Does That Car Have A Driver?

Angela Hill at Tri-Valley Times has a short post titled, "Five Driverless Cars That Want To Kill You."  

Hill writes,

Driverless cars may be the motor vehicles of California's near future, thanks to legislation approved by Gov. Jerry Brown last week. They're supposed to be safer, never getting drunk or breaking traffic laws. But watch out for the ones that go bad.

YES!  See, we can't say we haven't been warned!  Two of Hill's "driverless" cars are  from the Stephen King universe.
#1, "Christine" (1983) -- This carefully restored red 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine has a deadly past and turns out to be possessed by the devil, going around killing people. Thank you Stephen King. 
#4, "Maximum Overdrive" (1986) -- Stephen King strikes again with a bunch of big rig trucks that come to life and try to kill a group of people trapped in a truck stop. Emilio Estevez tries to save the day. This time it's not demons, but possible extraterrestrial involvement.

The Gunslinger Journal #1

The journal entries are not intended to be reviews of the books.  They are simply my notes and observations as I journey through various King novels.  I will leave the work of review to the outstanding Lilja at Lilja’s Library.

I have started a familiar journey toward the Dark Tower, traveling once again with the Gunslinger as he chases the man in black.

Here are some initial impressions:

1. I like the style better than I remember.  It does read like someone who really wants to be very serious!  This is before King really had the freedom in his writing to play games and crack lots of jokes at himself.  The light heartedness we sometimes encounter in the narration of other books is not yet present.

But I like the heavy serious tone that novel strikes.  It does feel like someone who has lots to say. . . but isn’t sure just yet what it is they have!  That’s okay, I’m game, Mr. King!  If you want to be serious, I’ll be serious and play along.  It is the joy of reading a young mans work.

2. In the Dark Tower, King is “world building.”  But he keeps the reader in suspense in this novel – what world are we on?  Where are we?  Is this the afterlife?  The man in black mentions the world next door – I like that phrase.  The world of the dark tower is one that parallels our own, yet has some drastic differences.  It is a world that has moved on – a world in flux, or change.  Though there are familiar things – birds and farmers and guns – there are also some missing items.  Government?   It appears each town is run on its own.  It is a lawless world where dark men can come to town and raise the dead.  I imagine the book of Judges in the Bible.

3. Nineteen.  The key word the dark man gives to drawing out information from the man he raised (Norton) from the dead is “nineteen.”  A theme that King will play with throughout the series, and his own writing.

4. The book is difficult to follow.  It starts with the gunslinger meeting a farmer.  The farmer wants to know about Tull.  This leads to a flashback.   But there are scene shifts within the flashback – points of view given that are not directly the gunslingers.  This gets a little complicated, I think.  I'll discuss that  further below.

5. Spiritual Overtones: By the way, the idea of a fallen world that needs to be restored has huge spiritual overtones.  A good gunslinger, who does not conform to “religion” as it is known rides out to confront and defeat a dark man.  Of course, creation itself  is at stake and must be rescued.  Sounds familiar to me.

6. The dark resurrection reminds me of Pet Sematary.

Mr. Vincent and Me:

Wow, am I glad I have Bev Vincent’s “The Road To The Dark Tower.”  Vincent explains everything from a birds eye point of view, taking into account the entire series, changes King made to the Gunslinger and even discussing issues of chronology.

I have to admit, I was lost as the Dark Man raised Norton from the dead – simply in terms of where we were in the timeline.  I knew at some point the Gunslinger started talking, but then the scene changed and it was another flashback.  So it was a flashback in a flashback.   But, to make things more complicated – I wasn’t even clear where the Gunslinger’s conversation with the farmer fit in to all of this.

So Vincent explains the whole chronology thing succinctly, without making me feel stupid (though you all are welcome to point fingers and declare me unworthy of the journey!)  Vincent writes:
“The Gunslinger,” covers a period of nearly two months, taking the as-yet-unnamed gunslinger from Prince town through Tull and southeast into the desert, where he encounters Brown. . . 
. . . King begins the story five days after Roland departs from Brown’s hut. . .
(AH!!!  How did I not put this together.  So even Brown is a flashback)
“Through a series of flashbacks, he reminisces about his recent history.”

See, now I get it!  In fact, now I’m excited about it.  What was that, four sentenses that made the whole first part of the novel flow.
“In Song of Susannah, King says he liked how the story seems to be going backward (I’LL SAY!), starting with Roland, slipping back to Brown, then to Tull and finally to show Nort the Weeedeater being resurrected by Walter.  “The early part of it was all told in reverse gear.”
(The quotes are from page 31 of the paperback.)


Finally, Vincent address the issue I’ve been harping on – one of PURPOSE.  Why must the gunslinger go to the tower?  “The gunslinger sues people and discards them after they’ve served thier purpose or if they stand in the way of his goal.  In the abstract, his actions are understandable.  Saving all of existence is surely worth sacrificing a few people.”

But, I must ask – when the gunslinger gets to the Dark Tower, does he make any real attempt to save all humanity?  Is that what happened?  And, is he not caught like Bill Murray in an eternal Ground Hog Day situation?  Be patient, the journey will answer these questions for me!  Will King ever give us a Dark Tower 8, where the Gunslinger finally reaches the Dark Tower and successfully restores things?

