Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING

The Shining, 1980
Funny factual error: There is no way that the huge pile of the Torrance's luggage (as seen when they first arrive at the Overlook) would fit in a VW Bug. (From imdb)
Deleted Scene: Roger Ebert reports, Near the end of the film, on a frigid night, Jack chases Danny into the labyrinth on the hotel grounds. His son escapes, and Jack, already wounded by a baseball bat, staggers, falls and is seen the next day, dead, his face frozen into a ghastly grin. He is looking up at us from under lowered brows, in an angle Kubrick uses again and again in his work. Here is the deletion, reported by the critic Tim Dirks: "A two-minute explanatory epilogue was cut shortly after the film's premiere. It was a hospital scene with Wendy talking to the hotel manager; she is told that searchers were unable to locate her husband's body.
Personal Notes:
Watching Kubrick's The Shining tonight (uh. . . after church) -- and I find myself surprised at how much I like this. I've seen it several times, but usually find myself disappointed it's not more like the book. ut tonight I find myself noticing things that are really spooky -- thng's I've missed in previous viewings.
Why is Jack crazy?
The slow breakdown of the family is lost, since Nicholson begins the story pretty insane. But, then, Shelly Duvall spends most of the movie whining at a very high pitch. I think she's the one who's pretty insane -- or perhaps the cause of Jack's insanity. Find myself thinking: Could this lady seem a little more out of control? A little more needy? Could she possibly lose it just one more time?
Shelly with the basebal bat is pretty scary. She is backing away from jack -- UP a stair case -- lamely batting at him to keep him away. This can only end well, right?
Watching Shelly act crazy in every scene makes me think that maybe none of this is going on in Jack's head. . . maybe she's the one hallucinating.
Novel verses Movie -- A Hopeless Comparrison:
What's frustrating is how illogical some of this is. Since Kubrick doesn't believe in ghosts, it's all happening in Jack's head. But the ghosts know things Jack doesn't seem to know. . . so is the place haunted, or is Jack just crazy? If Jack is just crazy, how does he know Danny is using his ability to contact the outside? And if the ghosts are in Jack's head, why does Wendy see them? And Danny?
Let's say up front, this movie bears very little resemblance to the Novel. The novel IS logical, since it is very upfront atht this is not just about Jack going crazy -- the Overlook is actually haunted. Ah-ha! With that premise, everything works!
Creepshows author Stephen Jones explains why the novel and movie are so different: "Kubrick and Johnson attempted to craft a script that would avoid any comparison with the then-current glut of supernatural films flooding the boxoffice. 'The problem was to extract the essential plot and to re-invent the sections of the story that were weak,' Kubric told Ciment. The director believed that the virtues of the book lay 'almost entirely in the plot' and the two collaborators made a list o the scenes they thought should be included, which they shuffled around until Kubrick approved of the order." --Creepshows, p.19-20
Those who truly love the novel are doomed to be disappointed. Note the emotion the novel stirs in fans like Kev Quigley at charnelhouse have to say about the novel: "Many of King's later novels -- IT, Misery, Pet Sematary, Dolores Claiborne, and The Dark Tower series as a whole in particular -- have been significant achievements in both King's oevre and in the modern literary world collectively, but The Shining is where King reached his pinnacle of terror. Not even the dark Pet Sematary could match the sheer force of the horrors, both real and spiritual, of King's masterpeice The Shining. If you've never tried King before, and want to know if all the hype is true, start here. You won't be disappointed."
Now. . . with passion like that (and he's right) there is no way a movie can produce that kind of emotion.
What I like:

  • The camera sweeping over the trees as the car works through the mountain. Massive landscape, spooky music.
  • The music is definately unnerving.
  • Scatman Crothers as Dick Hollorann. (He won a best supporting actor for this role). Of course, Roger Ebert revealed that Kubrick had Crothers repeat one scene 160 times.
  • Danny riding his Big Wheel through the hotel -- the sound effect o sielnce as he goes over carpet, then the grinding over wood then silence again. Kinda cool.
  • The hedge maze is cool. Esp. that Jack can see Danny and Wendy in the maze! Perhas Danny isn't the only one who "Shines"
  • The hollow sound as jack plays handball in an empty hotel lobby.
  • The two ghost girls inviting Danny to play with them "for ever and ever and ever" while quick shots of their bloody dead bodies flash. Truly scary.
  • Jack saying to Danny, "I wish we could stay here forever and ever and ever."
  • Jack telling Wendy taht he dreamed he killed Wendy and Danny and cut them into little pieces.
  • Jacks entry into room 237 is tense. (But it's supposed to be room 217) The sound of a beating heart is pretty scary. Then as he sees the woman, old and dead and rotted. . . that steady heartbeat just doesn't let up. Pretty good! (Not as good as King wrote it, but I'm trying to stay off that horse)
  • "I'm not gonna hurt you, I'm just gonna bash your brains in." -- Jack.
  • Funny: I really like Danny walking through his mothers room in a transe croaking: "Redrum." A kid with a knife is definately scary.
  • Jack with an axe. "Wendy, I home!" As in Ricky Ricardo saying, "Lucy, I'm home." And then, "Here's Johnny!" Nice! Of course, you have to remember Johnny Carson to really get it.
  • The tongues like chanting as Wendy goes up the steps and sees people in the hotel is freaky.

