November 22, 2021
[books] Why Stephen King keeps coming back
… A look at the longevity of Stephen King. ‘Even though I’ve been thinking about him and reading him for years, it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago, reading the 2003 foreword to The Drawing of the Three, the second book in his Dark Tower fantasy epic, that I think I finally got Stephen King. There, King writes about what led him to create the series, which at that point was five books in, and would rapidly conclude with two more a year later. He’s trying to figure out why he wanted to write these books. He chalks it up to the American in him: the urge to “build the tallest, dig the deepest, write the longest.” This, I think, is King’s lasting influence, and why generation after generation comes back to him. It’s his Americanness — not the lived reality of America, which many have claimed is what perennially draws people to his work, but its fiction, made flesh.’
December 3, 2020
[movies] Misery at 30: a terrifying look at the toxicity of fandom
… A look back at one of the best adaptions of a Stephen King novel. ‘Misery was different. In placing a bizarrely childish, mad spinster in the spotlight, it had more in common with the campy Grande Dame Guignol movies of the 60s and 70s than it did with the sleek, sleazy chillers popular at the time. Grandmothers aren’t supposed to be killers, yet the knife-wielding biddies of hagsploitation cinema proved otherwise. Likewise Annie, a virginal nerd who refuses to swear, shoots a bullet through a sheriff’s belly and smashes Paul’s ankles with two strokes of a hammer without ever blinking an eye. Thirty years on, Misery’s gleefully demented union of innocence and brutality still captivates…’
April 9, 2020
[books] Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You’re Stuck In A Stephen King Novel
… Stephen King on the COVID-19. ‘He gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories. “I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ “A pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen,” King says. “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”‘
August 23, 2019
[king] The best Stephen King movies … ranked!
… ‘Carrie (1976) -It didn’t take long for Hollywood to realise the prolific King was the equivalent of discovering a new oil field when it came to horror movies: his debut novel was in cinemas within two years of publication. Brian De Palma turned King’s tale of horrendous high-school bullying and psychokinetic wrath into something like a high-school heist movie, with mean girl Nancy Allen patiently plotting disproportionate revenge against Sissy Spacek’s browbeaten, willowy wallflower. Despite the 2013 remake, De Palma’s bloody blowout remains the definitive version.’
June 28, 2019
[shining] Screenwriter Todd Alcott’s Analysis of the Shining Part 1
| Part 2
| Part 3
| Part 4
| Part 5
| Part 6
| Part 7
…this is why, I think, Jack is shown writing when he really should be murdering — because Kubrick had an idea for a great scene, one of the greatest in horror-movie history, where Wendy finds Jack’s “work” and discovers that it’s complete gibberish. Actually, it’s worse than complete gibberish, because complete gibberish could still be published. Rather, it’s the work of an obsessive-compulsive maniac. (Nicholson, who had just won an Oscar for playing crazy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, would later go on to play an OCD guy in As Good As It Gets.) This is brilliant stuff, and, again, dramatizes the essentially psychological nature of the horror in The Shining — the really scary stuff is going on in Jack’s mind, not in the corridors of the Overlook.
(One of my favorite factoids regarding the movie is that Kubrick didn’t just have a ream of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” typed up, no — he had reams and reams typed up, in different languages, one for every major territory the movie would play in — Spanish, Italian, French, German, etc., all with a regional phrase specific to the territory. Production Assistant on a Kubrick movie must have been the worst job available in show business.)
September 28, 2017
[books] Stephen King, The Art of Fiction
… an excellent, wide ranging interview …
No, Cujo was a standard novel in chapters when it was created. But I can remember thinking that I wanted the book to feel like a brick that was heaved through your window at you. I’ve always thought that the sort of book that I do—and I’ve got enough ego to think that every novelist should do this—should be a kind of personal assault. It ought to be somebody lunging right across the table and grabbing you and messing you up. It should get in your face. It should upset you, disturb you. And not just because you get grossed out. I mean, if I get a letter from somebody saying, I couldn’t eat my dinner, my attitude is, Terrific!
September 14, 2017
[books] Longtime Stephen King fans criticize new IT adaptation for not being bad
… ‘While audiences and critics alike have praised 2017’s IT for its smart casting and big budget scares, the response from classic King fans has been scathingly negative. “Couldn’t it have been a cheap, PG rated primetime miniseries?” tweeted @AnnieWilkes45. Others criticized the popular new film for not including any demonic laundry machines, giant rubber bats, possessed big rig trucks, man ponytails, or Gary Busey.’
September 4, 2017
[king] ‘It was wonderfully scary’: Tim Curry, Rob Reiner and Kathy Bates on the joy of adapting Stephen King
TIM CURRY: I read It when I got the role and I thought it was wonderfully scary, because clowns are scary. It’s the exaggeration. Pennywise always understood what each character was scared of, and provided it. And I could see what fun it would be to be that scary. They came up with such a great makeup. There’s the classic scene where little Georgie floats his paper boat down the gutter and puts his hand down to try and get it back, and is grabbed by Pennywise, who says: “Down here we float …” The boy playing Georgie [Tony Dakota] yanked his hand away and said, “You’re scaring me!” I said, “I’m sorry, I’m supposed to.”
April 3, 2017
[politics] Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’
… King analyses Trump with fictional characters …
These stories were written years ago, but Stillson and Rennie bear enough of a resemblance to the current resident of the White House for me to flatter myself I have a country-fair understanding of how such men rise: first as a joke, then as a viable alternative to the status quo, and finally as elected officials who are headstrong, self-centered and inexperienced. Such men do not succeed to high office often, but when they do, the times are always troubled, the candidates in question charismatic, their proposed solutions to complex problems simple, straightforward and impractical. The baggage that should weigh these hucksters down becomes magically light, lifting them over the competition like Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar film Up. Trump’s negatives didn’t drag him down; on the contrary, they helped get him elected.
