Let’s get this out of the way right up front. Yes, It Chapter Two is nearly three hours long. Did it feel like it? Not in the least. Because my phone was turned off during the press screening I attended on Tuesday evening, I had no sense of the passage of time, but I never felt the movie dragged. Not for a moment. I saw it on an IMAX screen, the first time I’ve seen anything on a screen that big in many years. It’s hard to say if it’s worth the premium, but the experience felt immersive to me.
The movie is R-rated, with good reason. It’s pretty darned scary, and very, very bad things happen to cute little kids. I admit, without reservation, that I was jolted into yelling out loud on at least a couple of occasions, which hardly ever happens to me. While the movie has more than its fair share of jump scares, it’s also tense, full of dread, and frightening.
It Chapter Two picks up exactly where we left off two years ago, with the young Losers in the aftermath of their battle with Pennywise, promising to come back if the killings in Derry, Maine start again.
Stephen King’s most recent published work, “The Turbulence Expert” in the anthology Flight or Fright (which he co-edited with yours truly), suggests the existence of people who prevent airplanes from crashing. It’s an uncharacteristically encouraging notion.
His new novella, Elevation, has an even more positive outlook, despite its setting: Castle Rock, a small town in Maine where terrible things have been happening for decades.
That’s not to say bad things aren’t happening to protagonist Scott Carey, forty-two, recently divorced and dealing with the repercussions of that life change. He’s living alone (with a cat) in a too-large house on Castle View, and he’s having problems with his new neighbors.Continue Reading
The day has come for those of you who have been holding back: All episodes of 11.22.63 are now available on Hulu and ready for you to binge. You can even see it all for free if you sign up for the month-long trial the service offers. There are two options: one with commercials and one without. The latter is more expensive on a monthly basis if you stay on after the trial ends, but it’s worth the few extra dollars in my opinion to eliminate the ad breaks.
I know I promised you a mid-series update, but I didn’t get around to that. Sorry!
My feelings about the series as a whole haven’t changed since I first wrote about it a couple of months ago. I think it is one of the best miniseries adaptations of Stephen King’s work. There have been a lot of complaints about the changes to the story, but on the whole I think they worked without doing the novel a disservice.Continue Reading
On the evening of February 10th, 2016, John got into his black Cherokee Jeep and went to console an old friend. It seemed like the right decision at the time. He had received Sally’s email just after sundown, informing him of the news that her brother, Peter, had died of an overdose. Sally and Peter had been John’s friends in a time and place that seemed as far away as the memories of his early childhood, and yet it had only been four years ago. These had been his “party” friends. Four years had passed since John made the decision to get sober, and, as such decisions will do, it had created distance between himself and his old friends. He hadn’t told them he couldn’t hang out with them anymore. He wasn’t that kind of guy. He hadn’t even made any concerted effort to stay away from them, really. They just drifted, as friends sometimes do when the road of life they had once tread together diverged in separate directions. Continue Reading
Next week will be busy for Stephen King. On September 9, he will be appearing in Cambridge, MA in conversation with Lee Child to promote the new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The next day, he will be among the eleven individuals receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. The citation says, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. ” Then, on the following day, September 11, he will be a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show during its inaugural week.Continue Reading
Next week is going to be busy in the Stephen King universe. Joyland and the all-star soundtrack for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County both come out on June 4. My review of Joyland can be seen here. It will also appear in issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine, together with an interview with Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime’s publisher.
Here are the media appearances that are slated for next week to promote the two releases. Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett will be involved with some of them.
Monday, June 3rd:The Today Show and Meet the Creators (a live event at Apple’s NY Soho store that will be broadcast later in the week)
Tuesday, June 4th: Morning Joe and Charlie Rose
Wednesday, June 5th: All Things Considered and Late Show with David Letterman
Thursday, June 6th: The Colbert Report
Friday, June 7th: SiriusXM Live Conversation with Mojo Nixon
Concord Music group has announced that Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released as an illustrated digital book for iBooks on June 3rd. The comprehensive multimedia edition fuses the production’s story, soundtrack, artwork and video extras into a complete interactive experience. The soundtrack is streaming live at The Wall Street Journal.
