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

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

News from the Dead Zone review: 'The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film'

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Featured review: The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film

The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film
The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film

I don’t make a habit of reviewing books that I’m involved with. However, I’ll make an exception in the case of The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film. My essay takes up only about 2% of the book’s 750 pages. Full disclosure, though: I know the book’s editor, Danel Olson, personally. He lives a couple of miles from me, we’ve gone to see movies together and I’ve spoken to his college classes on a couple of occasions.

Having gotten all of that out of the way, this is the sort of book I wish I’d had access to when I was writing my essay, which is called “The Genius Fallacy: The Shining’s ‘Hidden’ Meanings.” Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #178

Next up from Stephen King is Finders Keepers, which will be out on June 2. There’s an excerpt in the May 15 issue of Entertainment Weekly (also online). Scribner and King’s office are running a contest for a signed copy of the book, as well as audio and hardcover editions. The early reviews (you can read Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Library Journal and Booklist reviews here) have been very good. Stay tuned for my review very soon.

At a recent event, King said he was hard at work on the third volume in the series, which has the working title The Suicide Prince. The previous book, Mr. Mercedes, won the Edgar Award for best novel. King was present to accept it, as he was also at the banquet to present the Ellery Queen Award to Charles Ardai, editor and founder, Hard Case Crime.

On November 3, we’ll get King’s next collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. King will introduce each of the eighteen stories and two poems, providing “autobiographical comments on when, why and how he came to write it”, as well as “the origins and motivation of each story.” The contents are: “Mile 81,” “Premium Harmony ,” “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation,” “The Dune,” “Bad Little Kid,” “A Death,” “The Bone Church,” “Morality,” “Afterlife,” “Ur,” “Herman Wouk is Still Alive,” “Under the Weather,” “Blockade Billy,” “Mister Yummy,” “Tommy,” “The Little Green God of Agony,” “That Bus is Another World,” “Obits,” “Drunken Fireworks,” and “Summer Thunder.” The cover is being gradually revealed at King’s official website.

Several of these stories are quite rare or haven’t been generally available. “Bad Little Kid,” for example, was only released in French and German previously. A few were only available electronically, and “Under the Weather” only appeared in the paperback edition of Full Dark, No Stars. A few of the stories are brand new. Among this number is “Drunken Fireworks,” which will be published as an audiobook read by Maine humorist Tim Sample on June 30. The story will also stream in its entirety on select CBS radio stations nationwide on July 2nd, in keeping with its Fourth of July theme.

Other publication news

Hard Case Crime has announced they will publish an illustrated edition of Joyland this September, featuring cover artwork by Glen Orbik, a map of Joyland illustrated by Susan Hunt Yule and more than twenty interior illustrations by Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers and Pat Kinsella. Note that this is not a limited edition. Hard Case Crime will publish as many copies as are needed to satisfy demand for the book. In related, sadder news, Orbik died recently at the age of 52 from cancer.

The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film is now available for pre-order from Centipede Press. This 752-page book, edited by Danel Olson, features a new introduction by Academy-Award winning director Lee Unkrich, and nearly two dozen new interviews with cast and crew members, reprint interviews, and a handful of excellent essays (plus one from yours truly). The book also features an amazing assortment of behind the scenes photographs, most never before published, crisp frame enlargements from the film, and a special gallery of poster artwork inspired by the movie. The book will be shipping later this month.

Movie news:

  • This is unexpected and welcome news: Sony Pictures has teamed with MRC to co-finance the Dark Tower adaptation. Sony will distribute what is planned to be the first in a series of movies. A complementary TV series is also being developed by MRC. The new script is primarily drawn from The Gunslinger and the relationship between Roland and Jake, using a brand new script co-written by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner. No director has been attached yet, but it’s the most promising news in forever.
  • Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) is in negotiations to play Pennywise in the upcoming two-part movie adaptation of It directed by Cary Fukunaga.
  • The principle cast for 11/22/63 (Hulu, early 2016) has been announced: James Franco (Jake Epping), Chris Cooper (Al Templeton), Sarah Gadon (Sadie Dunhill), Cherry Jones (Marguerite Oswald), Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald),  George MacKay (Bill Turcotte), Lucy Fry (Marina Oswald), and Leon Rippy (Harry Dunning). Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald will direct and executive produce the first two hours of the nine-hour event series.
  • Brad Pitt’s  Plan B has optioned feature rights to The Jaunt. The company has attached Andy Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti, the duo behind the 2013 horror film Mama.
  • Vincenzo Natali (Cube) is adapting “In the Tall Grass,” the novella cowritten by King and Joe Hill. Principal photography is scheduled for September in the Toronto area.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #173