Isn't this basically what every Star Trek movie is about?

The Wit And Wisdom Of Stephen King

From the press release:
Albany, GA – BearManor Media proudly announces the release of its new book, The Wit and Wisdom of Stephen King. 
Stephen King is one of the finest and most successful novelists in the history of American literature. Here, for the first time, is a one-of-a-kind collection of quotations by King on subjects as varied as writing, Hollywood, God and religion, his work, popular culture, critics, success, money, the supernatural, censorship, and Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of The Shining. These bon mots were culled from hundreds of print and television interviews, as well as essays and assorted works of nonfiction. Edited by Andrew J. Rausch, The Wit and Wisdom of Stephen King contains an entertaining selection of observations both comic and profound. 
ISBN: 1-59393-648-6
Format: Softcover; 6” x 9”; 146 pages
Price: $14.95
Available through Ingram and  
It can be purchased at

The Dark Tower Project

With the announcement that both Doctor Sleep and Joyland will be released in 2013, I have decided it is time for me to return to The Dark Tower.

I have read the first three books several times (the first two many, many times).  I have not read Wizard and Glass or The Wind Through The Keyhole.  I also skipped and dipped through the last book.  The arrival of Wind Through The keyhole actually peaked my interest: I want to retrace the steps of Roland and his journey to the tower.

My favorite books previously were: Drawing of the Three, Wastelands, Wolves of the Calla and parts of Song of Susannah.  My least favorite is the first.

So here’s the plan:
1. I’ll do most of the reading by audio book.
2. I choose the original version of the first book, as opposed to King’s revised edition.
3. I will read the books in chronological book order.
4. I will stay with the primary 8 books; skipping Little Sisters and other short Dark Tower related works.

When I first came to The Dark Tower, I was brand new to Stephen King.  I only made it through the first few pages, then jumped ship and went to The Stand.  I later read The Dark Tower, and though confused, went on to The Drawing of the Three.  That book was awesome!

There are things I still don’t totally understand, the primary one is simply this: How does Roland getting to the tower change anything?

There are several good Dark Tower books to guide me on the journey.  My intention is to stay primarily with The Road To The Dark Tower, by Bev Vincent.

Carrie: I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance has posted an article  titled, "THE SCREENING ROOM: Exclusive Look at Carrie's "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance"  (HERE)  The music is very good.

Misery Heads To Stage

On the heels of a successful  Carrie run, Misery is headed to the stage at Bucks County Playhouse in New  Hope, Pa.

In a September 20 article in the New York times Patrick Healy wrote:
This fall Misery Chastain will live again, this time on stage: The theatrical division of Warner Bros. Entertainment announced on Thursday that it had developed a new play based on the original “Misery” novel by Stephen King that will run Nov. 24-Dec. 8 at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa. 
The script is by the two-time Oscar winner William Goldman, whom Warner Bros. recruited in Hollywood’s latest attempt at synergy between the film and theater worlds. Mr. Goldman previously adapted the King novel for the screen version of “Misery,” and won his Academy Awards for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “All the President’s Men.”
I would love to see it!

I posted a short article about previous appearances of Misery on stage HERE at talkstephenking and HERE about a staged reading of Misery.  Obviously, Misery is a book that translates nicely not only to screen, but to the stage.

The times article is HERE.
There is another  interesting article about the play at

The Shining Tattoo

It's a tattoo of The Shining.  I'm not sure if we are supposed to go "WOW!"  or "WHY?"  Put me in the "why?" category.

check it out HERE

Doctor Sleep Synopsis has posted this synopsis of Doctor Sleep:
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death. 
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.” 
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
CB Droege at TG Daily comments on the synopsis, "It's worth noting that it seems like about as much time has passed in the story-world as has passed in the real world since the release of the first novel, likely not a coincidence. It'll be interesting to see how the lore of The Shining develops further in this story, if you can get past King's pulpy, gratuitously gory style."

I have noticed more than one website already discussing the fact that this is sure to be a movie.  I'm not so quick to think so.  For one thing, everything King writes  does  not instantly rush down the yellow brick road to Hollywood.  If so, The Dark Tower would be on better footing.  What about: Cell, From A Buick 8, The Talisman, and Rose Madder?  Second, I think King will be to sell the property, after the Kubrick situation with the original version of The Shining.

Happy Birthday Carrie!

Today, September 21, is Stephen King's birthday. It is also Carrie White's birthday. Sony Pictures notes, "Stephen King gave his iconic character Carrie, from his first published novel, the same birthday as him."

To celebrate their birthdays (King's and Carrie's), an official movie Facebook page has been launched.

Check out the birth certificate for Carrie, it's the first post, with this note: "17 years ago today Carrie White’s mother, Margaret White, gave birth to her daughter under circumstances which can only be termed bizarre."

I wonder if Carrie makes it out alive in this movie. . .

So, 2 questions:
1. If you could give Stephen King something for his birthday, what would you give him? (Don't be a creepy Annie Wilkes) 
2. If you could give Carrie White something for her birthday, what would you give her?

