King Movies The Constant Reader Wants



There is a sludge of remake talk buzzing through Hollywood.  Most of it will probably come to not.  Carrie seems to be a definate "go."  Others, pet Semetery, The Stnad, IT are all a little more questionable. 

By the way, I really liked the TV Carrie remake. 

This leads to two thoughts: What movies would the constant reader like to see?  Second, when should Hollywood consider dropping money on a remake?

First, what should constitute a remake?  Two things:

1. The original was so bad, it just has to be done again. 
But, what we see instead is Hollywood going to old money makers that were great, and seeking to remake them.  What int hew orld is wrong with Carrie or the original Pet semetery? 

Now, when it comes to IT, the mini-series was lacking.  Namely, it was lacking in. . . well, everything.  Tim Curry and the kids were good, and that was about it.  Some would suggest The Stand did not represent the heart of the novel, but I think the mini-series was a fine piece of storytelling.

For the most part, movies we'd like to see redone never will be because the original ruined the market!

Some movies that might do well with a remake:
  • Dreamcatcher.  Somewhere along the way this movie stops being fun and just gets a little -- out there.  The special effects were pretty bad, too.
  • Hearts in Atlantis.  How about a little more of the book, even if it requires a trilogy.
  • Christine.  I like the original -- but I think it could probably be done even better with new technology. 
  • Needful Things.  This would be a great mini-series.
  • Salem's Lot.  I know it's already been done twice . . . and maybe the third time will be the charm, eh.
  • Firestarter.  I know, it was a big budget film.  But King was right -- it didn't work.  I don't think he ever asked for a remake, but it's such a good story!  I think it could be better translated to film.
2. Stephen King thinks it should be remade. 
That's a good reason to remake a movie -- if the author thinks it did not live up to his expectations. 

This was the case with The Shining.  Did I like the Kubrick version?  Sure!  But, honestly, King was right -- it wasn't his novel.  It was his characters, but the novel took such drastically different paths that it seemed fair for King to ask to make a movie more faithful to his story.  What do we think of the remake?  Well, I don't know any fans.  A little . . . well, short on horror and long on yawns would be my off the cuff remark. 


Second, what movies would we like to see put to screen?

Well, y'all are welcome to give your input, I do not intend to speak for everyone else.  Just my opinion.  Which is this: Anything not put to screen already is of some itnerest to me!  So, if it's a King story -- I'm down with it.

Here are some I'd really like to see:

Image credit HERE
1. The Dark Tower.
2. 11.22.63
3. Under The Dome.
4. The Eyes of the Dragon. 
5. The Talisman & Black House.  (And whatever the third novel is going to be.)
6. From a Buick 8
7. Duma Key
8. Blockade Billy.  I know, not much to work with there, but it could be episode of another 4 parter like Creepshow.  Actually, a Creepshow 3 would be a lot of fun!
9. Gerald's Game.  I know, it's impossible because of the nudity and S&M stuff.  But find a way to cloth her, and it's a mainstream horror flick.
10. Rose Madder.  I haven't read the book yet -- but I'd pay the moolah to watch the movie.

Here are some movies that don't get enough credit:


  • The Tommyknockers was actually a pretty good miniseries, in my opinion.
  • The Dark Half.  This is a great film!  Scary, dark and a little nuts. 
  • Secret Window.  I think the movie, while not riviting, fixed a few things that the King story left hanging.  (It was, after all, only a novella.)  I never like stories where it all turns out to be in someone's head.  Either they're crazy or dreaming or having visions.  So I liked the theme that two guys could write the very same story. . . but it all goes to mush after that as our main character go's to the funny farm.
  • Graveyard Shift.  So it's not a master piece -- and it's not that scary -- I still like it for some reason.  So there.
  • Maximum Overdrive.  It's a movie directed by Stephen King. . . what more need be said!?  Okay, it's not a great movie, but it's by Stephen King!  And, if you suspend reality, lower expectations and just watch the hting, you'll have a very nice time.
  • The Night Flier.  This movie is wonderful!  The tone, the story itself -- I think it's just great.
  • Silver Bullet was a pretty good movie.  The monster at the end was a little -- unscary -- but the story was great.
  • Riding the Bullet.  It's depressing and dark and a lot of fun.  Wish my copy worked!
  • Cat's Eye.  I think that King viewers never understood the cat thing, and thus they throw the movie out with the kitty.  I really liked The Ledge.  Feels like something from Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
And, finally, movies and remakes I would be okay doing without:
* Insomnia.  I get sleepy thinking about it.
* Sleepwalkers.  Please, Hollywood people, show kindness to the King fans!  We have to buy EVERY move, and making us buy this one again would just be wrong.
* Children of the Corn.  We've had enough!  Well, I had enough after the first one.  Are we on #45 yet?
* Golden years.  I watched it. . . I still don't get it. . . I don't want to watch it again.
* Sometimes They Come Back, again and again and again.  I enjoyed the movie, but no more, please.  Stop coming back!
* The Runningman.  You know someone will suggest this because of the Hunger Games doing so well.  Please resist the urge!
* The Langoliers.  Never again, please, never again!  I loved the book, but the mini-series destroyed it for me.  But, HERE is a pretty good review of the Langoliers!

TG Daily: Behind The Carrie Remake

David Konow at TG Daily has an article titled, "Behind The Carrie Remake."  He admits to not being much of a fan of the many horror remakes that are making the rounds (he says, "glutting the world.").  He calls a lot of King's stories, "Revenge of the nerds."  I hadn't thought of it that way, but that is certainly the theme of Carrie, Christine, IT, and Stand By Me.  Note that all of these are older works.

Konow notes that DePalma did a "masterful" job with the original movie.  This only heightens the expectations on anything else that might come along -- and it makes fans wonder, "Why?"  Why is this one necessary?  Could we maybe put the Carrie movie on the shelf and donate it's budget toward the Dark Tower movie?


He points out that DePalma saved the best, biggest, scare for last. "George Lucas told Premiere he thought that was a genius move, because people waiting outside the theater would hear the audience screaming, then a minute later the theater would let out, leaving everyone on line wondering what they should brace themselves for at the end."

And then Konow points out the blood problem.  There is a blood problem with Carrie, ya know?  Here's how he explains it: "Also, good luck making the bucket of blood segment as suspenseful, if not more, than the original. (This was DePalma using the Hitchcock suspense theory of the bomb under the table brilliantly, except here the bomb was up in the rafters)."

