Pennywise Looking Stranger Than Ever

Did you get everything you want for Christmas?  EVERYTHING?  How about this Stephen King's It Pennywise Clown Pop! Vinyl Figure from

The ebay seller explains:
  • Stephen King's Pennywise the clown from the horror movie It as a vinyl figure! 
  • Stands 3 3/4-inches tall. 
  • Features Tim Curry's Pennywise with his scary teeth, freaky eyebrows, and scary clown costume! 
The scariest clown in horror movie history has been given the Pop! Vinyl treatment with this Stephen King's It Pennywise Clown Pop! Vinyl Figure! The demented killer clown looks true to form with his scary teeth, freaky eyebrows, and scary clown costume. When you see just how cool the 3 3/4-inch tall Stephen King's It Pennywise Clown Pop! Vinyl Figure looks you'll want to collect the rest in the horror movie line from Funko! Ages 5 and up.
My favorite part, "Ages 5 and up." Yeah, kiddos, guess what was in the stocking this year!

The item sells for $13.35

Dedication To Doctor Sleep

Do you pay much attention to book dedications?  Sometimes I do.  But King often dedicates to people  that I have no idea who they are.  His dedication unfortunately does not stir any need on my part to rush out and discover who these people are.  I liked the dedication to Tabby at the beginning of The Stand.  And he once dedicated a story to his brother David, and I liked that.  But I am usually in such a hurry to get into the book that the dedication is just something to skim by.

Steve Newton at Vancouver' was pretty excited about the dedication to Warren Zevon in Doctor Sleep.

Newton wrote,
 I got a kick out of the horror master’s dedication of the book. He sent it out to singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, who I’ve always felt was one of the most underrated rockers of all time. 
How cool is that?
When I was playing my primitive brand of rhythm guitar with a group called the Rock Bottom Remainders, Warren Zevon used to gig with us. Warren loved gray t-shirts and movies like Kingdom of the Spiders. He insisted I sing lead on his signature tune, “Werewolves of London”, during the encore portion of our shows. I said I was not worthy. He insisted that I was. “Key of G,” Warren told me, “and howl like you mean it. Most important of all, play like Keith.” I’ll never be able to play like Keith Richards, but I always did my best, and with Warren beside me, matching me note for note and laughing his fool head off, I always had a blast. 
Warren, this howl is for you, wherever you are. I miss you, buddy.
Hopefully those goofs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will take a tip from the King and induct Zevon soon.

Salem's Lot The Ultimate Terror

“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.”
Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Quigley Gives Us A Glimpse Of The King Universe 2014

Check out Kevin Quigley's article, "Overlooking 2014: Stephen King in the New Year" at  Quigley doesn't claim to write with any authority -- but I will point out that I  found the article following a link suggested by Stephen King's official facebook page. So -- someone over there thinks Quigley is right on.

Here's some highlights -- the article is much better! 

We can expect Mr. Mercedes on June 3rd, 2014. Quigley notes: "It's rare for King to release novels in the summer – before 2013, the last non-series hardcover written under his own name to arrive in the summer was Rose Madder, way back in 1995 – but the unqualified success of this summer's Joyland must have been encouraging."

Quigley sees Mr. Mercedes being potentially in tune with the likes of Full Dark, No Stars and Blockade Billy. "It’s fascinating to watch King work his noir out – a little less Clive Barker, a little more Lawrence Block – and to see King challenge expectations while still delivering an exciting story."

We can also expect a film adaptation of "A Good Marriage," which Quigley says has been completed. 
On December 10th, King tweeted, “Have seen the completed film version of A GOOD MARRIAGE. I thought it was terrific. Of course… I wrote it!”
And, there is the upcoming novel Revival, though almost nothing is known about it.  Quigley quotes King's July 18th comments to columist Colin McEncore, 
"The main character [of Revival] is a kid who learns how to play guitar, and I can relate to this guy because he's not terribly good. He's just good enough to catch on with a number of bands and play for a lot of years. The song that he learns to play first is the song that I learned to play first, which was 'Cherry, Cherry' by Neil Diamond. One of the great rock progressions: E-A-D-A.
What seems really important from the fearnet article is Quigley's observation that just because we only now of two novels  on the horizon, don't think that means King doesn't have more up his sleeve.  He also notes, as others have recently, that we are "overdue" for a short story collection.  Quigley offers this possible list of stories (see the article.)

Check out Quigley's website at
And see my interview with him at talkstephenking Quigley Interview

BROADWAY WORLD: Carrie Musical Releasing Vocal Selections

Broadway World announced that Hal Leonard Will release vocal selections from CARRIE THE MUSICAL.  The book is looking toward a release  date of January 20, 2014 at $16.99

Broadway World notes:
Hal Leonard's folio offers 18 songs from that revival: Alma Mater, And Eve Was Weak, Carrie, Carrie (Reprise), Do Me a Favor, Dreamer in Disguise, Epilogue, Evening Prayers, I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance, In, A Night We'll Never Forget, Once You See, Open Your Heart, Unsuspecting Hearts, When There's No One, Why Not Me?, The World According to Chris, and You Shine, plus unforgettable color photos.
And they give this  brief history of the musical: "Before becoming a musical, the novel Carrie was famously adapted for the screen in the 1976 Brian DePalma film of the same name starring Sissy Spacek. Since then, in its various incarnations, it has become an iconic pop culture brand all its own, making the Ghostlight Records release a highly-anticipated event."

The full article  is at

You Can't Kill Stephen King 2014 U.S. RELEASE

Monore Mann of You Can't Kill Stephen King, posted this today:
After being released in over 15 international territories and being called in Japan "The best B-movie I have ever seen!", I'm stoked to report that "You Can't Kill Stephen King" is in final negotiations for a United States distribution deal for 2014.  Yay!

Santa's Lot

What if Santa was. . . A VAMPIRE

photo  credit: HERE

thanks to Lee Gambin

The Shining: Assessing Strengths And Weaknesses

picture credit: HERE
The novel The Shining was written by a young writer.  Doctor Sleep was written by a much more mature  author.  About six months ago I went back and read a bit of The Shining.  I was not  surprised to find that there were points that I found dry.  The novel itself is strong, but there are these patches of  difficulty for the reader.

Sean Chumley does a nice job identifying both the strengths and weaknesses of the novel in his short review at

I'll break this down into a simple list form.  These are quotes from Chumley's article.

What king nails:

  • The horror is often very effective
  • the characters are very well defined.
  • They're realistic people with believable problems.

Where King Wanders

  • Sometimes King gets a little too detailed with the hotel's upkeep when all we really want is ghosts. (YES!)
  • Everything has a purpose in the novel, but sometimes the payoff is delayed a bit too long to really excite.

