Time for another Stephen King news update, don’t you think? Recently we saw the publication of King’s latest novel, Fairy Tale, and I have news about the next adaptation, which launches this week. In addition to those items, I’m going to talk about two associational projects, one of which involves yours truly and the other that involves someone from New Brunswick in Canada—and it’s not me! Continue Reading
Traditionally, in stories modeled after the Hero’s Journey, the main character receives a call to action, which he or she initially resists. Take, for example, Bilbo Baggins, who is cajoled out of his comfortable, quiet life to go on an adventure by Gandalf. In Stephen King’s fantasy stories, the characters are self-motivated. No one has to urge Jack Sawyer to light out for the Territories—he has a good reason to embark on a perilous journey. Similarly, Roland Deschain chooses his mission to find and save the Dark Tower, even though it will take him on a wild journey for the rest of his natural days. No one conscripts him. (Although, to be fair, sometimes his characters are yanked into a quest without being given any choice in the matter.)
In Fairy Tale, Charlie McGee Reade also decides for himself to go on a magical adventure although, when he sets out, he has no idea what dangers he will face and what will be asked of him while he attempts to achieve his goal.
Hard to believe that one of the greatest horror anthologies of all time hit theaters forty years ago. In that span of time, I’ve had two dogs, three cats, two turtles, at least seventeen hamsters, three hundred goldfish and beta fish (most of them lasting two days), one salamander and one dwarf rabbit that grew to be the size of Gunnar Hansen. A big fuck you to the pet store clerk who sold me that bill of goods. Dwarf my ass. Oh, and I went from a virgin to way not a virgin, got married and had two amazing children.
And now back to the real story. When I watched the coming attraction for Creepshow on TV and saw that it was the love child of Stephen King and George Romero, I believe I had a Bob Rossian happy accident in my skivvies. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead had rewired my brain a few years earlier and King was feeding me nightmare fuel every night before I hit the lights. His cocaine and booze years made for my caviar and champagne days and nights. Continue Reading
Enter the Wayback Machine and go back to 1984. I was still shrugging off the science fiction habit I had all my life and becoming a full-fledged horror fan. I read authors like Grant, Straub, Wilson, Etchison, Campbell. And of course Stephen King. When I finally got around to reading him, my reading life changed forever. Pet Sematary had just been released in paperback. Ahead were wonders like The Talisman, Thinner, Skeleton Crew, and It.
Horror was in a state of flux. In the movies, the slasher era was cycling down. In ’84 we had The Mutilator, Splatter University, The Initiation, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. A Nightmare on Elm Street was ushering in a new breed of horror. Stephen King adaptations were in a bit of a lull, as disappointing productions like Children of the Corn and Firestarter hit the screens. Bigger and better things were ahead.Continue Reading
There’s a lot going on in Ben Baldwin’s artwork on the cover of the Cemetery Dance edition of Gwendy’s Final Task, coauthored by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. The dominant figure is the enigmatic Richard Farris, who has burdened Gwendy Peterson with custody of a mysterious and dangerous box of buttons on two previous occasions. In the foreground we see an illustration of a town or a city and what looks to be a rocket or a shooting star.
But what’s that behind Mr. Farris? Could it be…could it possibly be…the Dark Tower? This image generated a lot of discussion and debate when it was first revealed. The Gallery Books cover for the final book in the Gwendy trilogy puts the question to rest—the central image is the Tower and, in the foreground, a field of red roses.
Happy New Year to all my readers. It’s been a while since my last news update, primarily because there hasn’t been a lot going on in the Stephen King Universe. However, I now have some cool things to talk about, so pull up a chair. Continue Reading
Attorney by profession, editor by passion, Tyson Blue’s name may not ring everyone’s bell, but his mark on the legacy of, arguably, two of the best film adaptations in cinematic history is here to stay. With Frank Darabont’s scripts for The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile in hand, Tyson Blue put together a commemorative masterpiece that’s built to act as a literary time capsule for these two endearing films.
Sitting down with Tyson, we discussed his journey since he first wrote for the Castle Rock newsletter, an unlikely venture which began his trajectory towards the eventual publication of Hope And Miracles: The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile (Two Screenplays By Frank Darabont) decades later. Touching on his first-hand experience working on set of The Green Mile, his connection to Frank Darabont, the massive efforts required to put it all together and everything in between, it’s time to discover why the latest specialty release from Gauntlet Press is worth its considerable weight in hope and miracles and what it means to the legacy of the films it represents. Continue Reading
I must confess that when I first heard that Epix was turning Stephen King’s early short story “Jerusalem’s Lot” into a ten-episode TV series, I wasn’t terribly excited. I don’t subscribe to that service, so I planned to give the show a miss. I thought it would turn out to be like the TV series The Mist, which bears little resemblance to the source material beyond the general concept. I’m here to tell you I was wrong, and this show is worth checking out. There is horror a-plenty here if you have plenty of patience for the show’s somewhat measured pace.
The first time Billy Summers killed a man, he was barely twelve. By the time he’s eighteen, he’s a sniper with the Marines in Iraq, where he notches up another two dozen kills. Instead of re-upping, he tries to find work back in the States. One of his former Marine friends asks him to kill someone. Thus begins Billy’s career as an elite hitman. His only condition is that his victims have to be demonstrably bad men. He’s not a sociopath driven to kill — he’s just good with a gun. He can hit targets from an incredible distance and then vanish like Houdini without being identified or caught. Now, at the ripe old age of 44, he’s looking to retire. One last job and he’s done.Continue Reading
Lisey’s Story, the Apple TV+ adaptation of Stephen King’s 2006 novel of the same name, begins its eight-episode run on Friday, June 4. The miniseries features a stellar cast, including Julianne Moore as Lisey Landon, Clive Owen as her husband Scott and Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh as her sisters Amanda and Darla. Rounding out the cast are Ron Cephas Jones as Professor Dashmiel and Dane DeHaan as Jim Dooley. All eight episodes were scripted by King and directed by Pablo Larraín, who previously helmed the bio-pic Jackie.
King frequently cites Lisey’s Story as his favorite of his novels. His general policy towards adaptations of his books and stories is that he is either “all in” or “all out.” In the latter case, he has cast and script approval but he generally leaves the directors and other producers alone. However, he was heavily involved with every facet of the Lisey’s Story adaptation. In the video included below he says, “I thought if someone was going to screw it up, I used to tell my wife that no one was going to screw it up more than me.”