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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Did you see the version of The Raft that showed in one of the Creepshow movies? The story itself is pretty creepy as hell, but the low-budget adaptation just sucked. It needed a much better budget and effects just to stand a chance.

    I've tried watching the TV adaptation of IT, but I've never made it through either. IT is probably my favorite work by him, since it deals with the passing of time and the loss of childhood, in addition to all the horror motifs in the work; but uggh, the TV version was just so low-budget that it was miscast, and you can't really condense something that long and powerful into such a short censored work. Same problem with the TV version of The Stand; the whole end of poet Harold Lauder was laughable in the TV movie, but beautifully written in the story.

    Very few works of his have really survived the move to cinema. Shawshank was easily one of the best; there were changes I didn't like, but the movie to large effect captured the glory of the prose.





    hilarious. I think's amusing that a book he doesn't remember writing and one considered not his best work still is culturally ingrained; name a dog Cujo, and people know exactly what to expect.



    I can't even tell you what I didn't like about it, because I barely remember it. I just know it took me MONTHS to read through; i was bored to tears, it felt like he was just trying to fill pages until he could catch the wind himself. Normally I can read a King book in a day or two (for an average length one, like The Dark Half) since I love them so much. God that book was a SLOG. It finally started to catch enough of my interest by about 60-70% of the way through that I could drag myself over the broken glass of the remaining 30%.

    I was not really a fan of King including himself in his own story, which I think happened in Book 6? It's a "cute" idea, but felt too self-indulgent, as it was to the degree that M. Night Shyamalan shoves himself into his own movies.

    I really loved parts of Book 7, and I'm a big fan of the Mordred storyline. I'm kind of an arachnaphobe to start with, and some of those scenes (starting with his birth) will haunt me forever. But I felt like King didn't quite know how to get to the end of the book. So he just starts slowly stripping away the characters... kind of like the last season of Lost where you know only a few will be left standing, so you start taking them out episode by episode. The ending with Mordred was great. The actual confrontation with the Crimson King, kind of predictable and boring. However, I am a big fan of the Epilogue; some people hated it, I thought it was the perfect "ending" to the story. In fact, if it hadn't happened that way, it would have likely been a let-down.

    I have the Keyhole book, but I only read about ten pages so far. I need to get into a mental groove, and then I should be able to finish it in short order; it's just been sitting here.

    The IT TV mini-series of course doesn’t begin to compare with the novel, which is an old song, or a cliché, for SK fans. But for people who haven’t read the book, it’s not that bad for a TV series of its time. Some of the kid scenes were probably the best, if memory serves, though the Henry Bowers in the TV series was nowhere near as menacing as the book version’s was, as Lauder from The Stand TV series was pretty flat compared to the book’s.

    I agree that Shawshank was one of the best movie adaptations of King’s work; Frank Darabont seems to be the master at translating King to the screen. I also think it works better to adapt a novella or short story into a film, because you can build on it instead of being forced to either gut it or cut it up into two or three part movies (like the final Harry Potter film and the Hobbit).

    You’ve hit on what is perhaps the greatest flaw in a few of King’s otherwise great novels: their endings tend to be anti-climactic, making the reader feel let down after an intense build up. The Stand comes to mind, where the Dark Man turns out to be kind of lame and curiously inept: a paper tiger of sorts. A rather disappointing villain, once you get to know him better, though King has said he believes it is often the case that evil turns out to be banal under closer scrutiny, so it seems this was intentional on his part. I first read The Stand when I was maybe 14, and had many nightmares about Flagg. I kind of relished this; I wanted Flagg to scare the hell out of me, not be deflated as he was.

