King Talks About A GOOD MARRIAGE






A Good Marriage lands a 5/10 From JoBlo

Lilja's Library pointed King fans to the first review of A Good Marriage, posted at joblo.com.  How'd it do?   Chris Bumbray gave it a five out of ten.

"Sadly," Bumray writes, "King's connection is really the only thing that distinguishes the movie from your run of the mill low budget thriller."

That's disappointing.  I had high hopes for this movie.  So, what will I do?  Ignore Bumray until I see the movie for myself.  As Bumray notes, "if you're a Stephen King completist you'll want to see this regardless. . . " YEP!

King: believing in God is enriching

Wow, an article from Huff Post about Stephen King about religion that can make a conservative preacher smile and nod -- that's a feat.

It's been a week with headlines announcing that famed scientist Stephen Hawking is an atheist.  His view is that science alone can explain the origin of the universe.  Not that Hawking has yet explained how science can do that.  For many of us, it always comes down to an issue of first cause; where did the stuff, the building blocks of creation, come from?

In turn, Stephen King told HuffPost Life in an interview Wednesday that the universe is too complicated not to think it did not originate from a supreme being.  In other words,  there has to be something outside of creation to bring it into existence.  "It's so complex," King said.  "So I have a tendency to believe in intelligent design."

King told  HuffPost Life,
"The very construction of the world and the fact that we seem to be the only blue-populated planet in the universe — and we've been looking for quite a while now, at least since the late 50s —it makes you have to believe that if we happened by accident, it would make winning the lottery look like flipping a coin," 
Cosmology is the very issue that brought long time atheist apologist,  Anthony Flew, to a belief in God.  Flew wrote in his book, There Is A God, “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence.  I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the mind of God.  I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for half a century, the short answer is this: This is the world picture as I see it that has emerged from modern science.”

King went on to affirm that in his  view faith was  enriching to life.  He said he did not have any belief in the afterlife "one way or the other" saying he is agnostic.  That's an interesting view, since a lot of King's work revolves around the afterlife.  (Pet Sematary come to mind first; and The Shining.)

"I love the idea that there could be a power greater than myself that's sort of writing the script," King said. "I try to live my life by saying that God may be watching out for me. . ."

The full article is at huffingtonpost.com

Swan Song Journal #3



As with all journal entries, don't read the journal if you didn't already read the book.

Just some brief notes:

1. There's a lot of war.  The battle  at the mall against the religious cult was great.  I was really surprised when the Army of Excellence didn't run them over hands down.

Up to that point in the book, it seemed like whoever McCammon was following would have the upper-hand in a scene.   But then -- BAM!  He knocked around the AOE and left a few battered bodies strewn about.

After enduring heavy losses, The Army of Excellence regroups and builds an incredible siege machine.  It's a massive rolling tower  reminiscent of a roman trebuchet.  Listening to the novel as I ran, I wondered if McCammon actually built a model of  this war machine.  He described it so  energetically -- but the ideas can't be fully conveyed.  As a reader, I'm left going, "Okay, Robert, I trust you.  It's a big rolling machine with lots of parts."  But he so obviously wants me, the reader, to see what he sees.  Did he build  it out of legos?  I really would ask him that if I could!

The battle at Mary's Rest is extremely long,detailed and quite engaging.

2. I have no idea where this book is going. But I DID know Job's mask had to be a cocoon.  But what comes out of the mask was a surprise to me.

3. It's interesting how McCammon shows characters progress and slowly change.

This is particularly true of Roland.  So far, though, no "bad" characters have repented and turned good.

Also, in the area of character progression is the town of Mary's Rest.  McCammon not only shows individual people changing, but in the case of Mary's Rest, the entire town changes as Swan gives them hope.

When Josh and Swan (and Mule -- which is a horse) first arrived in Mary's Rest, the people were  a bunch of scavengers.  They tore the wagon apart and revealed an amazing cowardice. But as the story progressed, the town changed.

I kept thinking the town would sell out when the AOE demanded they hand over Swan.  (Think Storm of the Century here.)  But instead, the town fights with everything it's got to protect their fields, their homes, their water -- and most of all, the girl with the power to give life. No one even broaches the idea of handing her over to the enemy.

4. There are parts of this book that are really scary.  But then, I am reading them as I run alone through the desert at midnight.  Yes, I do hear Coyotes howling.  Might be adding to the fear factor here.  I really do think the dark man, the man of a thousand faces -- is much more scary than Flagg.  But it's really pointless to compare the two.

5. I really wish they had put the chapter titles with the chapters and not just a list at the beginning of the part.  It makes it impossible when listening to know what chapter you are on; while in print you can just glance back and count.  Which is still awkward.  Why did they do that?  WHY?

6. I read one review that complained there are no animals.  I don't know what book they read.  There's a horse called Mule.  Lots of wolves.  Dogs.  Cats.  And rats.  OH!  Enough rats to keep Stephen King happy.  And, what's even better, they eat the rats.  Rat stew anyone?

7. Everyone who has read this book gives me these vague warnings.  "Oh, that's a really good book.  Things aren't going to come out the way you think."  What's that mean?  Does Swan die?

8. The announcement that God is on Warwick Mountain is ominous.  
I like Roland's excitement at the thought that maybe it isn't God -- but a giant computer with a power source.  I'm anxious for them to get to the mountain and find out what's up!

9. Comparing the book to the Stand, which is almost impossible not to do -- brings about an obvious difference.  The Stand is very character driven; Swan Song has a lot more action. In fact, The Stand promises a giant battle; and the reader presses forward, anxious to see the gigantic battle between  good and evil. But that doesn't quite go down in traditional battle  format.  But in Swan Song, there is war all over the place.  I would love it if someone drew a map, like one of those old Civil War maps, and marked out the various battles.

Are King's Towns A Tribute To Lovecraft?


Why I Wrote "Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters"



I was at a book signing a few weeks ago at my church.  There was a table promoting books I'd written, and all the books were blown up huge. I was startled to see the Stephen King book in the mix.  (I hadn't expected the church to promote it.)  Not to mention, I hadn't written the book under my name.

That night, as I signed books, I got asked the question several times, "So why did you write a book about Stephen King?" 

Here's the short answer:
Because I don't think Stephen King has been taken as seriously as he should.  I think he's made a genuine, and lasting, contribution to American literature.  He as described through novels our era as much as Dickens gave us Victorian England.  Stephen King might be known for writing a bunch of scary stories, but really, his work is much more important.   I think future generations will study Stephen King the way I  studied Poe and Dickens.  He has left a huge cultural imprint."
There were other factors as well. As I blogged and researched,  I was slowly accumulating a mass of research material on subjects I didn't feel had been covered well in other books.  Why was no one talking about King's use of Poe in The Stand?  Did anyone notice King gave a nod to HP Lovecraft?  And why were there no chapters in the many books I had that discussed Stephen King and vintage radio?