What's Not Scary

One final thought. Though I like this movie a lot, it fails to produce any real deep fear. It is unnerving on some psycological level -- Kubrick is a master at getting you off balance -- but it's not scary.

In a good horror film, forces are at work that could threaten any of us. But in the Shining, ultimately it's not about a haunted hotel that any of us might visit -- it's just about Jack's craziness. So it turns into little more than a new version of the cut-em-up and chase film. But Danny is not threatened by ghosts or any evil deeper than that which is rooted in Jack himself.

Oh yeah. . . nice of them to keep the lights on in the hedge maze all winter, just in case someone wants to take a stroll through a snow filled hedge maze!

Shrot Stories

I enjoy short stories the way I enjoy the Twilight Zone -- I look forward to the end and the final twist. But a novel allows you to enjoy each turn, the stories within the stories. It's like LOST verses the Twilight Zone.

One reason The Stand is such an engaging novel is that it is long and takes the time to build characters. King's novels are usually a series of short stories pressed together into a larger plot. Ray Bradbury literally wrote the Martian Chronicles as a series of shrot stories.

I do wish the Tommyknockers were a novella instead of a novel.

Here is a quick list of my favorite King short stories:
1. The Mist.
2. Riding The Bullet
3. Autopsy Room Four
4. Dolan's Cadillac.
5. Suffer the Children
6. The Ledge
7. Survivor Type
8. The Girl who loved Tom Gordon.
9. The man in the black suit
10. Willa

Okay, so the Mist is techincally a novella, but it's in a book of short stories!

The Cannibals Part 2 -- Self Punishment?

The moderator at said: "Steve gave me the okay to scan another 60 pages which I will do and have posted by the end of the week but he also said not to expect any more until at least next year --or possibly not at all."
At 60 pages a time, I find myself asking: "Why do I read this? I know up front that there is no conclusion to this novel. I have good books on my shelf I haven't read. Gosh, I could give the Talisman another try. . . but no, I have to read this unfinished stuff. Why?"
I don't know why, except that I"m really anxious to read Under The Dome. And actually, I was drawn in to the characters in The Cannibals.
I printed the first 60 pages thinking: There's no way I'll read all this. But I blew through it in an hour and loved it. Loved all of it.
It's interesting to read people on the message board hoping someone will get eaten in the next 60 pages. My hearts with you, but. . . Come on -- This is Stephen King! He's going to take his time setting up the situation and introducing characters before forks and knives come out. But we'll see.

My review of the first 60 pages is here:
I really, really like the look of the old, scanned pages.

The World Of Stephen King: Lilja's Library

I listed one reason I'm looking forward to fall is the publication of Hans-Ake Lilja's book -- Lilja's Library. I think I enjoy reading ABOUT Stephen King as much as I enjoy reading King! Guys like Lilja and Bev Vincent seem to have great insights that slip right by me.
Notice the diveristy of work covered here. The book does not just examine the novels, but several audio editions, comic books, movies and much more. It is literallyt he WORLD of Stepehn King. Ths includes stuff that has not been discussed much elsewehere -- like Carrie the remake as well as the remake of 'Salems Lot. (Which I really liked. . . we'll see what Lilja says).
It looks like good stuff because it covers new ground -- like the Dead Zone TV series. So often books about King simply tread over the same novels, but miss things on the edges that are realy interesting. Like Audio books!
Peter Straub said, "Lilja's Library: The World of Stephen King is like beautifully prepared and presented red meat to any admirer of Stephen King. Mr. Lilja has tracked down his many quarries and used them to create this massive treatment of King's work and his world. His book is pure testimony to the love Stephen King is capable of arousing in his readers."
The book includes an introduction by Bev Vincent, and interviews with Stephen King; Stephen Spignesi, who has written several books on King; Peter Straub, an author and friend of King's who co-wrote the Talisman novels; Michael Collings, an author who has written books about King; Michael Whelan, the artist who did the artwork for the first and last Dark Tower books; Frank Darabont, director of several Stephen King movies, most recently The Mist.

Under The Dome Cover part 3

Wow, I think this looks great!

Children Of The Corn -- A Very Short Review

Just finished watching Children of the Corn, 2009. Mama said "if you can't say somethin' nice. . ." so I won't say much here.

