Stark, Sparrows, & Subway

I finished The Dark Half a while ago. I’ve been holding off on my review because I wanted to watch the movie first so I could cover both at once, like I usually do. However, Netflix streaming doesn’t have it, Amazon Prime doesn’t have it, Vudu doesn’t have it, and my fall back, the PlayStation Network doesn’t have it. I have yet to stop by my local Hastings to see if they have it, but I’m not really holding out much hope, so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do about that, but I don’t want to get derailed by one missing movie, so I’ve decided to just carry on and watch it when I can.
So let’s jump in shall we.

Here’s a short summary of what this story is about (SPOILER ALERT). Thad Beaumont is an author who begins to be terrorized by another author, George Stark. Stark begins to kill people associated with Thad (friends, his agent, an author of magazine article recently published about Thad, etc.) before setting his sights on Thad and his family.

Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot one very key component of this whole thing. George Stark is a pseudonym that Thad used to use and recently decided to “kill off” and stop using. Yep, Thad “kills” his pseudonym, and it comes to life and hunts him down. Throughout the course of the novel we find out that Thad actually had a twin brother whom he absorbed in utero and Stark is actually the physical embodiment of it, or it’s spirit, or something like that.  Oh, and there are a bunch of sparrows too.  This book is kind of out there, and it took me a while this time around to get into it. But, once I did, it’s a pretty decent read. It’s not a masterpiece by any means. And, as you might guess, King actually wrote it shortly after he was exposed as being Richard Bachman. I guess it was maybe his way of dealing with all of that.

Anyways, I don’t really have a whole lot to go into with this one, so let’s hit some of the highlights/fun facts that I noted.

The one thing that jumped right out at me was there was a mention of a people magazine article about “a health food guru being busted for kiddie porn”. Given the recent events involving the Subway spokesperson scandal, I found this quite interesting.

The only other thing I really wanted to talk about this with this one is that it is once again a novel about an author. They say to write about what you know, and King certainly takes that to heart because he writes about Authors A LOT. Here’s just a quick rundown of the novels that have featured authors (and I’m not even including short stories at this point):

Salem’s Lot

The Shining



The Tommyknockers

The Dark Half
Ok, so that list doesn’t look as long now that I type it out. Maybe I was thinking there was more because of all the short stories as well (and maybe I forgot some?).  Or maybe it seemed like more because the last 3 have all been in a row.  Still. Out of the first 23 novels, 6 of them include an author as a main character. That’s a little over 26 percent.

Well, that’s what I’ve got for you today.

I’ll be back later with some of the stories out of Four Past Midnight. And of course, I’ll put up my thoughts on the movie version of The Dark Half once I finally get my hands on a copy of it.
Thank you for reading.


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Doors, Dean, & Dud-a-Chuck

Alrighty. Here we go. The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three.

 I LOVE this book. I’d like to say it’s my favorite of The Dark Tower series, but if I remember right, the next one is really good too. So I won’t say that yet, but I do love it. Not a lot really happens in the book in the grand scheme of the whole series, but it has a lot of character development. Either that, or I just really like Eddie Dean…. But we’ll get to that.
Before I go on much further, I’ll say my typical spiel. I’m probably not going to get to heavy into plot and what not, but there are a few things I’ll mention, so as always, “Spoilers ahead, continue at your own risk”.
The book starts pretty much where The Gunslinger left off. Roland has just finished his palaver with Walter/The Man in Black and he wakes up on a beach. Instantly he notices some lobster like creatures coming out of the water (heretofore referred to as “Lobstrosities”). The make a weird noise which sounds like “Did-A-Chick” and “Dud-a-Chuck” and all kinds of combos of those types of noises. The next thing that happens is that a lobstrosity lashes out with its claw and snips off two fingers on Roland’s right hand (his index and middle finger too…. You know, the important ones). WHAT???? Yep, our awesome Gunslinger who single handedly took down a whole town in the last book is now essentially one handed. I remember the first time I read this I was shocked, and then furious (which, interestingly enough, if the exact same order of emotions that Roland has). I remember being mad that we hardly even go to know Roland and see what he was capable of before he was severely wounded and thus limited in what he would be capable of going forward. The really great way about how King writes this scene and describes Roland’s reaction though is that, upon re-reading it my second time, even knowing what happens, I got just as furious and emotional over it. This time reading it, I had forgotten just how soon this all takes place (pretty much the first scene in the book), so there was still some surprise, and once again the anger. Anything that can make you that emotional even when you know it is going to happen is a great scene in my opinion.

Anyway, the rest of the book involves Roland traversing this beach, coming across three doors along the way. Those doors open into our world. Or rather, they open into the heads of someone from our world, and Roland sees out the doorway as if seeing through their eyes. Roland brings these people into his world and convinces them to join him on his quest. This is, of course, not easy, and I won’t go into too much details on how this happens.

The first person Roland brings through is Eddie Dean. And I love his character. Not as much as Roland, but Eddie is definitely my second favorite character. In fact, I remember reading this book the first time and thinking that if they ever made it into a movie, I would want to play Eddie, not Roland. And I still feel this way. I would LOVE to play Eddie in the movie version of The Dark Tower. Alas, it is clear that Eddie is young (he’s 23 when Roland brings him through), and so my chances of getting to do that are pretty slim (as if I would have a chance anyway with all my Hollywood connections and experience in the business and what not). Oh well.

The other major event in this book is that the lobstrosity bite on Roland’s hand gets infected, or poisoned, or maybe both. So he spends the whole book sick and needing medicine. This causes a lot of challenges to Roland in both traveling up the beach, and getting all of his recruits on board.

One thing about this book that has always confused me as been the geography. In my mind, Roland has been traveling east. I don’t know why, but that’s the way I picture it. So when he gets to the beach, it seems like it should be “the east coast”. So when he decides to travel north, he should have the water on his right. But when I picture the beach scenes, the water is always on the left. And I’m pretty sure King makes mention of the water being on the left. Making it the “west coast”. And this is how I want to view it in my mind. But that causes confliction to me. I picture Roland going as Far East as he can go…. But then he’s on the coast, traveling North, with the ocean on his left. THAT DOESNT WORK. So I tell myself I have it wrong. He must have been traveling west the whole time. But I don’t like that…. It’s not how I “picture it”. Oh well. That I can get over. My biggest issue is that I’m pretty sure King makes it clear he’s got the water on his left (west coast) but also implies he’s been traveling east…. ARRGHHH. SO, if someone wants to comment and set me straight on just wwhat is happening, that would be great. Otherwise I’ll just have to wait until I read it again and pay closer attention. 

One last fun piece of trivia, it is specifically mentioned that Eddie as seen The Shining. This is something I hadn’t consciously noted or grabbed onto as meaningful before, and during an initial read through it wouldn’t really mean much of anything, just another little nod of King reference his other works. But it is important to note that, unlink Misery, Eddie is not recalling the events of The Shining, is referring to actually having seen the movie. What does this mean? It means that in Eddie’s “universe”, Stephen King is a person and he wrote a book called The Shining and it was made into a movie. Right now, this means nothing….. But it comes back into play in book 5, and I can’t wait to get there and talk more about it 🙂

 That’s about all I have to say for now. I know this is kind of short, given that I really, REALLY, like this book. But, it is what it is. It’s a GREAT book and I’d highly recommend you read it. Though, you should read The Gunslinger first. But if you don’t, King does provide a nice little summary at the beginning to catch you up to everything that has already happened, so you won’t be completely lost if you started with this book.

I’d like to say “I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on The Dark Half”, because I’ve actually already finished it…. But we all know how that usually goes….. So I’ll just leave you with the knowledge that I’ve finished it, and will be watching the movie soon (I hope) and should have some thoughts for you soon.

Thank you for reading

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Typewriters, Tommyknockers, & Towers

It’s been a little while since my last post…. A little over 5 months. And while that’s certainly not the longest I’ve gone in between posts the difference this time is that I haven’t stopped reading…. This might be a pretty long post, so buckle up and let’s get going.
First up is Misery.

