, not enough war.
3. Agatha Christie.  I read Ten Little Indians, and it was pretty dreadful in my opinion.  But I should try again.
4. Zane Gray.
5. Louis L'amour.  I want to read cowboy novels, but they all feel kinda the same.
6. C.S. Lewis Space trilogy.
7.  Dean Koontz.  I keep trying, but have trouble getting into the books.  Maybe I should stop starting on book seven.
8. Alexander Dumas.  I watched the movie.  And the musical.
9. Jules Verne.  Again -- MOVIES!
10. Ken Follett.   I've read a lot of his novels; just wish I read a lot more.

Cast no stones.  Just give me your list.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

REVIVAL Book Tour Hits Six Cities


Starting November 11th, Stephen will embark on a six-city book tour to promote the release of Revival. The tour begins in New York City and continues through Washington DC, Kansas City, Wichita, Austin and South Portland. Further details regarding the itinerary will be posted on September 15th.  Be sure to check back then for updated information regarding the events, venues and times.

November 11, 2014: New York City
November 12, 2014: Washington, DC
November 13, 2014: Kansas City, MO
November 14, 2014: Wichita, KS
November 15, 2014: Austin, TX
November 17, 2014: South Portland, ME

. . . and the West Coast ?

Sunday, August 24, 2014


picture credit: HERE has a good article on the upcoming The Lifetime Original Movie, Big Driver.  Check out the article.  Here's the facts in bullets:

  • Premiers Sunday, October 18 at 8pm
  • It is the first collaboration between Lifetime and King. 
  • The screenplay was adapted by Richard Christian Matheson.  (He's the son of the legendary Richard Matheson.)  
  • Thirty of Richard Christian Matheson's stories are collected in Scars and Other Distinguishing Marks with a Foreword by Stephen King.  
  • Directed by Mikael Salomon.
  • Big Driver stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Ann Dowd, and Will Harris.
  • The movie is produced by Ostar Productionsand executive produced by Bill Haber and Jeffrey Haye. 

Matthew McConaughey Might Enter ‘The Stand’

DEADLINE reports further progress on the cinematic adaptation THE STAND, reporting that Matthew McConaughey is "coveted" by Warner Bros to play the evil Randall Flagg, directed by Josh Boone.
Flagg is the personification of evil, a demonic figure who wreaks havoc after a plague kills most of the population. He was played in haunting fashion by Jamie Sheridan in the miniseries adaptation. This is by no means a firm situation, but it’s understandable why the studio thinks McConaughey would be a compelling and persuasive force of evil in the film. Flagg was such a force of evil that King used him in several of his works including The Stand.
Boy, this is a turn I didn't see coming.  And if it comes to be, I think it'll be a good sign for The Stand.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Has The 1994 Miniseries THE STAND stood the test of time?

Stephen King's novel, The Stand, has made a lasting impact on American culture.  I suspect it will be read and reread for many decades to come.  But what about the 1994 miniseries directed  by a King favorite, Mick Garris?  Will it stand the test of time?'s Emily L. Stephens posted an article  titled, " 1994’s The Stand does not stand the test of time."

I'll list Stephen's concerns in a simple list format, as her article is long and pretty detailed.  The quotes are from the article:

1. The Stand is locked in the time it was filmed in.  
"Everything from casting choices to wardrobe to musical cues cements The Stand firmly in the mid-’90s, sacrificing any timelessness in favor of an already dated sensibility. It’s not the self-aware frolic of Clueless or the drab naturalism of Office Space. This is 1994 as an ’80s hangover, complete with former members of the Brat Pack and an 8-year-old Top 10 hit already milked for nostalgia."
2. The acting is bad.
"It doesn’t help that the performances are so flat."  She specifically picks on Ruby Dee, who is "hampered by King's tics of dialogue."  And Jamey Sheridan's portrayal of Randall Flagg, who she finds far too affable.   
Wait -- she ain't done.  There is discussion on Rob Low (who I thought was great in this film), but she calls "inept at expressing inner life through gesture and expression."
Of course, she gives kuddos to Gary Sinise's portral of Stu and is silent -- and then moves on to Frannie; who mostly gets knocks for her wardrobe.  "Frannie’s endless assortment of distinctively ’90s floral dresses highly unsuitable for a post-apocalyptic road trip--"  I didn't notice!
3. The miniseries took the book to literal:
In the miniseries, this metaphorical hand of God becomes literal, its massive glowing fingers wrapping themselves around the A-bomb to spark the obliteration of the city, to kill Flagg and his disciples, and to dismantle all the stakes established in the story so far. This burst of micromanaging by God undermines the gravity and compassion of the protagonists by making their path a sure and holy one, rather than a journey of agonizing doubt.
Wait a minute. . . in the book it was not a "metaphorical hand of God" -- it was literal.  And I know the script got it right, because King wrote the script.

