News From The Dead Zone #105

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The new official Stephen King web site is now live.

Stephen King Goes to the Movies is a 400-page collection due out from Pocket Books in January 2009. In it, King provides brand new commentaries and introductions for five of his favorite stories that have been adapted for the big screen: The Shawshank Redemption, 1408, Children of the Corn, The Mangler, and Hearts in Atlantis. This big book will include an introduction by King, his personal commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights by Stephen.

Amazon has a promo video on its Just After Sunset page where King discusses short stories.

Visit Ain’t It Cool News for a three-part exclusive showcasing the upcoming adaptation of The Stand from Marvel. Their feature includes new artwork and interviews with the writer and illustrator. Here’s an interview with artist Mark Perkins

King will be judging book trailers submitted for a contest in which amateur and professional filmmakers produce book trailers (similar to movie trailers) based on the SHOMI imprint—a series of modern-day fantasy fiction.  The contest is sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and Circle of Seven Productions. The best trailer—as selected by King—will be shown at a movie premiere in New York City as well as a theater in the winner’s home market.

How do you attract Steven Spielberg’s attention? Canadian filmmaker Mathieu Ratthe wants to adapt The Talisman and has been trying unsuccessfully to get his demo reel to Spielberg, who has had the film option for the novel since it was published. So, Ratthe uploaded his six-minute video The Hotel Room, based on a scene from the novel, to YouTube. The short stars Cameron Bright, who recently played a mutant in X-Men: The Last Stand, as a young man struggling to make sense of a glimpse into a strange alternate universe. The visual effects were done by Montreal-based Buzz Image, the team behind 300. His YouTube page says: “My main objective for creating this piece is to demonstrate my directing ability and my vision to the producers who own the rights to the story: STEVEN SPIELBERG & KATHLEEN KENNEDY.”

This is a strange one! Subterranean Press is publishing a new book by Hard Case Crime founder Charles Ardai called Fifty-to-One. Each chapter of the book will bear the title of a previous HCC novel, including works by Lawrence Block, Richard Stark, David J. Schow and King (The Colorado Kid). There will be 50-copy deluxe edition, signed by many of HCC’s authors (including King) on a tipped-in page in front of the chapter that bears the title of one of their books, and a 500-copy numbered edition signed by Ardai alone. Half of the profits from the deluxe edition will be donated to The Haven Foundation.

Here is King’s more recent Entertainment Weekly column: Why Hollywood Does Not Get Fear. For readers of the print magazine, note that his column no longer appears on the back page, so a quick glance at the magazine doesn’t tell you if he has an essay in a particular issue. Here is another column from a few weeks back: Playing Against Hype.

In a recent interview to publicize their script for “Eaters” on Fear Itself, Richard Chizmar and Jonathan Schaech said, “We have been working on From a Buick 8 for so long and are finally so close to a ‘go’ that we are afraid to talk too much about it and jinx it. What we can say is that we are currently working on one final rewrite for director Tobe Hooper and producer Mick Garris and the good folks at Amicus (producers of the recent Stuck and forthcoming It’s Alive remake).” Once the rewrite is completed, they are prepared to go right into pre-production with plans to film on the East Coast.

News From The Dead Zone #82

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

A second new King story will come out in November. In addition to “Mute” in the December issue of Playboy, “Ayana” will appear in the fall issue of The Paris Review. This is the story Susan Moldow mentioned that King gave her when he appeared in Toronto earlier this year. See the June 11 post below for more details.

In a brief interview at USA Today, King talks about what he’s working on: “It’s called A Very Tight Place. Not a novel but a long story. I’ve been writing lots of stories lately.” The paper also reviews The Best American Short Stories 2007: At a story a night, there’s enough variety and talent in the 20 selections here to keep readers entertained for nearly three weeks. Guest editor Stephen King’s lineup includes literary all-stars: Alice Munro’s “Dimension” is a chilling look at criminal insanity; Richard Russo’s “Horseman” explores how a professor’s encounter with student plagiarism triggers questions about her authenticity. But the real finds are the lesser-known writers. Beverly Jensen’s haunting “Wake,” about a rousing funeral in the midst of a nor’easter, is made even more poignant by the note that Jensen died at age 49.

In an interview posted at The Overlook Connection’s web site, Peter Straub says: “The Talisman has just been shelved for the hundredth time, now because of the budget. Steve and I have agreed to do the last book in the series, but it will have to wait until our desks are clear.”

Director Tobe Hooper says that From a Buick 8 will not be “your stock horror film by any means. There’s a really cool, layered quality to the story. The producers, writers and I shared the same sensibility about the project and responded to it in a similar way.”

Note: Links to two web sites that posted clips from The Mist were removed from this page because the producers advised me the clips were unauthorized.

News From The Dead Zone #1

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Welcome to the first installment of the web version of News from the Dead Zone. Those of you who read Cemetery Dance magazine know that I’ve been publishing a column in every issue for nearly five years now. However, because of the magazine’s publication schedule, getting timely information out has been a little problematic. With the relaunch of their web site, the good folks at CD suggested doing an online “lite” version of my column. The magazine version will continue, focusing more on in-depth analysis, review and commentary than on breaking news.

Up top, you’ll always find a handy-dandy calendar of important, upcoming dates so you can see at a glance what’s on the horizon. Then I’ll expand briefly on each item as news is announced. Then follow up in the next issue of CD magazine for more details and commentary.

