Show Me Your Books: Review Of Carrie



Show Me Your Books has a couple of new Stephen King reviews.  They are a look back at two King classics; Carrie and Night Shift.  Both are worth your time!  Show Me Your Books has kindly agreed to let me repost the Carrie review.  I think you'll like it, I did! 

Does the title "Show Me Your Books" remind you to the RatMan in The Stand?  "Bring out your dead!" Only, here it's "Bring out your books!  Bring out your books!"  No?  Oh well, maybe I've overly Kinged up as I await 11/22/63 !

There are a LOT of good reviews at Show Me Your Books.  Check them out here.  The growing list of reviews includes everything from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to H.P. Lovecraft.  Add to that John Saul, Ken Follett, Anne Rice, Bentley Little -- just to list a few.


Stephen King Carrie

Plot:
Carrie may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal ... until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.
My Review and Thoughts:
 
 
Aaaa the birth of the Master of Horror. The very first, one of kind book Carrie published in 1974. The shocking aspect is this was King's fourth novel. It was for a magazine Cavalier and amazingly the first three pages of this book ended up in the garbage thankfully his wife took them out and told him he should finish the story. And so the birth of Carrie and the birth of a published master started.
 
 
This was the third Stephen King book I read when I first started getting into his writing. The first being IT and the second being Night Shift. I first read Carrie in 1989 and decided to give it another go because of the new cover released by AnchorBooks and felt it needed to be reviewed for Horror Fiction Reviews and I wanted to adventure again into classic King at his best.
 
 
I can't say enough about this book because I was a mistreated child and bullied in school, beat, made fun of and basically destroyed in many ways and so I looked at Carrie as a somewhat fantasy and savior due to the fact Carrie fights back and I wished during those horrible school times to be able to have those powers and fight back against those who enjoyed destroying me. The whole book is a powerful written story of horrifying chills that grabs the reader and shakes them violently into the story placing you there in all the wonderful amazing masterpiece word play that is throughout.
 
 
A perfect haunting masterpiece of eerie atmospheres, characters and a deep thick storyline that plays inside the readers head. Pure imagination runs wild in this book, King's powerful imagination flows upon the page and out upon the reader.
 
 
If you think you know Carrie because you have watched the movie or the mini-series then you don't know Carrie and you are not a true Stephen King fan or horror fiction fan unless you have read this book. The book has a lot more story, back story and also the aftermath. The book is a flawless example of what to do to create a perfect flowing book. Carrie reeks with images and emotions that the reader becomes apart of in many priceless ways.
 
 
This is a book that stands the test of time and is a as good in the 70's as much as it is today. The characters are flawless. Momma is one of the greatest fictional lunatics to ever grace the written page and is a character that haunts you and sticks with you as a truly insane person and pure evil in herself and her ways. Her parts are so well written you get thick emotions such as anger and hate toward her as you read showing the talent of the master craftsmanship of the writing skill put into this book.
 
 
Like I say no true horror fan or Stephen King fan can get away with saying yeah they know Carrie because of the movie, that's an insult to the power of this book and also to the world of written fiction, taking a movie in the place of the original concept. The movie yes is good but strays on my things, from Carrie's childhood to her true self, the movie changes her image all together, she looks nothing like what the movie betrays.
 
 
This is a power book that after reading it again after 21 years it still works in all it's original ways. A flawless book of characters, situations and horror. A pure tour-de-force of written quality that only a master storyteller can create.
 
 
Like I say if you think you know Carrie because of the movie, your all wrong. The movie is great and the acting is flawless but the book and movie are really two different entities in there own ways. The book has the back story, the different prom ordeal, the showdown between Momma and Carrie is different, Carrie not only takes out the prom kids she takes out the whole town in one climatic showdown that has to be read to understand even the ending of the book is different and might I add a flawless classic ending. This is a flawless book, a masterpiece of written word. A true powerful example of how to write a lasting book that still holds up today as it did then.
 
 
A must read, must own.

Genre Busters



In the recent Wall Street Journal interview, King said that 11/22/63 was so different for him that it was like trying to break in a new pair of shoes.  We all know that King thrives in the horror genre, but his writing has never been limited to horror alone. 

I think it is important to note that King often mixes genre's.  Don't be surprised to find sci-fi dancing with horror while it holds hands with a bit of romance.  I mean, Christine was described as a love triangle!  And what was Lisey's story?

The Dark Tower was a dark version of The Lord of the Rings.  It involved Romance, Horror, lots of Fantasy, Drama, Action Adventure and more.

Under mystery, there was Umley's Last case and that strange novel Haven.  I'm not sure Haven was really a mystery, since the mystery was never solved!  (Or did I miss something?)

Here is my top ten Stephen King genre busters.

1. COMING OF AGE: The Body. I think this one falls under "Drama."  Or Coming of Age.  Whatever it was, I liked it.

2. DRAMA: The Shawshank Redemption.  A prison break without a ghost in sight. 

3. SCI-FI: The Tommyknockers.  This long, very unusual novel was sci-fi.  I think.  Was it?  Yes, definitely.  Maybe.

4. APCALYPTIC: The Stand.  While the Stand contains elements of horror, I think one reason it took the world by storm is because it was so unexpected from the young Stephen King.  It falls under the rather strange category of apocalyptic.

5. ?  Rage.  While all of the Bachman books break type in some way, there will never again be another book quite like Rage.  It reminds me of an extreme Catcher In The Rye.  It is both insightful, prophetic and flat out scary.

6. SCI-FI: From A Buick 8.  Sci-fi all the way, with the added bonus of multiple points of view.  It was a very unique novel that seems overlooked in the King canon.  For all the King adaptations that have suddenly become so popular, where is this one?  I'm afraid it's simply seen as a "Christine part 2" for those who don't know what it's really about.

7. FANTASY: The Eyes Of The Dragon.  A children's book that was much more than a children's book.  It falls neatly under the category of dark fantasy.

8. DRAMA: The Green Mile.  yes, there are dead people here, and violence, but the novel is really about a healer and the man who is required to put him to death.  So what is it?  Drama? 

9. SUSPENSE: Dolorores Claiborne.  A rambling confession takes all kinds of suspenseful turns.  And that's what I think it is. . . suspense.   What if a woman who got away with a murder was now accused of a murder she was actually innocent of?  I like it!  The novel is never really a "mystery" since we know from the start who done it!  This is also unique because it is a woman's first person narrative.  "How does he know what women are thinking?" My wife often asks, noting how strong King's female characters often are.

10. SUSPENSE: Misery.  It was originally slated to be a Bachman novel, but then someone turned the lights on Mr. King and outed him.  Anyway, Misery is almost 100% suspense.  It's the kind of stuff Hitchcock would have loved. 
The really nice thing about a Stephen King novel is that none of them fall neatly into the parameters of normal genres.  King is more focused on telling the story than he is interested in shaping it to fit neatly into a publishers box.  Proof positive that he is not the "hack" that mean spirited, usually jealous people accuse him of being.  He's not churning out cheap novels, he's telling rich stories that build on well developed characters and a variety of genre's.

Feel free to post your own list.

Wall Street Journal: 11/22/63 Is A Deeply Researched Novel

Everett Collection (4); Associated Press (Oswald); iStockphoto (frames, wallpaper)
online.wsj.com

Alexandra Altar has a fantastic, and thorough article about Stephen King in the Wall Street Journal.  Altar calls 11/22/63 a "deeply researched, something he's never done before."

King described writing historical fiction  "Like learning to wear a new pair of shoes."  Altar says that King has grown "increasingly private" but in person he appears "relaxed, profane and unguarded, discussing everything from his love of dogs, especially corgis, to his aversion to cell phones, which he called "slave bracelets." Eating a cinnamon bun in his kitchen, he spoke about how his sons Joe and Owen, both writers, tend to show their manuscripts to their mother rather than him."

