Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LINK: The Dark King

The Dark King is a website that asks us to "Rate the best Stephen King film adaptation!" It is an interactive website with reviews, ratings and commentary. I don't know how long it's been out there, but I like it a lot.

Here's there top 10 listings for best adaptations.
1. The Green Mile
2. Misery
3. Carrie
4. Christine
5. Dolores Claiborne
6. Pet Sematary
7. The Dead Zone
8. Hearts in Atlantis
9. The Shining (go see which one)
10. Dreamcatcher

Check it out!
http://www.thedarkking.com/

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

LINK: Emily Rose Finds Her Haven


Photograph by: Chris Reardon/Syfy, Handout
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canada.com has this interesting note about Emily Rose's character in Haven and a brief explanation of the show:
"TV audiences, meet Audrey Parker, the self-assured and shrewd FBI agent at the heart of Showcase's new series Haven, which premieres Tuesday, July 12. The show, based on the Stephen King novella The Colorado Kid, deals with Audrey's arrival in the small town of Haven, Maine on a routine manhunt. But she soon discovers the town has been the longtime home to people afflicted by various supernatural abilities."
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Afflicted -- that's an interesting term for supernatural abilities. Guess it depends on if you're Superman or Thing from Fantastic Four. But then, I'm just happy when my Sim on Sim's 3 gains the ability not to pee anymore; it's a big moment.
.Does Haven Have Dark Tower connections?
Rose says that she didn't look to Dana Scully for how to portray a female FBI agent, but more toward Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. That's cool, because she was one tough cookie.
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The Stephen King Empire

King psoted on his website that he is hungry -- for pure, raw power!
King has this posted on his website: "I’ve decided to build a virtual empire," King announces, but he can't do this alone! He's looking for pictures of things related to his work. He commands boldly, in all caps, "TAKE PICTURES AND GROW MY EMPIRE!"

  • King gives us this list as an idea starter:
  • We will want any and all junk/antique shops called Needful Things.
  • At least one Steve’s Used Cars or a King Motors.
  • Deschain Bakery or a Stephen’s Record Shop.
  • King Sooper’s.
King writes that, "Someone out there must live in a town called Stephensville (never Stevensville, that’s some other guy), or possibly King Corners. Someone must have an old King Cole bag they can photograph—I always wanted to own a potato chip company. I am hoping that at least one British fan will provide a picture of my really excellent railway station, King’s Cross."
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Are there prizes, Mr. King? "As always, Ms. Mod will be the final arbiter of good taste and appropriateness. Will prizes be awarded? Oh, I might give away ten or twelve signed books if anyone really blows my mind."
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Kings Letter Is HERE
http://www.stephenking.com/other/stephens_empire/

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lilja's Comic!


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This is fun! The creators of The Stand comic from Marvel, Mike Perkins and Laura Martin, have made a comic strip to promote Lilja's Library. Lilja's excited -- I don't know if I'd be excited to see myself surrounded by a group including Flagg and Pennywise!
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http://www.liljas-library.com/
(While you're there, check out the Haven update with episode summary's.)

IT, Psycho And Movies That Scare For Life

Ooh, I like this! Fiona Macrae has a great piece titled, "Movies that scare for life: Viewers left with fears for years."
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Macrae discusses the work of professor Joanne Cantor, who interviewed hundreds of adults to discover that certain films can scar us for life! Of course, Cantor discovered that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho made women afraid of the shower, and that Jaws soundtrack messed with men.
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Then, right up there with Psycho, comes the subject of IT. My mother told me that she has a friend who says she is terrified of clowns because of IT. Macrae tells us, "It, the 1986 film based on a Stephen King novel, shows a clown attacking children in the bathroom, after coming in through the toilet or shower drain. . . It produced extended nightmares, and many children avoided the bathroom after that. For many of these children, fear of clowns extended into adulthood."
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So what are the most frightening films? She listed: Jaws, Psycho, IT, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and Poltergeist.
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The scene that messed with me most in IT the mini-series was when the clown appeared to Bev in the bathroom, spurted a balloon full of blood that could not be seen by adults. What was so scary was that the adults didn't see it!
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Kinda makes me excited about the movie IT that is forthcoming. With a little more budget and a lot more leeway because it will be in theaters, it should be able to mess with absolutely everyone!
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On an even more personal note, though; my own daughter doesn't like clowns because of IT.
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Movies That Scared Me:
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As a child, one of the scariest movies I saw was. . . The Martian Chronicles, based on the book by Ray Bradbury. I know, it was science Fiction, but as a child, there was one scene that freaked me out. The astronaut's land on Mars, only to discover their home town, and long lost loved ones. But that night, the travelers are given poison and when they go to bed, the Martian makes himself known. That scene, in a bedroom that looked very much like my own, where a man easily transformed into an eerie, calm, killer Martian kept me up at night. What if a bald, earless Martian came into my room?
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V, the original mini-series, was another scary one for me. When the alien's mask gets ripped off and the reptile underneath begins to stab at the reporter with his long nasty lizard tongue -- that was worth a few sleepless nights.
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Anyone familiar with a little movie titled "Fortress"? It's not an American movie. About an Australian school teacher and her class who are taken imprisoned in a huge cave. The scene where one moment all is normal, then a man with a mask on -- a mask of Father Christmas -- appears in the window. That mask was scary to me. To see a beloved character, Santa, portrayed as hurting children was almost as bad as seeing a eat little Georgie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091069/
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I was also kept awake by a scene from a Television movie of the Mississippi murders of the civil rights workers. No, it was no Mississippi Burning. But the scene where the workers are pulled from their cars on a dark road and shot actually made me afraid of cars!
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Oh! And there was an episode of Electric Company that had the story of a cackeling ghost that appeared on a doorstep. I was also bothered by a Disney Channel movie where a girl appeared in the mirror. I know nothing of it now, except for the memory of that ghostly girl in the mirror. I wouldn't look in the mirror at night for quite a while!
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Anyone want to share what movies kept them up at night?
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peoria Observer: 10 bloodsucking films you can sink your teeth into


Helen Chadler and Bela Lugosi in "Dracula" (1931).
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I like this article by Ed Symkus titled, "Ten Bloodsucking Films You Can Sink Your Teeth Into." Of course, with a new Twilight on its way (my daughter eats this stuff up) it is natural for everyone to begin digging up good Vampire flicks.
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Of course, the Stephen King mini series of Salem's Lot made the list. Symkus writes, "“Salem’s Lot” (1979) – Made for TV, based on the scary Stephen King novel, and directed by horror veteran Tobe Hooper, this went for and attained an incredible amount of shock value in the story of a small town being terrorized by the dapper but mysterious new fellow (James Mason) who just moved in. The scene of the vampire violently killing a young boy’s parents in a kitchen still resonates. The vision of a vampire lad slowly floating outside someone’s window at night remains unnerving."
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Of course, in my heart of hearts, no one can ever replace Bela Lugosi as Dracula. I look forward to the technology that can bring him back (even in digital) to give us his rendition of Salem's Lot. Now that would bite!
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I totally agree with this statement by Symkus, "There’s no doubt that the “Twilight” series is the biggest success in the world of vampire films. But longtime vampire-flick fans have found them to be too sanitized, too reliant on confused young love and jealousy rather than dealing with vampire lore."
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Is An Oil Spill S.K. Matereal?