This reminds me the Van  Hise review of THE SHINING in the Star Trek fanzine, Enterprise Incidents.  This was a special issue dedicated to Stephen King.  The effort expended for this project seems tremendous.  There is special artwork, reviews and articles.  The artwork is exceptional!

This is one of the earliest tributes to King I can think of.  Here’s what’s funny. . . reviewer James Van Hise doesn’t give positive reviews to a lot of King’s work (like The  Shining)– yet he seems to love Stephen King books.  Here’s what’s really fun –Van Hise isn’t afraid to have an opinion!  Oh, he has LOTS and LOTS!  But he shares them without apology.  He doesn’t spend a lot of time working around what he thinks, or building up to it – he just says it. That’s really refreshing!


Mr. Van Hise likes The Shining, but complains that it has "too much characterization." While Salem’s Lot was a big novel with lots of characters, The Shining is a big novel with just a few characters.

In van Hise’s words:
"The complaint I’m making is that when writer has a finely conceived story, there is no reason to detour from it into subplots and extraneous discourses which have nothing to do with that plot. Characterization is fine, but let’s not overdo it, and this book certainly does overdo it, mostly with Jack Torrance. The book is about the Overlook Hotel and what it does to these people one winter. When the story stays here it’s great. What happened to Jack Torrance when he lsot his job is just a big rap which he wasn’t able to roll with. Drumming that fact into our heads time after time isn’t necessary. Certainly it was important to describe Jack Torrance ine nough back ground detail so that we can understand why his mental collapse is believable, but too much of this reached the point hwere it came across to me as just padding. I’m well aware that this is a terrible thing to say about a writer, and I’m not saying that this is what King did, but rather that this is the effect it achieved. Fortunately, the book’s strong points far overshadow its weak ones."
The reason Jack’s firing was so important to the book is that it was one of the catalyst for his drinking. Or return to drinking. I find all the background information does slow the story – but I can press on because I actually enjoy all these asides. If this was my first time reading The Shining, I think I too would be annoyed! "Where’s this going?" I would ask. But I already know where this is going, so I can take time to enjoy the greater depth King gives these characters.

Now, for an early commentary on the Kubrick film! Remember, please, Van Hise hasn’t had years of King and others griping about the film. It was met with generally good reviews, so it takes some perception. 
"The film is also an abortion from the standpoint of the fact that the movie ends before it even reaches the point in the book where the climax really gets rolling. Yes, the movie cuts out the climax of the book, which is the very facet of the story which insured its popularity, because unlike the film, the book is not anti-climactic. The book builds to such a wild, ever pritch that it remains a classic of the genre no matter how many other horror stories you’ve ever rad. Whereas Salem’s Lot is a better book on the whole, The Shining contains his finest climax from every standpoint, and especially for sheer power and imagination.   
Whatever else may be disappointing in the book, the climax is not! It delivers a one-two punch which carries the reader straight through to the conclusion with pile-driver intensity and in an extremely satisfying manner. This book cried out fo a powerful screen translation, rather than the commonplace treatment it received at the hands of Stanley Kubrick. Because of this, there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand why The Shining was a bestseller, or why it was even made into a film at all, and that’s criminal. Kubric has made King seem like an ordinary writer, and all because Kubric took excellent material and made an ordinary film. If there is anything The Shining is not, it’s ordinary."
I can hear the "experts" on Room 237 shouting, screaming, crying at this! "The Shining" a "ordinary" film? I love the way van Hise gives such credit to the book.

Doctor Sleep Journal #7: I'm Scared

Went running alone for the first time in quite a while.  It's hard to make myself run with no one accompanying me.  On the good side, I did have Doctor Sleep.  It's been a few days since I listened to Doctor Sleep, so  here are my thoughts:

This book is really scary at moments.  Out running as a dead body was uncovered was just down right creepy.  I was running past desert fields, no lights out here, just the moon and a King novel in my ears.  As that body was dug up I was actually pretty excited.  "Wow this is scary," I thought, looking out toward a dark field. 

Second observation is that the book moves slow at points.  So slow that characters  I thought were dead are still on their deathbed!  However, I accept that as part of reading a Stephen King novel.  I'm not sure I want him to write fast paced thrillers.  King takes his time telling a story, relishes the scenes and the careful build up.  It's worth the journey, even if there are moments I wish he'd drive a little faster.

Grover Gardner, who read both audio versions of The Stand once noted that it seemed every character in the book had at least one time when they cried out, "noooooooo!"  When reading Doctor Sleep, I had a personal "noooooo!" moment.

There is a point when Danny tells what happened to him at the overlook.  I was totally excited to get a first person account of the terrors in that hotel from Dan's perspective.  The Shining was written thrid person, so to get to see it through Danny's eyes -- even for a few pages -- would be awesome.  But as soon as Dan begins telling his story, King cuts away then drops back in as Dan wraps things up.   It seems like it would have been an opportunity to add another layer to a story we already dearly love.

Darabont Goes After AMC

Frank Darabont -- known by King fans for his work on THE MIST and THE GREEN MILE -- is suing AMC, claiming that  they are withholding profits generated by his series, The Walking Dead. The series is in its fourth season, with each season progressively drawing a larger audience.

The Bangor  Daily News  reports:
Frank Darabont, who developed the TV show about a zombie apocalypse and was fired after the first season, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in a New York State Supreme Court.
Darabont said that the way AMC is calculating the show’s licensing fees is depriving him and other participants of tens of millions of dollars, the lawsuit stated.
AMC spokesman Jim Maiella declined to comment.
The full article is at:

GRAND CENTRAL Headed To Television

ABC's relationship with Stephen King seems alive and well these days.  The Hollywood Reporter shared news that a new series titled "Grand Central" will be coming soon.  The report noted:
Grand Central,” which is based on King’s short story “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates” about a widow who receives phone calls from her deceased husband about future events which results in lives being saved.  The series writers are Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn the creators of the SyFy drama “Haven.”

Mr. Mercedes Looks Like A Thriller

Mr. Mercedes, June 2014

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

I'm  really looking forward to Mr. Mercedes.  I find the line in Kings info about the book interesting, "from the master of suspense--"  Sounding pretty Hitchcockian there, Mr. King!

From King's Facebook page:

Mr. Mercedes, June 2014

In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging agai...n. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

Books That Have Stayed With You


I like METACHAT's "Books That Have Stayed With You," as well as the many responses.  The discussion is framed this way, "Five books that have stayed with you.  They don't have to be best sellers or well known. Just books you read that for one reason or other you never forgot."

One person posted:
1. Watership Down.
2. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry.
3. All of the James Herriot books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc.)
4. The Crimson Petal and The White. by Michael Faber
5. The Stand, by Stephen King.

