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 http://toomuchhorrorfiction.blogspot.com/2013/05/shock-rock-edited-by-jeff-gelb-1992.html, 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?

That this managed to not merely NOT be silly, but manages to be quite creepy, is another mark in King's plus column.  That column had a lot of marks in it by January 1992, and it wasn't done being filled in, by any means.
  
  
The Lawnmower Man
(feature film)

  • a New Line film, released March 6, 1992
  • directed by Brett Leonard from a screenplay by Brett Leonard and Gimel Everett
  
  



Legally-speaking, I'm not sure I'm allowed to discuss this here; after all, King sued and had his name removed from the film.  THAT'S how dissimilar this movie is to the short story of the same name: the story is about a man who is menaced by a strange landscaper, whereas the movie is about virtual reality turning an intellectually slow man into a genius.
  
As it turned out, the screenplay literally had NOTHING to do with King.  It was an existing screenplay called Cyber God that had a very mildly King-based sheen applied to it in the hopes of making a quick buck based on the author's name.
  
It worked.  The movie was a moderate box-office success.  Among the people who bought a ticket: me!  I took my brother with me, too, so the Burnette boys did their part.  (In my brother's case, I'm not sure it was gladly.)  I remember it fondly, possibly for the brotherly-fun aspect, but also because it's just a daffy, ridiculous movie.  It's got a chimp wearing a headset and murdering people, it's got James Bond playing a scientist, it's got Hank from Breaking Bad as a bigwig in The Shop, it's got softcore sex, it's got weirdo VR sex, it's got tackily ambitious visual effects.  
  
Is it a good movie?  No.
  
So why do I always have a good time watching it?
  
Beats me.
  
  
Sleepwalkers
(feature film)

  • a Columbia film, released April 10, 1992
  • directed by Mick Garris from a screenplay by Stephen King

The Truth Inside the Lie review of Sleepwalkers (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

 
 
  
  

This movie has a terrible reputation, but I've grown to enjoy it, personally.  I'm not saying that might happen to you, too, but stranger things have probably happened, right?
  
King's association with Mick Garris began here, and while I've never found Garris's style of filmmaking to be to my liking, I think he probably does about as well here as anyone could with the ridiculous material King gives him.  In the scenes where it seems as if King took the story seriously, Garris mostly does quite well.  The film veers from one tone to another with alarming frequency, but to Garris's credit, he seems to be doing only what the screenplay demands.
  
There are a few fun cameos, some bonkers comedy, a bit of excellent gore, and the hottest mom-on-son cat-people incest you will ever see.  And I pray God this is the ONLY example of that you have ever seen.


The Rock Bottom Remainders
(rock 'n' roll band)

formed 1992; first public performance May 1992


Dave Barry, Stephen King, and Ridley Pearson in 1993


At some point in 1992, book publicist Kathi Kamen Goldmark came up with a weird idea: to form a novelty rock band using only writers.  Writers of books, not of music.

Inaugural members included Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Roy Blount Jr., Robert Fulgham, Barbara Kingsolver, Matt Groening, Michael Dorris, Ridley Pearson, Tad Bartimus, Dave Marsh, Greil Marcus, Joel Selvin, and actual musician Al Kooper (he played the organ on "Like a" fucking "Rolling Stone"!).

Oh, and Stephen King, obviously.

The band made their debut in Anaheim at the annual American Booksellers Association convention, and got a goodish amount of charmed-but-baffled attention.

A tour -- an actual tour -- would follow in 1993, and we'll speak more of that in a bit.



Gerald's Game
(novel)

a Viking hardback, published July 13, 1992
  
The Truth Inside the Lie on Gerald's Game (part zero, part one, part two, part three)
 
 


 
The premise under which I chose the dividing line between parts 14 and 15 of this series of posts was that Needful Things represented a pivot mark for King's writing.  And, sure enough, Gerald's Game does seem to be that; it begins an unofficial trilogy of novels (which would appear over the course of the next three years) focused on female protagonists, each of whom is coping with abuse and trauma in her own way.  Some readers, evidently, were not all that interested in going there with him; the third book of the trilogy, Rose Red, reached a mere #2 on the bestseller chart.
 
Even today, it's fairly easy to find these novels -- and Gerald's Game in particular -- dismissed as King's "lamentably" "feminist period" (pun possibly intended).
  
Thing is, King had been writing occasional novels that featured female leads (or female point-of-view characters) for years, going all the way back to Carrie.  I've never entirely understood why some readers find Gerald's Game (and the next novel in the trilogy, Dolores Claiborne) to be such a radical departure for him.  My guess is that it's a combination of the marketing of Needful Things (implying "I'm blowing this whole fucking town up so I don't have to write the same goddamn thing for you people over and over again!") and the press for Gerald's Game (implying "SERIOUS fiction writers write about empowerment via the vagina and about the oppressive nature of the patriarchy, so I'm gonna go over here and get some acclaim!").
  
Understand, I don't actually think those were the goals of those novels, nor do I think those are wholly reasonable conclusions to draw about them.  But I strongly suspect that some readers did take it that way, and resented it, despite the fact that similar content could be found in novels like The Stand and It and The Shining.
  
In any case, I think Gerald's Game is a corker.  It's got one of the most nightmarish of all of King's scenarios, and at least one of the gnarliest moments of gore in his entire canon.  (It might be THE gnarliest moment.)  The character work is effective, the prose is on point, and if I were making a list of the most underrated King novels, this would figure prominently on it.
  
  
Pet Sematary Two
(feature film)
  
  • a Paramount film, released August 28, 1992
  • directed by Mary Lambert from a screenplay by Richard Outten
   
  


  
Everyone knows that Hollywood hates to let a success take a nap.  So when Paramount had a hit with Pet Sematary, they decided to take a stab at turning the story into a Jason-style franchise, with the "sematary" itself as the main character.  I guess I've heard worse ideas.
  
And, to be fair, I've seen worse movies.  This is a fauxquel all the way, but among King-"based" fauxquels, it's in the upper echelon.  I mean, it's shit; of course it's shit, don't misunderstand me on that score.  It's just AS shitty as some of the other shit lying in the field behind the King property; this one is dry and inoffensive, and if you needed to pick it up to fling it, you'd much rather grab it than, say, Creepshow 3.
  
Director Mary Lambert came back, and her hold on the tone is not at strong here; no surprise, since the screenplay is a complete mess.  The Ramones also came back, providing another end-credits song; it's not great, but it's one of the best things about the movie.  THE best thing about the movie is Clancy Brown, hamming it up and having a grand old time as the zombified "dead" father.
  