Commenting on a youtube video, Todd Wright at MSNBC notes that the video (and to a larger extend the entire oil spill) "has all the ingredients for a Stephen King classic: an alien slime, a cute little white girl, and an Internet camera."
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I'm noticing more and more how King's name is invoked simply to describe the scary. "It was like something from a Stephen King novel..." is a common line. I want to say, "Which one, Shawshank Redemption or Eyes of the Dragon?" Of course, King usually has been quick to embrace this kind of typecasting. We never get a Leonard Nemoy moment with King -- Remember the classic by Mr. Nemoy, "I am not Spock!" Sense some resentment there? But King seldom whines about his role as America's best loved boogeyman.
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With all respect to Mr. Wright, I do not think the video is like anything we would find in a Stephen King novel. Michael Crichton comes to mind, but not King! Because King isn't usually just interested in black goop washing up on little kids. He's interested in the characters.
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37927866/ns/local_news-miami_fl/
I think the video Wright is referring to is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QwsCHd7Lcg

Thursday, June 24, 2010

1983 Stephen King Interview

Here's a cool interview from 1983!

By the way, 1983 is the year:
  • Stephen King published Christine
  • Stephen King published Cycle of the Werewolf
  • Stephen King published Pet Sematary
  • Stephen King's Cujo was released as a major motion picture.
  • Stephen King's The Dead Zone was also released as a movie.
http://www.shadowlocked.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128:stephen-king-interview-from-1983&catid=39:comics-a-books

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quite Familiar!

Here's my list of King books I am way beyond familiar with. Meaning I have read it more than once, sometimes many more times! And that I have a deep sense of connection with these works. Please comment and tell me which books your are "quite familiar" with!

My list:
1. The Stand. of course!
2. Needful Things.
3. The Gunslinger.
4. The Drawing of the Three.
5. Dolores Claiborne.
6. The Mist.
7. The Body.
8. The Shining.
9. IT.
10. The Green Mile.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not So Familiar, Part 2

On the heels of my strange list of books I'm not as familiar with, I would like to offer another unusual list. These are works I'm not familiar with because I haven't had opportunity! But, simply, these are works I'd like to read.
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1. The Plant. Who cares if it's like Little Shop of Horrors, I'd like to see Kings version.
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2. All of the original version of the Cannibals. It was so unlike Under The Dome, I was interested in where it was going.
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3. The Aftermath. This was the first full length novel King wrote. It is the story of an atomic war that has destroyed a large part of the world's population. Unfortunately, I can't read it because the manuscript is deposited in the Special Collections archive of the Raymond Fogler Library at the University of Maine at Orono, and access requires written permission from King. George Beahm, who has seen the novel, has said that it is very much like a Bachman book.
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4. I Was A Teenage Grave Robber. This is King's first published short story. Don't know where you'd find a copy -- and if I did find a copy, the sad things is that I wouldn't read it. No, that's the kind of stuff that gets saved. I griped at my wife when she read by first edition hardback of The Dark Tower. "I had to know how it was going to come out," she protested. Still, the cover got a wrinkle. Concerning "I was a Teenage Grave Robber" -- I don't know that it's ever been reprinted anywhere. Reminds me, hate to say, of a certain film originally titled "Grave Robbers from outer space" or renamed, "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
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5. Sword of Darkness. I first became familiar with this work from The art of Darkness, by Douglas Winter. However, the best description of the work appears in The Lost Work of Stephen King, by Stephen J. Spignesi. He describes this as the longest of Kings unpublished novels. And again, he rates it as "impossible" to get a copy. It is a 150,000 word, 485 page novel about a race riot in a big city called Harding. Spignesi says that it is really about a boy named Arni Kalowski (and yes, Spignesi says right off the bat that this guy is a prototype for Arnie Cunningham in Christine.) Anyway, I would love to read this.
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I'll stop here. So this is really a top 5 list. I do highly recommend Spignesi's book. Interesting even to read about books he rates as "impossible" to find, now published. (Blaze comes immediately to mind). So, with Stephen King, there is always hope that someday this stuff will be published.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Not So Familiar, Part 1

While I've read a lot of Stephen King's work, I have a lot to catch up on. My recent dig through Roadwork was like reading the work of a completely different person. I know it's published under the Bachman name, but it was written by Stephen King; unlike, say, Thinner -- which was written by Bachman. What is mean is that Thinner was the first book King wrote knowing he was writing as Bachman. The others were older stuff later put under the Bachman name.
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Anyway, I'm getting quite the wake up call as I dig through the world of Stephen King. I began reading -- the first time -- in the early 90's. So The Stand revised, Needful Things, Four Past Midnight, Gerald's Game, and Dolores Claiborne are all very familiar to me. But with Insomnia, I dropped off for a long while. When I returned to reading King, I started with the early stuff. This, of course, leaves a whole body of work I know nothing really about.
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So, this is a crazy list, but here are 10 works by King I don't know much about -- but I do intend to learn!
1. The Regulators and all things Bachman.
3. Insomnia. Sorry, I don't know much about this one.
4. Rose Madder.
5. Hearts in Atlantis. I haven't even seen the movie!
6. The Talisman. My recent omission of this book as an "epic" is evidence that I just haven't dug in yet.
7. Black House.
8. Lisey's Story. I did try to read it -- and will go again soon. The magic just hasn't happened for me yet on this one.
10. Duma Key. Again, i started this. But (this is crazy) mid novel my kids lost one of the disks. Or I think it was the kids! Anyway, I was enjoying it very very much, but somehow got distracted and didn't return soon enough. Now I'll have to start over.
11. Wizard and Glass.
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I'm kind of excited by this list. There is so much more to discover and enjoy. I realized with Roadwork that I don't understand Bachman yet. I enjoyed Running man a lot, but the rest of the books aren't making a deep connection yet.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day


The Father's Day episode of Creepshow was written by King specifically for the movie. According to IMBD, "Rice Krispies were used as maggots on the corpse's eyes." How nice. And then, to really make you wiggle, the add, "In addition, real maggots were also utilized." And, someone much more astute than I discovered, "The housekeeper in the "Father's Day" sequence is Mrs.Danvers. The malevolent housekeeper in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense film Rebecca (1940) is also named Mrs. Danvers."
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Signed Lilja's Library

This is a pretty neat offer: Overlook Connection is offering signed copies of Lilja's Library for $39.95.