Let's do the same thing, but make two lists.  First books in general, then just 5 King books that will stay with you.

Non-King list:
1. Pillars of the earth
2. Cold Sassy Tree
3. 1984
4. Great Expectations
5. The Martian Chronicles

Five Stephen King Books That Have Stayed With Me:
1. The Stand
2. IT
3. The Shining
4. 11.22.63
5. Dolores Claiborne

Mr. Mercedes Looks To Give Classic King Chills

If you're a King fan, then there's good news ahead!  I spotted this summery of Mr. Mercedes at Cemetery Dance, and it looks plenty scary!

The mind that gave you Christine and From a buick 8 is back behind the wheel. . .
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. 
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the "perk" and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. 
Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. 
Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady's next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands. 
Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
Mr. Mercedes is scheduled  to be released June 3, 2014.

CARRIE, I Didn't Know That

In a one star review of the Carrie remake (not a remake -- remake), filmstalker shared something I had not put together.  Yes, I know this was everywhere, I just missed it.  
So, drum roll . . .

The screen writer for the 2013 Carrie is Lawrence D. Cohen, who co-wrote the 1979 script.  So it's not a remake, but it has the same screen writer?  Okay.  The article picks up on this, noting, "It seems odd then that if this is a new version of the novel and was clearly trying to distance itself from being a straight remake, that they would bring on board the screenwriter from the original film but let’s not be picky, the original Carrie was after all a very good film. The upside is also that since it was such a good film then perhaps the original writer would bring some of the talent he poured through the keyboard back then."

Cohen has links to several Stephen King projects, scripting things like The Tommyknockers, IT and he appeared in a short film titled, "Resurrecting Carrie."  He is also the author of the 1988 musical version of Carrie.  

Cohen has a special connection to Carrie, having written the musical twice and the movie twice -- it would seem he's written more about the kid than King has.  

Stephen King by the Box Office

Maximum Overdrive DI 1

Sky Movies has an interesting slide slow titled "Stephen King By The Box Office."  It looks at 34 of King's movies, and tells us how it did at the box office.  Each movie not only lists what it took in at the box office, but tries to adjust for inflation.

The site notes, "Box office figures from Inflation calculated with the"

Here's the breakdown:

  • $134,711 , Riding The Bullet. The article notes, "The film bombed at the box office after receiving a deserved critical panning and holds the unenviable record of the lowest grossing Stephen King adaptation to date"
  • $125,397 , The Night Flier.  (Sky Movies adjusts for inflation, giving it $182,467)
  • $1,781,383 , The Mangler
  •  $8,863,193 , Apt Pupil
  • $7,433,663 , Maximum Overdrive.  I like this from the article, "Picking up two Razzie nominations for King and the film’s star, Emilio Estevez, the film was universally panned. However, despite even King writing it off as “the worst adaptation of his work”, it managed to reclaim $7,433,663 of its $9 million budget- just under $16 million in today’s money."
  • $10,611,160 , The Dark Half
  • $11,582,891, Graveyard Shift
  • $15,315,484, Thinner.  WAIT. . . Thinner made it this far up on the list?  "Thinner performed reasonably upon release, helped by the fact that it was attached to Michael Jackson’s short film, Ghosts, also co-written by King."  Oh, that explains it.
  • $15,185,672, Needful Things
  • $12,361,866, Silver Bullet "Silver Bullet divided opinion at the time but has slowly gained something of a cult following over the years."  count me in the cult.
  • $13,086,297, Cats Eyes
  • $14,568,989, Children of the Corn.  Don't we wish that had been the last dollar that franchise would make?
  • $24,361,867, Dolores Claiborne.
  • $17,080,167, Fire Starter
  • $30,919,415, Hearts in Atlantis
  • $28,341,469, The Shawhank Redemption
  • $20,766,616, The Dead Zone
  • $21,017,849, Christine
  • £30,524,763, Sleepwalkers (say it ain't so!)
  • $21,156,152, Cujo
  • $21,028,755, Creepshow
  • $32,100,816, The Lawnmower Man  "This sci-fi horror baffled audiences and divided critics at the time, but it still opened at number two in the box office behind Wayne’s World and spawned a sequel in the form of 1996’s Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace."  For the record, I really hated  this film.  I feel good about that.
  • $38,122,105, The Running Man
  • $59,006,619, Carrie 2013 "the film has already done decent business in the US and looks set to easily clear the $60 million mark."
  • $57,293,715, The Mist
  • $75, 715,436, Dreamcatcher.  No, I can't explain that.  "Even with a cast of names including Morgan Freeman, Damian Lewis and Jason Lee, the film dive-bombed at the American box office, although it did break even upon worldwide release."
  • $57,469,467, Pet Sematary.
  • $33,800,000, Carrie 1979
  •  £61,276,872, Misery.
  • $52,287,414, Stand By Me
  • $92,913,171, Secret Window
  • $44,017,374, The Shining
  • $131,998,242, 1408.  This surprised me, since it's a film I really didn't think was very strong.  However,  it sure did make  strong showing at the box officer.
  • $286,801,374, The Green Mile.
The full article is at

Remember that photo. . .

Here are some old  photos making their rounds again. . .

On the set of The Green Mile. — with Frank Darabont and Tom Hanks.

This one is from Lilja's Library:

That's Not A Good End!

Ending a novel can gave a reader the euphoria of crossing the finish line after a hard run race.  Or it can be like running out of gas in the middle of no where.

Stephen King endings -- the thought alone can cause constant readers a little trauma.  It seems pretty well known that while Stephen King has given us some great stories, the endings sometimes leave the reader a little frustrated.

Sometimes King nails it!  He drives the story home with unusual skill.  He allows the characters and  plot to work together to bring about a breathtaking end.  Dolores Claiborne, The Shining and Salem's Lot all had what I considered  to be pretty satisfying endings.

There have also been times that King declined to really end a story.  The Mist is such an example.  King left the character driving into the mist, for the reader to choose their own adventure from there.  Also, the Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was a bit unclear at the end. I also liked the endings to the very dark stories in Full Dark No Stars.  The Green Mile played out nicely from beginning to end.  I think the pressure of having to write in serial was good for King.

Did Insomnia have an end?  I never got there.

Here are some endings I found weak:

Needful Things.  It ends with a video that Allan has to decide if he will watch or not.  The battle really isn't as big as we would think.  Polly takes on a pretty awesome spider, but it really doesn't pack the punch the rest of the novel did.  I liked it right up to the very end, it had played out so well, and then it just dropped off.