A few notes, though:
1. Who gave the six year old the big Amish hat?
2. Who runs the radio station that broadcast the six year old?
3. These are not only the freakiest kids I've ever seen. . . they're also the smartist! (Except the teens who feel it is Gods will to follow the six year old. Time for some teenage rebellion!)
4. Who's tall enough to stick all the adults atop the corn stalks?
5. Why is it so bright inside the cornfield at night?
6. Why didn't Bert hear his wife screaming? And honking the horn?

My wife said, "That's it? It feels unfinished."
I said, "Oh no! No, don't say that! It might spawn six or seven sequals!"

7. Seriously, all the kids watch "the night of fertilization."

. . . okay, now I'll be quiet.

Oh Wait! Just one more thing: This story reminds me of the Star Trek episode, Miri. Where a plague has kills the children after they reach a certain age.

okay, I'm done.

Children of the Corn -- Again

I numbly watched Children of the Corn this Summer -- once my children were in bed. It was pretty bad. The short story was acceptable, a good read; but honestly, not much more!
Donald Borhers said, "I think we stepped up to the line, measured the distance to the dartboard and struck the bullseye." Now I should hope so, because Borchers is not only the producer of the remake, he's also the director and the co-writer!
Children of the Corn was originally published in Penthouse, 1977. It was published in Night Shift in 1978. But that was just the beginning. The movies would spawn a slew of sequels in the 90's and on into the next century. 1993 promised us "The Final Sacrifice" -- but this is the series that won't die! Please, please, please KILL IT! The Children of the Corn series is like Pet Semetery, each resurrection results in something worse.

  • Children of the Corn, 1984

  • Children of the Corn 2, The Final Sarifice, 1993

  • Children of the Corn 3, Urban Harvest, 1995

  • Children of the Corn 4, The Gathering, 1996

  • Children of the Corn 5, Fields of Terror, 1998

  • Children of the Corn 666, Isaac's Return, 1999

  • Children of the Corn Revelation, 2001

  • Children of the Corn 2009.

This reminds me a little of Star Trek. When out of new ideas of sequals, just start over! (Please, please, no one suggest this to Lucas) I'll watch with interet and low expectations.

"Children of the Corn" premieres Saturday, Sept. 26, at 8 p.m. on Syfy. A DVD with the unrated director's cut will be released Oct. 6.

Three Great Reasons For Fall To Begin

1. Of course, Under The Dome comes out this fall.
King has promised a real treat to readers with a long novel mirroring themes from The Stand. His recent publication of the first pages of The Cannibals has only served to get me more excited about Under The Dome. This, hopefully, will prove to be vintage King. You know, the guy who gave us The Stand The Shining, IT. . .
2. Liljas Library

has a book coming out. Published by Cemetary Dance, this book should be very interesting. Hans-Ake Lilja probably has the best fan site there is. He has features on most of the books, including books about King, and an up to date front page that runs Stephen King news. He's also good at citing sources -- which is appreciated.


3. Bev Vincent's Stephen King Companion
also comes out this fall. I really don't now what to expect of this -- except he has promised it would be "different" from the others.
So here's some of the things that we do know will be included:
  • First draft typescript pages with handwritten notes, including pages from The Gunslinger, The Stand, Pet Sematary and The Dead Zone
  • Several handwritten first draft manuscript pages from Cujo
  • A reproduction of a handwritten ledger containing a section of an unpublished work
  • A familiar scene from Needful Things
  • A scene from another (1990s) novel that is completely different from the published version
  • A reproduction of the January 29, 1966 issue of the Lisbon Drum containing the ultra-rare juvenile short story “43rd Dream” (Lilja's Library says 1 exists.)
  • A three-panel cartoon drawn by King.
  • A reproduction of several pages from Comics Review featuring part of "I Was a Teen-age Grave Robber," King's first story publication. The story was serialized over several issues of the fanzine in 1965.
  • Final galley page from The Stand containing the Author's Note, with King's handwritten changes and additions.
  • Manuscript pages for the scene where Larry Underwood and Rita escape from New York via the Lincoln Tunnel. King has identified this as his favorite scene in the book.
Table of contents for Vincent's Companion:
Introduction: Mr. Horror USA
Chapter 1: The Early Years
Chapter 2: Room 217—The Shining
Chapter 3: The Walkin’ Dude—The Stand
Chapter 4: Welcome to Castle Rock—The Dead Zone
Chapter 5: Sometimes Dead Is Better—Pet Sematary
Chapter 6: Pennywise Lives—It
Chapter 7: Number One Fan—Misery
Chapter 8: The Night Journey—The Green Mile
Chapter 9: Things That Go Bump—Bag of Bones
Chapter 10: The Accident
Chapter 11: More Worlds Than These—The Dark Tower series
Chapter 12: The Thing with the Endless Piebald Side—Lisey’s Story

What Would Van Gogh Say?