JOYLAND cover has posted a the cover for Stephen King's 2013 novel, Joyland.

Not only is King going retro with the setting of his upcoming novel, he’s also sticking to a tried-and-true format. “I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts,” he said in the press release. “I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.” 
Charles Ardai, editor of Hard Case Crime, promises a layered, genre-crossing story. “Joyland is a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book,” he said. “It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time. Even the most hard-boiled readers will find themselves moved. When I finished it, I sent a note saying, ‘Goddamn it, Steve, you made me cry.’ ”
check  it out at and

I think the cover looks great!

IT action figure

IT's a. . . a. . . It's a Pennywise action figure.  Just in case GI Joe can't take down Cobra, this clown can take care of business.  Wait. . . which side is he on?  WHO MADE A PENNYWISE ACTION FIGURE?  Rock on.

I found it on ebay HERE.  It's at $20 right now, if anyone wants to jump in.  My wife won't let me make this investment.

Carrie Musical Audio CD

Cemetery Dance has announced that you can now purchase a copy of the Carrie Musical Audio CD. The publisher is Ghostlight, the cost is $15.99

From Cemetery Dance:
The long-awaited, first ever Carrie cast recording is finally here, ending the almost quarter century wait for an official release. 
Bootlegging of the show's intense and stirring song cycle had reached unprecedented levels for a musical over the years among its devout following. This fan-base is now growing exponentially as Carrie is a hot, officially licensable property for high schools, colleges, and theatre companies across the nation. 
Stephen King's classic fable has become a staple of mainstream pop culture from the bestselling novel, to the Academy Award® nominated film, to this legendary musical, the latter of which had not been seen or heard since its 1988 Broadway production--until now. Twenty-four years on, the show's original authors teamed with director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz) for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of this gripping tale. 
Set today, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the film), music by Academy Award® winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment), and lyrics by Academy Award® winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose). The cast features Tony Award® nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal, Kiss Me Kate) as Carrie's evangelical mother, Margaret White, and the stunning Molly Ranson (Jerusalem, August: Osage County) as the lonely, vengeful, yet fragile girl at the center of it all.
Track Listings
1. In
2. Carrie
3. Open Your Heart
4. And Eve Was Weak
5. The World According To Chris
6. Evening Prayers
7. Dreamer In Disguise
8. Once You See
9. Unsuspecting Hearts
10. Do Me A Favor
11. I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance
12. A Night We'll Never Forget
13. You Shine
14. Why Not Me
15. Stay Here Instead
16. When There's No One
17. Prom Arrival
18. Unsuspecting Hearts (Reprise)
19. Dreamer In Disguise (Reprise)
20. Prom Climax
21. Alma Mater
22. The Destruction
23. Carrie (Reprise)
24. Epilogue
Purchase it HERE

Anderson: Halloween Party Theme Ideas

I liked Alice Anderson's post about Halloween Party Theme Ideas because it was so . . . (ready for this) literary.  A few of her ideas include: Characters from old England, such as Jack the  Ripper, Hunchback, Dracula, Dr. Jekyl.  How about The Nightmare Before Christmas, or H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft must have gotten her thinking, because after  that suggestions he suggested Horror authors in general could be a theme of their own.  But what horror author  has produced enough recognizable work to rate an entire theme?  Why. . . Mr. King of course!  And,what's really neat, is right after King comes Mr. Poe.

Anderson writes:

Have your guests dress as a character from a Stephen King novel. Easy outfits would be Carrie, Pennywise, or the man in the black suit. With so many King novels on the shelves, there would be no end to the imagination of your guests. And by limiting the theme to one author, guessing the costume would be a little less tricky and a little more fun. Another great author would be Edgar Allen Poe or possibly a generic theme around the classic writings of horror.
Andersons article is HERE.

Here. . . I'll have an imaginary Stephen King party.  Who are you coming as?

Lilja's Library: Doctor Sleep To be Released In 2013

Lilja's Library has  posted  the following news:

Doctor Sleep has finally gotten a release date. Unfortunately we won't see it until September 24th next year. Both Scribner and Hodder & Stoughton will release it on that date.  (
Lilja notes, "I’m glad it has a release date but disappointed that it’s more than a year until it’s actually released."  I agree!

Time for constant readers  to either catch up on King books they have not yet read (there are plenty for  me) or reread loved King books. . . or catch up with another author.  Ken Follett is doing a new series that looks awesome.

Pet Sematary Documentary: Unearthed & Untold The Path To Pet Sematary

photo credit  HERE
Are you a fan of the Mary Lambert Pet Sematary adaptation?  I am!  And I'm not alone.  The above picture comes from Michael Shapcott, who explains that this is a picture of Gage and Church. . . as zombies.   Nice!

It seems Pet Sematary has made a lasting impression on American culture.

If you're a fan of the Lambert film, GOOD NEWS! Chris Alexander at Fangoria has posted news that John Campopiano is making a documentary about the movie titled "UNEARTHED & UNTOLD: THE PATH TO PET SEMATARY."