  
"Popsy"
(comic book)
  
  • published in J.N. Williamson's Masques #2 (Innovation Books), September 1992
  • reprinted in J.N. Williamson's Illustrated Masques, 2009
  • script by Mark Valadez, art by Matt Thompson
  
  


   
"Popsy" had made its initial prose appearance in Williamson's series of Masques anthologies, and when Innovation began publishing comic-book adaptations of the stories in those anthologies, King's was a natural fit.
  
Sadly, the comic itself is not particularly good:
  
  

  
  
Nothing about that art appeals to me, and it only gets worse from there.  When Popsy himself shows up, it's a ... well, let's simply say that it doesn't work and move on to the next item on our agenda.
  
  
"The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson"
(audiobook, narrated by Stephen King)
  
published by Highbridge Audio on October 1, 1992
  
  

 
 
I am a bona fide nut for King-narrated audiobooks, as we've established elsewhere on this tour.  About a year and a half after I Shudder At Your Touch appeared in print, an audio-cassette version hit the marketplace.  (This is assuming the dates I found on Amazon are correct; if they are not, then I've just unwittingly spread false information to you.  Sorry about that!)
  
King reads "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson" in his friendly and efficient manner.  It runs for about 47 minutes, so it's the length of a good podcast.  Whether it's worth your while to track down depends on you.  It was worth MY while, for sure.
  
  
"Chattery Teeth"
(short story)
  
  • published in the Fall 1992 issue of Cemetery Dance
  • collected in Nightmares & Dreamscapes, 1993
  
  
  
  
King began his long association with Cemetery Dance (and I'm referring now to the company moreso than to the magazine) in the fall of 1992.  If you want to read a bit more about the history behind that, here's a great piece the magazine's creator, Richard Chizmar, wrote recently for Entertainment Weekly.
  
As for "Chattery Teeth," it's not what I'd personally consider one of King's best stories.  He's trying the same sort of high-wire act he tried the year before with "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band," i.e., he's penning a story that ought to be too silly to stand on two legs without its neck snapping.  With "Hell of a Band," he somehow managed to keep things intact.
  
I'm not sure he manages it with "Chattery Teeth," which is about a pair of novelty-toy oversized teeth that ... well, you'll see.
  
But if you don't -- if you skip this one -- then I'm honestly not sure you're missing a whole heck of a lot.
  
  
Dolores Claiborne
(novel)
  
a Viking hardback, published December 7, 1992
  
The Truth Inside the Lie on Dolores Claiborne (part zero, part one, part two, part three)
  


  
  
Appearing about five months after Gerald's Game, Dolores Claiborne -- which is linked to that novel via a strange (and not entirely successful) recurring psychic link the two lead characters share -- may have annoyed the type of people who were likely to be annoyed by another return to the "feminist" well (pun intended).  It didn't annoy me, though.  I ate up every word of this novel when it was released.  It came out shortly before Christmas during my first semester of college (that's a mild lie; I started college during the summer sessions), and, as with The Waste Lands the year before, I digested it while visiting my grandparents over the holidays.  
  
It's nice to be able to remember books that way, especially if the book in question is as good as this one.
  
Dolores Claiborne herself remains one of King's very best protagonists; one of these days, I need to tackle worst-to-best lists of the major King heroes and villains.  When and if I do, Dolores is going to rank quite strongly.  Top five?  I'm not sure, but I wouldn't rule it out.

By the way, King has said that his initial plan was to published both Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne within a single volume, which would have been titled In the Path of the Eclipse.  I wonder how differently we would think of these tales if he had followed through on that plan.


Misery
(stage drama)

  • staged at the Criterion Theatre in London beginning December 17, 1992
  • adapted for the stage and directed by Simon Moore 




It was highly publicized, so I bet a lot of King fans know that a stage play by William Goldman based on Misery ran on Broadway during 2016.  It is less publicized that an entirely different stage play adapted by Simon Moore exists.

It ran in London theatres beginning in December 1992 and starred Sharon Gless -- probably most famous then for Cagney & Lacey -- as Annie Wilkes.  There was a touring version the next year with a different cast, and I know of at least one American production (Miami in 2005).

I've never had a big interest in stage productions.  Part of the reason for that, I think, is that they seem ephemeral to me.  I love to be able to revisit stories that I enjoy, and the way my brain thinks of these things, if it has no access to rewatch (or reread) things, they may as well not have ever existed at all.

As, indeed, these 1992 performances with Gless may as well not have.  From my point of view, of course; I'm sure it's different if you attended a performance, and I'm sure it's very different if you participated in the production.

Maybe that's part of the allure, though.  You are present in an auditorium, with other people, and together you see a thing which is of the moment and is, by definition, gone once it has concluded.

I can see the romance in that, I suppose.


  
   
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
(feature film)

  • a Dimension film, released January 29, 1993
  • directed by David Price from a screenplay by A.L. Katz and Gilbert Adler





With movies, determining a precise release date can be less clear-cut than you'd think.  I'm listing this as a 1993 film, but IMDb says that it actually came out on video in 1992 in both Japan and Germany.  And, apparently, it played in Italy in May of 1992 at something called the "Dylan Dog Horror Fest."  The Final Sacrifice makes for a pretty good case in point.  What say you?  Which of these dates should I go with?
 
This matter of pedantry is by far the most interesting thing about Children of the Corn II, by the way.  It's a genuinely terrible film, possibly the worst in the series; and brother, that is saying something.  It's a complete fauxquel, but it does at least follow up on the events of the first film in a sideways manner.
  
  
One On One
(novel by Tabitha King)
  
a Dutton hardback, released March 1993
  
  
   
  
Having not read this, I can't say much about it.  I'll tell you something you might not know, though: Stephen King recorded an abridged audiobook version!
  
  
  
  
I wish it was unabridged, but I guess I'll take what I can get.  I haven't listened to it yet; but whenever I finally get around to reading the novel, I'll check out Uncle Steve's narration.
  
  
The Throat
(novel by Peter Straub)
  
a Dutton hardback, released April 1993
  
  
  
  
I haven't read this, but can tell you that this lengthy novel forms the third part of Straub's "Blue Rose Trilogy" (of which Koko and Mystery are the other two parts).
  
  
The Dark Half
(feature film)
  
  • an Orion film, released April 23, 1993
  • written and directed by George A. Romero
  


  
I went to the movies pretty frequently during the nineties.  There were times when I'd have seen damn near every movie playing at my local theatres; on occasional Saturdays, if there were enough new movies out, I might go see four movies (or five, depending on how the showtimes worked out).
  
