The In Depth Meaning of the In Depth Meaning Of THE SHINING

photo credit:
Rodney Ascher, director of the experimental documentary Room 237,
leads an exploration of differing interpretations of
Stanley Kubrick's classic horror film The Shining.

I've been reading a lot of reviews of Room 237.  There's a good one at Salon and here's one from (though I don't get the feeling CS Monitor has seen the movie.) has an article titled, "Unlocking The Key To The Shining."  Stephen Whitty quips,
Didn't you realize that Kubrick's movie is really about the slaughter of Native Americans? That's why there's all that Western artwork in the hotel. And the elevator that fills with blood? That's because it goes right down to the ancient burial grounds below and... 
No, no, no. That's not it. The movie's about genocide, yes. But it's really about the Holocaust. That's why Nicholson's character uses a German typewriter. Or why, if you multiply the numbers of the haunted room — 2 x 3 x 7 — you get 42. Like 1942, OK? 
Sound a little far-fetched? Of course it does. After all, everybody knows why Kubrick really made this movie — to acknowledge his role in helping NASA fake the Moon landing. Why else do you think one character is wearing an Apollo 11 T-shirt?  (The full review is at: Unlocking the key to THE SHINING)

NPR's John Powers compares Kubrick to Alfred Hitchcock in that his films are still watched and studied by younger generations.

 My favorite article is posted at Wired by Angela Watercutter (is that really her name?), who offers, "The 10 Most Outrageous Theories About What The Shining Really Means."
"I have this nightmare of a spreadsheet that I'm afraid to look at that I put together at one point where I was trying to categorize every single theory that we found and cross-referenced them," Room 237 producer Tim Kirk told Wired. "At some point we just had to give up on that.”
Keep in mind, none of this has anything to do with the Stephen King novel!  He was  absolutely right to point out, "That's not my story!"  He may have been the first to recognize just how far off track Kubrick had gone.  What King has said The Shining is about: 1. Child abuse. 2. Drinking. 3. Family. 4. A haunted hotel.

 Here are a few highlights from Watercutter's article of what the Shining is really about:
  • Kubrick Changed the Mysterious Room from 217 to 237 -- to Indicate Kubrick's Moon Landing Confession
  • The Shining is really about the Holocaust. 
  • The window in Ullman's office can't exist.  (Because, of course, someone made a map and discovered the window shouldn't be there!)
  • The Shining is meant to be seen forward and backward.  (Not that I know HOW to watch the film backward.  Does my DVD do that?)
  • The  disappearing chair is a parody of horror films, reminding the audience that this is not just your regular scream fest.
  • Jack is a Minotaur, the Overlook is a Labyrinth
  • The pattern in the carpet of room 237 is full of symbols "telling us something about the continuation of humanity."  Of course!
And all of this proves what?  That we humans are not nearly as busy as we pretend to be.  Have we really stopped seeking the purpose of life and have instead begun to seek the in-depth meaning of the in-depth meaning of The Shining?

I agree wholeheartedly with John Powers:
In one clip, the fake-moon-landing guy discusses an "aha" Moment. Listening to this man talk, it's hard not to think that here are obviously intelligent people with too much time on their hands. The obsessions with sweaters and moving chairs bespeak some sort of interpretive disease in which one ignores most of a movie — the plot, the characters, the setting, etc. — in order to claim that what matters is actually found in a poster hanging in the background. If Stanley Kubrick — a hugely powerful director — wanted to make a movie about the slaughter of Native Americans, why didn't he just make it rather than hide his secret meaning in baking-powder labels that almost nobody would notice? ( hunting for secrets in the shinings room 237)
This is so much like Seminary students debating symbolism in the Gospel of John.  Or gracious, the Revelation!  I remember a NT teacher explaining the many meanings of the apostles catching 153 fish.  (Because there were 153 known types of fish back then -- thus the Gospel is saying to reach out to all men. -- I like that view a lot).  Finally the professor says, "Maybe it says 153 because John had to clean all those fish and he knew how many stinkin' fish there were!"

So when Doctor Sleep becomes a movie, I hope it will really tell us what happened to Osama Bin Laden.

Smythe Returns To The Forgotten Wolrd Of The Talisman

I was excited to see a review of The Talisman appear as part of James Smythe's "Rereading Stephen King" series at The Guardian.  This is because I've never read The Talisman.  I promised a friend a while back  I'd get right to it, as he really encouraged me, saying it was quite good.  However, I can't seem to get very far into it!

Smythe says that this is a novel that completely "slipped" through his memory!  He couldn't remember a word of it.  Still, Smythe  comes away with a fresh love for the book, declaring, "The themes are strong; the world is strong; the characters are strong. It's well written. It's long, and maybe a little over-egged in places – some of the novel's mid-section sags – but the things that they were paying tribute to come through, and the story is a good one."

Smythe offers the best summery of the boo that I've read -- and I've read several.  Smythe notes the influence of Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz and Huck Finn streaming throughout the novel.

As always, Smythe does a nice job spotting the connections to King's other works.

The full article is at

On a final note -- I offer this strange comment: I think one reason I have been  unable to read The Talisman has to do with bad book cover.  Don't throw stones!  Seriously.  And, the original paperback  I tried to read was strangely bound.  The type face was unusual.  Everything about the edition I first tried to read seemed unusual and uber-boring!

Film School Rejects: ROOM 237

Here's another review of Room 237, this one by one of my favorites -- Film School Rejects.  (Maybe I just like the name, Film School Rejects.  That's  great!)

Actually, I'm getting tired of reading reviews for a film that doesn't seem readily available.  They might as well be reviewing government documents from area  51 -- I don't have access to any of it.

Landon Palmer writes, "But Room 237 isn’t about them, nor is it about “expertise” in any institutional or formal sense. It’s not about the history of the film’s production, nor even the historical Kubrick’s intentions."

