Just one day to go before the debut of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series on TNT. Here are some promo clips from the network. I’ve read one report that the DVD release will be on October 24th from Warner Home Video. The three-disk set will feature “an unaired extended episode starring William H. Macy” (no further info available), commentary tracks with the cast and crew, along with exclusive documentaries. The cover art for the DVD pack is here. Scroll down to my June 12th entry for a preview of the series.
King’s newest short story “Memory” is now available in Tin Hut magazine, which is available at the magazine stands of many major chain bookstores or can be purchased directly from the publisher using PayPal. He debuted the story at an event at Florida State University several months ago. It is about a man who’s been in an accident and has memory problems when he recovers.
Last Sunday’s Parade magazine featured a profile/interview with King. You can read the article online at the Parade web site.
If you don’t get USA Network, or you happen to miss an episode of The Dead Zone, Lions Gate will make Season Five episodes available on the day after their broadcast premiere at USA Network’s online iTunes store. By the end of the summer, all 67 episodes from seasons one through four will be available on the site for fans to download.
Tickets for King’s appearance in Seattle on November 1st are now on sale. Books will likely be available for sale at the event and there is a reception following the appearance at which King may be in attendance—he hasn’t yet confirmed. Four levels of tickets are available. The most expensive (Patron, $60) gets you into a special reserved section of the main floor and includes admission to the reception. Students and others under the age of 25 who submit copies of their student ID or other proof of age can get in to the balcony for $15. General main floor and balcony admission is $35 and $25 respectively.
And the limited editions keep on coming! PS Publishing announced today that they are doing a multi-version limited edition of The Colorado Kid, with introduction by Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai. What’s unique about this edition is that they are using multiple artists, but each copy will be illustrated by only one of them (Edward Miller, J.K. Potter and a third artist to be announced) except for the most expensive edition. There’s a price for everyone—so wander over to PS (who have published Joe Hill, Graham Joyce, Ramsey Campbell, Ray Bradbury, Tim Lebbon and many others) and pick one from column A, one from column B and/or one from Column C.
Read King’s review of The Ruins by Scott Smith at Amazon. Thanks to Lilja for pointing this out. It’s a creepy, creepy book and I’ll be interested to hear what people think about the ending.
Subterranean Press announced today that they are issuing a 10th Anniversary Edition of The Green Mile. Mark Geyer, whose art graced the original paperback releases, will provide more than 60 original sketches for this edition. This exclusive publication will consist of six individual illustrated hardcover volumes, contained in a cloth slipcase. King will be signing one of the six volumes in each limited set. The book comes in three editions:
Gift: 2000 unsigned cloth bound sets, in slipcase
Limited: 148 signed numbered sets, bound in leather and cloth, in slipcase
Lettered: 52 signed sets, with one of the original sketches matted in the traycase
Some of the usual bookstores are getting gift editions to resell, but the Limited and Lettered editions must be ordered directly from Subterranean. These are bound to go fast!
Paramount has set a September 26th release date for The Stephen King Collection, which will include the new collector’s edition DVDs of Pet Sematary and The Dead Zone as well as re-packaged versions of Silver Bullet and Graveyard Shift. The discs will also be available on the same day separately.
Talk of an It remake are surfacing again. Peter Filardi, who scripted the ‘Salem’s Lot remake for TNT as well as The Road Virus Heads North for Nightmares and Dreamscapes, told attendees of Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors that he’s developing a new “televisualization” of It. The project has the attention of the Sci Fi channel and might end up as a four-hour broadcast event, perhaps told from the point of view of Beverly Marsh.
TNT sent me screener DVDs of seven of the eight episodes (all except Autopsy Room Four), and I had the opportunity to watch them over the past several days. The first thing I noticed is the high production qualities, which was also true of their ‘Salem’s Lot remake. However, unlike that adaptation, these stories are incredibly faithful to the source material. Where they’ve had to change things (because of length, for deeper characterization or for context), everything seems loyal to the original story’s intent. The acting is top notch, too.