Overlook notes, "The first trade edition book is not being released in a limited signed edition. Therefore as an added freebie from The Overlook, Glenn Chadbourne has created an exclusive card for us that is signed by him and author Hans-Ake Lilja. This is FREE with every copy but we only have a limited number to offer so ORDER SOON! There was an expensive lettered that was signed by both, but that was it. Here's your chance to get a copy with both signatures - FREE!

http://overlookconnection.com/catalog/liljas-library-signed-p-6085.html

Friday, June 18, 2010

tracked down

In their "Tracked Down" section, Boston Herald has a couple of interesting notes on Stephen King's recent activity.
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Horror author Stephen King attending an event for Maine’s Democratic party at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers before making his way over to the Red Sox game.
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http://www.bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1262117&format=comments#CommentsArea

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lilja's Library Gets A Release Date


August 9 -- that's the big day y'all! I ordered this book over a year ago, so I've gotten a lot of exercise as I paced the floor waiting for this to come.
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Today Llilja posted on his website the release date for the upcoming (long expected) book. Lilja writes, "Today I'm happy to be able to finally give you the release date for my upcoming book; Lilja's Library: The World of Stephen King. The release date is August 9 and that is just 53 days to go!"
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Here's some of the discussion about the upcoming book from my interview with Lilja. You can read the whole thing linked below:
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When asked how his book was different from other books about King, Lilja said, "I hope it’s more personal. The reviews and interviews in it was not written as part of a book. It was written out of joy for King’s work by a fan. Hopefully that shines though. I also hope that my interviews will be somewhat more personal than many other and since I’m a fan and not a journalist I hope I’m actually asking what people want to hear and not the same old questions that’s been asked over and over again."
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And when asked how the book was different from the website, "It’s 512 pages huge," Lilja offered, "and mostly the stuff in it is from the website but this version is easier to put in the book case than the website J Just kidding. There are stuff in the book that hasn’t been published on the website. Exclusive stuff for the book.
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On another note, I asked Lilja if he would be a part of any other books. He said that there would be a book coming out in 2011 called "The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book" that he was written with Brian Freeman and Kevin Quigley. I can't wait!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Early thoughts on Roadwork

I started listening to Roadwork the other day. There are some things I really like about this book. For instance, I am still fascenated with King's method of keeping a story set in the time it was written. This gives us a freeze frame of what the world was like. Roadwork is set in the far gone world of 1973. I was born that year! Of course, King mentions not only prices, but cultural events of the time.

The book does start with a wonderful introduction. I didn't know this existed! The only work I'd really read on Bachman by King was either in interviews, or the introduction to the Bachman books. But this introduction was quite different, and refreshing.

Concering the book, this is not an easy novel for me to read. I don't know why, but the story and character have not yet captivated me. King usually bounces around from character to character, or at least from scene to scene. However, Roadwork focuses in tight on Dawes (called "he" throughout) in an almost unrelenting narrative. It feels like we're watching someone from a security cam as much as King is telling us a story. Here's the problem: Watching security cams is not really much fun.

I did some digging around today to find out more about this book. Turns out, a lot of people like this. And, Stephen King called it one of his favorites of the Bachman set. That surprised me. So I'll push on. Maybe it will grab me. So far my experience with the Bachman books has not been good -- except for Running man. Perhaps I like the more upbeat works; or the scary stuff.

Is this anyones favorite book? Anyone a fan of Roadwork? Enlighten me. What am I missing here?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SF Examiner: Stephen King Legacy

Hugh Patterson had an interesting article in the SF Examiner titled Stephen King's Long Legacy. Patterson seeks to focus on the question, "So what makes King the crown prince of horror?"
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There are some interesting comments. For instance, catch this paragraph, "He departed from the traditional horror he wrote starting with Carrie (1974), moving into a more esoteric style with the Dark Tower series in 1982. However, he returned to the apocalyptic horror genre with the 2006 release, The Cell."
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Sorry, but the chronology doesn't work here! The Dark Tower was already started on typed green paper when Carrie was written. King didn't depart after he wrote Carrie, it was already a chosen style. Also, saying that he returned to apocalyptic horror with The Cell raises two questions: 1. Isn't the book titled "Cell" -- not "THE Cell" 2. Did we miss the Stand?
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Anyway, the article is certainly positive in the King direction, so check it out.
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http://www.examiner.com/x-47738-SF-Writers-Examiner~y2010m6d9-Stephen-Kings-long-legacy

Monday, June 14, 2010

EPIC


I'm watching -- again -- Turner Classic Movie's documentary "Epic." It's great! Movies that were larger than life, huge casts and massive budgets. To some degree, the Epic is a disappearing thing in the American theater (James Cameron might come close with Avatar.)
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King doesn't translate well to film is because Hollywood has lost its passion for the Epic.
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Three things Epic's need:
1. A big story. You don't have an hour and a half epic.
2. A big budget.
3. Lots of characters.
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Of course, because King's stories are often big they get dropped into the mini-series format. But, honestly, the mini-series can lose a lot of energy. For one thing, they aren't big budget productions. They are often good hearted, but the viewer has to give some grace when it comes to the werewolf in IT. The mini-series is also plagued by the fact that it's on TV, thus must be tamed down. Not to mention, comericals alone can cause anything to lose some serious traction. There's nothing like sitting on the edge of your seat as Annie Wilkes prepares to break Paul's legs, only to be interrupted by a commercial for erectile dysfunction followed by drugs that make you pee less and topped off by a woman heralding the latest design for her maxi. Great.
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I think one reason everyone is so hesitant int heir excitement about the Dark Tower isn't hat it has to be an epic. It's huge, and already popular -- so the fans won't allow screw ups on this one.
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By the way -- this is random -- I wonder if Stephen King will play himself in the Dark Tower movies.
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Constant Readers love the Epic nature of King's writing. While the world might groan when King announces he has a new gigantic book, the Constant reader begins to drool. Hey, why rush a good story! Here's a list of books I think are Epics:
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The Dark Tower
The Stand
The Talisman (Thanks for pointing that out, Tim!)
Tommyknockers
IT
Under The Dome
Cell
Needful Things
(Did I msis any?)