4. The Stand fails to make the needed point: 
Stephen King’s script wipes out the point he built up so potently in the book: that ordinary people might gravitate toward Flagg for complex, even sympathetic reasons—a craving for order in the post-plague chaos, the lure of structured society that values their skills and dedication, the belief that they’re helping to re-establish discipline and law—and that, once having found their place in that well-ordered society, they’re resistant to challenge or change. It’s an unsubtle but trenchant critique of middle-class comforts and the seductive ease of hypocrisy.
Oh -- that was the point?  I've been reading the Stand wrong all these years.  I thought the point was: Faith must be tested.  Evil is real, and good is real; but good cannot simply count on God to fight evil, as moral beings we must also be willing to take our stand against wickedness.  But hey, maybe I'm wrong. But honestly, her description of The Stand's purpose reads more like Needful Things.

Two quotes from A Face Among The Masters:
King might not have angels and demons duking it out, like in This Present Darkness, but the spiritual warfare is still very real in The Stand. (Gardner, Brighton, Stephen King A Face Among The Masters)
In 2008, King told novelist John Marks in Salon magazine that The Stand was his attempt to give God his due. “Too often, in novels that are speculative, God is a kind of kryptonite, and that’s about all that it is, and it goes back to Dracula, where someone dumps a crucifix in Count Dracula’s face, and he pulls away and runs back into his house. That’s not religion,” King told Marks. “That’s some kind of juju, like a talisman. I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to explore what that means to be able to rise above adversity by faith, because it’s something most of us do every day.” He then said that he wanted The Stand to “be a God trip.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is A Good Marriage Set To Scare?

Clark Collis Entertainment Weekly article proclaims, "'We went in fearlessly': Stephen King on adapting 'A Good Marriage' for film."

Based on a short novel in King's collection, Full Dark,  No Stars; A Good Marriage is one of my favorites.  Probably because it discusses something truly horrifying!  What if you discovered someone you love is actually a serial killer?

A Good Marriage stars Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang, and House of Cards actress Kristen Connolly.  Most important, the screenplay was written by none other than Stephen King.

King explained why he wanted to writ the script: “I’ve seen enough movies adapted from my work to know that the things that work the best are the things that aren’t too long and aren’t too short."

Revealing he was  never on set (so don't expect a cameo), King promised not to take the story in the "wrong direction." King said the script was about the length  of Shawshank Redemption.  Actually,  the  novel moved pretty quickly until the end, when the detective tried  to figure out what really happened.

This is from my book, "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters":
Another tough woman appears in the short story, A Good Marriage, in which Darcy Anderson lays a clever trap of her own to knock off her serial killer husband. How does she kill a man who has made a habit of killing  women? And how does she accomplish it without getting caught herself? It is interesting to watch the change in Darcy. She goes from being a “normal” 1950s-ish housewife, to a woman ready to send her beloved husband to the pit.
Even  better, King notes that he likes it because the story is from a woman's point of view.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stephen King Goes To HOLLYWOOD

This article was originally published 8/6/2012 at Talk Stephen King.

I love books about Stephen King!  Of course, not all books about King are equal.  There are some stinkers in the mix, but most are a joy.  My favorite book about King's movie's is Jones' "Creepshows."

Some of my favorites are old stuff.  Among those, Stephen King goes to HOLLYWOOD is great!  With a copyright date of 1987, it covers King movies from Carrie to Stand by Me.  The book has a lot of photo’s, both color and black and white.  It is written with attention to detail a journalist would be proud of, while maintaining the energy of a fan.

