Saturday, July 28, 2012

News from the Kingdom: July 27, 2012

I've been slacking on this column the last three weeks, mostly because ... well, there hasn't been a whole heck of a lot of Stephen King news lately.
That changed somewhat this week, though, so let's dive in and see what's worth seein'.
Before we do, can I point something out?  This stuff

is delicious.  Delicious, I say!  And no, this is not an awkwardly-placed bit of product placement (although, hey, advertisers, I'd be totally willing to do that sort of thing, so if you've got dollars, I've got sense!); instead, it's just an opportunity for me to point out something weird I noticed about myself today.  Namely, that while I loathe and will not drink orange juice with pulp in it, I will consume gallons upon gallons of lemonade that is simply crawling with pulp.
What's that little character inconsistency all about?!?  It makes no sense at all, so why am I like that?
Beats me; random crazy, I suppose.  Moving along...
The most important bit of King-flavored news for the week is undoubtedly the announcement of "A Face in the Crowd," a new story co-written by King with Stewart O'Nan.
You might recall that King and O'Nan previously collaborated on Faithful, a nonfiction book that served as a diary of the season the Red Sox won the World Series.  I'll go out on a limb and speculate that Faithful is perhaps the least favorite King book for most Constant Readers, but I enjoyed it reasonably well ... and I positively loathe baseball.  I should clarify: I enjoyed the sections of the book that I read (the ones written by King), but did not read most of O'Nan's sections.  I enjoy King's style so much that even when he's writing about something I detest, I become interested in the topic by virtue of his writing voice.  O'Nan's writing did not captivate me in a similar way, although to be fair, I didn't put much of an effort forth.  I think that whether I end up enjoying "A Face in the Crowd" or not, I'm going to pick up one of O'Nan's books ad give it a shot; seems like the right thing to do.
"A Face in the Crowd" comes out August 21, but here's the catch: it -- like "Ur" and "Mile 81" -- is not receiving a print publication.  Instead, it will be released on a variety of e-readers, and will also be available as an audiobook read by Craig Wasson.
The story -- a description of which is available on King's website -- sounds a bit like a baseball-flavored ghost story to me, and while that doesn't exactly crank my motor, King could write a story about refilling ketchup bottles and I'd read it.
I first saw this news at Talk Stephen King, where David Squyres is typically Johnny-on-the-spot with news of this nature.  Go check out the original artcicle (I like that typo, so I'm leaving it in!), here.  And if you're not checking out his blog regularly, well, that's a mistake, bub, and I'm glad it's yours rather than mine.

Here's an article that claims Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is coming to Broadway.  Sort of.
Director Susan V. Booth is taking the show to NYC for a ten-day workshop, which is apparently something that gets done in the theatre world when a production is seeking investors.  What that tells me is the obvious: that the production is having trouble lining up investors (i.e., an actual Broadway run is unlikely).

Call me crazy, but doesn't it seem as if one possible way to drum up interest in the show is to release the radio-drama-style version of the show that has been in the can now for something like two years.
With names like Stephen King, John Mellencamp, T-Bone Burnett, and Elvis Costello on the front cover, it seems like this thing ought to have been released a long, long, long time ago.  And frankly, unless it sucks approximately as much as having a mouthful of aphids, it doesn't make any sense to me.
This makes me even more annoyed than I already was that I missed the April 10 performance in Atlanta, for which I had a ticket AND a hotel room, but no ability to actually leave Alabama for long enough to use them.
You can't see me right now, but I'm making angry-face.
In Blu-ray news, three King movies of questionable quality are finally making their debut in that format: Pet Sematary (decent), Sleepwalkers (terrible), and Thinner (unbearably terrible).  Interestingly, all three movies have a cameo by King himself.  Coincidence?  Almost certainly.

