Friday, October 26, 2012

News from the Kingdom: October 26, 2012

Fresh out of an internet argument about whether Haven is or isn't a lousy television series -- it is -- here I am, bringing you another roundup on happenings in the big old world of Stephen King.

First up:

Stephen King in the library at Sussex Regional High School, 10/19/2012

I had a few cool Stephen King experiences in my high school library.  If I'm not mistaken, that library was what enabled my first readings of Christine and The Bachman Books and Different Seasons, and I can also remember researching old issues of Time and Newsweek and People for articles about King and reviews of his books and movies.

But if at some point, I had walked into my library and found Stephen King standing there, I'd've probably near-'bout shit a brick.

One suspects that when a group of students walked into their library at Sussex Regional High School in New Brunswick last Friday, a few bricks might indeed have been shat.

This was all apparently the culmination of a yearlong campaign to attract King to the school, and to all involved, I give you a tip of the hat.  That is cool as hell.  And your librarian -- or whoever that is standing with King above -- is cute as hell, so you folks in Sussex, New Brunswick are obviously doing something right.

The Bangor Daily News has a write-up about the event, but even better: here's a half-hour's worth of video clips from King's appearance.  The audio is out of sync with the video, sadly, but don't let that deter you; King is his customary warm and charming self, and tells a particularly good tale of a personal ghost encounter toward the end of the shindig.

Too cool, man; too cool.

an image from the "Gramma" episode of The Twilight Zone (1986)

What would this column be without yet another movie based on a Stephen King book or story getting announced?

This week, it's "Gramma" getting the dust blown off the cover, polished up for a new generation.  The man to thank for this: Jason Blum, the same producer who, last week, put The Breathing Method into the works.

Announced as director: Jason Cornwell, who previously helmed The Haunting In Connecticut.  The screenplay will apparently be written by Matt Greenberg, who also co-wrote the adaptation of 1408.  Not one of my favorite King films, that one.

"Gramma" is a good story, and there's no reason a good movie can't be made from it.  But it's an awfully slight story, and I suspect that it'll have to plussed quite a bit in order to fill out 80 minutes or so.  Right there in the story I linked to, it's already evident: it mentions that there are two children, not the lone child that you get in King's original.  Part of what makes it tick is the claustrophobic sense of aloneness; the fact that the filmmakers have already jettisoned that does not necessarily fill me with optimism.

The story has already been adapted once before, as part of an episode of the '80s relaunch of The Twilight Zone.  That episode has some pedigree to it, having been scripted by Harlan Ellison.  It starred Barret Oliver, who -- thanks to appearances in The Neverending Story, Coccoon, D.A.R.Y.L., and the original short film version of Frankenweenie -- was one of the more prominent child actors of his day.

You know, I've never actually seen that episode.  Time to hit up YouTube and see what I can find.


And, looky there: YouTube comes through again.  Bookmarked for later viewage.

Bless you, Internet; bless you.

[UPDATE:  It occurs to me hours after the fact that I forgot to mention the movie version will undergo a title change, from "Gramma" to Mercy.  What up with that?]

Well, he did.  Sorta.  Technically, it's an old story: "Thumbprint," which was first published in Postscripts No. 10 back in 2007.  It's been made available as an e-book now, though, and can be obtained digitally for about a buck.

I had a buck lying around that I didn't need, so I winged it toward Amazon, and read it earlier this afternoon.  It's a very solid story, and while I felt like it ended maybe a wee bit too soon, I can't honestly say that the story hadn't told me everything I needed to know.  There's something to the idea of a short story getting out early, while the getting is still good, and that's exactly what happens here.

"Thumbprint" is backed up by an excerpt from NOS4A2, Hill's third novel, which is scheduled to be released in April.  The excerpt is terrific, and works almost as a complete short story unto itself.  It's a great horror vignette, one that shows beyond any doubt that the blood of Stephen King is running in Joe Hill's veins.  I don't need, or even want, Hill to be a mere reflection of his dad, but when the reflection is as clear as it is here, it's hard not to grin over it a bit.

Trust me, folks; you won't regret spending this dollar.

Speaking of e-book releases, here is a link where you can find a brand-new Halloween-flavored short story by Robert McCammon.  This sucker won't even cost ya a buck, either; it's totally free.

It's a fine story, too.  I won't say much about it except to say that it's about a decidedly odd piece of candy somebody gets in their bag while trick-or-treating.  My initial thought was that it was going to turn into a takeoff of "The Monkey's Paw," but this turned out not to be the case.  It's not that kind of story, except in the sense of being very, very good.

Check it out, won't you?


That's all for now.  What King movie do you suppose will be announced between now and the next time we convene?  My money is on ... let's see ... I'm gonna say a remake of Christine.

Time shall tell.


  1. Maybe The Long Walk will finally get off the ground!

    1. Seems like the combination of The Walking Dead (huge Darabont hit) and The Hunger Games (vague plot similarities) would have made it happen.