I saw this first at
108. Stephen KING (American, b. 1947) Self-portrait. ink on verso of "Books & Co."
bookmark8 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches (227 x 80 mm)signed
The undisputed master of the horror story, King has won eight Bram Stoker awards and was honored with an O. Henry Award in 1996 for his New Yorker story, The Man in the Black Suit. In 2003, King received a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation."
At a publisher's party in Los Angeles during a book fair, someone spotted King in the crowd. He dared me to go over and get his S-P - 'You get Dante and Shakespeare and Muhammed Ali to do them for you, why don't you ask somebody really famous?' So I did, and this was the result. He was a really nice guy, and a Red Sox fan, to boot". -- Burt Britton
est. $2000 – $3000
Now what caught my eye was the the estimated value. Estimated value: 2-3 thousand. Huh? Is he a writer or an artist? (Yes, I do understand that writing is a form of art). But, it begs the question, doesn't it? -- Does King's scribbling really warrent $2-3k? Really? Seriously? Does fame on its own allow for anything the person touches to thus be of greater value?
What would Van Gough say?

Under The Dome Cover, Part 1

This is the first section of the jacket for Under The Dome. Only Stephen King could hold people's interest by releasing one section of his next books jacket at a time.

Aren't we all gald they didn't do this with Just After Sunset?! Or Insominia? Or Tommyknockers? Or the darkhalf.

The Cannibals -- An Incomplete Review

Well, of course any review will be incomplete -- King didn't finish the book! And, what he released was only 61 pages.

A few quick notes.

A big thanks to Stpehen King for releasing this. He stated that he did it for two reasons:

First to wet out appitites for his upcoming novel Under The Dome. That he has successfully done!

Second, he said that he wants to show fans that he was not stealing any ideas from the Simpsons. In fact, he said he's not seen the Simpsons movie. Sigh. Is King losing touch with culture? Of course, the real question on this is: Why did King have to read from fans that the root idea of his plot sounds something like the Simpson movie? Shouldn't someone at Simon and Schuster have caught that one?

I really enjoyed the download a lot. The pages are marked with corrections throughout and look well aged. Not like this came off the press of a slick publisher -- more like King himself pressed this into your hand after a short meeting. "Hey, take a look at this and tell me what you think," he says. Okay, that's not what happened... but that's how the 61 pages will make you feel -- a little closer to the artist.

The date:

King wrote Cannibals in about 1981 ? while filming Creepshow. The manuscript was a quick flashback to the early eighties. That feeling of, "I remember this world!" washed over me at once. A few 80's hallmarks:
1. Cassette tape-players
2. X rated movie theaters (drive in's, no less)
3. Video game arcades
4. Roller rinks
5. Living in the aftermath of Vietnam
6. "the wake of the turbulent sixties" p.5
7. Resisting the draft
8. Listening to Bob Dylan Records
9. Anticipating a "decade of self." p.6 (Try three decades of self!)

About the story:

The story is about an apartment complex that gets cut off from the world. All the details are not evident from the portion King has given us. How do they get power? Do they have water? Elevators work. But no one can get out a door. As if a force on the otherside, as solid as a brick wall, were present.

The apartment building:

1. It's not a close net community. It's people living separate lives. People who don't really know one another.
2. It's next to a mall, but still near the woods.
3. You can work, shop and sleep without ever going too far outside.
4. The apartment is not a slum.
5. The apartments are visited by the "Full Moon Scribe" (a tagger).
6. The apartments have a serious security system; both for inner doors and mail.
7. There is no locks on the outer doors.

Characters (and religious oddities):

Main character is Tommy Hill the news man. A kind-of "everyman." There's the apartment manager, the kid Tommy runs into, and the religious lady, Jo.

Now Jo Page is only introduced once the problem is well underway. The reader is really interested in what is going on, and King decides to introduce someone new! (He also gave a couple of pages worth of flashback at a similiar moment). But the new lady, Jo, is worth looking at.

She is a very religious woman. She reads the Bible and begins to fixate upon Christ death and his words on the cross "why have you forsaken me?" This throws her into something of a trance.

As she ponders Jesus' words, King writes, "It came to her suddenly that perhaps that had been the moment of transfer. . . the moment when Christ had taken it all upon himself, every sin committed by mankind on the face of the earth since the apple. All that dirt and blood at once, suddenly taken from the world and filling Hm like a black poison." p.51

Pretty sound theology.

Jo falls into a trance, fixated on the death of Christ. And then King goes to some lengths to explain how she isn't a zealot. "Her religion was a private matter; she fored it on no one and was revolted by those who did. In some of these she recognized an innocent joy which she could at least sympathize with if she could not respet. In most she saw only a kind o filthy sel-aggrandizement, the final mirror-trick by which the Prince of the World tried to turn God himself into an illusion. Bucause the Bible demanded that the followers o Christ should witness, she did so -- wasn't that why she was in the jam she was in at work? -- but she did so only when asked, or when circumstances demanded it." p.53

Okay, here's the thing: Religious people who read the Bible and fall into trances are not the normal type. Trances are usually left to the holy rollers who do it in public, or those who are a little off -- let's say, Carrie's mom. I"m sure some religous people fall into a trance -- but it's not the norm by any stretch of the imagination.