Eyes of the Dragon
was a nice change of pace from the heavy hitter that was IT. That being said, Misery was a great return to King’ “darker” side. But, it was still light enough to be a quick read. The story was great, but with only two real main characters and a simple setting, there wasn’t a lot of detail that needed to be (or even could be) expanded upon. So the story was really just the story, and that made it a very, very quick read. It probably also helped that I really got into and enjoyed it, so it was easy to just tear right through it without even realizing it was going by so fast.
The basic story behind Misery is pretty simple. An author (Paul) gets in a car crash and is saved by his “biggest fan” (Annie) who just so happens to be a psychopath who holds him hostage and forces him to write a new book to correct the death of her favorite character in his previous book. Not much to it. But King does what King is good at and turns this into a fantastic story. I mentioned that there isn’t much detail to flesh out, but what little there is, King does a good job with. We eventually get to learn some of Annie’s back story (which is done in a very tense scene and is quite intriguing).  

One of the other aspects of this story that I enjoyed, is that we got to see some excerpts from the novel that Paul writes for Annie. We get to read his failed first attempt, which Annie rejects because it’s not “fair”. And we get to read the a few excerpts from along the way. This is fun for a few reasons. One, because we actually get to read what Annie is reading and see what she does and doesn’t like for ourselves. Second, the story that Paul writes winds up in a very odd place, but we don’t get to read any of how it got there…. So it’s kind of weird and makes you wonder how it got from where it started to its climax. Lastly, what’s really fun is that the typewriter Annie gets for Paul has a malfunctioning ‘n’ key. So at first in all the bits we get to read, the n is completely missing (this makes it harder to read than you might think at first, your brain has to actually do some work to fill in the missing pieces). Later, Annie agrees to fill in the missing letters for Paul, and the pieces we get to read there actually look like they have hand written ‘n’s. Later the typewriter loses its T and then its E. Instead of us just being told this though, we find out by reading what Paul is writing when the typewriter loses the E. It’s hard enough trying to read this section without and N and a T, but when the E goes…. It turns into just a nonsense string of letters. Jus imagi ryi g o r ad som hi g wi hou a y of hos impor a l rs!!**

A few fun things I noticed while reading:

At one point Paul refers to Annie as his “Constant Reader”, which is the term that Stephen King always uses when talking about (or to) his fans.

There is one point where Paul acknowledges the events from The Shining when he talks about a “Guy who went crazy in a hotel near hear and burned it to the ground.” He even refers to the hotel as The Overlook. King often makes references to events from his other novels, indicating that many of them occur in the same “universe” and I always find it enjoyable when this happens.

If you haven’t read Misery, I would highly recommend it. I know I usually wind up saying that about every book… Sorry, but I’m a King fan. But this one is a quick and fast read. And it’s fun.
That’s about all I have for the book. Let’s move on to the movie, shall we?


King’s books are always hard to adapt to the screen because so much of what makes them great is the details that he expands on that just don’t translate to the screen. Since Misery doesn’t have a lot of these details, it lends itself to be adapted much easier. And this adaptation is great. Now, there are some things that aren’t the same, and I’ll get to those. But overall, this is a great movie, and definitely worth of your time.

First, let’s talk about Kathy Bates. She plays Annie excellently. Maybe not quite how I pictured all of her aspects in the book, but she still captures it very well. She captures it so well, and make such an impression, that when I read the book this time I kept picturing her. I’d seen the movie years ago, and so as I read the book through this time, I kept picturing Kathy Bates and could actually hear her when I would read Misery’s lines.

Now, along those lines, let me clarify a few things. The most recent thing I’ve seen Kathy Bates in was American Horror Story, so that was the image I had in my head….. But this movie was made in 1990. So Kathy Bates is significantly younger, and that was quite the surprise for me when we watched it.

Also, fun fact, Kathy Bates won an Oscar for Best Actress for Misery, making her the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a horror/thriller film.

Second and thirdly, the film is directed by Rob Reiner and the screenplay was written by William Goldman. The same director/screenwriter duo who did The Princess Bride. So really, that’s all you need right there to watch it. And of course, Rob Reiner directed Stand By Me, another excellent King adaptation.

I mentioned above, there were a few differences. Most notably, the film is missing the snippets of the story that Paul writes. And while there is no way that could really have been done on film (obviously you can’t just stare at pages on the screen, and having a “flashback/cutaway” scene would have been too cheesy) it was still sad to not have that inclusion. Annie getting mad about Paul “cheating” with his first draft, and then loving his second attempt just doesn’t have the same power when you haven’t gotten to see what she was reading.

Also, while having only two characters might work for a book, apparently modern audiences can’t handle it for a movie… so they had to add a few extra characters into the movie to make things more exciting. We saw some scenes of Paul’s agent trying to locate him. And we got more backstory and time with the Sheriff as he looks for Paul and eventually winds up at Annie’s house. This actually adds some emotion to the scene where (SPOILER ALERT) Annie kills him. We’ve gotten to know him and like him. Whereas, in the book, we have no idea who the police officer who shows up is, so we have no attachment to him when he is killed.

The last thing I want to talk about is the “hobbling” scene. In the book, in order to keep Paul more contained in his bed, Annie “hobbles” him by chopping his foot of with an axe. It’s a very gruesome scene and makes me shiver just thinking about it (King, of course, in his infinite wisdom, adds just the right details to make your skin crawl….. like the effort Annie has to make to get the axe back out of the bone when she doesn’t go all the way through the first time…. ). However, the director felt this would be a little bit too gruesome for the film, so he altered it. Instead of cutting his foot off, Annie places a block between his legs and then breaks both ankles with a sledge hammer.

The first time I saw this scene, I was upset. The axe in the book seemed much more “final” to me. You don’t come back from getting your foot cut off. A shattered ankle can possibly eventually heal, but you don’t grow a foot back. And for a book, that’s absolutely correct. You can describe the scene enough to make it quite rough (and King does this). And when I re-read the book again, I remembered what the movie did, and it made me mad all over again. So upon re-watching, I was prepared to get all upset with the movie. And then I saw what they actually did in the movie, and I believe it works just as well. In the 90s, perhaps hacking off someone’s foot would have been pretty gruesome. But today, in the post Saw/Hostel cinematic world, we are used to that sort of thing. If we were to watch a movie from the 90s and witness someone chopping off an ankle, we’d probably just laugh at how un-realistic it looked (sadly, in this post Saw/Hostel cinematic world, we have become so inundated with gore and violence that it really doesn’t affect us…. But that’s a different talk for a different time and a different place). So what Reiner did to “tame things down” in the 90s, actually ended up making something that could still be disturbing years later to an audience that Reiner never could have imagined would not have been bothered by an axe cutting off a foot. So what is it that makes the ankle breaking scene in Misery so upsetting to watch… Simply that fact that after Annie swings her sledge hammer, we get to see Paul’s foot bend 90 degrees….. and then just stay that way…. And then she does the other one. Ugh. I’m getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

I still think that, ultimately, having your ankle chopped off is worse for the person it’s happening to. But I won’t hold it against Reiner for changing it.

Fun fact: The hobbling scene in the book was one of the reasons William Goldman agreed to write the screenplay. He liked the gruesomeness of the scene and the affect it would have on the audience. He was opposed to the script change until he saw the film.
And with that, I bring my review of Misery to a close. I’d recommend both the book and the movie (in that order of course). You won’t be disappointed with either of them.
Next up is The Tommyknockers.

Again, let’s just jump right in.
This is classic Stephen King. And by that, I mean its chock full of details. Details you don’t really seem to need at all, and yet they make the story what it is. And you don’t ever feel like you are wasting your time reading them either. At least, I don’t. I know his details are one of the things that people actually critique him for, but I like them. To give you an example though, of just how much detail King throws into this book…… I had read it before, but I only remembered the basics of what happened. I knew it was about a woman who found something buried in the woods behind her house and she started to dig it up. I knew the object turned out to be an alien spaceship. I knew she had a friend who came to help her dig it up. And I knew that spaceship infected the whole town and slowly turned them into aliens.

So, imagine my surprise when pretty much all of that happened within the first quarter of the book. The rest of the book pretty much takes some detailed looks at a lot of the individual townsfolk as they change. There’s a little more to it than that, as there is some story progression. But yeah, most of what stood out to me about the book happened early on and all at once and the rest was…. Detail.

King later admitted that this was the last book he wrote while in the midst of his drug abuse and that after this book was when he cleaned up. He even went as far as to call it a terrible book. I don’t know if I’d quite go that far. But it’s certainly not great. For such a long book, and for such detail, there really isn’t much to it. But I still thought it was fun.

I don’t have a whole lot more to go into with it though, so here’s a few of the fun things that stood out while I was reading.

The book takes place in Haven, Maine. I know that another book, The Colorado Kid, takes place in Haven (the tv-series for the book is actually called Haven). But I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be the same town or not, or if he just reused the name. I’ll follow up on this when I get to The Colorado Kid (if I remember).