    Among his later novels, I didn’t think Cell was all that good (for SK), but I really liked Duma Key.
    Last edited by trancemode; 01-23-2013 at 04:36 PM.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    I vaguely remember watching The Raft, and remember reading the story, which I’m sure was better. I agree that Shawshank was one of the best adaptations of his work. I think works better to adapt a novella or short story into film, because you can build on it instead of being forced to gut it. Stand By Me is another good example of this.
    Probably true. I was having the discussion about peter Jackson's adaptations and said I preferred King Kong more than his Tolkien ripoffs because of the same thing -- the original movie was paper thin and straightforward, so Jackson could layer in whatever he wanted, without gutting it like he did with Tolkien.

    You’ve hit on what is perhaps King’s greatest flaw; his endings tend to be anti-climatic. The Stand is a prime example. The Dark Man turns out to be kind of lame and curiously inept, a paper tiger. He was let down as a villian you were led to fear (I first read this as a teenager and had many nightmares about Flagg). Though there are exceptions, such as IT, where his ending/climax lives up to the build up.
    Flagg was definitely pretty nasty stuff, but he did kind of just bug out without anything happening. I enjoyed the denouement with Stu Redman, but yes... it was all kind of lame that way. In that sense, I actually thought the Tommyknockers ended well, and the Dark Half, and the Dead Zone, and Firestarter. Many of his earlier works, I thought, had a decent ending overall. (Firestarter's a sleeper with an average movie but it's close to my heart... the topical matter + the relationship between Charlie and Andy, with Andy experiencing a large amount of loss and just trying to hold things together for his little girl.)

    I didn’t think Cell was that good (for SK), but I really liked Duma Key.
    Maybe I will dig out the latter at some point.

    I hated Insomnia. Some people have said they loved it.

    I haven't finished Under the Dome yet. Did you read 11/22/63? I haven't... what did you think of it, if you did?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Probably true. I was having the discussion about peter Jackson's adaptations and said I preferred King Kong more than his Tolkien ripoffs because of the same thing -- the original movie was paper thin and straightforward, so Jackson could layer in whatever he wanted, without gutting it like he did with Tolkien.
    What I’d really like to see are It, The Stand and The Dark Tower epic each made into an HBO series. That has really turned out to be a wonderful medium for epic novels and series, especially those that feature a large tapestry of characters (like Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire). It’s great for character driven stuff; they have more time to wallow in their drama instead of being rushed through it. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter could have done better justice this way, but there was too much money to be made in the films.



    [QUOTE=Jennifer;2027730] Flagg was definitely pretty nasty stuff, but he did kind of just bug out without anything happening. I enjoyed the denouement with Stu Redman, but yes... it was all kind of lame that way. In that sense, I actually thought the Tommyknockers ended well, and the Dark Half, and the Dead Zone, and Firestarter. Many of his earlier works, I thought, had a decent ending overall. (Firestarter's a sleeper with an average movie but it's close to my heart... the topical matter + the relationship between Charlie and Andy, with Andy experiencing a large amount of loss and just trying to hold things together for his little girl.).[QUOTE]


    I realized I missed the mark after I wrote that. I was mainly thinking of The Stand, and Dark Tower 7, where the Crimson King turns out to be kind of a dud, and King seemed to be focused too much on just wrapping up the series. It had great momentum until after Roland and Susan come out of the tunnel after escaping that Lovecraftian monster. I liked the ending, though, where King kind of reboots the whole series (perhaps setting it up for his son, Joe Hill, to write another Dark Tower series!). The Running Man, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematery and The Dead Zone are other examples of books of his with superb climaxes and endings.



    Maybe I will dig out the latter at some point.

    I hated Insomnia. Some people have said they loved it.

    I haven't finished Under the Dome yet. Did you read 11/22/63? I haven't... what did you think of it, if you did?
    Haven't read 11/22/63, but intend to at some point. Also haven't read Under the Dome, and feel no real urge to. Have you read Dreamcatcher? If so, you would probably say it was yet another attempt by King to rewrite The Tommyknockers (man, he must really have a love/hate relationship with The Tommyknockers).