The Dark Tower.  I've gotten so therapeutic resolution over this from Bev  Vincnt, but the ending still troubles me.  My feelings run pretty deep on this not only because the books were so long -- and there were so many of them -- but they were so long in coming.  A little portion of my life was spent  thinking, "now when is the next Dark Tower book coming out?"  Then for it to end without the deep resolution I was hoping for left me disenchanted with the entire series for a while.  But there were  episodes I really loved!  I thinks some of King's best, and worst, writing appeared  in The Dark Tower  books.  The Wolves of the Calla was particularly delightful.

11/22/63.  Once again, loved the novel, hated the end.  We go a long ways with King waiting for the alternate history to play out -- but it never really does.  By the time King gives us a glimpse of what would have happened if Kennedy had lived, the events are marred by science fiction.  That is, we don't really get to see  the "what if" played out.  We have to put up with a strange world ripped apart by an overdose of time travel.  The giant earthquake changed everything, thus creating major events different from the timeline we are on now.  So the changes in political history really don't matter much, since nothing jives with our own timeline anyway.  Might as well be the history of Mars.

Cujo.  I liked the novel, but I liked the movie better because they changed the end.

Dreamcatcher.  I was really engaged with the first half of the novel, but when we began chasing aliens from point A to point B, I really got weary.

Thinner.  I don't think I should have to say more than that.

Firestarter.  Great book, but a troublesome ending.  I found it, as with others,  hollow  and even a little forced.  It did not have the tension I think King was looking for.

And in regard to the Talisman. . . that was a crazy way to end a book.

What is your favorite and least favorite endings to a Stephen King book?


Have you seen "You Can't Kill Stephen King" yet?  Yeah -- me either.  It seems the entire planet will get a peek before we lowly Americans.  To help those of us who just can't seem to get a copy, Bev Vincent has posted a great review at Fearnet.

My favorite quotes:

  • I was pleasantly surprised. A Return to Salem’s Lot is a bad film. Creepshow 3 is a terrible film. You Can’t Kill Stephen King is fun. 
  • The movie is littered with other King references, including: a disturbingly creepy clown (some things can never be un-seen); a boat named Christine; characters named Pangborn, Verrill, Dodd and Bachman; a host of quoted dialog from and references to Kubrick’s The Shining (Ronnie is reading the novel); and a tattoo in the shape of the Crimson King’s all-seeing eye.
  • You Can’t Kill Stephen King has a wry sense of humor and it does an especially good job of building up false tension by relying on horror movie expectations.

Cheat Sheet Offers Their 5 Favorite SK Screen Adaptations

I like articles  that rank Stephen King works.  Not sure why -- except that I think it has something to do with the fact that this is completely subjective.  No one can actually say what the "best" are -- so everyone's opinion is good.

It's so random, list makers don't even have to be consistent with previous lists they've made.  That is my way of saying -- I'm sure I've listed what I think are the five best  adaptations, and so when I make the list again it might be different.

Wallstreet Cheat Sheet has a list of the 5 Best Stephen King Film Adaptations, by Thomas Mentel.  Yep, they choose five goodies!

5. Carrie.  
"In recent years, the film has continued to rank as one of the greatest horror movies of all time; director Quentin Tarantino has named the film among his favorites as recently as 2008. The consistent critical acclaim the film has received has led many to wonder why a second adaptation was necessary in the first place."   
Do we know why they remade it yet?  I'm still not sure.  I liked the remake -- but I'd rather they remake Needful Things.

4. Misery.  
"Bates would later go on to win both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress, while her turn as Wilkes placed the character at No. 17 on AFI’s list of the top 50 villains in the past 100 years. The scene in which Wilkes takes a sledgehammer to Sheldon’s ankles will forever be burned into the memories of moviegoers who were able to keep their eyes open."   
That's true, we will remember that moment forever.  However, the book was even better (of course.)  
This is from my MISERY Journal: (There are spoilers)
Now, for the worst part: The famous scene in which Annie breaks Paul's legs. . . that's not in the book.  No sir.  No leg breaking here.  It's worse -- fantastically worse.  Instead of breaking is legs,  she chops off his foot with an ax and cauterizes with a blowtorch.

What King is really good at is build up.  Annie doesn't just swing and ax and ouchie. . . Paul has a new boo-boo.  No, King builds  up to this.  It is painful as he watches Annie set up shop and prepare to do the deed.  More than that, there is a lot of dialogue here as Annie talks on and on.  And, she just happens to mention she gave him a pre-op shop.  As she rambles, the reader and Paul both wonder the same thing -- why did a serial killer just give Paul a pre-op shop?  What kind of operation is Mr. Sheldon in for? 
I would have thought so much talking without action would be a writing no-no. . . but it actually builds incredible suspense.  As a reader, you connect deeply with Paul because you are wondering, "Where's she going with this?  What's that crazy lady about to do?"
Once Annie has decided what she is going to do, and has explained to Paul why she's going to do it -- she drops into something like a trance.  She's no longer just crazy Annie, she is now deadly Annie. "he understood that when this was over, she would have only the vaguest memories of what she had done, as she had only the vaguest memories of killing the children and the old people and the terminal patients and Andrew Pomeroy."
3. Stand  By Me
"Stand By Me has garnered universal critical acclaim in the years since its release, and it was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 1986 Academy Awards. The film has notably left a sizable pop culture imprint, with references in all manners of entertainment, including an episode in The Simpsons in which Homer discovers a dead body."
 2. The Shawshank Redemption
"Although The Shawshank Redemption now firmly holds a spot in movie history, the film was not always the success it is today. Despite highly favorable reviews from critics and a slew of Oscar nominations — including Best Picture, Best Actor (Freeman), and Best Adapted Screenplay — the film’s box office performance of $28 million barely recouped the film’s budget, leading the film to be labeled a financial disappointment at the time of release. However, The Shawshank Redemption experienced an impressive resurgence on home video. Cable television, VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray have consistency lead to the film being one of the highest performers at home."
1. The Shining
Part of me sighs deeply at this point.  Does every list of Stephen King movies have to place the Shining on top?  Is it really the best of the best?  And do we always have to talk about King's dislike for this particular film?  You all tell me -- is The Shining the best?  Really?  I actually like the film a lot, but I don't find it terrifying.  

My five favorite:
1. Pet Sematary
2. Cujo
3. Carrie
4. The Green Mile
5. Stand By Me
And an honorable mention to The Shining.  But let's face it, it wasn't really much of an "adaptation" of the King novel.

Your turn. . . 

Summer Thunder is on its way

Stephen King's website has announced the release of "Turn Down the Lights"
Published by our good friends at Cemetery Dance, Turn Down the Lights is a trade hardcover featuring Stephen's never before published short story, Summer Thunder. This edition celebrates the 25th anniversary of Cemetery Dance with special editions to be published in 2014. For more information, see the Cemetery Dance website at the link below.