Written by Jeff Conner, this is the kind of book that is just fun to thumb through.  There are articles on each movie (up to 1987), and sprinkled throughout are boxes with little facts and quotes.  For a small book, it’s actually pretty meaty.

Highlights From The Interview

image credit: HERE

Stephen King goes to Hollywood begins with an interview with Stephen King. The focus of their talk is primarily Maximum Overdrive, which King directed.  King, always humble and fun at the same time, begins by discussing his weaknesses as a director.

What’s neat about this is that it is not King reflecting on the film years later – he is discussing it right on the heels of its completion.  In the interview, King is still in love with his movie.  Kinda refreshing!  You can sense his hope and energy and passion for this film, even though he would later be good humored about it’s failings.

Asked what effect he was aiming for in Maximum Overdrive, King says, “I wanted it to move fast.  It’s a wonderful moron picture, in that sense.  It’s a really illiterate picture in a lot of ways.  There isn’t a lot of dialogue in it.  It’s fast.  A lot of things explode.”

When he was asked If he paid attention to character relations in the story, King said,
I’m interested in my people.  One of the few really sensible things that anybody said at the story conference that we had at MGM in L.A. – those people, what an alien mentality! – But somebody did say that if the characters don’t stand out and this is just a movie about machines, it’ll be a bad picture.  Their solution was to suggest that a lot of dialogue and scenes between the major characters be added fr character and texture.  I was always calling them the jumbo “John!  Oh Martha!” scenes, because they’re like soap operas.  We shot ‘em.  We just cut ‘em all out in the editing room, every single one.”
King indicates that he prefer’s Hitchcock, because the characters that are most interesting in his pictures are the ones in the supporting roles.

King also reveals what he thinks is the scariest moment in one of his films. . . he says it is when the hand comes from the grave in Carrie.  Asked if he had any idea it was going to happen, he says yes, but it still scared him.  He says his first screening of Carrie was in Boston, and that the theater was entirely full of black people.  King began to wonder how the audience was going to react to little Carrie withher “menstrual problems”!

And that’s the way it started, and then, little by little, they got on her side, you know, and when she started doing her shtick, I mean, they’re going, “Tear it up!”  “Go for it!” and all this other stuff.  These two guys were talking behind us, and we were listening to them, and at the end they’re putting on their coats and getting ready to leave.  Suddenly this hand comes up, and these two big guys screamed along with everyone else, and one of them goes, “That’s it!  That’s it!  She ain’t never gonna be right!”  And I new it was going to be a hit.


I don’t think I’ve ever noted picture captions. . . but the book is full of not only great pictures, but all out funny captions.

Here’s a few favorites:
  • Picture: Knife wielding Piper Laurie: “Shades of Norman Bates and Lizzie Borden: piper Laurie cuts a fine figure as Carrie’s mommie dearest.”
  • Picture of destruction at the prom: “Curfew time is no problem at the prom as Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to wish everyone a safe drive home.”
  • Picture: Barlow choking Mark, “Free dental floss or the kid gets it!  Reggie Naldr does his Nosferatu imitation as Barlow in Salem’s Lot.”
  • Picture: Cujo licking the bloody window of the car: “Cujo washes Wallace’s windows with his tongue, but she’s not appreciative in the least.”
  • Picture of Nielsen holding a pistol: “The time for marriage counseling has passed as Nielsen plots revenge on his unfaithful wife.”
  • Picture of corpses: “The corpses come home to roost when Dansen and Gaylen Ross return from a quick dip in the ocean.”
  • Picture of Neilsen talking to Ted Danson, who is buried in sand:  “Leslie Nielsen discusses his favorite band, The Talking Heads, with sandman Ted Danson.”
  • Picture of an axe cutting through the door as Wendy screams he brains out:  “Axe and ye shall receive: Wendy should have remembered to put out the ‘No Peddlers’ sign.”
  • Picture of fire raging in a bedroom: “Johnny accurately predicts that he should have worn flame-retardant pajamas to bed.”
  • Picture of teens destroying Christine: “Hell hath no Fury like Christine scorned.  Arnie’s pals will soon receive a nasty lesson in body work.”
  • Picture of corn stalks coming from car: “Not event he auto club can lend a hand when the Children of the Corn stalk their victims cars.”
  • Picture of Charlie setting fire to good: “Young Charlie shows her budget-minded parents how to avoid the expense of a new microwave.”
  • Picture of Drew Barrymore listening to George C. Scott: “Drew Barrymore listens attentively but still has trouble figuring out how Scott ever managed to win an Oscar.”