I think that what King is trying to do is create a likeable -- but serious -- religious character. One with sound theology, but who isn't pushy, judgmental and a Jerk for Jesus. It does beg the question: Does Mr. King think that religious people get up and meditate on the crucifixion until they slip into a dreamy daze of worship? Not most. Some. . .

So is Jo one of our Cannibals? That would be interesting.

The Terror:

The mystery revovles mostly around doors not opening. I'm sure this is explained much uller in the rest of the text. I only caught one reference to what was happening outside. "Daylight was starting to come out there, but Pulaski could not remember ever having seen a daylight quite like this one -- thin, watery, almost wavery. For a moment he was struk by unreality, by a sence that somehow his eyes were deceiving him. . ." p.42 Then we drop into a flashback.

King cut off on a pretty good line: "for the first time he felt something pierce his confusion and harried annoyance at being late. He found nothing welcome about the new emotion. It was fear." p.61 hehe -- that's good!

What's brutal is what a good read this is. There's a lot o energy to it. Just straight story! King explains the apartment, moves to his chracter, speeds through a normal morning, and then slams the whole story into a great problem. No one can get out. I assume by the title that they won't be going to Vons anytime soon. Who gets eaten? Who does the eating? Gosh, my appitite is indeed wetted, Mr. King!

Similarities to Under The Dome

I haven't read Under The Dome, but from the reviews the only thing the two have in common is the idea of a force field locking a group of people in.

This story had a lot of energy taking off. I can see why King got a good 500 pages out of it. I throughly enjoyed it all.

IT - Some More Thoughts

The Mini-Series:
I think IT is a strong mini-series that pretty faithfully represents the plot and mood of the book. Like King's novel, the adaptation is uneven. I enjoyed the sections dealing with the kids, but the adults aren't as fun.
Now here's what's funny to me: If you listen to the commentary on IT, the adult actors keep saying things like, "The kid who played me really did a good job. I can't remember his name. . ." As if the kids really had the lesser role. They may not have been famous actors, but they carried the stars in this one. It's the kids who make the movie work.
The mini-series is broken into clear segments, each one dealing with a member of the loosers club. This makes the plot easy to follow -- easier than the book, I would submit. While IT is a fun read, it really requires a quick read. Also, the interludes and other breaks (I just read a section of 3 pages with no paragraphs) make it difficult. It's best to jut plow through two or three chapters a night.
What I liked about the mini-series:
  • Picture of childhood in the fifties.

  • Georgie's attack. The sailboat, and kid in yellow slicker.

  • The scrapbook opening and Pennywise taking us on a tour of Derry's ugly history.

  • Like the devil, Pennywise seeks to use humans.

What didn't work:

  • The werewolf. But I've already mentioned that.

  • The pipes chasing the kid to the middle of the locker room shower.

What makes the story so compelling?

Two things: The characters and the monster.

First, the characters are strong. They deal with things we all remember. Abuse, bullying, fears, asthma, parents and so on. As a reader, I identify with a lot of that. If I didn't suffer abuse as a kid, I sure had friends who did. As adults it is these childhood terrors that propel them to success.

Second, the monster makes this book strong. King isn't afraid to let the story take us to some pretty scary stuff. It's not just a monster saying "boo" -- this is a monster who actually eats kids! I weary of stories where the monster turns out to be in the characters imagination or a product of their fears. . . oh, Pennywise is very real!

One blogger wrote, "The book is sweeping in its scope. Terrifying in its particulars. I actually read the main showdown in the sewer canals with a hand over my eyes, trying to block the pictures King was putting in my head. And I still can't block it."

IT is freaking me out

In High School I read IT, cover to cover -- I thought! Truth is, I think I read about half of IT and then trusted the mini-series to fill in the blanks. Realizing this, I returned to the book with interest.
Some have hinted that IT might be made into a feature length movie. I actually like the mini-series, campy special effects and all. (The warewolf was petty bad!) But as I read about the new movie, several viewers commented on the creepy sex scenes. Huh? A quick read over the second half. . . OH! That's what they're talking about!
So what is so creepy about the sex in IT? The book transitions throughout between the Loosers Club as children -- who first confront and wound IT -- and the same group as adults. The only female member of the Losers club is Bev; a young lady with a knack for abusive relationships because they mirror her father's abuse. At the end of the novel, though hinted at throughout the second half, Bev sleeps with all the members of the Loosers Club. In a sewer. One after another. Oh, wait. . . and this is not a scene about the adult Loosers Club -- these are the children.
As an adult Bev sleeps with Ben and Bill. And she remembers the event as a child. A memory she apparently suppressed. It was that act that deeply bonded the losers club together. It is the idea that they all lost their verginity at once -- together -- after fighting the monster that haunted their childhood.
This definately serves to weaken the novel. I find myself realizing how good a job the mini-series did in retelling the story, and not even hinting at this. Again, it's not a brief mention in the book, it's a sub-theme.
King once said that IT is everythng he knows about children. I have to say that there's a few things he must not know! Strange thing, I find this more discomforting than Gerald's Game, which is about a naked woman chained to a bed. But. . . Jessie is a grown naked woman.
Check out Beverly's Song on Yout Tube:

King Speaks On The Cannibals

Stephen King & Robert Louis Stevenson
In Danse Macabre, Stephen King notes that Robert Lous Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at a break neck pace -- completing the novel in just three days. However, the book so upset his wife that he burned it in his fireplace! Then, regretting his repentance he wrote it again, from scratch in another three days. (See Dance Macabre, p.60)
If that first draft of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde existed -- would we want to read it? You bet! We would probably find that the rewrite came out much stronger, but just the same, it would be interesting.
The Art Of Darkness
It seemed that the Cannibals was lost in Stephen King's fireplace. Only mentioned briefly by Douglas E. Winter in The Art o Darkness -- but for the most part, it was gone. Until King found it (or went looking for it) in his office. He has released the first 60 pages. A rather humble act for an accomplished author! To show his work, warts and all, is pretty bold.
Douglas Winter's book was so good that almost every other references just checked back to Winter. The Art of Darkness was a true gift to fans at the time and still. It has proved a lasting source of information. Something King himself admits having referenced recently! Anyway, Stephen King has recently given some more history on the connection between Under the Dome and The Cannibals.
King Says. . .
King says that he lost the first draft, but the other was written in Pittsburg. Interesting to me that this was during the filming of Creepshow, since you would think he would stop writing to make a movie. But then, if King stopped for each movie -- he would never write again!
"I spent two months in a depressing suburban apartment complex," King says, "that became (with the usual fictional tweaks) the setting for the story. It was called The Cannibals, and this time I got a lot further—almost five hundred pages—before hitting a wall. I assumed the manuscript was lost. Long story short, it turned up—battered, and with some pages missing, but mostly complete—in the summer of 2009."
John MacDonald Had An Interesting Take
At the beginning of Night Shift, John D. MacDonald said that what makes King a great writer is that King has written a "stupendous number of other stories and books and fragments and poems and essays and other unclassified things, most of them too wrtched to ever publish." (Night Shift, introduction).
King offers the work simply for amusement, suggesting it be an "appetier" to Under The Dome. For those who enjoy seeing a writers work before rewrites and editors, this should be a treat. MacDonald would remind us that it is this earlier work that made King's soon to be published work strong.
A Typewriter?!
"I’m amused by the antique quality of the typescript," King admits. "this may have been the last thing I did on my old IBM Selectric before moving on to a computer system." Seems like I remember him saying years ago that he didn't like computers because he felt like his words were under glass. Of course, the computer would go bye bye when he wrote Dreamcatcher by hand.

Under The Dome Links

Under The Dome website
I like the Chester Mill site. Gives the feeling the author intends for the book.

Under The Dome and The Cannibals

I'm reposting this because it's interesting to me -- and adding some new info.
Stephen King has stated this is upcoming novel Under The Dome is really his third attempt at this story. The previous titles were The Cannibals and Under The Dome. In the Art of Darkness, King states, "I worked on a book called The Cannibals–I had started it five years before, but it was called Under the Dome then. It didn't get finished either time."
So what can be known about this unfinished novel? According to Stephen Spingensi's The Lost Work Of Stephen King, The Cannibals is about 100,000 words hand written novel. Spingensi reports that it was written while King was on the set of Creepshow. Remember King in Creepshow? The picture above is King in character on the set of Creepshow. Somehow the idea that he was thinking about Cannibals at the time seems totally believable!
What is interesting about The Cannibals is that it was written in 1983. King was already a successful author. This is not just stuff from his highschool days that he dumped, it was the serious work of a published author.
King told douglas Winter in the Art of Darkness, "I've got about four hundred and fifty pages done and it is all about these people who are trapped in an apartment building. worst thing I could think of. And i thought, wouldn't it be funny if they ended up eating each other? It's very, very bizarre because it's all on one note. And who knows whether it will be published or not."
Without having read The Cannibals or Under The Dome, I can only mention on the surface a major difference appears to be that The Cannibals limited itself to an apartment building, while Under The Dome is set on the landscape of an entire town (Chester's Mill).
September 13, 2009 Update: Scribner has stated that an except of The Cannibals will be released on September 15th. It will be posted on Obviously I'm interested in the original story -- but of geater interest is always the finished work that has the authors approval.

Is Everyone A Writer?