It seemed to me that King was often asked, "Who influenced you?" But few people were looking directly at King's writing to examine independently what had impacted the writer and his style.

I do wish I'd written a chapter  on Mark Twain.  It seems Twain was a huge influence on King; and a lot of The Talisman is a nod back to  Twain.  But, I didn't think of it until the book went to print!  So It's a new area to study.  

LINK: Marvel Preview: SK The Drawing Of The Three - The Prisoner #3




Jamie Lovett at comicbook.com posted exclusive Marvel previews of Stephen King's The Prisoner #3. The comic goes on sale October 1.

The article gives this synopsis:

STEPHEN KING'S DARK FANTASY EPIC RETURNS-TO THE MEAN STREETS OF NEW YORK CITY!
•  Eddie Dean, the troubled young man gifted with the ability to open doors to other worlds, has survived to his 10th birthday. But will he live to see another?
•  What horrors lurk within the Dutch Hill Mansion?
•  A bold new chapter continues by writers Peter David (All-New X-Factor) and Robin Furth (The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance), and artist Piotr Kowalski (Marvel Knights: Hulk)!
 Parental Guidance

Stories With GREAT and not so great Endings

Does a stories ending matter?  Sometimes.  But if you're a Stephen King fan, you've learned that the landing can sometimes be a bumpy ride.

Hey, sometimes, like in the case of The Mist,  he doesn't end the story.   He just leaves it for the reader to choose their own adventure.  Remember choose your own adventure books?  I want a Stephen King choose your own adventure story.

This is pretty random.  My six favorite story endings.  And some of my least favorite.

Some stories with great endings:
1. Pet Sematary.  Would there be another way to end that novel?  What happened to Rachel after she killed Louis?
2. The Dead Zone.  This book kept me turning pages to the end.  I hate saying that because. . . it's so over used.
3. The Green Mile.  Yeah, it's sad and all, but  I like it.  So there.
4. The Shining.  King once said that his original idea was to kill them all.  A total blood bath.  I'm glad he didn't go with that.
5. Joyland.  Yes, I do think it worked.  In fact, I think Joyland is one of King's strongest books.  There's some magic in that little novel that can't quite be described.  Maybe it's King's ability to time warp the reader back into the 1970's.  He so  beautifully describes young love, and old love revived.
6. Mr. Mercedes.  But now that I read the novel, I don't have any desire to go back too it.  Because once you understand the end, it doesn't seem like a road that needs to be traveled again and again.

And a few that weren't so great. . . 
I find that often the larger books are the ones I feel fail to really end with a bang.  They build and build and build and then King brings them in for a nice, gentle landing.  I think this is the case in both IT and The Stand.  I liked both endings.  In the case of The Stand, the final battle against evil takes place, and then the story continues with the long journey home.  The plot tension is the question: Will Stu survive?  Will humanity survive?  Will Fran's baby the the flu?

I have begun to come to terms with the ending to The Dark Tower series.   Maybe I even like it.  Bev Vincent just about convinced me in an interview he did with me and in his wonderful Dark Tower companion book.

Needful things did not end well in my opinion.  The whole video tape of Pangborn's wife's death was strange. King did such a good job moving multiple storylines together, and then at the very end it just didn't play out quite right.

Duma Key was a great ride, but it took so long to get to the end that I wasn't sure I was still fully engaged in the story.

Under  The Dome has got to be the novel which has, in my opinion, the worst ending -- yet is one of the best stories.  the entire cause/purpose of the Dome made little sense in the novel.  If the TV show is doing anything, it is redeeming the Dome itself.  Giving the giant structure purpose.

Some of the classic books leave me wanting more.  Carrie was a great book!  I wish there had been more to it at the end.

Your turn. . .

King Is A Halloween Grinch

www.cbsnews.com/news/



some quotes:
  • "I'm sort of the Halloween Grinch.  It's just like, you get this scary reputation, and you're sort of like the Santa Claus of Halloween."
  • "I started to think, I wonder how many of us are sleeping with strangers and what we really know about the people that we think we're close to."
  • "I sometimes say to people, there are people who have complexes and fantasies and they go to a psychiatrist and they pay $50, $70 an hour," King said. "I do the same thing, and people pay me."
  • (One of my favorite stories) "I was in the grocery store down in Florida, and I came around the corner of the aisle, and there was this elderly woman who was pushing her cart," he said. "And she looked at me and she said, 'I know who you are. You write those scary things, and that may be OK for some people. I respect you, but I don't read things like that.' And I said, 'Well, ma'am, I wrote "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand by Me,"' and she said, 'No, you didn't.'" And the woman just walked right past him.
  • "Guys like me, guys who are actors, writers, sculptors, painters, we live by our wits - comedians. I think that what really scares me is, you know, starting to strip my gears a little bit - Alzheimer's, dementia, things like that. I hate the idea of that."
  • (About why Tabby bought the car that  hit him) "The reason she bought it was she was afraid somebody would put it for sale on eBay, so she had it put in a car crusher."

King on TV

This is reposted  from my favorite Stephen King website, liljas-library.com/

Don't miss King on TV today!

CBS This Morning
WHEN: approximately 8:30am ET/PT (live on the east coast) (“CBS This Morning” airs 7am-9am ET/PT)
ONLINE: http://www.cbsnews.com/cbs-this-morning/

The View
WHEN: approximately 11:25am ET/ 10:25am PT (”The View” airs 11:00am-noon ET/ 10:00am-11:00am PT)
ONLINE: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-view

HuffPost Live
WHEN: 2:00pm-2:30pm ET/ 11:00am-11:30am PT (live)
TUNE-IN: http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/stephen-king-a-good-marriage-revival/5409e8b9fe3444b410000446

Late Night with Seth Meyers
WHEN: approximately 12:50am ET/PT (“Late Night w/ Seth Meyers airs 12:30am-1:30am ET/PT)
ONLINE: http://www.nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers

Hulu Takes On 11/22/63

direct-to-series order for “11/22/63."

Here's the  bullet points:

  • The show is anticipated to be a nine-hour miniseries.  
  • A release date has  not been announced.
  • Executive producers are King, Abrams through his Bad Robot Prods. (“Person of Interest,” “Fringe,” “Lost”), Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk. Bad Robot’s Kathy Lingg is co-executive producer, and Athena Wickham is producer.
  • Bridget Carpenter will write the teleplay. 

Spangler article notes that in announcing the pact, Stephen King said:
“If I ever wrote a book that cries out for long-form, event-TV programming, ‘11/22/63’ is it. I’m excited that it’s going to happen, and am looking forward to working with J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot team.”

Stephen King Meets Judy Blume in ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE


The Ringwald Thater will be running a parody musical titled, "ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE"  Talk about mash-up!  The musical promises to combine the best of Judy  Blume novels witht he "creepiness" of Stephen King.

