“I fear this place. I fear what’s to come.”
In 2018, Castle Rock, the town Stephen King introduced in The Dead Zone and returned to numerous times in subsequent works, isn’t on the map any more. A few years ago, the town voted to disincorporate itself. The historic downtown is mostly home to boarded-up businesses. Nan’s Luncheonette burned under mysterious circumstances a while back. The nearest Wal-Mart is some sixty miles distant. The town’s main employer is Shawshank Prison, twenty miles away. A considerable percentage of the people behind bars in that establishment are from Castle Rock.Continue Reading
Reality is Thin Ice
The Outsider by Stephen King
Reviewed by Bev Vincent
One of the themes of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It was the notion that adults lose the ability to believe in the kinds of things they embraced as children. Mike Hanlon contemplates this issue when he’s planning to summon his childhood friends back to Derry to confront the monster they defeated but did not destroy nearly three decades earlier. He wonders if they’re up to the task because their former ability to believe in the power of certain talismans gave them the strength to hurt Pennywise.
The inability to believe plays a major part in The Outsider. Continue Reading
The Year in Review and a 2018 Preview
Last year was been a banner year in the Stephen King Universe, particularly with respect to the diverse cinematic adaptations of his novels. Let’s take a look back at the various treats we received during 2017, and a peek ahead to what we can look forward to in 2018.
Stephen King and Philosophy edited by Jacob Held
Rowman & Littlefield (August 2016)
328 pages; $13.56 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
In a documentary filmed many years ago, bestselling author Peter Straub lamented the fact that, ever tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating, Stephen King once referred to his own work as the equivalent of a “Big Mac and fries.” Straub considered it an unfortunate comparison which didn’t do King justice, that his work was far more substantial than mere intellectual junk food. Continue Reading
Why Did it Have To Be Rats?
Rats have featured prominently in many Stephen King novels and stories. After the prom, Carrie White imagined rats crawling all over Chris Hargensen’s face. There were rats in the basement of the boarding house in ‘Salem’s Lot and in the walls of Chapelwaite in “Jerusalem’s Lot.” Rats in the sub-basement of the mill in “Graveyard Shift” and in the basement of the castle in Delain. Rats in Desperation, Nevada, in the ventilation system of Shawshank Prison and in the walls of Dooling Correctional Facility for Women. Drowned rats in the toilet bowls at Derry High School. Nigel the robot was programmed to get rid of the vermin in the Fedic Dogan, although he actually fed them to Mordred Deschain.Continue Reading
Usually, I avoid stuff that gives me nightmares; I’m funny like that. I don’t get much sleep as it is (father of two little ones) and when I do, I prefer to sleep soundly, my dreams free of terrifying imagery.
Michael Wehunt apparently doesn’t value his sleep. He watches movies that give him nightmares and keeps going back for more! But perhaps that unbridled enthusiasm for the macabre helped lead to his success as a writer?
Wehunt is an Atlanta-based author. His debut collection, Greener Pastures, was shortlisted for the Crawford Award and a Shirley Jackson Award finalist. His short fiction has appeared in publications like Shock Totem, Innsmouth Magazine and, yes, Cemetery Dance.Continue Reading
The Moonlight Man
There’s a lot to like in Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Gerald’s Game, a book long thought to be unfilmable since so much of it consists of internal dialog, with the main character handcuffed to a bed for much of it.Continue Reading
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
Scribner (September 26, 2017)
Reviewed by Bev Vincent
The world has ended in many ways in post-apocalyptic fiction, but Owen and Stephen King have created a scenario unlike any other. It happens all at once, around the globe. Women who go to sleep (or are already asleep when the epidemic begins) won’t wake up. They form cocoons and go into a kind of hibernation. Disturbing sleeping women is a bad, bad idea: they attack anyone who breaks through the gauzy material.
Apparently pitching story ideas is a thing in the King family. Sleeping Beauties came about because Owen King suggested this idea to his father; it sounded like a Stephen King kind of story. The elder King immediately thought of all the possible ramifications of this concept, but told Owen he should write it. Eventually they agreed to work on it together.Continue Reading
When I was 10 years old, I sent Stephen King the first thing I had ever written.
It was a short story called “Murder on Washington St.”
The reply I received changed the course of my life forever. Continue Reading
Welcome to the Losers’ Club by Bev Vincent
There are a lot of monsters in Derry, Maine during the summer of 1989. These are in addition to the lurching leper, the toothy creature from the painting, a boy who lost his head during the Easter Explosion of 1908 and, of course, Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
The monsters to which I refer are the citizens of this long-troubled, perhaps cursed town. They include people who drive past without offering to help a boy being savagely beaten by bullies, the mother who lies to her son about his health to control and manipulate him, and the sexually abusive father. To the extent that there are adults in Derry (and in some ways, this reality resembles the world of Charlie Brown where grown-ups are seldom seen and hardly ever heard), they are abusive, neglectful or emotionally absent.
“This is a story about the genesis of insanity.” – Stephen King, The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet
PROLOGUE: LOADING THE GUN
If I try really hard, I can remember it all.
If I close my eyes and really concentrate, it’s almost like I’m right there. I can nearly smell the smells, and hear the sounds of what it was like. The soft elevator music that played in the lobby, and those halls that reeked of aged bodies. I can see myself as a 12 year old boy, visiting my great-grandmother in the old folk’s home. I can recall how she thought my mother was her daughter, or that it was December in the heat of June. Continue Reading
Control…Chaos…Darkness: A Preview of Mr. Mercedes by Bev Vincent
Over the past few years, TV series based on the works of Stephen King have taken different approaches with varying degrees of success. One of the best was 11.22.63, which stayed reasonably close to the source material and did not continue past the novel’s conclusion. At the other end of the spectrum was Under the Dome, which started out okay, but struggled as time went on. Rather than film the novel, they decided to stretch it as far as it could go, and it broke.Continue Reading
Well. Yeah. That headline is a little misleading. A little clickbaity. Sue me. These definitely aren’t films you must watch while you’re reading the Dark Tower series.
But still, hunker down and let us palaver for a secondContinue Reading
The Dark Tower: The Art of the Film text by Daniel Wallace
Scribner (July 2017)
208 pages; $27.19 hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
Some might view books like The Dark Tower: The Art of the Film as big, expensive brochures for upcoming movies, but for me they’ve always provided a fascinating glimpse into the process of bringing these large-scale extravaganzas to our screens. Even when they come from the kind of rich source material of, say, an eight-book series written by Stephen King, there’s a lot of designing and refining that goes into the look of a movie like The Dark Tower. This volume gives us a glimpse of that, but I’ll confess that it left me wanting much, much more.Continue Reading
I was fortunate enough to see The Dark Tower on Tuesday evening at the Bangor Mall Cinemas 10, an event sponsored by Zone Radio. The audience was filled with people who won tickets from the station. In addition to getting a chance to see the film early, attendees also won some King-related merchandise as door prizes, including Dark Tower novel sets, audio books and signed ARCs of the final three volumes in the series. Dark Tower t-shirts were flung into the audience, too.Continue Reading