Often the interesting thing abouta novel is the main characters occupation. In Grapes of Warth they were farmers. In a John Grisham novel, they are usually lawyers. I'm not sure how people got money in a Dicken's novel! Obviously Arthur Conan Doyle books are about a detective. Ken Follett books are a little bit of everything; priests, monks, peasants, pilots and so on.
But Stephen King often falls back on one occupation: The writer. Of late he has tried to ofer us the painter, or comic book writer (Cell and Duma Key). Here's a quick, off the top of my head list of King books with a writer at the center:

1. Salem's Lot.
2. The Shining
3. The Body
4. IT
5. Misery
6. The Tommyknockers
7. The Dark Half
8. Desperation
9. Bag of Bones
10. The Dark Tower.

Of course, King is the author found in the Dark Tower.
Notice that as King got more successful, for the most part, so did the writers in his books. Until they arrived at. . . King himself! (Surely unplanned) But in Salem's Lot, Ben is not exactly a big time bestseller. In The Shining, it's more Jack's hobby. Gordy is a writer in The Body, and in IT Bill is pretty successful. Then we come to a string of novels about authors: Misery, Tommyknockers and The Darkhalf -- but it's not until Desperation that we meet the crazy successful mega bestseller.
I find myself wondering if this is a strength or a weakness of King's. Does relate that he's out of touch with the guy who works at Taco Bell? Does anything scary every happen to plumbers? Electricians must get spooked every now and then, right? There was, once, allegedly, a teenage grave digger -- but I don't think copies of that exist.
Is it that King loves his work and wants to give the reader a peak inside --or could it be that a writer is a safe starting place for him.
A few notable exceptions: I don't remember a writer in The Stand. That's significant since the cast was so huge. I guess writers weren't immune to the super flu. Pet Sematary is about a doctor. That's interesting because it was such a personal novel for King. Also don't remember one in Needful Things. Again, interesting because it has a huge cast of characters. And, Castle Rock had put out it's fair shae of authors. The Green Mile is about prison guards, and Cell comes close to an author with the comic book thing.
I guess what I'm saying is that in some of my favorite novels, King passed up the temptation to use a writer as the main character.
Wealth also seems to be an issue. I can't think of many stories where the chracters are really poor. Money seems to be an issue King would rather not deal with -- so make the main character a successful writer! For one period as my wife and I read King books in audio form, we would look at each other with each book and say, "Another writer!"

The Stephen King Collection

One of my favorite purchaces this summer was the Stpehen King Collection. It is a set of four DVD's. For the price, this a great set. Two of the films are collectors editions, meaning that they have special stuff on the DVD.
Favorite Movie in the set: Pet Sematary. This ia great movie! Fantastically dark --it is an unapologitica horror film. Don't you hate to watch a horror film that feels like it really needs to be a morality tale, or give us something good. This is just a straight forward dark story.
The DVD includes a commentary by Mary Lambert, who would later direct Pet Sematary 2. Her commetnary is interesting and she remains enthusiastic about the project.
Also included are: "tephen King Territory" , "The Characters" and "Filming the Horror." These three are realy just one documentary, behind the scenes stuff, that have been broken up for easier access. (Or to make it look like there's ore special features)
Actually, I bought the entire set for this one movie. (It cost the same on Amazon at the time).
The Dead Zone is also a collectors edition. Special features include: Memories from the Dead Zone, The Look of the Dead Zone, Visions and HOrror from the Dead Zone, the Politics o the Dead Zone and the theatrical trailer.
Graveyard Shift is the clunker in the set. A real dud in my opinion. This movie, unlike the short story in Night Shift, is not at all scary. It does not have intereting characters. Come on, another story about a drifter -- one more David Banner. Most of all, the movie isn't intersting. Honestly, rats getting bigger and bigger fails to be interesting because size isn't what makes a rat scary. I know, the same idea was present in the original story, but it was scarier on paper. A thousand rats are scary -- one big rat, not so much.
Silver Bullet surprised me. I liked this movie a lot! It's not scary, but who can expect the adaptation of a calander to be scary? But it is good story telling. The chracters are interesting and I was surprised by how good the special effects were. At times the movie is touching, if not a little bit sappy.

Stephen King Graphic Novels

I must admit that I don't really "get it" when it comes to the Stephen King graphic novels. I have the Dark Tower set, but the list is getting pretty big. Talisman, The Stand, Dark Tower and on and on.
Of course, if I don't read the comics -- it leaves me not really knowing what's up with them. It appeared to me that much of the Dark Tower, so far, has been set in Rolands youth -- dealing with scenes illuded to in Wizard and Glass, but not played out. Do they follow the same storyline? I don't know. Are they the books simply transferred into a graphic formula. . . once again, my knowledge fails!
I want to enjoy the graphic novels, but I just can't get into them.
Best excuses:
1. My eye isn't sure where to fall on the page.
2. I don't know which bubble to read first. (Really. This feels like a math problem)
3. I feel kinda overwhelmed at the turning of each page.
4. Comic books are for kids, right? I keep wanting to call them Comic Books. My wife reminds me that they are Graphic novels, but I just can't get over the feeling that this is kids stuff. I do see a lot of references to them as "comic books." But if my wife says Graphic novel, and she's who cooks me dinner. . .
This might be a sign of age. I didn't watch cartoons as a kid, and didn't read comic books. So it's hard to get into.
I would ask, if anyone wants to answer:
  • Are these Graphic Novels worth it?
  • What's the appeal?
  • Do they follow the same storyline as the books? Are they simply the books in a new form?
  • Someone, sell me on this!