William Hurt is on screen for almost every second of Battleground and never utters a word. A few grunts of pain, but he acts with his face and his body to convey his character’s hard-as-nails pathology. When the impossible starts to happen, he doesn’t talk to himself or utter words of disbelief. He simply reacts as an assassin might. Slowly, though, his hard shell splinters. It’s a tour-de-force performance and sets the tone for the series. The animation and other effects are convincing—as might be expected since the episode is directed by Jim Henson’s son Brian. Screenplay by Richard Christian Matheson, son of the legendary Richard Matheson.
Crouch End is a daring adaptation, since it strays into the surreal world of Lovecraftian mythos. It represents the first time I’ve ever heard some of the bizarre names from Lovecraft pronounced. It also contains the first ever cinematic depiction of what can only be described as a “thinny.” Claire Forlani is the heart of this episode, the pretty, vivacious newlywed on honeymoon who tolerates her husband’s need to network while on vacation, only to find an innocent trip out to dinner turn into madness. The question in this kind of tale is: how much to show and how much to leave to viewer’s imagination. I think this adaptation strikes the right balance.
Umney’s Last Case is the episode I was looking forward to most, and it doesn’t disappoint. William H. Macy is stellar as both Clyde Umney and his creator, Sam Landry. He comes off as stiffly stereotypical in the opening moments, until you realize that’s exactly what he is. One of my favorite moments takes place when Sam steps into the detective’s shoes, starts hearing awkward dialog coming out of his mouth and checks himself. A few seconds later he lets loose some purple prose straight out of Chandler, and he stops to admire it. The ending is a little abrupt, which dilutes the episode’s impact, but these screeners aren’t 100% complete, so they may do something in the production version that softens this nebulous finale.
I saved The End of the Whole Mess until the end because it was the story I had the least interest in, but it turns out to be a strong episode. I really like the emotional arc of this one. It makes use of the dreaded voice-over technique, but in a clever way that makes sense, given what the main character does for a living.
Tom Berringer. Wow. What more can I say? In The Road Virus Heads North, he plays Richard Kinnell, a horror writer who has just received disturbing news. On the way home from a lecture—which is a horror show in its own right—he picks up a creepy painting and things start getting strange. Marsha Mason has a nice cameo as his Aunt Trudy. This is the other episode that has a less-than-satisfying conclusion, but everything up to that moment is pure terror. Unlike William Hurt’s character, Berringer does talk to himself, expressing shock, amazement and disbelief. Both approaches work because they reflect character.
The Fifth Quarter is probably the story readers will be least familiar with. It’s a straight crime drama, with no supernatural elements. It’s about dishonor among thieves, and their other associates, too. It’s a brutal episode, with lots of realistic violence. Samantha Mathis, though she isn’t the primary focus of the story, carries the show from beginning to end. Jeremy Sisto turns in a strong performance, too, as the guy who can never quite get it right, who has spent all but eighteen months of his seven-year marriage behind bars.
The series ends with You Know They Got A Hell of a Band, which is the lightest, most whimsical episode, and probably the weakest entry. It stars Steven Weber, who impresses me less each time I see him, and Kim Delaney. I didn’t buy into their relationship, which weakens the story. Delaney looked odd and Weber’s delivery isn’t convincing. The episode also has the most outright grue (maggots, empty eye sockets, etc.) but is tongue-in-cheek throughout. It’s sort of fun, but the tone feels completely different from the other episodes.
The series debuts a month from today. Check it out! I look forward to hearing viewer feedback about the individual episodes, and I especially want to discuss the last couple of minutes of Crouch End!
Well, Desperation went over like a lead balloon, in terms of both ratings and popular opinion. I was surprised by how poorly it was received in general, not only by the critics but by the fan base. I enjoyed it. Watched it twice in fact. If you missed it, the DVD release is scheduled for August 29th, and will feature an on-camera interview with King and commentary track by Mick Garris.