One of the characters, Jim Gardner, is a drunk and when he gets really drunk he complains about the dangers of nuclear power to anyone who’s around. At one point he starts ranting about “that Hanford site in Washington State”. This was fun for me, because I live near there. I actually work for a company that is supporting the cleanup effort at the site, so it was kind of cool to read about my “home town” in something as mainstream as a Stephen King novel. Usually when you talk about where I’m from to anyone, they just stare blankly. Sometimes if you mention that it’s near the Hanford site they will know what that is, but even that is rare. So, yeah, it was cool to see that at least some people know about us.

At one point Bobbi was reading Watchers by Dean Koontz. Nothing really special about that, other than I’ve read that book too.  

During the early part of the book, Gard (Jim Gardner) meets a boy named Jack on the beach at Arcadia near the Alhambra Inn. Jack is the main character from The Talisman, and that story begins at the Alhambra Inn. So, again, King is having the characters from his different books interact.

One of the characters, while in the Derry hospital, hears some chuckling coming from the drain. And someone else at one point has a hallucination where he sees a clown with big oranges puffs on his shirt. Both of these are, of course, references to IT.

There is a reference at one point to the events from The Dead Zone and Firestarter.

Bobbi is an author. And at one point she says something along the lines of “At least my books aren’t full of horror and foul language like that author up in Bangor”. Just in case you need a reminder, or didn’t know…. Stephen King lives in Bangor.

Lastly, while someone is using an axe to chop down a door, they think to themselves “Here’s Johnny”. Which is a reference to Jack Nicholson in the movie version of The Shinning.
Ok, let’s talk about the mini-series now.
The Tommyknockers (1993)

First, this is very much a tv-mini-series from the 90s. And if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know what I mean by that. So I’ll just leave it there.
The mini-series has two parts. The first part actually follows the book really well. However, when the first part ends, we are only through about the first third of the book (hey, kind of how like, everything I remembered was from that part of the book). So that means that, not only does the second part have over two-thirds of the book to cover….. but it’s the detail oriented part of the book. Sadly, the second part did not stick so closely to the book and makes a LOT of deviations. I don’t even really want to go into all of them, mostly because I can’t remember, and mostly because I don’t even think it’s worth it.  

The biggest disappointment I think I have is with the ship itself. In the book, it’s pretty spelled out that the ship is a giant flying saucer. Exactly what you’d think of when you think of a flying saucer. And it’s in the earth pretty much vertically (that is, on its side…. Assuming flying saucers fly in the same manner as a Frisbee). So digging it up creates a huge trench. However, this must have been too much for a mini-series to handle set wise on their budget, so instead the ship resembles something more akin to the tops of the buildings of an ancient temple or something. Lots of square peaks and flat spots. You know, the type of stuff you can just throw some dirt over and then have the actors “dig up”.

Not a lot really I even want to say about this one. 
So, to sum up. The book is decent, though King himself might disagree. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t rush to read it again (though I’m sure I will someday, maybe). It’s worth a read if you like King. The mini-series isn’t great at all. I’ll probably never watch it again and I wouldn’t recommend it really. Though, if you have a burning desire to watch it…. You are welcome to have my copy.
And that brings us to The Drawing of the Three

This is the second entry in the Dark Tower series. I don’t want to go into much here, I think this book deserves its own post. Besides, this is getting long. But, I wanted to mention it here, if only so I could get a third T for my title.

I’ll be back soon though with a post. I’ve already finished it and started the next book. And I don’t want to get behind again.
Thank you for reading.

**Just imagine trying to read something without any of those important letters

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Derry, Details, & Dragons

So, I may have been a little unfair yesterday in my assessment of the tv movie version of IT.  I’m not going to backtrack on my stance completely that I didn’t really enjoy it, because I stand by that.  It’s not a fantastic movie.  And it leaves out a lot.  And gets a lot of things wrong.  But, for what it was, it probably didn’t deserve my “not watching it is better than watching it” comment.  Especially since I’ve watched much worse movies during this journey. If you enjoy the book, and you don’t mind a little old school cheese, you probably should at least give it one viewing and decide for yourself.

Why the change in heart?  Well, for one, a friend of mine commented on my post from yesterday and pointed out a few things I overlooked.  Most important of which was that my complaint about child actors was a little unfair….. Since the kid actors were actually more enjoyable to watch than the adults. That and a few other things were enough to help me see that I was perhaps being a little cynical.  But not by much 😉


The other thing my friend pointed out to me that I completely overlooked about IT (the book this time, not the movie) was how much of a character the town is in the book.  That is another thing that King does very well in his writing.  He makes the town, or sometimes specific buildings, or other things, characters by giving them a deep history and really developing them.  The hotel in The Shining is a great example.  But with IT, he took things to the next level.  He not only provided a deep, rich, history of Derry, he showed just how much of an effect the presence of It had on Derry.  And how Derry itself would bend to the will of It and help It in its quest to feed.  So a big thanks to Ellie for helping me remember that, because it’s a huge part of what makes the book so great (and maybe a huge part of why the movie falls so flat.  I’m not sure how they will fix this in the theatrical movie, I don’t know that they can, but I sure hope they at least acknowledge it somehow).


Now, that all being said, let’s jump right in to Eyes of the Dragon.

This is Stephen King’s dive into the world of fantasy.  He’s already been there a little bit in The Gunslinger and The Talisman, but this one is his first complete fantasy novel.  And it’s enjoyable.  I don’t have a lot of experience with the fantasy genre, so I can’t really judge it on its merit in that respect.  But I do enjoy it.

At a very simple level, this book is about a prince who is wrongfully accused of murdering his father, the king, and how he attempts to regain the throne from his younger brother.  Of course, his younger brother is simply a pawn in this story, the real villain is the king’s advisory.  A sorcerer by the name of Flagg.

Yes, you read that right, Flagg. 

Is this the same Flagg from The Stand?  Unsure.  But I like to think it is.  It’s made pretty clear in The Stand that Flagg has been around a long time and in many forms.  It’s not hard to think he has also been around in different realms.  Of course, from the point of someone reading this story for the first time chronologically, there would be no reason to suspect this is the same character.  However, with knowledge of what happens eventually in the Dark Tower series, one is much more likely to assume this is indeed the same Flagg.

Oh, and the King’s name is Roland.  Now, this is most obviously not the same Roland from The Gunslinger, and it most likely appears that King just liked the name (and didn’t realize he would go on to continue Roland the gunslinger’s story beyond the first book).  

Eyes of the Dragon is a fun read.  It has a much lighter tone than IT did, which was nice.  Eyes of the Dragon is written from the point of view of a narrator, so it’s like reading something that was written exactly the way the storyteller would say it.  That is, it’s third person, but the narrator does occasionally throw his own thoughts and “opinions” into the story, and even sometimes tells you he can’t call you everything because he doesn’t know.  And that “personalization” is what gives it that lighter tone and was a nice break from the seriousness that was IT.  This book is fun, and I highly recommend it.  Even if you aren’t a huge fan of the fantasy genre, give this one a shot, it’s not over the top fantasy and all the words a pronounceable 🙂

Sadly, there is no movie yet for Eyes of the Dragon, and I don’t know that there are any plans to make once.  Which is sad to me, because I think this one really could make a good movie.  Of course, maybe this story is a little too simple to actually make an entertaining movie….  Of course that didn’t stop them from trying to make full movies out of some of King’s short stories…..  Maybe there is hope.  Or maybe I’ll just have to go get my directorial license and make it myself 🙂


That’s about all I’ve got for this one.  As I hinted at in yesterday’s post, I’ve already started Misery, which is next on the list.  I’m hoping to keep up on reading at a regular pace, so hopefully I’ll be back in much less than 20 months this time.


Thank you for reading.


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Children, Clowns, & Carrie

It has been a while.

Almost 20 months in fact.

Last time I was here, I was going to be taking a little break before diving into IT.  Well, that break ended and I did start IT.  And finished IT.  And started the next book (Eyes of the Dragon).  And finished that book as well…. And started…. But let’s not get too far ahead of myself. 

Let’s dive right into IT instead, shall we?


This is the one about the clown, right?


Sigh.  Well, yes, but it’s so much more than that……. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

I was nervous to re-read IT.  I loved it the first time I read it, but that was when I was 18 and fresh out of high school.  Now I’m 30 (well, 28 when I started reading).  In those 10 years, I had continually referred to IT as my favorite Stephen King book (perhaps my favorite book), and I was worried that I had maybe built it up in my mind as better than it really was.  That was part of the reason I took a little break before diving in to it.