Calling it the "most in-depth and comprehensive documentary on the making of Pet Sematary," Campopiano has already conducted over 24 interviews with cast, crew and Maine locals.  Alexander notes in the Fangoria article that the majority of these people have not been previously interviewed on camera about their role.

Campopiano says, 
“What we’re attempting to do is take a deeper look at the making of PET SEMATARY. What stories and memories do local Maine residents have of the production? How was the production documented in the local media (television, magazine, and newspaper stories)? What did the production do for Hancock County and the greater Maine communities? Our goal is to show the unique bridging of a relatively small Hollywood production with a small Maine community who continue to think highly of its involvement in the film. In addition to cast and crew memories, the local experiences of those in Maine, and the film’s portrayal in the local media, we’re also seeking to explore the legacy the film has established and how its core themes are being taught and explored in the film and academic worlds.”
The full Fangoria article is HERE

301: Haven Makes Stronger Connections To The Colorado Kid

So how -- exactly -- is Haven related  to The Colorado Kid?  The show usually focuses on the towns  people and their oddities.  Really, this is the kind of town Carrie White would  feel right at home in.  The show has never given us an direct, on screen explanation of how it is connected to the Stephen King novel, or the larger King universe.

Danielle Turchiano at has an article titled,  "Haven’ digs deeper into the Colorado Kid in its season three premiere."

She writes,
Haven’s third season premiere, “301,” does not cheekily refer to its episode number but instead to a key landmark within the town—a burial plot in which the Colorado Kid was laid to rest years ago. By finding it and digging it up, Audrey may finally be set on the path to find out some real answers. Unfortunately for her, it’s just going to take a while to get there.
Turchiano promises, "The Colorado Kid case was referenced so often in previous episodes we were literally wondering when there’d finally be a new development or reveal in that, and we’re happy to say that “301” delivers in such a way in the last few minutes of the episode that it was more than worth the wait."

The full article is HERE.

Stephen King, Actor

photo credit: Liljas Library

Writers Digest has put together a neat compilation of Stephen King movie appearances.  Zachary Petit writes about Creepshow, “Creepshow, written by Stephen King and directed by George Romero (Night of the Living Dead), features an entire segment starring King. In a hilariously weird turn, he plays an overall-clad man who discovers a meteor in his yard, and experiences some trying side effects.”
His list goes as follows:

with clips:
  • Pet Sematary
  • Maximum Overdrive
  • Creepshow
  • Langoliers
  • The Stand
  • Sleepwalkers
  • Rose Red
  • Kingdom Hospital
  • Frazier
cameos without clips include:
  • Knightriders (1981)
  • Creepshow II (1987)
  • Golden Years (1991)
  • Thinner (1996)
  • The Shining (1997)Storm of the Century (1999)
  • Gotham Cafe (2005)
  • Sons of Anarchy (2010)
. . . and not mentioned: The SIMPSONS!

Check out the site, as Petit includes several clips that are a lot of fun.  My favorite is Sleepwalkers and Maximum Overdrive.
  • check out my article: King On Screen (HERE)  which also does not include the Simpsons.  Go figure.
  • And here is an article from my favorite Stephen King website, Lilja's Library, titled, "Did You Catch Stephen King?"  ALAS!  he did get the Simpsons.

Mick Garris quote

"I've been able  to work  at the top level of television and be protected by Stephen Spielberg or a Stephen King, I mean there's always a 800 pound gorilla on either side and I'm a 50 pound chip in the middle being pulled both ways."
                          -- Mick Garris, tales from the script

Under The Dome CD Cover

Here is a cover for Under The Dome that I had not previously seen.  It is for the CD's.

Ending The Mist

photo credit HERE

Netflix has Tales from the Script, which is simply interviews with Hollywood screenwriters as they discuss what it’s like to write scripts.  I love it!  And, there are a lot of Stephen King directors in the mix here.
  • John Carpenter, Christine
  • Frank Darabont, The Mist
  • Mick Garris, The Stand
  • William Goldman, Misery, Hearts in Atlantis, Dolores Claiborne, Dream Catcher


Do you like the ending to the Mist?  I don’t.  How much would you pay to change it?  How about $30,000,000 ?

A producer offered a Darabont a 30 million dollar budget for The mist if he would change the ending.  Darabont asked, “What ending would you like me to have?  What is your suggestion?”  The answer: I don’t know!  Darabont explained, This is the ending I’ve been thinking about for 30 years now.  He didn’t have a suggestion.

This is my opinion. . .

So how should  The Mist end?

I have a suggestion: (a few)
1. Not that ending!
2. More seriously, it’s okay for the main characters to die – just not that way.  Let them drive away and get eaten by a big dino-monster.  That’s fine.  But a father cannot do that to his child – not a good one.  It messes up the movie for re-watch.  To me, the ending makes the David Drayton unlikable.  As you watch again, you are thinking, “I can’t like this guy, he’s got a major character flaw.”  He does what Mother Carmody wanted to do but failed.  He does it with different intentions.  Simply put, a good reason not to blow a kids brains out when a situation looks really really really bad – is because there might be a miracle.  Not only does David Drayton carry out a incredibly painful act, but the movie rubs our face in it by showing the mist getting blown away by the army.
3. They escape, drive out of the Mist with a terrible creature right on their heels.

