Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 11 (1999-2002)

We pick up in one of my favorite years of them all:

Not for Stephen King stuff, per se; I just liked that year in general.  Lots of personal mythology of mine that year.  Plus, a fucking KILLER year for movies.
Regarding King, we begin with...
The Lost Work of Stephen King
(by Stephen J. Spignesi)

hardback published by Birch Lane Press on January 15, 1999

I don't know whether there had been a book about rare King stories prior to this one in 1999; it wouldn't surprise me if there had been.  However, if there was, I am unaware of it; and even if there was a similar book that preceded this one, I doubt it was as good as Spignesi's The Lost Work of Stephen King.  It's a bit over 350 pages, which makes it the length of a decent-size novel, and when I read it for the first time it was with the rapt attention I usually give a King novel.

And why not?

Check out the back cover:

I don't know how a non-casual King fan circa 1999 could possibly fail to be fascinated by that.  I'd heard of some of the contents covered within the book -- such as The Cannibals -- but was unfamiliar with most of what Spignesi covers here.  He does so in thorough, passionate, and entertaining fashion, and for my tastes, this is handily one of THE all-time great books about King's work.  It's been rendered semi-obsolete by later works on the same topic by Rocky Wood, but in no way should that diminish one's love for and appreciation of Spignesi's work.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 10 (1996-1998)

Welcome back for the tenth -- TENTH! -- leg of our tour of the Kingdom.  As we begin today's post, 1995 has given way to 1996.

And what wonderful piece of work is it that we shall begin with?
Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace
(feature film, aka The Lawnmower Man 2: Jobe's War)
  • a New Line film, released January 12, 1996
  • written and directed by Farhad Mann
As far as chintzy King-"based" cash-grabs go, Beyond Cyberspace must surely take a prize of some sort.  It's a fauxquel to an adapfaketion, which is surely a next-level brand of poop.
Naturally, it's an awful film.  I mean, good lord, they couldn't even get Jeff Fahey back; so they ended up with Matt Frewer!  Jeez.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 9 (1992-1995)

We broke off the last leg of our tour with the end of 1991, which brought Needful Things and the "end" of Castle Rock.  I said then that the implication of that novel was that King's career was going in some other direction.
As we begin marching through 1992 and into the future, we'll see what that direction held.

"You Know they Got a Hell of a Band"
(short story)

  • published in Shock Rock (a Pocket paperback edited by Jeff Gelb) in January, 1992
  • collected in Nightmares & Dreamscapes, 1993
image stolen from, which seems like a rad site.
I bought this book when it came out, presumably using Christmas money, and presumably still high on having read The Waste Lands over winter break.  Perhaps this explains why I felt the story was a letdown, an opinion I have since reversed entirely.
It's a stupendously weird concept: a bickering husband and wife get lost on a cross-country drive and end up in a town called Rock And Roll Heaven, where, gosh, everyone sure does look like dead rock stars.  There's Joplin, and there's Morrison, and ... well, the King himself must be around somewhere, mustn't he?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 8 (1986-1991)

I yawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnn didn't get enough sleep last night, did you?  Hoo-whee!  That leg of our tour yesterday was a doozy!  Glad to see you all on the bus again this morning, though.  You look like your mothers had a hard time getting you ready for school and you are pissed at her for succeeding, but otherwise, you look wonderful!  Just the kind of folks I like to spend a morning with.
Now, if you'll look to your left, our first stop for the day brings us back to the year

"Cracked Interviews Stephen Kink, The Horror King"
(comic short)

  • written by Joe Catalano, art by Stan Goldberg and Mike Esposito
  • published in the August 1986 issue of Cracked

We begin 1986 in ignominious fashion, with an almost-entirely-unfunny piece that ran in Cracked.

For those of you who don't know, Cracked was basically the RC Cola to Mad's Coca-Cola in that it was what you settled for if you couldn't get the genuine article.  Or at least, this was the case when I was a kid.  For whatever reason, though, I always tended to prefer Cracked to Mad.  (I also had a serious RC Cola phase, FYI.)  I only had a handful of issues of either one, but if I was reading one in a store, it was typically Cracked that I gravitated to first.

I dunno, man ... maybe it was better once upon a time than this issue's contents would seem to indicate.  All I know for sure is, I'm glad I didn't pay much more than cover price in the obtaining of this issue.  (The things I do for this blog do not always do me credit.)  I do kind of dig the John Severin cover, but as for the actual "interview" itself...?

Well, let's have a look.  Cracked doesn't exist anymore, so I don't think they can sue me, and anyways, fair use:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 7 (1982-1986)

Welcome, tourists!  I hope the heat on this bus is working well enough for you; I'll drive slow, so you can work on that coffee I know you've got warming your hands.
We'll get today's tour underway without any further preamble; this fucker is an epic, so we've got plenty to see.  As we begin, we are still in the the good old year of:

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
(story collection / novel)

  • published in hardback as a limited edition by Donald M. Grant in June 1982
  • mass-market edition published as a trade paperback on September 28, 1988

In structuring the posts that comprise this tour, I've tried to split them along fault-lines of sorts; by this, I mean that I've tried to find places where King's career shifted in some greater or lesser way, and use those moments of change as jumping-off points for a new "era."  I think I accomplished this relatively well; no achievement on my part, to be honest -- mostly, the fault lines suggested themselves.
One of these was the summer of 1982, when the first collected edition of The Gunslinger was released.  The individual stories contained herein went back as far as 1978, of course; but in terms of books themselves, this Donald M. Grant edition of The Gunslinger was where The Dark Tower was born.
Most King fans had no clue it had happened.  This would not change until the release of Pet Sematary the following year.  (Click that link and Bev Vincent will tell you about it.) 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What I Watched This October, Part 3: The Final Chapter's Revenge Strikes Back ... Again!

Up to this point, I've largely been talking about movies I'd already seen.  A few exceptions have snuck in -- Gerald's Game, Fender Bender, 1922 -- but mostly, I've been revisiting rather than exploring.

We've now reached the point at which I'm going to try to knock a bunch of things off my list that I've never seen.  Mostly (relatively) new horror films, which I am woefully behind on.

I begin that process by visiting an old friend of the Stephen King film universe, Mark Pavia.

You may know the name Mark Pavia from the 1997 King adaptation The Night Flier, which is probably my pick for most underrated King movie.

But we're not here to talk about The Night Flier, we're here to talk about Pavia's second film, Fender Bender, which came out in 2016.  Yes, you read that correctly: it was 19 -- 19! -- years between films for Pavia.

It doesn't show from Fender Bender, which I loved.