    Getting back to the difference between his earlier and later stuff, I’d say there’s an edginess and intensity to his earlier work that his later work tends to lack somewhat by comparison, but this is also true of other writers. In King’s case, I don’t know if it’s related to his “sobriety cycle”, but it could be, at least in part. In any case, his own experience and struggle with addiction surely gave him a better feel for such characters as Jack Torrance in The Shining, who is as convincing a fictional portrait of a dry drunk struggling to remain sober for the love of his family as I’ve ever read. I believe he would’ve made it, too, if that damn haunted hotel hadn’t pushed him over the edge.

    I’m a fantasy and horror geek, and love the supernatural, but it’s the characters and drama that form the foundation of quality fiction of any genre. Some filmmakers of King’s horror novels were slow to understand why his stuff works for so many readers, as have writers who tried to imitate him. There’s obviously a lot of generic stuff in the genre section, like all the pale (and in some cases downright awful) Tolkien imitators who first emerged when publishers like Ace saw a market for generic fantasy back in the 70s following the Tolkien craze. But on the other side of the same coin is the “literary” fantasy that gets more respect than it deserves. In uppity literary circles, drama and story are looked down upon. “Literary” fiction is thus boring more often than not, but that’s considered a virtue!

    Have you read Wicked by Gregory Maguire? I was excited about exploring Oz and its characters in an adult novel, but it turned out to be the kind of ponderous “literary” novel I have trouble finishing, where the characters have nearly inscrutable motives, and the story takes a back seat to tedious themes. As if we needed a novel like this to teach us that apartheid laws are inhumane. The story ends up being beside the point, a weak vehicle to promote self-evident themes and show off the writer’s literary talent and brilliant use of allegory (and nothing deadens a story like conscious usage of allegory as the main inspiration). The Harry Potter books by comparison, because they are character and story driven, made the themes of bigotry and upper class superiority seem much more relevant and urgent to me than Wicked did. I share SK’s belief that if you get the story right and bring the characters to life—let the story take over, as he does—the themes take care of themselves.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    Looking forward to King’s sequel to The Shining (which should not be confused with the Kubrick film). Due out in September, Doctor Sleep follows a middle aged Daniel Torrance and his fight against a group of psyhic vampires called True Knot.
    That sounds interesting, I take it from what you've posted that the book is significantly different from the film, I've not read the book but I've seen interviews with King that made me think that it was a straight adapatation of the book.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That sounds interesting, I take it from what you've posted that the book is significantly different from the film, I've not read the book but I've seen interviews with King that made me think that it was a straight adapatation of the book.
    King was probably referring to the later TV mini-series of The Shining that he did (or at least wrote the teleplay for), which was pretty good. But most people think of the Kubrick film in association with this title. Essentially, the Kubrick film portrays an ax-wielding madman played by Jack Nicholson who tries to kill his family in a hotel they are caretakers of for the off season. It’s very stylistic and visual like Kubrick’s other films. But it’s missing the substance and character development of the novel, which is about a “dry drunk” struggling with sobriety, who is pushed over the edge by a haunted hotel. In the film, Nicholson pretty much starts out as a madman (or gives you that impression of his character right off the bat). There’s no real descent, in other words. And the film is also missing the supernatural elements of the novel. King doesn’t consider it to be a faithful cinematic translation of his novel from what I’ve read. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad film, just that an auteur director like Kubrick is going to do his own thing.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    King was probably referring to the later TV mini-series of The Shining that he did (or at least wrote the teleplay for), which was pretty good. But most people think of the Kubrick film in association with this title. Essentially, the Kubrick film portrays an ax-wielding madman played by Jack Nicholson who tries to kill his family in a hotel they are caretakers of for the off season. It’s very stylistic and visual like Kubrick’s other films. But it’s missing the substance and character development of the novel, which is about a “dry drunk” struggling with sobriety, who is pushed over the edge by a haunted hotel. In the film, Nicholson pretty much starts out as a madman (or gives you that impression of his character right off the bat). There’s no real descent, in other words. And the film is also missing the supernatural elements of the novel. King doesn’t consider it to be a faithful cinematic translation of his novel from what I’ve read. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad film, just that an auteur director like Kubrick is going to do his own thing.
    I dont know, I know that I got the "dry drunk" thing from the film and the being pushed over the edge by the haunted hotel, I especially got that from the fact that he was repeatedly tormented by the ghostly bar room and stuff but I would agree that perhaps it could all be "in his head", that is if you ignore the ghosts interaction with other characters, ie the kid in the peddle bike, but the theme I picked up on was the idea of psychic powers or perceptions, wasnt that what the "shinning" was?