If you read back over my previous several posts here, you’ll see that they’ve all been leading up today, the launch of Season 5 of Haven, the Syfy TV series loosely based on The Colorado Kid. This season will consist of 26 episodes, spread over the fall and spring in two 13-episode blocks. I visited the set at the end of June, when they were working on the 7th and 8th episodes. This morning, I had the chance to see tonight’s episode, “See No Evil,” which starts immediately after the final moments of Season 4, at which point William had been tossed through the portal under the lighthouse and Audrey had become her original form of herself, Mara, a trouble-maker in the most literal form.

In the first episode, something destroys the lighthouse and the cavern beneath and, presumably, the portal. The main characters are scattered far and wide before the blast, so for a while no one knows where anyone else is, and some time is spent in getting everyone back together. Nathan is the first one to encounter “Audrey,” but she’s not the woman he loves. Not on the surface, anyway. Mara (and kudos to Emily Rose for creating such a different personality, someone who is as gleefully malign as William) has an agenda, and she’s not going to let anyone stand in her way. She wants to get William back, something she can only achieve by a doorway or, rather, via a thinny, which will be a familiar concept to Dark Tower fans. However, something vexes her plans. And Nathan hasn’t given up hope that Audrey is still inside somewhere and he can bring her back.

On another front, Duke is trying to find Jennifer, who is the only lighthouse person unaccounted for. And, of course, there’s a Trouble, which manifests itself in people having their eyes and/or mouths sewn shut with a leather cord that defies all efforts to remove it. Though everyone tries to impress on Dwight the importance of reining in Mara, he knows this Trouble has the potential to be deadly, so that’s his #1 priority. The repercussions of Audrey giving Duke back his Trouble in the penultimate episode last season also start to come to light, and it’s a doozy. And, based on the previews for the season I’ve seen so far, there are going to be callbacks to a lot of past Troubles. Mara made ’em, so she could potentially use them as weapons to achieve her nefarious goals.

And I’m very worried about Dave Teagues. Is he having morphine-induced nightmares or terrifying memories?

Interested in learning more about the origins of the Troubles? There’s a 16-page mini-comic in the Season 4 DVD, and a web series called Haven Origins coming on September 12. Here’s a trailer for it.


King will embark on a six-city book tour to promote the release of Revival. He will appear in New York City (Nov 11), Washington, DC (Nov 12), Kansas City, MO (Nov 13), Wichita, KS (Nov 14), Austin, TX (Nov 15) and South Portland, ME (Nov 17). Further details regarding the itinerary will be posted on King’s official website on September 15th.

Issue 1 of The Prisoner, the first cycle adapting The Drawing of the Three from Marvel, came out this week. For the first time, these comics are being offered digitally as well as in print.

In case you missed it, King’s latest short story “That Bus Is Another World” appeared in the August issue of Esquire. Also, here is King’s response to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. And here is an interview with King about how he teaches writing, from the Atlantic.

The PBS series Finding Your Roots will feature King in its first episode of the new season on September 23. In this promo, King is shown a photo of his father and in this one, he learns more about his distant ancestors.

Encore is running King movies every day during September, with a special selection scheduled for King’s birthday.

There’s lots of news on the movie/TV front. Let’s hit the high spots:

  • A Good Marriage will be in cinemas and available via Video On Demand on October 3. ‘We went in fearlessly’: Stephen King on adapting A Good Marriage for film.
  • Big Driver will premiere on Lifetime on Saturday, October 18 at 8pm ET/PT. The movie stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Will Harris and Ann Dowd (from The Leftovers). The script is by Richard Christian Matheson, with Mikael Salomon directing. Here is a teaser video.
  • Mercy, the film adaptation of “Gramma,” will be “dumped to digital” in October. I assume this means it’s going straight to Video On Demand.
  • Mr. Mercedes will be a 10-episode TV series. Jack Bender will be on the production team.
  • CBS has ordered a “put pilot” (a serious commitment) from Warner Bros. TV for a series based on “The Things They Left Behind.” It is described as a supernatural procedural drama in which an unlikely pair of investigators carry out the unfinished business of the dead.
  • Mark Romanek will direct Overlook Hotel, the prequel to The Shining.
  • In this video, King discusses his involvement with the second season of Under the Dome, which is nearing the end of its second season. There are also a couple of good interviews with him: Stephen King Isn’t Afraid Of The Big Bad Adaptation and Written by — and tweaked for TV by — Stephen King
  • Now that Cell has wrapped, King teased what he could about the film. “The movie is not totally close to the original screenplay that I wrote,” he said. “But I’ll tell you what, the end of it is so goddamn dark and scary. It’s really kind of a benchmark there.”
  • Writer Jeff Buhler has come aboard director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s Pet Sematary reboot for Paramount. He discusses the project with Dread Central.
  • The Stand director Josh Boone says: 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. [It’ll be] a single version movie. Three hours. It hews very closely to the novel…I don’t imagine we would shoot the movie until next Spring at the earliest. His full comments are available at Collider.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #162