So what is it about? You can read the article -- the bottom line is that the movie is about obsession.  But, we knew that, right?   I mean, some of these people think Kubrick directed a fake moon landing and exposed it via The Shining.  Now, I think I would struggle to believe people could actually think that's true.  They might say it, but it seems unlikely that they would actually believe it in their heart of hearts.  However, I've known enough people to know that people can actually believe interesting stuff.  Moon landings hidden in The Shining. . . that's  the kind of stuff that makes you want to say to the person, "Come on!  You know that's not true!"  Pause.  "I mean, you do know that, right?  You do know you're just making this stuff up."  Pause.  "I mean, in your core, you know that's not true -- right?"

Palmer offers that the downside of the film is, "As a movie 'about' The Shining, it leaves a great deal wanting, so it’s better to see it as a quilt of fans’ diverse, colorful, and harried engagements with the film.

The film is given a B (same grade Roger Moore gave it).

Moore's Review Of ROOM 237

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Here is a wonderful review of the documentary "Room 237" that doesn't lower itself to drooling.  The review is refreshingly honest when it says,
The documentary "Room 237" is an ostensibly thoughtful deep reading, a deconstruction of Stanley Kubrick's film of Stephen King's 1980 novel "The Shining." What it really is, is a bunch of obsessives obsessing about an obsessive movie maker's obsessive movie.
Now who can disagree with that?

The review comes from Roger Moore at McClatchy-Tribune News Service and is titled, "Yes, you can watch a favorite film too many times for your own good."

About the documentaries commentators  Moore writes, "They have examined the film, frame by frame, parsing its images like a cinematic "Da Vinci Code." And the reason they can do this is that Kubrick was just as obsessed as they are."

So what are some of the crazy interpretations of The Shining?  Moore lists some of them being that the film is about the destruction of American Indians, the Holocaust, the Apollo Moon landings, or "Kubrick's favorite bugaboo, sexuality?"  Not having seen the film, I'll vote for the Apollo Moon landing, just because I think it's the most nuts!

And here's the thing -- he liked it!  Moore gives the film 3 out of four stars, rating it a grade of "B." Not bad.

Check out the full review, "Yes, you can watch a favorite film too many times for your own good.

What's Haunting Stephen King

10,000 Magazines, #9,996
USA Weekend, October 29-31

USA Weekend is a small paper.  The article, headlined "What's haunting Stephen King?" by Brian Truitt is titled "What's On Stephen King's dark side?" inside.  The short write-up is actually a series of quotes from King.  The artilce came out just as King was publishing Full Dark, No Staars.

Truitt says, "It's Halloween, a time when ghosts, goblins and assorted ghouls are everywhere.  So when better to check in with the master of horror himself, Stephen ing, whose next book, four novellas called Full Dark, No Stars based  around themes of retribution, arrives November 9."

Truitt reminds us that king prefers "blodthristy" vampires, saying that vampires "are takers" not lovers.  He also discusses King's favorite TV shows (not Mad Men, but more like Lost or Sons of Anarchy.)  King doesn't "stress" about getting pegged.  He emphasizes that he simply writes what he wants without concern for what category others might drop it into.

King says,
I'd like to try everything that I possibly can, and  when you do something different, sometimes it buzzes you all over again.  You know what, it's nice to push your limits a little bit. 
He has certainly been pushing readers limits for some time!

When asked if King keeps a notebook, he tells  people that he does not, because the good ideas stay.  "I think a writers notebook is the best way there is to immortalize really bad ideas," King says.  Now, let me ask. . . do you think that's true?  I disagree.  I think sometimes good lines come to you and should be written down.  Scenes need  to be held onto.

Ghost Brothers Onstage In Atlanta

From Joy Tipping at
Stephen King, John Mellencamp and Fort Worth’s own T Bone Burnett have been collaborating for some time — 13 years, to be exact — on a Southern Gothic, supernatural musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. The musical had a short run at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Ga., last spring, and now a soundtrack is coming out. In a press release, the show is described as having a blues-and-roots musical backdrop for its “haunting tale of fraternal love, lust, jealousy and revenge.”
And, here is a video of Ghost Brothers behind the scenes:

Is King More Personal

Does Stephen King make a deeper connection with his readers than other writers?
Question -- do you feel like you know Stephen King better than other authors?

I  found myself thinking about this as I read The Stand.  A character named Joe appears on the scene -- a child who doesn't talk but sure likes knives!  Larry Underwood is not a fan of  the kid.  I thought, "I wonder if Joe is a tribute to his son.  Probably same age when it was written."  Then I began to think how much I know about King.  Strange.  I didn't seek to know anything.  That's  the truth!  I just read books.

But I don't know Tom Clancy's kids names.  If I work real  hard I might come up with Dicken's  wife's name -- but I don't remember.  I did see Dicken's biography on Biography channel, but it was so cut up and scattered that it offered nothing.

But  without much extra effort you learn a lot about King and his family.  For one thing, that's because  his introductions and commentary's are  always so chatty and personal.  For another, his writing itself is very personal.  Scattered  throughout novels are  personal  nods.

Is it just that I read more King?  I read Anne Rice's books for a while.  I know she had a husband who died and a son.  And I read a book about her return to Christianity (before she un-returned!).  But still, there's not that  sense of personal connection.

Seems the more you know about an author,  the clearer their  narrative voice becomes.  I suspect one reason readers go back again and again to certain authors is because they feel a connection to them.  I know, and disagree with, King's politics.  But actually knowing where  he's coming from helps me understand what he's writing about.

Now I'm not advocating crazy fandom!  In fact, I don't make any attempt -- or want to -- meet King or know him.  I'm just a reader.  It worries me when I see how crazy people get for a signature in a book or. . . more.  But a "constant reader" as King calls us slowly learns more  and more about the artist just by reading.  Of  course, King has made himself  available for about 1.6 billion interviews!  So that helps.  He speaks often on an array of subjects.