The New Stephen King:

King reveals in the interview that he hopes this novel will reach a new -- wider -- audience.   Altar quotes King, "This might be a book where we really have a chance to get an audience who's not my ordinary audience.  Instead of people who read horror stories, people who read 'The Help' or 'People of the Book' might like this book, if they can get the message." 

Scribner is seeking to "rebrand" King, Altar says, aiming at history buffs.  Does that mean constant readers are likely to walk away?  No way!  Most of us don't read King just for the scares, we read him because no one else in the world can tell a story the way he does.  His -- voice -- speaks to us in a way no one else really does.  That doesn't mean we only read King, but it does mean that for many of us, only King consistently connects with us.

If anyone is actually concerned King is making too big a break with horror, remember, he is currently writing a sequel to The Shining!

In the research process, Altar reveals that King had dinner with Doris Kearns Goodwin -- the author of one of my favorite books, Team of Rivals.  Team Of Rivals tells the story of Lincoln's cabinet, how they didn't get along, and the presidents ability to benefit from a very diverse group of people.

35 years in the making:

Everyone is always interested in where an idea came from.  So. . . where did 11/22/63 come from? 
Altar says the idea for the novel "first struck him in 1973, when he was on the brink of publishing his first novel, "Carrie," about a bullied teenage girl with psychic powers. At the time, Mr. King felt the historical novel required too much research, and greater literary chops than he possessed. Though Mr. King doesn't keep a writer's notebook—"The good ideas stick," he said—the idea lingered for 35 years."

Altar promises that though this is new ground for King, it still bears many of his trademarks.   She calls it "ultra-violent" and suspenseful with "supernatural overtones."  I think what many of us like about King is not just that he is violent or supernatural -- it's that he's not afraid to let the story take any turn it needs to.  He doesn't kill people just for the sake of killing them -- that would be Richard Laymon!  But he has no fear of letting to story take the path it needs to without his own self imposed limitations.

11/22/63 Connects To IT !

Altar also reveals that the new novel contains some characters from IT.  It would actually be unusual for King not to connect a novel to his other works.

The article is here.  Be sure to watch the video as well as read the article.

Club Stephen King Contest !



http://quotes.club-stephenking.fr/contest

Club Stephen King has topped 10,000 followers on twitter!  Join the updates and you'll also be able to get in on their current contest. 

Here's the links -- have fun!

Haunting Of The Stanley Hotel



The Stanley Hotel is a popular topic at Halloween time.  Rebecca Pittman has written a book titled, "The History and Haunting of the Stanley Hotel."

411 Mania Goes Stephen King List Crazy



411 Mania loves making list!  Their Five by Five Halloween (HERE) has several Stephen King hits. 

The Shining comes in #4 on their scariest movies of all time list.  #4 ain't bad. . . but I don't understand how they didn't see Sleepwalkers truly is the scariest movie ever.  Anyway, about the Shining: "The Shining is our most recent entry onto the list. Though hated by its creator, Stephen King , it's beloved by just about everyone else. If it's not Jack Nicholson's most memorable performance, it's right up there. There are so many images from this film that will never be forgotten…."

Under "FIVE FILMS NOTICEABLY ABSENT" Stephen King's Misery rides in at #3.

And then they have an entire 5 best Stephen King films. 
 1. The Shining
2.
Pet Sematary
3. Carrie
4. Creepshow
5. Salem's Lot

I find this list a little odd, but I don't think anyone would argue with The Shining as the top choice whether King likes it or not. Again, the film focuses on Jack Torrance as the main antagonist as opposed to the hotel itself, but I think there's enough there that we know the hotel is pretty freaking evil and is behind most of what Jack is doing. Not King's best book, but I've got no argument against it being his best horr movie…..I am glad that Pet Sematary made the list. It is extremely underrated as a horror book and film. I think it's overlooked because it was put out during that time where King books weren't getting good treatment on the big screen and it's kind of thrown in that mix unfairly. Miko Hughes is amazing for being as young as he was…..I don't think any list of King's would be complete without Carrie. The star aligned just right for this one, making a horror classic.  King movies started out so good. What happen in the 80s?.....I like Creepshow. Do I think it should be rated higher than the likes of Cujo, The Mist , Misery, Secret Windo or Silver Bullet? Probably not, but that's my personal opinion. King, himself, gives a nice performance in Creepshow. A solid film, no doubt…..A strange flick rounds us out as Salem's Lot was originally a TV movie and it's not even close to the best thing King has had on TV. I'd put The Stand, IT, Storm of the Century , Rose Red, Kingdom Hospital and Sometimes They Come Back all out in front of it. Somebody liked it enough to give it this many points!

Amber Grey: There's Something About Carrie

I enjoyed this article by Amber Grey -- you will, too.  Reposted from bellaonline.com with permission.  Thank you, Amber!



There's Something About Carrie
by Amber Grey
BellaOnline's Classic Film Editor


In horror films, fear is a universal feeling, which is what makes them fun to watch over and over again. Everyone has a favorite movie that gives them a special thrill and chill that can only happen while watching a horror film. But sometimes horror films, good horror films, can generate other feelings and "Carrie" (1976) is one of those films. If you were the outcast in high school, you felt sympathy for her and admittedly felt a little sinister towards the infamous prom scene when she sets the school's gymnasium on fire with her telekinesis powers.

Carrie's creator was the legendary Stephen King who published the novel when he was just twenty-six years old. Initially, when King finished the novel, he threw it away. He was completely convinced that it was an atrocious story. But it was his wife who rescued it and encouraged him to see if he could publish it. Hence, "Carrie" became his first published novel. Although, Carrie is described in the novel as a blond with acne and slightly overweight. However, in the movie's script, Carrie is painfully thin with dirty blonde hair to suggest a person of naive fragility.

It was suggested by Jack Fisk, the film's cinematographer and Sissy Spacek's husband, that Spacek audition for the role. However, Spacek failed to accurately impress the director, Brian De Palma and was cast as playing Christine, the leader of the pack who harasses Carrie throughout the film. Spacek, who was not one to take rejection lightly, went for a second audition. Only this time, Spacek went without make-up, applied Vaseline to her hair and wore a sailor dress her mother had made for her in the 7th grade. No doubt, her appearance enhanced her portrayal because Spacek won the role.

The then-27 year old actress was very committed to the role; so committed that she admitted to being comfortable with having actual pig's blood being used if so needed for the climactic prom scene. However, a substitute of corn syrup and food coloring was used instead of real blood. In the final scene where Carrie reaches up and grabs Sue's hand, Spacek also insisted for it to be her hand that reaches up and grab actress, Amy Irving's hand. Director Brian De Palma wanted to use a stunt person but could not argue with her, so he had Spacek's husband bury her deep enough to thrust her hand through a box.

With such a break-out debut as "Carrie", Spacek was on Hollywood's radar after the film's opening. Along with her co-star Piper Laurie, both actresses were nominated for Academy Awards for their roles. Eight years later, Spacek would win the Academy Award for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980).

In 2010, with rumors of a remake striking every media outlet in Hollywood, Lindsay Lohan was mentioned as one to play the title role. While Stephen King was against the possible remake, Spacek approved of Lohan's casting. Despite her approval, further production news of a remake has not been updated.

Road To The Dark Tower Turns Toward HBO

Speaking with MTV News at the "Tower Heist", Brian Grazer revealed that "The Dark Tower" is still very much on track.  In fact, HBO has come on board. 

This is from the MTV Movie Blog

Bag Of Bones Read-Along



Castle Macabre has stated a Bag Of Bones read along.  Want to get the book knocked out before the mini-series spills all the surprises?  This is your chance to spend some time at the house by the lake.  Oh, by the way, it's haunted.

Taking from Castle Macabre post. . .