Konow full artilce is HERE

So, are y'all looking forward to a Carrie remake?  I, for one, am indifferent.  I would rather see something new.  Buick 8 would be cool.  How about Cell.  Or the four stories in Full Dark No Stars.  To me, remaking Carrie is like remaking The Green Mile -- it's just unnecessary.  It can't outdo itself.

Selena Gomez was considered for CARRIE


image credit: HollywoodLife.com


Hollywood Life reported earlier today that not only was Chloe Moretz chosen to play Carrie in the upcoming remake, but that Moretz beat out 19-year old super-star Selena Gomez for the title role.


HollywoodLife.com quotes a industry insider as saying,
“Selena Gomez was also considered for the role, but ultimately we went after Chloe.  We think she would be perfect for the role that made Sissy Spacek an international star!”
Action News Jax cites Gomez’s representative, who “dismissed” the report and said that “she never auditioned for the role” and that she was “never even up for the role.” (HERE)


On the one hand, I think the choice of Moretz was great.  But. . . as a dad who has girls who think Gomez is “it” (not a Stephen King kinda “IT” either), I have to say I’m a little disappointed.  But, I’ll get over it. . . because Moretz is going to be a great Carrie!

Honestly, Gomez is so nice. . . it's hard to imagine her dripping with blood and reigning down terror on all who cross her path.  I mean, come on, she was Ramona!

The full article is HollywoodLife.com


CARRIE Interview: Molly Ransom

Andrew Gans has posted a great interview with the star of the Carrie musical, Molly Ransom.


Asked how she could describe Carrie, Ransom responds:
“Carrie is an outsider… I think she's just a normal high school teenage girl, who wants, more than anything, to be loved and respected and accepted—to be accepted by her peer group and have a loving relationship with her mother. But things don't really work out for her very well.”
When Gans asked if she had a favorite moment in the show, Ransom said she likes the end, when she gets to destroy. . . well, everything!  She sees the “message” of Carrie being about bullying and notes that King was ahead of his time.  She notes that Piper Laurie attended a performance, and suggests that there will probably be a recording done of the musical.  She says that she acted in an independent movie called “Franny”, but doesn’t know when it is coming out.

The full interview is HERE.

Here are some highlights posted at playbill:


HILTON: Two AWESOME Actresses Up For Crazy Mama White In Carrie Reboot!


photo credit: Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton posted that the remake of Carrie is looking either at Jodie Foster and Julianne Moore to play Margaret white.

Hilton writes: We'd normally say leave the original alone, but with a cast like this in the works, we can't argue!

And then he says, "Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. Can U imagine either of these two biting into a role like that?! They'd BOTH knock it out of the park - but in completely different manners!  Not to mention they both have played Clarice Starling in the Hannibal Lector movies!"

It's always so such a delight to see Mr. Hilton play nice.

Hilton's website is HERE.

The Best Of The Dark Tower



Simple question: What is the best Dark Tower novel?

My favorite is. . . two.  

First, I think The Drawing Of The Three is brilliant!  It probably saved the series, too.  Let's face it, the first Dark Tower is okay, but it doesn't make you want to reading another 4,000 pages, right?  But after Drawing of the Three, you think: Yeah, I can do a few thousand pages with these people!

In Drawing Of The Three, Roland becomes likable.  No, I do not think he was a joy to live with in the first novel.  He was stoic and focused -- but he also dropped the kid.  The Drawing of the Three shows Roland helping Eddie change his life.  It's great!  

Also, in Drawing of the Three, King moves between our world and Roland's.  Ahhh, we realize at last, so our world does exist!  This isn't alternate reality, it's something else going on.  I like how Roland brings needed supplies through the doorway, and in particular how they smuggle the drugs through the airport.

The use of a woman with duel personality was also incredible.  Detta is a great character, as is Eddie Dean. The characters here are deep, complex and very real.  If the Gunslinger gave us characters that were shadowy and a little stiff, Drawing offers characters as real as any you'll meet in real life.

If only the movie starred. . .

image credit: HERE

Second, The Wolves of the Calla feels like raw fun.  I don't know how to explain what I find so joyful about this book, except that it is a return to the western feel.  The plates are great.  It feels like a story within a story, as the main plot of the series is slowed a bit.

Song of Susanna should rank high in any list simply because it is the novel where King meets Roland.  While I find the story itself hard to track with -- plot outline, please!  -- the scene where the gunslinger meets his maker is one sweet bit of writing.  I also like that the entire thing takes place in 24 hours.

Okay, your turn.  What is the best Dark Tower novel?

5 Ways To Keep Your Vampire Novel From Sucking




I think Jef Rouner (he goes by Jef with one f) at Houston Press did not like Kevin R. Given’s Vampire novel, Last Rites.  His article, “5 Ways To Keep Your Vampire Novel From Sucking” has Last Rites in the bull’s-eye.  I mean, he just slams ths book paragraph after paragraph.  It’s delightful!

On the other hand, Salem’s Lot comes out shining. Under the commandment, “Thou shalt not use old horror actors' names” Jef writes,
“if you want a guide, go read 'Salem's Lot by Stephen King. His antagonists are Kurt Barlow and Richard Straker. Do you see how King's used just the right combination of stress and switcheroo to make you think of Boris Karloff and Bram Stoker? It's subtle, but it's there.”
"Of course, the other thing you might be doing is showing off your knowledge of old horror movies, in which case you need to get way more hipster douchebag and obscure. These names are total mainstream, and it makes you look lazy. Either pull King's trick, or if you can't then just skim through a phone book until you find a good name."
I really like his thoughts on the importance of the structure of the mystery novel.

Here are the 5 things to keep your vampire novel from sucking:

  • Thou shalt not use old horror actors' names
  • Thou shalt not use old gods
  • Thou shall remember how mystery novels work
  • Thou shalt not shortcut thy plot like a bad TV show
  • Thou shall do something original

Here’s a comment I agree with, wholeheatedly: Much like zombies, vampires have reached the oversaturation point. If the genre is going to survive, and we hope it does, there are going to have to be some new ideas out there. No more werewolf vs. vampire, no more coming-out analogies, and no more seduction of the innocent, nubile human to the dark glories.

The full article is HERE.  It’s a lot of fun.

KING To Once Again Rule The Movies !




Michael Rechtshaffen at vancouver.24hrs has a neat article that proposes Stephen King will once again rule the movies – like he did in the 1980's.

Rechtshaffen writes, “Back in the 1980s, it was hard to go to the movies without buying tickets to something that didn't have Stephen King's imprint on it -- from The Shining to Stand By Me, from Cujo to Christine.”