. . . . . . . . . .

This is from broadwayworld.com

It's the 1970s, and pre-teen Carrie White and her religious nut of a mother have just moved to an idyllic New Jersey suburb. There she is befriended by a group of girls and together they form The PTS's (Pre-Teen Sensations) where they talk about boys and wait impatiently for their periods to arrive. But we all know that Carrie White and blood don't mix. As the girls gear up for the big school party, will everything go off without a hitch? Don't bet on it!

Featuring a jukebox full of 70s pop songs, ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE promises to be a bloody good time (sorry, we couldn't resist)!

Featured in the cast are Meredith Deighton (Carrie), Lauren Bickers (Mrs. White), Brittany Michael (Nancy), DeAnnah Kleitz-Singleton (Gretchen), Katy Schoetzow (Janie), Dyan Bailey (Laura Denker), and Joel Hunter (All the Men).

Dyan Bailey will direct with choreography by Katy Schoetzow. Set design by Gwen Lindsay, costume design by Lisa Melinn, and lighting design by Brandy Joe Plambeck.

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, CARRIE opens Saturday, October 11, 2014 and plays through Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8pm on Saturday and Monday nights with 3pm Sunday matinees. Ticket prices are $20.00 for Saturday performances, $15 for Sunday shows, and Monday nights are HALF OFF the original ticket price at only $10 a ticket. All students can now receive a $5 discount off normal ticket price on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances (available at the box office the day of the show with valid student ID). Tickets can be purchased at www.TheRingwald.com or at the theatre box office. The Ringwald box office opens 45 minutes before performances and tickets can be purchased with cash or Visa/Mastercard.

The Ringwald opened their doors seven years ago on May 11, 2007 with Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy. Quickly, The Ringwald became a mainstay of Detroit's theatre community. Past Productions include: Angels in America, Into the Woods, The Motherfucker with the Hat, August: Osage County, When the Rain Stops Falling, The Bad Seed, Making Porn, The Book of Liz, Rent, and Love! Valour! Compassion!. The Ringwald was named 2009, 2012 and 2013 Best Theatrical Troupe by Real Detroit and Best Place to See Local Theatre in 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the readers of Metro Times.

Is The Dark Tower movie Back?



Isn't it great when the whole  world knows your age?  Stephen King turned 67 Sunday.  Of greater interest to me is that news is spreading the Dark Tower might be moving forward.

examiner.com reported:
There's also news going around about Ron Howard making an attempt to green light "The Dark Tower" adaptation with Aaron Paul in talks to play the ex-drug addict Eddie Dean. King has also been known to appear in his own films, much like Alfred Hitchcock did back in the day.


Movoto Prices The Overlook!


The crew over at Movoto, (the fun real estate blog) have been having some fun indeed -- with Stephen King's THE SHINING. The blog focuses on fictional real estate listings. So, with the release of Doctor Sleep, they decided it would be super heaps of fun to check out the value of the Overlook Hotel!

In the process of researching the Overlook's value, a lot of interesting facts surface.  How many sq feet is it?  How many bathrooms?  

This is re-posted by permission from www.movoto.com

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


What’s the scariest thing you can think of? I’m betting it’s probably a ghost, a monster, or some kind of psycho killer with a chainsaw. Unless, that is, you’ve ever read Stephen King’s horror masterpiece, “The Shining”. In that case, like me, you were thinking of the Overlook Hotel.

While there have been many a terrifying piece of property in the history of horror books, film, and TV—the “Amityville Horror”, “Insidious”, and “Psycho” houses spring to mind—none can compare to the hotel that King created in his landmark 1977 novel. It might look like a building, but those who’ve read the book know it’s a living, breathing epicenter of paranormal dread.
What got me thinking about the Overlook again is something every true horror fan should be eagerly awaiting: this week’s release of “Doctor Sleep,” King’s latest work and the long-awaited sequel to “The Shining”. While the Overlook obviously doesn’t feature in the new novel, we here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog figured there was no more appropriate time to perform one of our patented fictional property evaluations on the sinister inn.

You know, just in case some steel-nerved ghost hunters out there want to fantasize about buying it—or at least the real world equivalent.

I don’t scare easily, but as returning readers will know, these evaluations can sometimes be so complex they’re scary in their own right. Fortunately, I came away from this one unscathed, and with a price of $1,292,000.

How did I scare up that figure? Read on—if you dare!—to find out.

How I Did It (Without Using the Shining Power)
Whether you’re valuing an evil hotel or one from a beloved British comedy, you’re going to need to know some of the same information. Specifically, I had to track down:
  • How big the Overlook is
  • Where it’s located
  • How much it’s worth per room
That first piece of information was easily the most challenging—and rewarding—to find, so I think that’s the best place for us to start. You might want to carry a fire axe just in case.

One Spooky Hotel, Many Inspirations

Although I’ve read “The Shining” and seen the movie (many times) and watched the TV miniseries, I still needed to do a good amount of research to bone up on my Overlook lore. My first stop was, naturally, one of the scariest places I can think of: the Internet. It was here that I reinforced some things I already knew, such as the fact that the Overlook Hotel isn’t a real place, but that it was based on an actual hotel that King once stayed at (in room 217) called the Stanley Hotel.

In fact, the Stanley is obviously extremely proud to be known as the inspiration for the Overlook, not to mention the “fact” that it is haunted (something that may or may not have driven King to have a nightmare that led to the idea for the novel). The hotel conducts regular ghost hunting tours and an annual “Shining” theme ball on Halloween.

Based on this alone, it would seem like a pretty cut-and-dry process to find out how big the Stanley is—16,000 square feet, by the way—get values for some nearby hotels for sale, and call it a day. I should know by now that it’s never that easy.

That’s because, you see, there’s another real hotel that’s associated with the Overlook—the Timberline Lodge. This ski resort is what most people probably most associate with the hotel because of the fact that it was used in 1980 movie adaptation of “The Shining” by director Stanley Kubrick (no relation to the Stanley Hotel, as bizarre as that would have been). The Timberline Lodge served as the exterior of the Overlook in some scenes and inspired the matte paintings used in others. It’s not a 100 percent match for several reasons, not the least of which is that the interiors are not at all alike and it doesn’t have the infamous hedge maze from the film.
I was torn for a while as to whether or not I should use this 60,000 square foot, 70 room resort to base my evaluation on, but I eventually came back to the Stanley—for the most part—for a reason I’ll get to in a second.

As it turns out, neither of these hotels could actually be a 100 percent match for the Overlook because they both have too many rooms. The Stanley has 140 and, like I just mentioned, the Timberline has 70. Going back and reading “The Shining”, I discovered that King’s hotel has exactly 40 guest rooms. Its makeup is as follows:
  • 30 Double Rooms (including room 237)
  • 10 Single Rooms
  • Offices (including Mr. Ullman’s)
  • Lobby
  • Storage Room
  • Gold Room
  • Colorado Lounge
  • Banquet/Ballroom
  • Basement
King never goes into how many square feet the Overlook is, but since it’s a hotel I’m evaluating, I don’t need to know that—different rules apply. It still helps to know the location, though, so I tracked that down next.