One of the things I really respect about King is his love for his wife.  Does this make him a better writer?  Probably not.  But my respect for his treatment of his wife gives me a deeper appreciation for his work.

Now I have read a couple biography's on King.  But  here's an interesting thing: His biography's all follow the same trail!  They focus on his writing career (as they should) instead of personal interactions with family.  By the way, George Beahms "Stephen King, America's Best Loved Boogieman" is the best bio out there.

Think about all the stuff  you know about King.  Isn't that strange?  Do you know that stuff about other authors?  Did you go out trying to find out those things, or did the information just come bit by  bit as you read.

USA Today article on Owen King

Image Credit: the always awesome. .  FIRE WIRE

Here's a neat article about Owen King's new novel.  Seems O.King's novel focuses on a famous son -- causing some to ask if the novel is really about King's own father son relationship.  Not at all, Owen assures, it's just story-tellin'.

The USA Today article notes that Owen King comes from a family of writers.  In fact, Stephen King reminds everyone about both sons writing, "You should remember that they get it from both sides.”

The article has this quote from King, which came via e-mail:
“I’m sort of bowled over by both boys publishing novels a month apart, with good advance reviews for both.” He has his own novel coming in September, “Doctor Sleep,” a sequel to 1997’s “The Shining.” He calls it his “return to the real creepy scary stuff.”
The full articleat

Stephen King Crossovers

Stephen King has inspired a lot of crazy stuff.  The cultural references are. . . everywhere.  Here's a unique one: Afterlife with Archie is doing a crossover series that will take the characters "to the grave and back."

Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says, “Afterlife with Archie combines two of my great passions: Archie comics and horror comics.  This series came out of conversations with Jon [Goldwater], asking questions like, ‘what if the Archie characters found themselves in a Stephen King novel like The Stand." (

Now, I've never read Archie.  Ever.  Didn't know he existed until he was mentioned in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.  The article got me thinking, what kinds of crossovers would be fun?

Crossover isn't meeting Stephen King -- it's entering the world of Mr. King, or drawing elements from King's work.  Carrie Underwood recently used Christine in a music video to take out an adulterous spouse.  We've seen The Simpsons take a trip through The Shining.

Just for fun, what would be some cool cross overs?  Tell me in the comments section.

  • Sheldon from Big Bang Theory is put on the Graveyard shift to help clean out the rats in the sub-basement.
  • Dwight from The Office goes on a blind date with Carrie's mom.
  • A crazy clown terrorizes Middle Earth.
  • The Smurf's adopt a dog. . . 
  • Ghost Busters are called  to The Overlook Hotel (Thanks Chris)

Amityville Legos

What does the Amityville Horror in legos have to do with Stephen King?  Nothing.

photo credit: FREDDY IN SPACE

King Tells Washington To GROW UP!

Stephen King has an editorial at the Bangor Daily News (HERE).

Discussing his essay, "Guns" King wrote:
What I asked for in that piece — what I almost begged for — was that we Americans find some middle ground on the subject of heavy-duty firearms. Just a small median strip of rationality between the honking freeway lanes jammed with those on the political right and the political left. According to polls, the majority of Americans would really like a place like that, where a rational discussion could be held without raised voices.
About the reception to Guns, King shares that  the response has been strong but "in many ways depressing."
There have been more than 1,300 capsule reviews on the Amazon website. A thousand have been favorable (834 five-star reviews, 205 four-star reviews). More than 200 have been unfavorable (160 one-star reviews, 49 two-star reviews). In the middle, the place I really wanted to reach, less than 90. If you need a statistical example of how polarized the country is, there it is.
It is interesting, King points out, that those who liked the essay were also verified as having bought the book.  Many who marked it with one star were not noted as having bought the item!  Like writing a book report on a book you made up.

Throughout the article King calls for middle ground.  I'm a conservative on most social issues -- and I would be glad for middle ground and honest discussion in our nation. If we stopped hating each other, we might be able to talk.

Owen King Discusses Writing

Owen King discusses writing, his father and screen writing at The article is titled, "Owen King Takes A Different Direction Than His Famous Father."  Actually, the focus is not so much on his father! About his "famous father" he says, "My dad is my dad to me.  We write very different kinds of  things.  I love him very much."  That's a great response.

Actually, I enjoyed most his discussion of what screen writing is.  He says novels are more difficult to write, because novels are detail heavy.

Famous father aside -- would you read Owen King if he was not the son of Stephen King?  Well, probably not.  But right now I only follow Owen King -- haven't read him yet  anyway.  But I would be inclined to read him because of his father.  Why?  Because sometimes it's in the genes.  Both Stephen and Tabitha have a gift for writing, they're children have  been immersed in what it means to be a writer -- so it seems logical their children would be pretty good  writers.  What do you all think?

King's Offer To Cover A Third Of Library Renovations

Bangor Daily Bews has an article titled, "Stephen and Tabitha King offer to cover one-third of $9 million Bangor library renovation, if library finds ways to foot the rest of the bill."  (Really, that's the header)
BANGOR, Maine — Authors Stephen and Tabitha King have pledged $3 million toward renovations at Bangor’s century-old public library, as long as the library reaches its goal of raising another $6 million, according to the library’s director. 
The Bangor Public Library has kicked off a $9 million fundraising effort in an attempt to modernize its building for the next generation of users and to protect its more than 500,000 volumes, Director Barbara McDade said Tuesday. 
The Kings offered to pay one-third of that bill as long as the library figured out how to come up with the rest. 
“They have just been wonderful supporters of the library,” McDade said of the Kings.
The full article, by By Nick McCrea is at

Thanks to Herbert West / Club Stephen King

James Herbert Dies

Author James Herbert died today.  ( David Barnett writes:
Herbert managed the rare feat of straddling both genre and mainstream fiction; at the height of his career, he was often spoken of in the same breath as Stephen King,
Metro once asked Herbert if he ever shared ideas with Stephen King, to which Herbert answered, "Oh no, he’s over in the US and I’m here, so we’re not buddy-buddy at all. We’ve never done the same idea, even by coincidence. There’s so much out there." noted in October 2012, "quiz any literate adult in Britain about horror novels, and the two author names you will hear straight away, and nearly every time too, to this day, are those of Stephen King and James Herbert. The two most enduringly popular horror authors in the Anglosphere."