Of course, he notes, they weren’t all “gems.”  And, he says, good memories have been clouded by duds like. . . are you ready? . . . The Mist and Dreamcatcher.  Now, what was wrong with The Mist?  Except the ending, which was truly awful – the movie was great.  It captured the tone and actually deepened the characters.  Conversely, I have no defense to offer for the Dreamcatcher movie.  I suggest they remake it into a mini-series.

Rechtshaffen then reviews recent movie news that he thinks set the stage for a “King-sized comeback.”  YES!  There’s Ron Howard and The Dark Tower, Ben Affleck and The Stand, jonathan Demme and 11/22/63, and then there’s the upcoming Carrie.

Leaves me wondering: What’s the status of the IT remake?  And the pet Semetery remake ?

The full article is HERE.

Chloe Moretz to play CARRIE

Chloe Moretz most recently starred in Martin Scorcese's film "Hugo."
image credit: CNN.COM

Dread Central's Uncle Creepy has posted news that Chloe Moretz has signed on for the next screen redux of Stephen King's Carrie.
Moretz just took to her Twitter account with the following ...
"Never been so happy in my life! Thank you Kim Pierce and thank u MGM for the chance of a lifetime i will never forget!" 
That sounds like a resounding YES to MGM's offer, does it not? 
Full story: Dread Central HERE

A CNN article is HERE.

1992 Interview With Terry Gross




In 1992, Terry Gross interviewed Stephen King on her show Fresh Air.  Gross was the 2003 recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award. It is available on audible.  This interview took place just after the publication of Gerald’s Game.

Gerald’s Game:

The novel began with the idea of a woman chained to the bed.  He compared it to Cujo.  “What a lot of that book was was two people in a very small room.”  Gerald’s game goes a step further: a story about just one person confined in a room.  The S/M stuff is really just the device the get her in the room and carry the story (Hitchcock’s “Mcguffin”.)

Gross asked King if he had taken the horror novel to a more explicit place than it had been before.  King said yes, he did take it there – but guys like Clive Barker had taken it further yet!  King discusses tales of the crypt and horror movies.  Gross asked if the movies scared or amused him.  King is definite at this point -- They scared him big time!

King points out that the power of writing is that it offers flawless special effects.  “I realized that when I wrote a story, you never saw the zipper going up the monsters back,” King said.  “When the imagination was in charge of special effects, they were always perfect.”

Gross pointed out that in order to write the way he does, King must have some grasp on how people deal with fear and pain.  She asked King if he handled pain well, and if that had ever been tested.  King said no one knows how someone else deals with the pain, suffering in their life.  That we are oceans apart.  This is interesting, since the next interview in the line up is right after Kings’ accident, and again deals with the issue of pain.  This made me wonder if King’s insights to characters and their suffering has changed any since the 1999 accident.  Obviously, King gave us Duma Key, which is almost a modern retelling of the book of Job – except that at the end, God doesn’t come down, the devil comes out!

He says that some of his favorite passages in Gerald’s Game were the parts where very simple things (getting a glass of water, so on) became a challenge.

Gross asked if when he started publishing his novels, and people who he knew understood what kind of thoughts went through his mind, if people he knew began to see him differently.  King says there was a kind of pulling away, a uestion in their eyes, “Okay, where are all the bodies buried, Steve?”  Or a casual, “By the way, Steve, what was your childhood like?  Were you ever beaten?  Did they burn with you cigarettes?  Or what was it?”  Kind said he would respond by saying that he is just like everyone else – and that really did scare them.

King compares horror writing to being a comedy writer.  “You say, what is the one thing no one wants to talk about?  The one thing that would be like taking a fork and scraping it across the blackboard?”  He says most people, once it is said, are glad someone said it!

Misery:

Gross asked if the story of Misery was based on a single incident or deranged fan.  King insisted no single person embodies Annie Wilkes.

Of course, there are the people, King says, who think he steals their stories, or want to be intimately involved with his family.  “You begin to realize the power of fans.  Just interacting with them, there is a kind of fan psychology, that for the object of that fan adulation gets to be really uncomfortable sometimes.”

King notes how quickly fans can change when he says he can’t sign a book or sit and talk a spell.  He says that in the most devoted fans that there is almost a kind of resentment, a feeling that “you have what is really meant for me.  In the best of all possible worlds, I would be you.  You see this quite often in the male.”

Want To Play CREEPSHOW ?




John Ary at aintitcool.com has an article listing several new super cool toys.  These include Superman, Batman and Darth Vader.  Now that is a cool listing.  If Superman did battle with Darth Vader. . . wait, that’s a post for another time!  Talk about nerd debate.  Oh, also included is Mars Attacks, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Ary also notes that there is a Creepshow toy coming out.  Yes, I’m serious!
Back in 1982, two horror heavyweights (George Romero and Stephen King) teamed up for an anthology film called Creepshow. 30 years later Shrunken Head Studios has recreated the creature from the Father’s Day chapter in the 1/6 figure scale. Mr. Grantham features a film accurate sculpt, posable jaw, his three-piece suit, the marble ashtray, 30 points of articulation, and a tray with seven light-up candles perched on top of Sylvia’s severed head. This figure is limited to 400 pieces and is available for pre-order.
Full article HERE.

Now, with my new Christine toy car – I’m well on my way to a Stephen King toy collection.







Kubrick's Copy Of THE SHINING

image credit: The Overlook Hotel


I spotted this first at my favorite Stephen King website, Lilja's Library.

A website titled The Overlook Hotel has posted pictures of Stanley Kubrick's working copy of The Shining.
Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. This well-worn book, now housed in the Stanley Kubrick Archive in London, is filled with Kubrick’s notes and comments. Many passages are highlighted, and Kubrick has filled the margins with hand-written notes that run the gamut from notating passages that inspire him, to crossing out sections he found silly.
This is exciting, since I just got my first edition of The Shining this week.  (Oooh, ebay, I love thee!)  First thing I did, check to make sure it was a clean copy!  Notice that Kubrick was writing in a first edition.  Usually these are devalued by writing in them. . . unless it's Stanley Kubrick doing the writing!

Hummm, no notes on the moon landing spotted here!

Okay, here's the photo's.  They are all from the Overlook Hotel.  Nice site, by the way.


Carrie News

Picture Credit: HERE


Carrie certainly is a popular story!  A couple of items concerning Carrie:

MUSICAL

Broadway world has announced that the musical Carrie will not fulfill it's announced extension.  That means it will close April 8.

