By now you’ve likely heard of Stephen King’s “Dollar Baby” program, in which he grants the rights to adapt one of his short stories to fledgling filmmakers for a buck. Frank Darabont is perhaps the best-known graduate of the “Dollar Baby” program, having adapted King’s short story “The Woman in the Room” before going on to helm one of the most acclaimed King adaptations of all time, The Shawshank Redemption (not to mention the undervalued, in my eyes, adaptation of King’s The Green Mile).
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
Get a sneak-listen of the Flight or Frightaudiobook below! Read by an all-star cast featuring David Morse, Norbert Leo Butz, Christian Coulson, Graeme Malcolm, Elizabeth Marvel, Santino Fontana and Simon Jones, the audiobook also features a brand-new story and tailored introductions written and read by Stephen King himself.Continue Reading
The creators of the Mr. Mercedes, the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s crime novels, were faced with a dilemma when the series was renewed for a second season. Protagonist Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) doesn’t appear until 150 pages into the second novel, Finders Keepers, and his nemesis, Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is effectively not in the book at all.
That’s easier to manage in a book than in a movie or TV series, where you can’t keep the talent in reserve. Viewers expect them to show up in the opening scenes and appear regularly throughout the season. Imagine The Empire Strikes Back, but with Han Solo in a coma for the entire film and Luke Skywalker not showing up until an hour in. Continue Reading
In 1987, the gods of creativity were looking favorably upon Stephen King, who blessed Constant Readers with three books in a ten-month period — a new record for the already highly prolific author. Among the three novels published that year was Misery, an instant bestseller that would become hailed as one of King’s classics. At the time of its release, however, it might not have seemed very King-like at all. Continue Reading
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
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.
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. Continue Reading
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
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
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
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
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. Continue Reading