The Mist is a great movie.  It’s a great movie you want to reflect on, chew on, discuss.  But the ending is so strong, it blinds you to everything that happened previous.

King did not end his novella.  He just let them drive away.  I guess you can do that in a book, but a movie needs an ending.  King has said he liked the ending of movie version of The Mist.

Strengths Of  The Mist

1. The story holds up.  It is based on King's  novel, and is one of the few books that actually comes alive on screen the way it reads.  That is, a lot of what you read is exactly what is reproduced on screen.

2. It's creepy.  Giant bugs, dinosaurs, and the mist itself shrouds everything -- making it even more scary!  It some ways, I think The Mist accomplishes what Under The Dome did not.  Everything is cut off from civilization, and then the monsters move in.

3. People do things that seem likely in a crisis situation.  it shows courage, fear, religious zeal and a lot of infighting.

My favorite scene: The docking bay.   

  • What is your favorite scene from The Mist?
  • How  would  you end  The Mist?

Tom Hanks Funny Story About Michael Clarke Duncan

CNN has a touching article about the services for Michael Clarke Duncan.  Held yesterday in Los Angeles, California, it sounds like it was a "whose who" of Hollywood, including: Jay Leno, Holly Robinson-Peete, Stevie Wonder and his ‘Green Mile’ co-star Tom Hanks.

The CNN article states:
‘Green Mile’ director Frank Darabont was also in attendance and read a letter from ‘Green Mile’ author Stephen King, which said, “No one has ever done a character I wrote more justice.” Leno said, as his voice cracked, “Just to see such a pure heart and pure kindness, and to see it taken so early, there are no sadder words than what might have been.”
the CNN story is HERE.

Misery Journal #5: Conclusion

What a ride!  Misery was a huge surprise to me.  I did not expect to like it.  How, I wondered, could King carry the story of a trapped writer for so many pages?  Of course, my opinion was based solely on the movie.  Having read the book, I now fully understand what Bev Vincent meant  when he wrote, "Misery will get under your skin."

Misery Origins:

In The Stephen King Illustrated Companion, Bev Vincent says that Misery was  inspired  in part by John Fowles's The Collector and the Evelyn Waugh short story "The Man Who  Loved  Dickens."  Vincent writes:
After reading the latter, King wondered what would happen if Dickens himself were held captive.  He reflected in an interview, "Halfway  through. . . I realized I was trying to express some of my own deepest fear-feelings: the sense of being trapped, the sense of having come from someplace like Africa and knowing I would never be  able  to get home, and trying to figure out what  it was I was doing, why I was  doing it, and why people were  responding to it."  (p.96) 
Vincent further explains that the novel was the result of a dream King had while flying to England.  "He dreamed about a woman who held a writer prisoner and killed him, skinned him, fed  the remains to her pig, and bound his novel  in human skin."

The Stephen King Universe notes that due to its realistic themes and dark ending, King originally intended Misery to be published  as a Richard Bachman novel.

Number One Fan:

Autograph hunter Mark Chapman gets a signature from John Lennon
outside his elegant Dakota apartment building in New York
where hours later he gunned down the former Beatle
(photo credit HERE)
King fans can be obsessive.  One guy broke into King's house claiming to have a bomb.  He is mobbed for autographs, and sometimes the fans turn out to be flat out scary! The Stephen King Universe says, "Misery was clearly inspired by events in King's own life."  It relates this frightening account:
In 1980,  he reportedly signed one of his books for a stranger  who literally did call himself King's 'number one fan.'  That lost soul was Mark Chapman, who would later earn his palce in history by shooting and killing John Lennon shortly thereafter." (SK Universe, p.335)
The encounter with Mark Chapman is elaborated on for a full page in the original edition of The Stephen King Companion (p.248) which is quoting form King's September 22, 1986 Virginia Beach lecture.

The book is dedicated to "Stephanie and Jim Leonard, who know why.  Boy, do they."  George Beahm offers this insight in the original Stephen King Companion, "Stephanie Leonard, for many years King's secretary and the editor/publisher of Castle Rock, knows firsthand what it's like to deal  with the fans -- the good, the bad and the ugly."

Here are my final notes for the present Misery Journal:

1. Suspense: As Paul finishes the novel, King builds intensity.  What is going to happen when he finishes writing?  The pages left to write become something like a clock running down, like in Running Man.

The novel employs Hitchcock levels of suspense at the end as the reader (and Paul) wnder if Annie is really dead.  She is discovered, not laying dead with wads of paper coming from her mouth -- but outside Misery's pig stall, with one hand wrapped around the handle of a chainsaw.  

2. There are rats here!  King has a way of sending rats racing through a story at moments I do not expect them.  Who would have expected to find rats in Misery?  I didn't!  But rats there are!  They are down in Annie's cellar.  Of course, Paul can't move, so the horror builds all the more as he  contends with rats staring at him.

3. ESCAPE: As with any novel where an escape is required, the reader is left thinking how they might execute an escape in a similar situation.  What the reader is likely to forget is just how weak and dependent on Annie Paul really is.