Scribner has released their description of Mr. Mercedes, King’s next novel, which will be out on June 3, 2014.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

 In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

 Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

 Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

This is just one of two novels we’ll see next year, the other being Revival. There’s a new King short story, “Summer Thunder,” in the CD anthology Turn Down the Lights. Editor Rich Chizmar says it “might be one of the most heartbreaking post-apocalyptic tales we’ve ever read.”

King joined Twitter late last week. Within minutes he had 30,000 followers and the number has since climbed to nearly 200,000. You don’t need to join Twitter to see his feed, though. Just click here.

Samuel L. Jackson will play Tom McCourt in the movie adaptation of Cell, joining John Cusack for the second time (1408). There were some amusing follow-up articles in which Jackson confessed that he didn’t know that his character was gay in the novel. The film will be directed by Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2). Production is scheduled to begin in January.

Long-time King fan Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) plans to adapt Lisey’s Story. King had a cameo in Boone’s debut, Stuck in Love. Boone talks about how King responded when he sent some books to be autographed when he was 12 in this article.

Add another title to the list of remakes or reworkings. Bob Weinstein is developing a proposed 10-part series with Frank Darabont, based on Dimension’s film version of The Mist. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) is in talks to direct Pet Sematary. The day after it was announced that Scott Cooper was considering Christian Bale for the theatrical version of The Stand, the director left the project. Paul Greengrass is now being courted to help the film. Cary Fukunaga is currently attached to the remake of It.

Doctor Sleep link roll:

European tour:

In closing, here is my review of the campy horror film You Can’t Kill Stephen King, which should get US distribution in 2014.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #161 (Doctor Sleep edition)

Doctor Sleep, which has been out for less than a week, went straight to the top of all of the major bestseller lists. According to USA Today, it is King’s seventh book to debut at #1 since he moved to Scribner in 1998. For those of you who think that the book’s ending invites yet another sequel, King told USA Today that Doctor Sleep will be “my first and only solo sequel.”

Scribner made a book trailer for the novel that has some creepy scenes drawn from the text. They also created an interactive website for Doctor Sleep, which requires you to have the Chrome browser on your desktop and iPhone. An audio excerpt narrated by Will Patton can be found here.

King did a brief tour in support of the book, with appearances in New York, Boulder and Boston. Here is a report from Boulder. He will appear (with son Owen, who was also at the east coast appearances) in Toronto on October 24. In mid-November, he will go on a limited European tour (Paris, Munich and Hamburg). All the details about those events can be found here.

He also did a few interviews, including these:

The reviews have been, for the most part, very positive. Here is a selection from the major outlets:

You can find my review in Cemetery Dance #70. I joined the Lilja and Lou podcast for a discussion of The Shining leading up to Doctor Sleep’s publication day. Apparently it was the most listened-to installment of their podcast series. I also wrote a brief article for the Early Reader’s Club about crossovers between Doctor Sleep and other novels (not just King’s). I don’t think I’ve ever had an online article generate that many comments!

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining, has been getting a little press of late, too. There was a report that they plan to dig up and relocate a pet cemetery on the grounds and Yahoo Homes presented a pictorial tour of the hotel.

The sequel has also renewed discussion of the Kubrick adaptation of The Shining, including a couple of pieces in Salon: The Shining’s horrifying misogyny and What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about The Shining. Well, other than the miniseries, there’s always the opera version. The what?

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #159

Check out the The New York Times Magazine in this Sunday’s paper for a cover story called The Kings of Maine. The text is online at this link, but there may be more pictures in the print version. The author of the interview also posted a sidebar on the Times site: An Easter Egg Hunt With Stephen King and Family.