May 12, 2016
[kubrick] Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel, The Shining
… with hand written marginalia from Kubrick … ‘Any problems with the kitchen – you phone me.’
September 1, 2015
[books] Can a Novelist Be Too Productive?
… Stephen King discusses prolific and unprolific writers … ‘As a young man, my head was like a crowded movie theater where someone has just yelled “Fire!” and everyone scrambles for the exits at once. I had a thousand ideas but only 10 fingers and one typewriter. There were days — I’m not kidding about this, or exaggerating — when I thought all the clamoring voices in my mind would drive me insane. Back then, in my 20s and early 30s, I thought often of the John Keats poem that begins, “When I have fears that I may cease to be / Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain …” I imagine it was that way with Frederick Schiller Faust, better known as Max Brand (and best known as the creator of Dr. Kildare). He wrote at least 450 novels, a feat rendered more remarkable by his ill health and premature death at the age of 51. Alexandre Dumas wrote “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Musketeers” — and some 250 other novels. And there’s Isaac Asimov, who sold his first short story at 19, hammered out more than 500 books, and revolutionized science fiction.’
November 11, 2014
[books] Stephen King: The Rolling Stone Interview
Q: Do you think much about what your legacy will be?
King: No, not very much. For one, it’s out of my control. Only two things happen to writers when they die: Either their work survives, or it becomes forgotten. Someone will turn up an old box and say, “Who’s this guy Irving Wallace?” There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Ask kids in high school, “Who is Somerset Maugham?” They’re not going to know. He wrote books that were bestsellers in their time. But he’s well-forgotten now, whereas Agatha Christie has never been more popular. She just goes from one generation to another. She’s not as good a writer as Maugham, and she certainly didn’t try to do anything other than entertain people. So I don’t know what will happen.
September 23, 2013
[books] Stephen King: on alcoholism and returning to the Shining
… King is interviewed by Emma Brockes.
…without labouring the point, [Doctor Sleep] has good allegorical bones: the sick buzz one gets from consuming the grisliest news stories. It also captures the reality of a recovering alcoholic, a state with which King is intimately familiar. “The hungover eye,” he writes, “had a weird ability to find the ugliest things in any given landscape.” Danny turns his life around and starts going to AA meetings, where, King writes, he discovers that memories are the “real ghosts”. It is a book as extravagantly inventive as any in King’s pantheon, and a careful study of self-haunting: “You take yourself with you, wherever you go.”
August 16, 2013
[books] Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences
… Stephen King discusses the opening sentences of books … ‘When I’m starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep. I will lie there in the dark and think. I’ll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph. And over a period of weeks and months and even years, I’ll word and reword it until I’m happy with what I’ve got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book. Because of this, I think, my first sentences stick with me. They were a doorway I went through.’
August 9, 2013
[books] Stephen King’s Family Business
… a warm profile of Stephen King and his family … ‘At times in his life, [Joe] Hill actually contemplated hiring an actor to do readings of his work, to conceal that unmistakable resemblance to his father. By the time “Heart-Shaped Box” was published and he had forged ahead with some readings, his alias had been blown. In the end, in light of the book’s success, that did not seem to matter; now he’s comfortable writing in a genre his father dominates. “Sometimes I think the kid who’s like, ‘I’m never going to be like my dad in any way whatsoever,’ is less his own person,” he said.’
November 17, 2011
[books] Stephen King Goes to the Rescue of JFK
… Stephen King’s latest book reviewed by Errol Morris …
In “11/22/63,” we get glimpses of a nimbus of evil that surrounds the world. There are no single crimes. Each act of cruelty or violence is somehow associated — harmonized, King would suggest — with every other act. Inside the past, Amberson learns there are no accidents, no inadvertencies. Just an infernal machine. (Tick, tock.) He says: “Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, O.K.? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”
There is a darker what-if. What if history is too forceful to redirect? What if jiggering the engine produces no favorable outcome — merely a postponement of the inevitable? If he had lived, Kennedy might not have escalated the war in Vietnam, and might have kept America out of a bloody mire. But we don’t know.
November 15, 2011
[books] Errol Morris Interviews Stephen King
… on his new book about time travel, J.F.K. and Lee Harvey Oswald …
Oswald just happened to be at the right place at the right time. He and his wife were effectively done, and she was living with Mrs. Paine out in Irving. He used to come on the weekends, but that week, he came on Thursday — the night before the assassination. And it seems pretty clear from his actions and from the things he said that he had decided to do this, but that he could be persuaded to change his mind. He and Marina went to bed that night and in bed, he asked her, “Is there a chance that we can get back together?” And she was very cold to him. She said, “No, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, Lee.” And in the morning, he left his wedding ring and he left all the money in his pockets in a teacup in the kitchen for her. And that was it. There is this chain of ifs, but really, it’s as simple as that. He wanted to shoot somebody. He wanted to be somebody famous. It’s all there. The pieces all click together pretty nicely.
September 17, 2000
[horror] The Observer interviews Stephen King. ‘Stephen King paused, took a breath, he got stiffly to his feet, and smiled. ‘That’s not to say that there won’t always be a market for crap… Just look at Jeffrey Archer! He writes like old people fuck, doesn’t he?”
[part of the Observer’s Stephen King Season
August 14, 2000
[interview] The New York Times profiles/interviews Stephen King
. ‘If there is a single trait common to most of King’s writing, it is the reader’s feeling that the author is playing God. He can and will make really bad things happen to his beloved creations. He will then watch them confront this evil, occasionally offering aid. Finally, after they’ve been scared witless and have proved themselves worthy, they are welcomed back into His warm embrace, humble and grateful.’