I sometimes went with friends, if they wanted to see something; but if they didn't want to go, I had no problem going by myself.  Not everyone is willing to do that; some people think it makes you a loser if you go to a movie by yourself.
  
The hell with that; I mean, sure, I was (am?) a loser, but I didn't care, I wanted to go to a movie I was goin' to a movie.
  
The first time I ever saw a movie entirely by myself in a theatre -- when I was the only person who bought a ticket -- was when I went to see The Dark Half.  It was the last show of the night, and I was kind of surprised for there to be nobody else there.  Not THAT surprised -- it was a weeknight -- but surprise, because the idea that such a thing could happen had never crossed my mind.
  
The movie only made $10 million during its entire run, so it seems like there must have been a lot of mostly-empty auditoriums.  That's a shame.  I don't think this is a classic, but it's not a bad movie at all, and I think it deserved a better fate than it received.
  
It was consistent with how things had gone for it from the get-go, at least.  Filming was completed in 1991, and once post-production was finished, the movie just sat in the can for the better part of the next two years while Orion went through what might charitably be referred to as "financial strife."


The Tommyknockers
(television miniseries)

  • broadcast by ABC on May 9-10, 1993
  • directed by John Power based on a teleplay by Lawrence D. Cohen

 

Oh, don't think I missed that snipe at the bottom, vintagetoledotv.squarespace.com/ -- I didn't miss it.  I'm choosing to leave it in!  I like your work, and encourage you to keep it going.
  
 
ABC had had a big hit with their 1990 It miniseries, so it made sense that they would want to once again partner with screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen on a new King project.  If anything, it's surprising it took them three years to do so.
  
They had a solid performer with The Tonnyknockers, too.  Some 23 million people watched on Sunday, and 25 million tuned in to see how it all wrapped up on Monday.
  
The Tommyknockers is frequently lambasted, but I kind of enjoy it.  I didn't love it at the time it aired -- and rest assured, I was parked in front of the television both nights in '93 -- and don't love it now, but I do think it has some pulpy sci-fi charm to it.
  
  
Writers Dreaming
(edited by Naomi Epel)
  
  • published in Writers Dreaming (a Carol Southern trade paperback) on June 8, 1993
  • King supplied an untitled essay
  
  
  
  
Writers Dreaming is pretty much exactly what its title implies.  Pretty good idea for a book!
  
King's essay runs about 3400 words, and is excellent.  Here's how it begins:
  
One of the things that I’ve been able to use dreams for in my stories is to show things in a symbolic way that I wouldn’t want to come right out and say directly.  I’ve always used dreams the way you’d use mirrors to look at something you couldn’t see head-on – the way that you use a mirror to look at your hair in the back.  To me that’s what dreams are supposed to do.  I think that dreams are a way that people’s minds illustrate the answers to their problems in symbolic language.

        When we look back on our dreams, a lot of times they decompose as soon as the light hits them.  So, you can have a dream, and you can remember very vividly what it’s about, but ten or fifteen minutes later, unless it’s an extraordinarily vivid dream or an extraordinarily good dream, it’s gone.  It’s like the mind is this hard rubber and you really have to hit it hard to leave an impression that won’t eventually just erase.

        One of the things that we’re all familiar with in dreams is the sense that familiar or prosaic objects are being put in very bizarre circumstances or situations.  And since that’s what I write about, the use of dreams is an obvious way to create that feeling of weirdness in the real world.  I guess probably the most striking example of using a dream in my fiction was connected to the writing of ‘Salem’s Lot.
 
  
And in order to read the rest, you'll have to pick up a copy.
  
  
Needful Things
(feature film)
 
  • a Columbia film, released August 27, 1994
  • directed by Fraser C. Heston from a screenplay by W.D. Richter

 




Remember earlier, when I was talking about being the only person in the theatre when I watched The Dark Half?  Well, the same thing happened when I went to see Needful Things some four months later.  From this, I conclude that the people who bought movie tickets in 1993 simple did not give Shit One about the adventures of Sheriff Alan Pangborn (portrayed in The Dark Half by Michael Rooker and in Needful Things by Ed Harris).
  
I've always liked this movie, though.  It's a B-minus, or maybe even a C-plus; but heck, that's not all bad, is it?
  
The movie cuts away a large portion of the lengthy novel on which it is based, which is a shame.  But -- and some of you may not know this -- there's an extended cut that aired on TBS at some point after the movie went to home video.  It adds about an hour to the runtime, and fans of the book will likely find more to like there.  Good luck finding a copy, though; that cut has never been released on home video of any (legal) kind.  One of my prize King-based possessions is a VHS tape that I used to record this show when it first aired.  Somebody converted it into a DVD for me years later; the tape had deteriorated or something, and caused the audio to be badly out of sync with the video.  but hey, better than nothing, right?
  
  
Nightmares & Dreamscapes
(collection)
  
a Viking hardback, published September 23, 1993
  
  
  
  
King's third collection of short stories was/is a whopper, clocking in at 816 pages.  This, for the record, is only about twenty pages shy of the length of his first two short-story collections (Night Shift and Skeleton Cred) combined.
  
So you'd think this would mean he could squeeze in just about everything he had left out there, right?
  
Well, let's take a look at the list of previously-published works that got brought beneath the umbrella in this collection:
  
  • Dolan's Cadillac
  • The End of the Whole Mess
  • Suffer the Little Children
  • The Night Flier
  • Popsy
  • It Grows on You
  • Chattery Teeth
  • Dedication
  • The Moving Finger
  • Sneakers
  • You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
  • Home Delivery
  • Rainy Season
  • My Pretty Pony
  • Crouch End
  • The Fifth Quarter
  • The Doctor's Case
  • Head Down
  • Brooklyn August

Additionally, a quintet of pieces made their debuts:


  • "Sorry, Right Number"

This is the teleplay of the Tales from the Darkside episode that aired in 1987.  I'm sure that episode was seen by a decent number of King fans, but I'm equally sure that it was the first place a decent number of King fans encountered the story.  I was certainly in that group, having previously had only the dimmest notion that Tales from the Darkside existed at all.
  
  
  • "The Ten O'Clock People"
  
Do you sometimes wonder if King writes stories and then simply decides to put them in a drawer without even bothering to try to sell them?  I don't wonder; I have virtually no doubt that he does this, and I wouldn't be surprised if he sometimes does so with good stories, too (and not just the ones he finishes and decides he doesn't like).
  