King will be making three stops on his book tour for Doctor Sleep. First, he’ll appear with his son, author Owen King, in New York City on September 24th at 7:30 PM, presented by The Center for Fiction at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College. Then he’ll be at the  Colorado Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on Wednesday, September 25th at 7:30 PM. His final appearance is an event hosted by Harvard Book Store at 7 PM on September 27th at the Memorial Church, One Harvard Yard, in Cambridge, MA. See King’s official web site for links to the various sites and the full details of each event.

Under the Dome has been a big hit for CBS. Factoring time-shifting viewers and people downloading it on Amazon, more than 15 million people have been tuning in. Last week, CBS announced that they are renewing the series for a second season. The first episode of the 2014 series will be written by King. A lot of people have been complaining about how much the series diverges from the novel. King addresses these complaints here. On CBS Sunday Morning, King took the producers to the Maine town that was the inspiration for Chester’s Mill:  Stephen King and his compulsion to write. And this was pretty funny: On David Letterman, Bruce Willis joked  that he was joining the series, playing “the guy who lives right next door to the dome.” Because of the realities of filming outdoors, the producers have had to make some concessions about the weather. It’s impossible, for example, to eradicate the wind, so they published the rules of Under the Dome.

Here is a report from King’s recent appearance at Mark Twain House and a video of the event.

During a Q&A session promoting Under the Dome, King said that he’s halfway through a novel called Revival. During his interview at Mark Twain House (see above), he said, “The main character is a kid who learns how to play guitar, and I can relate to this guy because he’s not terribly good. He’s just good enough to catch on with a number of bands and play for a lot of years. The song that he learns to play first is the song that I learned to play first, which was ‘Cherry, Cherry’ by Neil Diamond. One of the great rock progressions: E-A-D-A.”

In an interview with The Atlantic, King discusses why he spends “months and even years” writing opening sentences.

The AARP website has posted an excerpt: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Revisits The Shining — Nearly 30 Years Later. During the premiere of Under the Dome, CBS ran an ad for the book.

Haven creators Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn have sold a pilot to ABC based on the short story “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates.”

NBC has announced plans for a miniseries remake of The Tommyknockers. Emmy Award winner Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) is attached to direct.

After years of being unavailable, The Golden Years is once again on DVD and Blu-Ray.

News from the Dead Zone #155

The official Stephen King Facebook page debuted today. Be sure to click on the banner when you get there to see a clever mosaic.

Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, I pretended to be Scarecrow Joe as part of the promotion leading up to the hardcover release of Under the Dome. I wrote the kid’s blog entries and ran his twitter feed. Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo) will play him in the CBS TV series that debuts on June 24th. That’s the first casting news to be announced. There’ll be a promotional ad for the series during the Super Bowl. Neal Baer serves as showrunner. DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider is executive producing with Spielberg, King, Baer, Brian K. Vaughan (who wrote the pilot), Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Here’s an interview with King and Vaughan about the adaptation. Filming starts in Wilmington, NC in February. The thirteenth and final episode will reveal a vital piece of information about the town’s situation, but will be open-ended, the hope being that the series will be renewed and there will be more adventures in Chester’s Mill.

The third season of Haven ended with a series of bangs last night as the final two episodes were aired. What a cliffhanger it was, too. We learned some new information (who’s the Colorado Kid’s father? Who’s in charge of the guard?) but now we have to wait months and months to find out what will become of Audrey and Nathan and company. Turning Duke into a teenager, albeit briefly, was a stroke of brilliance.

The signed, limited edition of The Shining from Subterranean Press will go on sale at approximately 12:00 PM, EST, on Wednesday, January 23. The artist for this edition is Gabriel Rodriguez (of the comic series Locke & Key).

There’s a three page interview with King in the January 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly about Doctor Sleep. “6 Books We Can’t Wait For — Stephen King on His Shining Sequel” I haven’t found it online yet, though.

PS Publishing is going to do two 30th anniversary editions of King’s books this year. Their plan is to get the books out as close to the original publication dates as possible: Christine (with an introduction by Michael Marshall Smith) in late April and Pet Sematary (with an introduction by Ramsey Campbell) in mid-November. The books will have wraparound covers, two-page endpapers back and front (each one different) and full color wraparound artwork on a special slipcase plus six interior b&w illustrations. The artists will be signing the tip sheets and they’re hoping to include King’s signature as a facsimile. Print run should be 300-400 numbered copies.

