Why did it have to be rats? Bev Vincent reviews ‘1922’

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

Why Did it Have To Be Rats?

Rats have featured prominently in many Stephen King novels and stories. After the prom, Carrie White imagined rats crawling all over Chris Hargensen’s face. There were rats in the basement of the boarding house in ‘Salem’s Lot and in the walls of Chapelwaite in “Jerusalem’s Lot.” Rats in the sub-basement of the mill in “Graveyard Shift” and in the basement of the castle in Delain. Rats in Desperation, Nevada, in the ventilation system of Shawshank Prison and in the walls of Dooling Correctional Facility for Women. Drowned rats in the toilet bowls at Derry High School. Nigel the robot was programmed to get rid of the vermin in the Fedic Dogan, although he actually fed them to Mordred Deschain.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #195

Stephen King News From the Dead ZoneCastle Rock.

A little town in the lakes region of Maine, just south and west of Lewiston-Auburn, population somewhat less than two thousand. Not much to make it stand out from all of the other little places in the state. The founders made full use of the Castle name. Castle View is right next door. Nearby bodies of water are the Castle Stream, Castle River and Castle Lake, and the town is the county seat of Castle County. The more affluent people live on Castle Hill.Continue Reading

News from the Dead Zone #135

A week from today Full Dark, No Stars will be released. Scribner has a dedicated website for the book, with excerpts, King’s “liner notes” and more. Don’t neglect to click around on the graphics for each story. You will be richly rewarded! The signed versions of Cemetery Dance’s limited edition are sold out, but there are still some copies of the trade edition available. A few—this beautiful version moved fast! The wraparound cover by Tomislav Tikulin is gorgeous. Each story has a different illustrator: Glenn Chadbourne, Jill Bauman, Alan M. Clark and Vincent Chong. Check out the link to see samples of the art.

Hodder & Stoughton has been producing mini movies for each story. So far I’ve seen ones for 1922 and Big Driver. Mainstream reviews are starting to come in, too. Washington Post review by Bill Sheehan, Fort Worth Star Telegram review, The Scotsman.

Mark this date in your calendar: Friday, May 17, 2013. That’s the day Universal will launch the first movie in the Dark Tower adaptation. Director Ron Howard acknowledges Peter Jackson’s influence in their approach to the adaptation. “What Peter did was a feat, cinematic history. The approach we’re taking also stands on its own, but it’s driven by the material. I love both, and like what’s going on in TV. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there’s the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you’d deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television. We’ve put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It’s fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker.”

If you’ve been waiting for the hardcover collection of the Marvel “N” adaptation, it’s now available. If you’ve been waiting for a second arc to the Del Rey adaptation of The Talisman, that series appears to be on hold at present.

Check out King’s final selections in his Empire.

The U.S. cable network Syfy says Haven will return next summer. The 13-episode second season will begin shooting on location in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the spring.

New Entertainment Weekly column: Stephen King on Pop Music (original title “Higher and Higher”)

News From the Dead Zone #131

Stephen King wants you to help him build his empire! “After 36 years (give or take) of writing stories, I find myself hungry—not for food, but for power. I’ve decided to build a virtual empire, but I need your help. Please pitch in and help me feed my insatiable appetite for grandiosity.” For more details, see his post here.

Just over a week to go (July 9)  until the premiere of Haven on SyFy. This is the TV series inspired by The Colorado Kid. Here’s an article about filming in Nova Scotia. Here’s a video of the cast discussing the series. This link has synopses of the first four episodes.

Full Dark, No Stars is still several months away, but here is the Amazon/UK description of the book and its stories:

‘I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger…’ writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up ‘1922’, the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerising tales from Stephen King, linked by the theme of retribution.  For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife Arlette proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In ‘Big Driver’, a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger is along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face to face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

‘Fair Extension’, the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest.  Making a deal with the devil not only saves Harry Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband.  It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends ‘A Good Marriage’.

Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring hit films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

For those of you interested in such details: 1922 is 96 manuscript pages, A Good Marriage is 63 manuscript pages, Big Driver is 82 manuscript pages and Fair Extension is 25 manuscript pages.

Here is King’s report from his visit to the set of season three of the FX series Sons of Anarchy. He has a cameo in the third episode. He will play a quiet loner who appears in Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) time of need. The producers learned that King was a fan of the drama, so they reached out to him for a possible cameo.

Here’s the video of King’s unannounced “visit” to Good Morning America during Justin Cronin’s appearance to promote The Passage.

A NY Times Review of Blockade Billy, with interview. Billy’s darkness is not as frightening as many of King’s characters. “At least Steve avoided turning him into a vampire,” [King’s agent] Verrill said.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns:

Here is a good write up, with pictures, of the recent LA event where King was presented a Literary Award At The 15th Annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner

News from the Dead Zone #129

Of course the big news is the pending publication of Blockade Billy, a novella or novelette or novelesque, or something like that. It’s a baseball story with a twist, published by CD Publications this month. Of the book King says, “”I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it.” The story reveals the secret life of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, a man who may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, although today no one remembers his name. He was the first — and only — player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history. As you read the story, be on the lookout for a character with a very familiar name…

Scribner plans to release an audio version of the story in May. Publishers Weekly says (in part): this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.

The four stories contained in King’s next book, Full Dark, No Stars are:  1922 (The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father),  Big Driver (Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences), Fair Extension  (Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay), and A Good Marriage (Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage).

King says that he “originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.”

Haven, the new SyFy series inspired by The Colorado Kid, will premiere on Friday, July 9. “It’s definitely based on the characters of ‘The Colorado Kid, but I would say it’s about a girl named Audrey [Parker], who’s an orphan and becomes an FBI agent,” star Emily Rose says. “She ends up getting sent on this case up in Maine. When she goes up there, she kind of starts having these things happen to her, and she sort of starts feeling like she’s been called home. Paranormal things happen, and some exciting things happen for her, and it’s not only her unraveling this murder case, but kind of unraveling the case of herself, honestly. It’s pretty fascinating.” Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour also star in the series.

Dolan’s Cadillac is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. My advice: rent it or skip it. I’ll have a full review in an upcoming issue of CD magazine.

Recent Entertainment Weekly columns: Stephen King on the Academy Awards, and Stephen King on the Kindle and the iPad. You might also be interested in Stephen King’s scary list: commercial radio, contemporary country music