Stephen King certainly praised Herbert's books, and, according to examiner, Stephen King lost a bet with Hebert over which of them would see a real ghost first. (

Herbert was the author of:
  • The Rats (1974)
  • The Fog (1975)
  • The Survivor (1976)
  • Fluke (1977)
  • The Spear (1978)
  • Lair (1979)
  • The Dark (1980)
  • The Jonah (1981)
  • Shrine (1983)
  • Domain (1984)
  • Moon (1985)
  • The Magic Cottage (1986)
  • Sepulchre (1987)
  • Haunted (1988)
  • Creed (1990)
  • Portent (1992)
  • The Ghosts of Sleath (1994)
  • '48 (1996)
  • Others (1999)
  • Once (2001)
  • Nobody True (2003)
  • The Secret of Crickley Hall (2006)
  • Ash (2012)


I haven't read  much Owen King yet.  In fact, I haven't ventured into Joe Hill yet.  Or Tabitha.  Why?  Same reason I haven't read War and Peace yet -- Because there is so much Stephen King yet to get through!

I rely on my friend Bryant Burnette to keep me up to speed on Owen King and Joe Hill.  I really liked his review of Double Feature, which looks awesome!  I might have to take a break from The Stand and check this out.

Check out Bryant's blog,  The biggest thing I've learned over there is that Bryant has issues.  (You'll understand if you read his blog.)

A Review of "Double Feature" [by Owen King]
by Bryant Burnette

Owen King's first novel, Double Feature, will be released this Tuesday (March 19). Yours truly was lucky enough to win a copy -- a signed copy! -- from The Paranoid Style on Facebook, so unlike you plebians fine folk, I've already read it.

How did I manage this, you might ask? Well, let's not get into it in excruciating detail; suffice it to say that I won a contest based on my love of the Christopher Cross song "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," which is almost certainly the first time this millennium that loving that song has paid off for anyone. Anyone, anywhere, in any way. Trust me, I was just as surprised as you probably are; almost certainly not as disgusted, though. In any case, it's lucky for me that I don't mind fessing up to a guilty pleasure every once in a while, because in this instance, it scored me a signed first edition of an outstanding new novel.

Double Feature, unlike "Arthur's Theme," is not a guilty pleasure. Instead, it's a pleasure that won't make you feel guilty at all, except, perhaps, guilty to be reading a better book than whatever your friends are reading currently; because odds are pretty decent that whatever they're reading, it won't be as good as Double Feature.

Here's the setup:

Sam Dolan is a college student who aspires to make a feature film. Not just any old feature film, either; he aspires to make Who We Are, a cleverly-structured art film that aims to show the world "the hard reality of how quickly the days sped up, how suddenly you weren't a kid anymore." Sam has written the screenplay and is ready to direct the film, provided he can get financing from somewhere.

Does he succeed? Well, let's just say "yes," and leave it at that. (The truth is more like "no," but the ways in which the answer is more a no than a yes are so catastrophically amusing that you will not catch me ruining the surprises for anyone. You deserve to discover them for yourself, and to have the same experience I had: laughing so hard while reading in your bedroom at two o'clock in the morning that you become afraid you might wake your neighbors up and have the cops called on you, and end up in jail on charges of assaultive merriment. Yes, it's true; I laughed so hard during certain scenes of this novel that I feared incarceration.)

Sam's struggles to film Who We Are are only a part of the story, though. Sam is undeniably the main protagonist of the novel, but the most memorable character is probably Booth Dolan, Sam's father. Booth is a washed-up actor/director who made a career out of starring in schlocky z-grade horror films. The descriptions of these films are worth the cover price of Double Feature; I kid you not, if Owen King produced a monthly pamphlet in which he laid out the plots of half a dozen fake movies, I'd pay full price for it. This stuff is gold. I won't ruin them for you, although I'll give you one tantalizing nugget: Plato fighting werewolves.

A moment ago, I referred to Booth as "washed-up," but the fact is that he can't be washed-up, because he was never whatever the opposite of washed-up is to begin with. He started out that way, so calling him washed up is technically not very accurate. Whatever the status of his celebrity, Booth's numerous quirks have helped make life a challenge for Sam. Booth is a hammy, larger-than-life man -- think Orson Welles by way of Edward D. Wood, Jr. -- whose exuberance and vitality seemingly have resulted in sending Sam in the opposite direction, toward dourness and gloom. Sam wants to create art that reveals the realities of life; Booth once starred in a movie about killer rats in which real rats were filmed on dollhouse-size sets so that they would seem to be the size of monsters. Naturally, there is a divide between their philosophies.