Talk Stephen King One Year Mark

Picture: Annie is very glad to find a Stephen King book with a monkey on the front.
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I want to share a little bit about this blog. I've tried hard not to make this about me. I don't blog about my wife and kids, my church, my studies and so on. This isn't about my personal life.
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June 14, 2009 I decided to do something I had not previously thought of -- I started a Stephen King blog.
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It was spontaneous. I had not been mulling it over. It was a Saturday night, and I really needed to be in bed since I'm a pastor and the next day I was scheduled to be preaching about three times. But, I was messing around with blogger and kept glancing up at my bookshelf. I also was remembering a news story from way back; a story about King going into a bookstore and being mistaken for a book thief. I wanted to find that story and keep it somewhere. The idea of a blog came to me as a personal way of keeping up with news stories I like, thoughts about King, and creating a listing of my own favorite Stephen King websites so I could find them again easily. Once I started formatting and writing, I was up until about 2 a.m.
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For the first year my goal was pretty simple: Build content. No one wants to go to a blog that has zero posts!
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Why I blog about Stephen King:
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1. It's An Outlet.
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I found blogging an effective outlet for my quiet Stephen King fandom. After all, most of the people in my world could really care less about Stephen King; or they flat out misunderstand King. As a pastor I couldn't announce from the pulpit, "I just read the most awesome Stephen King book! Superly cool, ya'all!" Though, I did once preach a sermon titled, "Better Than The Green Mile."
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As a teenager, my parents endured my interest. They were just glad I was reading. However, it was not something I could talk much about since they were into Star Trek. With college and work and marriage and a young family, Stephen King disappeared from my life almost all together. I even gave away most of the books I'd amassed (except my hardcover of The Stand.)
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Then I read a book titled The Stephen King Universe and I was inspired to check out the author who had so excited me as a teenager. My wife, ever patient, allowed me to begin hunting and purchasing first editions.
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As I rediscovered King, I have found an outlet for sharing the treasures I dig up.
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2. It gives purpose to digging deeper.
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There are already many Stephen King websites reporting news and staying on top of every recent turn. I really don't do that. When a cool news story pops up, I like to note it. But truth is, Lilja can't be beat in the news area. So I decided early that this blog wasn't going to be a primary news source.
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The blog allows me to discuss what I am currently reading or watching in the realm of Stephen King. To dig a little deeper and feel I'm digging with a purpose. To share with others cool things I find.
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3. It is a distraction.
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It gives me a project to focus on. Otherwise I would tend toward being a work-aholic. But it's fun to jump into the world of Stephen King, hunt for connections between books, read new articles and not think about the pressures of the day. In fact, the Stephen King Universe is so different from the world where I live, it is a true escape!
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4. It has introduced me to some new friends.
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A year ago I was just a guy with a bunch of Stephen King books, totally disconnected from the Stephen King community. However, since I began blogging, I've had the joy of meeting a lot of very sincere fans. From a kid in Brasil named Derick to one of my hero's, Lilja. (All of my "meetings" have been via email and the blog.) I also communicate with a friend in Canada and several others.
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You know, one of things I discovered was a lot of people who are very genuine, very kind, and very interested in a writer who has profoundly affected our world. Most of the King fans I've met are not teenage boys who just love a good horror story. They're more middle aged people who have taken time to make a serious commitment to this venture. Most King fans enjoy his work, but don't feel a need to try to acquire his personal items or get too close for comfort. Constant Readers are passionate, generally pretty polite, and almost universally saddened that King is so mislabeled/misunderstood by those around us.
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5. It's been a learning experience.
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I still know nothing about how websites work! But I have learned how to run a simple blog. Even how to try and outsmart some of bloggers little annoyances -- Like its tendency to insert huge spaces between paragraphs.
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After about ten months, I discovered that blogger has a spell checker! That had been driving me crazy, since I either had to type in another document and spell check or just look stupid. I still look stupid sometimes (my wife says I don't know how to use a comma) but at least I can spell stupid right. Bloggers spell checker says that I have Brasil spelled wrong, but Derick insists that in Brazil it's spelled Brasil. So there.
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I also learned to be careful not to leave readers hanging on an untruth. I posted once that I had discovered originals of some Stephen King manuscripts. A friend emailed me and said he would like to know more. Oops! I forgot to post that I was actually just trying to give a hook for Bev Vincent's very awesome The Stephen King Illustrated Companion; which did indeed include reproductions of original King manuscripts. You really should go buy it, okay! http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/2009/11/find.html
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6. It pushes me to look deeper
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Blogging sometimes causes me to read a little further than I might on my own. often I will find a review, or a website, or even a book I might otherwise find interesting, but not invest the time in studying. After all, I tell myself, I am a busy guy. But, now I have the mental excuse, "I'm doing it so I can write about it." Rationally that's ridiculous!
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It has given me an interest in the state of Maine, and books about Maine. I loved a little book titled Strange Maine, which if not for the blog I would have had no knowledge of what-so-ever.
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I read a lot more books about King. have discovered good ones (Vincent, Collings, Jones and more) and several not so good (my mouth is sealed).
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On a final note:
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If There Was More Time. . . I'd start a Charles Dickens blog and a Twilight Zone blog. Dickens because I want to be pushed to know more than I do. I love his stories and know that blogging would cause me to nose dive into that other world. The Twilight Zone because it's just utterly cool.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dark Tower Birthday Cake


Wow, right about the time I was ready to give up on birthday cake forever. Four kids -- and every birthday I try to tell them to go with a birthday pie, or cookie or something -- anything but cake! But now I'll have to take a new approach. "Hey, how about a Dark Tower birthday cake for your eigth birthday?" We'll see how that flys.
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Mrs. Mabe writes about her cake, "This is a cake my dad and I made together for my mom's birthday. It's based off Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which is my mom's absolute favorite series by her favorite author. This had some firsts for both of us. Our first figure modeling (and oh boy do we need practice!), our first time painting with food coloring, my first time with chocolate molds. But Mom loved it and we had fun!! Fondant turtle, bear, elephant, and wolf. Melted Jolly Ranchers for the "beams". Painted flower vase for the tower. Candy melts for the roses."
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You can find more pictures of the Dark Tower birthday cake at: http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=gallery&file=displayimage&pid=1549005&sub=1549006

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Stephen King Tours With Stu Tinker

Here's some interesting news from very fine books, a great place to find some of the rare -- usually signed -- King items. Emmanuel Manetakis writes, Did you ever want to go on a Stephen King tour? Then check this out. Just got this in my inbox a couple days ago:
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"Starting the first of July (hopefully) we are launching Stephen King Tours of the Bangor (Derry) area. At this time it looks like it will be a 3 hour tour, I have purchased a Chrysler 7 passenger van with all wheel drive (for those nasty winter tours!) and hope to get the new web page up in a couple of weeks. The tour will hit about 25 key places and we will sell T-shirts and other memorabilia along with it. The new e-mail address of SK-Tours@msn.com is effective as of today. Wish me luck!! Stu Tinker"
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(as you probably already know, Stu Tinker is the former owner of Betts Books )
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that is pretty exciting news. Stu was great at betts bookstore, and he's a personal fan of King's.
http://www.veryfinebooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=76

Kubrick vs King


Okay, this is not a new subject. Almost roll my eyes when it comes up! However, the approach is unique and worth a couple of moments.
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James Parker offers an insightful commentary as he shows the opening scenes of Kubrick's movie version of The Shining. Parker's voice speaks over the scenes and explains how the two versions are different. A compelling way to do this, since Kubrick's ideas are right there in front of you, while Parker explains how the source material differed.
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The site offers this simple written explanation, If Stephen King haunts the Stanley Hotel, who haunts Stephen King? The answer is: Stanley Kubrick. King didn't like Kubrick's movie ("a Cadillac with no engine in it"); he didn't like Jack Nicholson in the main role; years later, he readapted The Shining as an ABC miniseries; but nobody cares about that. The movie scared people silly, once and forever. Trance-like pacing, off-center dialogue, a weird molecular throb of menace--these Kubrickian effects are as much a part of The Shining as the original novel.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Washington Post Review: The Passage

Here is a pretty good review of The Passage. Has anyone read this yet? Ron Charles at the Washington Post sure liked it! For King fans, this one paragraph is almost irresistible:
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Imagine Michael Crichton crossbreeding Stephen King's "The Stand" and "Salem's Lot" in that lab at Jurassic Park, with rich infusions of Robert McCammon's "Swan Song," "Battlestar Galactica" and even Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."
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Of course, the problem is that I can't imagine that at all! The Stand and Salem's lot? With swan Song? I guess you have to see it -- or read it -- for yourself.
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/08/AR2010060804591.html

The Stand On Facebook

If you're a fan of the Marvel comic series of The Stand, then you should check out this facebook page. Very well done.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marvels-THE-STAND/117505241624460

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

King Recommends THE PASSAGE


Wow, Cemetary Dance is really excited about their new novel "The Passage" by Justin Cronin's. I haven't read this, but with the King recommendation, it sure looks like it will be going on my reading list. Here's what Stephen King
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"Every so often a novel-reader's novel comes along: an enthralling, entertaining story wedded to simple, supple prose, both informed by tremendous imagination. Summer is the perfect time for such books, and this year readers can enjoy the gift of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Read fifteen pages and you will find yourself captivated; read thirty and you will find yourself taken prisoner and reading late into the night. It has the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve. What else can I say? This: read this book and the ordinary world disappears."
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The book is $27.00
Also. . . check out the link from Lilja's library where King surprises Cronin on the phone. Cool. http://www.liljas-library.com