Here's how it will work
Each week we will read approximately 125 pages (give or take), beginning on Sunday and posting thoughts/discussion on Saturday. Now, I know weekends are busy so if you're a couple of days late posting, that's absolutely no problem (if you don't have a blog, feel free to post your thoughts in the comments). Please stop by and leave the link to your post in the comments. Also, feel free to comment on my post.  Castle Macabre
 
Here is the schedule:
  • November 13-19--Chapter 1 - 9
  • November 20-26--Chapter 10 - 15
  • November 27-December 3--Chapter 16 - 21
  • December 4-10--Chapter 22 - End

In Search Of A "GREEN" Pet Sematary



The Miami Herald has an . . . interesting . . . question and answer in their "enviroment" section.  I'll post the question, and part of the answer, but you really should check out the whole thing over at Miami Herald.  Enjoy! 
Q: Much to my boyfriend's chagrin, at around this time of year I unearth my ever-expanding collection of horror movies. First up to bat is an old favorite, the 1989 adaptation of Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" (here's guessing I'll be having nightmares about Zelda for the next three weeks). Since last watching it, I've adopted two pet kitties that I love very much so I'm guessing, as a new pet owner, I'll be viewing the movie from a slightly different perspective. This isn't to say that if something horrible happens to Merle and Mona I'll be so overcome with grief that I'd consider throwing 'em in a burlap sack and heading on over to the local cursed Indian burial ground in hopes they'll be resurrected as zombie kittens. What I'm wondering is if there are any natural - and non-supernatural - burial alternatives for dearly departed pets? I know eco-sensitive burial methods are increasingly popular with humans, but what about for pets?
Here is the beginning of Matt Hickman's answer.
Funny you mention "Pet Sematary." I watched it at way too young of an age and convinced myself that the pet gerbils I had wrapped up in Kleenex and buried in the backyard of my childhood home would come back to life ... to get me. Thank goodness Teddy the family Shih Tzu was cremated and placed in a decorative urn on the mantle. Even my overactive imagination knew that there was no way that Teddy could come back - mad, mangy and with a chip on his furry little shoulder.
We are then given a guided tour of the nations green friendly pet burial options.  Ever tried ""Bio Cremation"?  I LIKE IT!  I LIKE IT A LOT!  Best of all, we are introduced to The Green Pet-Burial Society.

Anyone considered the Trashcan Man's method of pet burial?  I believe it is cremation -- but unclear on how Bio Friendly it is.

And to think, when I was ten, we just buried our dog in the back yard.

Now, for most of history animals have died in the wild, with no concern that the disposal of their bodies might not be eco friendly.  Maybe it's not the humans who are causing global warming, huh! Maybe it's all those careless animals, dying and not making sure they have a green burial. 

Yummy!

Tower Movie Reappears On The Horizon



Brian Grazer, producer of "The Dark Tower" movies and screen writer Akiva Goldsman, along with Ron Howard, have not given up on their pursuit of The Tower! 

THE PLAYLIST caught up with Brian Grazer and learned that there is yet hope for the dark tower.  As the Playlist reports, the budget has been "shaved." 
Grazer says, “We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending."   
The Playlist also quotes him as saying, “In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”
So. . . uhhh, the ending is better with the smaller budget?  Lost me on that one!  Of course, the book ends very much like it starts, so if the movie follows that path -- it certainly cuts down on budget!

The Plalist also notes that "with Javier Bardem still attached in the lead role of Roland Deschain, and with a scaled down budget, financing will likely be much easier to pull together and perhaps we’ll see The Dark Tower kicked back to life sooner than we thought."

DVD Verdict: IT



Patrick Naugle at DVD Verdict has posted a very strong, insightful review of the IT mini-series.  I like the format DVD Verdict takes; it's kind of a "Judge Dread" approach -- they build the case and render the verdict themselves. 

I agree with all of Naugle's conclusions!  I enjoyed the mini-series, but as I mentioned before, I was dismayed when my young children enjoyed it.  They're suppsed to be scared, not excited! 

Naugle brings up some issues I had not considered.  We all know about the small budget, the lame special effects and the made for TV limitations; but Naugle digs a layer deeper into the acting itself.  He gives Harry Anderson, Tim Curry and John Ritter high marks, but no such luck for Richard Thomas.  I had never thought about how much I don't like Thomas in this role!  But he's right, it doesn't work at all!  And I really like Richard Thomas -- usually. 

What Naugle misses is just how good the child actors are.  I find myself very engaged when the kids are on screen, and yawning when the adults take their turn.  Yet, it's the adult actors we remember; could it be because they're the ones who dropped the ball.  Maybe not the actors, maybe the adult story is not as interesting.  Either way, IT is about children, and in the mini-series, the children shine (and float!).

Check it out here: DVD review of IT

King's "The Dune" to appear in GRANTA

picture credit: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

Bob Minzesheimer at USA TODAY has some pretty exciting news: Granta, the London-based quarterly, has gotten Stephen King to "headline" an issue pandering to the literary side of horror.

Included will be "The Dune", a short story by Stephen King.  The Dune is about a 90-year-old retired judge who harbors a big secret about a tiny no-name island off the coast of Florida.   Minzesheimer gives a very nice summery of the story HERE.    The heart of this story?  Well it's about a dude who can read obituaries . . . IN ADVANCE!  The Dune is a perfect offering, since Minzesheimer explains that the horror is "psychological" more than blood and guts.

Also included will be stories by Don DeLillo, Paul Auster, Joy Williams and Mark Doty.

The choice for Stephen King is explained thusly: "Stephen King is a not only a great short story writer, but simply an important planet in our literary cosmos. In his best work he weaves all these elements of horror -- the metaphysical fear, the moral expulsions, and the formal machinery that evokes our fears so that we can exorcise them -- into one story. There's a reason why writers like David Foster Wallace cite him: he makes it look easy."

I can't wait!

THANKS TO BRYANT BURNETTE

I Don't Want Be Buried In The Pet Sematary



Huntsville Times staffer Neil Adams is posting a series titled "13 days of Halloween musical countdown" every day until Halloween.  Al.com explains that the post are certain "to warm the cobweb-matted corners of your heart."  I LIKE IT!

Today's offering, "The Ramones offer some burial tips."

Adams writes,
"The Stephen King novel out-creeped the movie it spawned, but the Ramones provided a highly memorable song for the film's soundtrack. The book/movie/song combo is enough to make you think twice about what you bury and -- especially -- where you bury it."
As for the video, it includes more than a dash of 1980s kitsch, but encasing the Ramones in a burial vault near the clip's end is a nice touch (as are Dee Dee's wicked spider bass and Uncle Stevie's cameo). If there's a rock 'n' roll heaven, it's a shame most of the group already is jamming there. The Ramones were a band that deserved to live forever. One way or another.
The full set of posts are here.

Could Ben Affleck Direct THE STAND ?



Mike Fleming at Deadline is reporting that Warner Brothers has chosen Ben Affleck to direct its feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s epic tome The Stand

Fleming notes that with The Town and Gone Baby Gone, Affleck has shown the grit necessary to handle such an unforgettable tale. It’s early days, but the studio loves Affleck, who’s now directing Argo.

That's all folks.

A Disciplined Writer

Jocelyn K. Glei at the the99percent.com has an interesting article titled "The Cure for Creative Blocks? Leave Your Desk."  I like articles where you don't have to do a lot of guessing what they're going to be about!  So no real summery here, Glei writes about getting away from your writing station.

She writes this about Stephen King's very disciplined routine:
Everyday between 8:00 and 8:30am writer Stephen King arrives at his desk with a cup of tea. He turns on some music, takes his daily vitamin, and begins to work – exactly as he began the day before. Using this routine, King has produced well over 50 books, averaging 1-2 novels a year since 1974 when he published CarrieFull Article Here

New Robert McCammon video interview



FIVE NEW EBOOKS ABOUT STEPHEN KING



What do you more own of. . . books by Stephen King, or books about Stephen King?  If you're books about Stephen King shelf is pretty bare, it's time to stock up!  Kevin Quigley at Charnel House has written five books about Stephen King -- all of them fascinating. 