Well, I finally started reading it.  And as soon as I did, it felt like reuniting with an old friend.  I know that might seems like a weird analogy to make, but it’s the closest thing I have to being able to describe what it felt like to read the book again.  Unfortunately, my life is a lot busier than it was 10 years ago, and a book that took me about a month to read the first time took me several months (possibly over a year, I didn’t keep track of when I started or stopped, so I don’t know) to read this time.  Life, including the birth of my second son (and some crazy complications for my wife), kept me from spending as much time reading as I would have liked.  As a result, I never really “got into” IT this time around.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it and for now I will still refer to it as my favorite King book, but it wasn’t quite the “magical” experience it was the first time around.  Someday I will read it again, and hopefully be able to devote a little more time to it and really find out if it’s as good as I remember.  For now though, I will just say it is a good read, and if you’ve never read it, I would highly encourage you to do so.

“But I don’t like clowns……”

Ok, ok, ok.  Let’s address the elephant in the room.  Or rather, the clown in the book.  Yes, there is a clown in IT.  And yes it’s a main character.  And yes, it’s understandable why people would make the association that IT is the Stephen King book about the clown (probably due mostly impart to the portrayal by Tim Curry in the TV Mini-Series, but we’ll get to that in a bit).  But, IT is not about the clown, it’s much, much more than that.  IT is about a group of kids who band together to fight a monster that was terrorizing their town and then come back together decades later to fight that monster again when it resurfaces.

“And that monster is the clown, right?”

Here’s where I get to say an emphatic “NO”.  Now let me explain.  The monster is It.  And It is some unknown being that is so evil that it really has no form.  What It does though, is take on the form of whatever you fear the most.  Sometimes this is a werewolf, sometimes it’s a mummy, sometimes it’s a giant bird, sometimes it’s a hobo.  And sometimes.  Many times.  It’s a clown.  The clown is actually probably It’s “standard” form when it is appearing.  That is, if there is a group of people, or It’s just out and about, it takes on the form of the clown (i.e., if It’s not specifically terrorizing a specific person and targeting their specific fear).  However, the clown isn’t even It’s “true” form.  I use quotations, because I mentioned earlier that it has no real form…. But when the kids finally hunt It down in It’s own lair….. They don’t find a clown.  They find……………… A giant spider.

“Oh.  Wonderful.  Clowns AND spiders. No thank you.  I’ll never, ever be reading this book.”

Ok, so, I get why you would think that…… But I really, really hope you can put aside your fears for a moment, or several, and give this book a try.  The character development that King does in this book is some of the best I’ve ever seen.  When I finished the book the first time, I was honestly sad to be done because I wouldn’t be spending time with these characters any longer.

And that’s about all I have.  If I had written this closer to when I had finished I might have had more thoughts fresh in my head, but alas, such is life.

Let’s talk about the mini-series now, shall we?


IT (1990)

Sigh.  Once again, a great story gets the “Low budget TV” treatment.  And, to top it all off, it’s a story about kids, which means, child actors.  Joy.

The series really isn’t very good.  The story is just so big, and most of it is so much details about the characters, that even fitting it all in to a two part TV series just didn’t do the book justice.  

The one shining thing about the mini-seres,is Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the clown.  He was brilliant and really did a good job of just being plain creepy.  But that really is the only good thing about the series, and unfortunately that’s not enough for me to recommend you give it a shot.

The series does have a young Seth Green in it as one of the kids… And ironically this is probably the only time you’ll ever see Seth Green in a group of 7 other people and be the tallest…… So that could be a reson to watch it…. If it’s on TV, and you have absolutely nothing better to do (though not watching it could be considered something better). 


The good news is that they are talking about doing an actuall full blown movie of IT.  And in order to make sure they have enough time, it will actually be done in two parts.  But not TV Mini-Series style.  Full blown, theatrical release, big budget movie style.  Rated R.  Which, is important to point out because the other thing the mini-series suffers from is the fact that it was on broadcast television.  Not that I need a movie to be rated R to be enjoyable…. But to really do the source material justice, and not have it be cheesy, sometimes you have to include content that just isn’t appropriate for younger views.  Thus the R rating.

No word yet on when the movie(s) will be released.  But they do have a director on board, so things are moving along.  I’ll update you when I know more.



And that is my experience with IT.  I highly recommend you read the book.  I highly recommend you skip the mini-series.  And I am highly anticipating the full blown movie version.


While we are talking about movies, I’ve got a surprise entry for you.  I finally got around to watching the latest remake of Carrie.


Carrie (2013)

This one is a little harder to review because it’s been a few years now since I read the book and watched the original movie and subsequent TV remake.  So the source material isn’t as fresh for me to make comparisons.  So really I’m just going off of what I felt while watching the movie, and trying to compare best I can to what I remember.

That being said, I think I’ve mentioned before that there are just some stories that are best left on the page.  After watching the remake of Carrie, I think that this just might be one of those stories.  I thought the original version suffered from simply being an old movie.  I thought the TV remake suffered from being a TV movie.  But this version can’t claim either of those and I still didn’t really enjoy it.  Of the three, I enjoyed this newest one the best, but it still just wasn’t a great movie. 

It wasn’t so bad that I would tell you not to watch it.  And I know there were some people who really thought it was good.  I just didn’t.  Maybe my tastes are changing, who knows.  Whatever the reason, this isn’t a movie I will be choosing to watch again anytime soon.  If ever.



And that brings this post to a close.  I mentioned at the beginning that I had also finished Eyes of the Dragon, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you.  And plus, there wasn’t anything in that book that started with a C 🙂

I’ll be back in a few days, as soon as I can come up with a title for my post.


Thank you for reading.


Filed under Reviews

Rafts, Reaches, & Recognition

My memory sucks, so I keep notes as I’m reading when things come up that I want to make sure I mention. This is especially important when I’m reading longer books since it takes me a while to get through them and I’d surly forget anything that I wanted to mention from the beginning of the book. It’s also important when reading short stories, since by the time I’m sitting down to blog I’ve read so many of them that it’s hard for me to even remember which ones I’m writing about, let a long any of the little things I wanted to say about them.

That being said, taking notes does absolutely no good if I forget to look at them when I’m sitting down to write my posts…….

Needless to say, as I was writing down some notes for one of the stories I’ll be talking about today, I noticed I had a note for Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut that I completely forgot about. And, of course, I forgot completely about what it was I left myself a note to talk about (thus proving that I do need to be making notes). Anyway, all I was going to say is that it’s another “Castle Rock” story and it even makes mention of Joe Camber (from Cujo). See, nothing really important, but still something I wanted to mention.


Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can get to the new stuff. I’ve actually finished Skeleton Crew, so this post will have the rest of the stories from it, then my thoughts on the collection as a whole, then my little blurb summaries that I wanted to do.

As always: Spoilers Ahead!


The Raft

I remember really enjoying this story the first time I read it. And I mostly enjoyed it this time I read it too. It’s about a bunch of kids who swim out to a raft in the middle of a lake and then all get eaten by some weird organism that looks like an oil slick. Unfortunately, this story was included as a segment in Creepshow 2, and they did such a horrible job with it that it has sort of sullied my fondness for it and I don’t want to talk about it much. I still enjoyed the story, but I just keep thinking about the movie version and it makes me mad….. But, I suppose I should give you a quick rundown of the story, since they made some pretty big changes in the film version. And, since those changes are what make me mad and will be what I want to talk about there, I’d better let you know how the story did it.

