Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #198

Stephen King News From the Dead ZoneThe Dark Tower trailer we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Let’s get that out of the way straight off:

However, before the trailer showed up at 9:19 am Keystone Earth Time today, we were treated yesterday to some Twitter banter between Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as they laid the groundwork for a couple of teaser trailers that contain some footage not found in the official trailer.Continue Reading

‘Thinner’ and the Blame Game

What I Learned from Stephen King by Jason Sechrest

“There are no curses, only mirrors you hold up to the souls of men and women.” – Stephen King, Thinner

A disclaimer before we begin: As is the case with most of these doo-dads, there are spoilers ahead for those who have not read Thinner. More spoilers than usual in fact, as I found it necessary to employ the book’s end in my final analysis. If you, Constant Reader, should wish to check out now, we will hold no grudge, nor lay the blame. For if there is anything to be learned from Thinner (and I believe there is, or I would not have written said doo-dad), it is that blame is like a spinning wheel. Round and round and round she goes… Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #197

Stephen King News From the Dead ZoneThere’s been so much news lately, I hardly know where to begin. What merits top billing? Let’s start with that trailer for It. First we had a teaser for the trailer, that stirred up interest. And then we got the 2-½ minute trailer itself, and boy what a beauty that was. In its first 24 hours, it racked up an astonishing 197 million views around the world, smashing all previous records. That speaks a lot to anticipation for this movie.Continue Reading

Interview with Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Constant Readers the world over are rejoicing over the news that Stephen King is returning to Castle Rock, the small town he created, nurtured and nearly destroyed in works such as The Dead Zone, The Dark Half and Needful Things. Joining him as co-writer of the new novella “Gwendy’s Button Box” is Cemetery Dance founder and publisher Richard Chizmar, fresh off his successful short story collection A Long December. Recently, the two authors answered a few questions from our Bev Vincent about their highly anticipated collaboration.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

Review: ‘Hearts in Suspension’ by Stephen King and Others

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

Hearts in Suspension, by Stephen King.
Stephen King: Hearts in Suspension.

Hearts in Suspension by Stephen King
University of Maine Press (November 7, 2016)
370 pages; $30.00 hardcover
Reviewed by Bev Vincent

In his new introduction to “Hearts in Atlantis,” included in Hearts in Suspension from the University of Maine Press, Stephen King says that the sixties were probably the most crucial and formative period of his life. This collection of essays (and the one piece of fiction) focuses primarily on a four-year period starting in the fall of 1966 and ending in 1970, shortly after the shootings at Kent State. These were turbulent times in America, and influential years for the students attending the University of Maine in Orono (UMO).Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #193

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

Hearts in Suspension-the new Stephen King book that contains his long essay “Five to One, One in Five,” the novella “Hearts in Atlantis,” four of his “King’s Garbage Truck” essays from the University of Maine newspaper, and essays by a dozen fellow students—will be out from the University of Maine Press in a few weeks. The book also contains a photograph and document gallery that chronicles his university years. UMaine will host the book launch on November 7 at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono.Continue Reading

A Halloween Thing A Day: “Treehouse of Horror” Classics

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There are many things that are integral to Halloween: jack o’ lanterns, ghost stories, Michael Myers and the Great Pumpkin all come to mind. Also, the annual celebration/parodying/lampooning of horror that is the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes of “The Simpsons.”Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #192

We’ve been spoiled in recent years by getting two novels from Stephen King. 2016 will see the end of that streak. The recently published End of Watch is the only book from King we’ll see this year. Later this fall, though, we’ll get Hearts in Suspension, edited by Jim Bishop, a collection of essays by King and others about his time as a student at the University of Maine. The publisher says that King’s essay is quite long (the longest of the set of about ten essays by various authors), and that the essay is “funny, truthful, and an involved work about Steve’s experiences during the 60’s, 70’s and the anti-war work of the Vietnam era, and so much more.”Continue Reading

Review: 'Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow'

JustDessertsCoverJust Desserts: The Making of Creepshow
Synapse Films (July 12, 2016)
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

In 1982, director George Romero and author Stephen King—horror royalty then and now—unleashed Creepshow, an anthology film born out of their mutual appreciation of 1950s horror comics. Realizing that capturing the unique look of those comics was going to be crucial to the movie’s success, they brought special effects superstar Tom Savini on board to help realize their vision. The result was a modest hit that has seen its stature grow among horror fans over time—enough so that its making-of documentary, Just Desserts, has become one of the most anticipated horror Blu-Ray releases of the summer.Continue Reading

Review: ‘Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow’