Stars and Stripes Interview With Stephen King

I really enjoyed Stars and Stripes interview with Stephen King at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  This was King's first  European tour.  He noted that Europeans all speak English, though he -- like most Americans -- is not really fluent in a European language.

Asked who he would most NOT like to meet among his many characters, King cited Annie Wilkes.  Because she  would be his #1 fan

Some of these questions we've seen  before (where do you get your ideas?), but the answers are kinda fresh this time around.  I wonder if he spent a day coming up with new lines for old questions!  When he was asked what scares him, he said, "Big audiences."

I work daily with the USMC and  Navy,and so I found his comments about the military delightful.  "Fantastic dedication," King declared.  As with most discussions with King lately,things turned quickly to substance abuse.  King said he's talked to a lot of people involved  with getting the military personnel clean and sober.

King calls writing his "playground."  It's a place he enjoys going.  He then, in a little bit more serious tone, admits that there is a  "craft" aspect of it.  I'm glad he says that, because when he just says he's having fun, some people tend not to take him serious as a writer.  It's as if they think an artiest can't be serious about their work and still have fun.  By the way -- thinking of the "playground" comment -- I think King would spook all the other kids on the playground out!

About the writing process itself, King acknowledges that he never "completely" knows when he begins a journey where a story is going to end up.  "with a novel, in particular, it’s a little bit like launching an intercontinental missile from the United States and hoping to hit one house in the Soviet Union. You can’t guide it that exactly, but I do the best that I can. And, you know, in the end, the story tells you where to go. It’s not like having a GPS. It’s more like exploring a neighborhood where you sort of know where some of the houses are but not everything, and to me that’s the fun of it."

About Doctor Sleep, King said:
it was very challenging, and for a long time I had a piece of an idea of what I wanted to do with the story, but not a complete idea. And I kind of fought the impulse to write that book because “The Shining” scared so many people, but they were younger then and I thought well, it’s one of those things where a lot of people remember it as the scariest book they ever read and no way could I live up to that, but at the same time, that was the challenge. 
But when I wrote “The Shining,” the main character, Jack Torrance was this alcoholic who was in what they call ‘white-knuckle sobriety.’ He doesn’t go to like AA meetings or anything like that. He’s just doing it on his own and that’s a lousy way to try to get sober. It’s dangerous and especially for a guy like Jack Torrance with a bad temper, it’s just asking for trouble. And Danny was the child of the classic dysfunctional family, alcoholic parent with tendencies towards abuse because he breaks the kid’s arm. 
I thought to myself, ‘I wonder what happened to that kid? What happened to him when he grew up?’ And not only that, people would ask me sometimes. They didn’t do that about any of the other characters in the books. Nobody ever came up to me and said, ‘Well, what eventually happened to Paul Sheldon in Misery?’ But Danny, people would ask about it and I was curious myself, and I wanted to kind of show redemption in action, because Jack kind of gives in to the Overlook Hotel and to his tendencies. And I wanted to see what would happen if I had Danny be an alcoholic who actually got recovered from that.
Does King have a favorite among his novels?  Well, get ready for this. . . he says "Lisey's Story" is his favorite.  He acknowledges that the book was not a "runaway bestseller" in the likes of Under the Dome or Doctor sleep, but "it's a book that means a lot to  me."  That's really interesting to me, since I've had trouble really getting into Lisey's Story.  I may have to try this again.  However, when asked which story he is most "passionate" about, King called out Under  The Dome.  That seems logical, since the story itself stayed with him for  such a long time.

This discussion about how King has changed as a writer over time is quite insightful:
It’s a little bit like looking at pictures of yourself as a child and then looking at yourself as an adult and you can see that there’s a quantum change in the way you look but it’s so gradual and you’re so much inside of it, you don’t really see it happen on a day by day basis. I think that I’m a better prose stylist now than I was when I was younger but probably not quite as fiery. I just think as you get older, a little bit of the urgency gets lost along the way and what you’re left with more and more isn’t the passion that you had as a young writer and more the craft. I still like it. Sometimes that still breaks out, I’ll feel that passion.
So who does Stephen King read?  Everyone.  More specifically,  Sue Grafton, John Sandford, Lee Child, Jonathan Franzen, Meg Wolitzer (he recommends her book, "The Interestings.")  HEY, no Dean Koontz?  Oh well.

Check  out the full interview:

Talk Stephen King Most Pointless Post

I'm going to do something I don't do often -- discuss the blog. 

I don't really like blogs that have a lot of posts that go along the lines, "sorry I haven't posted, my life is really busy."  As if everyone is anxiously awaiting your next blog post -- not!  So I won't be doing any of that.  Except in the round about way that I just did. . .

I have made some blog decisions.  I have been posting a bit of everything when it comes to Stephen King.  I've decided to stop doing some of that.  In particular, news items I find redundant when there are so many King sites out there.  Both King's own site, and Lilja's Library are great sources of King news.  So why bother to search and repeat what they've already nailed down? 

So, at a much slower pace, here's what I plan on posting:
1. Anything Stephen Kingish that interest me.
2. Articles about King books.
3. Links I find unique and worth mentioning.
4. Discussions about collecting.
5. Journal entries.

See, you probably don't care.  Which if you don't, that's great! 

The heart of it is this -- I want to talk about observations from the King universe that I find interesting.  I love the discussion generated from book reviews and journal entries.  Nerd talk.  I've been too scattered to really focus in on the books themselves.  I've also felt the need to keep something of a daily posting up.  I think a good change of pace is to simply blog as I read about Stephen King or find articles I think are noteworthy.

And, alas -- this is the most pointless post ever.  Well, not quite.  There is a post buried somewhere about a Running Man remake -- that might be the most pointless post ever.

Thank You Mr. King For The Time Warp

Fifty years ago today president John Kennedy was murdered.  I wasn't alive.  In fact, I wasn't even close to being alive.  The world of John F. Kennedy has always felt very far from me.  A world where men had not walked on the moon; a world where schools were segregated and churches were bombed.  I don't know that world.

Stephen King's novel 11.22.63 does what no history book can do -- it takes the reader on a wild ride back into the early 1960's.  We do not arrive in the past as historians, but on the trail of a story.  Following fictional characters through very real events is an amazing way to tell a story and bring history to life.  I loved it!  Of course, this has been done many times before, but the skilled storytelling from Mr. King is what makes the time travel so real.  I feel like I have indeed been to that era.