I don't own a Blu-ray player yet, personally, so this news does not impact me.  But someday I will, and then, oh, how the upgrading of my King movie collection is going to sting.
In more important Blu-ray news, John Carpenter's They Live -- which is better than those three King movies put together -- is also making its hi-def debut.  If I had a Blu-ray plyer, I'd be shelling out for this one.
In other King-movie news, it appears that Tom Holland's The Ten O'Clock People seems to be gathering some steam.  Rachel Nichols -- who really would enjoy being married to me if she'd only give it a chance -- has been cast alongside Justin Long.  Or, at least, is in negotiations, according to the article; but typically, news like that doesn't come out unless the deal is already done.
It's been quite some time since I read the story, so I can't shed any light on whether what the article says -- that her character will, like Long's, be able to see the monsters that few others can see -- is an element from King's story, or one that is new to this version.  Could I research that by a simple trip to my bookshelf?  Yep.  Am I going to do so?  Nope.
Nichols previously starred in G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA, the remake of Conan the Barbarian, and P2, and also had a small role as the green-skinned girl in Star Trek.  I enjoyed her work on the final season of Alias, and also on the excellent short-lived television series The Inside.  She's currently starring on a Canadian sci-fi show, Continuum, which I would watch, except I'm not in Canada.  I'm a Nichols fan, so I'm happy to see her cast in this movie.  I'm skeptical of the movie's odds of being good, but bringing her onboard jolts my interest several degrees back in the positive direction.

Rachel Nichols in "The Inside"


She's so purty...

Let's hang out in Hollywood a bit longer, shall we?

Some behind-the-scenes footage from the new version of Carrie "leaked" to the interwebs this week, offering us a look at some people hanging out around a swimming pool.  Last time I checked, the footage could still be seen here, although it's been removed from other sites.

There has been some talk questioning whether Chloe-Grace Moretz is too pretty to be playing Carrie White, and while I suppose I understand where some of that concern is coming from, it seems like a moot point to me.  For one thing, Sissy Spacek -- who was Oscar-nominated in the 1976 Brian DePalma movie -- was rather gorgeous when she played Carrie White, so it's not exactly a new thing for someone good-looking to take on this role.  For another thing, since when do only "ugly" people get treated poorly in high school?  Since never, is when.

Moretz is a great actor; check her out in either Kick-Ass or Let Me In if you don't believe me.  She'll do fine as Carrie White.

Here's a screen-grab:

And another one, this time of director Kimberly Peirce (and if you haven't seen Peirce's film Boys Don't Cry, you are doing yourself a disservice, by the way):

Remember earlier, when I refused to go to my bookshelf and do some simple research about "The Ten O'Clock People"?  Well, I've been feeling bad about that, so I decided to go to the bookshelf and do some research about this pool scene.  I remembered something to do with Carrie swimming, and found this passage from near the beginning of the novel (p. 18 in my edition):

She had fought Momma tooth and nail over the Christian Youth Camp, and had earned the money to go herself by taking in sewing.  Momma told her darkly that it was Sin, that it was Methodists and Baptists and Congregationalists and that it was Sin and Backsliding.  She forbade Carrie to swim at the camp.  Yet although she had swum and had laughed when they ducked her (until she couldn't get her breath and more and they kept doing it and she got panicky and began to scream) and had tried to take part in the camp's activities, a thousand practical jokes had been played on ol' prayin' Carrie and she had come home on the bus a week early, her eyes red and socketed from weeping...

Does the scene being filmed in the behind-the-scenes clip have anything at all to do with this passage from the book?  Maybe si, maybe no; time will tell.


Lest you think that Stephen is the only King who's name is getting tossed around Hollywood these days, well sir, allow me to demonstrate that you are incorrect: Joe King, a.k.a. Joe Hill, also has a film adaptation in the works.  His novel Horns is scheduled to go before the cameras this year, and the news broke during Comic-Con that Daniel "Harry Potter" Radcliffe has signed to play Iggy Perrish, the lead role.