4. King takes us inside the writers mind as he works through problems.  Misery is really about the art of writing.

The Stephen King Companion, by George Beahm, notes that the August 1987 edition of The Castle Rock included an article by Tabitha King in which she reminded readers that Stephen King was not Paul Sheldon.  More importantly, she made the point that Annie Wilkes is a "metaphor for the creative drive itself." Beahm writes (quoting Tabitha King):
Beyond merely a tale of torture and murder, "Misery is far more concerned with the way in which a creative person can be tortured by his own powers, addicted to the act  of creation, damaged by it.  At the end, Paul Sheldon has not freed himself from Annie Wilkes; she holds him captive still, emotionally and creatively." (The Stephen King Companion, Revised Edition, 269)

I like the insight that a novel never turns out quite the way an author first imagines it.

He felt as he always did when he finished a book— queerly empty, let down, aware that for each little success he had paid a toll of absurdity. -- Misery, p. 287
Not  only is it about writing, but it is about writing being an act of creation (as discussed above by Tabitha King),

Still, it was good to be done— always good to be done. Good to have produced, to have caused a thing to be. In a numb sort of way he understood and appreciated the bravery of the act, of making little lives that weren’t, creating the appearance of motion and the illusion of warmth." -- Misery,  p.288

5. Disgusting!  Stephen King almost made me gag.  I don't normally have any physical reaction to books.  I don't cry, I don't get grossed out, I don't get scared.  Sometimes I talk back to a book -- but I'm actually pretty passive.   But I was driving to work listening to Misery as King described the final fight with Annie.  Paul shoved the novel down her throat -- while it was on fire!  The description was so powerful, I stopped the CD because I was gagging. 

King brilliantly drags that part out, letting you suffer with Annie as more  and more pages are jammed down her throat.  Even though she is getting what she deserves, the reader hurts with her.  That is a sign of good writing!

6. Irony: The novel employs a lot of irony.  For instance, Annie supplies Paul with the instruments that will be used  to bring about her own demise.  Both the typewriter and the pages of Paul's novel are weapons he will use in the final struggle.  

King himself points all  this out, writing,
So in a way she had been killed by the very typewriter Paul had hated so much. -- Misery, p.307

The Dark Tower Musical Inspiration

photo credit: HERE

What do you do when your band has written "every possible break-up song there can be"?  Rachel Hirsh, the vocalist/keyboardist for a band called "I Was Totally Destroying It" said that was her problem.  She'd written it all!  So, wanting to move on to new territory, she stepped into the world of the Dark Tower.

According to al.Com, the bands August release album “Vexations" is a loose concept album inspired by the “The Dark Tower.”

Hirsh says,
"I’ve always been a HUGE Stephen King fan, even getting in trouble in middle school for reading his books during class. In the Dark Tower series there are a lot of human themes such as obsession and addiction, which I can relate to. We pulled from some of the more universal subject matter in the series, and simultaneously drew inspiration from our own experiences.
The full article is HERE.

The Case For Sequels:

I hear a lot of complaining in the halls of Stephen Kingdom about sequels. Dark Tower purist squawk that King slipped Wind Through The Keyhole into the Dark Tower series.  Though, not as much as they complained when he revised the Gunslinger!  There is likewise a lot of concern about the upcoming Doctor Sleep.

I think Sequels can be a great thing.

A Few strengths of a sequel:

1. The author does not have to start from scratch building characters.  The reader already has an emotional investment in the people inhabiting the story.  Thus the Empire Strikes Back doesn’t have to give us long stretches on Tattooine, but can leap quickly to guys riding on Ton-Ton’s.  We immediately know who both of them are, their relationship and rivalry.

Consider with Doctor Sleep, King does not have to take time telling us about Danny’s phytologist, his friend Tony or what Shining is – because that work has already been done.  He is able to hone in on the story itself.

What made the second Dark Tower book so much fun for me was that a lot of the heavy lifting and background work had been done in Gunslinger.  So the story could open quickly, with the each scene.

2. The author can flesh out ideas that were only hinted at in the original story.

3. The reader gets answers to questions that were left open.  For instance, what happened to Wendy and Danny?  What is their relationship?  How did Danny’s gift of Shining affect the rest of his life?

4. Clarity.  A sequel gives the author more space to make issues even more clear.  If anyone thinks Jack was just crazy, that King wasn’t telling us about ghosts – then Doctor Sleep will make it abundantly clear that this is a ghost story!  Of course, the only person who didn’t get it the first time around was Mr. Kubrick.

5. Sequels kick the happy ending in the face.  You thought everything was dealt with, wrapped up and tied with a bow. . . but the sequel says, “not so fast, buster.  Things are not as neat and clean as Mr. King at first lead you to believe.”

King does not do a lot of sequels.  In fact, all I can think of is Black House.  I have yet to explore The Regulators, so I am not sure how to classify it in regard to Desperation.  Some would argue that his endings are so bad, he can’t pick up where he left off!  I am not one of those.  I think King has so many ideas, there is little point for himt o try and tell new stories with old characters.  Meeting new people is part of the fun.  (I’m guessing here)

Charles Dickens did not use the sequel.  Each book was complete in itself.  Like King, he was criticized for the length of his books, but at least each book told the full story on his heart.  (Now, what in the world was David Copperfield really about?)