Coming up next is the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series. You have two chances to see parts of it early. CHUD is offering a a sneak peek of two episodes for people in the Atlanta area. Details here. A special presentation will take place at the next FANGORIA’s Weekend of Horrors convention, presented by Anchor Bay Entertainment, to be held June 2-4, 2006 at LA’s Burbank Airport Hilton. Guest speakers previewing the eight-part TNT series event will be directors Brian (Farscape) Henson, Rob (The X Files) Bowman and Mikael (‘Salem’s Lot) Salomon; scripters Richard Christian Matheson and PeterFilardi and Crouch End actress Claire Forlani. In addition, two episodes will make their world premieres at the con: Battleground and You Know They Got a Hell of a Band. The King-sized panel and BATTLEGROUND screening will close the convention late Sunday.
It’s been a while since my last update , primarily because there hasn’t been much news to report. With May fast approaching, and bringing with it the sweeps season, some reviews and previews of Desperation are starting to emerge. The first review I’ve seen comes from the San Antonio Express News. Their bottom line: “The movie has a little of everything: heart, spirituality, incredibly crafted flashback sequences, wonderful acting and shiver-under-the-covers shocks, a combo that should get ABC big audience numbers.”
Ron Perlman (Collie Entragian/Tak) told SCI FI Wire that his character is particularly unpleasant. “He commits some very, very gruesome acts that are very cold-blooded, very sudden and very unpredictable, and they’re without compunction, which is really the scariest part of it all. There’s no censoring.There’s no value judgment to this guy’s bloodlust. And he’s smart. Because he’s a Stephen King character, his turn of a phrase and his theatrical point of view is really, really smart. So there’s an added perverseness to all of it that make it incredibly compelling to watch, … I hope. I’m just giving you the sense I had of him from reading the script and playing the role.”
The Tucson Film Office and Fox Tucson Theatre are presenting an exclusive prescreening of Desperation on Saturday, May 6. Desperation was filmed in and around Tucson and Bisbee in the fall of 2004. Several cast and production members are scheduled to appear and get a red-carpet welcome, including director Mick Garris, producer Mark Sennet and actors Steven Weber, Annabeth Gish and Ron Perlman. The red-carpet opening event starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by opening comments by the director and producer at 7:15, and the film screens at 7:30. Tickets are available for $25 at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office at 17 W. Congress St.
“The Things They Left Behind” from Transgressions was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Winners will be announced at the HWA Annual Conference and Stoker Banquet in in Newark, NJ, June 16-18 at the Hilton Newark Airport. As with Legends, the paperback of this anthology (to be released in late August) is split into multiple volumes. King’s story is in Volume 2 along with “The Ransome Women” by John Farris.
The Seattle Arts & Lectures announced that King will appear as part of its Literary Lecture Series on November 1st. Information: www.lectures.org or call 206-621-2230. Other authors appearing include New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Rich and author Frank McCourt. King’s appearance is only a week or so after the publication of Lisey’s Story. The moderator of his message board quotes the book jacket copy: “Lisey’s Story is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love,” and continues, “Translated, that means a woman is regaining memories of the dark side of her husband triggered when she is going through his belongings after his death.”
John Mellencamp reports that he and King are still looking for a director for their musical The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. “What we will do is take it to Chicago or the equivalent and workshop it — get the kinks out before we try to take it to Broadway,” Mellencamp told the Bloomington Herald-Times. “Elton John opened his musical in San Francisco, and it lasted all of seven days before they closed it down and decided to rework it. When we hit Broadway, we want it ready from day one.”
Trisha McFarland is over her ordeal of being lost in the woods. However, according to an interview in the Philadelphia Daily News, “I had to go into counseling right around Christmas in 2003, when I was 14,” she said. “That’s when Tom Gordon signed as a free agent with the [censored] Yankees.” According to the parody, “She used a scatological modifier commonly used by all Red Sox fans over age 6 to describe their mortal baseball enemy.” For the record, Trish can breath easier now that Gordon plays for the Phillies.