I'm happy about this, but not without reservations.  The big one: can Radcliffe do an American accent?  If not, then please please please just let him keep his normal speaking voice, and change the character to where his parents are from England or something.  Because if Radcliffe does a lousy Yank accent, the movie WILL suffer for it.

Even so, I like Radcliffe, and his presence is sure to gain a lot of attention for the project.  This worked well for The Woman In Black, and this is the type of thing -- superstar actor plus potential big hit movie -- that could end up turning Joe Hill into a superstar in his own right.  If only someone close to him could give him advice on how to deal with that if it happens...
(Speaking of Joe Hill, here is a link to a recap of the Locke & Key panel he appeared on at Comic-Con.  You've read Locke & Key, haven't you?  HAVEN'T YOU?!?)


Ever read any of those Dark Tower comics?  They're mostly pretty good, and they received a Harvey Award nomination recently.  What are the Harvey Awards?  Well, go here and you can find out, plus read a list of all of this year's nominees.

The specific nomination the series received was that the Dark Tower Omnibus got a nom for "Best Graphic Album Previously Published."  That omnibus is indeed a lovely collection; it can currently be ordered from Amazon for a mere $94.50.


Final news of the week isn't news at all, but it was news to me: ever heard of a movie called No Smoking?  Well, it's a Bollywood flick about a man who tries to stop smoking, can't, and decides to try a radical new program that specializes in helping people kick the habit.  Except it turns out that if you backslide, the people running the program do various nasty things to you and your loved ones.

Does this sound familiar?  If so, you may have read Stephen King's short story "Quitters, Inc." (or, perhaps, have seen the film adaptation of it in Cat's Eye).

I'd never heard of this flick until recently, when I read about it at the blog Dog Star Omnibus, in a post about King short fiction.  I decided to do a little research, and find out whether this movie was an official -- i.e., legally-sanctioned and licensed -- adaptation, or whether it was simply a ripoff.  So, I visited the forums at and asked Ms. Mod if she could shed any light on the subject.  Here was her answer:

I sorta suspected this would turn out to be the case, but it raises even more questions than it answers.  For example: is this sort of thing common in Bollywood?  Are Indian copyright laws such that it isn't actionable for someone to take someone else's story and use it as their own?

More importantly, should I consider this movie to actually be based on Stephen King's work?  If so, does that mean my OCD now obliges me to purchase a copy and add it to my DVD collection?  And if THAT happens, should I then add the movie to my worst-to-best list of King films?

These are questions I have yet to answer for myself.  Either way, I want to see the movie now.  I assume it is garbage, but I've been wrong before; even if I'm not wrong, it can't possibly be worse than Riding the Bullet, can it?

Can it?!?

And that semi-pointless anti-Mick Garris sentiment brings to a close another edition of News from the Kingdom.  Be back soon!


  1. Yeah that Simply Lemonade is good stuff, all right. If you ever make it up to Rhode Island, try a Dell's Frozen Lemonade. It's unique to these parts, sweet as hell, and well worth the brain freeze when you consume it too fast.

    No Smoking was available on Netflix, so I gave it a whirl. Not much bearing to "Quitters, Inc" beyond the general set-up you describe. Which, one would figure would be enough to be legally problematic. I was curious about the copyright/ such things, as well. How does it translate from American culture to Bollywood's? A little clumsily... definitely let me know what you think, if you ever check it out.

    Looking fwd to Horns. I wish someone would make a few movies of three or four (or all) of 20th Century Ghosts.

    1. Dell's Frozen Lemonade has officially been added to my long-term to-do list.

      I'm planning on watching "No Smoking" at some point in this not-too-distant future, and I'll definitely post a review here when I do. I think before that happens, though, I'm going to try and get some work done over at my James Bond blog. I've neglected that sucker for WAY too long.

      And yes, you're right: there are probably a dozen great movies waiting to be made from the stories in "20th Century Ghosts." That Joe Hill is an excellent example of the apple hitting the ground beneath the tree and staying right where it landed.