Boxes Of  Quotes!

The book is filled with little boxes that make it fun to dig through.  Here are some of my favorite box notes:

– Speaking of The Shining with Christopher Evans
“Somebody said, ‘What do you think Kubrick wants from THE SHINING?’  And I said, ‘I think he wants to hurt people.’”
–Speaking of The Shing with Bhob Stewart
“The idea for the hedge maze is Kubrick’sand not mine.  I had considered it, but then I realized it hadbeen done inthe movie THEMAZE (1953, directed in 3D by William Cameron Menzie the same year he did INVADERS FROM MARS] with Richard Carlson, and I rejected the maze idea for that reason.  I have no knowledge as to whether or not Kubrick has ever seen that movie or if it happens to be coincidence.”
 –Speaking of The Shining at Bellerica Library.
“When Stanley Kubrick was gonna do THE SHINING, we were living in a little town in western Maine, and I was up one morning shaving my face and my wife came in.  The phone had rung and she said, ‘It’s for ou.’  And I said, ‘Well, who is it?’ She said, ‘Stanley Kubrick from London.’  I had shaving cream over half my face and I just sort of picked up the phone and said, ‘Stanley, how are you!’  He wanted to talk about ghosts, and wasn’t the horror story or the story of ghosts always fundamentally optimistic because it suggested that we went on afterward?  And I said, ‘Well it is, Stanley, but what if a person died insande and came back?’  There was a long silence.  And I also said, ‘What about hell?  What if there really is hell?’ And Stanley said, ‘I don’t believe in that.’  So I said, ‘Well good, cool, do what you want.’”
– speaking of Stand By Me at Bellerica Library.
“One day at their summer camp, or whatever it was, a story circulated that a dog had been hit by a train and the dead body was on the tracks.  These guys are saying, ‘And you should see it man, it’s all swelled up and its guts are fallingo ut and it’s real dead.  I mean it’s just as dead as you ever dreamed o anyting being dead.’  Andyou could see it yourself, just walk down these tracks and take a look at it, which they did.   George said, ‘Someday I’d like to write a story about that,’ but he never did.  He’s running a restaurant now, a great restaurant.”
 –Speaking of Children of the Corn with Tim Hewitt
“And then, the second, very moral question is: do you have any right, just because you’re a big shot, to steal screen credit from somebody who’s an unknown.  What if it’s a great film?  So, I thought about that one very very hard for about three days, then Id ecided that essentially I couldn’t trust new World Pictures.  I sent a telegram to the screenwriters guild and said that I didn’t want to respond to Clayton’s petition to have sole screen credit on the picture, so he was granted sole screen credit.  I’m delight that he was on both counts.  Number one, the picture was a dog: it was a shuck-and-jive situation.  What they had sent me and represented as the final screenplay had nothing in common at all with what finally mad it to the screen.  It was basically, I think, and effort into accepting a screen credit that didn’t belong to me.”
–Speaking of Creepshow with Edwin Pouncey
“The comic, that was my idea.  They wanted a novelization, they wanted to farm it out, and I told them I’ve never allowed anything to be novelized and I said that if we’re going to do this then let’s do it in the spirit of the movie itself, which is of the EC comics, the horror pups, let’s go ahead and do a comic book. 
So we hired a guy called Berni Wrightson to do the panels and I just did the continuity.  It was kinda fun.”
About The Shining's Alternate Ending, discussed in Stephen king Goes To Hollywood, see my article HERE.

Listed under Coming Attractions:
The Running Man, Creepshow II, Pet Sematary, The Stand, The Talisman, Graveyard Shift, Return to Salem’s Lot, Apt Pupil, The Cat From Hell, IT, The Mist, Sorry, Right number.

You can buy Stephen King Goes To HOLLYWOOD at