King creates an outstanding cast of characters. Booth is the stand-out, but Sam himself is quirky enough to be way more than a delivery system for conflicts with Booth (which is what he would have been in the hands of many authors, I suspect). In addition to Sam and Booth, here are a few of the other memorable folks you will encounter:
  • Brooks, a fellow student of Sam's who is one of the principal investors and who has aspirations to make his own movies
  • Polly, a former girlfriend of Sam's who is married, but not necessarily averse to still sleeping with Sam
  • Rick Savini, an indie-film actor (think Steve Buscemi) who gets roped into appearing in Who We Are
  • Allie, Sam's mother, who is amazingly tolerant of Booth's eccentricities
  • Jo-Jo, Polly's husband, a German who used to play -- not particularly well -- for the Yankees
  • Mina, Sam's half-sister, an adorably messed-up teenager
  • Wesley, Sam's roommate, who has parlayed sloth into a successful career as a blogger
  • Tess, a television producer Sam meets at a wedding
  • Costas, a Greek immigrant who becomes an unlikely movie star
And, amazingly, others. Virtually every character pops off the page; in this way, King is reminiscent of Larry McMurtry early in his fine career. You'll notice that McMurtry has supplied a blub for the front cover of Double Feature, and that seems appropriate; King's facility for creating characters that leave room for both comedy and tragedy to come pouring out of them in utterly realistic ways reminds me more than a little of McMurtry books like All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers, or Moving On, or Texasville. The characters of those novels and of Double Feature are eccentrics and goofballs who occasionally feel as if they are too quirky to be realistic; in some ways they seem like caricatures moreso than characters.

IF, that is, you fail to remember that you yourself either know or have met or have heard described by someone real people who are infinitely weirder, with quirks that make the ones found between the pages of these books seem not only realistic, but comparatively tame. I've been to Dragon*Con; I know what type of people are out there in the world, just waiting for some writer like King to immortalize their quirks in character form.

[By the way, speaking of Larry McMurtry, he is one of my very favorite writers. In fact, I've got a blog devoted to his work. You can check it out here, but be warned: there's not really much there. It's less a blog than it is a placeholder for a blog to be blogged at a later date.]

Double Feature kinda blew me away, if you want to know the truth. I could complain about a few things: the text has more typos than you typically find in a book from a major publisher; also, certain aspects of the final scene felt a bit too coincidental and tidy. These complaints are minor enough so as to be mostly irrelevant; on the whole, this is a hilarious, engaging read, one that clearly marks King as a writer to be followed.

As I Tweeted not long after finishing: I could happily have kept reading about these people for another 1500 pages or so.

What more can you ask for from a novel than that, really?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

(Check out my interview with Bryant Burnette, 

Comic: King Reads First Story

This is form Fans of Stephen King

Stephen King In Conversation With Colin McEnroe released the following news:

On Thursday, July 18, at 8:00 p.m., Stephen will appear on stage at The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue in downtown Hartford, Connecticut, in conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum.

Tickets will be open for purchase by members of the museum on Monday, March 18. Museum membership is available by calling 860-280-3112, or by going to their membership site here.

Members will be given a special on-sale code for ticket purchasing.

Tickets will become available to the general public on Thursday, March 21. At that time reservations may be made on The Bushnell's site or by calling 860-987-5900.

Stephen King fans are being given a special opportunity to purchase tickets before the general on-sale date, beginning Tuesday, March 19th, by using the promotional code CLEMENS.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $75 (additional service fees apply) with a special VIP ticket for $250, which includes a reception with Stephen King and an autographed book.

THE SHINING a strange cover

Wow!  Gabe Habash at Publishers weekly has  a fascinating article about a very Strange cover he found on The Shining.

I've posted, with permission, the first bit of the article.  Be sure to check the whole thing out at

.  .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

This Is the Worst Book Cover Ever
Gabe Habash -- March 14th, 2013


About a month ago, I was searching for something Stephen King-related to put on this fantastic blog. Scrolling down through rows and rows of Google images for The Shining, most of them screengrabs of Nicholson and the pre-chopped-up girls in the hallway, I saw, in thumbnail size, the above cover for O Iluminado. It looked strikingly similar to an 80s Pantene ad.

kelly lebrock pantene

I saved the cover on my desktop, knowing I wanted to share it with you all in some way, but not sure how. For weeks, I’d open the file and stare into O Iluminado‘s eyes, and then into her smaller set of eyes. I would look at it for so long it would change; I named the mysterious woman Flavia; she became strange to me and then familiar in her strangeness. I had so many questions.

Who is Flavia? In what public place is she on the cover? Why is she also in a little window?

But let us parse why this book cover is either the worst book cover ever or, perhaps, the most brilliant book cover ever.

The tale of this thing’s creation begins in Brazil with Grupo Editorial Record, the largest publishing conglomerate in Latin America, founded in 1940. We’ll fast forward through the dry publishing history, but it’s important to note that Record has published authors like Márquez and Hemingway (and, of course, King), and that it publishes covers that look like this:


The point I’m trying to make here is that Grupo Editorial Record is capable of making covers that, you know, make sense. When I was doing the research on them, trying to find other nonsense covers, I thought maybe I’d find other Record covers with Flavia’s likeness–maybe she was Record’s mascot and maybe different covers had Flavia doing different things, posing in various ways, like how Keebler sticks the leader Keebler elf on different cookie packages in different celebratory positions. But when I found out Record’s other covers were normal, I was, at first, disappointed that there wasn’t some rogue publisher in South America challenging the world to make sense of its covers. But then, because of its singularity, the O Iluminado cover became even more incredible to me.

.  .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Okay. . . are  you intrigued?  I was.  
For the rest of the post, head over to PWxyz

(When you read  the article be sure to also read the comments section -- there are answers!)

Also check out my article bad-spanish-book-covers and book covers that annoy

MSN: The Best Of King

Check this video out from titled, "Stephen King's Greatest Books."

The description states:

He is one of the most popular writers of our time. The legendary Stephen King has captured our minds and, at times, left us awake at night. Here are some of his horrifyingly greatest works.
It starts with Pet Sematary, then moves to Misery.  Msn notes that Salem's Lot is supposed to be King's favorite novel.  The portion on The Shining focuses primarily on the Kubrick adaptation.  Finally the short video lists IT as one of King's  greatest.

Is a Best of Stephen King list really complete without The Stand ?

Chloe Moretz and Aeropostale

So what's CARRIE star Chloe Moretz doing these days?  Well, for one she is the spokesperson for Aeropostale.  I learned this thanks to my wife.  Of course, the next question is: "So, what's Aeropostale?"  She looks at me like I'm nuts.  "A clothing store."  Oh, of course.   A clothing store. "A clothing store for juniors and women," she clarifies.