Or it might be the case that he occasionally finishes one and decides, "Yep, there's one for the next collection."  
  
I suspect that's what happened with this one, which is mildly reminiscent of John Carpenter's They Live (or, quite possibly, of the short story upon which Carpenter based that film, Ray Nelson's "Eight O'Clock in the Morning").  In it, King posits that only smokers can see the monsters, which is a perfectly Kingian setup.  He gets a good, lengthy story out of it, too. 
  
  
  • "The House on Maple Street"
  
I barely remember anything about this one, to be honest.  I think it has something to do with kids and with turning their house into a rocketship, or some such weirdness.
  
  
  • "Umney's Last Case"
  
Another so-good-it's-hard-to-believe-it-hadn't-already-sold tale, this one involving a hardboiled detective who slips into another world and comes face to face with the author who created him.
  
Hmm...
  
  
  • "The Beggar and the Diamond"
  
This brief piece is King's retelling of a Hindu parable.  It's his coda for the book, and it works well in that capacity.
  
The collection also has a typically fun introduction by King, and while I personally don't feel that Nightmares & Dreamscapes is quite up to the level of Night Shift and Skeleton Crew, it's nevertheless a fine, fine collection.  Bare minimum, it's got eight classic King stories, plus a great nonfiction piece ("Head Down") that is wildly out of place but in a welcome fashion.
  
As we've done previously, let's have a look at the list of know-extant stories which King opted NOT to include here:
 
  • The Glass Floor
  • Slade
  • The Blue Air Compressor
  • The Old Dude's Ticker
  • Weeds
  • The Cat From Hell
  • The King Family and the Wicked Witch
  • The Night of the Tiger
  • Man with a Belly
  • The Crate
  • Squad D
  • Before the Play (which I believe I failed to include on this list last time I made one)
  • The Reploids

I continue to be perplexed that some of these continued to be ignored.  However, you will note that the list of omitted stories shrunk from 18 to 13 compared to what it looked like last time (for Skeleton Crew).  So at least some progress had been made.
  
Nightmares & Dreamscapes brought King's 1993 to an end; uncharacteristically, there were no books, stories, movies, etc., during the final three months of the year.  And in fact, it will be May of 1994 when we pick up again; a rather substantial gap in the Kingdom.


  
   
The Stand
(television miniseries)
  
  • broadcast by ABC on May 8, 9, 11, and 12, 1994
  • directed by Mick Garris from a teleplay by Stephen King

The Truth Inside the Lie review of The Stand: night 1, night 2, night 3, night 4
  
  
  
  
On average, about thirty million people tuned in to see Stephen King wipe mankind (mostly) off the face of the Earth.  The first night ranked #2 for the week among all television programs, and parts 2-4 were the top three for the week following.
  
That was a cool time to be a King fan.  I mean, ALL times are pretty cool to be a King fan; but some have been better than others, and my memory of the late spring in 1994 is that it was flippin' awesome.  ABC had obviously decided that King's name was a treasure mine for them, and so they commenced on a three-year tradition in which May saw a big-ticket miniseries based on one of his longer works.  The Stand was the middle of those three years, and I can dinstinctly remember thinking that I'd be perfectly happy for that tradition to continue forever and ever and ever.
  
Time hasn't been entirely kind to this version of The Stand, which was overly ambitious for the (admittedly not-shabby) budget it had been given.  That's a problem with the source material, though; you could probably spend $500 million on a trilogy of feature films and do it justice, but short of that, you're in for some compromises.
  
All things considered, I think the result ABC got out of this was quite strong.  It isn't as well-loved as their version of It, but people still remember it, and that's better than a lot of even the top-rated fare of 1994 can claim.
  
  
Mid-Life Confidential
(by the Rock Bottom Remainders)
  
a Viking hardback, published August 1994
  
  
  
  
King's rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, embarked upon a seven date tour in May of 1993, which really ought to blow your mind a little bit.  God bless 'em, though.  Right?  I can't speak for any of the others members, but in King's case, it sure does seem to me as if by 1993, he'd earned the right to just dick around for a while.
  
Somebody had the good sense to turn the experience into a book, and so it is that we have Mid-Life Confidential.  The book features essays by all the people mentioned on the front cover, including tour photographer Tabitha King.  (I assume that she didn't earn a place on the banner of authors due to the fact that she was not an actual member of the band.)  It's all great, especially Stephen King's essay "The Neighborhood of the Beast," which runs the length of a generously-portioned short story and is every bit as entertaining.
  
This is a book which will appeal only to some King fans, but personally, I think it's a hoot.  Plus, it's a document of a very specific moment in King's life, from both his own point of view and (inevitably, as he pops up in other band members' accounts) that of others.  It sounds to me like everyone involved had the time of their life, exhausting though it may have been.
  
An abridged audio-cassette version also appeared, and I've not actually listened to it, though I own it and have converted it to MP3s.  In scanning through it to see what its actual contents are -- by which I mean, trying to verify that "The Neighborhood of the Beast" is represented -- I discovered that the beginning of side two of tape one opens with a ten-minute interview with King, which does not seem to be represented in the book itself.
  
Unless I made a boo-boo, though, "The Neighborhood of the Beast" does not seem to be present, nor does Tabitha King's essay, "I Didn't Get Paid Enough."  Nevertheless, I'm sure the contents are well worth hearing.

And hey, an idea just occurred to me: I could just listen to the doggone thing and make a report on the contents.  So, with that in mind, here's what you get: readings (at least some of them abridged) by Roy Blount, Jr.; Kathi Kamen Goldmark; Ridley Pearson; Dave Marsh; Tad Bartimus; Amy Tan (who sounds absolutely delightful); Greil Marcus; Barbara Kingsolver; Joel Selvin; and Dave Barry.  Sandwiched between the Pearson and Mash segments, and appearing at the beginning of side B: the conversation with King, which is NOT his essay.  I wonder what the deal with that is; maybe he wasn't available to narrate the essay, or maybe it was too long to be included without bloating the audio version to what was felt to be an unmanageable length.

Regardless, it's fun to hear he, Goldmark, Barry, and Pearson shooting the shit; if that was all these tapes were, that'd have been fine by me.

It's more than that, though; every selection represented here is excellent, with no exceptions.
  
It's a great listen, and if you can find a copy, I'd say it's worth your while.
  