Part 1 of the two-part Sheemie’s Story is now out from Marvel, with the concluding section coming out in February. After that, another two-part series called Evil Ground launches in April. It’s described as a prequel to “The Little Sisters of Eluria.” Here’s the blurb: “While traveling through the Desatoya Mountains towards Eluria, Roland comes across a haunted camp. While there, he relives one of his past adventures, in which he and his ka-tet fought Farson’s forces, only to be trapped by supernatural enemies”

Sony Pictures announced recently that the Carrie remake has been pushed back from its March 15 release to October 18.

The Facebook page Blumhouse Productions has released two behind the scenes photos for the movie Mercy, based on King’s short story “Gramma.” Dylan McDermott joined the cast recently, along with Frances O’Connor, Chandler Riggs and Joel Courtney. Peter Cornwell is directing. See more here.

News from the Dead Zone #153

The big news today (other than Hurricane Sandy, of course) is Subterranean Press’s announcement that they will be publishing a signed/limited edition of The Shining next year. There’ll be a numbered edition of 750, a lettered edition of 52 and an unsigned trade edition. It will feature over 40 illustrations by acclaimed artist Dagmara Matuszak. The signed editions will be signed by Stephen and the artist. Preorders for this offering will begin in January 2013. News regarding preorders will be sent first from Subterranean Press through their newsletter, so anyone interested is urged to sign up at their site.

Issue 25 of Screem magazine is shipping soon. It contains my interview with Mark Pavia about his film The Night Flier and his anthology project in development, The Reaper’s Image. I also have an essay about the various King-based anthology projects over the years.

Have you been checking out the webcomic adaptation of “The Little Green God of Agony” at King’s official website? Adapted by well-known comic artist Dennis Calero, the webcomic will run in serial installments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for eight weeks. King’s opinion? “It rocks most righteously.”

To date, three of the four novellas from Different Seasons have been adapted to film. Scott Teems is working on a script for the remaining novella, “The Breathing Method.” Scott Derrickson (director of Sinister) will direct, assuming it gets financing.

Universal is working with the same production company (Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Prods.) on a fantasy-horror film based on “Gramma.” The film will be called Mercy, with Peter Cornwell directing from a script by Matt Greenberg (1408). Frances O’Connor  is set to star. The story was previously adapted by Harlan Ellison for The New Twilight Zone in 1986.

The Gunslinger section of the Marvel graphic novels is finished. Next up is Sheemie’s Tale, a two-parter that debuts in January 2013. By the way, Robin Furth’s The Complete Concordance has been revised and updated to include The Wind Through the Keyhole. It will be released on November 9.

Brian Freeman interviewed Lawrence Cohen about his book Stephen King’s Carrie: The Book, The Movie, and The Musical! The director and cast of the forthcoming remake of Carrie appeared at ComicCon in NY to discuss the project. Here is the movie’s official site.

A year ago, a group of high school students in Sussex, NB, Canada, embarked on a project whereby they hoped to entice King to visit their school, which is located a few hundred miles from Bangor. They started a letter-writing campaign, sending hundreds of requests to his office. They created videos and rap songs. Finally, their persistence paid off. In late October, King was a surprise visitor to the school, where he spent an hour with a small group of writing students critiquing their work and another hour with a larger group in the school auditorium. No journalists were invited to the event, but articles ran after the fact in the Bangor Daily News and many Canadian markets. Here is the CBC news coverage, including a video news clip and an audio news report. Even better, the students recorded the appearance and made two YouTube videos, a 5-minute synopsis and a 30-minute extended version.

News from the Dead Zone #152

The cover art for Joyland (see right) was released today. The book, from Hard Case Crime, will be released on June 4, 2013. The original publication will be in paperback only. Other editions (hardcover, electronic, audio) are possible but not currently scheduled. Joyland takes place in a small-town North Carolina amusement park, where college student Devin Jones arrives to work as a carny for the summer, but he ends up experiencing much more than he bargained for when he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder and the fate of a dying child. Read the entire press release.

Three months after Joyland, we’ll get Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. The publication date was announced earlier this week: September 24, 2013. The story picks up with Dan Torrance (formerly Danny), who is now middle-aged and working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire. He meets Abra Stone, a very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals known as The True Knot, quasi-immortal creatures that live off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Have you ever read “Weeds,” the rare King story that was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in Creepshow? If not, check out Shivers VII, which also features stories by Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini and many others, including me!

