Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Dulcet Tones of This Here Blogger (or, I was on a Podcast!)

Just a quick little message letting you know that I recently appeared as a guest on Bob LeDrew's podcast The Kingcast.  So if you're itching to hear what I sound like -- hint: it's like Eeyore crossed with Thurston Howell III -- your prayers have been answered.
I had a lot of fun talking with Bob.  The topic of conversation was "the worst Stephen King adaptations," and we touched on everything from Maximum Overdrive to Thinner to The Langoliers.  Was Under the Dome mentioned?  It certainly was.
The Kingcast is always worth listening to.  A pair of recent episodes touched on the fertile theme of isolation and confinement in King's work; and there is a LOT more of it than you might think.  Bob will tell you all about it.
If you enjoy what he does, head over to his Patreon page and consider giving him a bit of monthly support! 
By the way, apologies for that clicking noise emanating from my end of the conversation.  I promise I was not clipping my nails the entire time.  I suspect my headphones and microphone might not be the best money can buy...


  1. I haven't checked in with the Kingcast for a long damn dog's age. Last I checked Ledrew had set the site on hiatus, I'm glad to see he's back in business. I know what he's doing with the Patreon account, and I wish him luck. Right now, I'm just sort of paranoid about how a lot of media conglomerates are cracking down on indie critics, I mean that's more paranoid than me. So here's wishing him the best of luck.

    The King films I hate or hate to love...

    I'm not sure where I fall on that one. Usually, when I see something i think is bad, I can never recall spending any more time on it than is necessary. So I don't have that kind of backlog much in my mind. So I don't know of how much I can contribute there. However....

    King Guilty Pleasures:

    Undeniably both Running Man and Maximum Overdrive, plus Silver Bullet. I think Bullet has to be like the forgotten child in the pack or something. To me, that film just needs to get a bit more love.

    The current King Adapt that is most hated on my list currently:

    Simple, "Under the Bloody Dome". If you're still not caught up with the show, then trust when I say I'm hear to tell you, you wouldn't be missing much of a single damn thing. Without giving away spoilers (even though I'm honestly puzzled why I shouldn't), it's reached a point for me where I just think (1) this just is not a King work anymore and (2) really times infinity wishing it would just END(!) already.

    What makes my gradual disappointment in the show all the more sad is because, for a brief moment during this season, the writing looked like it was just about to take things in an interesting direction. It looked like things had kicked into full post-apocalyptic mode, it was possible audiences might get the idea of what I suggested as "the Anti-Mist" where the town would have to learn to work together while facing off against an alien invasion from within. It sounds interesting, it "might" have promise as a concept....

    ...And then the major failing of the whole show displayed itself for all to see. I'm now more convinced than ever that this should have been a cable, as opposed to a network series. I just can't help wondering if there hasn't been a lot of executive meddling with the scripts behind the scenes, so much to the point that maybe even the original planned ending, the one King was enthusiastic about might no longer exist in its original form. The biggest fault of UTD is that it is beholden to the network conflict of the week formula, hence the padding of the past few seasons. It's damning with faint praise, but at least I got less of a sense of padding or cheese this season. That said, when you realize you're watching a person possessed by aliens, you can't help thinking "shouldn't their behavior be more odd or detached, or perhaps even having trouble communicating at all"?

    I'm rambling, so I think I'll pull the plug before the sun comes up. I will just say that I got a lot of Ledrew's podcasts to catch up on.


    1. I agree with you that the absolute worst adaptation of them all is "Under the Dome." I also agree with you that there have been fleeting moments when the series seemed about to go in interesting directions; at each of these occasions, it has then immediately managed not to do so. The series is an absolute embarrassment to anyone who worked on it as a writer or producer; most (though not by any means all) of the cast will be emerging relatively unscathed, because rarely has the low quality been their fault.

      I like "Silver Bullet" reasonably well. "The Running Man," too, for that matter. I wouldn't defend them in an objective sense, but they both scratch my child-of-the-eighties itch quite capably.

  2. This was really fun. I never listen to podcasts. They are the soft underbelly of my media consumption. Opera, too, I guess, but who's ever sending me opera links? No one. Whereas podcast links and recs fly fast and furious. Anyway, this seems like a good one, I've bookmarked it and will have to dig in.

    That Creepshow 3 anecdote cracks me up.

    I'd never heard that "if you hit a wrong note in concert hit it again really hard" saying either.

    1. I listen to a decent amount of podcasts, but that's only because I can sometimes do so at work without being distracted by it. There are good ones out there, and probably way more that I know nothing about.

  3. This just sent me down the rabbithole of Stephen King-related podcasts, which is just as well: traffic on my commute lately has been awful, and podcasts eat up the time. Great discussion!