    I've not read the book so I'm not really able to tell, I didnt see the TV series but you could be completely right in that regard.

    Although the sequel to a haunted house novel is a novel about psychic vampires? It seems like a departure from the original in no small measure.

    One thing about King though is that he's full of surprises and reinventions, some of the greatest movie adaptations of his I've seen dont have a lot in common with the original material, its like it was a rough draft which was improved on, I'm thinking of the one about the haunted room which featured Cusack or The Mist more recently.

    He's much, much better than any of the other horror writers anyone would care to mention and he's "out lived" most of them, Richard Laymon, Clive Barker, they've had their day and its well and truly gone by comparison. Although King has done it by changing themes and styles and even genres but now and again he does mess up though, I thought that writing himself into the Dark Tower books for instance was a bad move and I gave up on them when I heard about that, I was nowhere near that book in the series but didnt want to get there that being the case.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I dont know, I know that I got the "dry drunk" thing from the film and the being pushed over the edge by the haunted hotel, I especially got that from the fact that he was repeatedly tormented by the ghostly bar room and stuff but I would agree that perhaps it could all be "in his head", that is if you ignore the ghosts interaction with other characters, ie the kid in the peddle bike, but the theme I picked up on was the idea of psychic powers or perceptions, wasnt that what the "shinning" was?
    The movie might be fresher in your memory than mine, because I haven’t seen it an ages and was never a great fan of it. But I was essentially parroting King’s own complaints about it that I’ve read in the past. Let’s say, then, that in the film the supernatural's presence is more open to interpretation, reflecting Kubrick’s materialist worldview. And that Nicholson was miscast as Jack Torrance in the sense that Nicholson the actor automatically gives off the impression of being crazy from the getgo or destined to go there. There’s that association audiences have with Jack Nicholson.


    Although the sequel to a haunted house novel is a novel about psychic vampires? It seems like a departure from the original in no small measure.
    Not really. The sequel is about Danny Torrance, Jack’s psychic son (who has “the shining"). He was the main protagonist in the novel. And here’s your spoiler alert: in the book, the haunted hotel blows up at the end, so it can’t be in the sequel. Though in an interview King hinted that the sequel would lead Danny back there, so maybe the hotel stood on “unholy” ground or something.


    some of the greatest movie adaptations of his I've seen dont have a lot in common with the original material, its like it was a rough draft which was improved on, I'm thinking of the one about the haunted room which featured Cusack or The Mist more recently.
    That’s why I think shorter works are better for cinema, because you can build on them instead of being forced by time constraints to gut them or cut them into parts (such as was done with the final Harry Potter book). I don’t take the position that a movie has to faithfully follow the fictional work it’s based on to be good. But whether or not the “improvements” make the film better than the source book is a matter of personal opinion.

    He's much, much better than any of the other horror writers anyone would care to mention and he's "out lived" most of them, Richard Laymon, Clive Barker, they've had their day and its well and truly gone by comparison
    .

    I would exclude Clive Barker from that list.