Quigley Explains Blockade Billy Showing

picture: http://charnelhouse.tripod.com/kevbio.html
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One of the things I really like about Kevin Quigley's site is his ability to chart and explain King's showings on the ratings. Check out his book "Chart of darkness" (or, the chart itself is posted on his website, linked below).
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Currently posted on his website is an article about the release of the Scribner edition of Blockade Billy and it's position at #9. This, of course, is a little bit of a surprise to most of us, who have become accustomed to King hitting #1 status as soon as he publishes a book. However, Quigley explains the factors involved in the showing (I'll let you go to his site and read the explanation. It is insightful.)
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I was surprised to learn (from Quigley's post) that The Stand debuted at #13.
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Quigley notes, "Blockade Billy is a wonderful little book, deserving of a success story." I totally agree!
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By the way, here's an interesting story from Kevin Quigley on his site, Bag of Bones was released in 1998, and I traveled up to Maine with Bob Ireland in November. (It was actually the fourth time I’d been to Bangor that year: I went for a King auction, a Rock Bottom Remainders concert, and the SKEMERs con previously.) I met Stephen King for a third time when he signed my copy of Misery “To Kevin from your #1 Fan, Stephen King.” I stumbled out of Betts and promptly fainted. It’s embarrassing, but that’s probably my favorite fanboy story.
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Read the article here: http://charnelhouse.tripod.com/

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie: Dolores Claiborne


If it weren't for the book, this would be a very good movie. Seriously. Now, I'm not a Stephen King purist. In fact, I think in many cases updates to King's work have served to strengthen his stories. This is particularly true of Tommyknockers mini-series, and King's rewrite of The Gunslinger. If I had not read the novel Dolores Claiborne several times, I would probably like this move very much -- because it tells a compelling story. However, I am left disappointed because this isn't the story Stephen King gave us.
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While the movie contains several priceless scenes that come straight from the movie, it is laced with an unnecessary darkness and tension. The movie is not told from Dolores' point of view, but from Selena's.
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I think what made this such a strong novel was Dolores' voice. The entire thing was told in flashbacks while she was giving testimony to the police. It was a natural setting for these flashbacks and ran in one continuous dialogue. I thought it was brilliant. In fact, it's one of my favorite King novels. King never broke in to Dolores' rant. She told the whole thing, from beginning to end. It is so well written, it seems as if it isn't a Stephen King novel at all, but was actually pinned by a woman named Dolores Claiborne. But to be certain, what makes the story work is her narrative -- her voice -- her point of view.
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Revenge Is Supposed To Be Sweet
Now, let me be blunt: I don't want to deal with the affects of abuse from Selena's end. I don't even want to think about it! The scars, the pain, the emotions -- they are not things I want to reflect on for entertainment. However, switch the story back to the way King had it; from Dolores' point of view. If someone touched my daughter in an inappropriate way -- I think I could do great harm to them. So when Dolores sends her hubby falling down a well, in the novel we are all screaming: "YES! YES! YES!" But in the movie, the moment's hysterical joy at seeing Dolores get her revenge is broken by Selena's sarcasm.
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The revenge in Dolores Claiborne is just as sweet, if not sweeter, as it was in Dolan's Cadillac. The premise is brilliant: What if a woman who really committed a murder was accused of the wrong murder? I like it. I think I like the movie, even though it is not as strong as it could be. The element added is unnecessary, and grim. Selena as an adult does not progress the story, she just darkens it.
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Kathy Bates is at her best in this movie. She is very much what I imagined when reading the novel.
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However:
Stephen Jones has this quote in his book Creepshows from Starburst #206, "The best psychological thriller Alfred Hitchcock never made, Dolores Claiborne is the latest sparkling example of a Stephen King novel being lavished with care and emerging another clear winner ahead of his third rate horror pack." p.97

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Some-Are Reading Recommendations


The ground was hot enough to make me put on shoes today. I was digging a planter for my kids to put pumpkin seeds. The heat and the preparations for a pumpkin patch are reminders that Summer vacation is on its way. -- Yes, this is the right time of year to plant pumpkins if you want them big and fat in October.
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Lots of places publish their Summer reading list. I'm always happy to know that Some-Are still reading!
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I started to give you a Stephen King List, but that's pointless. Read all of them. Start with The Stand or IT or Eyes of the Dragon. Don't start with: Tommyknockers, Gerald's Game, Christine or the original Gunslinger.
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The world is bigger than Stephen King. Smile, you need this message. As horror writer Brian Keene said, "9 out of 10 people are aware of horror writer Stephen King. 5 out of 10 people are aware of horror writer Dean Koontz. 1 out of 10 people are aware of the rest of us." We should fix that.
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Bucket List:
There are some books you should read before you die. Books to impress girls, understand the past or know the purpose of life. So, to impress girls you should read Charles Dickens Great expectations, Dickens. This is Dickens at his best -- Sorry David Copperfield. Of course, you'll only be impressing smart girls. You'll thank me in 20 years. Books that help us understand the past and the world we now life in, I would recommend Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Well written, and it doesn't feel like historical fiction. Finally, under books that will show you the purpose of life -- that would be the Bible. Anyone ever tell you where not to start in that? Well, don't start in Isaiah, okay! Try Luke.
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Now, for a Summer reading list!
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1. Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett. If you read Pillars, go ahead and read the sequel World Without End. Pillars of the Earth has a strange main character -- a church! It is the story of the long construction of a medieval cathedral. Politics, religion, sex, murder, war and more.
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2. Night of the Moonbow, Thomas Tryon. This author was also an actor who lived a rather interesting life. I liked this book a lot and really don't think it's very popular. I love the scenes with the Lan Chaney showing of Phantom of the Opera.
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3. Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe. We often need to be called back to the short story, and if you like horror then Poe is the place to start. By the way, if you want to understand King, you've got to read Poe. King's work is laced with Poe references and influences.
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4. Swan Song (or Boys Life) by Robert R. Mccammon. I really like Mccammon and wish his work was on audio. Be aware that his earlier books are not as strong as his work after Swan Song.
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5. The Conqueror Worms, Brian Keene. An old man narrates how planet earth was taken over by worms. The kind of story I once heard on Arch Obler's Lights Out. Also check out City of the Dead. An easy zombie story. True beach reading. But first go to the worms. Also, Keene has a nice post titled: The last 5 minutes of LOST explained, http://www.briankeene.com/?p=3970
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6. This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti. Piercing the Darknes is better, but you should start here. This book takes you into the world of demons and angels and an invisible war raging around mankind.
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7. The Beast House, Richard Laymon. You've got to read Laymon some time in your life, just because he's cool and brutal, and you might as well start out with The Beast House. Laymon is edgy in a really uncomfortable way. I know that won't inspire you to read him, but he will mess with your head. You'll think, "I didn't know you were allowed to write like this -- or about this."
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8. A Man Called Peter, Catherine Marshall. The life story of Dr. Peter Marshall, the famous pastor to the senate as retold by his wife Cathrine. The story is fresh, her writing is insightful and tender.
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9. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Anne Burns. This is the story of an old man in the deep south who after the death of his wife asks a very young, beautiful woman to marry him so he'll have a house keeper and a cook. The town is stirred, the family is enraged, and the old man is in bliss! I loved it all and couldn't believe that some people gave it bad reviews on Amazon. Then my own family said it rambled about. Well, I don't care what they say, this is a great book!
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10. Short Stories of O'Henry. Everyone reads gift of the Magi, so you should, too. But I recommend The Ransom of Red Chief. I won't spoil this for you, but I swear the movie version of Dennis the Menace got its spark from this story. But, of course, O'Henry is better. Gosh I want to tell you what this is about... go read it before I spoil the whole thing! GO! NOW! READ IT!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Star Wars ipad briefing