I was first introduced to Quigley through Charnel House.  I was really impressed when I read Drawn Into Darkness (which was signed, by the way!)  Quigley's work is will researched.  He stays right on topic, moving smoothly from subject to subject, never blathering, but always offering substance. 

There is exciting news today: Five of Quigley's chapbooks have been released as ebooks from cemetery dance.  Also, "Blood in your ears" is being released before the print version!

Quigley notes at his website that he has worked diligently to keep the books as current as possible.  He writes, "all have new material and new information. Plus, best news: they are ALL available for only 99 cents, and ALL come in both Kindle and ePub format. No matter what e-reader you prefer, these books are perfect!"

The five books available are:
  • INK IN THE VEINS
  • BLOOD IN YOUR EARS
  • CHART OF DARKNESS
  • WETWARE
  • DRAWN INTO DARKNESS
Check out Charnel House for a full rundown on each book.  I already bought mine. . . wouldn't want them to run out of stock.  Besides, it's a first edition. . .

Buy the five at Amazon here.

Duma Key Journal 4



I finished Duma Key the other day, via audio book.  I enjoyed the book quite a bit. 

A few final notes:

1. The writing is consistently strong throughout.  The book is definitely horror.  It is not a novel that contains elements of horror, it is horror.  The book builds in ever mounting dread.  King brilliantly foreshadows the coming events, highlighting what is to come without giving the story away.

2. Art.  There's a lot of talk about art here.  It is in art that Edgar finds freedom and real brilliance.  Unfortunately, his most inspired paintings are also haunted -- and dangerous..As King discusses art, you often get the feeling he's really talking about writing.

There is so much attention given to paintings that I wish the book was illustrated!  I would like to see these brilliant paintings.  Obviously, the book cover gives us an idea of the central panting, but even that was just one in a series. 

3. Length.  Duma Key is a long novel.  Is it too long?  I don't know.  I enjoyed it all.  I find it interesting when people complain about a books length.  Are we in a hurry to finish?  Why not take your time, enjoy the ride!  I only object to a books length when it drags.  Duma Key does slow down, but I don't think it drags.

A lot of background information is giving to secondary characters.  Not just to the history of Duma Key, which is necessary to the story and unveiled very late in the novel, but to Edgar's friends and family.  I like this extra layer of texture that King gives novels.  Again, if you want a short hit and run story, either read King's novella's or read someone else.  He seems to relish in taking his time, and some of us love it!  In other words, bring on them mega books, Mr. King!

4. Money.  Once again, our lead character doesn't need to worry about money, he's filthy rich.  So rich, he can throw money at every problem that comes his way -- almost.  Though it works for this book, the rich lead character is getting thin for me. 

I enjoyed the more middle class (or dead broke) characters who inhabited Christine, Cujo, The Stand and Carrie.  The money is a sign that these characters are super successful, moving them a degree beyond the normal constant reader.  However, King identifies more deeply now with the very rich, very successful Edgar Freemantal's.  Again, this works in Duma Key.  It would have been difficult to get Carrie White on a secluded private island.

Duma Key's strength: Characters.
Duma Key's weakness: I can't think of any.

McCammon Releases ebooks


Open Road Media has released nine of Robert McCammon's books as ebooks.  Exciting news!  Now, about that Swan Song audio. . .

Here's the press release:
Open Road Media is pleased to announce the publication of nine terrifying tales by New York Times bestselling master of horror Robert R. McCammon, including Swan Song, his first novel to win the coveted Bram Stoker Award. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, McCammon, an Alabama native, contributed significantly to the reemergence of the horror genre by crafting intense, character-driven narratives that blended elements of magical realism, science fiction, fantasy, and Southern gothic literature. McCammon’s wonderfully ambitious Swan Song tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which a girl with psychic abilities struggles to evade a mysterious force intent on destroying all remaining traces of beauty and hope. The novel is regarded as a horror classic in the same league as Stephen King’s The Stand. Recently Amazon.com called it “a monster of a horror book, brimming over with stories and violence and terrific imagery—God and the Devil, the whole works.”
You can get Swan Song on Kindle here at Amazon.


THE FIVE on King's Summer Reading List:
From robertmccammon.com

King briefly included Mccammon's new book "The Five" in his June 3, 2011 summer reading list.  King wrote in Entertainment Weekly, The Five isn’t just Robert McCammon’s best novel in years; it’s his best novel ever. Terrifying, suspenseful, unputdownable, and full of rock and roll energy. It’s also uplifting, a book you’ll finish feeling better about your world, your friends, and your music. Here’s one you’ll beg friends to read.”

Five McCammon Novels Worth Adapting
And while we're on the subject of Robert Mccammon, I really enjoyed the article at Shock Till You Drop titled "Five Robert McCammon Novels Hollywood Should Be Adapting." 

After listing the five novels he thinks should be headed to the screen, Ryan Turek shares, "These are just my own personal selections I'd like to see brought to the screen. Frank Darabont has been trying to get an adaptation of "Mine" off the ground for years. "Swan Song" and "Baal" might be a fan faves, but I don't know if a filmmaker can properly pull these off."

Anna Adams: "My Life In Horror" Creepshow

I really enjoyed Anna Adams "My Life In Horror: Creepshow."  In fact, I think this is one of the best reviews of this film I've seen.  It's both energetic and personal.  In fact, the review alone makes me want to watch the film again.

Originally posted HERE.  She graciously allowed me to repost her article here.  THANK YOU!

Adams writes about film and television and is admirer of all things Kubrick, Tarantino, and LOST. She received her BA in Cinema Studies from The University of Minnesota.

You're gonna like this. . .

MY LIFE IN HORROR: CREEPSHOW


I saw the box for this film back when Terry's Holiday Market in Olivia was still Tersteeg's, and had a VHS selection for rental at the front of the store. Now that I think about it, it was an extremely effective setup for parents---instead of begging for candy bars, we'd always just bolt over to the videos to check out the boxes, and this one was a jackpot. I wanted to see it simply on the strength of the front cover: the little theater skeleton hanging out of the box office, cautioning us, "the most fun you'll ever have . . . BEING SCARED!" I have to agree; this film is seriously one of the most fun in my collection.

Creepshow, 1982. Directed by George Romaro

Comics! This is a collection of short stories written by Stephen King, directed by George Romaro, done in comic-book style. Could there be anything better? The structuring of each of the five stories was great, especially how each scene was illustrated, in comic format, and then faded in exactly, with the actors and setting matching the comic perfectly. Every now and then there's a comic-style wipe or dissolve--- it's crafty. The casting was excellent with many respectable actors taking part (Hal Holbrook, Fritz Weaver, Leslie Nielsen, a young Ed Harris just to name a few) and music was perfect, especially the eerie and emotional piano instrumentals. This is a well-written, entertaining (and yes, occasionaly frightening) experience, this film. Since it's composed of five short story segments, let's just break each one down, shall we?

Father's Day: An overwhelmed Bedelia bashes her father's head in with an ashtray on father's day; Father comes back from the grave gargling up dirt, insisting, "I want my cake." For superficial reasons, I really liked this. I always thought Cass, the niece with the brown, permed hair, white jeans, shirt opened three buttons and lots of necklaces, was extremely pretty. Her dancing? Not as pretty, but bad, eighties, and fun ("Don't let go, don't let go, don't let go!") Ed Harris meets an unfortunate end but I really loved the splat sound the grave made when it plopped on him. Nice seeing some of his early work. And the fact that the rotten old father-corpse really did just want a cake, and used the other aunt's head for it, complete with frosting and candles? I wonder if all child-horror fans giggled as much as my brother and I did over it . . . "It's Father's Day, and I GOT MY CAKE!"

