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.

Ramakes: Hate them or love them?

With my thoughts on remakes today -- I wonder what the general consensus is.   Are they worth while?

Here are some remakes I hated:
  • Amityville Horror.  Oh yeah, they said they were going back to the book.  They didn't.  But the book is pretty awesomely stupid.  It's like kids telling a story; ". . . and then she was levitating off the bed, and then we saw a ghost, but the ghost was a pig, and then there was black goop, and then the pig left tracks in the snow, and then we found a secret red room, and then. . . "
  • Psycho.  Using the same script as Hitchcock used, and the same pacing -- the only thing different was  that it was in color.  And something just didn't feel right. 
  • Annie.  Did we need to remake that?  No.
  • Miracle on 34th Street.  The remake is sweet, but the  magic couldn't be reproduced. 
  • Mr. Deeds was petty good for its time in 1936.  It wasn't so good for its time in 2002.
  • Freaky Friday.  Did it need an update?  Maybe, but it had already been redone in so many ways. 
  • The Parent Trap.  Disney does this to get new viewers, but I think they had a strong story the first  time.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  In the first one leatherface runs around with a chainsaw, as opposed to the new one where leatherface runs around with a chainsaw.
  • I Spit On Your Grave.  Roger Ebert refused to give it any stars the first time around.  Why remake it?  I don't know.  Might as well remake Plan 9 From outerspace. 
Here are some remakes I liked:
  • The Man who Knew Too Much.  Did you know Hitch made this film twice?  Of course,  I think we are more patient when the director himself is remaking his own work. 
  • Carrie.  This was a solid film that brought Carrie into  the modern age.  And it deserves to be moved up, since the story itself is pretty ageless.
  • The Shining miniseries.  Not a Kubrick remake at all, it actually went back to the book.  I liked it.
  • The Ten Commandments.  It was a silent film first.  Now I understand remaking films so they have sound!  And why doesn't someone put the words at the bottom of the screen  on silent films instead of blacking out the entire screen?  We can do it with subtitles now.
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Which was also a silent film first. 
  • Superman.  I like them all.  Really.  Even Superman Returns, which had lots of openings for sequels.
  • Spiderman.  I think the term is "reboot" these days, but it sure feels like a remake.  Anyway, I like it each time it comes around.
  • Cheaper by the Dozen was a lot more fun than the first go-round.   Though, it was far from the book the second time!
  • King Kong remake was fun in 2005.  Long, but I liked it that they went back to the 30's.  The 1976 version was just boring.  In that version, Kong climbed the world  trade tower.
  • Red Dragon was originally put to screen in the form of "Manhunter."  Then when Harris got super famous, they remade it --  and this time it was scary!
  • Father of the Bride.  I like the remake with Steve  Martin better.
  • The Time Machine.  Two very different movies, as the updated version made some pretty radical new turns.  Our family likes both incarnations.
What I notice going through remakes is that a lot of horror movies get  remade.  I'm not sure why. How many times have we done Frankenstein and Dracula?

By the way, I didn't know until today that Don Knotts The Shakiest Gun In The West was a remake of Paleface. 

What remakes do you like, and which ones do you hate?
Here's a list:

TV GUIDE Looks At How Under the Dome Went From Novel to Series

The Simpsons Under The Dome has a fun article by Jesse David Fox that compares Under  The Dome to The Simpsons movie. Yes, we all know King did not steal from the Simpsons -- he wrote The Cannibals, an early version of Dome, int he 80's.  But, the comparisons are still pretty cool.

Domed Town Springfield Chester's Mill
DomersThe EPA.Unknown.

Reason for Doming
To quarantine the highly polluted town.Unknown.

Can You See Through It?

Can You Hear Through It?

The Domed Band Together To...
Try to kill Homer.Put out a fire.

Who's in Charge?
Emperor of Springfield Moe Szyslak.Councilman Big Jim Rennie.

Charismatic Newcomer?
Spider Pig.Barbie.

Ominous Chanting
Abe Simpson's church meltdown: "Epa! Epa! Epa!" Joe and Norrie's "pink stars are falling" seizures.

Dome-Crossed Loves
Lisa and her Irish environmental dreamboat Colin. Deputy Sheriff Linda Esquivel and her fireman fiancé.

Means of Escape
Sandbox sinkhole.Unknown.

Useless Escape Tools
Swordfish, bubbles, pies, jackhammer, elephant's head.Bulldozer.

Failed Dome Punchers
Drederick Tatum.Junior Rennie.