We all know about King's interest in the ipad. What you should check out is the Star Wars ipad briefing. I'm with Hon Solo on this one. However, Quite insightful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbHF63b7g50&feature=popular

King on Kindle and ipad: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20357892,00.html

The Runningman -- Movie

Yep -- back at Hollywood Video buying up their old DVD's for chump change. What do you know, no one bought The Running Man. Film4.com calls it "an arcade-game romp done with flair." I must agree! There is a certain delight to this film.
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A funny scene appears when Richard Dawson tells someone on the phone that they're not doing Gilligan's Island. Obviously the person on the other end doesn't know what Gilligan's Island was -- so he gives us a quick humm of the familiar tune. Now, how likely is it that people might someday forget what Gilligan's Island was?!
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From the headlines
It's like the opening lines, though not presented with that awesome scroll Star Wars had, came straight from our news cycle.
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* "By 2019 the world economy has collapsed." Wow, we're seven years early on that one.
* "Food, natural resources and oil are in short supply" I won't comment on that, since right now we're trying to cut the supply of oil from a certain well!
* "Television is controlled by the state." I just read a story headlined "Journalism 'Reinvention' Smacks of Government Control, Critics Say." http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/06/02/journalism-reinvention-smacks-government-control-critics-say/
The Bachman Goldmine
Stephen Jones gives an interesting account in his book Creepshows. George Linder, her writes, was excited when he found a book -- the Running Man -- by little known author Richard Bachman. "I contacted the authors agent and was a bit taken back to learn that he was asking a comparatively great deal of money for the option on the book which had less than 100,000 copies in print. I mean, who had ever heard of Riahcard Bachman?" Linder secured the option for $20,000 and Jones notes the irony that just a couple of years later Linder found out that Bachman was actually Stephen King. "I felt like I'd found a Rembrant in K-mart!"
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Governors Convention:
Both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura appear in this. Arnie is Governor of the great state where I live, the very broke California.
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And Jesse was governor of Minnesota. Minnesota, by the way, is the land of another famous writer, Garrison Keillor. Jesse plays Captain Freedom, a workout television show host. The spandex costumes and Jesse's unitard were hysterically 80's.
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Of course, the movie features Arnie, with no mention of Stephen King. Schwarzenegger looks right at the game show host Damon Killian and says, "Damon, I'll be back." He also used the I'll Be Back line in Commando, Raw Deal, Twins, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Last Action Hero, Jingle All the Way, The 6th Day
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Costumes:
Something has to be said here for the mix of 80's daily wear mixed with 80's sci-fi uniforms. Here's a vision of the future: Only the police get the new clothes! In particular, Arnie looks just great trying to get on a plane in his Hawaiian shirt and white top hat. Ambers costume looks like left overs from Disney's Tron.
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The Always Unfair Comparison To The Book
IMBD notes that King wrote the novel The Running Man in 72 hours. Now here's the funny, or not so funny, thing. The book was really good. King did in 72 hours with a typewriter what Hollywood couldn't do for millions. Go figure.
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King's novel, written under the Bachman name, has an intense urgency to it with each chapter giving a countdown number.
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King told Cinefantastique, "It was totally out of my hands. I didn't have anything to do with making it... It doesn't have much in common with the novel at all, except the title."
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However, the Apollo Guide has this thoughtful paragraph in their review. They actually think that King's novel was made stronger by the movie! Anyway, this is a good note to end on: "Of all the King adaptations that deviate considerably from their respective source material, Paul Michael Glaser’s film stands head and shoulders above the rest. Whereas most changes made to King’s tales seem borne from low budgets and lazy screenwriters, this adaptation (courtesy of Die Hard scribe Stephen De Souza) uses the novel as both inspiration and jumping-off-point, confidently respecting the source material while forging ahead to become a very different (and more than a little successful) piece of work."
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Links:

Friday, June 4, 2010

John Carpenter to Direct Fangland

Picture: http://www.loveofvampires.com/2010/what-makes-for-a-good-vampire-book/

This is directly from ComingSoon.net
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Sriram Das and Blumhouse Productions have brought on horror king John Carpenter to direct a film adaptation of John Marks' 2008 novel Fangland.
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The project has been in development for two-time Oscar-winner Hilary Swank to star as Evangeline Harker, a producer of a TV news magazine eerily similar to "60 Minutes."
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In the book, Harker is an employee of the legendary TV news magazine "The Hour." Sent on assignment to Transylvania, she delivers more than a story when mysterious e-mails, coffins, and a creepy guy named Torgu descend on the New York office.
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Swank fans will recall her early role in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and it marks a return as well for Carpenter, director of Halloween, The Fog, Vampires, and Stephen King's Christine, coming after his first film in nearly a decade, this summer's forthcoming The Ward.
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Sleepwalkers