Randy, Deke, LaVerne, and Rachel decide to celebrate the end of summer by swimming out to an old raft that Randy and Deke know about in the middle of lake. While swimming out there, Randy notices what looks like a strange oil slick floating in the lake. Once he gets to the raft, he sees that it appears to be heading towards the girls so he yells at them to hurry up. Once everyone gets safely aboard the raft, they give Randy a hard time for freaking out so badly. Until Rachel looks at the spot, gets semi-hypnotized, touches it, and gets pulled into the water and eaten by it. Then they stop giving Randy a hard time. They discuss making a swim for shore, but the spot moves very quickly and they realize they would never make it. After a while the spot moves and makes its way underneath the raft. At this point Deke decides to make a break for shore to go get help (because no one knows they are there so they can’t just wait). But, while running to the edge of the raft, Deke steps on one of the gaps between the boards and the spot oozes up and grabs him and proceeds to suck him down through the crack. This is, of course, described in all its gross gory details (thanks for that imagery Mr. King). Overcome with the shock of what’s happening it only occurs to Randy much later that he and LaVerne could have used this time to get away… Oh hindsight. At this point, Randy realizes that they have to avoid the cracks when spot is under the raft. Fortunately the spot goes back out into the lake and they are able to take turns keeping an eye on it. One standing watch, the other sitting and resting. As it gets later, LaVerne starts to get tired and doesn’t want to stand anymore. Randy then realizes that as long as they keep an eye on the spot, they can both sit down. Which they do. Really close to each other. And of course, it’s cold out. And their college students. So they start holding each other to keep warm…. Can you figure out where this is going? If you can’t then you haven’t watched enough horror movies….. Yeah, they start making out and then start to have sex…. Of course, LaVerne gets worried when Randy lays her down on the raft, but Randy assures her he can still see the spot. Well, he could if he wasn’t distracted….. Because he stops paying attention to it and the next thing he realizes is that LaVerne’s hair is in the water and that the spot is now sucking her into the lake. Whoops? When will those crazy college kids learn?? Anyway, after watching LaVerne get eaten, Randy gives up hope. He starts to wonder if the hypnotizing affect would help make it so he wouldn’t feel the pain…. So he stares at the spot and lets himself fall in…..

Well, I’m glad I did decide to tell you the story, because it reminded me just how much I did enjoy it as a story. And how much I was looking forward to seeing the film version. And how if they had done the story right, it could have been pretty good. Alas….. But I’ll get to that in a bit.


And that’s brings us to a brief interlude to discuss the movie


Creepshow 2 (1987)

Much like the original Creepshow this is a collection of shorter stories strung together with another brief story happening in-between. Unlike the first one, it’s not just a kid reading a comic book. Also, the in-between segments are animated, which is annoying (well, not completely animated, the movie starts with real actors then transitions into animation, then at the very end transitions back to real actors, all in all it’s quite dumb). The actually stories themselves aren’t animated, so I guess that’s something, though none of them are really very good. Only The Raft is based off of a previously published story, the other two are ones that King either wrote specifically for the movie, or just had never had the story published before (and still hasn’t that I know of).

Old Chief Wood’nhead

This title always reminds me of Pinocchio, because “little woodenhead” is what Geppetto always called him at the beginning. He even had a dumb little song he sang that gets stuck in my head when I think of it. Grrrr.

This story was probably the most enjoyable of the three, which isn’t really saying all that much. The acting is pretty sub-standard. And it moves pretty slow. And it’s not really all that engaging. I almost don’t even want to go through the trouble of explain the plot to you as it really is pretty lackluster….

Ray and Martha Spruce run a general store in some old dying western type town. Ray has an old wooden Indian statue that he keeps out in front of his store. He is visited by the chief of the local Indian tribe who gives him the tribe’s most valuable treasure to hold as collateral against the debt the tribe apparently owes Ray. That night Ray’s store is robbed by the chief’s nephew and two accomplices with plans to move to Hollywood (where the nephew is sure he will become famous because of his amazing hair). Ray and his wife are killed and the buglers get away with the store’s money and the tribe jewelry. At this point, the predictable happens. The statue comes to life and hunts down the three buglers and kills them. The story ends with the chief showing back up to the store to find the statue holding his nephews scalp. This is supposed to be “shocking” and also funny (because that’s what Indians do, right??? They scalp people…. And because he was going to “make it” in Hollywood because of his hair, double joke).

So, you can see, there isn’t much to it. Combine that with poor acting and you’ve got a pretty dull 20 minutes. And remember, this was the best of the three…..


The Raft

Ok, so, for the most part, they got things right. And if it weren’t for the fact that the acting was atrocious, I could have enjoyed this story pretty well. But, they had to go and change it. And the change they made was just so dumb, so pointless, so angering that it really ruins the whole thing.

What could they have possibly done? Well, they turned Randy into a rapist. Yep, you read that right, a rapist.

Let me explain.

Everything is following the story pretty good up through the part were Deke gets sucked though the raft. They did change something here, but I think it makes it more believable. In the movie when Deke gets sucked through, he gets pulled through and it creates a big hole in the raft when he gets pulled though. You know, like what you would expect if you tried to pull a grown man though the slot between two boards in a raft. However, when I read the story, I sure got the image that King was describing it as if he got sucked and squeezed through the slats without any damage being done to the raft….. Maybe I read it wrong, but that’s sure the image I got. And trust me; it makes for a pretty gross image that I was not looking forward to seeing on screen….. So part of me is glad they changed it…. But also…….. No, no, NO! I’m glad they changed it…..

Anyway, that’s where the film starts to deviate. At this point, Randy and LaVerne sit down together to keep an eye on the spot, but they fall asleep in each other’s arms. Sometime later, Randy awakes with a jerk and looks around frantically. When he sees the spot is still out in the lake, he relaxes…. Then he notices that LaVerne is still sleeping in his arms. So he pulls up her shirt and starts fondling her breasts…. While she’s still sleeping. Then he lays her down and starts to pull her pants off too…. That’s when she starts to stir, so he pulls her shirt back down. Of course she’s stirring because the spot is now sucking her into the water….

So, yeah. That whole scene just made me angry and honestly a little sick. It was uncomfortable to watch. And there really was no need for it. I don’t see the purpose. It was mostly just an excuse for them to flash some boobs anyway…. Which just made it extra upsetting too. But just having it so…… Gross… just made it extra worse. I don’t appreciate nudity on film in any form, but if they had at least stuck to the story the way it was writing, they could have gotten there “gratuitous boob shoot” in and not had it be all creepy and rapey. I could have just looked away and been ok. But this, it was just…… wrong and put a sour taste in my mouth.

Anyway, they also changed the ending. After LaVerne gets eaten Randy makes a break for the shore. And he makes it, barely. As he crawls up onto the beach he turns to the spot and yells at it “I beat you”. At which point the spot turns into a wave, washes up over Randy, and drags him back into the lake. Then the camera pans over into the bushes off to the side of the lake where there is a “No swimming” sign. Oh geeze.


The Hitch-Hiker

This is the last story in the movie, and it’s also the most ridiculous and over the top. And had I not still had the sour taste in my mouth from The Raft, I might have enjoyed it a little more.

Annie is having an affair and she wakes up late and is in a hurry to get home so her husband won’t find out. In her attempt to hurry, she doesn’t see a hitch-hiker and runs him over. She keeps going and after a while determines that she is safe and that no one saw her. After a while, the hitch-hiker shows up again. The rest of the story involves Annie constantly being bombarded and attacked by the dead hitch-hiker. The best part is that, while this is happening, the hitch-hiker keeps yelling at her “Thanks for the ride, Lady. Thanks for the ride.”

That’s pretty much the story. She thinks she’ll get away. Then he’ll pop up from somewhere else saying “Thanks for the ride, Lady”.


Yeah, so, while I wouldn’t ever watch Creepshow again, I definitely wouldn’t even recommend anyone watch Creepshow 2 at all. Heck, I’d even be willing to watch Creepshow again after seeing what a mess number 2 was. Yeah, if you’ve seen it, I’m sorry. If you haven’t, don’t.

Let’s get back to the good stuff now, shall we?


Word Processor of the Gods

This is a fun little story about a man who receives a word processor from his nephew. A home built word processor at that. The catch is, anytime he writes something on the screen, the word processor makes it happen. That is, if he writes something and hits “insert” the item will appear. If he presses “delete”, the item will disappear. As you can imagine, this creates some very, very interesting options. Especially for a man who is not happy with his wife and son…..

This story was also made into an episode of Tales from the Darkside

Tales from the Darkside – Word Processor of the Gods (1984)

While the episode pretty much followed the story perfectly, it is also what you would expect from a low-budget, Twilight Zone wannabe, 80s television show. Frankly, not all that great. Mostly stemming from the lack of budget and the “oldness” of it. Oh well, it wasn’t torturous to watch or anything like that.


The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands

This is another story within a story, but this one is much more like The Breathing Method than Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut was, because it actually takes place in the same club. Yep, the same story telling club, which is pretty cool. Even the same butler is featured. I’m guessing King just enjoyed that method of storytelling and decided to revisit it. And I think it works well, because some stories are just better when they are actually being told to you by someone, instead of a faceless narrator. This way you get to feel like you are actually there, in the club, listening to the story being told to you. And that is fun.