That’s not all that’s new. “Afterlife,” the story King read in its entirety at UMass Lowell last December, is in the “summer reading” issue of Tin House magazine. You can get it from the various online bookstores, but it’s only $15 straight from the publisher, with free media mail shipping.
Then, on June 17, Coliloquy is publishing the eBook Hard Listening, which has a collection of essays and e-mail exchanges from members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. The iPad/iBooks version is enhanced and interactive, with videos and audio files embedded in the text. There’s a great video of everyone in the green room getting a laught out of Mitch Albom’s Elvis wig. Steve is rolling on the floor with laughter. It’s a funny and fun book. Also of note, there’s a new King short story. However, I won’t reveal the title because three other authors were tasked with writing a story in King’s style and readers get a chance to vote on which one they think is the real King. After you vote, you can see how other readers voted and, separately, how other Rock Bottom Remainders voted. All author proceeds from the sales of Hard Listening will be donated to offset the late Kathi Kamen Goldmark’s medical bills. You can read an excerpt here.
PS Publishing has added two more 30th anniversary King editions to their roster, in addition to the already announced Christine and Pet Sematary. In 2014 they will issue Thinner and Skeleton Crew. There’s a strong Cemetery Dance angle here, too. Rich Chizmar has written the afterword for Christine, and I wrote one for Pet Sematary.
Chris Evans (Captain America) has been cast as the lead in Tom Holland’s adaptation of “The Ten O’Clock People.” Filming is expected to begin in Atlanta this fall. The John Cusack film Cell is also scheduled to begin filming in September. Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) is directing.
I attended the Dollar Baby Film Festival that was held in conjunction with Comicpalooza in Houston last weekend. Here’s my report on the event at FEARnet.
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.
Frank Darabont and his crew set people on fire on Day 18 of filming of The Mist. See the Webisode here (Quicktime .mov, 6 MB). Quint from Ain’t it Cool News spent three more days on the set after our visit. His reports are here: Day 2.1, Day 2.2, Day 2.3.
Here is a nice long review of the Special Edition DVD of Christine. Speaking of our favorite haunted car, Disturbia co-writer Christopher Landon may be involved in a remake of the movie. “[Christine] has been all over the place,” he told Coming Soon. Apparently this was going to be a SciFi original or a movie for NBC. “If it happens or not we’ll see, but when I came in what I wanted to do was really go back to the book, the source material. I’m a fan of the Carpenter version, it is fun. But the book was much more of a possession story than it was just a killer car. That’s what made the book so great is that what was so terrifying was that it wasn’t just about an inanimate object running around and killing people, it was a boy who was sorta being taken over by the former owner of the car – and there was something more terrifying about that. Also, I just love the dynamics of the characters and so forth. Right now it’s way too soon say anything else about it. We’re so in the thick of deal-making, I don’t want to blow anything else!”
The paperback edition of Blaze will be released on December 26, 2007. The cover art for the hardcover, due out in June, appears here. Yes, that’s a red mitten you see underneath the E in the title.
A while back I mentioned that Michael Marshall (Smith) would be adapting a King story for a UK TV series. At World Horror in Toronto last weekend he said that the story is “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut.”
This is Lisey’s Story month. You can hear an excerpt of Mare Winningham performing the audio version here.
Wouldn’t Christine look great parked in your garage? One of the sixteen cars used during filming of the John Carpenter adaptation is up for auction on eBay. The buy-it-now price is a mere $175,000. As one news report said: “Even though on film they rebuilt themselves, only three actually survived, including the one now being offered. She’s been smashed, crashed, and burned but keeps coming back. Hell hath no fury like Christine.”
King had an essay in The Washington Post yesterday entitled The Writer’s Life. You can read it online. He has columns in two consecutive issues of Entertainment Weekly. One is a special two-page piece about the series LOST, while the more recent one tackles Nancy Grace, drawing comparisons to the Richard Bachman novel The Running Man, though I haven’t found either online yet.