One of the movies I bought in my recent frenzy of purchases from the perishing Hollywood Video was Sleepwalkers.
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"Star Wars Christmas Special" Kinda Bad!
Now, I saw this with my dad when it came out in 1992; the year I graduated High School. I hated it. I thought maybe I had misjudged. Maybe time has softened my opinion of this film. Maybe it was really a great film, and I was just missing it. Nope. How do I say this... kindly... (can't be said kindly)... This movie rises to the great heights of films like Superman 4, Even numbered Star Trek movies, and the famous Star Wars Christmas Special (youtube it, gang. You'll be happy you did).
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Directed by Mick Garris, Sleepwalkers cameo's Stephen King as a cemetery keeper and Clive Barker as a forensic tech. Once again, everyone in this film (like in Maximum Overdrive and Children of the Corn) has an IQ high enough to work fo BP. King appears with a toothpick sticking from his mouth; remember the Beav from Dreamcatcher, Mr King?
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This isn't "so bad it's good" type of work. This is the kind of stuff CIA uses on would be terrorist to make them talk. "Please, don't show me that again! I'll talk!"
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Creepshows author Stephen Jones quotes King as saying, "By the early 1990's I'd written several films based on my own published works. Some, like creepshow, were pretty good; others, like Silver Bullet, were...well...not so good. I decided to take what I'd learned and write an original screenplay, and I had a bloody good time doing it." p.76
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I don't know about you, but I liked Silver Bullet a lot more than Sleepwalkers. Some information seems to be missing -- like what in the world is going on! Mother and son are shape-shifting vampires, and apparently very in love. Mama Vampire is hungry, and sonny needs to find her a virgin bloodshake. Maybe they're not related, they might be lovers simply disguising themselves as mother/son. Ick, I don't want to think about it.
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HITCHCOCK Never Made A Vampire Film!
Another Hitchcock influence: Jones also notes in Creepshows that Mark Hamill (that would be Luke Skywalker in the real world) appears in the opening sequence, which is set in California's Bodega Bay. This, Jones notes, is a nod to Alfred Hitchcocks 1963 The Birds. But why a vampire movie would need to make a nod to the birds is a little beyond me. Like, maybe it's a warning from the beginning of the movie, "Run, faithful movie goers -- this one is for the birds!"
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Cat Lovers Movie
Sleepwalkers and cats don't seem to get along. Of course, not getting along with a cat a part of a normal persons life.
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Staci Wilson gives this so very exciting trivia tidbit: According to Sleepwalkers director Mick Garris, the lead cat who played Clovis was so relaxed on the set, he can be heard purring on several of the final takes. As a dog person, I'm all a flutter! I haven't been so excited since I listened to that Lights Out Everybody episode by Arch Oboler called: "Cat People." http://www.staciwilson.com/animalmovies/sleepwalkers.html
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What Others Are Saying:
So, I thought maybe I was wrong still. Maybe my bad experience with this film is just mine alone. I headed out into the murky world of Internet to find out what others think:
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One for Garris: According to always reliable wikipedia, the movie won the 1992 Fantafestival Award for Best Actress (Krige), Best Direction (Garris), Best Film (Garris) and Best Screenplay (King). Humm, I think this Fantafestival might also be calling baseball pitches these days -- http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/37479309/ns/sports-baseball/
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Two for Garris: On the S.K. message board, Anna writes, "When will you publish Sleepwalkers? I love this movie..."
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Three for Garris: Blogger Crackle loved this film. She says, "it will be hard to put into words the sheer brilliance of this movie.." but then she tries. Too bad. Mostly she notes themes such as incest, virginity and cats. I hate cats. Of course, I must admit that I stopped reading when she said, "Now for our last two themes, cats and incest (both subjects named in my recent divorce)." Okay, too much information! http://blog.crackle.com/2009/08/07/sleepwalkers-stephen-king-teaches-us-about-vampire-cats/
Movie reviewers.
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Fine, I get it. So fans love this movie. So I'll move on to the movie reviewers. After all, movie reviewers get paid to hate movies.
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Stephen Holden at NY Times wrote a basically straightforward summery of the movie, not commenting on its value. But, Andrew Bain responded to the Times, writing "Sleepwalkers has comedy value, there's no doubt about it. A friend and I acutally had to pause the film during several scenes in the film, just because we couldn't hear over our own laughter. In one such scene a girl jumps into a police car when she is attacked by the vampire-cat-aliens (no, I am not making this up) and screams for help down the radio. A policewoman on the line screams back 'Andy,' (the name of the recently deceased policeman) 'Get with the program! Bye!'.I truely hope that some of you will watch this film just so you can appreciate how terrible it is." So there. That's ONE for me. And it's a big one, since it's a person responding to someone who is important. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E0CE0DC123CF932A25757C0A964958260
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Variety said, "Stephen King's Sleepwalkers is an idiotic horror potboiler." http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117794958.html?categoryid=31&cs=1
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NOMINATED: MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
I just realized something; it doesn't matter what they think. You are welcome to like this film -- be wrong, it won't hurt me a bit. I choose not to like this movie. So there. And, to rub it in, I respectfully nominate this movie to Mystery Science Theater 3,000. No, I won't take it back. Don't even ask. It's already nominated!
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Maximum Overdrive


Good news / bad news -- Hollywood Video is going out of business. Of course, I don't rent from Hollywood Video, so for me it's goodnews/goodnews. They're selling the entire stock. So right now I have King movies all piled up. Summer is usually the time I buy a bunch of King movies, and so cheap DVDs are great. And, guess what they had. . . Maximum Overdrive. We're several days into the sale now, and no one has bought this. Hummm, I wonder why!
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My daughters and I watched this tonight. So, here is our review:
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The characters in this film are certainly not on their way to a Mensa convention. In fact, does anyone in this film have an IQ over 75?
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HITCHCOCK!
According to Creepshows by Stephen Jones (my favorite book on Stephen King movies), King said that the inspiration for the story came from Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film The Birds. So, you get it, right? Birds go crazy and attack people -- machines go crazy and attack people. Subtle. In Stephen King Goes To Hollywood, another cool book, Jeff Conner says, "Like The Birds and Romero's Dead films, the storyline concerns those few plucky survivors; that group of disparate people thrown together in this trying time of fantastical crisis. yes, mayhem ensues." p.119
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Truth is, this isn't a very good film. I know that you're shocked. King said that a reviewer in New York gave it zero stars.
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But I like it. Here's why, in no particular order.
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1. This is so bad, it sinks to the level of Ed Wood bad. Which is a wonderful kind of bad to sink to. Not just any Ed Wood cross-dressing kind of bad. But the lofty position of Plan 9 From Outer Space kind of bad. So bad, it's good. After I wrote that, I read this quote from King in Creepshows, "There was a long period during post production when I thought I had made a worthy successor to Plan 9 from Outer Space." Creepshows, p.46
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2. It's not boring. Lots of action. My kids particularly liked it when the guy sprayed himself in the face with the gas hose. Brilliant. Remind me that when hiding from rogue cars, it is always a good idea to take refuge near a gas station.
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3. Lots of car chases and things blow up. Man food. Better yet, the woman in the cafe yelling at the sky is just great. You really need to see this film -- just for her.
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4. I like the green sky. What is this "comet" made of -- alien farts?
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5. How many movies start with the director getting told he's an a-hole? And, this is no ordinary director, it's the King of horror himself.
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6. No matter what you think of the movie, the AC/DC sound track is well done. My friend actually said that he wore his copy of the sound track out. I wonder if anyone wore their DVD's out.
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7. Listening to Yeardley Smith play a bride on her honeymoon is great. She screams more than Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds. Of course, you know Yeardley Smith as the voice of Lisa Simpson.
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8. It's nice to peak in at the world of 1986. Very 80's film. I knew cars had changed, but I was unaware that gas pumps had changed so much.
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9. I wish I had seen this as a kid, then I would have had a story to go with all those toy trucks I crashed up -- other than "Crush-Up-Derby."
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10. It's like an evil episode of the Twilight Zone. Jeff Conner says in Stephen King Goes To Hollywood, "The Trucks story is a Twilight Zone kind of affair, pitting Mankind against suddenly sentient, and pissed off, semi-trucks; sort of a Night of the Living Big Rigs deal." p.119
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DVD QUESTIONS:
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Where is the directors commentary? I know King is a busy man, but this classic would be just great with his voice talking over it.
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Where is the "directors cut"? When the movie was rated by the MPAA, it was originally given an "X" for excessive violence. (that would be an NC-17 these days) To get it down to an "R", King chopped a couple of gore scenes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Videodiscs









Driving through Hemet California Saturday, I spotted an old theater with a "poster" sale. There were some nice King posters, but I didn't want to pay a hundred dollars for a Shining poster. However, I did pay five dollars a piece for three Stephen King VideoDiscs.
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What's a VideoDisc? Well, I didn't know they ever existed. These things are huge! Look like the DVD version of a record. The cases are cool and will make neat posters. Carrie and Christine are epically impressive. I can't watch them. . . sinc e I don't own a videodisc machine.
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My wife stared kinda numbly at me. Why did I pass up a poster of The Shining for a videodisc of Carrie, Christine and Creepshow? Well, I explained, it's unique. anyone can get a poster. But ask another collector, "Do you have laserdiscs?" She is shakes her head in quiet confusion -- secretly glad she doesn't have to figure out where we are going to put out a huge movie poster of the Shining.
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Could Carrie White Live In HAVEN ?