Here are some of my notes from my journal as I read 11.22.63


11/22/63 requires a simple leap that isn't very hard for 21st century readers -- time travel is possible.  We've had entire series of novels built on the time travel theory.  Because it is already an established storyline in our culture, King doesn't have to spend forever convincing of the concept.  However, King does some creative rule bending to make his story work -- namely the idea of "re-setting."

A few ways we've gone back in time:
--H.G. Wells novel, "The Time Machine" used a machine.
--Back To The Future, a Delorean.
--Star Trek flew real fast around the sun. (Star Trek 4) Actually, Star Trek often popped through time without a lot of concern for the method used.
--Superman flew real fast around the earth.
--The Gunslinger went through doors.
--In The Time Travelers Wife the traveler manipulated time himself (we think. . .) Of course, the rules of that game involved appearing naked in whatever time he found himself! Glad Jack doesn't have to deal with that little nuance.

Something outside the characters created a time portal.  It's not a machine carefully constructed by mad scientist; it's simply a rabbit hole of some kind.

By not building a time machine, King (brilliantly) fixes several problems.  For one thing, the novel doesn't need to focus on "where will we go?"  The answer is already determined.  The question to be dealt with is instead, "What shall we do when we get there?"  Also, by not constructing a time machine, King avoids the critical question, "Wow, a time machine -- how's that puppy work?"  Doesn't matter how it works!  Don't know.  It is, what Hitchcock would call a kind of "mcGuffin", existing only to propel the plot.


King plows new ground in 11.22.63 with the concept of time itself being obdurate. 

What if time wasn't a thing, like a block of wood or even a machine -- what if it was alive?  What if time was insulted when people tried to change it?  And, the biggie -- what if it could fight back?  What if the time line itself was able to protect itself against time-travelers. 

Examine this quote, and notice how the past is indeed alive:
"Because the past is sly as well as obdurate. It fights back. And yes, maybe there was an element of greed involved, too."
King also writes,
"The past is obdurate for the same reason a turtle’s shell is obdurate: because the living flesh inside is tender and defenseless." (p. 827)  Time protects the people within its shell.

Sadie picks up on the theme and tries to relate to it but she uses the wrong word–malelevolent--instead of obdurate. She hasn't experienced the obdurates of the past the way Jake has!  It has beat him to a pulp! 

The addition of time having will is something I suspect future writers will pick up on.


11.22.63 is a genre buster.  It is not alternate history!  King spends very little ink discussing the real heart of "what if."  So what is it?

The scenes after the assassination attempt reminded me of a John Grisham novel as the FBI sneaks George out of Dallas.  I enjoyed it, as it is the kind of stuff that King doesn't usually engage in.  Big government agents with their own agenda's out-smarted at points by the ordinary guy.

But 11.22.63 is not a legal thriller.  It may smack at moments of John Grisham; but it's not Grisham!  It's not alternate history.  It's really not sci-fi.  So what is it?  Well, maybe goolosh.  That stuff mom made when she had to clean out the fridges -- little bit of everything.  Maybe a better way to say it is that it transcends genre, and good novels do that, don't they?

As I traveled through the last pages, I realized what this book was.  It swept over me in a wave, and I almost cried out, "OH!"  It was both painful, and obvious.  This sucker is romance!  I'm reading a romance novel!  King isn't interested in time travel, he's interested in characters!  He's not even that interested in the alternate history -- he is laser focused on those people in the book. 

Love is such a messy thing, and gets in the way of good science fiction.  It certainly does in 11.22.63.  I like the love story quite a bit.  That said, I wanted more alternate history.  The love story isn't sappy; this ain't Danielle Steel!  It is engaging because it occurs while you are focused on other things -- and that's the way love is, it happens while other things are going on.  You're supposed to be focused don college classes, graduating, and some girl comes along and -- whoa baby!  How many missions have been messed up by love? 

Time Travel Tricks?

We never really get to learn what the world would be like if Kennedy had not been shot.  Why is that?  Because the science fiction gets in the way.  Yes, the world is changed by Kennedy's escaping assassination, but the future is also changed by other things George does.  So we don't get a "pure" look at the world.  More than that, things are being ripped apart by time travel itself.  I did not see how saving Kennedy would cause a giant earthquake.  The logic escapes me, captain Kirk.

Seriously, now -- which changes history more, 1. JFK escaping death , 2. An earthquake that kills thousands ?  I would say the earthquake!  Thus the alternate history is affected more by the events in California than by anything in Dallas or Washington.

In regards to the alternate history, I really struggled to accept some of the main ideas.  For instance, I think King gives Johnson far too much credit for the Civil rights movement.  I also do not see how Kennedy's living changes anything with Martin Luther King.  (?)  It seems that the civil rights movement had a voice so loud that any American president would eventually be pressed to join in. 

Also, would an American president really use nukes?  I know that's what LBJ warned about. . . but do we want to believe the press offered up in a political ad?  The further away from Kennedy that King got, the more unbelievable I found things. 

He creates mega changes to the flow of history, but then keeps smaller flukes.  He asks us to take a world where there are incredible racial tensions, hate meetings. . . but Hillary is president.  And who calls their meetings "hate" meetings?  Starting to feel like Orwell's 1984 here.  It felt like King just wanted to make Hillary president, so no matter what flow of history he went with, that was the end in sight.

Question Never Answered:
Why does the rabbit hole go to that date.  Is there something they are supposed to do?

Cooper Talks About The Stand Movie

What's going on with The Stand?  Well, it turns out director Scott Cooper is very excited about the project.  In a recent interview, Cooper revealed a few pretty exciting things:

  • He says there's a "reason" the film hasn't already been done.  It's big and daunting! 
  • He prefers to shoot on location, since that affects how the actors perform.  So -- location would be -- most of America!
  • Cooper expects to be teaming with Christian Bale on the project.

Which King Film Actually Scares?

art credit: Glenn Chadbourne
I enjoyed Giles Hardie looks at Stephen King's most famous screen adaptations posted at The Sydney Morning Herald.  He suggests that all King movies don't work, citing Dreamcatcher and Secret Window.  Sigh -- I liked Secret Window because I thought it actually enhanced  the novel quite a bit.

So what King films does Hardie think are worth mentioning?  Well, Carrie, of course, and The Shining.
Hardie's note on Stand By Me is interesting.  He writes, "This movie would deserve a mention just for featuring probably the best example of future star casting ever to grace one movie - Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Gerry O'Connell and Corey Feldman (pictured) are the four heroes, Kiefer Sutherland their nemesis and John Cusack the dead brother in this tale of four boys' journey to see a dead body."

Oddly enough, Hardie then cites The Running Man.  Huh?  Seriously?  I think this movie is getting more attention these days because of the Hunger Games, which Hardie cites.