One of Colorado’s Premier Resort Destinations

If you couldn’t guess from the name of one of those rooms listed above, the Overlook Hotel is meant to be in Colorado—just like the Stanley Hotel that inspired it (although, in his introduction to the book, King claims it’s not based on any actual hotel). But where in the state?
Well, going by King’s inspiration, the Stanley, I placed the Overlook in Estes Park, Colorado, where it’s located. The Timberline Lodge’s location wasn’t really an option, since it’s not in Colorado; it’s in Government Camp, Oregon, at the base of Mount Hood.

Again, as with the square footage, the location of that Overlook actually didn’t matter (much) to the overall evaluation. It did affect part of the formula I used, which I’ll get to next.

That’s a Scary (Expensive) Soda

Now, if you’ve read one of our fictional evaluations of a hotel property before—like Fawlty Towers, for example—you’ll know that they’re valued differently than residential properties.

There are actually a couple of shortcuts to figuring out their prices; one being to take the price of a can of Coke in their mini-fridges, multiplying it by 10,000, then multiplying that by the number of rooms. The other is to find a similar hotel for sale in the area and divide its listing price by the number of rooms, then apply that to the number of rooms in the hotel being evaluated. I decided to go with the former, mostly because it meant I got to call the Stanley Hotel.

So, I rang up the Stanley and posed my question to their chipper staff. The result: a can of Coke there costs $3 plus tax (at least my wallet was afraid). Knowing that the Stanley is in Estes Park, CO, I was able to look up the sales tax there, which is 7.5 percent. So, a can of Coke at the hotel costs $3.22 all told.

With that number, I could do some simple multiplication and determine that one room of the Overlook would be valued at $32,200. Now I just had to do what Jack Torrance never could and finish what I’m writing.

You Can Check-In But You’ll Never Leave
To wrap things up, I just needed to multiply the value per room ($32,200) by the number of rooms (40) to end up with a final price of $1,292,000—a price that’s actually scary in how cheap it is. Of course, you’d still have to contend with hallways filled with blood, scary twins, murderous partygoers, and all the other nasty things the Overlook holds within its haunted halls. But, for the right buyer, I guess those might actually be plusses. Heck, I hear there’s actually a premium on little kids yelling “Redrum” these days. Go figure.

SOURCE: www.movoto.com

Down East Pulls Back The Curtain On Stephen King Circa 1977




10,000 Magazines, #9,998
Down East, The Magazine Of Maine, November 1977
First published: September 13, 2012

Do you remember 1977?  I was four.  The magazine is fun because it reads like a home town paper of sorts.  Very professional and fun, it is full of local ads and happenings throughout Maine.

One reason I love the old magazines is because they capture a particular moment in time.  Prices, fashion and ads are all frozen in a 100 page time capsule.  It is strange to see ads that require you to write in – no websites advertised here!

The November, 1977 issue of Down East had an interesting article by Lois Lowry titled, “King of the Occult.”



With a picture of a young Stephen King sitting on the hood of his Cadillac, the caption reads, “Stephen King has written three best-selling horror novels that have made him a millionaire at thirty.  Now friends and critics wait to see if he can do it again.”

Lowry takes time to discuss King’s mother in some detail, “He called his mother Ma.  She brought him broken cookies from the bakery where she worked at night while he was sleeping; and told him, with a fervor that came from a combination of resolute fundamentalism and the staunch New England belief that grit and stubbornness bear fruit like aple trees in rocky soil, that he would someday be a success.”

She also discusses his reception in Maine:
“Maine natives are not effusive people; nor are they likely to look kindly on a blue-jeaned upstart who has written of their home territory in allegories heavy withe vil and permeated with the violent bizarre, and occult.  Nevertheless, they come clutching their books, to get a glimpse and the signature of the man who has prodded at the perimeters of their lives with his perceptions and  his pen.”
Now that’s interesting, since of the three books King had published up to that point, only two of them were set in Maine.  The Shining was set in Colorado.  Also, Carrie is not heavy on the Maine setting.  But Salem’s lot overshadowed all other works when it came to location.  The novel told what a small Maine town would be like if it was taken over by vampires.  But the novel wasn’t just a blood and guts horror novel, it told the story of a small town, and that is what really drives the story.  It is appropriate that the story bears the towns name.  Lowry writes, “Country life suits Stephen King.”

At the time of the article, King lived in Bridgton, Maine.  Lowry describes it:
“To meet him there, in a spacious, toy-strewn house filled with the high voices of children and the sunshine that reflects brilliantly from Long Lake, it is hard to believe that murderous creatures are brewing in his brain like newts in a cauldron.  It’s a placid, unostentatious kind of country living that reveals nothing of the lurking horrors of the mind that made it possible. 
It’s a hard house to find.  A visitor must know the landmarks, the right turn to make in the narrow, winding road that runs along the lake.”
Later in the article, Lowry says that the house Is for sale. King was headed to England, where the  filming of The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, would be done.

(Check out the Down East article, “Stephen King Doesn’t Live In Bridgton Anymore”)

The article traces the story we now know pretty well – but never really get tired of – of King rising from nothing to becoming a best selling author.  The article also, almost off-handedly remarks that Stanley Kubrick has bought the rights for The Shining.  We all know how that came out!

I like these lines:
“Smile.  Wince.  Reach for a cigarette.  An asprin.  Turn on some country music and hum.  Tease Tabby.   Scold little Joe for riding his plastic Batmobile around the living room too noisily.  Stoke the yellow cat named Carrie.  Diaper the new baby who smiles in the sunny bedroom.  Downstairs, the typewriter waits.  The terrors and spooks   and nameless, faceless creatures are all down there in the study, waiting to be written.  And the public waits, the critics wiat, to see if he can do it again.”
See, the fun of this article is that we already know – yes he can do it again!  The people who inhabit the distant world of 1977 don’t even know about The Stand, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone or. . . the Dark Tower!

*** And wait a minute, did the article just reveal he had a cat named Carrie?  What's wrong with Church?  Church is a good name for a cat.

The article also discusses the issue of genre and typecasting.  “Shelly and Toker wrote successful horror.  So does King.  But what is it that distinguishes good horror from the old Tales From the Crypt” that you read with the kind of gleeful fear when you were a kid?”  For my money, and a lot of people’s I would venture to guess, we like King’s gleeful joy as he leads us through his stories.  Lowry quotes King, “All I am is the phosphorescent ghost at the funhouse.   I’m the guy who jumps out and yells ‘Boo!’”