    I, too, would happily throw out all the Mick Garris-helmed adaptations except for the opening sequence of The Stand miniseries, which is iconic. I'd like to see a non-Garris Bag of Bones film/miniseries sometime--ideally on HBO, ideally directed by Cary Fukunaga, since we lost him from It.

    My pick for cheesy, not-really-good-but-still-enjoyable King movie is Rose Red. I kind of like the way it just indulges every single genre and King trope it can find: different psi gifts, an autistic little girl, a haunted house, Harold Lauder without the pathos, fanatics, The Haunting of Hill House run through a blender, etc. It's a very comfort-food premise for me. I always feel like every aspiring horror author should be required to do the "people investigate old haunted house" story at least once, and when King finally goes for it, here, he goes all in. It's the cinematic equivalent of one of those houses decorated for Halloween where it's just plastered with fake tombstones, black cats, spiderwebs, pumpkins, until there's no room to walk: it's not *good*, but somebody definitely committed to it.

    1. I rewatched "Rose Red" last year and enjoyed it. Some of the performances are grating, but it's got a lot going for it.

  4. I'm not hearing any Thurston Howell III. Wasn't he a blue-blooded Northeasterner? I think a more apt description is Peyton Manning with a little Eeyore thrown in.

    1. I'm glad. Most of the country loves Peyton, but I didn't know how an Alabama fan would feel about that.

    2. Well, I'm in the minority among Alabama fans in that I'm sane, so it's fine by me. ;)

  5. Great discussion. And equally great to hear the voice behind this blog. Nicely done!

  6. Okay, so I just read your Guided Tour of King's Canon yesterday, and it probably took me at least an hour. My wife was rolling her eyes as I ignored the fam, but as I'm becoming a faithful reader of not only Stephen King, but of yours, I feel a little more comfortable asking for your input on what to read next. It feels like a weird request, but I remember a few years ago having friends call and send private messages on Facebook about Breaking Bad, and I loved living vicariously through other people as they watched it for the first time, so my hope is that you'll not only not mind, but kind of like it.

    Here's the pertinent information about me: I'm a little wary of Pet Sematary and Cujo, having become aware of plot points and being sensitive to dead children. I intend to read the Dark Tower series, but am not sure I have the energy to embark on a journey of thousands of pages right now. Up until a few years ago, I had only ever read The Green Mile, after falling in love with the movie. What I've read so far: The Green Mile, Joyland, The Colorado Kid, Different Seasons, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, From a Buick 8, Needful Things, Blockade Billy, The Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, Dolores Claiborne, Gerald's Game, Carrie, Roadwork, Cycle of the Werewolf, and most recently, Four Past Midnight. Any thoughts you might have would be much appreciated.

    1. I'm always happy to provide input to folks. I find it very cool that anyone would even care what I think, so answering questions is the least I can do!

      And yes, I'll absolutely enjoy hearing about your progress!

      As for recommendations...hmm...lemme think...I think that of your remaining choices, I'd recommend one of these five titles:

      "The Dead Zone" -- Easily one of his best novels, in my opinion.

      "The Shining" -- Ditto.

      "The Gunslinger" -- Don't let the fact that it's the first book of a series worry you. There's no need to read all seven books back-to-back-to-etc. In fact, with at least the first five books, I would highly recommend NOT reading them in succession. I think leaving a gap between them enhances their charms.

      "It" -- Obviously it's quite a time investment, but for my money it's his single best novel.

      "Danse Macabre" or "On Writing" -- Okay, you caught me; that's six suggestions. But I'd consider reading one or the other of these nonfiction books sooner rather than later; both are terrific, and will give you tons of insight into who King is and what he's all about. And if you enjoy that, I highly recommend getting a copy of the interview collection "Bare Bones" (as well as its sequel, "Feast of Fear").

      I'm tempted to just keep on naming titles, by the way. There are SO many other great ones...!

      I hope that helps! Keep us updated.

    2. Hey, thanks for the input. Funny thing, Danse Macabre and The Shining were the ones I had my eye on next. I'm considering reading The Shining in January, since I live in the Rockies (Utah) to lend a little extra atmosphere (although I've heard that's one story that doesn't need any help). I read a couple of the short-story collections in winter and Needful Things in summer, and somehow it seemed to fit. Probably not something you'd think about in Alabama, but there you go. Thanks again!

    3. Oh, I'm all about the seasonal atmosphere. In fact, I always try to watch as many King movies (and John Carpenter movies, and horror movies in general) during Halloween season, which is coming up rapidly.

      So that makes sense to me as selection criteria, for sure!

  7. Great discussion. And equally great to hear the voice behind this blog. Nicely done!