Here is Scribner’s copy for Lisey’s Story. Read at your own peril!
Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband Scott two years ago, after a twenty five year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Lisey knew there was a place Scott went—a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it’s Lisey’s turn to face Scott’s demons, Lisey’s turn to go to Boo’ya Moon. What begins as a widow’s effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited.Perhaps King’s most personal and powerful novel ever, Lisey’s Story is about the wellspings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.
Mick Garris talks to MovieHole about upcoming projects, including Desperation. I watched the movie last weekend and boy did Garris ever nail this one. It will be very interesting to see how it is received by the general public, because it doesn’t shy away at all from the religiousness of the novel, the debate between David Carver’s unflinching faith and Johnny Marinville’s lack thereof.
If there’s a star in the movie, it’s Tom Skerritt as Johnny. A terrific performance. The rest of the cast is decent: Charles Durning as the town drunk is another notable. Steven Weber is okay–he gets better as the movie progressess, Kelly Overton makes a good Cynthia Smith though she doesn’t match my visualization of the character, and Ron Perlman is a hoot as Collie Entragian, vacillating between lucidity and insanity. Matt Frewer is uncharacteristically restrained as David’s father. The actress who plays his mother is bitchy and strident and I wasn’t sorry when things didn’t work out so well for her.
The film doesn’t flinch from violence, either. There are shocking scenes and real gross out moments the likes of which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on broadcast TV. I’ll have more to say about Desperation in the near future, but let me close by saying it had me glued to the screen. Commercials will abound of course, which might dilute the impact (my screener DVD had brief blank gaps to show where they will come), but hold on for a heckuva ride.
The countdown to Desperation (ABC, May 18) has begun. A few people have reported seeing a trailer on television. The current issue of TV Guide (Without a Trace cover) has a small paragraph about the three-hour movie with accompanying photos.
King discusses his depiction of Malden, Massachusetts in Cell in this interview.
Sci Fi Channel will run Kingdom Hospital in four-hour blocks on Tuesday nights starting April 11. The network has also purchased the replay rights to ‘Salem’s Lot (miniseries), The Langoliers, Rose Red and Storm of the Century.
Check out several batches of photos from the upcoming Nightmares and Dreamscapes series at Lilja’s Library.
Charles Wilson was the first to alert me to this movie news, hot on the heels of yesterday’s Cell announcement. John Cusack has been cast as Mike Enslin in the big screen adaptation of 1408, to be directed by Mikael Hafstrom for Dimension Films. As you may recall, Enslin is the author of a series of haunted location travelogues. He checks into the notorious Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York. Filming is scheduled to begin this summer. “This film is so much a one-man show,” Hafstrom told Daily Variety. “It’s quite a contained drama. It is a horror film if you want to put a label on it, but the way I see it, it’s much more an inner-journey of this character.” The story originally appeared as part of the Blood and Smoke audio trilogy and was later collected in Everything’s Eventual.
Dimension Films has acquired the movie rights to Cell and has chosen Eli (Hostel) Roth to direct. Mike Fleiss and Chris Briggs will produce. Roth wants to write or co-write, depending on the time constraints created by work on the Hostel sequel, which shoots in Prague. He said King is his favorite writer and accepted the offer to direct right after reading the book. “I couldn’t put it down. It was such a balls-out horror movie with a smart take on the zombie genre,” he said. Dimension also has the rights to 1408, adapted by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, which will be directed by Mikael Hafstrom and is in the casting stage.
Dark Tower Concordance author Robin Furth sat down for a lengthy interview with Lilja for his website. Among her revelations is the fact that she’s working on a single-volume version of the Concordances, which Scribner will release this year or next year in paperback, with a limited hardcover edition from Cemetery Dance. She also discusses the Marvel Dark Tower series in detail. The first series of seven comics will retell the Hambry section of Wizard and Glass. The rest of the comics (there will be thirty in all) cover the time period between Roland leaving Hambry and the fall of Gilead.