Check it out at

King To Speak On Behalf Of TWAIN HOUSE

Are you a Mark Twain fan?  I am! posted this bit of news:
Stephen King, the author of horror books, mystery stories and essays, will engage in a conversation with WNPR radio host a Courant blogger Colin McEnroe, July 18, at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. The event is a benefit for the Mark Twain House. 
Twain House members can reserve tickets on March 18. Become a member by calling 860-280-3112 or visiting Annual memberships begin at $35 for ages 39 and younger and $50 for other individuals.
If only I lived. . . on the other side of the country!


Vampires are more popular than ever, thanks in large part to Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot.  A sequel to the novel is a story in Night Shift titled, "One For The Road."  Cessnock High School teacher Chris Penglaze and NIDA student Alicia Nolan are adapting the story in a film called Off the Beaten Track.  

The Dollar Baby has been "Australianised."  What's that mean?  It means that instead of a blizzard there's going to be a heat wave.  (Just a small change there!) notes, "The movies created must be non-profit and must not use his name above the title to trade on his reputation, but acknowledge him as the source of the material."

The full story is at

The Stand Journal 7: The Walking Dead

Reading the Stand again is like driving down a long road you've been over before.  The first time you were very focused on getting to the right destination.  But when you take the trip again, you see things you previously overlooked.  There are stretches of road that are not as interesting because you know them so well.  And then there are spots in the road you don't remember at all.


The journey the major characters take is pretty familiar to me. Larry and Rita, Harold and Fran and even the early parts of Tom and Nick.  But then there is a story in the Tom and Nick episode I had completely forgotten.  In fact, I wonder if I ever read it at all!  I know I read the novel in High School.  And read it a couple times abridged.  I thumbed through the first edition of The Stand and found that the Twister is not there.  It was cut!  Or, perhaps King added it brand new to the revised edition. Either way, it is unique to the Complete and Uncut story.  It certainly spooks things up!

Soon after Nick meets Tom a Tornado descends and Tom goes running for his life.  Nick soon follows, and quickly takes refuge in a storm cellar.  Only, they aren't alone.  There is a "family" of "rat gnawed corpses" down there.  I like this set up, since they can't run away!  Usually in a scary story you think, "Just move!  Who hands out with a creepy corpse!"  (Take Amityville Horror for instance.  When the door comes open and a deep voice says, "GET OUT!"  You should move.  That's the clue that things aren't going to go well.)  But Tom and Nick can't get out, because the storm cellar is their only hope of surviving the twister.

But more is down there than just the corpses.  It is something they feel.  An evil that came out of the twister.
as the time passed, he became convinced that he and Tom were not alone in the storm cellar. (422) . . .
What he felt was the presence of another being, and he became more and more convinced who—or what—it was. It was the dark man, the man who came to life in his dreams, the creature whose spirit he had sensed in the black heart of the cyclone. (422)
Later, Tom acknowledges that he also sensed the evil presence.
“Someone was in there,” Tom said abruptly. . . 
. . . “No,” Tom said. “Not just us. Someone else. Someone who cameout of the twister.”
That's good!  Really good.  The scenes with Nick and Tom are some of the best.  Nick often picks up on things that seem quite unlikely -- but as a reader I'm willing to give Mr. King a pass on that.  Nick seems able to read lips as easily as we might read a book.  I'm not sure lip reading is that easy.  But, there has to be some means of communication to move the story forward.  I give King high marks for daring to use a character  who is both deaf and mute.

In the Mick Garris miniseries, Tom Cullen is played by Bill Fagerbakke, who was Dauber on Coach.  Now it's hard to watch Coach reruns and not see Tom.  Of course,  he's also Patrick on SpongeBob SquarePants.

Walking Dead:

I also noticed several times that King used the word, "The walking dead" in The Stand.  This is a reference of a vision Larry had in the tunnel.  Here's one reference:
It was the devil, and he was stalking Larry with a lightless grin frozen on his face. The black man wasn’t the walking dead; he was worse than the walking dead. Larry ran with the slow sludgy panic of bad dreams, tripping over unseen corpses, knowing they were staring at him with the glassy eyes of stuffed trophies from the crypts of their cars, which had stalled inside the frozen traffic even though they had some other place to be, he ran, but what good was running when the black devil man, the black magic man, could see in the dark with eyes like snooperscopes? (439)
Check this out from Stephen King's website/message board: "The Walking Dead is in the middle of it's 3rd season. It's my favorite show currently on TV. But I can't escape the thought that it resembles The Stand in more than one way. Society has been wiped out by a flu and the dictator of the evil people, The Governor seems to me to be Randall Flagg lite." (

CARRIE Musical Headed To Los Angeles

A revised version of the Carrie musical is headed to Los Angeles.  The musical will run September 13-November 2.

So what's "revised" about it? posted: "Outrageous, controversial and completely thrilling, CARRIE comes to LA in a blazing new immersive production sure to be the theatrical event of the year."

Stephen King at THE OFFICE

I've been watching the office a lot lately.  Why?  Because I have netflix. So I watch a billion episodes of something until the well is dry -- then move on to something else.  So Raymond led to Coach led to The Munsters led to Family Ties led to Commander and Chief led to The Office.

Stephen King is mentioned several times in The Office.

For instance, from "The Seminar."  Erin is  upset that all her date wants to watch are scary movies.  "So far I've seen 'The Shining,' 'Rosemary's Baby,' 'The Ring". . . not really my thing.  Although I do like the early parts of the movie where  they have a perfect family and everything."

Here's another from an episode titled "Lotto."  The crew is talking about what they would do if they won the lotto.  Jim says he would move to Maine if he won the Lotto.
Jim: "Stop.  I'm barista in your fantasy?"
Pam: "Well, in your fantasy, we're Stephen King characters."
My favorite characters are Dwight and Kevin.