The directors are quoted as saying:
“MCC, the authors, and the director achieved what we all set out to do – to rescue Carrie from oblivion and to give her new life. Plans are underway to preserve this production for Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, so it may live on in the memories of the thousands of theatergoers who saw and loved it.”  (Full story HERE)
Hold on!  What are they talking about?  "Rescue Carrie from oblivion"?  All that work was simply about rescuing the old musical?  This was to save face?  Surely not!  It seems like they're closing up shop and saying, "Well, we did better than last time.  Yeah. . . YEAH!  In fact, we saved the previous musical.  And, come to think of it, that's what we intended to do all along."

REMAKE:

Now. . . on to the Carrie remake.  Claude Brodesser-Akner posted an article at Vulture.com titled: "We hear the top candidates for the Carrie remake are. . ."


  • ChloĆ« Moretz (15) and Haley Bennett (24).  Now hold on. . . so one of these ladies is 15, and the other is 24. Meaning they'll be at least 16 and 25 when filming starts.  Can you imagine a 25 year old Carrie?
  • For the part of Carrie's crazy mama, Julianne Moore is being considered.
  • The film will be directed by Kimberly Peirce.

So why make a remake of an already great film?  Got me!  I dunno.  Why not remake Salem's Lot or Fire-Starter.  Dread Central offers this explanation:

Uncle Creepy over at Dread Central offers this explanation: “The script for this latest reboot has been written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, whose rewrite work helped save Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. Aguirre-Sacasa set out to write a version of Carrie that is more faithful to the King book and more grounded than the Brian De Palma-directed original film.”

The Shining First Edition

Do first editions matter?  They do.  Why?  I'm not totally sure!  But I like first editions, and special editions (first editions of the special editions.)  The earliest book I have a first edition of is The Shining.

What surprised me is how much the book club edition is like the first edition.  The first edition states first edition, has a 8.95 price tag, has R49 in the gutter of page 447, and has tan boards.  Book club has black boards.  It is exactly the same size, and sitting beside one another in their dust jackets, the two books look exactly the same.







One For The Road heads to the CANNES



Fangoria's Samuel Zimmerman writes: "The 'SALEM'S LOT companion piece, produced by Tim Sullivan (2001 MANIACS), with original music by FANGORIA editor Chris Alexander, is headed to the south of France."

Full story HERE.

Quint's review of Wind Through The Keyhole




Quint, over at Ain't It Cool, has a very nice review of Wind Through The Keyhole.  He builds up the review nicely, giving us background that explains his love for the Dark Tower series.

The full review is HERE.
The Man In Black figures into the story, about a small child whose father is killed and he’s put on the path through a deep dark forest in order to save his mother. There are dragons, enchantments, mutants, magic and all types of Mid-World iconography sprinkled throughout. 
The Wind Through The Keyhole feels a lot like The Eyes of the Dragon, King’s pure fantasy book with a lot of tangential Dark Tower connections, and it’s a great note to strike. King is really good at fantasy and doesn’t play in this universe a lot. While I would have loved to have a book that enlightened me a bit more about Roland as a character or given us another adventure with the ka-tet at their peak, I gotta say I was quite happy with this book.
He also offers this insight:
There’s an ease here that I haven’t felt from King since The Wolves of the Calla. I’ve liked many of his novels since, including his more recent 11/22/63, but this one just feels like he’s in his element, even more so than the last two Dark Tower books, which had some amazing things in them, but also felt a bit cluttered and jumbled.

I Own Christine

I bought Christine the other day, and it finally arrived.

Well, it's a diecast toy car, the size of a hot-wheels or matchbox car.


It is an "Authentic replica."  Only. . . it's blue, not red.  Even the picture of Christine on the box is of a red car, and this is blue.  I don't get it!  But, it's "1 of only 12,000."  (12,000 !!!  My entire town could own one!)

This is a series of toy cars called, "Frigth'ning Lightnings (they registered this statement, so no one could steal it). . . they live!"  You can also collect: The Ghostbusters Ecto-1A, Elvira Macabre Mobile, Boothill Express, Haulin Hearse, The Mysterion, and Vampire Van.


Christine scares a new generation. . .
actually, one of these kids loves the movie

Get this -- the guy who owns the Chrstine used in the movie really will sell ya pics of the car -- autographed by Christine herself!  What that means is that he ran over the photo with the car after inking the tires.  (HERE)

Salem's Lot Journal #3



I will assume you already know. . . this is a great book!  I've said that, right?  Right.  Okay, then.  But, just so you know: THIS IS A GREAT BOOK!

I really like the way King writes.  He talks directly to the reader throughout most of the book.  It is a style that I've heard was a writing "no-no."  In fact, writers are told to "show" not "tell."  But King takes great delight in telling the reader.  Why bother with pages of detailed example when he could just explain something outright.

A good example of this is chapter 10, The Lot III.

Present Tense:

The chapter opens with, "The town knew about darkness."  Now, that is one fantastic opening line, right?

I like the way that the writing moves to the present tense in the description of the town.  Note this line, "The land is granite-bodied and covered with a thin, easily ruptured skin of topsoil."

This passage answers a rather complicated writing question.  (This is stupid, so hold on to ya britches).  Question: Can I speak in the present tense about things that will later be destroyed or killed in the book?  Can I speak in the present tense about a character who is about to die. . . since in my "present" reality, that character would already be dead.  If you can't track with that line of thinking, it's okay, everyone can't be as smart as I am.

A Dark Steinbeck:

The present tense description of the town, all the way to it's soil, reminds me of John Steinbeck's wonderful novel, The Grapes Of Wrath.  Really, King is giving us a dark Grapes of Wrath.  Only, it's not the banking sucking the town dry, it's vampires.  Either way, the town is left desolate, broken and empty.

Get these lines, only imagine they were written by Steinbeck about the 1930's instead of by King about the1979's: "The bank has you, and the car dealership, and the Sears store in Lewiston, and John Deere in Brunswick.  But most of all the town has you because you know it the way you know the shape of your wife's breast."

The Death of A Child:

I find King's discussion of Tony and Marjorie Glick's dealing with the death of their son incredible.  It smacks of realness as King describes Margei's compulsion to clean.  Then, right when King has us identifying with this lady, he goes and gets the monster out of the cellar.  Out comes the dead kid to visit his mama, and suck at her breast.  Only. . . the kid is now a vamp!  Now that is messed up!