King’s short story “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” appeared in the 9/12 issue of Harper’s Magazine, the first time he has published with them. “In The Tall Grass,” his collaboration with Joe Hill, first published in Esquire last summer, will be released as an audio book and an eBook in October. I wrote an essay about the story behind the story of “A Face in the Crowd” (which came out as an eBook and in audio on August 24) for FEARNet: Faces in the Crowd.

Movie news: Joan Allen will play the lead in The Good Wife, which should start filming next month. Rachel Nichols is in negotiations to join Justin Long in The Ten O’Clock People.

A group of filmmakers are working on a documentary called Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. They have have already shot every location and filmed over two dozen interviews with the cast, crew and Maine locals who worked on the production, most of whom have never been interviewed on camera about their role in the film. John Campopiano says, “Our goal is to show the unique bridging of a relatively small Hollywood production with a small Maine community who continue to think highly of its involvement in the film. We’re also seeking to explore the legacy the film has established and how its core themes are being taught and explored in the film and academic worlds.”

Warner Bros.is quietly exploring the possibility of a prequel to The Shining. The studio has solicited Laeta Kalogridis and her partners to produce the proposed film, which would focus on what happened before the Torrances arrived at The Overlook. A WB spokeswoman cautioned that the project was in a very early stage and not even formally in development.

King, Dave Barry and The Rock Bottom Remainders, appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. You can see it in its entirety here.

Earlier this week I received an advanced copy of Carrie: The Musical – Premiere Cast Recording from Ghostlight Records. For the first time ever, the music from the infamous Broadway adaptation is available, revised and updated for its recent reincarnation that closed after less than 50 performances (which is about ten times more than the original version). One motivation behind the reboot was to come up with a musical that could be licensed for productions across North America. The CD booklet has a reflection on the show’s history written by Lawrence D. Cohen, who wrote the book for the play as well as the script for the Brian De Palma film. Here’s a video for the opening song, “In.”

Matt Selman, an executive producer of The Simpsons, has undertaken the task of writing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as it would have been recorded in the universe of 11/22/63.

James Smythe has gotten as far as The Dead Zone in his chronological reread of King’s books.

Here is a trailer for Season 3 of Haven, which premieres this Friday night on SyFy.

The Wind Through the Keyhole will be out in paperback on November 6th.

Finally, I have to share this enthusiastic (6 out of 5!) video review of The Stephen King Illustrated Companion.

News from the Dead Zone #151

My 150th post was so memorable, so legen—wait for it—dary that I was hesitant to follow it up. Nah, I’ve just been busy with other stuff (a likely story). So, here it is, #151. All the news that’s fit to print, and even some that isn’t.

The hottest news is the pending publication of “A Face in the Crowd,” an e-book and audiobook short story co-written with Stewart O’Nan, release slated for August 21. You can read the plot synopsis at King’s website. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that sort of sounds familiar,” there’s a good reason. King talked about this story idea in Faithful, also co-written with O’Nan, while discussing the Face Game, something he’d do to amuse himself while watching baseball games. “What if a guy watches a lot of baseball games on TV because he’s a shut-in or invalid…and one night he sees his best friend from childhood, who was killed in a car crash, sitting in one of the seats behind the backstop…After that the protagonist sees him every night at every game.” You can read the full passage from Faithful here. The idea stuck around. King mentioned it again at the end of his appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, where Stewart O’Nan was in attendance. You can hear King talking about it at the 1 hr 5 min mark of this video.

The next book to be published will probably be Joyland, which will be out from Hard Case Crime next June. Neil Gaiman spilled the beans about this crime novel in an interview with King published in the Sunday Times in April. The book will only be available in paperback at first because King wants people to experience it as a physical book. Presumably there will eventually be an eBook, too. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Publisher Charles Ardai calls the it “a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book. It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, originally slated for a January 2013 release, has been pushed back to give King more time to work on revisions. A new release date has not yet been announced, but you can hear King read the opening section on the audiobook version of The Wind through the Keyhole.

Part 1 of “In the Tall Grass,” a novella co-written with Joe Hill, was published in the June/July issue of Esquire, with the conclusion following in the August issue. It’s a nasty little story about what happens to people who unwisely choose to listen to the Canadian rock group Rush while traveling cross-country.