Sometimes Hollywood has given us a sequel to their theatrical version – usually without much success.  I think the best of the King movie sequels was Pet Sematary 2.  There were several Fire Starter sequels, a Salem’s Lot sequel and a few Children of the Corn sequels.  

My Favorite Sequels:

1. The Empire Strikes Back.  It is my favorite of the Star Wars movies.
2. World Without End.  The followup to Pillars of the Earth.  It is not as strong as Pillars, but it was a joy to read.
3. Return to Cold Sassy Tree.  I liked it, event hough Olive Anne Burns died before it was finished.
4. Piercing The Darkness.  Famous Christian author, Frank Peretti wrote thsi book on the heels of his fantastic work, This Present Darkness.  Truth be told, I think Piercing the Darkness is a stronger story.
5. Toy Story 2.  I know it’s a movie – but it was better than the first.

Who has a right to write a sequel?  My wife read a sequel to Gone with the Wind. . . but it was not by Margaret Mitchell, the original author.  I said that was cheating, but she disagreed.  But think about it, it is cheating!  The author is taking someone elses characters, climbing into their heads and making them do what the original author never even thought of them doing!  Cheater –  Cheater – pumpkin eater!

As I tried to think of famous sequels, I realized: There aren’t that many that really make it big.  There are lots of series of books – Lord of the Rings and so on – but not so many squels that really grab readers.  Still, I hold out great hope for Doctor Sleep.

What’s your favorite sequel?  (Stay with books, even though I strayed)

Star Pulse: Review Of Sleep Walkers

Good news. . . Sleep Walkers is out on Blu-ray.  Well, I'm not snapping up a copy, but I'm sure it's good news for someone out there.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jason Coleman's short review of the film at

It is safe to say that Coleman enthusiastically dislikes the movie.  I mean, he joyfully hates it!  This is actually a fun movie to poke at.  Honestly, where is MYST3K when we need them?  
King spends most of his story and Garris’s movie in the throws of skin-to-skin passion between mom Alice Krige and son Brian Krause and not so much with hot new girlfriend Madchen Amick. (What a waste!) Cheesy effects (the car changes model...and color!), sad story devices (Sleepwalkers are tormented by...cats!) and bad make-up work will leave most folks walking out, sleepy or not. 
My favorite scene is an obvious one: I like the Stephen King appearance.

I first saw this film in theaters.  Don't feel too sorry for me, my dad paid my way in. I was a teen, and he knew I liked Stephen King.  Unfortunately, he also went with me to see the show.  Awkward . . . watching a mom and son go at it as you sit next to your dad.

Like Cat's Eye, key parts of the plot were cut, leaving the audience unable to make necessary connections.  Anyway, rate this up there with movies I love to hate.  I think it's terrible, and am quite happy to see Mr. Coleman is on the same page.  Please, no one complain about how often I gripe about this movie, because I take such deep pleasure in criticizing it -- it's almost therapeutic 

However, if any of you want to put in a good word for Sleepwalkers. . . you'll be the first I'm aware of!  Go for it.

Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos

I saw this on ebay and thought it was interesting:
New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.  It is a compilation of 9 short stories, edited by Ramsey Campbell.

Some of the stories include:
  • "Crouch End" by Stephen King
  • "The Second Wish" by Brian Lumley
  • "Shaft Number 247" by Basil Copper
  • "The Faces at Pine Dunes" by Ramsey Campbell
  • And a collaboration: "The Black Tome of Alsophocus" by H.P. Lovecraft and Martin S. Warnes!
The book went for $55.68.  (a far cry from my $5 bid.)

Wikipedia offers this summery:
On August 19, 1974, two police officers, alcoholic veteran Ted Vetter and newcomer Robert Farnham, are working the night shift in the London neighborhood of Crouch End. They are discussing the case of Doris Freeman, a young American woman who came in to report the disappearance of her husband, lawyer Leonard Freeman. Nearly hysterical, Doris' story involves monsters and other supernatural incidents. 
She relates how she and her husband were looking for a potential employer's house in Crouch End, but as they did so, they became lost. As they continued searching, their surroundings started to change subtly and become infested by what appeared to be monsters and demons. Doris escapes with her life, but her husband is not so lucky, being consumed by some kind of hideous creature (possibly Shub-Niggurath, due to a reference to 'the Black Goat with a Thousand Young' made shortly before the creature's appearance). 
Farnham dismisses the story as rubbish, but Vetter, who has worked in Crouch End for years, is not so sure, remembering a time previously when similar events happened before. He speaks of different dimensions and Crouch End being a place where the veil between our world and another more demonic world is at its weakest. The story ends with Farnham going out into the night, only to find that something is different about the area for him too. He is never seen again, and Vetter dies a few years later. The story ends by saying that people continued to disappear in Crouch End and sometimes are never seen again.
Full Wikipedia article is HERE.

Dark Tower T-Shirt

This is a limited edition Dark Tower T-Shirt.  More importantly, the young lady is my daughter.  My wife gave me the shirt as an anniversary present in August.