I think I like the overlook hotel being boardwalk most of all!

What makes you think I have any choice?

Stephen King was responded to the all too oten asked question -- why do you write what you write -- by saying, "What makes you think I have any choice?"
That resonated with me. Because as a conservative -- a pastor -- a sometimes republican -- I am often asked why I read what I read. Namely Stephen King, no one objects to my CHarles DIckens ollrection or O'Henry books. Just King. People will glance at the bookcase full of first edition King books and say, "So, uh. . . you like Stephen King?"
Why do I read King? The truth is, I don't know fully. I've liked King since I was a teen. Sometimes he disappoints -- sometimes (rarely) he doesn't deliver (try the end of the Dark Tower. I was duely warned, but still I was left saying: I read 7,000 pages I get here!). But still, I read on and on. My new response will be, "What makes you think I have any choce?"

The History Of SKIN

SKIN: Stephen King Information Network
The following is by Lori Zuccaro. I'm reprinting it from a 2 page typed document -- I found it very interesting.
They say that there's a time and place for everything. well, if that's true, it's obviously the time for Stephen King newsletter. The last King newsletter was publishedbetween 1985 and 1989. It was called Castle Rock. In one of the last issues of this newletter, Ray Rexer wrote a poem titled, "I don't care what people say, Castle Rock is here to stay." It has been said many times that SKIN is the next Castle Rock. Maybe it is. . . I don't know, but what I do know is that it's an honest attempt to simply combine the knowledge of many people who admire and study King's works and share them with others.
I don't like people to call it a "Fan Club" or a "Fanzine" beause I think there's much more to King than stardom. In fact, his stardom is the least interesting to me personally. What I like about King is his love of writing and his honest attempt (and success) of putting thoughts onto paper and making them come alive. It's his literary abilities that I try to incoperate in SKIN and try to avoid being too fanish. OF course, you can't avoid all of this, and not all of that is necessarily bad. It's okay for us to idolize someone who is extremely talented. But it's not okay to distort the true talent someone has and create a Hollywood image of them. Anyway, let's move on to the heart of what SKIN is and where it's come from.
SKIN (Stephen King Information Network) began in April, 1994 on a computer online system called America online. One night I sat down and typed a message on one of the bulletin boards dedicated to King. I wrote and asked people who wanted to participate to email me any news or comments they have regarding King. I then promised to summerize the responses on a monthly basis.
That was the beginning of what I didn't know at the time, a Stephen King newsletter. I had many many responses. People wrote and asked me questions and asked to be included on my mailing list. I got so much mail that I decided the best way to summerize this news would be in a newsletter format. So I did it. I sent the first issue in May and had loads of wonderful letters asking for more SKIN. Once July came around, I had people asking for subscriptions to the newsletter, especially those who didn't have access to America Online. Things moved very quickly. . . and still are I might add! I established a subscription fee that would simply cover the cost of producing the newsletter, mailing it, etc. During the following month I also made business cards, letterheads, registered the name of the newsletter, consulted the copywright office, etc. I guess you could say things were pretty official and busy once July started.
I had the fortune of meeting many wonderful people who helped me more than I can say. This newsletter would not exist if weren't for the many devoted members and friends of SKIN. One of my first members, Charlie Fried has become an indisposable friend and contributor. He's helped me decide on subscription fees, how distribute SKIN, contributes monthly articles, plus hundres of other things.
In September, Louise Dragon created the logo of SKIN. It made its appearance in the October issue and is now a sort of trademark you could say. Then I began to have the pleasure of corrospondance of Steve Spignesi, George Behm, Michael Collings, Dave Hinchberger, Stu Tinker and too many other to mention. My point is that I didn't create SKIN by myself. It was created by many people who wrote to me often with ideas, news, comments, etc., and contributed time and love to the newsletter. SKIN has become more than an internet of people who enjoy King and his works. It has become an internet of friends which will last a lifetime. I have had many compliments on the newsletter and hope that all will continue to enjoy it as much as I enjoy producing it.

Stephen King From A to Z article: (this is a good book)

The overlook says: "From 1994 to 1995, SKIN (Stephen King Information Network) produced eighteen newsletters. SKIN began as a newsletter on the internet, but soon discovered that people with no access to computers, also wanted to receive current King information. With news, illustrations, and articles by authors Stephen Spignesi, George Beahm and others. Each newsletter is stamped Certified Skin Original' as issued.'"