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The next book due out from King is called Cell, which will be published on January 24th, 2006. Here is the description from the publisher as posted to the Barnes & Noble web site.

Civilization doesn’t end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone.

What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something . . . well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn’t matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-“normies” is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school’s moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on.

Cell is classic Stephen King, a story of gory horror and white-knuckling suspense that makes the unimaginable entirely plausible and totally fascinating.

I should have a review for you in the next issue, but let me just say that this book is sure to inspire some interesting discussions, with comparisons to classic books like The Stand and darker tales like The Regulators. King describes the book as “like cheap whisky . . . very nasty and extremely satisfying.” I find it interesting that the main character in Cell is a graphic novel artist who has just sold his first major project, given the recent announcement of a graphic novel Dark Tower series (see below).

When you read the book, look out for a character named Ray Huizenga. His sister paid $25,100 in an eBay charity auction of character names benefiting the First Amendment Project. The real-life Huizenga is a fishing captain and longtime King fan, but is also the son of the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Huizenga beat out another strong bidder who was willing to take out a credit line on his house for the honor of having a character in Cell named after him.

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The Dark Tower fan community was recently thrilled to learn that Marvel comics was planning to release a series of graphic novels based on untold Dark Tower stories. Originally planned for a May 2006 release, a recent memo on King’s web site revealed a new schedule for this project.

Stephen and Marvel have decided to push back the launch of the Dark Tower comic books to 2007. “Given the size of the project and all the creative talent involved, I want to give the Marvel series all the room to breathe it needs and deserves,” said Stephen. “I’ve got so much else going on in 2006-two novels coming out, Cell and Lisey’s Story, and the work with John Mellencamp on ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.’ The Marvel series is going to be a blast, and I want to have the time to enjoy it.”

The 1st issue of the yet-to-be-named first arc of the Dark Tower comic series will be shipping in February 2007. The last issue of this six-issue series will be shipping in July 2007. The first hardcover collection will be shipping in October 2007.

Though original reports billed this project as The Dark Tower 8, in truth the stories will fill in some of the gaps in Roland’s early history, in the era covering the trip to Mejis and the final battle at Jericho Hill, “new stories that delve into the life and times of the young Roland, revealing the trials and conflicts that lead to the burden of destiny he must assume as a man.”

Jae Lee is the illustrator who will bring King’s stories to life, and the colorist is Richard Isanove. The complete number of series has not been announced, but there may be as many as six different stories.

Links:

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A stellar cast has been announced for the eight-part series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King that will debut on TNT next June. Despite the show’s name, the stories actually come from several King collections. The eight stories being adapted are:

  • Umney’s Last Case
  • You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
  • The End of the Whole Mess
  • The Fifth Quarter
  • The Road Virus Heads North
  • Battleground
  • Crouch End
  • Autopsy Room Four

Though originally scheduled to be part of the series, Mick Garris’s adaptation of “Home Delivery” was shelved due to schedule changes for the series and his commitment to the Masters of Horror series on Showtime, which was recently renewed for a second season.

Among the cast members announced for the series are Steven Weber, Kim Delaney, William H. Macy, Henry Thomas, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, William Hurt and two actresses familiar from the recent ‘Salem’s Lot remake, Samantha Mathis and Rebecca Gibney. Richard Christian Matheson adapted “Battleground” and Lawrence M. Cohen (Carrie) penned “The End of the Whole Mess.” The show will run one episode per week during the summer months of 2006 starting with “Umney’s Last Case”—one of my favorite short stories—which will reportedly run without commercials. Filming is currently taking place in and around Sydney, Australia. An upcoming issue of Fangoria will feature a visit to the set.

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King and his collaborator John Mellencamp got together in November to continue their work on a musical production about death and reconciliation called “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” A member of The Dark Tower dot Net forum helped crew the latest reading. A self-admitted skeptic when he first heard about this project, he reported that the music is fantastic, the cast was great and, though there is still work to be done, he says it will be a worthwhile endeavor.

Mellencamp reports that the guys who did “Spamalot” are now involved, which may make the final stages of development “less hectic.” King’s story involves two brothers who dislike each other immensely. Their father takes them to their family vacation cabin, where, a generation before them, the father’s two older brothers killed each other in a similar sibling rivalry.

“There’s a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house,” Mellencamp told Billboard. “The older (dead) brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That’s all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung.”

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Quick Notes:

  • CD’s very own Rich Chizmar co-scripted an adaptation of From a Buick 8 that is currently attached to George Romero as director, who also has the film rights to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. However, recent reports hint that Romero may tackle another zombie feature before working on either of these King adaptations.
  • Galleys of Stephen King: Uncollected and Unpublished by Rocky Wood (The Complete Guide to the Works of Stephen King) are in distribution, so the book can’t be far behind. I’ve started perusing my copy and am impressed by the amount of information and detail contained in this volume. In addition to containing the first appearances of some very rare King works (a poem, and a chapter from the early novel Sword in the Darkness), the book highlights the various appearances of rare King stories and indicates the ones that were substantially revised for later publication. Makes me want to go back to some of the earlier appearances to refresh my memory of what the stories were like in their original incarnations.
  • A new King project called The Secretary of Dreams was announced recently. Stay tuned to the CD web page for more details very shortly. This one is very cool!

Have news, information, corrections? E-mail me!