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill: Man finds meteor in back yard, touches it, and turns into a weed. I know this wasn't the best in the bunch, but there are some good things about it. For one, I thought King was just fine in his role, he was a goofy dork, just like he was supposed to be! My very favorite scenes in this were some of the lines, "I'll be dipped in shit if that ain't a meteor!" and "METEOR SHIT!" Also the imagined antics in the doctor's office (after his fingers start to turn green) make me giggle every time. That doctor, wheeling by on the stool? "This is going to be extremely painful, Mr. Verrill" running his finger up the blade of the knife, and the random skeleton just hovering around on its own, apparently also on wheels? It was fun (for a while). Ending is kind of sad, but what else was going to happen with a title like that?

Something to Tide You Over: Husband punishes his cheating wife and lover by burying them in the sand at high tide. Fine, I guess. Good use of "Camptown Races" in a minor key, and giving a murderer his come-uppance, but probably my least favorite of all of them. The part where Harry (Ted Danson) is shown under water, holding his breath, has always been disturbing for me. Really, you let someone talk you into burying yourself up to the chin in sand? That had to be a little claustrophobic, even acting it. On an unrelated note, sometimes it's hard for me to accept Leslie Nielsen as anything other than Frank Drebbin, despite having played some real a-holes in his career. The scene where Nielsen is at home, anticipating and jumping at noises has always been difficult for me to watch---being home alone is still one of my very least favorite things, especially at night (even though I haven't ever buried anyone in the sand).

The Crate: An ancient hell-monkey is found in a crate; it starts eating everyone. This one terrified me the first time I watched it. In fact, I'm quite sure that my brother, my best friend, and I watched this right up to janitor getting gobbled and then shut it off, unable to go any further with it. Granted, I was probably ten, but I still remember being rattled to hell. And while I do still find it scary, I really got into the whole nagging wife aspect (personified by Adrienne Barbeau) this time around ---"just call me Billy, everyone does!"--- thinking that this idea had to have been born from a random experience of King's concerning some professor's horrid wife and what in the name of God could he do to be free of her? (!) I dug it. There's some nice acting in this one, and the players really had great chemistry together. "He wanted to examine the bite marks . . . I GUESS HE GOT HIS CHAAAAAAAAANCE!!!!"

They're Creeping Up on You: An unpleasant man in a germ-proof apartment is carried away by a not entirely undeserved roach infestation. Again, not the strongest selection in the group, but a worthy one, I think. Not a great experience for claustrophobics, though. Or probably any other phobics, come to think of it. Roaches are awful, even in the damned gutter, but inside your cereal box? (shudder). What I liked best about this is something extremely random, but the way everyone's voices were so distinctive and different. The wife of the man who shot himself on the telephone, she kind of sounded like Ann Margaret or Phyllis Diller maybe, sharp, raspy, and angry . . . and the maintenance man, slow and smooth, through the peep hole in the door; "Oh y e s, Mr. Pratt!" E.G. Marshall was perfectly cast. Can't think of a worse way to die, though. "What happened, bugs got your tongue?" (spastic shudder).
Beheadings, overgrown weeds, drownings, maniacal monkeys, and roaches. There really is something for every horror fan in this collection, and I highly recommend it. Also (just found this out today), the casting of Little Billy, the child in the film's opening whose comic these stories are taken from, is quite interesting. Do you suppose scary stories had any effect on *that* particular actor . . . (?!)

Creepshow: The Most Fun You'll Have Being Scared!



I really like Anna Adams article "My Life In Horror: Creepshow."  Article HERE

Before giving a more detailed (an energetic) review of Creepshow, Adams opens with this:

I saw the box for this film back when Terry's Holiday Market in Olivia was still Tersteeg's, and had a VHS selection for rental at the front of the store. Now that I think about it, it was an extremely effective setup for parents---instead of begging for candy bars, we'd always just bolt over to the videos to check out the boxes, and this one was a jackpot. I wanted to see it simply on the strength of the front cover: the little theater skeleton hanging out of the box office, cautioning us, "the most fun you'll ever have . . . BEING SCARED!" I have to agree; this film is seriously one of the most fun in my collection.
About his role in this film, King recently said in the TCM documentary "The Horrors Of Stephen King" that he is not a fan of his own acting.  In fact, he goes so far as to say he should have stopped acting at the level of community theater!  Oh well, I also enjoy this movie.  My like for Creepshow is ever growing.

Youtube: Making Bag Of Bones


I like this a lot!  Here's why:
  • The tone looks truly spooky.
  • The spooks are nasty lookin'!
  • The mini-series gives the story room to breath.
  • Grarris is very faithful to King's work.

CHARNEL HOUSE new comic section


I really like the new quick-list Comics section at Charnel House.  Who better to ut this together than Kevin Quigley?!  Check it out at charnelhousesk.com.

Behind The Scenes: Bag Of Bones


www.liljas-library.com is directing readers to Stephen King's website for a behind the scenes peak at the A&E mini-series, "Bag Of Bones."

The four hour mini-series, which stars Pierce Brosnan, will air over two nights, December 11 and 12 at 9pm.  It is directed by King veteran Mick Garris.  Brosnan describes the special effects as "brilliant."  Like most clips of this nature, we get a lot of glimpses of the film itself, and it looks great!  In fact, it appears Garris is leaning toward the all out scary. 

King's website gives the following description of the mini-series:
“Bag of Bones” is a ghost story of grief and lost love's enduring bonds, about an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Melissa George (“In Treatment”), Annabeth Gish (“Brotherhood”), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), William Schallert (“The Patty Duke Show”), Jason Priestley (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) and Caitlin Carmichael (“True Blood”) also star. 
Check out the video posted at stephenking.com.  There is an official site at: www.aetv.com/bag-of-bones

DVD Verdict: Review of 1408



HERE is a recent review of 1408 two disc collectors set by DVD Verdict.  I like this website, because their reviews are very thorough. 

This is good, and pretty well cuts right to the chase:

The scene between Enslin and Mr. Olin, which was a major part of King's story, is great fun to watch. Cusack and Jackson play well off each other, and hearing Jackson recount the room's bloody history is downright bone-chilling (though, let's face it, he could read lunch specials off the hotel's menu and I'd be just as enthralled). Everything leading up to Enslin actually entering the room establishes a feeling of mounting dread. The set-up is, unfortunately, so strong the film's eventual reveals can't help but disappoint.


Read the entire review, I really like the format that DVD Verdict uses.

The REVISED Stephen King Companion


In 1995, George Beahm offered a massive revision of his 1998 Stephen King Companion.  The changes are so significant, I think it counts as an all together different book.  The cover boasts "80% new material."  I think that's conservative!  Some formatting is the same, but the content is vastly different from the original work.

As with the original, I like this offering very much.  It does not hold for me the charm of the original, since I only recently purchased it, so much of it was already outdated.  What took me so long?  Well, first I didn't know it existed.  then I doubted it could really be all that "new." 

Internet -- Companion Book -- what's the difference?

My friend, Bryant Burnette, put his finger on the real joy of these books about Stephen King in his recent response to a post.  Burnette wrote, "In the internet age, it is easy to forget -- or to never know in the first place -- just how difficult it could be for fans to learn about their favorite artists. It doesn't make either of us sound old to point that out; it just makes us sound like we accurately remember what the world used to be like before the Internet made information-gathering so much easier. (For the record: it's better WITH the Internet; there was a lot of charm to be had in finding books like Beahm's, but I'll take the way we do it today every time!)"

Even in the age of super-high-speed Internet, I still love the companion books.  All of them!  How are they different from websites?  Well, websites release the most current news, one blurb at a time.  There is something special about sitting and reading article after article by various authors about Stephen King's work.

Okay, What's Inside?