    Although King has done it by changing themes and styles and even genres but now and again he does mess up though, I thought that writing himself into the Dark Tower books for instance was a bad move and I gave up on them when I heard about that, I was nowhere near that book in the series but didnt want to get there that being the case.
    Jennifer and many others have called the meta-fiction element in the DT books self-indulgent, so I’m probably a minority voice in saying that it worked for me. In short, I think it jived with the interconnectedness of most of his book worlds as part of “the Stephen King multiverse”. And consider that the Stephen King in the DT books is not “our” Stephen King who wrote them…

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    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    Jennifer and many others have called the meta-fiction element in the DT books self-indulgent, so I’m probably a minority voice in saying that it worked for me. In short, I think it jived with the interconnectedness of most of his book worlds as part of “the Stephen King multiverse”. And consider that the Stephen King in the DT books is not “our” Stephen King who wrote them…
    Well, what I will give you is that, out of all the stories that King could have attempted it in, the Dark Tower series is the one that made the most sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    King was probably referring to the later TV mini-series of The Shining that he did (or at least wrote the teleplay for), which was pretty good. But most people think of the Kubrick film in association with this title. Essentially, the Kubrick film portrays an ax-wielding madman played by Jack Nicholson who tries to kill his family in a hotel they are caretakers of for the off season. It’s very stylistic and visual like Kubrick’s other films. But it’s missing the substance and character development of the novel, which is about a “dry drunk” struggling with sobriety, who is pushed over the edge by a haunted hotel. In the film, Nicholson pretty much starts out as a madman (or gives you that impression of his character right off the bat). There’s no real descent, in other words. And the film is also missing the supernatural elements of the novel. King doesn’t consider it to be a faithful cinematic translation of his novel from what I’ve read. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad film, just that an auteur director like Kubrick is going to do his own thing.
    I have rather similar feelings about it. I view it more as two artists, working in two different mediums, after having been handed the same list of characters and premise and basic plot. King did his spiel on it, and Kubrick did his own song and dance with it.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Quote Originally Posted by trancemode View Post
    What I’d really like to see are It, The Stand and The Dark Tower epic each made into an HBO series. That has really turned out to be a wonderful medium for epic novels and series, especially those that feature a large tapestry of characters (like Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire). It’s great for character driven stuff; they have more time to wallow in their drama instead of being rushed through it. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter could have done better justice this way, but there was too much money to be made in the films.
    I haven't watched or read the Game of Thrones thing, but yes, a better quality series, with enough room to explore and play would be great -- not a two- or four-part mainstream TV station (well, unless it's FX -- they've kicked ass with American Horror Story, I think they can go anywhere King has gone).

    I'm not really a fan of the LotR movies, although there's been a few HP movies I enjoyed. But really, when you try to translate a sprawling work to the screen of any sort, the more canvass you have, the better.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I realized I missed the mark after I wrote that. I was mainly thinking of The Stand, and Dark Tower 7, where the Crimson King turns out to be kind of a dud,
    yeah, he really was. It's not that it's an "invalid" ending, but it certainly seemed a let-down after a humungous, 20 year (or whatever it was) sprawling 7 book series.

    The Running Man, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Pet Sematery and The Dead Zone are other examples of books of his with superb climaxes and endings.
    Yeah, I think those are all great. The Running Man movie was a joke, btw; but I *love* his novella. and now it's clear that he was probably strung out on coke or something while writing it -- he claims to have finished it in a 36-hour hell-bent-for-leather race for the hills. it's one of the fastest reads I've had with him too.

    I was really disappointed that Pet Semetary didn't translate to screen as well; I really think it was a solid book, thematically. When King takes time to choose his threads appropriately, he gets a solid canvas in place.... I mean, a doctor whose occupation is saving lives and who is skeptical of magic, afflicted with an ominous nightmare and dead-spirit guide, who then has tragedy impact his family that TEMPTS him to do something he not only has a natural bent toward doing but is personally motivated to do (i.e., heal/restore life), despite knowing it'll turn out poorly? It's as tragic a story as Macbeth's.