Lowry rightly accesses King’s strength is his ability to combine the real and imaginary worlds.  Thus he takes issues we know and understand – alcoholism, small towns, little boys and mixes  them with freak-a-zoid things like vampires and haunted hotels.  King also says, “People grow up, and their need for fantasy remains.  You’re made a child again, through fear, and that’s a normal desire.”

About the fans, King had an easier time of it back in 1977 than he would through the 80's and beyond.  But still, even by then, the fans were starting to encroach on King’s personal life.   The article says,
King appreciates his fans, answers the letters they write him, and carries in his wallet a photograph of a young girl from the Southwest because she sent a note that touched him.  But he’s had his phone number changed, and the local operator tells countless people every day, “No, I’m sorry, we are not permitted to disclose that number,” because strangers call from all parts of the country to ask for money, interviews, help in finding a publisher for the 800-page novel they’ve written about werewolves, or advice on how to do away with the demonic neighbor who has caused their vegetables to succumb to root rot. 
Sometimes he opens his eyes wide behind the horn-rimmed glasses and realizes that Tabby is at home on the edge of the lake witht eh kids, listening to music, and he’s on a plane to at own whose name he has temporarily forgotten, to sign his name for people he’s never met, and to be interviewed for a magazine that will make him sound glamorous and oracular and start the stream of phone calls and unwanted guests all over again.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here's a page my beloved mother-in-law scanned. . . and I have no idea why!  but I love that lady.

Swan Song Journal #2: Direction



I go running at night for two reasons:
1. I want to lose weight.
2. I am in love with Swan Song.

The book is difficult to predict.  I am honestly kept guessing at each page.  I have no idea what will happen with any of the characters.

When I read  The Stand, it became obvious via the dreams that the forces of good would be gathered to one place, and the forces of evil to another.  Swan Song is not so immediately clear.  The AOE (Army of Excellence) is certainly growing ever more powerful.  And there are two elements McCammon certainly intends to bring together; the ring and the girl.  Swan has the power to give life, while the ring hast he power to give direction.  Together, they may be the key to bringing healing on the earth;  and possibly to defeating the AOE.

Though I've heard others complain about this; I like the ease with which McCammon introduces  and then dismisses characters.  It gives the story a feeling of bigness; grandeur.

None of that is a spoiler -- because I have no idea what is ahead.

War:
There are certainly a lot of battles in Swan Song.  I like that a lot.  The action is fast paced.  There are moments when McCammon introduces us to characters  that seem like they could have come from The Stand.  Alvin Mangrim wants to rise high in Colonel Macklin's army, even though Roland is suspicious of him.  What's more, Mangrim cut off the head of one of Macklin's most wanted  enemies.  Somehow, I'm thinking -- Trashcan man!

The AOE is completely evil.  Colonel Macklin wears a Nazi uniform and a wood hand with nails  sticking through it, just to be clear that he will show no mercy to anyone.  I suspect who he should really fear is the boy, Roland.

Elements I really like:

  • The ring.
  • The Shadow soldier.  (An imaginary friend who keeps Colonel Macklin cool under fire)
  • Swan's ability to give life.  How far will that go?
  • The mark of Cain.  A strange growth that crusts over some survivors like a hard shell, closing them in.
  • The flies crawling out of the man of a thousand faces so go and search the earth for the woman with the ring.  That is really great!  The flies are really his eyes, an extension of himself.
Concerning the flies, get this passage:
More flies penetrated his face. More images whirled through him: a woman scrubbing clothes in a lamplit room, two men fighting with knives in an alley, a two-headed boar snuffling in garbage, its four eyes glinting wetly. The flies crawled over his face, being sucked through the flesh one after the other.

Awesome Movie Art For Carrie and Misery!



From skuzzles.com:
Earlier in 2014, Skuzzles partnered with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in developing artwork for 13 cult classic horror films. The DVDs and Blu-rays feature illustrated limited edition artwork created by a collective of incredible artists from all over the globe (Ghoulish Gary Pulin, Jason Edmiston, Todd Slater, Randy Ortiz, Josh Budich, Justin Osborne, Paul Shipper, Gregorz Domaradzki "Gabz", Francesco Francavilla) . The films are offered at all major retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Best Buy Canada and Walmart Canada. The films can be found on Blu-ray for $7-9, and on DVD for only $5-7.



THANKS BRYANT BURNETTE! thetruthinsidethelie.blogspot


The Dark Tower: FOUND!



Dark Roasted Blend has made a connection that's -- well, out there.  Until you see the photo's!  Seems the Dark Tower actually exists, in our world! 

Dark Blend writes,
Maybe you've read Stephen King's huge fantasy epic "The Dark Tower" . . . you'll be surprised to find the fantastic huge black tower actually exists... on a small island near Africa. More precisely, on the São Tomé island in the Gulf of Guinea. It's called Pico Cão Grande, or the Great Dog peak.
The photo's are credited to   Inna Moody.  The painting is the always awesome Michael Whelan.

Get these ominous lines,
"Fearsome black snakes live on this peak."
"approaches to it are filled with impenetrable giant ferns and lianas"
"Among the animals who live in the nearby jungles and come to pay respect to the tower are the Leatherback Sea Turtle"
"Vertical climbing of this peak is complicated by the thick mist that lingers around it."
About Devil's Tower in Wyoming, "Big monsters tend to find such towers and climb them to their doom. Here is a (bear)? trying to scale the Devil's Tower in Wyoming."
Huuuuhhhh!  Sounds like the tower rising in our world.  Snakes.  The turtle.  The bear.  Difficult approach.  ehhh?!

In all honesty, this would make some great shots for a movie. . . if they were to ever make a movie.  You know, someone should do that!  Someone should make a Dark Tower movie. 

List of Good Movies Ruined By Bad Endings

Andrew Dyce posted an article at screenrant.com titled, "10 Good Movies Ruined By Bad Endings."

The List:
10. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
9. The Ninth Gate (1999)
8. Signs (2002) (HEY!  I liked that ending!)
7. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
5. The Wolverine (2013)
4. High Tension (2003)
3. I Am Legend (2007)
2. Sunshine (2007)
1. Superman (1978)

Why did this list catch my attention?  Because the yahoo link had an image of The Mist.  So where's the Mist on this list?

Green Mile Veteran To Narrate REVIVAL



stephenking.com has announced that the Unabridged Audiobook Edition of Revival will be read by veteran actor David Morse.

King's website notes:
David's acclaimed performances can be seen in The Green Mile, Dancer in the Dark, Proof of Life, The Crossing Guard, The Hurt Locker, World War Z, and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Morse portrayed George Washington in the HBO mini-series John Adams (Emmy Nomination), and has appeared on Treme and House (Emmy Nomination), but is best known for his role as Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison on St. Elsewhere. Morse made his Broadway debut in On the Waterfront, starred in The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, and received an Obie Award for his performance in How I Learned to Drive.

