Tag Archives: Stephen King

Cover to Stephen King’s “The Stand,” Don Brautigam, 1980

Paperback edition.  Signet.

I’ve always loved the artwork here, even if it adorned the lesser iteration of King’s opus.  (The author’s original, “uncut” edit of the book would hit the shelves a full decade later.)  Many other people love this artwork too — you can even purchase it as a print.

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“Say hello to my little friend.”

This handemade leather-bound volume is about the length of my forefinger; it was an especially cool Christmas present from a writer friend of mine.  She picked it up for me at a Renaissance Faire.  She told me I could write all my “secret thoughts” here.  (I’ve got a lot of ’em.)

I personally like to think that it looks like something out of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” universe, like maybe the place where Roland inscribes clues about his quest.  (I know he doesn’t need to search for clues in any of the books, but still.)  Or maybe it’s a convenient pocket-tome for the vengeance-driven Arya Stark from “Game of Thrones” to keep her “list.”

I haven’t yet decided precisely what I will record here.  I quite love it, though.  It’s sitting on my desk as a reminder for me to write.  (You know what would fit perfectly on a single page?  All the progress I’ve made on my novel in the past six months.  Maybe I’ll start with that.)

 

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“Doctor Sleep” (2019) was ABSOLUTELY ****ING FABULOUS.

“Doctor Sleep” (2019) was ABSOLUTELY ****ING FABULOUS. I had high hopes for this movie after seeing the trailer — yet it exceeded my expectations. I’d easily rate this a 10 out of 10.

This is a story-driven horror film just brimming with blackly creative ideas and weird world-building — I haven’t read Stephen King’s source material, but I feel certain this was a loving adaptation of the 2013 novel. It is also genuinely touching at times. (I was trying to explain to a dear friend recently about how King’s work can surprise the uninitiated — the monsters and devils typically occupy only a portion of his imaginary landscapes. The remainder is inhabited by good people who are bravely doing the right thing.)

All of the movie’s story elements are painted vibrantly by Mike Flanagan’s beautiful screenwriting and nightmarishly trippy directing. The film’s action and often incongruously bright visuals are reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s visions in “The Shining” (1980), to which this film is truly a worthy successor. (Flanagan was the director and screenwriter for last year’s fantastic “The Haunting of Hill House.” The qualities that you loved about the Netflix show can also be found in “Doctor Sleep” — in some ways, they are very similar stories.)

Rebecca Ferguson is mesmerizing as the story’s antagonist, Kyliegh Curran is pitch perfect as the young anti-hero, and Ewan McGregor is predictably terrific.

The only quibbles I had were minor — there was one plot device (presumably from the novel) that didn’t translate well to the screen. It concerns how the bad guys replenish themselves … I’ll bet it worked well in King’s prose, but it seemed corny and cliche when visualized on film.

You could also argue that “Doctor Sleep’s” constant references to “The Shining” were pretty heavy-handed. But that didn’t bother me too much … I arrived at the conclusion that “The Shining” and “Doctor Sleep” were really two halves of an epic supernatural road trip. Your mileage may vary.

One final caveat — this film does portray violence against children. It isn’t extremely graphic, but it’s still especially disturbing. (It technically isn’t gratuitous, I suppose, because there is an in-universe reason why Ferguson’s tribe of villains targets the young.)

This is easily the best horror film that I’ve seen in years. Go see it.

 

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“Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint.”

“Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint.  Give me two and they’ll fall in love.  Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call “society.”  Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid.  Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast.  Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice.  Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare.  Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”

— from Stephen King’s The Stand

 

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Photo credit: By Stephanie Lawton – https://www.flickr.com/photos/steph_lawton/7634622516/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50296410

Tis’ the season.

Isn’t this the coolest Halloween card ever?  The little skeleton guy dances.

Hope you guys have something scary planned for the month ahead.  I’ve got a short list of movies I’d love to make time for: “Dracula” (1939), “House of the Devil” (2009),  “Annabelle Creation” (2017) and “Mr. Mercedes” Season 3 (2019).  Yeah, I know that last one isn’t a feature film, but it’s a program of truly cinematic quality.  “Mr. Mercedes” has been the best kept secret in Stephen King fandom — no, its antagonist isn’t as flashy as Pennywise the Clown or The Gunslinger’s various nemeses.  But it’s a gorgeous adaptation of a King novel that might even be better than its source material.  Check it out, seriously — skip “American Horror Story” if you have to.

There are two movies I need to get to that have been recommended to me with a lot of enthusiasm.  The first is “In the Mouth of Madness,” 1994’s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation starring Sam Neill.  (I actually started it a few years ago after a friend in New York urged me to, but it just didn’t hold my interest.)  The second is 2001’s “Shadow of the Vampire,” which features Willem Dafoe doing Nosferatu.  (I only discovered just now writing this that John Malkovich portrays F.W. Murnau.)

I’ll tell you something else, too — I’ve checked out one or two short films on the free ALTER channel and they’ve been terrific.  Maybe I’m due for another visit there.

 

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