  
The Book of Reuben
(novel by Tabitha King)
  
a Dutton hardback, published September 1994
  
  
  
  
King returns to Nodd's Ridge for one of the final times.  Haven't read it yet.
  
  
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
(feature film)
  
  • a Miramax film, released to home video on September 12, 1994
  • directed by James D.R. Hickox from a screenplay by Dode B. Levenson
  
  
  
  
"It's Children of the Corn ... but in the city!" you can practically imagine some over-eager writer pitching.  "Fine, kid," says some cigar-chomping executive, "as long as you make it for less than __________, you got a deal."
  
As far as fauxquels go, this is awfully damn heavy on the "faux."
  
  
The Shawshank Redemption
(feature film)

  • a Columbia film, released September 23, 1994
  • written and directed by Frank Darabont




Imagine: this and Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest came out within a mere eleven days of each other in September of 1994.  You'd get whiplash from a turnaround so severe!
  
It should go without saying that The Shawshank Redemption is one of the great moments in Stephen King film history.  It wasn't immediately apparent that that was what had happened, though.  Sure, the film got great reviews, but the box office was anemic; only about $16 million, which was less than the budget.  So while the movie have seemed like a major step forward for the hope of King-based movies which were more character-driven and truer to his tone and themes, the lack of financial support for it all but invalidated the great reviews.
  
Then, the movie scored seven Oscar nominations.  This, by the way, in a year that included all-time-classic heavy-hitters Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction (not to mention The Lion King, Quiz Show, Bullets Over Broadway, and Four Weddings and a Funeral).  It won zero of them, but 1994 is one of those rare Oscar years for which it truly IS an honor simply to have been nominated.
  
The movie found its true life in the home video market, and from there, it's been an acknowledged classic.  It often hovers at (or near) the very top of the IMDb user poll of the best films ever made.  It's been doing that for well over a decade now, and while I'm sure it will eventually give way to some other acknowledged classic, the deed is done: this movie is in the pantheon of great American films.
  
And yet, there ARE occasional best-of-King-movie lists -- from reputable sources, mind you -- that put other movies ahead of it.  Let this be proof for once and all: there are actually quite a few great movies based on King's work.  There's a huge amount of dross and dreck, as well; the chaff is much more voluminous than the wheat, let's make sure that's understood.
  
But you've probably got a dozen or so films that can arguably claim status as "classics."
  
Not too shabby.
  
  
Insomnia
(novel)
  
a Viking hardback, published October 17, 1994
  
  
  
  
With two-thirds of his (unofficial and very much not branded-that-way) "feminist trilogy" completed, King turned his attentions back to epic fantasy/horror.  Insomnia returned King readers to the town of Derry, which had served as the backdrop for It.
  
While Insomnia was not quite THAT epic, it did have a grand scope and vision.  In fact, the novel proved to be a sort of quasi-Dark Tower book, with one of the major villains of that series making his debut here.  The plot even proves to be largely about rescuing a different character, one who is said to be very important to the lives of a certain ka-tet whose ambitions are focused on a certain Tower.
  
I don't know how any of that reads to people who had not read the Tower series, but for a Constant Reader still reeling from the cliffhanger upon which The Waste Lands ends, finding these Tower connections in a(n ostensibly) non-Tower novel was a HUGE thrill.  King would, from this point, begin allowing Tower-centric concepts to creep into his work more visibly and more regularly.  Whether that is a good thing or not is entirely in the eye of the beholder; I go back and forth, but in the specific case of Insmonia, I think it is a very good thing indeed.
  
The plot has to do with an old man who begins experiencing severe insomnia, which then leads him to begin seeing things ... differently.  You might say he begins seeing the world behind the world.
  
Oh, and a large chunk of the plot revolves around trying to prevent a major attack upon a pro-abortion activist.  So the feminist content was by no means absent.
  
  
The Simpsons season six episode six: "Treehouse of Horror V"
(television episode)
  
  • broadcast on Fox on October 30, 1994
  • contains the segment "The Shinning," based upon The Shining
  
  
  
  
The Simpsons were a pretty big deal in the fall of 1994, and some 22 million people tuned in for this episode.  "The Shinning" was only a part of it, but I suspect it was a large part of the reason why people watched.  
  
I was one of them, and I thought this tale of a television-deprived Homer going nuts was damn-near inspired.  I think less of it now, but I think that's probably only because SO so many shows have followed in the wake of The Simpsons and explored the same type of humor.  
  
In late 1994, though, this stuff seemed like genius.  Maybe it's not quite that; but it's still worth a few laughs.
  
  
"The Man in the Black Suit"
(short story)
 
  • published in the October 31, 1994 issue of The New Yorker
  • reprinted in Six Stories, 1997
  • collected in Everything's Eventual, 2002





If you're a magazine that publishes weekly and you realize you've got an issue coming out on October 31, you would have to be a real choad to not at least TRY to get something from Stephen King.  I don't even care what kind of magazine you are; a Mormon-fishing-enthusiasts magazine, whatever, GET STEPHEN KING.
  
"The Man in the Black Suit" would go on to win King an O. Henry award, making it one of his most acclaimed short works.  I'm glad he won it, but this has never been an especial favorite of mine.  It often feels in his New Yorker stories as if he's holding back in some way, or playing what he thinks his perceived audience wants to hear.  This is quite possibly an invention of my part, but I can't lie about it; that's how it seems to me.
  
But it's not a bad story by any means.  Kid in the woods meets an ominous stranger and barely gets away safely; simple setup, good execution.  Just not, for my money, the classic it is sometimes made out to be.
 
 
"Blind Willie"
(short story)

  • published in the Autumn 1994 issue of Antaeus
  • reprinted in Six Stories, 1997
  • revised version incorporated into Hearts In Atlantis, 1999




Antaeus was a periodical journal (one of those book-sized types that is bound like a trade paperback) that ran from 1970 to 1994.  Its final issue was the Autumn 1994 one, in which King's "Blind Willie" appeared.
  
It's about a "blind" beggar who is in fact anything but.  He's not blind at all, nor is he homeless.  And yet, he's not purely running a scam; when he turns into "Blind Willie," he really does lose his sight for a period of time.
  
It's an odd story, but a pretty good one, and King would later revise it and make it part of his novel/collection Hearts In Atlantis, where I'm not sure it actually works all that well.  For my money, this original version is superior.  It's not AS different as previous story-into-novel revisions such as "The Revenge of Lard Ass Hogan" and "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson," so I'd hesitate to say this is as essential as those original versions are.  
  
But I'm damn glad I have it, I'll tell you that.
  