And this is a really good idea. . .

Room 237 Poster Stirs Memories

Rodney Ascher's poster for room 237 is designed to remind you of Saul Bass' design for Kubrick's The Shining.  Russ Fischer at notes that this is right in step with the teaser, that also mimicked the Kubrick teaser.

Fischer gives this info on the film:
Room 237 will be released on March 29 at IFC Center and Elinor Bunim Monroe Film Center in New York City, followed by a national rollout. The film will simultaneously be available on Cable VOD, iTunes and other digital outlets (Sundance Now, Amazon Streaming, XBOX and more).

6 Great Reasons Hitchcock is Still The Master of Suspense

Today is Alfred Hitchcock Day! (Declared by. . . I dunno.  But I'm totally game!)  

Hitchcock (2012), the recent film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, was based on Stephen Rebello’s bestselling book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho

Here is Stephen Rebello's essay, “6 Great Reasons Why Hitchcock Is Still the Master of Suspense.”  (Printed with permission)  

6 Great Reasons Why Hitchcock Is Still the Master of Suspense
by Stephen Rebello 
Psycho. Vertigo. North by Northwest. The Birds. If Alfred Hitchcock had directed nothing more than that astonishing quartet, he’d still be considered the maestro of creating nail-biting suspense, romantic intrigue, and unforgettable thrills. But that incredible run of movies, released in theaters from 1958 to 1963, represents only a drop in the bloody bucket of Hitchcock’s masterworks, which stretch back to the 1920s and extend into the 1970s. If you need a reminder of why Hitchcock rules as the all-time master of suspense, and why he is considered the man who pretty much wrote the book on the genre, here’s your quick cheat sheet.
1) Hitchcock Made Us Scream in the Shower
From Boston to Bangkok, Hitchcock stunned 1960 audiences by doing the unheard-of in Psycho: brutally killing-off the film’s sympathetic heroine—and biggest star—less than half way through the action. Taking his cue from the source novel by Robert Bloch, Hitchcock blasted our notions of safety and privacy by staging the landmark murder scene in, of all places, the bathroom, that tight, white space where one feels most relaxed and vulnerable. Or, at least, used to. And not only did he film Psycho in black and white to help minimize all that blood-letting, but he and editor George Tomasini also employed then-revolutionary rapid-fire editing techniques that suggested nudity and violence. To put the whole thing over the top, he cranked up a shrieking all-strings musical score by Bernard Herrmann. Voila, Hitchcock, his star Janet Leigh, and his merry band of gifted collaborators set a standard for heart-stopping terror that has yet to be topped—but is endlessly imitated. 
2) Hitchcock Brought Menace Out into the Open
Dark alleys? Shifty-eyed villains with twirling moustaches? Graveyards? Rain-slicked cobblestone streets? Haunted houses, rattling chains, and bats in the belfry? Hitchcock considered these clichés ripe for parody and, beginning with his British films of the 1920s, the director shone a bright light on terror and dark deeds. With Hitchcock, thrills can even erupt during a kid’s birthday party, as happens in Young and Innocent and The Birds. The sophisticated, stylish heroes and heroine of The 39 Steps and North by Northwest get chased by planes in broad daylight and open spaces; in those same films, and such other movies as Blackmail, Saboteur, and Hitchcock’s two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much, dramatic action unfolds against the backdrop of tourist attractions and national monuments like the United Nations, Mount Rushmore, the British Museum, the Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall. When violence erupts in and around shower stalls, ski runs, telephone booths, attics, and mountain roads, the lesson is simple: There is nowhere to hide. Chaos and terror will find you, personified by the charming, attractive, and seductive villains of such Hitchcock thrillers as Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, Psycho, Topaz, and Family Plot. Other films, from Charade right up through the Batman and Mission: Impossible have been following Hitchcock’s lead ever since.
3) Hitchcock Made Us Walk a Mile in His Heroes’ Shoes
Hitchcock often bragged to the press about how his films grabbed audiences by “making the viewer sweat” and “really putting them through it.” One of the most groundbreaking ways he put us through it was his frequent use of traveling point-of-view shots—that is, moving the camera in a way that places the viewer in the same position as the character on-screen. It’s a technique that makes us uneasy right along with James Stewart when we walk with him down ominous London streets in The Man Who Knew Too Much or when he obsessively stalks Kim Novak up and down hilly San Francisco in Vertigo. We’re jittery when we move slowly up the hill with Vera Miles in Psycho or when we glide along with her toward old Mrs. Bates sitting in a chair under a naked light bulb in a basement. And how about when we walk down a dock with Tippi Hedren, expecting her to be pecked by the birds, or when we hover with her outside the closed door of a room in which she is about to be engulfed by our feathered fiends? Hitchcock isn’t content with merely making us spectators. We’re full-on participants.  
4) Hitchcock Tells His Audience More Than His Characters Know
Hitchcock and his screenwriters created some of the most dazzling moments in movie history by emphasizing agonizing suspense rather than simple, go-for-the-throat shock. The innocent little boy in Hitchcock’s ’30s thriller Sabotage thinks he’s carrying a harmless parcel through London; we know he’s carrying a bomb that is set to detonate at a certain time. In the Psycho shower scene, the audience is shown, through the opaque shower curtain, what Janet Leigh doesn’t see until it’s too late: the approaching shadow of a killer. Grace Kelly searches the empty apartment of a suspected wife killer in Rear Window while we, along with James Stewart, break into cold sweats watching the murderer make his way back home. The heroine of The Birds waits impatiently on a bench for a classroom of kids to be let out of school, unaware that flocks of malevolent birds are amassing slowly and silently behind her. 
5) Hitchcock Kept Surprises As Surprises
It’s no exaggeration to credit Hitchcock with helping change the way we go to movies. Psycho was made back when the price of a movie ticket bought you a double feature, newsreel, short subjects, and trailers, and movie ticket-buyers tended to pop in and out of theaters whenever they pleased. With Psycho, Hitchcock wanted to create an event. So, he refused to hold any pre-release critics’ screenings, let alone a premiere. He forced movie-theater owners to sign contracts demanding zero tolerance of any moviegoer expecting to enter the theater once the film started. He launched the film’s release with a massive publicity campaign that stipulated in newspaper, radio, television ads, and posters in theater lobbies: “No one . . . but no one . . . will be admitted to the theater after the start of each performance of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.” He recorded announcements  to broadcast on radio and through loudspeakers at theaters warning Psycho audiences not to reveal the ending to their friends. The public ate it up. They formed lines around the block, kept the movie’s secrets to themselves, and turned Psycho into a worldwide phenomenon. Can you imagine any of this happening in our era of wall-to-wall social media, instant gratification, and gleeful spoilers? Neither can we.  
6) Hitchcock Revealed More by Showing Less
Hitchcock may be known best for cinematic suspense and thrills, but he was equally superb at finding suspense and thrills in eroticism. That long, long, long nuzzle and kiss between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in the ’40s spy thriller Notorious sizzles over six decades later. When gorgeous adventuress Grace Kelly slyly offers retired jewel thief Cary Grant his choice of leg or breast during a picnic above the French Riviera in To Catch a Thief, she’s offering a bit more than cold chicken. Sexy spy lady Eva Marie Saint seduces fugitive Cary Grant aboard a posh train, purring, “It’s going to be a long night . . . and I don’t particularly like the book I’ve started. You know what I mean?” Yeah, we do. And, without a bit of nudity or tawdry grappling, doesn’t Janet Leigh’s long lunch break tryst in a cheap hotel with boyfriend John Gavin in Psycho reek of backstreet eroticism? And the chilling spin Anthony Perkins as Psycho’s own Norman Bates puts on the line, “My mother and I were more than happy . . . ” tells you more than you need to know about that relationship. 