"I've had the most lovely dream the last three or four nights, Tony.  So real.  Danny comes to me int he dream.  he says, 'Mommy, Mommy, I'm so glad to be home!  and he says. . . says. . . he says. . . that he's my baby again.  My own son, at my breast again.  And I give him to suck and. . . and then a feeling of sweetness with an undertone  of bitterness, so much like it was before he was weaned but after he was beginning to get teeth and he would nip -- oh, this must sound awful."

Interesting:

King's sense of humor shines in this novel.  Get this line from Ben: "Make the connections.  the world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few vampires."

There are references that do not necessarily slap the 2012 generation the way they would have when the book was first published.  References to Hiroshima are actually lost, because we live in an age when we accept nukes at a different level than people did in the 1970's.  Also, King's references to Ellery Queen a quickly overlooked by the current generation.

I also enjoyed King's discussion of the part of town few tourist ever see.  King has the ability to not only scratch under the surface of a small town, but to give you the guided tour of places you never even considered.  How about a trip to the dump?  Or a shack?  Anyone. . . Anyone. . .

Stephen King Movie Club: DESPERATION




Stephen King movie club has posted a review of Desperation.  Matt’s reviews are always fun, with lots of clips and sharp commentary.  In fact, there is even some commentary by cookie monster.  I kid you not.

Really enjoyed the comments on tongues and the guest appearance by the false preachers.  (7:47)  All's I can say is amen.

The post is HERE.

Carrie Musical seeks new blood -- literally

photo credit: Broadwayworld.com


New York Post has posted a short article, relating that the stars of the new Carrie musical have discovered a problem -- all dat blood don't wash off so easy!  (The Post article is HERE)

Contact Music (HERE) says the show's stars were left stained red by the first batch of fake blood.  "Ranson and co-star Marin Mazzie, who plays her mentally-ill mother, have been struggling to scrub off the fake blood every night. . ."  This, of course, has the director scrambling to cook up a new batch of. . . blood.

The NY Post article says:
Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson, the show’s leads, have been freaking out a few West Village residents near the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street because the skin of both actresses is so stained from all the fake blood in the show. A rep for the musical said: “The production is aware of the problem and is doing everything it can to find a solution. [Fight director] Rick Sordelet is apparently testing a new [fake blood] formula. No word yet if it washes off, but I hear it does smell like cocoa butter.”

Mann Talks YOU CAN'T KILL STEPHEN KING



Monroe Mann, the director (and I think -- author, screenwriter, producer. . .) of YOU CAN'T KILL STEPHEN KING put up some really interesting news Sunday about the movie.  First, as you can guess, he is very excited about it.

Mann writes:
"The film is great!" he posts.  "I am SO excited. I just watched the entire film (the film I co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in, "You Can't Kill Stephen King")—beginning to end, including credits. And… IT ROCKS. I was laughing hysterically every five minutes. I am SO proud of this."  Rock on, man!  Stephen King said in On Writing -- "You cannot hope to sweep someone elese away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you."  Probably true of movie making, too.

The plot is pretty straight forward: A group of friends visit a lake where horror author Stephen King lives, and start getting killed off one at a time. Or, as Mann told Fangoria, "It’s a campy horror film about six friends who visit a lake where Stephen King lives and start to get killed off one at a time. Oh wait, did I just give away our amazing plotline?"  (The Fangoria article is HERE)

Does King Know About This?

Fangoria also asked if King was aware of the movie.  Ronnie Kahalil replied,
"Mr. King was kind enough to read the script and smart enough to pass on it. But yeah, he is aware and was actually around the area during some of the filming."  
Monroe Mann added to that, "I ran into him twice during shooting at the local markets. This film is really a homage to his great work and how much he’s influenced our generation. Fortunately, he has always been really supportive of young filmmakers. So even though he is not involved with the project, we’re hoping he likes the finished film and finds it both fun and funny."
It is also worth mentioning that Stephen King's official website has posted news about the movie (under "unoffical news) and even linked to the trailer.  Cool!

Netflix?

When I asked when we normal humans (those of us who do not fly about the country and attend film festivals) will get to see the film, Mann responded:
"It will probably be available on Netflix, Amazon, etc soon. Three hours ago, I was curious why all these distributors and sales agents were showing interest. I wasn't sure if they were sincere. but now, after having watched this final cut, I realize why they are interested: THE FILM IS ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD, HA HA! And so, I am confident that we will get a distribution deal and that you will be able to watch in the comfort of your own home soon. Also, we expect to have a screening in the tri-state area soon, perhaps this summer, if you can't make the screening in April in Maine."
Thanks For Serving!
Mann served in the U.S. Army (and deployed) -- a big thanks to him for serving our country.


IMDb info on this movie is HERE.

The real question is: You Can't Kill Stephen King. . . but why would you want to?

Snyder Discusses American Vampire


Comic Book Resources has posted an interview with Scott Snyder. (HERE)  He is the writer behind the American Vampire comic book series.  Oh. . . and he happens to have written fort he Batman comics as well.

Thanks to Bryant Burnette.




Honk Mafah Interviews Talk Stephen King

Check out this interview Bryant Burnette, who runs one of my favorite blogs -- Ramblings of a Honk Mafah, did with me.  THANKS BRYANT!  

I'll offer no spoilers, you'll just have to head over there and read it yourself.

Go on. . .

HERE!

The Stand Omnibus due in June





Marvel's The Stand has posted the following at their facebook page:
Due out in June: 
STAND OMNIBUS HC SLIPCASE $150 
(W) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (A) Mike Perkins (CA) TBD 
The Stand is a classic tale of good vs. evil, loss weighed against redemption and despair pitted against hope. It is an apocalyptic vision of man’s battle to save life against a worldwide plague of death. When the viral strain dubbed “Captain Trips” works its way across the face of the country, the painfully few survivors are launched into a nightmare that’s only just begun – but for the Dark Man, Randall Flagg, it’s a dream come true. Based on the masterpiece of apocalyptic horror by celebrated author Stephen King, this lavish adaptation is packed with extras in a two-volume slipcased set! 
Collecting

  • THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS #1-5, 
  • THE STAND: AMERICAN NIGHTMARES #1-5, 
  • THE STAND: SOUL SURVIVORS #1-5, 
  • THE STAND: HARDCASES #1-5, 
  • THE STAND: NO MAN’S LAND #1-5, 
  • THE STAND: THE NIGHT HAS COME #1-5 
  • THE STAND SKETCHBOOK.