Shooting It Results In...
Bullets bouncing back and wounding Hometown Security agents.Bullets bouncing back and killing a cop.

Other Objects That Bounce Off Dome
Head of the EPA Russ Cargill's binoculars.Reporter Julia Shumway's tennis ball.

Outside Military
Easily duped by forged leaf note.Loves spraying dome with water.

Seemingly in perfect condition, but kids don't go because city has descended into chaos.Likely in perfect condition, but kids don't go because they're having phone-charging parties.

Under The Dome Exec Insists There Is An End In Sight

Scott Neumyer posted an interview with Neal Baer at in which Baer said that they do in fact have an end already planned for Under The Dome.  This is good news, since it means they will be working toward a final event, not left with one episode to suddenly try and explain all the tangled messes they've made.

He also notes that the series never sought to "slavishly" adapt the book.  Boy is that true!  He calls it liberating.  Now when Kubrick didn't stick "slavishly" to The Shining. . . oh well, never mind.

When asked about the relationship between King, Spielberg, Vaughn, Baer said:
the two Stephens are there for support, so they see everything. They read everything. They see all the cuts, but they’re not involved in the day to day. They couldn’t be because Stephen King is writing novels still . . . and Steven Spielberg is directing movies. So they’re there as really great sounding boards for us.

Rebooting Good Movies

I was watching Pet Sematary last night when I saw Lilja's Library post news that the reboot was underway again.  I saw the Carrie reboot last week, and liked it a lot.  Variety notes that the original was a hit, bringing in $57 million on only a $11 million budget!  So  my reaction to a reboot is a simple "why?"

Unlike Carrie, which was pretty rooted in the 70's -- Pet Sematary holds up today. suggests that the reason the film is being remade is because  the original didn't "capitalize" on their own great idea.  They then dig up the used suggestion that they aren't remaking the movie, but going back to the book.  Now we heard this with Carrie.  I liked Carrie, it was most certainly a remake of DePalma's film -- not a return tot he book.  The ending alone was a play on the original that had nothing to do with the book.  It was an update of DePalma's film, not a return to the world of Stephen King.

Also, in the new Carrie film we had Margaret White crucified with household objects.  Did this idea come from DePalma or King?  Well, give Carrie a quick read and you'll discover that indeed a DePalma remake was in the works, not a return to Stephen King's CARRIE.  From wikipedia:
"Carrie returns home and confronts a crazed Margaret, who claims she conceived Carrie due to marital rape. When Margaret stabs Carrie, she kills her mother by telekinetically stopping her heart."
Now is that what happened in the recent "more faithful" adaptation of Carrie?  No!  They went with the more dramatic DePalma ending.  Which is fine, but why pretend it was a return to the book when it was clearly not?

So, I have this feeling -- where we go again.  Same jabber offered up for another remake, which is this time truly unnecessary.

The other reason offered for remaking Pet Sematary is that it wasn't very scary.  I guess that's a matter of taste.  I thought it was dark, creepy, faithful to the book and scary.

What's the real reason for all the remakes?  Fear of trying new things.  Investors don't want to put money into a risky new project, but would rather try and resell things they've already done.  It's like Van Gogh trying to repaint Starry Night.

If money is being poured in Stephen King projects, why doesn't someone take on Duma Key, Rose Madder or From a Buick 8.  And if we just have to remake Stephen King films, how about making a real adaptation of Needful Things.  Now there's a book that would make a good mini-series.

And, how about this; instead of giving us another movie version of Pet Sematary, give us the book on audio.  How about that.

I'm Thinking. . . LIBRARY POLICE! has  posted news that a Copperas Cove man was arrested for not returning his library book.
ulie Lehmann of the Copperas Cove Police Department said they don't hunt down people with overdue books, they just snag them when they are at a traffic stop or have some other reason to come in contact with these criminals.

The article gives these examples of good  folk arrested for overdue books:

  • Christopher Anspach pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He also was required to pay a $625 fine and "restitution for the materials."
  • In 2011, an Iowa man was arrested for failure to return roughly $700 worth of items from his local branch. 
  • And. . . in 2012, police went to the home of 4-year-old Katelyn Jageman to investigate four books that had not been returned. Fortunately, Katelyn stayed out of prison, but her mother was asked to pay an $81.60 fine. The books, which included "Dora the Explorer: The Halloween Cat," were also returned, according to KDKA.
So next time it takes forty five minutes for police to respond to a 911 call -- guess what they're doing. . .