Swan Song Journal



You read that right.  I'm journaling a non-King novel. Why? Swan Song goes beyond the scope of most books, requiring more than one entry. I've been reading the book for quite a while now on nights that I go running alone.  I have to admit that I've fallen in love with the book.

"I thought this was a Stephen King blog."  It is.  And if you only want discussions about Stephen King -- then don't read Stephen King.  Because King's own work is wound with commentary on other works.  So our discussion of King and the world of Stephen King should be wider than King's own stream of novels.

That was a long way of saying -- I've been reading Swan Song and want to talk about it.

I wrote a short article years ago on the similarities between Swan Song and The Stand.  I read both books in high school.  But I read the Stand many more times after that.  But Swan Song was given a single reading, and I was left with only impressions of where the book had taken me.  What I realized when I began reading Swan Song again is that I had no idea where  the book was going.  That's strange, since I usually know at least who is going to die and major plot twists. Except for a few scenes, my mind was a blank slate.  How could that happen?  I remember reading it.  I knew enough to have made a mental list of ways the book is like The Stand.

It comes down to this: I read Swan Song in study hall.  Do  you remember study hall?  I mostly don't.  I read IT in study hall, too.  And the Langoliers.  Might I -- gasp -- have skimmed major portions of the book?  The novel was popular at my school; as popular as any book could be.  My friends and I were mostly interested in girls, monsters, girls, writing books and did I mention girls?  Yeah, I'm ready to say now what I wasn't willing to admit to myself much earlier -- I had to have skimmed a lot of this book.

Is McCammon King?

How much is Robert McCammon like Stephen King?  He's not.  Not at all.  And, though there are amazing similarities between Swan Song and The Stand, the truth is, Swan Song can stand on its own heap of pages.  McCammon has his own narrative voice; his own plotting and a pace that is unique to  himself.

Like King, McCammon uses name brands, develops strong characters, and gives the reader two major "camps" -- the good guys and the bad guys.  Swan Song is a larger book; not in page count, but in scope.  McCammon pulls away more often than King did to show what's going on with others affected by the destruction.

One strange thing:

The book has a strange format, in my opinion.  Each book opens with a page that lists the chapter titles.  But then, the chapters themselves do not bear those titles.  This is true in both the paperback and audio edition.  So to know the chapter title you are on, you have to go back to the opening section and count down.  I'm really not sure why this is.

I like chapter titles, as it gives a portion of text a sense of perspective and purpose for both writer and reader.

What I Like About Swan Song:

Anticipation: McCammon is able to keep the reader guessing as to who is going to survive.  I remember turning the pages of the Stand in total disbelief when King killed off some major characters.  I was hooked after that, because anything could happen.  I have the same feeling with Swan Song.

At one point a woman sees a skull when she looks at Josh.  Previously seeing the  skull meant that person was going to die.  This feels like it came right out of a Twilight Zone's episode titled, The Purple Testament. However, the woman who sees this precursor to death shining on Josh's face dies; leaving the reader wondering if Josh is indeed marked for death.

Children: There are both good and bad children in Swan Song.  Swan herself (Sue Wanda) is nine, heading quickly into ten; while evil Roland is a young teenager who sees himself as the "King's Knight," ready to defend and obey the Colonel.  There is a scene in which Roland is required to cut off the Colonel's hand.  It's great.  I mean, really fantastically freaky.

And he sucked in his breath and brought the cleaver down with all of his strength on Colonel Macklin’s wrist. 
Bone crunched. Macklin jerked but made no sound. Roland thought the blade had gone all the way through, but he saw with renewed shock that it had only penetrated the man’s thick wrist to the depth of an inch. 
“Finish it!” Warner shouted. 
Roland pulled the cleaver out. 
Macklin’s eyes, ringed with purple, fluttered closed and then jerked open again. “Finish it,” he whispered. 
Roland lifted his arm and struck down again. Still the wrist wouldn’t part. Roland struck down a third time, and a fourth, harder and harder. He heard the one-eyed hunchback shouting at him to hurry, but Macklin remained silent. Roland pulled the cleaver free and struck a fifth time. There was a lot of blood now, but still the tendons hung together. Roland began to grind the cleaver back and forth; Macklin’s face had turned a pasty yellow-white, his lips as gray as graveyard dirt.
The brutality in Swan Song is pretty strong.  Mccammon cuts away at key moments, leaving it to the mind to fill in; usually.  But sometimes he sticks around, telling the story as the reader thinks, "I can't believe this guy is going there!"

 I'll save more for the next journal entry. Suffice to say, I am swept away once again into the world of Robert McCammon.  I'm loving it.

Freeman and Kimmel talk Shawshank


"Jimmy Kimmel Live," Morgan Freeman reflected on, "Shawshank Redemption."  Of  particular  interest -- why he thinks it didn't blast into theaters as a hit.

He said it was hard to gain popularity through word of mouth because people couldn't pronounce the word Shawshank.

Freeman also said that he's only stopped to watch it once or twice over the past 20 years.

Josh Boone Is Making Me Cringe



Does anyone get nervous anytime they see a headline about the upcoming movie, The Stand?  I do.  Because it seems like so many bad decisions have already laid a foundation that cannot support

Tommy Cook at Collider has an interview with director Josh Boone on The Stand.
  • Here are the bullet points
  • I finished writing the script maybe a month ago. 
  • Stephen [King] absolutely loved it.  
  • It’s, I think, the first script ever approved by him. (Seriously, Josh?  King WROTE the original screenplay for The Stand.  I doubt YOUR version is the first script he ever approved!)
  • It might begin filming in Six to eight months.  Possibly in Spring 2015. 
  • [It'll be] a single version movie of The Stand. Three hours. 
  • It hews very closely to the novel.  
Wait a minute.  Hold the bullet points.  Three hours. . . close to the novel.  That's not possible.

When asked how he would trim down a story as big as the Stand, Boone gave this answer:
 I just focused on the things that I felt strongly about, that I have strong memories about, that are evocative to me even when I read it now . . . 
. . . I just focussed on the things that were more important to me and felt essential to me and were based in the characters.
So the movie is really, "Josh Boone's favorite parts of The Stand" -- not Stephen King's THE STAND.

Boone goes on to discuss the fact he's an atheist/agnostic.  Frustrating, since for many of us, The Stand is an intensely spiritual book.  We already had a rather flat rendition by Garris; but at least Garris gave the story the room it needed to breath.