Stephen King's The Reaper's Image



Four Stephen King short stories are headed for film, directed by Mark Pavia (Night Flyer).


Stephenking.com says the movie will be in the spirit of Creepshow and Cat's Eye.  King's website also says that with two of the stories hand selected by Stephen and two selected by Mark, "the project is a solid mix of classic and contemporary King tales sure to please the Constant Reader."  In other words -- King is officially excited about the project!

dreadcentral.com has the following summery’s of the stories:

The Reaper’s Image:
This story was first published in Startling Mystery Stories in 1969 and collected in Skeleton Crew in 1985. The story is about an antique mirror haunted by the visage of the Grim Reaper, who appears to those who gaze into it. This was King’s second professional sale and commercially published story. 
Mile 81:
A novella by Stephen King, released exclusively as an e-book on September 1, 2011. With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is the chilling story of an insatiable car and a heroic kid whose worlds collide at an abandoned rest stop on the Maine Turnpike. 
N.:
The story of a psychiatrist who falls victim to the same deadly obsession as his patient — an obsession that just might save the world! N. was published in King’s collection Just After Sunset in 2008. In March 2010 Marvel Comics published the first issue of a comic book adaptation of N., a four-issue limited series. 
The Monkey:
A short story first published in Gallery magazine in 1980 in the form of a small removable booklet. It was significantly revised and published in King’s collection Skeleton Crew in 1985. The story centers on a cymbal-banging monkey toy that is possessed by an evil spirit. Every time the monkey claps its little cymbals together, a nearby living thing dies. The monkey is found in a family’s attic in an old toy chest by two young brothers, unknowing that their father had been tormented by the monkey years ago, when it worked its lethal enchantment on his family and friends.


slashfilm.com writes:
"Pavia’s proven his affection for King’s work before; he made his feature filmmaking debut in 1997 with The Night Flier, an adaptation of one of King’s short stories. Though The Reaper’s Image marks only Pavia’s second full-length film, he’s been attached to several other horror projects over the years including remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead. In addition, Pavia was behind an early treatment of Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train."

In January, Pavia told Icons of Fright,
"I want to make a film that represents exactly what you think of when you hear the name “Stephen King” — a celebration of the man and what he does best, which is scaring the living hell out of all of us! But also stories that are rich in character and that have an emotional weight to them, which, of course, is what he’s all about. That’s what sets him apart from everyone else. It will be the first Stephen King anthology film in 25 years.”

Pavia also made this promise:
"[King] has been a huge part of my life since discovering me right out of film school and then hiring me (along with Richard Rubinstein) to write and direct THE NIGHT FLIER, which was an amazing experience. He has always been incredibly supportive of me for many years now, which naturally, I’m very grateful for. I love and respect Steve King, as a friend and as an artist, and I’m going to do him right.”

Toy SHINING



The Shining is everywhere!

This has me laughing!  Wonderful.  These are "Toy Shining ipad Paintings."  Nice.  Find the whole lot HERE.  I spotted this first over at Quigley's Charnel House.  And here are a few of my favorite examples:













Kyle Lambert writes:
Earlier this year I began following Lee Unkrich, the director of Toy Story 3) on Twitter (@leeunkrich). As well as his journey to the Oscars with Toy Story 3, Lee often tweets about his passion for Stanley Kubrick and the movie The Shining which inspired him to pursue a career in filmmaking. Having seen both The Shining and Toy Story 3 for the first time recently myself, I thought it would be cool idea to mash the two movies together as a fun side project. 
It started off with a few notes on a post-it describing how the two movies could be combined and quickly grew into a 25 panel storyboard. Once I had sketched each composition I set about painting the panels with my iPad using the Brushes app. The project took around 2 months to complete in my spare time from idea to the finished storyboard. 
Coincidently, towards the end of the project I was invited to visit the Pixar Studio for the day by one of their artists Don Shank and thought it would be a great opportunity to deliver a printed version of the project to Lee in person. Unfortunately he wasn't at the studio that day, but has since received the poster, Tweeting..

Review Of ALAN WAKE for PC

photo credit: Gaming Nexus


It's taken a while for Alan Wake to come to the PC.  Gaming Nexus offers a very balanced review of the game and the changes made to the PC platform.

Sean Colleli's writes, "Simply put, Alan Wake plays like a Stephen King novel turned into a TV miniseries turned into a videogame. This is intentional by Remedy and this narrative complexity is one of the game’s strengths. With such a massive volume of written work and so many movie and TV adaptations, I’m surprised Stephen King hasn’t been either adapted or imitated into a game before now. Well Mr. King now joins the ranks of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe by having his core themes represented very strongly and elegantly in an interactive experience."

The full review is HERE.

That reminds me of The Book

So. . . this is just for fun.  And, as a preacher, I find this irresistible -- so indulge me, okay!

I was writing another post, and got to thinking how much like the book of Job "Duma Key is."  (That's pronounced "Jobe" not JOB, friends.)  Then I started thinking how other King books have shadows or hints of other Biblical books.  Now, I'm not elevating Mr. King to Scripture!  I'm simply pointing out themes in his writing that remind me of books of the Bible.

Feel free to add to my list.  If it's good, I'll post it to my list. . . if it's not good. . . I'll laugh at you.

1. Duma Key reminds me of the book of Job.  A man who had it all, loses everything, deals with suffering and anger.  Only, at the end, he doesn't get a visit from God so much as he gets a visit from Satan!

2. The Stand reminds me of the book of Revelation.  And, dear friends, it is "Revelation" singular, not "Revelation(s)" -- which would indicate multiple visions. Both deal with the end of the world, the anti-Christ, plagues and the importance of standing firm to the end.

3. Desperation also has hints of the book of Job in it.  I think King may have purposefully made some of the connections with this book.  Desperation confronts the question: If God is good, why do men suffer?  In Job, Satan says to God -- (in effect) -- "you are such an unlikable being that you have to bribe people to love you!  No one would love you if you took away all those blessings.  If you removed the hedge and let me at them, then people would curse you to your face."  In Desperation we also see the hedge removed.  People must decide, while facing evil head on, if they will curse God or embrace faith.

4. Salem's Lot reminds me of the Temptation of Jesus as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).  Father Callahan is weary of facing evil as it presents itself in various forms.  He thinks he can withstand a head on confrontation with raw, pure, evil.  Of course, that is what Christ did in the wilderness.  He confronted the devil.  Only -- the outcomes were different!  Jesus whooped the enemy, while Callahan boogered out.  Jesus' ultimate confrontation with evil took place at a second temptation in Gethsemane.  Callahan runs from his Gethsemane, while Christ embraced the cross "for the joy set before him" as the author of Hebrews said.