  
"Dino"
(poem)
  
  • published in Salt Hill One, Autumn 1994
  • reprinted in Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished, 2006
  • uncollected




Seemingly, few King fans had ever heard of this poem prior to its surprise appearance in Rocky Wood's Uncollected, Unpublished.  It makes a fella -- or a gal, as the case may be -- wonder what else might be out there, hiding in plain sight.
  
As for "Dino," yes, it is in fact a poem about Dean Martin.  And it's a pretty good here.  Here's a sample:
  
Dino Martini, we called him when we were kids,
as if even at ten we understood he was a soldier of booze,
the point-man of the highball generation.
  
I mean, King isn't exactly John Berryman, I guess; but it works for me.  The poem runs a full two pages, and while I can't honestly claim to be even vaguely as big a fan of King's verse as I am of his prose, I have to admit to being quite thrilled by the rumors that he's got hundreds upon hundreds of unpublished poems sitting in a trunk someplace.  I hope they will all be published someday; or, if not all of them, then at least a solid representative single volume.  Cemetery Dance'll put it out in a limited-edition illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne, and I'll happily spend a hundred fuckin' bucks on it and then grouse about it ever after.
  
Emphasis on the "happily."


Riget (aka The Kingdom)
(television miniseries)

broadcast on DR in four installments between November 24 and December 15, 1994




Riget was a four-part miniseries created in part by Lars Von Trier and aired on Danish television.  You might justifiably wonder why I am mentioning this.

I got an easy answer to that for you: a decade later, Riget would be remade for American television as Kingdom Hospital, and Stephen King was the guy who wrote most of that remake.

Wikipedia informs me that "Riget" translates to "realm" or "kingdom," and is reminiscent of the word "dødsriget," which means roughly "land of the dead."  The miniseries is set in a haunted hospital, and I strongly suspect that it was influenced by Twin Peaks, even though I have no basis for making that claim, and have never seen Twin Peaks.

I have seen Riget.  It's quite good, and is vastly preferable to Kingdom Hospital, which seems like a cheesy comedy in comparison.

A sequel miniseries followed in 1997.
  
  



Salem's Lot
(radio drama)

  • broadcast in seven parts by BBC Radio 4 from December 15, 1994 through January 26, 1995
  • directed by Adrian Bean from a radioplay by Gregory Evans


image stolen from https://tsdfrontcovers.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/salems-lot-bbc-radio-adaptation-ac-bbc-radio-full-cast/


First of all, know that the image I used for this is a fake.  I found it on a site specializing in custom-created cover art for music, movies, and the like.  Normally, I wouldn't include such a thing here, but since this radio version of Salem's Lot has never received a physical release -- none I am aware of, at least -- and therefore has no representative image for me to use, I figured hey, why not go with a fake?

I've listened to this, and I remember enjoying it reasonably well, but beyond that, my memory ain't of much use to us.

Luckily, there are online sources such as Wikipedia to help fill in some of those blanks, and among the information I gleaned in that manner: Barlow is played by Doug Bradley, who you may know better as Pinhead from Hellraiser.

The whole thing can be found on YouTube as of the time of this writing.  Here's the first episode; if you can't find the rest, that's on you, pal.





The Mangler
(feature film)

  • a New Line film, released March 3, 1995
  • directed by Tobe Hooper from a screenplay by Tobe Hooper, Stephen Brooks, and Peter Welbeck




I'm no expert on the career of Tobe Hooper, but he directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which puts him in the Truth Inside The Lie Hall of Fame.  Or would, if such a thing existed.  It doesn't, but if it did...?  Oh yeah, for sure, Hooper would be in it.  Not to mention he also directed -- or co-directed, depending on who you ask -- Poltergeist, plus the television version of Salem's Lot.  You got those three flicks on your resume, you're good for life in my book.

This is perhaps why I can't summon any vitriol over how bad a movie The Mangler is.  And have no confusion: it is a BAD movie.

So why do I kinda like it?  Is it that Ted Levine is in it playing a good-guy cop?  Is it that Reboert Englund is in it, hamming it up in multiple roles?  Is it that it's in so-bad-it's-good territory?  Well, maybe a bit of all of that.

But it is indeed a very, very bad movie.


Dolores Claiborne
(feature film)

  • a Columbia film, released March 24, 1995
  • directed by Taylor Hackford from a screenplay by Tony Gilroy




The most underrated King movie of them all, in my opinion.

I think that if the movie had come out in November instead of March, there is a strong likelihood that it wouldn't be underrated at all.  I suspect that it would have earned Kathy Bates a second King-movie Oscar nomination; and it's possible that alone might have pushed the box office higher.  As with real estate, in movies "location, location, location" is a big deal when it comes to release dates.

Whether it's a movie King fans hold to their hearts likely depends on whether they like the novel.  Some people don't, and for them, I doubt the movie is going to instigate a change of opinion.  Similarly, I suspect that most people who like the novel will get at least some enjoyment out of the movie.  It makes some changes, and that might put off the hard-to-please crowd.  The rest of us, I think, hold this movie in high esteem.

Regardless of any of that, the movie failed to generate much heat at the box office, and while it's not exactly what you'd call an obscurity, it certainly does not have even a whit of the notoriety it deserves.


The Langoliers
(television miniseries)

  • broadcast by ABC on May 14-15, 1995
  • written and directed by Tom Holland





ABC put on a third annual May-is-Stephen-King-month show in the form of a two-night Langoliers miniseries in 1995.  It was a significant success for them, too: the first night attracted 29 million viewers, and the second brought all of them back, plus an additional 3 million.  Both broadcasts ended their respective weeks at #4 in the ratings, which was a big deal in those days.

So let's take a moment and salute ABC for the foresight they showed in investing in the Stephen King brand during the early nineties.  Beginning with It and then later with The Tommyknockers, The Stand, and The Langoliers, the network clearly knew that there were dozens of millions of people in America who would get excited about watching Stephen King movies.  They KNEW those people were there, and then they managed to connect with them.

It was a case of having just the right idea(s) at just the right time.  We'll hear more from ABC over the course of the next decade or so, and the wheels will have begun to come off the wagon.

As of late-spring 1995, though, the roses were all still in bloom.  Consequently, The Langoliers is moderately well-remembered even to this day, some twenty-plus years later.  I suspect a big-budget movie remake of this story would stand a strong chance at box-office success.

But is the television version any good?  Laws no!  It's pretty bad, actually.  Not without its upsides, but pretty darn bad.