Is The Stand a religious novel?  From Stephen King, A Face Among The Masters:
In 2008, King told novelist John Marks in Salon magazine that The Stand was his attempt to give God his due. “Too often, in novels that are speculative, God is a kind of kryptonite, and that’s about all that it is, and it goes back to Dracula, where someone dumps a crucifix in Count Dracula’s face, and he pulls away and runs back into his house. That’s not religion,” King told Marks. “That’s some kind of juju, like a talisman. I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to explore what that means to be able to rise above adversity by faith, because it’s something most of us do every day.” He then said that he wanted The Stand to “be a God trip.” (Stephen King A Face Among The Masters)

Christine verses Herbie


Yes, you did read that right. Chris Vognar's has posted his list of "Top 5 movie cars." His list. . .
5. The Love Bug. 4. Death Proof. 3. The Italian Job. 2. Christine. 1. Dark Knight. Hey, where's Maximum Overdrive, huh! dallasnews.com

Just seeing the Love Bug on a list with Christine brings some wonderful images to mind. Of course, Herbie could run and pull all kinds of tricks, but in the end Christine would pulverize that little VW. Truth is, it wouldn't even be that difficult for Christine!

But we would all have to admit that the Batmobile would probably be more difficult to destroy. But not much. In fact, the reason Love Bug and Christine seem well slated for a fight is because they both have a life of their own. Makes me wonder exactly who is haunting Herbie. But just supposin' Batman decided to take up the fight against Christine. . . I'm afraid there would be nothing left of him except tire marks on his cape.

Anyone who disagrees with me will have to spend the night in Darnell's garage.

King Appearing On Finding Your Roots



Stephen will be appearing on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in Season Two’s first episode, “In Search of Our Fathers,” premiering September 23rd at 8PM EST

pbs.org
Thanks to Professor Gates’ research, Stephen King learns an enlightening fact about his Southern ancestors’ 19th Century journey from Tennessee to Indiana.

BIG DRIVER poster looks awesome!


Review Of Stephen King Action Figure



I love this line, "What's so great about this figure is that authors don't usually get action figures made out of them.  Actually, I don't think an authors ever been made into an action figure."

Waiting for my Ray Bradbury, Rod  Serling, Robert McCammon, Dean Koontz, Robert Bloch, Poe action figures.

"As to any kind of likeness to Stephen King, this would  get a zero."

I first saw this at my favorite Stephen King website, liljas-library.com/

Even More Shawshank Facts You Didn't Know

GIFs created by Lisa Aileen Dragan



It seems every day I see postings about The Shawshank Redemption.  The movie is a true American gem.  Because it is so popular, every bit of minutia is dug up.  And, truth is -- it's all kind of cool.

Archana Ram at yahoo.com posted an article today titled, "13 Things You Didn't Know About 'The Shawshank Redemption'




  • Morgan Freeman’s son makes a cameo.  On Red’s parole papers, that’s not a picture of an extra, but Freeman’s son, Alfonso, who’d come to set often with his father. He also appears as a rowdy prisoner when Andy first enters the yard.
  • What Happened to Rita Hayworth? (But I did know that)
  • King never cashed the $5,000 check he got for the movie.
  • Freeman suggested Robbins for the role of Andy.
  • Remember when Red was white and Irish? Darabont made some changes.The director took some dramatic license, the most important of which was changing Red from an Irishman to an African-American. “Once I got over my preconception of what the character was, it became such a good choice,” Darabont says on the DVD. “[Freeman] has become indelible in the role.” (In fact, when Andy asks him why he’s called “Red,” Red quips, “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish.” Darabont chose not to change the line.)
  • Real wardens played extras.
  • Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for nine hours.
  • Robbins did some time in solitary for research.
  • ‘Goodfellas' was one of Darabont’s inspirations.
  • Freeman had to record his voiceover over again from scratch
  • The opera scene was a memento from Darabont’s writing process.
  • That water Andy crawls through was toxic.
  • The final scene on the beach was a late addition.


The full article is at yahoo.com/movies



Double exposure: Films about twins



movies.msn.com has a fun article titled, "Double Exposure" which looks  at movies with twins.  Featured is one of the most famous horror movies ever, The Shining.

Welcome STEPHENKINGONLY



A big welcome from talkstephenking to stephenkingonly.blogspot.com/

Stephen King Only is a new Italian blog, obviously devoted to discussing -- Stephen King only.

Will Errickson: Danse Macabre by Stephen King (1981): Oh, Baby, Do Ya Wanna Dance?


This is from Will Errickson's blog, toomuchhorrorfiction. Of course, there can never REALLY be too much horror fiction, right Will?  Reposted with permission. Check out his blog!

Danse Macabre by Stephen King (1981): Oh, Baby, Do Ya Wanna Dance?

He may not be Harold Bloom, Leslie Fiedler, or Michiko Kakutani, but Stephen King once wrote what I consider one of the most perfectly devastating criticisms of bad writing ever. Comparing a now mostly-forgotten novel by an unknown writer that he felt was "written pretty good" to the then-current rulers of the bestseller lists, King wrote this author was no Saul Bellow, no Bernard Malamud, but at least not down there in the steerage with people like Harold Robbins or Sidney Sheldon, who apparently wouldn't know the difference between a balanced line of prose and a shit-and-anchovy pizza.

Down there in the steerage. A shit-and-anchovy pizza. Holy living fuck, do I love that. Inelegant, crude, and yet right on the money. In fact, I love nearly everything about King's Danse Macabre, which is where you'll find that immortal dismissal. Written after he'd just made a name for himself with the hardcover success of The Shining (1977), it's a very personal and informal rumination on horror entertainment in the latter half of the 20th century, coinciding mostly with King's life specifically and baby boomers in general (he was born in 1947 - which means he was nearly 10 years younger than I am now when he wrote this book. Sigh). I first read it as a young teenager, and it also served well in introducing me to various cultural touchstones I wasn't learning about in high school: the uneasiness Americans felt after Sputnik (a pivotal event in a young King's life), the Charles Whitman and Kent State shootings, Charles Manson, the Vietnam War, Black Panthers, and Erica Jong's charming concept of the "zipless fuck."

Almost effortlessly (the genesis of the book was his college lectures teaching a course on supernatural literature), King relates background info on horror in all media: he fondly recalls the Cold War "bug-eyed monster" horror films of the '50s and '60s but heaps scorns on Plan 9 from Outer Space and Robot Monster. Then there's old-time horror radio star Arch Oboler and his "Lights Out" series, as well as TV shows like "Thriller," "Night Gallery," and "The Outer Limits." He muses about changing tastes and sophistication in audiences as well as root causes for our fascination with the macabre (or "mcbare" as he pronounced the word as a youngster). Tying all this together are autobiographical sketches about his youth as an American kid brought up by a single working mother, moving from one town to another and engaging with some of the odder members of his extended family. And then one day he discovers a box of old pulp fiction paperbacks that had once belonged to his now long-departed father, read his first H.P. Lovecraft tales, and a fate was sealed (Lovecraft; as it ever was, as it ever shall be).