The format is the same as the original.  However, besides that, it is largely a brand new book (brand new in its time, that is).  One of my favorite parts is the short book by book summery and analysis by Michael R. Collings.  Unlike the previous companion, which presented this information in alphabetical order, this book is chronological. 

The book has so many sections written by different authors, it appears Mr. beahm served primarily as an extended editor.  I like this, as it allows different people to speak in the area of their expertise. 

There is an interview with Clive Barker that was previously not included in the original book.  Beahm explains that he had conducted the interview in hopes of getting it int he original Companion book, but it came together too late.  Beahm explains:
Naturally, interviewing Barker was a priority for the original version of the Stephen King companion, but his schedule was such that when we finally conducted the interview -- by phone, long distance from Virginia to London -- the Stephen King Companion's contents had been finalized, and the following interview could not be squeezed in, making an already big book even bigger.  
 What was cleaned out of this edition appears to be primarily contact information that would quickly become outdated (addresses, phone numbers and so on).  It actually makes the book feel more professional!

There is also a nice interview with Start Tinker of Betts Bookstore.  Beahm and Tinker would later work together to produce a book titled "Stephen King Collectibles."

As with the original Stephen King companion, I have no complaints!  I thoroughly love this offering, and only wish Beahm had continued to give us Stephen King companion books.  One about ever five years would be nice!

The Stephen King Companion


I love this book! 

My tattered copy of George Beahm's "The Stephen King Companion" is well worn.  This was the first of many (MANY) books I would own about Stephen King. 

I purchased this book as a teenager at a real brick and mortar bookstore. It was probably 1990.  This was before the era of Internet and instant information.  What we knew, we read in books!  Sheesh, I sound old!  But after reading The Stand and the first couple Dark Tower books, I was totally hooked on Stephen King.  I was way over my head when it came to this new world of books.  I had read a lot of classics, but King spoke to me in a way no one else had.

George Beahm's book was an absolutely wonderful find.  It gave a short biography, explained his work, and best of all -- acted as something of a scrap book.   It is full of short articles, fun tidbits, reviews and even an interview with King.  For someone new to the world of Stephen King, this was exactly what I needed to guide my way.

I still enjoy this companion book quite a bit.  It reflects how King was seen in the late eighties.  What was being said, how was his work viewed.  In particular, before he brought an end to Castle Rock, before the accident. 

So what's inside?  A short tour of the Stephen King Companion:

PART ONE: The Real World Of Stephen King.
This section focuses on what King is really like.  It relies heavily on Douglas E Winter's work.  Also in this section, Beahm refers to King as "the boogeyman of Bangor, Maine."  Interesting, since Beahm would later write a book titled "Stephen King, America's Favorite Boogieman."

  • Chronology.  Personal Life.  Published Books (up through Dark Tower 2) , Books About King, Movies, TV Shows, Audiotapes, Screenplays and Teleplays.
  • The Long Strange Trip Of Stephen King.  Charts something like a publishing biography, telling the story of King in order of his published works.
  • King's Ten Favorite Fantasy-Horror Novels
  • Stephen King -- Actor. 
  • The playboy interview, with Eric Norden
  • An evening With Stephen King.  (Like a transcript of King's visit to Virginia Beach).  This includes an extended discussion about banned books.
  • WZON, "Rocking In The Dead Zone!"
  • Article by Donald M. grant, "Stephen King as Breckinridge Elkins?"
  • Stephen King trivia.  (Did you know the most "expensive flop" was Carrie the musical?  By the end of 1990, there were 29 books about King.)
  • A Writer In her Own Right, Tabitha King.
  • The House That Horror Built.  Kings Bangor home and office.  Includes article "A Girl's dream Coms True In Mansion Fit for Kings" by Joan H. Smith of the News Staff.  There is an interesting picture in this section of Kings indoor pool.
  • Article by Terry Steel titled "Wrought Iron" about the fence and gate around the house.  (I wonder if these names are real!  Terry Steel writes an article titled Wrought Iron. . .)
PART TWO: The Unreal World Of Stephen King
This section looks at the work of Stephen King.  It includes:

  • Fans Letters To Stephen King
  • A Self Quiz, rating yourself as a King fan.  Ten stages of fan!
  • Castle Rock: The official Stephen King Newsletter.  After discussing the end of the publication, we are given a PO Box tow rite to for back issues.  Ah, if only it was still that easy!
  • Horrorfest, A Stephen King Convention.
  • "My Say" by Stephen King.  An opinion article from Publishers Weekly (about book publishing).  There is a great picture here of Stephen and Tabby signing copies of Danse Macabre and Small World.
  • A Kingly Collectible: My Pretty Pony.  Discussing the strange Whitney Museum's limited edition of My Pretty Pony.
  • Lord John Press
  • Philtrum Press: King's Book Publishing Company.  (The Plant, Eyes of the Dragon.) 
  • Specialty Publishers.  Discusses limited editions and small presses.  This includes a listing of specialty publishers who have released Stephen King books.  Beahm included P.O. box contact info so that fans could purchase these items.  Publishers include: Dark Harvest, Donald M. Grant, Hill House Publishers, Land of Enchantment, Lord John Press, Scream Press, Starmont House, Underwood-Miller and Phantasia Press.
  • Specialty Dealers. 
  • Starmont House.  Includes, Titles by Michael R. Collings. 
  • Audio publishing.  Discusses his relationship with Recorded Books.  Of course, this is when audio books was a rather new idea.  It also included a half page blurb by King abotu reading his books aloud.  Under "current offerings" we are given:  The Mist, which sold for $19.95.  Again, if only!  Also, all of different seasons, and Skeleton Crew were offered by Recorded Books.
  • "The Mist" on Audiocassette (A Sound Idea).  Discusses the 3D sound adaptation of The Mist.
  • Thinner on Audiocassette.  This actually was the recording that caused King to refuse future works be abridged.  (Except, he did allow Desperation to be abridged.  I don't know why.)
  • Michael R. Collings, An Interview.  (The book is worth this interview!)
  • Stephen King and the Critics, A Personal Perspective by Michael R. Collings.
  • Article: "King Helps Spearhead Censorship Referendum Defeat" by Christopher Spruce
  • Writing: Clive Barker on Stephen King, Horror, and E.C. Comics.
  • An Interview With Harlan Ellison
  • Terror in Toontown, by Howard Wornom
PART THREE: A Look At The Books
This section is a book by book look at King's published and unpublished works.  It is presented alphabetically -- which seems a little strange!  The natural way to approach the books would have seemed chronologically.   I really liked this section, and wore each page out as I read the King book.  It was like having my own notes as I went through the books.
  • Overview of the books.
  • An Interview With Douglas E. Winter

George Beahm

Photo: Centipede Press

In the upcoming week, I am going to do some post about the work of George Beahm in the Stephen King universe.  I've been reading Beahm on King almost as long as I've been reading King. 

Beahm has a new book out this November about Steve Jobs, titled "I STEVE: Steve Jobs In His Own Words." 

About "I STEVE", Beahm says,
"More than just a quote book, this book also includes a detailed “Milestones” section, and a foreword. Taken as a whole, I see this as a word portrait of Jobs in his own words--not one filtered through the perceptions of others, but through his own eyes."  georgebeahm.com
Beahm's work on Stephen King includes:
  • The Stephen King Companion
  • Stephen King from A to Z: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Work
  • Stephen King: America's Best Loved Boogeyman
  • The Stephen King Story
  • Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired By Stephen King
  • Stephen King Country: The Illustrated Guide to the Sites and Sights That Inspired the Modern Master of Horror

TENish Questions For Kevin Quigley

I really enjoy Kevin Quigley’s website, Charnel House. I also thought his chapter book on Stephen King comics, Drawn Into Darkness, was fantastic! Kevin has been a Stephen King fan – well, like forever.