Hello. I'm going to talk about this movie as if you've seen it. If "spoilers" make you mad, then don't read this. However, nothing I'm going to say should deter you from watching the film. Just as a movie is never like a book, a blog is never like a movie.
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I bought a Carrie 3 pack at Walmart last night. Carrie, Carrie 2 The Rage and Carrie 2002 TV movie. Of course, the TV movie follows the basic plot of both the original movie and the book. In several instances it draws deeper from the King material than DePalma's. Unfortunately, the DVD has no real special features (other than "More MGM releases." and the Trailer).
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What if. . .
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At the end of the TV movie, Carrie and Sue drive away. That's right! They drive away. . . to where? Some have wondered if this version might have been a prelude to a future series that never happened. (See the Horror Talk review)
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Now, HAVEN is a place where people have these great mental powers and abilities. They go to Haven to get alone. I know I'm making a connection that probably just doesn't exist. . . but wouldn't it be cool if Carrie White lived in Haven? Just say yes, okay.
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2002 Carrie
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I really liked this version of Carrie. It is not a remake of the Brian DePalma classic. No one could compete with that. It just can't be redone. However, for what it is -- a TV movie -- I enjoyed this a lot and it stands on its own two legs.
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The movie is set in the world of 2002. Cars, music, dress and so on reflect a modern time period, instead of the 70's. Nice, since it doesn't harm the story a bit. In fact, Carrie White uses the Internet search engine to research "miracles." Carrie tells her mother, Margaret, that she read something on the Internet. "The Internet!" mother growls. Perfect!
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Several scenes from the book are restored, most notably the meteor showers. When she is born, punished and then toward the end. Also, the line "dirty pillows" is restored. I remember feeling awkward when I read that line as a teen; but it shows just how messed up Margaret White is.
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Mrs. White is not just creepy, she's all out deranged. And what's really scary about this lady is that we all feel like we've known people like her -- or known of people like her. Imagine Westboro Church (the kind people who protest Marine's funerals) meet Stephen King, and WHA-LA -- you have Margaret White.
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As the movie begins, interviews about Carrie are being conducted. I think this is supposed to reflect the tone of the book, which has a lot of documentation to beef up the page count.
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The remembered "plug it up" is replaced with a chant of "period." I know it’s made for TV, but it's not as good.
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School administration is shown in a particularly good light. Not just the teacher, but the principal and other school officials are compassionate, and unusually strong in the face of outright threats. I like it. These people don't fit the mold of what we expect. When the principal confronts Chris Hargensen's father, a lawyer, the results are stirring. It's one of those "OH YEAH" moments.
.If Carrie White and Firestarter got in a fight. . .
The scene where Tommy asks Carrie out to the prom is great. Angela Bettis, who is a fine Carrie throughout, really shines in this scene. Also, the dance with Tommy and Carrie is particularly wrenching. You feel so good for Carrie, finally she is loved and somewhat accepted -- but you know it's all a sham. You hurt for her innocence.
.what if in Haven Carie White found peace?
I particularly like the scene where Carrie loses it. The principal is electrocuted because he's standing in water holding a mike. Blood is everywhere. Doors are locked. One guy loses his arm to a slamming door. And Carrie stands center stage, directing it all as fire rages all around. Totally awesome! Bye Bye school.
.Would you be Carrie White's friend?
A Strong Character
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King once described Paul Sheldon from Misery as stronger than he expected. He said the same about Danny Torrance. I think that's also the case with Carrie. She might seem weak at first glance, but this is a kid who has some pretty deep inner strength. This is only enhanced by the movie.
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Throughout the movie Carrie is a girl who is under tight control. She isn't a babbling idiot, she is simply very guarded. And rightly so. But in almost every scene, it is really Carrie who is in charge. Of course, there are a few notable exceptions for instance, the scene where she gets her first period. However, when Carrie goes home, she confronts her mother. "Why didn't you tell me?" Carrie demands. She is not afraid to contradict her mothers theology. In fact, in one scene she even uses her powers to slam the door in her mother's face. In the end, when the girls think they are in control -- the real result is that everyone else loses control and Carrie stays completely in charge. She moves from the school through the town, knowing exactly what she is doing and how to use her powers to rain down destruction.
.What if Carrie and Danny Torrance got in a fight?
The destruction of the town is another great scene. Power lines fall in front of Carrie's enemies. Vans fly off like cows picked up in a tornado. Fire hydrants unscrew themselves from the cement and explode. And when Billy tries to run Carrie over, he comes within inches of her before hitting an invisible wall. Everything pauses for a moment, and then the car is tossed aside into the trees. This kid is one tough cookie.
.Every school has a Carrie White.
Throughout these scenes, Carrie doesn't just move one object at a time, but the world around her seems to respond to her. The water parts around her. Doors open for her. In her own house, junk steps aside like Moses walking through the sea.
. All of us are a lot like Carrie
What does Carrie do once home? Takes a bath, of course. Fully clothed! Gosh this is good. But even a drop of water is under her spell, seeming to stop mid-air at her simple blink.
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The real surprises come when Mama comes home. So far the stories (book and movie) have all followed the same theme. But this is one place where the DePalma movie wandered from the book. In the movie, Carrie crucified her mother with the kitchen utensils. But the television adaptation has a few surprises of its own at this point. The battle between mama and Carrie is nice -- to say the least! When her mother tries to drown her, Carrie grabs her mother's beating heart -- with her mind.
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The Non-Ending
You expect Carrie to rise up out of the water like the woman from The Shining. But that's not what happens. Instead she is pulled from the water by Sue. But as Carrie stands at her mother's grave -- and her own grave -- we are left to wonder; whose body is in Carrie's grave? Sorry, no hands snaps up out of the grave to pull her down, like in DePalmas rendition.
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Carrie asks, "Where am I going to go?"
Sue says, "I don't know. Somewhere where they don't know you. I'll drive you as far as Florida. then I have to come back."
I wonder if they didn't go to Florida. what if they went to a little town in Maine called Haven?
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OR. . .
Why does she offer to drive her to Florida? Let me suggest this: Sue drove Carrie to Florida because that's where Stephen King lives. Hold on, don't laugh at me. You and I both know from The Song of Susannah that sometimes Stephen King's characters visit him! Who would better protect Carrie than King himself? And what would he do with her? He would take her to a safe place. He would drive her to Haven.
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As Carrie rides away with her friend, the demons she's leaving behind continue to haunt her. She needs a safe place. She needs a town called Haven.
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Soap Box:
There is what I consider a strange flashback toward the beginning of the film. Now, movies do this all the time, but it always irritates me. Carrie flashes back to the day she spotted the neighbor girl sunbathing topless. She is pulled indoors by her mama, and meteors start plummeting from the sky. The camera continues to record what's happening outside. (Remember, this is Carrie's flashback) As meteors begin to shower down, people from the neighborhood are shown gathering outside. But I just don't get it! I'm not being picky, I don't think. How can Carrie remember what people said, what was happening outside, what it looked like -- when she was inside getting whooped by Margaret? I'm not trying to mess movies up for you, but I'm very glad to have that off my chest.
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LINK, Horror Talk Reviews: http://www.horrortalk.com/reviews/Carrie%20(2002)/Carrie%20(2002).htm