MAINE: Girl Rewarded For Returning Lost Money

Hey, check out Susan B. Weir's article on YAHOO (Shine) titled, Maine Girls Returns Lost Money, Gains Awesome Reward" (HERE)  The girls  name is Abbie Jacobson.

How cool is it. . . it comes from SHINE.

Club Stephen King Turns Twenty


Club Stephen King is about to cross its 29 year mark!  Club Stephen King was started in France in October, 1992 (the year I graduated High School).  To celebrate, Club Stephen King is organizing a "GIANT" contest.  Doubt the word giant?  They told me there are more than 90 gifts.

Beginning of the contest : september 21st, 2012 (for Stephen King's birthday, that will
turn 65 this year)

Note : Although the CLUB STEPHEN KING is a french website, there are MANY international
gifts, NOT ONLY gifts in french.
Club Stephen King :
Webite : (french fans) : (international followers): (board presenting the gifts) :

REPOST: King Books That Deserve A Sequel

With all the talk about a possible sequel to the Shining, and then all the quick moves to quiet any excitement -- not to mention an addition to the Dark Tower -- got me to thinking about books that deserve a sequel.

Of course, much of King's work has built on itself. There were the Castle Rock stories, Derry stories, and in some cases the Dark Tower actually served as a sequal. In particular Salem's Lot -- Which really serves as redemption for Father Callahan.

Sometimes Hollywood has offered us sequels. Children of the Corn, Salem's Lot, Pet Semetery, Carrie and others I can't think of off hand. None of these were really very good. There was a version of Carrie that had an extended ending (beyond the King book) that I thought was well done.

A quick list of books I wish had a sequel. Please offer your own.
1. The Eyes of the Dragon
2. Black House. ? I think there will be one.
3. The Shining. Dr. Sleep, as King has suggested, but not promised.  (2012, okay, we now  anxiously await the novel)
4. Firestarter. So. . . what did happen to Charlie?
5. Pet Semetary. King style, not Hollywood.
And. . .
6. IT. Did Pennywise really die? Really? Are you sure?

(Originally posted: November 26, 2009)

CNN article on Michael Clarke Duncan

CNN has posted a great article  on Michael Clarke Duncan at that  includes a "Duncan Through The Years" photo set that is nice.

The article reads, in part:

Most recently he was on the TV series, "The Finder," on the Fox network. 
His co-star Mercedes Masohn tweeted: "Today is a sad day. Michael Clark Duncan passed away this morning. Known for his moving performance in The Green Mile. RIP MCD. You'll b missed."
and,  about The Green Mile the article says:
In the Oscar-nominated film, Duncan played John Coffey, the huge black man wrongly convicted in a Louisiana town for the rapes and murders of two white girls. Coffey has supernatural powers, though; his hands can heal, even bring back the dead. 
A microcosm of faith, Coffey is a messenger of hope and lost hope who develops a relationship with Tom Hanks' character, a guard named Paul Edgecomb. 
Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that Duncan's performance "is both acting and being." Ebert tweeted Monday that Duncan was "A striking screen presence." 
Duncan was nominated for an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, which was won that year by Michael Caine for "The Cider House Rules."
Duncan was 54,  and had  been awarded BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor.  He will certainly be missed!

Green Mile Star Michael Duncan Dies

nydailynews has posted that Michael Clarke Duncan died today.  The website says:

LOS ANGELES — Michael Clarke Duncan's fiancee says the Oscar nominee for "The Green Mile" has died while being hospitalized following a July heart attack. 
Publicist Joy Fehily released a statement from Clarke's fiancĂ©e, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault, saying the 54-year-old actor died Monday morning in a Los Angeles hospital after nearly two months of treatment following the July 13 heart attack. 
Read more:

Duncan starred in The Green Mile, giving a wonderful portrayal of John Coffey.  He was 6' 5" and nicknamed "Big Mike."  I like this line from the IMDb, "Raised by his single mother on Chicago's South Side, Michael Clarke Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school." (the IMDb bio is HERE)

Youtube: THE GREEN MILE Lion King Style

I like this:

Dark Tower Reality

I like this website!  It has pictures of places described in The Dark Tower.  Check it out at

YOUTUBE: The Shining Recut

Summer vacation is just about over. . . but there's still time for just a little more fun! -- at the expense of The Shining.

Okay, here we go. . .

The Shining As A Vacation Movie:

The Shining as a love story:

The love story continues:

Finally: The Shining, The Unreleased Trailer:

Carrie Pictures

I like this picture, with the caption, "They deserved it."

photo credit: HERE

With the note, "Chris and Billy's Car."

With the caption, "Bloody"

All of the pictures in this post are from the Carrie facebook page HERE.

Also, check out the clip of the Making Of Carrie which includes this note:
"The scene in question takes place at an indoor pool with bratty teenagers and doesn’t feature any dialogue from Carrie but instead gives you an idea of how she’s being bullied by her peers. It’s also possible that this is the new opening to the film (the original opened with Carrie discovering her powers in the locker room showers). So it's probable that Carrie will have her first period in the swimming pool."  (HERE