    Haven't read 11/22/63, but intend to at some point. Also haven't read Under the Dome, and feel no real urge to.
    it's one of those books where I enjoy reading the individual scenes, I just don't have a lot of motivation to keep slogging because I'm not sure where it's going. I've heard good things about 11/22/63.

    Have you read Dreamcatcher? If so, you would probably say it was yet another attempt by King to rewrite The Tommyknockers (man, he must really have a love/hate relationship with The Tommyknockers).
    Lol! Little green toothless men... and women.

    I did read Dreamcatcher when it came out. I remember really liking the first few chapters, then it just got worse and worse. There was a reference to Pennywise at the end that I appreciated, but otherwise, kind of meh...

    Getting back to the difference between his earlier and later stuff, I’d say there’s an edginess and intensity to his earlier work that his later work tends to lack somewhat by comparison, but this is also true of other writers. In King’s case, I don’t know if it’s related to his “sobriety cycle”, but it could be, at least in part. In any case, his own experience and struggle with addiction surely gave him a better feel for such characters as Jack Torrance in The Shining, who is as convincing a fictional portrait of a dry drunk struggling to remain sober for the love of his family as I’ve ever read. I believe he would’ve made it, too, if that damn haunted hotel hadn’t pushed him over the edge.
    I suspect (as I do some writing too) that an author is edgier and less polished earlier in one's career, but at some point the edge kind of dulls a bit. It's kind of like innocence vs experience; older and wiser, true, but less liable to take big chances and do crazy things that might pay off when you're desperate enough. You might fail big early in the career, but it's usually a beautiful explosion. The act of becoming more well-rounded necessarily means become less edgy and extreme.... alas. the fire dies down a bit. You've already uttered the words in your soul and might feel you have less to say.

    I’m a fantasy and horror geek, and love the supernatural, but it’s the characters and drama that form the foundation of quality fiction of any genre.
    yes, exactly. That's exactly it. Stories are about people. The other things make the story juicier, but they can't provide the core of human drama.

    Some filmmakers of King’s horror novels were slow to understand why his stuff works for so many readers, as have writers who tried to imitate him.
    They all just saw the surface thrills but missed the essence of the characters.

    There’s obviously a lot of generic stuff in the genre section, like all the pale (and in some cases downright awful) Tolkien imitators who first emerged when publishers like Ace saw a market for generic fantasy back in the 70s following the Tolkien craze. But on the other side of the same coin is the “literary” fantasy that gets more respect than it deserves. In uppity literary circles, drama and story are looked down upon. “Literary” fiction is thus boring more often than not, but that’s considered a virtue!
    meh. I could have been an academic, but I feel like I'm down to earth, with grittier tastes. I want the human element, not the "high art." That is the stuff that resonates with me.

    Did you ever read Donaldson? Some people are hard on him because he can be wordy, but I enjoyed how he blends horror into fantasy in his Thomas Covenant series, as well as psychological (the nature of evil) and philosophical themes (existential thought). I read his first series when I was only ten or so, and some of the scenes in The Illearth War still creep me out.

    Have you read Wicked by Gregory Maguire? I was excited about exploring Oz and its characters in an adult novel, but it turned out to be the kind of ponderous “literary” novel I have trouble finishing, where the characters have nearly inscrutable motives, and the story takes a back seat to tedious themes. As if we needed a novel like this to teach us that apartheid laws are inhumane. The story ends up being beside the point, a weak vehicle to promote self-evident themes and show off the writer’s literary talent and brilliant use of allegory (and nothing deadens a story like conscious usage of allegory as the main inspiration). The Harry Potter books by comparison, because they are character and story driven, made the themes of bigotry and upper class superiority seem much more relevant and urgent to me than Wicked did. I share SK’s belief that if you get the story right and bring the characters to life—let the story take over, as he does—the themes take care of themselves.
    It's so funny you mention Macguire. I want to read him, I really really do; and I have my copy of Wicked; but I honestly only got a few pages into it before becoming bored. I never continued. I'm a HUGE fan of the Wicked musical, but again, it's all about people people people. The story is accessible in the Broadway show, and the music/lyrics convey strong sense of character and motivation. I know it's more of its own story rather than capturing the details of the book, but I just enjoy it much more.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah, I think those are all great. The Running Man movie was a joke, btw; but I *love* his novella. and now it's clear that he was probably strung out on coke or something while writing it -- he claims to have finished it in a 36-hour hell-bent-for-leather race for the hills. it's one of the fastest reads I've had with him too.