One of the sections of his website is a set of insightful interviews, usually consisting of ten questions. (Ten questions for Michael Collings, Ten questions for Ed Gorman, Ten questions for Stephen Spignesi – and more.) I thought it would be fun to turn the tables on Kevin and do a ten question interview with him. Only problem. . . it’s hard to keep the questions to ten! But fear not, I hammered it right on down to a faithful ten.
 

I think you're really going to enjoy Kevin's answers, and there's some bits of news along the way!  Let's just say, I can't wait for his next book to come out. 
 
 
1. Hi Kevin, thank you for agreeing to this interview. I really enjoy your website, charnelhouse. You’ve been posting articles, news and reviews there for a solid fifteen years. What made you decide to start a Stephen King website?

The year was 1996. The Internet was new and I was desperate to add something to it. After creating my first website (a bare-bones Jeremy Piven fan page; no, seriously), I set my sights on something more ambitious. I'd been a Stephen King reader since I was nine, and a hardcore fan since I was fourteen, so creating a site celebrating the man seemed obvious. There were some fits and starts; a lot of graphic hyperlinks, blinding backgrounds, Comic Sans fonts, and the early name of the site - The Stephen King House O'Love, wow - hindered it. I've stuck with it, though, and it's grown into something of which I'm quite proud.
2. One of the aspects of Charnel House I really like are your reviews. They are detailed, insightful and always pick up on things I totally missed. What process do you go through to review a Stephen King book?
Thanks! When I was first creating the site, I wanted to contribute something new. King sites in 1996 focused mainly on trivia and some news, but no one was featuring full-length book reviews. I fell in love with Michael Collings's book-by-book reviews in George Beahm's Stephen King Companion, and I wanted to do something like that online, but with my own spin. When writers can't find the thing they want to read, they just go ahead and write it themselves!
Unfortunately, most of my early reviews were simple plot synopses and a hyperbolic final sentence describing how much I liked the book. I've gone back recently and fleshed out the reviews, trying for a scholarly yet accessible approach. When I'm reviewing a King book, I try to determine how it fits in to a historical literary context - if it echoes other works like 'Salem's Lot does with Dracula, or Bag of Bones does with Rebecca. I like to think of King's canon as interconnected, not just literally by characters and locations like Castle Rock or Mid-World, but also in terms of themes, motivations, and imagery. King's career is fascinating, because when he grows obsessed with an idea or a theme, he attacks it from multiple angles in books and stories until he's satisfied and moves on. For example, in the mid-90s, King seemed particularly interested in writing about religion. The Green Mile, Desperation, and Storm of the Century - as well as "The Man in the Black Suit" - all approached the subject from different angles, coming up with different answers. Certain recurring images tie everything together, too: the recent "1922" in Full Dark, No Stars used pig's blood as a central image, creating a bridge between that novella and Carrie. 
Another thing I particularly enjoyed about Michael Collings's reviews is that he reviewed the books critically, but he did so with a "positive thrust." Sometimes books I didn't care for on the first read improved on the second (like Needful Things or Dreamcatcher), so having an open mind is key. I go into each King book or story expecting to like it, and I review each King book explaining why I did or didn't.   
3. What are some of the unique sections of Charnel House?
Right now, the most unique section is my "Chart of Darkness" page. I've been fascinated with bestseller lists for as long as I've been obsessed with King, and I've had great fun tracking King's progress on the charts. That page shows what position each King book charted on the New York Times Bestseller List in both hardcover and paperback, and highlights which ones hit #1. King remains the author with the most #1 books in history.   
There's also the Short Works section, which started off just listing the uncollected short stories and has now expanded to include all his short fiction - published, unpublished, collected, and uncollected. The page continues to expand; I've broken out King's poetry into its own section, and I'm currently working on a list of King's nonfiction - a very ambitious project!

I've also recently added the Writing on King section, which highlights the most prolific and important authors who have written about Stephen King. In addition to the short highlights, I've also included a sidebar that lists every book ever written on King.

Maybe the most unique section on my page is the King Audio section, a list of every King work on audio. I provide information on who read each work, whether the audiobook won awards, and whether the audio is commercially available.

There's also an Essays section (my essays on King over the years) and an Interviews section (which will be expanding soon). There's more coming, though: stay tuned!

How has the website changed over the years?
I think the site is easier to read and use, certainly. Gone is the black background and white type. It feels more attractively laid out, too, which is sort of a feat considering that writers aren't generally known for their graphic design acumen. Content-wise, the site is far more expansive. The reviews are fresh and in-depth, there's a new spotlight on some of the lesser-known aspects of King's career, and the news is updated more and more frequently. Over the last fifteen years, I've worked to make Charnel House less a "drooling fanboy" site and into a quality destination for learning and appreciation. 
4. You listed IT as your favorite King novel. I love that book, too! What about that novel makes it your favorite?
Where do I start? The characters, I think, are King's best - all with individual personalities and histories. I liked that the book functioned as a history of American towns at the same time it was telling its stories of children and monsters, and how both children and monsters evolve into new things as time passes. I read the book first when I was twelve, a year older than the kids in IT, and I've been re-reading it over the years, discovering new things about it as I grow closer to the age of the adult Losers Club. I loved the multiple timelines, and how they blended together, forging a singular narrative from a dual one. It's not only my favorite, but I think it's also one of his best-written novels; only The Dead Zone, The Shining, Bag of Bones, and maybe Duma Key rival the sheer appeal of the writing itself. Stephen Spignesi once commented that at times, the words seem to get in the way of reading because you're dragged along the current of the writing so swiftly. I couldn't have put it better myself.   
What did you think of the IT miniseries?
I liked it. In fact, seeing the miniseries and then the film Misery - both released in 1990 - solidified my love of King's work. Like most people, I found the first two hours of the miniseries far better than the latter two hours; there was nothing wrong with the adult actors, but they never seemed to develop the rapport that the child actors did. Plus, when you're working with the metaphysical concepts of the macroverse and King's Lovecraftian Spider, portraying it as a generic stop-motion monster undermines everything that had gone before. I would have preferred an entirely different ending from that of the book.
What was your reaction to the news that there might be a theatrical version of IT?
I've heard about this a lot, and my only thought is that it could be done very well or very poorly. I do think it's too big a story to be crammed into two hours - two feature films, like they did with the last Harry Potter films, would work well. I also think that the miniseries blundered big time by separating the children from the adults; merging the narratives worked so well in the books, and I think it would work even better on film.
One of the more interesting ideas was to have the film told from the point of view of Beverly Marsh, similarly to how Silver Bullet was seen from Jane Coslaw's point of view. That's a fresh take on the story, and one I'd be very interested in seeing.
5. You’ve written a couple/few books about Stephen King. Tell us about them.
A few! I've written several chapbooks - small, chapter-sized paperbacks - for the publisher Cemetery Dance. With them, I've expounded on my passion for the lesser-known worlds of Stephen King. Chart of Darkness narrates the whole history of King by way of the bestseller charts. Ink In the Veins 1 & 2 looks at the pioneering and current writers working in the Stephen King field, and includes interviews with nearly all of them. Wetware focuses on King and technology, from the first text-based video games to the latest eBooks, like "Mile 81." You're already familiar with Drawn Into Darkness, which uncovers King's history with comics. Blood in Your Ears, my upcoming title, delves into King on audio, discussing in depth the works King himself has narrated, with further focus on late audio superstar Frank Muller. Almost all the chapbooks (with the exception of Wetware) were limited editions and have gone out of print. Because King is so prolific, though, I've been constantly updating and expanding them. Soon, they will be available on eBook, all with new content.
 I'll also be releasing a new hardcover with Cemetery Dance in the new year. Titled A Good Story and Good Words: The Many Worlds of Stephen King, the book will include the full text of all the revised chapbooks, reviews of every King book released, lists of King short work (along with brand-new reviews of King's most recently-published tales), a section of King on film and a study of King's unproduced screenplays, and an examination of King's writing before Carrie was published. There are also several guest pieces exclusive to the book, including a piece on the Bachman book Blaze by Michael Collings, a piece on the baseball book Faithful by Tyson Blue, a lengthy examination of King's take on sexuality by Tony Magistrale, a look back at directing the "Dollar Baby" film The Last Rung on the Ladder by James Cole, and an illuminating Stephen Spignesi piece about King's short fiction. I also had the opportunity to interview Jay Holben, director of the Dollar Baby "Paranoid" - also exclusive to this book.   
In addition to A Good Story and Good Words, I also co-wrote a book with Brian Freeman and Hans-Ake Lilja called The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book. So much work went into the book and we're very proud of it, especially the illustrations by living legend Glenn Chadbourne. That book will also be out next year! 
I'm also working on a couple of top-secret projects for Cemetery Dance. You'll be hearing about them soon!
 6. I really enjoyed your book Drawn Into Darkness. This may sound a little nutty, but as I read the book, I found myself wondering how you knew all that! You were dealing with a subsection of King’s work, and I think you were pretty much blazing new trails. How did you research such a unique field of King’s work?
Research, research, so much research! Part of it is having grown up reading not only books by King, but also books about King. The deeper you go into King's canon, the more you learn about all these side-paths and nooks and crannies, so I've had a passing familiarity with a lot of these works for awhile. It also doesn't hurt that I was obsessed with horror comics as a teenager - Tales From the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Vault, Shock Suspen Stories, all the great EC stuff - and that I've grown re-obsessed with comics as an adult. King's connection with Marvel and their take on The Gunslinger and The Stand is wonderful; my hope is that when The Stand wraps up, Marvel will set their sites on It. We're all allowed dreams! It's a further boon that King himself has gotten back into comics after what seems a long hiatus; his work on American Vampire is stellar.