Stephen King Jeopardy: THE ANSWERS

Here are the answers from the first round of Jeopardy on Thursday, March 5.  The questions were categorized around the theme Stephen King.


$200: It is not known whether Mrs. O’Leary’s cow started Chicago’s great fire, but it did start in one of these structures.  (What is a barn) 
400: After 2/3 of Rome burned in 64 A.D., Nero blamed this obscure new religious sect. (What is Christianity)   
$600: In 1917 a fire on a TNT-Laden ship in this Nova Scotia capital led to the biggest pre-atomic man-made explosion.  (What is Halifax) 
$800: Shockingly, a 2002 fire that blackened 200 square miles near Denver was started by an employee of this federal service.  (What is What is the Forest Service) 
$1,000: After London’s Great Fire of 1666 started, this diarist said he buried a “Parmazan cheese as well as my wine.” (Who is Samuel Peeps)

Needful Things

$200: To break in this piece of baseball equipment, you’ll need some good oil, rubber bands & patience. (What is a mitt or glove) 
$400: On June 27, 1915 residents of this state needed sunscreen when it saw 100 degree temps; July usually tops out at 59 degrees in-lands   (What is Alaska) 
$600: To make goulash like aunt Gyongyi did, you’ll need this Hungarian red pepper condiment.  (What is paprika) 
$800: Latin term for the minimum number of members needed by parliamentary law to conduct business.  (What is a quorum) 
$1,000: About seven inches long, this pinkish gland produces 2 hormones needed to regulate the body’s sugar balance.  (What is the pancreas)


$200: A Tantrum. (What is a fit) 
$400: An unpleasant taste or a type of ale.  (What is bitter) 
$600: 4-Letter verb meaning to move about with rapidity.  (What is flit) 
$800: Silvery reflective decorative material that comes in tiny bits – work it, sister!  (Glitter) 
$1,000: A public prayer, or catalog of events.  (Litany)


$200: In 2009 she hit the charts with “Cowboy Casanova.”  (Who is Carrie Underwood) 
$400: Debbie Reynolds is the mom of this Actress & Writer.  (Who is Carrie Fisher) 
$600: She’s played the manola blahnik-shod Carrie Bradshow on TV & in film.  (Who is Sarah Jessica Parker) 
$800: “Hollywood Arms”, a play by this comedienne; her daughter Carrie Hamilton, opened soon after Carrie died in 2002.  (Who is Carol Burnette) 
$1,000: She played trinity in the “Matrix” films.  (Who is Carrie Anne Moss)

The Shining:

$200: This word for illicit whisky comes from its being made at night.  (What is moonshine.) 
$400: Some frogs eat so many of these, sometimes called lightening bugs that they glow. (What are Fireflies) 
$600: A mini-studio that’s part of Fox is named for this item that beams above the 20th Century Fox logo. (What is searchlight) 
$800: The folks who make Kiwi shoe polish instruct once the shoe polish has dried, do this to bring it to a shine.  (What is buff) 
$1,000: This “Sphere” the visible surface of the sun, is only 300 miles thick, a tiny fraction of the sun’s 430,000-mile radius.  (What is the photosphere.)

Stephen King

$200: Many of Stephen King’s stories and novels are set in this state, his birth place.  (What is Maine) 
$400: Beware of dog, specifically the St. Bernard gone berserk in this bestseller.  (Who is Cujo) 
$600: This nickname for death row at Cold Mountain peitentiary is also the title of a serial novel by King.  (What is The Green Mile) 
$800: Be careful if you mess with teen misfit Carrie White, who has this ability to move things with her mind.  (What is Telekinesis) 
$1,000:(Daily Double), Arnie Cunningham owns the Jealous & Deadly Christine, a Plymouth of this appropriate model.  (What is a Plymouth Fury)