Pet Sematary and Misery make Hardie's list, as does -- drum roll -- The Lawnmower Man.  In fact, it makes Hardie's list just because it's so bad!

This film is, to be fair, schlockingly awful in many ways. For a brief moment in the early '90s virtual reality was going to take over the world, and this film gave us Jobe, a man who cuts the lawn who has an unspecified learning disability. Through the magic of virtual reality, Jobe is transformed into a genius, then an evil telekinetic, and then a megalomaniac computer virus. It gets a spot here because it is so amusingly awful and also because King won multiple lawsuits to have his name removed from the title, which was the only thing that the film and his short story had in common.
Hardie rounds out his list with The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil and The Green Mile before giving special mention to a Stephen King mini-seires -- IT!  Hardie writes, "Tim Curry's Pennywise the Clown is arguably King's most terrifying screen-based character, yet as a mini-series It doesn't qualify for this list."  I would agree with that thought.

The article leads me to a question -- what Stephen King films do you actually find scary?  

My list:
1. Pet Sematary.
2. The Shining.
3. The Mist.
4. Christine.
5. Bag of Bones had moments.

Moretz: The CARRIE Novel Drove The Film

In this interview, Moretz discusses the Stephen King novel and her choice not to watch previous versions of Carrie before taking on the role herself.

Doctor Sleep Journal #6: YES!

An unusual thing happened tonight.  I was out running, listening to Doctor Sleep.  I'm loving it.  That is, I'm loving the novel, not the running.  The novel helps me focus on something other than how bad it hurts.  But, really was swept away tonight with what was happening in the book.  When the naughty vamp tries to get in Abra's head, she has set a brilliant trap.  It's hard not to spill it all, because it's so good.  In fact, what happens is so good it made me say, "YES!" out loud as I ran through the desert darkness. 

I love those "YES!" moments.  Times when King brilliantly weaves a story, and you don't even see it coming. At his best, King builds the stories tension, then releases a bit of tension by giving a small victory you didn't even realize was nearby. 

Much of this book takes place in the world of the unseen.  It's a heady book.  A lot is expected of the reader when traveling these pages.  We must accept some things -- like ghosts and the ability to jump from one persons head to another.  Can you set traps in your mind?  Sure!  What's really nice is King's own confidence in story telling.  He doesn't feel the need to explain for pages and pages why this could really happen.  He just lays the story out and expects the reader to go with it.  Look -- he seems to say -- some people shine.  Those people who shine, they can do some pretty crazy stuff.  Now either accept that premise, or go read Twilight!  But what King doesn't do is bore the reader with pages and pages of how this stuff happens. 

The Bad Guys Better Get It!

In Doctor Sleep, King has given us some pretty bad characters.  I think the True Knot are some of the worst monsters in the Stephen King universe.  They torture kids!  I hope with all my heart Mr. King has a real painful end for this lot.  One of the great things about Ken Follett's writing is that the bad guys must suffer such terrible ends.  I hope King can do that with Doctor Sleep. 

Why does this worry me?  Because sometimes King gets a little realistic on us when it comes to the bad guys demise.  Sometimes bad people get away with bad things, both in life and the Stephen King universe.  There was no great moment in Under The Dome where Big Jim really got what he had coming to him. 

People have pointed out that in the movie It's A Wonderful Life, old man Potter never gets slammed with the justice he deserves.  He gets away with it!  Things turn out good for Jimmy Stewart and family, but Potter doesn't get taken down.  And sometimes that's what happens in King novels.  For instance, when it comes to giving the bad guys their comeuppances, Mr. King is inconsistent.  Needful Things was also disappointing, though the novel itself was great. 

In your opinion. . .
Which Stephen King bad guy got what he deserved?
And which SK bad guy really didn't suffer enough?

Examiner Calls CARRIE remake a "mess"

Hoboken Children's Theater runs with CARRIE

Get this. . .
Lisa Capps, who over the years has reprised multiple roles in Broadway productions of 'Les Miserables,' will star in the Hoboken Children Theater's upcoming musical, "Carrie," based on the Stephen King horror novel.
Which sounds cool -- except a Children Theater ?  What am I missing here?

The Movies I Wish They'd Make

Kinda sad, isn't it -- no one asks constant reader what King books we'd like to see brought to the big screen.  Instead we have to stomach a parade of remakes.  News of a Pet Sematary remake is alive once again, and an IT remake, and a trilogy promised of The Stand, and a Running man remake, and there was that recent Carrie remake, and let's not forget the Salem's Lot remake and then there was that dreadful Children of the Corn remake (shiver.)

We cringe at a lot of these remakes because they are just so unnecessary.  I'll watch them, and probably enjoy them, all the while wondering what happened to Cell, From a Buick 8, Rose Madder, and all those gems in Four Past Midnight.  It seems someone buys the rights, and then they disappear into a dark hole.

So, here's  my top 10 list of Stephen King adaptations I'd actually like to see:
  • The Dark Tower
  • 11/22/63
  • Eyes of the Dragon
  • Duma Key
  • Cell
  • The Talisman
  • A Good Marriage
  • 1922
  • Doctor Sleep
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Yes, I do know some of those are actually being made right now.

Remakes I would be just fine with:
IT (ONE season series)
Needful Things (as a mini-series please)
The Running Man
The Tommyknockers

When A Movie About A Book You Haven't Read Is Announced

Josh Boone announced that his next project will be an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Lisey's Story.

Boone shared this sweet story at
“I wasn’t allowed to read Stephen King.  I had to rip the covers off of Christian books and glue them to Stephen King books, so that I could read them.  I remember reading The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and I hid the book in the box springs under my bed, and my mom found it and burned it in the fireplace.  I wrote him a letter when I was 12, just to tell him how much I loved his books and how much I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and that he was my idol.  I sent him a couple books, hoping that he’d sign them.  I came home from school one day and my dad said, “There’s a box here from Stephen King.”  He had written me this beautiful letter in the front covers of each of the books.  My parents were just so moved by the generosity, that he was willing to take the time to do that, that they lifted the Stephen King ban." 

I smile a bit when I hear parents who don't let their kids read Stephen King.  First, because as a parent, I understand!  But, what hooked me on reading was -- Stephen King.  In fact, I'm a little saddened that none of my kids have gotten very into the King books I've offered up (The Body, Eyes  of the Dragon and The Mist.)  But, Stephen King is my thing, so my kids chase after Twilight and Hunger Games.