The story itself is really pretty simple, and I won’t tell you too much about it so I don’t ruin anything. If you read the title that will pretty much let you know what the story is about anyway.



This is a story about two astronauts who get stranded on a planet completely covered in sand. And it just so happens that the sand seems to be alive. It’s a fun little read, but one thing has always bugged me about it.

Landing on a planet that is essentially a huge sand dune makes one of the astronauts think about the Beach Boys, which is fine. However, near the end the story drops in a quote that is a reference to the song “Surf City”, which I have always believed to be performed by Jan & Dean, not The Beach Boys. So that has always bothered me 🙂

(Note: I decided to look up the song so I could have all my facts straight. Turns out the song was co-written by Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. And, while the recorded version that I would have always listened to was in fact Jan & Dean, The Beach Boys did used to sing a cover of it at some of their concerts. So I guess I can accept this and stop being bothered so much).


The Reaper’s Image

Just a short little story about a mirror. Not much here, except that some people seem to see the image of the Grimm Reaper in the mirror. And then they die. Oh shoot, spoiler alert…… Only not really. That’s not a big secret because that’s the whole point of the story.

It’s a fun read with an all but predictable ending that tries to remain somewhat mysterious but really isn’t.



I am looking at my notes right now as I write this because this is another Castle Rock story. At least, some of it takes place near Castle Rock and one of the main characters grew up in Castle Rock and was even bullied by Ace Merrill (from The Body). Vern Tessio (also from The Body is also mentioned at one point).

This story is told first person by a young man whose name we never learn. He tells us about a night he was hitch-hiking and met up with a young lady named Nona whom he falls in love with. He even goes so far as to commit murder for her.

It’s a weird story for sure.


For Owen

This is a sort poem that King wrote for his son Owen (thus the name). The poem is about a man walking his son to school and the son tells him about a school inhabited by fruit and what goes on there.


Survivor Type

The story that went too far.

Seriously, King even admits that he crossed a line with this story. In fact, the story is mentioned in a foot note of Danse Macabre where King mentions toying around with an idea, but not sure if he would actually go through with it. Clearly he did as the story ended up being published. But in the forward to the book he clearly states that this story even makes him cringe.

So, that being said, I feel like in order to accurately talk about this story, I have to give you the synopsis. So here we go.

Richard Pine is former surgeon who was on a cruise line smuggling heroin when the ship sinks and he winds up on a very, very small deserted island that is really not much more than a beach and a pile of rocks. There is no vegetation at all. The story itself is excerpts from a diary that Pine starts to write while on the island. Through the course of the entries we learn why Pine is a “former” surgeon and what led to him being trapped on the island.

But that’s not the exciting part.

What happens while he is on the island is. At first he is able to sustain himself by killing seagulls, which he has to eat raw because he has no means of starting a fire. One day he trips on some rocks and snaps his ankle. At this point he is in trouble because it’s a bad break and could get infected and cause some major issues if it doesn’t heal properly. In fact, to ensure his survival, the best course of action is really to amputate the foot… Good thing he’s a surgeon right? Oh yeah, and good thing he’s smuggling a huge supply of drugs that he can use for pain killer. Right, so he decides to amputate and that actually goes well. Of course, now he can’t hunt birds anymore…… but…. He does have a nice….. meaty……foot…….

Which he points out that he made sure to wash very thoroughly before eating…..

At this point the entries start to become a little more eccentric. Partly because he didn’t stop using the heroin after his surgery, partly from blood loss, and partly because he is getting hungrier and hungrier. And then he decides that, since the first foot amputation went so well, there is no reason not to do the other one…. After all, he won’t need it if he starves to death.

The story continues with him amputating more and more of his legs to survive until he can’t go any higher because he wouldn’t be able to prevent too much blood loss (darn that femoral artery).

As the entries get more and more eccentric, the story ends with him deciding to eat one of his hands…

So, too far? Yeah, probably. Self-cannibalism is pretty out there. And there is even one part where he is so hungry that he starts drooling while he is performing the amputation. Yeah….. Too far.


And yet….. It’s one of my more favorite stores from the collection….


Uncle Otto’s Truck

Just a nice simple story about an old man who thinks his broken down truck wants to kill him.

I’ll let you try and figure out how the story ends 🙂

Most of this story is back story and history on Uncle Otto (the story is told by his nephew) and how he got the truck and the history and everything. It’s a fun read, but nothing really all that fantastic.

Oh, and Castle Rock is mentioned. As well as Billy Dodd, who is referred to as “Crazy Frank’s father” (Frank Dodd is the killer from the first half of The Dead Zone).


Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1)

This is a weird one. It starts off seemingly to be about a milkman making his morning deliveries. But then he starts making weird comments about leaving spiders. And cyanide. And other strange things. And when the story ends you aren’t really sure if the milkman is a homicidal maniac….. Or just maybe a simpleminded guy who imagines weird stuff.

My guess is that he’s supposed to be a homicidal maniac…. Especially based of the next story.

But, hey, if it’s not spelled out, it’s open to interpretation right? So you never can tell.


Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2)

This story, despite the name similarities, doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the other one. Except that the name of the main character, Rocky, is mentioned at the end of Milkman #1, and we do find out later it’s the same Rocky, so they are related, it just doesn’t appear that way, mostly because the stories are quite different.

In this story, Rocky has to get his car inspected before his current inspection expires. He and Leo are out driving and looking for a place they can get his car, which is not in any shape to pass an inspection, looked at. They just so happen to find an old buddy of Rocky’s that they convince to inspect the car. They do this by getting him drunk (which they already are). It’s a weird story to be sure. And it ends with the milkman from the previous story stalking them down and killing them. Or at least, that’s the implications.

This story was weird. And without the ambiguity of the previous one it isn’t all the interesting. If anything it’s just annoying following these characters that continue to get more and more drunk.


Apparently, both stories were adapted from an unfinished novel that was going to be called The Milkman. I’m not sure on much of the details, but perhaps King had a problem developing the story into a full-fledged novel.



This is an uninteresting story about a boy who has to say at home alone with his sick Gramma while his mom goes to the hospital to check on his older brother. Of course, the boy has always been slightly scared of his Gramma, so this makes the whole situation quite tense. Gramma passes away while he is alone with her, and that makes him even more nervous. Of course, the story gets a little interesting when we learn the back story and implications that Gramma just might be a witch. And of course, the suspicions are confirmed when Gramma comes back to life.

Oh, and there is mention of Henrietta Dodd…..Who is Frank Dodd’s mother.

All in all, the story reads about exciting as you would expect a story about an 11 year old boy staying home alone to read. It’s ok. Nothing great.


So of course they would turn it into an episode of The New Twilight Zone……

The New Twilight Zone – Gramma (1986)

I’ve only ever watched a few episodes of the original Twilight Zone, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I have. However, if this particular episode is any indication of the caliber of the “new” one, then I’ll probably avoid it.

It was not very good.

First of all, the story is about an 11 year old boy, so you’ve got to deal with kid acting. Second, he’s home alone, so he doesn’t talk much, so you have to deal with “voice over kid acting” so we can hear his thoughts. Lastly, the story had to be condensed way too much to make any sense in a 20 minute setting. Even though there isn’t much to the story, the back story parts are actually important to understanding the reveal at the end. But this episode tries to squish it all into a brief 3 minute dialogue that you hear in the boys thoughts as he is remember what people have said about Gramma in the past.

Basically, they had to rush too much to get everything in and it ends up not making any sense. Amanda had no clue what was going on and I had to explain things to her. Very bad.


That being said…… I’m not sure how they plan to make a full length movie out of it either, because it doesn’t seem like there is enough material for that. But they are. Mercy is scheduled for release sometime in 2014…. So you’ll have to wait until then for the review 🙂


The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet

This is another story that is told as a story. Although not in the same club as The Breathing Method. Again, I feel that this method helps the story as you are hearing it told from someone else.

The main story is about a writer who is slowly slipping into insanity, and his editor who is slipping along with him. The editor is the one telling the story, so we know that he eventually makes it back to sanity.

It’s a fun story and a good read.


The Reach

The only thing I really remembered about this story from the first time is that I didn’t really like it.

This time around….. My opinion didn’t really change.

It’s about an old woman, Stella, who is celebrating her 95th birthday. She lives on an island off the east coast and has never in her life crossed over to the main land. The story gives us some glimpses of her life on the island. Mostly it is about her getting increasingly sick and deciding to finally cross over to the mainland before she dies. The water has frozen over during a particularly cold winter, and she walks across. Her body is found the next morning.