Do you own most of the comics discussed in Drawn Into Darkness?
Yes, although not all. Some are extremely hard to track down. I of course have the Secretary of Dreams collections from Cemetery Dance, most of the individual issues of the Dark Tower series, the entire run of The Stand, and weirdly enough, the piece on Archie. I have a strange love of Archie comics. I didn't realize I already had the Far Side collection until I went searching for it on ebay; I believe that, though it was unintended, that Far Side introduction is the first work of King I ever owned. 
 7. Every Stephen King collection is unique. What are some of your favorite pieces?
 My favorite high-end pieces are the Donald M. Grant limited edition of Christine and the Land of Enchantment hardcover edition of Cycle of the Werewolf. Stephen Gervais's illustrations in Christine and Berni Wrightson's work on Cycle are both amazing. I love my small collection of Castle Rock newsletters. But my favorite piece of all is a used paperback. During a time when I could only afford paperbacks, I was very into collecting all the different covers of King books. I bought the movie cover version of The Shining for three bucks, brought it home, and put it next to my other Shining paperbacks. Years later, I opened it up to look through it, and found that it had been signed by King, and inscribed to someone named Ned (maybe Dameron, illustrator of The Waste Lands?), asking whether he wanted to have dinner at Arthur Treacher's. It was a terrific find.                   
 8. As a Stephen King fan, what have been some defining moments?
 I first read King when I was nine, when a friend brought Cycle of the Werewolf and Creepshow to sleepover camp. A few years later, my grandparents, looking to unload my uncle's old stuff when he went off to college, sent a box of King paperbacks to my Dad's house. I liked the spooky covers so I put them on my bookshelf, maybe or maybe not intending to read them. Later, I picked up Night Shift and was entranced. I read Rage next, then decided to challenge myself with It. That was the first real spark. 
A year later, I went to go see Pet Sematary with my father and little brother. When he first saw Pascow all mutilated, my brother freaked out and hightailed it out of the theater; my Dad followed. I stayed behind. Later, when I raved about how much I loved the film, my Dad bought me the paperback - the first King book bought specifically for me. In 1990, King came out with the uncut version of The Stand and Four Past Midnight. My Mom got me those for Christmas, making them the first hardcovers by any author I ever owned. Two years later, I had a paper route and was thus rich. The first hardcover I ever bought for myself was Needful Things - not a bad way to start.
9. Most King fans also own a small library of books about Stephen King. Do you have some favorites?
I have a LOT of books on Stephen King, and most of them are excellent. Even though it's very out of date, Doug Winter's The Art of Darkness is a must-have for any King reader. Stephen Spignesi's transcendent The Shape Under the Sheet redefined what a book on King could be and I can't recommend it enough, but I do fear it's overshadowed his Lost Work on Stephen King, which is every bit as good and maybe more accessible. Michael R. Collings writes scholarly essays about King, but they are almost uniformly readable by folks without PHDs; I'd recommend any of his Borgo Press books, especially Stephen King As Richard Bachman (or the new Overlook Press update Stephen King Is Richard Bachman) and The Stephen King Phenomenon. Justin Brooks and Rocky Wood's Stephen King: The Nonfiction is one of the most important and necessary books on King's work, highlighting an unheralded side of his writing, and Bev Vincent's The Illustrated Stephen King Companion - with reproductions of letters and drafts of King's work - changes the concept of books on King.
But I think it's safe to say that I would not be the writer I am today without George Beahm's Stephen King Companion. Both editions represent the pinnacle of writing on King accessibly, concisely, and well. Bonus: the second edition includes reviews of all of King's books from Carrie through Insomnia, making a wonderful piece of work invaluable.
10. I love your energy/passion for Stephen King and his work. Do you find it difficult to connect with other writers the same way you do Stephen King?
To a degree, yes. For several years, I ONLY read King. It took awhile to break out of that, because there's so much other terrific writing out there. I'm far more well-read now, but I will say that writers that affect me as deeply as King are rare.
 What other writers do you enjoy? 
John Irving is one of my absolute favorites. The World According To Garp, Until I Find You, and A Prayer For Owen Meany were life-changers for me. I love Robert Parker's novels, especially the Spenser books and a relatively unknown novel called Wilderness. I'm a huge fan of Harlan Coben - I'm proud to say that I was reading his Myron Bolitar books before the bestseller lists ever heard of him - and Dennis Lehane. I especially love William Goldman, who is famous for the screenplay for Misery and the novels The Princess Bride and Marathon Man but who wrote a bunch of other great fiction titles besides. His The Color of Light is a defining novel for me, as is Douglas Coupland's Microserfs, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, John O'Brien's Leaving Las Vegas, and James Dickey's Deliverance. While I disagree with his politics and the way it's crept into his later work, I love Orson Scott Card's first four Ender novels, particularly Speaker for the Dead. John Steinbeck is brilliant; The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Travels With Charley are three of my favorite books (I love East of Eden so much I have the last work of the book tattooed to my body). I've long been a fan of Lewis Carrol's Alice books, and his epic poem The Hunting of the Snark makes me giddy. I've recently gotten into Kurt Vonnegut and I think his Bluebeard is unfairly overshadowed by more well-known (and, yes, brilliant) books like Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions. 
I've also read the young adult novel Singularity by the late William Sleator thirty-four times.
10.1. What non-King writing have you done?

Foggy Night In The City
Buy it HERE
 Interestingly, I think of myself more as a novelist than a nonfiction writer. At current, I've written seventeen novels - sadly, all are yet unpublished. I don't generally write horror, either (I stick more to what's affectionately known as "dick lit," stories about guys and their weird lives and dating and work and sex and growing up), though I have three horror novels that I'm currently shopping around. The dick lit is difficult to market nowadays - straight dramatic stuff is hard to place. But I'm working on it! I'm midway through the second draft of my newest novel, American Storm, and there is nothing like creating whole worlds of your own.
 I also have a poetry collection called Foggy at Night In the City currently available on Amazon, and I'm working on a new collection of poems and verse called Surf's Up. I've also written a few dozen short stories, and I'm hoping to put those together into a collection soon.



Buy WETWARE here