It's been seen by probably five times the number of people who have ever seen Dolores Claiborne, though, so give it its due; it has earned that from us, if nothing else.


The Best of Larry King Live
(collection of interviews by/with Larry King)

  • published in trade paperback by Turner in June 1995
  • includes an interview with Stephen King




I'm not including all that many interviews and other media appearances from King -- Stephen King, that is -- on this tour, but a few here and there seem appropriate.  Given that Larry King is one of the most notable media figures of the era in which he has lived, and given that he chose an interview with Stephen King to be included in this 1995 collection of transcripts from his career-to-date, I felt this book merited mention.

Have a look at the table of contents:




To say that's an intimidatingly strong list of interviewees is not merely an understatement; it's so understated a statement that it barely qualifies as a statement.

Oh, and ... what page does the interview with Stephen King begin on?

As for the interview itself, it (as the contents page states) comes from 1986.  I haven't read it, believe it or not; I'm waiting until such time as I decide to read the entire book.


"Luckey Quarter"
(short story)

  • published in the June 30, 1995 issue of USA Weekend
  • reprinted in Six Stories, 1997
  • collected in Everything's Eventual, 2002




That image is the best I could find for this story's USA Weekend appearance; I found it on eBay, and hoo boy, no way I'll ever own a copy of this sucker.

The story is a sweet tale of a hotel maid in Las Vegas who has a bit of a windfall when she doesn't expect one.  That's my memory of it, at least, and for now that's good enough for me.


Rose Madder
(novel)

a Viking hardback, published July 10, 1995




The King-as-"feminist" trilogy concluded with Rose Madder, one of the few King novels to not hit #1 on the bestseller charts.  It could only get to #2.

The novel is about a battered and otherwise abused wife who runs away from her husband for a life as an audiobook narrator.  Yep, sure does.  There's more to it than that, of course, but that weirdly specific plot thread is present in this weird-o novel that remains (for my money) one of King's least compelling full-length works.

It's not bad, though.


"Lunch at the Gotham Cafe"
(short story)

  • published in Dark Love (a Roc hardback edited by Nancy A. Collins, Edward E. Kramer, and Martin H. Greenburg
  • reprinted in Six Stories, 1997
  • collected in Everything's Eventual, 2002




This is a delightfully bloody story, so much so that a few years later it would inspire the awesome wraparound dustjacket art for Everything's Eventual.

It's about a couple in the process of divorcing, and an -- unexpected -- lunch date they have to discuss things.

*****

And on that anticlimactic note, we bring the ninth leg of this tour to a close.

We'll pick back up again in 1996, where our boy Stevie provides fresh proof that he has tricks and tricks and more tricks up his voluminous sleeves.

See you then!

12 comments:

  1. " you could probably spend $500 million on a trilogy of feature films and do it justice, but short of that, you're in for some compromises."


    I'm curious about this actually, and agree that it would take a trilogy to do the book justice. I'm less sure as to how much it would cost. I know Romero and King had trouble finding a studio to finance it and it sounded like they always knew it would be a struggle. I think some of it comes down to how much could be done with CGI and how many sets would need to built, how they would go about filming, say, the Vegas scenes in particular. If they could find a cost effective way to make Las Vegas and Boulder look like they did in 1980, I think you could make the film for somewhere around $100-120 million. There are no large-scale action set pieces or battle sequences. Alas, I suspect we're not destined to see a Stand adaptation on the big screen, which is an absolute shame.

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    1. To be fair, I don't know that much about how major motion pictures are budgeted, so to some degree that $500 million total was pulled from my ass.

      I do think any reputable version of it would be fairly expensive, though, simply because there would need to be a significant amount of location footage filmed in New York City. And if you're talking about shutting down portions of that town even for small amounts of time, you're talking a LOT of money. But I can't imagine not doing it and truly pulling it off.

      You'd need to do the same for Las Vegas, too, and that might actually be more expensive than NYC.

      But I agree: I don't think a big-budget movie based on this book is ever going to happen. Not in MY lifetime, at least.

      Delete
  2. (1) For as long as I can remember I've loved going to the movies by myself. Still do! Or would, if I ever still went to the gd movies... I look forward to resuming this practice sometime in the future.

    (2) I agree on The Dark Half movie. It's kind of a great damn movie, not just as a King adaptation, and it's a shame it's still kind of off people's radar for horror marathons and / or celebrated by movie sites, etc. Your take on the book in those reviews really turned me on it; I had it in King's bottom ten or twenty but you changed my mind on it. I suspect a re-read will bump it even more.

    (3) I'd watch the crap out of a Alan Pangborn series that adapted NEEDFUL THINGS and then THE DARK HALF in season 2. Or the reverse of that, I guess. Hell, no, do it that way! And then the 3rd season could be Cujo. Keep 'em guessing.

    (4) I still wish "The Ten O'CLock People" kept going. That one ends prematurely for me. I wish instead of ending it there he had fleshed the concept out possibly even the book-length.

    (5) I really have to read MID-LIFE CONFIDENTIAL. I'm kind of amazed I hadn't. I do these big Read-Everything-By... projects and then discover years later my approach was rather slipshod. I'll have to get right on this after I finish up VOYAGER... (sobs quietly)

    (6) "We'll get Stephen King for BRIGHAM YOUNG BASS AND TABERNACLE's Halloween issue or my name isn't Joseph Big Love Donny Osmond Smith, Maverick Salt Lake City Publisher!"

    (6.5) I'm glad you said that about "The Man in the Black Suit." It's not a bad story, no, but... I mean, there's really nothing to it. THAT's the O. Henry award winner? It's sort of like Sony giving REM 80 million bucks right before they stopped selling lots of records, or something, like a reward for past work more than the present one, but the present one's what they had to work with, so hey, here you go. But it's unfortunate for the work itself, as it doesn't really hold up under scrutiny. It's not a Raymond Carver masterpiece of understatement, nor any of the sort-of-author/short-story he seems to be going for that I could mention, nor a memorable psychedelic or surreal piece, or particularly funny or scary or poignant or any of the qualities of so many of King's other stories. I'm very underwhelmed by it. (Compare it to "A Death," years later. Or "Lunch at the Gotham Cafe." Or "Children of the Corn," for the love of Pete.)

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    1. (1) Yeah, it's not a bad way of doing it, to be honest. I suspect a lot of cinephiles -- which we both probably count as -- feel that way.

      (2) Thankee sai! I enjoyed writing those posts. I got WAY more out both the novel and movie than I ever expected. It's a lot of fun when that happens.