Perhaps I just don’t get it, but I didn’t really find the story all that interesting at all.

Oh well.


And that’s Skeleton Crew. Over all, it’s a great collection. There are a few stories that are ho-hum. But there are some stories that are absolutely fantastic. I would definitely recommend you read through the whole thing.

I do find it interesting that the book starts with The Mist, which is one of my favorites, and ends with The Reach which is one of my least favorites. I find thing like that interesting.


Ok, so I told you I was going to do some story summary blurbs, like I did with the Creepshow comics because I had a fun time coming up with those. But as I sat down to write them up, I just wasn’t feeling it. I think it might be because the stories in Creepshow were all designed to be out there, so it didn’t matter. It might be because they were my way of coming up with summaries before talking about them. Whatever the reason, I just couldn’t get into these ones. I tried doing some of them, but they just didn’t feel as good. It could be that now that I’ve already discussed the stories I can’t get myself back into a frame of mind to summarize them this way. Whatever the reason, rather than give you a bunch of halfhearted stuff, I’d rather just not give you anything and apologize if I got your hopes up. So, sorry about that. If you are really, truly upset, let me know and maybe I’ll revisit these in a week or so and try again 🙂



And that brings me to what’s next….. IT!!!! I’m very, very excited for this one. IT is, to date, my favorite King novel, but I haven’t read it since my first read through 10 years ago, so I’m really looking forward to this.

That being said, I’m a little nervous as well that I’ve hyped it up so much in my head. I’m scared that maybe I’ll be disappointed on the next read though. I’m pretty confident this won’t happen, but I’m still a little bit scared.

So, I’ve decide to take a little break before I dive in. Amanda and I have been watching Sherlock, which is an amazing show and we love it, and I’ve gotten in the mood to read the original stories. I’ve got a complete collection of Sherlock Holmes on my bookshelf that I got in college and have never gotten around to reading, so I think that I’m going to read that before jumping in to IT. The main purpose is to give myself just a little King break. After all, I’ve been reading only King works for the last 2 and a half years, and I can tell that I’m starting to get just a little fatigued from it. So I think the break will do me good.

So, it may be a while before you hear from me again. My Sherlock collection is pretty long, and so is IT. I might check back in with you before starting IT, just so you’ll know I’m back on the journey. I haven’t decided whether or not to blog about other works or not. I’ve thought about that a little bit in the sense that when I do finish my King journey, I’d like to keep going. But I also want this blog to really be just about my journey with King specifically. So I’ve toyed with the idea of starting another one when I’m done with this one to continue the journey. But, while that make sense when this is done, I don’t necessarily want to start another one while I’m still in the middle of this one…. So if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to share them with me in the comments, I’m open to ideas and suggestions.


Lastly, before I sign off, the folks over at Flatliner Books ( recently featured me in one of their video post cards of blogs they have visited, so I thought it only right to give them a shout out as well. You can find the post here (, my blog shows up at about the 1:11 mark in the video. What’s interesting is that they actually stumbled upon one of my other blogs (my blog about the adventures of being a dad), but since this is my main blog, it’s the one that showed up on my signature when I comment on their blog that it was ok to feature me. So, I don’t even know if they’ve seen this blog or not, but they helped me advertise it. And really, that’s ok. This is the blog that I’d like the word to get out on anyway. Because the more the word gets out on this blog, the closer I come to having Stephen King himself find out about it 🙂


Thank you for reading.

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Filed under Reviews, Updates

Mist, Monkeys, & More

I’m not sure how long this post is going to be or not.  I’ve finished several stories from Skeleton Crew, so in that light, it could be a longer post.  On the other hand, some of them are very short, so there won’t be much to talk about.

One thing I have decided is that, as with last time, I’ll be reviewing each story individually and then posting thoughts on the collection as a whole at the very end.

Also, I had a lot of fun coming up with the short summaries when I did Creepshow, so I’ve decided to do that again here.  But, I’ve decided to save them all for the end when I do my summary of the book as a whole.  So I’ll just be reviewing each story as I go, discussing the plot as needed, and then at the end I’ll give you a short 1-2 sentence summary of each story (kind of like a tagline if you will).  We’ll see how this format works out and I can adjust for the next short story collection if needed.

All that being said, I’ve got 8 stories and 1 movie to talk about, so let’s get going.

Oh yeah, and as always, spoilers ahead, so travel with care.


The Mist

This is the longest of the short stories in the collection, and is actually more of a Novella.  In fact, it’s long enough that when they made the movie version, it was re-published as a standalone version.  The main premise of the story is that a man and his son get stuck in a grocery store when a strange mist rolls through the town after a big storm.  But the mist isn’t the only thing that rolls through, there are also creatures in the mist.

This was actually the very first King short story I ever read.  And it set a very good taste in my mouth for short stories.  I enjoyed this story a lot when I first read it, and I enjoyed it again reading it this time.  Because it’s a short story, King doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on the background development that he usually does.  But, since it’s a little longer, he does give just enough to get you an idea of who the characters really are.  It’s a very nice mix of just enough detail to care, but not so much that the story drags on and on.

It’s also a story that you can envision a movie actually being made and working well, which is great news because they did actually make a movie of it, which I’ll get to right now 🙂

The Mist (2007)

First, the good:  The movie was adapted and directed by Frank Darabont, who also did the film versions of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.  So he’s no stranger to King, and he’s got a great track record.  A track record that he keeps up with The Mist, as far as I’m concerned.  I enjoyed the movie a lot.

The movie did a good job of following the pacing of the story for the most part, but in some cases moved even faster than the story did, so it did seem a little rushed at the beginning.  I suppose the reason for this is that if you are watching the movie, the assumption might be that you have read the story and know what’s going to be coming, so we might as well get to the monsters as quickly as possible.  Whereas, when reading the story, you don’t have any idea that monsters are going to be popping up later, so there is no sense in rushing to it.  In fact, if you’ve never read the story before, there is really no sense of what direction the story is going to take (well, except for the fact that it was written by Stephen King, that should give you some kind of clue).  Either way, even knowing what’s coming, the opening of the movie seemed really quite rushed, but that’s my only big nitpick.

Second, the fun:  The main character, David, is an artist, and at the beginning of the movie he his painting of a picture.  This picture just so happens to be of Roland (from The Dark Tower) standing in the desert in front of a door with the dark tower in the background. This was quite the fun little Easter egg for King fans.

Lastly, the bad:  And by bad, I don’t really mean bad at all.  As with and film adaptation, there are going to be changes.  I, however, didn’t have a big problem with most of the changes this time.  And in fact, as far as the big change goes (the end, they changed the end of course), I actually enjoyed the movie ending more.  You better take note of that, because it’s not something you will hear me say often.  But I actually not only am ok with what they did do the ending, I like it.  It probably helps that the ending of the movie felt more like a Stephen King ending than the ending of the story did.  In fact, King himself was a fan of the movie ending and said it was the ending he wished he had thought of.

So just what was the difference in the ending…..  Well, I’ll tell you.  I went back and forth about whether I should or not, because this will probably be the biggest spoiler to date.  But I came to the decision that, I’ve gone over the spoiler issue so much by now that you know what my stance is.  I also have said over and over, if you don’t want spoilers, don’t read.  And ultimately it comes down to your choice.  I always warn you.  If you don’t want something spoiled, go read/watch it first then come back.  But most of you reading this blog fall into two categories.  Category 1: You are a King fan, which means you’ve probably already watched/read and so it doesn’t matter.  Category 2: You are not a King fan, but are an acquaintance of mine who is reading this blog just because you know me.  In this case, you probably have no desire to ever watch/read whatever story I’m talking about, so it doesn’t matter about the spoilers.

So that was my decision.  But as I sat down to write this review, I still found it hard to come to terms with actually writing out the end of The Mist.  And I almost decided not to.

But I’m going to.  But just be warned.  This is HUGE.  Absolutely HUGE.  We’re talking “I See Dead People” ending HUGE (Um, if you don’t know what that means, well, you are lucky and I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil that one for you….. But just go watch The Sixth Sense).

So here we are.  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!  Seriously, if you have any plans whatsoever to watch The Mist, stop reading NOW!!!  Please.


Ok, you have been warned.