JustDessertsCoverJust Desserts: The Making of Creepshow
Synapse Films (July 12, 2016)
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

In 1982, director George Romero and author Stephen King—horror royalty then and now—unleashed Creepshow, an anthology film born out of their mutual appreciation of 1950s horror comics. Realizing that capturing the unique look of those comics was going to be crucial to the movie’s success, they brought special effects superstar Tom Savini on board to help realize their vision. The result was a modest hit that has seen its stature grow among horror fans over time—enough so that its making-of documentary, Just Desserts, has become one of the most anticipated horror Blu-Ray releases of the summer.Continue Reading

'Night Shift' and the Nature of Fear

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Night Shift and the Nature of Fear

nightshiftLet’s talk about fear. We won’t raise our voices and we won’t scream; we’ll talk rationally, you and I. We’ll talk about the way the good fabric of things sometimes has a way of unraveling with shocking suddenness. – Stephen King, Introduction to Night Shift

I finished reading Stephen King’s first collection of short stories, 1978’s Night Shift, a few months back, but have avoided writing down any thoughts on it.

No one wants to expound on a subject of which they feel they have little to contribute, and for me everything that needs to be said about Night Shift was said perfectly by Stephen King in his introduction to the book. In fact, it may be one of the most perfect pieces King has written, if not certainly the most perfect he had written in 1978.

King’s opening act serves as an essay on the nature of fear: why he writes horror, and why people read it. I found myself not only more mesmerized, but more haunted by this than any of the tales in King’s gruesome set list. Continue Reading

A Night at The Ryman with Stephen King

A Night at The Ryman with Stephen King

Stephen King’s End of Watch Book Tour
The Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
June 11, 2016
by Blu Gilliand

End_of_Watch_coverAs a born-and-bred Southerner, I knew that Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium was one of those places I was supposed to visit at least once in my life. Built in 1892 by a steamboat captain for the evangelist that led him to salvation, the Ryman Auditorium (originally known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle) soon became more than a church—it became a gathering place/entertainment hall, hosting everything from political rallies to opera to ballet to, beginning in 1943, the Grand Ole Opry. These days, the Ryman plays host to comedians, rock bands, country singers, and, yes, bestselling authors.

When I read that Stephen King would be stopping at The Ryman, a mere four hours from my front door, as part of his End of Watch book tour—and on a Saturday, no less—I knew it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.Continue Reading

'Fear Itself: The Horror Fiction of Stephen King' (Not Exactly A Review)

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Fear Itself: The Horror Fiction of Stephen King (Not Exactly A Review)

(Photo Copyright Mark Sieber 2016)
(Photo Copyright Mark Sieber 2016)

One of my favorite activities is treasure hunting at thrift shops, flea markets, estate and yard sales. I do it just about every weekend. I’m not looking for a deal on golf clubs, or vintage clothing. I don’t look at the tools or the toys. I pass the knick-knacks and the cooking supplies right by.

You probably guessed it. I look for books. And vinyl record albums. Movies, too but not as much as I used to. Books and records are mostly my things nowadays.

Sometimes I will be at a thrift shop, and I’ll see a jag of books all in the same genre, or bunches of them by an author or two. It always makes me sad. I imagine, and it’s usually true, that a reader and collector has passed away. His or her books found no new home from family or friends, and they get dumped at a thrift shop. Occasionally they will be inscribed, or have those accursed owner’s bookplates in them. The bane of any serious book collector.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #191 — Review: 'End of Watch'

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End of Watch by Stephen King
Scribner (June 7, 2016)
448 pages; $18.00 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Bev Vincent

End_of_Watch_coverShortly after the publication of Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King announced that the book was the first in a trilogy that would be connected by the City Center Massacre (in which a psycho named Brady Hartsfield stole a Mercedes and plowed into a crowd of people who were waiting in line at a job fair in a struggling Mid-western city).

Hartsfield got away with that crime but was—during the commission of an even more audacious and nefarious scheme—eventually brought to justice by a rag-tag group led by retired police detective Bill Hodges. Hartsfield was effectively taken off the playing board at the conclusion of Mr. Mercedes but, at the end of the second book, Finders Keepers, King hinted strongly that this villain would be back, front and center, for the finale. He also suggested that the third book would be closer to a traditional King novel, by which I mean it might have supernatural elements.

The phrase “End of Watch” will be familiar to anyone with more than a passing knowledge of police dramas. In one context, it refers to the day when a cop retires. On another, more ominous level, it refers to a cop killed in the line of duty. Bill Hodges has already experienced the first usage—the question the title of the third book poses is whether he will experience the other.Continue Reading