Movie update: The remake of Carrie is currently in production, with Chloë Grace Moretz in the starring role. Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday are also in the movie, which is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Justin Long is starring in a feature film adaptation of “The Ten o’Clock People,” directed by Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Thinner). Both are slated for 2013 releases. At Cannes, there were reports that “The Reach” and “A Good Marriage” would be turned into films, too, but there’s been no further news since then, nor has there been anything else about SyFy’s plans to turn The Eyes of the Dragon into a 4-hour TV movie. There are still rumblings about a 2-movie remake of It, too, but who knows if that project will take off or not.

King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders at their last-ever gigs in California recently. Before the shows, King said,  “A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren’t bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we’d just be another lousy band. After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what ‘stringent’ means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.” Kathy Kamen Goldmark, who came up with the idea for the band, passed away shortly before these shows. You can find some clips of their performances on YouTube. Here’s an article about the band in the L.A. Times.

King will take to the stage at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, offering fans the chance to hear him read his work, ask him questions and listen to him discuss his passion for writing and his advice for aspiring authors on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.  See more about the event here.

Mark and Brian of KLOS hosted a wide-ranging interview with King recently You can listen to it here: Part 1 | Part 2.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may make the move to Broadway. Director Susan V. Booth plans to workshop the play in New York in September to try to arrange financial backing. In case you missed it in the awesomeness that was NFtDZ #150, here is my review of the Premiere at FEARnet.

James Smythe, a writer for the UK newspaper The Guardian, has read every King book and is now reading them again and reviewing them along the way. If you’re interested in following along, his first post on Carrie can be found here.

Season 3 of Haven is currently filming in Nova Scotia. The SyFy original series, based on The Colorado Kid (loosely based, that is), returns with thirteen new episodes on September 21. Hmmm. There’s something special about that date. Now, what could it be?

 

News from the Dead Zone #149

It can’t really have been two months since I last updated this site, can it? Apparently so. My apologies. I’ve been somewhat busy with an as-yet-unannounced book project that I hope will interest y’all when I can talk about it.

So, what’s new? The biggest thing, probably, is the fact that The Wind Through the Keyhole is starting to ship from Donald M. Grant. If you ordered the Artist Edition, you’re at the head of the list, though us poor alphabet-challenged people will have to wait a little longer than the Andersons and Billings and Carpenters of the world. My review of what King calls Dark Tower 4.5 (because the contemporary action takes place after the ka-tet leaves the Green Palace) will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine.

I won’t bore you with news about the various remakes of movies based on King’s works. None of them seem to be going anywhere fast these days. However, I wrote an essay for FEARnet about the various Carrie adaptations, both cinematic and dramatic: Carrie On.

What’s King reading these days? According to Entertainment Weekly, he’s deep into the second volume of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Issue #1 of Road Rage, IDW’s graphic novel adaptation of Throttle is out this month, as is The Way Station #4.

King has commented about how he reworked the ending of 11/22/63 in response to feedback from his son. The original version of the last page or so of the manuscript is now available on his website.

Do you have your copy of Cycle Zombies by Stephen King? Nope, me neither. When showrunner Kurt Sutter asked King if he had a book he would like to promote during an episode of Sons of Anarchy last fall, this is the title King came up with. Sutter put his art department to work, and you can see the results here. Note that the text below the image is a spoiler for the fate of a major character, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season yet, don’t read the text!

King was at the Savannah Book Festival last weekend. He read from the opening pages of Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. This is a different passage than the one he read from last fall and features Danny and Wendy. You can find audience videos of the reading on YouTube.

Speaking of The Shining, you might be interested in Room 237, a documentary that digs into Kubrick’s film and comes up with some surprising deductions and extrapolations. Some articles about the movie: Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s Johnny!’ and Fascinating ‘Room 237? Will Forever Change ‘The Shining’ For Audiences.

This week’s Saturday Night Live featured a sketch in which “Maya Angelou” stars in a ‘prank show.’  One of her victims is Bill Hader playing Stephen King (which can be seen in this video at about the 1:40 mark).

Just a couple of months until the premiere of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. I’ll be attending and will file a report after the event. A guest star-packed studio concept album is scheduled to be released on May 22 in both a single disc and 3-CD deluxe edition.

“Fair Extension” appears in the charity anthology Rage Against the Night to benefit King expert Rocky Wood. I also have a story in the book, which you can order here.

“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in the short fiction category.

I found this in-depth essay fascinating: You Can’t Always Get What You Want: On Stephen King from The Nation.