5. The Green Mile reminds me of the book of Romans.  Romans outlines the doctrine of redemption.  It specifically emphasizes the concept of one man bearing the sins of mankind.  The Green Mile is about a Christlike figure who bears the sufferings of others and brings healing to the afflicted.  Stephen King's connection to the Gospel is obvious -- the main character is even initialed JC!  In many ways, Green Mile is powerfully retelling the story of the Messiah.  Only, John Coffee didn't rise again.

6. Pet Sematary reminds me of the Gospel of John's recording of Lazarus' death and resurrection.  Only, in Pet Sematary, King deals with the question: Is resurrection a good idea?  What if the dead came back -- messed up?  Thus the theme: Sometimes dead is better.  Interesting, though: King uses quotes in the book from the Gospel of John, but the means by which resurrection takes place is demonic.  That is, the dead are raised here by the power of evil, not the power of God.  Thus, this misplaced hope results in something worse than death itself.

Anyone want to give it a try. . .

Warner Brothers eyes The Dark Tower

picture credit: hollywood.com


Mike Fleming at Deadline.com  has posted news that Warner Brothers is very interested in the property.  (HERE)  If all goes well, filming could take place as soon as 2013.  That's assuming, of course, that the world doesn't end in 2012.


Fleming writes: 
Warner Bro's is now very close to a deal that will give Ron Howard the chance to direct at least the first feature, potentially with Javier Bardem starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. And Akiva Goldsman (who wrote the script) is producing with Brian Grazer and the author. 
Basically the studio bought Goldsman’s script and are paying him to do a polish. Howard remains attached to direct, likely in first-quarter 2013. Pic is a co-production between Goldsman’s Weed Road and Howard and Grazer’s Imagine. Bardem’s participation would depend upon his availability, but he was firmly attached when the project was at Universal.


Fleming also says, "I’d heard Warner Bros has been interested for some time, and the arrangement with sister studio HBO makes a lot of sense."


Good news for all, isn't it?!  Check out the full article.  The Dark Tower draws ever closer!  Until then, go read The Wind Through The Keyhole.

Salem's Lot Journal #2




Rats.  

Found rats again.  A constant theme in King books.  This time they rush out of the smoldering dump while Dud Rogers blows them away with his pistol.

In fact, King even gives us some satisfying “Batman” sound effects.  (Remember the old Batman tv show?)  Here’s one,
“By-by, Mr Rat,” Dud said, and took careful aim.  KAPOW, the rat flopped over, twitching.

Writing

King does something I really enjoy in Salem’s Lot; he writes the story from above.  That is, he moves for long portions simply as narrator, bopping from subject to subject as he tells the story.  He resists the urge to drop in and paint the scenes, but instead is conent to sketch things out so the reader gets the big picture.  I like this a lot, but was told by someone that it is bad writing.  Well, it works for King!

King uses this style because he is writing about an entire town.  So he needs to drop down from time to time, let us in on a scnee, then quickly pick the reader back up and continue to give us the ariel view.  It gives the book the feeling of motion – that a lot is being accomplished in a short amount of space.

In the chapters titled “The Lot,” King employs a narrative tone that is actually a lot of fun.  I love the way the seasons change.  Time passes easily under Kings direction.  Here’s a great line: “if the only sound is the slwo beat of you own heart, you can hear another sound, and that is the sound of life winding down to its syclic close, waiting for the first winter snow to perform last rites.”  That’s good!

Funerals:

The funeral services for Danny Glick are described, and like in Pet Sematary, there is a disruption.  Tony Glick throws himself at his sons grave, and actually manages to fall in.  Nice!  A parents grief, horror, is so perfectly described in this passage as Tony screams at his son to stop playing around.  The denial, unbelief a person experiences when dealing with the unexpcected death of a loved one is portrayed quite skillfully.

I’ve been to a lot of funerals.  People handle death in a variety of ways.  Some embrace it with rejoicing, placing total hope in Christ Resurrection.  Others grasp to find the right emotion.  Some openly express rage.  Of course, the hardest are when a young person has died – suicide or   car accident.  The parents are left in agony.  Salem’s Lot touches on the shadows of this kind of pain.

I thought Father Callahan’s comments that he would keep the services short, not make the pain drag on and on for these people was quite pastoral – and insightful for a young Stephen King.

I’m not sure I find graveyard’s scary, except under the cool direction of Stephen King’s pen!

Child Abuse

Salem’s Lot also touches on the issue of child abuse.  This is a theme often visited in King’s early novels.  In this case it is a woman (Sandy) who has reached the breaking point with her crying infant.  Her husband (Roy) abuses her verbally and emotionally – and the cycle continues as she hurts little Randy.  Of course, this was a major theme of The Shining,a nd of King’s later novels Dolores Claighborn and Gerald’s Game.

Inspired By THE SHINING



Jason Soy has a very interesting article posted at trendhunter.com titled, "15 Sinister 'The Shining' Inspirations (From Baby Blockbuster Parodies to Neon Film Posters)"

Soy looks at some of the many ways Kubrick's film The Shining has inspired others.

He writes: "Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ is a film that has rightfully become a pop culture staple, so it comes as no surprise that the horror movie has inspired a myriad of tributes and products. From baby photographs re-enacting scenes from the cinematic masterpiece to coat hangers shaped like Jack Torrance’s infamous axe, people seem to be endeared by ‘The Shining’ and want to show their appreciation for the Stephen King story in any manner they can."

A few of my favorites are:


  • Abstract Neon Portraits.  
  • Will Wonka: "Frank Film Memes The Slightly Skewed Movie Descriptions are Actually Quite Accurate."  The film description is: "An Eccentric Millionaire lures kids to his factory and kills them."
  • Memorable Movie Minimalism: "Ben Whitesell Captures the Spirit of Films with Simple Graphics"
  • Baby Blockbuster Parodies: "‘Arthur Recreates Scenes From Classic Movies’ is an Adorable"
  • Violent Coat Hangers: "The Regnah Hanger Will Have You Saying 'Redrum'"
  • Pop Culture Digistrations: "These Jan Folgmann Artworks Reinvent the Familiar in Exciting New Ways"
  • Recreating Classic Films With Robots: "The Shining with a WowWee Tribot"  (Spock would say, Fascinating, Captain.")
  • Movie Scene Time-Tellers: "The Shining Cuckoo Clock by Chris Dimino is Iconic."  (Imagine having this in your house!  Put it in the guest room!)
  • Film Icon Animations: "Martin Woutisseth's Animated Stanley Kubrick Movie Posters are Brilliant"

The full article is HERE.  I thought it was a lot of fun.  Deep, dude, really deep.