The news that Lisey's Story will be adapted to the big screen leaves me reflecting on the fact that this is a big King novel that I just haven't read!  Why?  I dunno.  I tried, more than once.  I have the CD's, and the hardback first edition.  But, it just hasn't grabbed me yet.  Part of me is excited, because previously seeing a book adapted well has sent me right to the source.  In High School, I saw the mini-series IT before I read the book.  I also saw Christine, Cujo, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Thinner, The Dark Half, The Tommyknockers, The Green Mile and The Dead Zone before reading the books.  I think even the weak adaptations have the advantage of helping me know and follow the literary path ahead.  In other words -- I'm really happy this is coming to screen.  It might help me fall in love with a novel I want to love, but just haven't found the beauty yet.

On the other hand, I'm glad I read Needful Things and Dolores Claiborne before seeing them on screen.  With Claiborne, I was draw into every page, not knowing what would happen next.  The suspense was awesome!  The same is true of The Stand, which is the first King book I read.  I stayed up many a summer night in 1990 reading anxiously as the men traveled toward Vegas.

Tell me, how does seeing a movie before you read the book affect you?  And have you read  Lisey's Story?  What did you think? 

Doctor Sleep Journal #5: They Ate The Shining

photo credit:

I got to go running alone last night, which meant a sweet return to Doctor Sleep.

When Danny finally meets up with Abra, some serious Shining goes down.  These two are able to talk to each other simply by thinking the conversation back and forth.  What's more, sometimes Abra can pick up on more than just what Dan sends her way.

In discussing a boy who was killed by the True Knot, note this snippet of conversation:
Recovering alcoholics strove for “complete honesty in all our affairs,” but rarely achieved it; he and Abra could not avoid it.
She stared at him, aghast. “They ate his shining?”
(I think so)
(they’re VAMPIRES?)
Then, aloud: “Like in Twilight?”
“Not like them,” Dan said.
 Several things to note:

1. Danny can't hide things from Abra the way he does with his AA sponsor.

2. I like the line, "they ate his shining."  The True Knot are some of King's most evil villains.  They're child killers.  They don't see anything wrong in what they do -- everyone has to eat, right?  We eat lamb and chicken and turkey; and the True Knot has reduced the rest of humanity to food.

3. The Twilight reference is kind of fun for a lot of reasons.  First, we all know King hates Twilight!  So he sets out to make it clear that his vampires are NOT like that.  Now she could have said, "Like in Salem's Lot?"  But she wouldn't have reason to really know about Salem's Lot.  Besides, Vampires in Salem's Lot really are naughty, naughty, naughty.

4. The writing here is worth note.  I would have been unsure  how to write this portion.  How do you communicate unspoken dialogue between two people?  I think I would have assumed you have to italicize.  But King uses a bolder approach, blocking the thoughts in in parentheses.

All interesting, but I'm still stuck on the thought . . . THEY ATE HIS SHINING!

Good Reads Nominates Doctor Sleep As One The Best Books Of 2013 has nominated Doctor Sleep as one of the best books of 2013.  Other nominations include Joe Hill's NOS4A2 and Dean Koontz's Deeply Odd.  I've not read the Odd novels, but they seem to be getting a lot of attention.

Club Stephen King wrote to let me know that JOYLAND & AMERICAN VAMPIRE are also nominated for the goodreads choice  awards, in other categories.

It's a great time to be a constant reader!

The Dark Stephen King Movie Truth

Bob Grimm has a great article discussing his own listing of the best and worst Stephen King adaptations.  But, as Grimm compiled his lists, he came to a somewhat troubling realization -- he dislikes more King movies than he likes!

Grimm also observes that the really good Stephen King movies are over 30 years old.  Go figure.

Topping Grimm's list is Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining.  Noting King's personal distaste for the film, Grimm chastises, "Are you kidding, Stephen?" (I guess  they're on first name basis) "You should be forever grateful that a maestro like Kubrick spent time on any of your work, and he improved upon your novel. I hated all of that business with the stupid boiler."

It's when we get to what Grimm considers really bad movies -- the worst -- that I start to really question his judgment.  Christine?  CHRISTINE?!  It may not be an instant classic, but I thought that was a pretty good movie.  However, he does make a good point that the really scary stuff from the book got left out of the movie.  So true.

But, also on Grimms naughty list is Cujo.  "This movie feels like it’s 10 hours long. E.T.’s mom stuck in a car with some dopey kid as a Saint Bernard drools on the windows."

I'm not going to take the time to defend Cujo.  The rabid dog is smarter than this guys list.

The Unauthorized Musical Parody of The Shining writes:
writer/director Joe Lovero and composer Jon Hugo Unger have created a hilarious musical parody of the horror classic, featuring three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch as Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson in the film) and a berserk tango choreographed by Broadway favorite Shannon Lewis. The creators hope to do a stage version soon

Holly Derr Uses Carrie To Show Us What Tunnel Vision Looks Like

Holly Durr at Huffington Post has an article titled, "The Blood of Carrie: A Feminist Review of the Re-Make."

She spends her time focusing on the 1970's, not 2013 where the "re-make" was done. She sees Carrie as a challenge to the male dominated establishment and Christian fundamentalism.  For Durr, Carrie's mother represents fundamentalist Christianity.
  the infamous shower scene -- is a product of the meeting of these two forces. Because of a fundamentalist Christian worldview in which menstruation is not simply a biological process but rather evidence of Eve's original sin being visited upon her daughters, Carrie's mother does nothing to prepare her for getting her period.
Only problem with Ms. Derr's assessment is that is not what fundamentalist Christianity teaches.  So  in her  rush to attack Christianity, Ms. Derr builds a straw man position so that she can have fun blowing it up. In the movie, Carrie actually tells her mother that  she is not quoting from the Bible.  Moretz discussed the fact that Carrie's mother had actually made up her own religion, and was not reflecting the views of a Christian movement.

By the way -- in Genesis, Eve’s curse was pain in childbirth, not menstruation. Women giving birth don't menstruate.

Durr continues: "When Carrie's mother locks her in the closet, Peirce has the crucifix bleed -- something that doesn't happen in the first movie. The blood of the crucifix connects Carrie's first period to the suffering of Christ, deepening the relationship between debased femininity and religion."  Someone should get Durr a spot on the documentary Room 237.

The message of Carrie for Durr?  "that fundamentalism is dangerous to women."  Huh?  Fundamentalist Christians believe a man should love his wife, be ready to give his life for her and honor her.  That's dangerous to women?  Of course not!  Because that's not what Durr has decided in her own head Fundamentalist Christians believe.  She has decided Margaret White must represent the whole of Fundamentalist Christianity.  That's great, maybe we should assume Bill Ayres represents liberals.

Of course, Carrie's school tormentors were not fundamentalist.  Nor is Carrie's mother -- she's her own whack-job.  The only fundamentalism is coming from Durr's own imagination.  She made the movie what she wanted, saw what she wanted to see, and came out swinging against enemies that lie only between her own two ears.