News From The Dead Zone #125

When’s the last time you got a say in what book Stephen King is going to write next? Never! But now King is asking for people to express their preferences between two possible novels. Voting is open at his official web site until Jan 1, 2010. Here is his message on the matter:

Hey, you guys–I saw a lot of you Constant Readers while I was touring for Under the Dome, and I must say you’re looking good. Thanks for turning out in such numbers, and thanks for all the nice things you’ve said about Under the Dome. There’ll be another book next year. It’s a good one, I think, but that’s not why I’m writing. I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one a new Mid-World book (not directly about Roland Deschain, but yes, he and his friend Cuthbert are in it, hunting a skin-man, which are what werewolves are called in that lost kingdom) and a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? Ms. Mod will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn’t speak). Meanwhile, thanks again for 2009.

According to Ms. Mod, this isn’t an either/or proposal–King may write both of these books. It’s more a matter of which one you’d like to see first.

The Torontoist has this summary of King’s discussion of Dr. Sleep: “Seems King was wondering whatever happened to Danny Torrance of The Shining, who when readers last saw him was recovering from his ordeal at the Overlook Hotel at a resort in Maine with fellow survivors Wendy Torrance and chef Dick Halloran (who dies in the Kubrick film version). King remarked that though he ended his 1977 novel on a positive note, the Overlook was bound to have left young Danny with a lifetime’s worth of emotional scars. What Danny made of those traumatic experiences, and with the psychic powers that saved him from his father at the Overlook, is a question that King believes might make a damn fine sequel. So what would a sequel to one of King’s most beloved novels look like? In King’s still tentative plan for the novel, Danny is now 40 years old and living in upstate New York, where he works as the equivalent of an orderly at a hospice for the terminally ill. Danny’s real job is to visit with patients who are just about to pass on to the other side, and to help them make that journey with the aid of his mysterious powers. Danny also has a sideline in betting on the horses, a trick he learned from his buddy Dick Hallorann.”

In the aftermath of that statement, numerous news sources assumed that King was committed to writing the novel, which caused him to issue a sort of retraction via Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a great idea, and I just can’t seem to get down to it,” says the author in an e-mail. “People shouldn’t hold their breath. I know it would be cool, though. I want to write it just for the title, Dr. Sleep. I even told them [at the book signing], ‘It will probably never happen.'” Still, King — whose most recent novel is this month’s Under the Dome — can’t quite shut the door on the Shining sequel, adding, “But ‘probably’ isn’t ‘positively,’ so maybe.” The poll appeared on his website a few days later.

Concerning the next book (before he tackles either of these two), he said this in Toronto: “I have one (story) that’s kind of like Under the Dome, that I tried to write when I was 22 or 23 years old and I’m going to try to go back to that after this tour. I’d like to write that one. Beyond that, I have things that bounce around in my head. Dome bounced around a long time. I don’t keep a writer’s notebook of ideas because I’ve felt all my life that if I get a really good idea, it will stick.”

King’s appearance on The Hour can be found on the CBC website. Here is a one-minute clip of King and Cronenberg on stage in Toronto. Here are three video snippets from Talking Volumes in Minneapolis:

King reviews Raymond Carver’s Life and Stories in the NY Times. His latest Entertainment Weekly column is My Ultimate Playlist.

SyFy has ordered 13 episodes of Haven, the weekly TV series inspired by The Colorado Kid. Haven centers on a spooky town in Maine where cursed folk live normal lives in exile. When those curses start returning, FBI agent Audrey Parker is brought in to keep those supernatural forces at bay — while trying to unravel the mysteries of Haven. Producer Lloyd Segan talks about the show in this interview.

Casting has commenced for the reboot of Carrie: The Musical. The cast will feature Sutton Foster as gym teacher Ms. Gardner, Marin Mazzie as Margaret White, Molly Ranson as Carrie and Jennifer Damiano as Sue. Also revealed in the cast are “American Idol” finalist Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, The Toxic Avenger) as Chris, Matt Doyle as Tommy and John Arthur Greene as Billy. The Carrie ensemble includes Corey Boardman, Lilli Cooper, Katrina Rose Dideriksen, Benjamin Eakeley, Emily Ferranti, Kyle Harris, Philip Hoffman, Kaitlin Kiyan, Max Kumangai, Mackenzie Mauzy, Preston Sadleir, Jonathan Schwartz, Bud Weber and Sasha Weiss. Producer Seller has reunited composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen, whom took a crack at the stage show back in 1988 to reprise their roles for this update.  You can actually check out an official Carrie: The Musical website with plenty of tid-bits on the original show, as well as info on the new one right here.