    I was really disappointed that Pet Semetary didn't translate to screen as well; I really think it was a solid book, thematically. When King takes time to choose his threads appropriately, he gets a solid canvas in place.... I mean, a doctor whose occupation is saving lives and who is skeptical of magic, afflicted with an ominous nightmare and dead-spirit guide, who then has tragedy impact his family that TEMPTS him to do something he not only has a natural bent toward doing but is personally motivated to do (i.e., heal/restore life), despite knowing it'll turn out poorly? It's as tragic a story as Macbeth's.
    All the Bachman books are great. And SK really tuned into the ethers when he wrote The Running Man and Rage, didn’t he? This was the 70s, and there he was writing about a troubled kid holding his class hostage at gunpoint and a terrorist (though this one happened to be the good guy) crashing a jet liner into a skyscraper (that was headquarters of the evil Network, if you recall).

    The Running Man and Pet Sematery movies aren’t even worth commenting on. But it’s ironic that King himself was unable to translate his own work into cinema any better than the directors of these turkeys.


    I did read Dreamcatcher when it came out. I remember really liking the first few chapters, then it just got worse and worse. There was a reference to Pennywise at the end that I appreciated, but otherwise, kind of meh...

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (both the Jack Finney novel and the 50s movie based on it) was probably the main influence of the Tommyknockers and thus SK’s later works with the same sci fi horror themes. This followed closely by HP Lovecraft’s The Colour out of Space. And these followed by all the other 50s sci fi horror films King saw as a kid, including The Forbidden Planet (the planet in this movie was named Altair-4, as was the planet where the spaceship was from in the Tommyknockers, where the kid sends his little brother). Last but not least, in his non-fiction book on the horror genre, Danse Macabre, SK tells of the manager of the theatre he was watching Earth vs. the Flying Saucers in at age 10 (1957) interrupting the movie to announce that the Russians had beaten us into space with Sputnik. This was met with stunned silence, until a kid angrily called the manager a liar. That event was a terrifying thing for many Americans at the time, and you can see how it would have made an impression on a kid with King’s sensitivity and “warped” imagination, especially when he heard about it in the middle of a movie about an alien invasion!


    meh. I could have been an academic, but I feel like I'm down to earth, with grittier tastes. I want the human element, not the "high art." That is the stuff that resonates with me.

    Yeah, academia can be pretty stuffy and elitist. But literary snobs are everywhere. Recently I overheard these two clerks in a used bookstore talking about George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, which one of them was in the middle of reading. He seemed to be at great pains to assure his buddy that he considered it “light reading” and not real literature.

    Did you ever read Donaldson? Some people are hard on him because he can be wordy, but I enjoyed how he blends horror into fantasy in his Thomas Covenant series, as well as psychological (the nature of evil) and philosophical themes (existential thought). I read his first series when I was only ten or so, and some of the scenes in The Illearth War still creep me out.
    No, but I'd like to read that series eventually.


    It's so funny you mention Macguire. I want to read him, I really really do; and I have my copy of Wicked; but I honestly only got a few pages into it before becoming bored. I never continued. I'm a HUGE fan of the Wicked musical, but again, it's all about people people people. The story is accessible in the Broadway show, and the music/lyrics convey strong sense of character and motivation. I know it's more of its own story rather than capturing the details of the book, but I just enjoy it much more.
    My homework assignment for you is to read that entire book, every last word of it.

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