The story ends with David, his son, and two others escaping from the grocery story to David’s car and getting away.  They drive though the mist as far as they can with the gas they have.  At this point we learn that David has been recording this story on some stationary (the story is written in first person) and is about to get out of the car to try and fill up with gas.  They recently were able to get one word over the radio, Hartford, and they are going to try and get there in hopes that there will be safety there.  David ends is recounting of the events with two words.  Hartford and hope.

So, the story is quite open ended.  What happens next?  We don’t know.  But there is the hope that he will be able to get gas, and they will make it to safety.

The movie ending is not as happy.  Not by a long shot.

In the movie, David, his son, and three others make it to his car.  The drive as far as they can on the gas that they have.  When the run out of gas, they hear a noise which sounds very much like the monsters that we have seen already.  At this point, David checks the gun he brought with him and discovers that he only has 4 bullets.  So he does the honorable thing, shoots the other 4 passengers then gets out of the car to let the monsters take him.  At this point, an army truck rolls though and the mist starts to clear up.  David then collapses to his knees screaming.  The end.

Can it get much bleaker than that?  Probably not.  Most people I talk to absolutely hated the ending.  But me, personally, I thought it was a great ending.  I’ve always been a fan of the bleak endings though.  So here are some of my thoughts on it.

The bullet to passenger issue was actually discussed in the book.  David notes that there are 4 people and he only has 3 bullets and decides in his mind that should they come up against the monsters again, he could shoot the others and find a different way out for himself.  So it’s not like this was completely out of the blue.  King had dropped that idea in there; he just didn’t go all the way with it.

Secondly, even though the story ends with a hopeful note, there are a few things to consider.  Since it was written in first person, and was written by David, why would he not have continued the story once he made it to safety?  Why wouldn’t he have added an epilogue or something to say, “Oh, by the way, I made it back with the gas and we got to Hartford and everything was great and we had pizza for dinner.”  Stands to reason that, perhaps, you could assume the reason he didn’t finish the story was because he couldn’t….  Obviously, there is no way to know as it’s up to the reader to decide what happens.  And obviously, even if this scenario were what King had intended to imply, it’s still not as bleak and horrible as the movie ending.

But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the movie ending.

And that brings me to the end of The Mist.  Any other differences are inconsequential and were made simply for making things play out better on screen.


Here There Be Tygers

This is very short story.  And it doesn’t have much to it.  It’s about a little boy, Charles, who needs to go to the bathroom during school, but he thinks there is a tiger in there that’s going to eat him.  What makes this story interesting/frustrating (depending on what you like) is that we don’t know if there really is a tiger in there, or if this kid just has an overactive imagination.  At one point another student tries to get him to go in there, and leads him in.  Charles runs back out, and when he peaks back in he sees the tiger with the other boy’s shirt in his claws.  Since he still has to go to the bathroom quite badly, he goes in the sink, but gets caught by the teacher.  The teacher then goes further into the bathroom to find the other student while Charles goes back to the classroom.  The end.

So, did he imagine the whole thing or did the teacher get eaten by the Tiger?  That’s up to the reader, and is the whole fun of the story.  In some ways I guess you could say it’s King’s take on “The Lady or the Tiger”.

Not a whole lot more to say about this one really.  I did enjoy it, but it’s not a masterpiece or anything.


The Monkey

This story is pretty fun.  It’s one of the longer ones in the collection, but nowhere near as long as The Mist.  It’s about a man who finds a little toy monkey (the kind with the cymbals that crash together, like the one that watches the security cameras in Toy Story 3, if you’ve seen that) that he thought he’d hidden when he was a child.  This particular monkey seems to have some sort of evil power, as every time its cymbals bang together, someone dies.

Most of the details of the monkey are told though flash backs to give you an idea of what the monkey did when the man was a child and why he wants to get rid of it so badly.  Eventually he drops the monkey down into the deepest part of a nearby lake.   The story ends with a newspaper article talking about how all the fish in the lake mysteriously died.

This story is pretty good.  It has just the right amount of detail without going too far.  We don’t know all the motivations for all the characters, but doesn’t take away from the enjoyment and the intrigue that surrounds the monkey.

The use of such an iconic toy as the cymbal clanging monkey is also great because you can easily picture this stupid little toy in your head.  And it’s easy to understand how, given the circumstances, a toy like this could be frightening.


Cain Rose Up

This is one of my favorite short stories in the whole collection.  Of course, be prepared to hear that a lot because a lot of the stories in this book a great.  But I do enjoy this one a lot.  It centers around a young man, Curt, who just finished his last college final before leaving for summer break.  He makes his way back to his dorm room, talking with people along the way about the final.  When he gets back to his room, he takes out a rifle and starts shooting people from his window.  The End.

It’s really, really sort, only a couple pages.  But it packs quite a wallop.

When I first read this story my first thought was that it would be the type of story that I think it would be fun to turn into a movie.  Not watch as a movie, that’s not what I’m saying.  I’d like to actually be the one to make this movie.  Of course, I’m not sure how you would do it, because there’s not a lot of meat to it.  I would make more of a decent episode to some kind of serial show, like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, or something like that.  But of any story I’ve ever read, this is the one that I would most like to be able to film myself.

So, hopefully you’ve gotten the idea that I enjoyed this story.  If you haven’t………. Well…….. I enjoyed this story.


Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut

This is kind of a weird story.  It’s told in first person.  But the main story is recounted by someone talking to the person who is telling the story.  So it’s first person, but the person writing it is not telling the main story….. If that makes sense.  It’s kind of like The Breathing Method, in which there was a story told within the story.

The main story is about Mrs. Todd who is obsessed with finding shortcuts.  If she can shave a tenth of a mile of her total distance, she’ll try it.  Eventually she starts to find shortcuts that cut her distance down to an impossible number (as in, less than the distance of a straight line between her two travel ends).  The implication is that she has somehow stumbled upon some sort of alternate dimension.

The story is pretty weird and odd.  I can’t say that I disliked it, but it isn’t one of my favorites.

I wouldn’t really want anyone to make a movie out of it…. But I could see it happening someday.  And it would be pretty bad…..


The Jaunt

This is another one that I liked a lot.  It takes place in a future where teleportation has been discovered.  The term “Jaunt” is the name given to the process.  This isn’t teleportation like in Star Trek or anything like that though, this is more like Portal.  As in, the people go though one portal and instantly come out the other portal.  With this process, space has been explored and expanded upon.  It’s easy to explore space when you just have to launch a rocket to a planet with a robot designed to set up the receiving portal, then you can just teleport everything else though.

The main part of the story is actually a recounting of how the “Jaunt” was discovered.  This is told by a father who is getting ready to take his family on their first Jaunt and he wants to help ease their minds by telling them the history.  What’s fun is that while the story takes place in the future (the family is in the 24th century) the actual discovery of the Jaunt takes place in the 20th century (the 80s or 90s, which is still technically the “future” as of the time the story was written).

What really sets this story apart is the fact that it is science fiction.  At least, more science fiction than King’s stories usually are.   He doesn’t go into a lot of the details that a regular science fiction writer might, so true science fictions fans might be a little disappointed.

This was a fun read, even the second time when I knew what was going to happen.  It’s not anything super special, but I did enjoy it.


The Wedding Gig

This story is pretty unmemorable.  In fact, I couldn’t remember a thing about it even though this would have been my third time reading it.  If that doesn’t tell you something, then I don’t know what else to say about it 🙂

The story takes place during the prohibition era and is about a jazz band that is hired to play a gig at the wedding of a big mob bosses sister.  In typical gangster wedding style, the reception is interrupted when an opposing gang boss has a hit-man take out the bride’s brother.

The story ends with recounting how the sister took over the gang operations and eventually got her revenge.

Not much to tell.  Not much to say about it.  It wasn’t that great.  The End.


Paranoid: A Chant

This is not a story, it’s a poem.  And it’s a poem that is written as if it were taken out of the diary of someone suffering from extreme paranoia and delusions (and possibly schizophrenia).

There isn’t much to it, it’s only 100 lines.  And it’s all……… crazy.  As you would expect the writings of a paranoid schizophrenic to be.

Enjoyable? Meh.  Forgettable? Probably.  But it was fun and makes for a nice inclusion on the whole collection.  I wouldn’t recommend running out and buying the book just for this story, but I wouldn’t say you should skip over it.


The next story is The Raft, which I have finished but also has a movie along with it, so I’ll save that for the next post.


This post turned out about how I thought it would.  More details for the stories I liked, and then less near the end as the stories were less interesting and I was getting writing fatigue 🙂

I should be back soon to tell you about a few more stories.


Thank you for reading


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