As you can probably guess, this is no academic tome filled with references to "hermeneutics" or "metatextualism" or anything like that; Danse Macabre is digressive, insightful, funny, unpolished, wide-ranging, wrong in some places and oh-so-right in others. King's background as a one-time English teacher and lifelong committed reader with catholic tastes allows him to expound, if only briefly, not simply on the horror fiction we all know and love but also commonly venerated writers like Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Theroux, James M. Cain, Joan Didion, and Jim Thompson. And ever the rock'n'roller, King references late '70s punk rock kings the Ramones and the Sex Pistols - at a time when few music fans in America had any inkling who they were - noting a similarity between their gleeful noise-making and anti-establishment rabble-rousing and the seemingly antisocial aims of many horror movies. He admits he kinda likes The Prophecy, a much-hyped film failure in the late '70s but says his favorite horror movie of that day is the little-seen Tourist Trap. King is one of those guys that just soaks up whatever's out there; it is as if he is quite literally no snob.

As one might expect, he devotes an entire long and thorough chapter on horror fiction in which he covers a handful of modern works that he feels define various aspects of the genre: Peter Straub's Ghost Story, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Jack Finney's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Anne Rivers Siddons' The House Next Door, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Harlan Ellison's collection Strange Wine, Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man, and Ramsey Campbell's first novel The Doll Who Ate His Mother. While expressing disdain for the lifeless aridity of grad-school student theorizing King does some of his own, but it's a livelier, chummier, albeit just as informed approach he takes, sometimes graceless and glib, but often apt and unpretentious.

Whether it's breaking down the famous opening paragraph of Jackson's novel, or marveling at the "ominous jocularity" of Ellison's stories, or discussing how the Gothic tradition is twisted around in Straub's early novels, King really just likes kicking back and talking about what he loves and knows. He lets the authors speak for their own works by quoting at length their letters to him, although acknowledging that sometimes authors are not the best critics of their own work.

A few of King's ideas in Danse Macabre have become pretty well-known as part of horror criticism: the horror genre is "as conservative as an Illinois Republican in a three-piece pinstriped suit" because it wants us to reject the maniacal and monstrous outsider, to see the taboo and avoid it and celebrate our healthy selves (this was some years before Clive Barker, remember). He posits that when a horror movie builds up suspense and then shows the audience a 10-foot tall insect, they sigh, "I can handle a 10-foot tall insect; at least it wasn't 100 feet tall, that would've been pretty bad" (I don't think that one holds up well today in the CGI age; modern audiences are more likely to complain "A 10-foot tall insect? Why wasn't it 100 feet tall?"). But most famous of all is this honest admission, which seems to sum up Stephen King and much - but absolutely not all - of his fiction:

I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.

Two appendices complete Danse Macabre: one on essential horror film and one on essential horror fiction since the 1950s or so; I've mentioned here before that I've used the latter list as general guide over the years. This is a book I have dipped into over and over again over many years with a deep and abiding pleasure and which inspired in me the desire to look at horror in a larger and more thoughtful way, rather than just taking in the latest movie or novel everybody's talking about. All serious, and burgeoning, horror fans should own a copy. Functioning like a kind of alternative education in art high and low as well as in 20th century Americana, Danse Macabre is an absolutely unmissable and essential piece of horror entertainment itself, from the one and only King.

You might also like: 

Hey, Want To Visit Shawshank?


shortlist.com posted a story today announcing that the visiting public can now take a tour of The Ohio State Reformatory, which was the main location for the 1994 movie's prison.

is now being opened for tours. The move came after the prison, which closed as a working building around 25 years ago, had successfully hosted ghost tours, a Halloween and murder mystery festival last year and a Shawshank anniversary celebration last weekend. The roof has now been fixed and plans are afoot to upgrade the rest of the building so that it will be visitable all year round.
The article says that the tour will be a 13-stop bus tour which includes:

  • The reformatory 
  • The bench where Brooks fed the birds, 
  • Malabar Farm State Park where Andy followed his wife 
  • The Bissman building where Brooks and Red live after they have been released.

The article explains,
Up until now, fans have organised their own tours, but these have carried their own dangers; tour guide Pastor Ron Puff has said that, "To be honest, we don’t have keys for some of these [cell doors]", so don't close them behind you, or you could be doing some time yourself.

Teaser For BIG DRIVER


King Gives A REVIVAL Warning



Looks like we're back to good ole straightforward horror.   Are you excited?  I am.
The book coming in November, REVIVAL, is a straight-ahead horror novel. If you're going to buy it, better tone up your nerves.
twitter.com/StephenKing

Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark - Stephen King's IT


For Fun: Worst Book You Ever Read

image credit HERE


Just for fun (which is what a blog is, right, just for fun). . .

Stephen King shared some bad novels in his book On Writing.  He has also openly stated some of his own least favorite books.  You don't want to take Mr. King to a Twilight book signing -- things would get quickly awkward.

Copy the questions, write your own answers.  Or copy my answers, I feel secure about what I wrote.

What is the worst book you ever read?  (You have to have read it all, not started it and stopped)
The Beast Within by Edward Levy.   I read a tattered used copy, and hated it big time.  I thought it was all out stupid.  But then, it gave me great hope.  If that  could get published -- and a movie made of it -- then maybe I would someday be able to write something and get a movie made of it.

Twilight got the highest rating when goodreads asked that question.  (HERE)  Unfortunately the goodreads  poll didn't stick with novels, so it got  pretty political.

Rank right up there with The Beast Within the book Amityville  Horror.  Before you tell me what a great story this is, consider  this:  It's like listening to children tell a big lie.  "And then the bed was  floating. . . and then a pig was in the window. . . and there were pig tracks in the snow. . . and then the water was all black and stuff and it started oozing out the walls. . . and then the cross turned  upside down. . ." I wanted to scream at these people throughout the book, "If you're scared of ghosts, don't move in a house where a whole family was murdered and then let your children sleep in their beds!"  I wonder if the pig was named Misery.

What is the worst classic book  you have read?
A Separate Peace.  The book was slow and I never understood what it was actually about.

What is the worst Stephen King book you ever read?
I have not completed a novel I was unhappy with -- that I can think of.  I found Rage pretty depressing, but the writing was strong.  I even enjoyed the pages King released of The Cannibals, and that wasn't even edited.  I think I just decide ahead of time -- I'm going to like this!  and I do.  When I don't like a King book, I stop reading.

What book were you forced to read that you did not like?
The Heart of Darkness.  I might have liked it,  had it not been forced on us.  Add to that, for the same reasons, Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.  None of us in High School "got" it.  Of course, we may not have  been a real  bright class, as we were also scratching our heads on what in the world Catcher in the Rye was about.  Oh, and there was a Vietnam book called "In Country."  It was so dry that I bought the abridged audio version just so I could pass the test.  I passed.

When  it comes to books I don't like . . . it's just my opinion.  Obviously other people thought they were great books,  as most of these have  been turned into movies.  Not good movies!

Your Turn!