Photo: King Narrates Wind Through The Keyhole

THIS IS COOL!

This is from my favorite Stephen King website, Lilja's Library.  (With permission)

"Here's a photo of King in the studio narrating Wind Through the Keyhole."
-- Lilja's Library

LINKS: The 1988 Carrie Musical

Playbill has an interview with Betty Buckley, who played the gym teacher Miss. Collins in the DePalma film.  She played the role of Margaret White in the 1988 musical.  HERE.

Below is a commercial for the musical.  Unfortunately, none of the music is demonstrated.


Here is a "rare scene" from Carrie the musical.  Can it really be that "rare" if it's on youtube, 20k+ views.


Here's "Eve Was Weak". . .


King among 25 Inspiring Biographies for Aspiring Writers



Online college has an interesting article titled, "25 Inspiring Biographies for Aspiring Writers."  (HERE)

The introduction is great!  It offers this advice:
Before setting off in pursuit of literary and intellectual greatness (or at least goodness), it behooves the journeyman author to learn a few things from those that came before. Don't get bogged down in fantasy. Take the time to read up on how successful writers — no matter their chosen genres or mediums — generate ideas and inspiration, process them, then bestow them life on paper or screen. Painting teachers often request their students to copy old masters in order to learn techniques they may uniquely, creatively build upon as their own visions begin emerging. And the exact same strategy works beautifully for the written arts in kind.
Each entry has a short description of the author and their work.

Included on the list of authors is
1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou:
2. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
3. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
4. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
5. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (I really want to read this one!)
6. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter
7. The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima by Henry Scott Stokes
8. Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo.  (I’ve read this, and love it!)
9. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
10. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
11. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
12. The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell
13. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
14. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
15. My Years with Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden
16. Excelsior! by Stan Lee and George Mair
17. Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim
18, The Diary of Anais Nin by Anais Nin
19. Why this World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser
20. Ignatius Rising by Deborah George Harvey and Rene Pol Nevils
21. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
23. Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain (I have this book. . . it’s huge!)
24. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
25. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Of course, On Writing was on the list, calling it an "essential" read.  About the King book, the article says,
"On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: Not only do On Writing readers receive quite the insight into ubiquitous horror author Stephen King's own personal mindset and process, they also learn quite a bit about the art. It's oftentimes cited as one of the best literary autobiographies and practicums to boot, so consider it an essential read!"
Thanks to Carol Brown

VARIETY: King To Appear In Movie WRITERS


Jeff Sneider at Variety has posted an article titled “Lily Collins, Kristen Bell join 'Writers' (Stephen King will also make cameo in Josh Boone feature).”


New director Josh Boone is making an indie picture titled “Writers.”  Variety calls it a “dramedy.”  


Big thanks to the mighty Honk Mafah himself!  

Salem's Lot Journal #1



I started the dark journey through Salem's Lot this Saturday.  I will keep a journal of notes and things that interest me as I read.  These are not reviews -- Lilja writes some wonderful reviews, so check his out.  I'm just creating a notebook.

I have not previously read this novel cover to cover, though I am familiar with concepts.  I tried to read it one summer -- but alas, when the latest King book was hit the market and I stopped reading to plow through the latest super-duper that everyone was excited about.

As usual, the audio version is my chosen format.  I had this on CD, but lost some of the CD's!  Audible to the rescue.

I promised a friend that when I finished this I would read Talisman, since that is also on my list of "never read it -- couldn't make it."  In a way I am glad there is not a new novel this fall -- as I can catch up on some classic King.


Introduction

King read a delightful introduction in the audio version.  He discusses his mother, his childhood, and Dracula.  His mother called most horror books "trash" -- but Dracula and the like were not "bad trash."  Save that for D.H. Lawrence!  He shares the roots of the novel, and his original title "Second Coming."


Bigness

I am struck right off the bat by what a "large" novel this is.  It has a lot of scope, characters.  King backed out of some projects earlier in his career because they were just too big (Cannibals, which became Under The Dome, comes to mind.)  Salem's lot is a big novel -- not so much in length but in cast.  Interesting how young Mr. King says that no large novel is created by the author alone. . . written by a man who just didn't know how large his novels would get!  I guess sitting next to Carrie, it is long.

Salem's Lot is not just the story of Ben or Susan -- it is, as the title implies, the story of a town.  King wastes little time with introducing main characters before he gets busy allowing us to peak in the windows and listen in on the phone lines of this little town.  In fact, characters are being introduced so quickly at points that I feel the need to write down names.

Why a large cast?  Well, I suspect because a lot of people are going to get killed.  Just my guess here.

The large cast of characters in a small town reminds me of Needful Things.  The naughty boys even move to town to open up a shop.

I love how King describes the chatter crossing phone-lines, and the low hum the telephone lines make when the weather is just right.

The novel has a slight 70's feel to it.  No cell phone's here, gang!  We've still got party lines, newspapers and typewriters.  But it is an endearing feel to me.  King says he has always been more a writer of his time, and that's something I really appreciate.  I don't need to feel like it's happening "today" in order to enjoy it.  In fact, it's perhaps all the more creepy because it happened "back then" ya know!

The Writing:

Kings writing is crisp, energetic and quite fun.  He is moving at a pretty fast pace from scene to scene, giving the feeling that he is definitely "going" somewhere with this.  You can sense that a young man wrote this, and that is fine.  It is his view of the world, and it is a nice view.

King's love for Shirley Jackson's work appears not only with the inside quotes, but in the novel itself.  Ben directly discusses The Haunting Of Hill House (whatever walked there walked alone!)

One of the early scenes does give me a laugh --  "YOU WISH!" I want to say to King.  Ben goes to the park, only to discover a beautiful unmarried young woman reading his book.  Hummm, might this be the start of a relationship?  Oh yeah!  I like this scene very much, because I want to like it, not because it strikes me as true to life.  It does make me wonder what well known authors must feel when they spy someone reading their work.

Since Ben is a writer, a lot of Salem's Lot is about writing.  King lets us into the head of a young writer.  "But he does that all the time," someone might object.  True, but this is the first time -- and in that sense, it is special.