      (3) I applaud your idea of doing them out of order just to be spiteful. That's pretty wonderful.

      (4) I kinda remember feeling the same way about it. You get occasional stories from King that feel like he'd come up with an idea for a novel but felt an urge to restrict it to something shorter. Or maybe he just didn't quite put bat to ball in the writing. That story isn't a bad result as far as failed executions of great concepts go, though; everyone's failures should be so good!

      (5) lol (with you, of course, not at you) (especially since I'm starting to feel the same urge to weep about The Twilight Zone...)

      (6) lol (you got TWO lulz from me!)

      (6.5) Right?!? It's kinda weird. I imagine a scenario in which some O. Henry board member who had wanted for years to subscribe to The New Yorker finally pulled the trigger and did so, and encountered this story in one of the first few issues he received. He'd never read anything by King -- had in fact always avoided "those sort of things" like the plague (pun intended) -- but decided to power through it out of respect for the magazine. He found a more literary and restrained sort of story than he'd ever have dreamed would come from somebody with King's reputation, and was so struck by his surprise that he raved about it everyone else on the board. They reluctantly read it, and enjoyed it, perhaps not at AS fervent a level, but at a high enough level that it earned King a surprise award.

      It's probably not explicable by such a simple story, but that scenario kind of feels true, doesn't it?

      I totally agree, though; a good story that doesn't (for me) rank anywhere near the upper echelons of King's short-story work.

      Delete
  3. No TV and no beer make Will something something.

    1) I picked up a hardcover copy of NIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES for (I think) fifty cents at a used-book sale a handful of years ago. I had read some of his stuff by then, but I wasn't yet at the point where I was actively seeking out his work. Even so, "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" helped solidify in my mind what I think of to this day as one of King's most prominent tropes: rock & roll.

    Throughout his work, characters are always mentioning lyrics or song titles in dialogue or internal narration, and it's common for him to quote songs at the beginnings of chapters or sections. I wasn't surprised at all to learn that he was in a band when I saw The Rock Bottom Remainders perform on THE LATE LATE SHOW one night back when Craig Ferguson was still hosting it.

    When I hear the name Stephen King, the first thing that comes to my mind is often not monsters but music.

    2) The only FINAL SACRIFICE I care about features the greatest of Canadian supermen: Zap Rowsdower. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0pWTFean0E

    3) I really ought to see some of those old mini-series one day, particularly THE STAND. I've heard its defenders and its detractors, and my curiosity remains piqued. It's bound to be at a library or in a bargain bin *somewhere*.

    4) I thought INSOMNIA was a decent enough novel (I gave it a solid 3/5 on Goodreads when I read it this summer), but I can't help but wonder what it was like for those who read it while being otherwise unfamiliar with the TOWER novels: "Who the hell is this 'Roland' guy?"

    5) Fake or not, I kind of like that 'SALEM'S LOT poster. I've seen many fan-made posters over the years that I like better than I do the "official" ones.

    6) Aside from the occasional clunker of a story in a collection, ROSE MADDER is the first King work that I've yet read that I can say I really disliked. I could deal with the supernatural elements, even if they did seem a bit superfluous, but man, that villain is so cartoonish that it pulled me out of the story every time it entered his POV. It's like King had a checklist of villainous traits, and he ticked every box. It felt almost like a parody that wasn't supposed to be, and it ruined for me what could have been a good story. Its saving grace was that it only took a couple of days for me to get through it.

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    1. (1) What a fascinating insight! It makes complete sense, though. There's a great book of essays waiting to be written -- and purchased by yours truly -- examining King's history with rock and roll, fictional and otherwise.

      (2) Oh, man, don't you DARE tempt me to watch an entire MST3K! Because I want to -- I've been wanting to watch more of that show (which I've probably only seen about half a dozen episodes of) for literally decades now -- but there's just not enough time floating around to make it a reality.

      I may have to check this one out, though.

      (3) The trick with "The Stand" (and probably the others from roughly the same era, as well) is to do everything you can to pretend it's 1989 when you're watching it. Not 1994 (the year the miniseries aired), but 1989. That will help you enjoy it.

      (4) See, I don't know the answer to that, but it's the sort of thing I wonder about. Similarly, I've often wondered how readers of the final "Dark Tower" book who had not read "Insomnia" responded to some of the crossover elements that pop up. I've got a close friend who was able to actually answer that for me: he said he wasn't thrown by it at all. I suspect many readers of "Insomnia" -- who, let's face it, had been asked to buy into a LOT of weirdness -- responded similarly by just rolling with it.

      (5) Oh, for sure. We are in a golden age of fan-made posters, and that era may literally never end. I sure hope it doesn't, at least.

      (6) The novel has its fans, but I think a lot of readers agree with you on all of those points.

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  4. (1) King's comments on the nature of dreams sound absolutely fascinating. This is one book I'll definitely have to track down.

    (2) I've listened to tee audio-book of "Delores Claiborne", and while I think it a strong work, I find myself favoring the movie just a bit more.

    For me, Claiborne is interesting because I read, and then watched "Storm of the Century" first. So for me, "Claiborne almost comes off sounding like a kind private redemption story for Little Tall Island in some way. At least that's how it all processed for me.

    (3) "One on One" is an audio/book I'll definitely have to track down.

    ChrisC.

    ChrisC

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    1. (1) I suspect the entire book is great, though I've read only the King essay.

      (2) I can see that. It's a very good movie. And that's an interesting way to consider them, sequencing SOTC like that!

      (3) I hope to get back into the reading-Tabitha's-books business soon.

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  5. The Glass Floor
    Slade
    The Blue Air Compressor
    The Old Dude's Ticker
    Weeds
    The Cat From Hell
    The King Family and the Wicked Witch
    The Night of the Tiger
    Man with a Belly
    The Crate
    Squad D
    Before the Play
    The Reploids

    Well, The Cat From Hell was eventually included in a collection, but some of those are clearly not meant to ever be collected, such as Slade and The Blue Air Compressor.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why The Crate and Night of the Tiger have never been collected. Those were genuinely good.

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    1. Apparently King himself thinks "The Night of the Tiger" is subpar. I think he's wrong about that. As for "The Crate," yeah, that one is awesome, and its continued non-collection baffles me.

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    2. Mr. Burnette:
      I like your idea of your own version of a King Hall of Fame. Go for it!

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    3. It is an appealing idea, isn't it? Or at the very least a top-howevermany-horror-movies-of-all-time post at some point, maybe.

      Delete