All tagged Stephen King

Children of the Corn

“Children of the Corn” may not be Stephen King’s most original work, yet it continues to be a fan favorite because it taps into something truly horrifying about the American experiment.

I Know What You Need

“I Know What You Need” was first published in Cosmopolitan in 1976, and while the choice of maret may have been due to the story’s soap opera conceit, the story shows off one of Stephen King’s best qualities: the ability to build fantasy on top of a foundation of realism.

Quitters, Inc.

Though he cultivated a reputation as an iconoclast and literary rebel early in his career, the success of his first three novels and the Carrie movie, meant that by 1977 King was rubbing shoulders with Hollywood royalty. HIs stories at the time reflected the change in his surroundings.

The Ledge & The Lawnmower Man

“The Ledge” and “The Lawnmower Man” are both great examples of King’s overactive imagination going off the tracks in delightfully bizarre ways. They also provide a solid shot in the arm for a short story collection that, at the mid-way point, was in danger of careening off the tracks.

Sometimes They Come Back

“Sometimes They Come Back” has a lot of things going for it: a solid protagonist, a compelling premise, and natural tension given the unreliability of the main character. But while the final outcome is less than fulfilling from a narrative standpoint, the story has interesting parallels to the modern world.

Battleground and Gray Matter

“Battleground” and “Gray Matter” show us a young writer see-sawing between his best and worst selves, trying out different tactics and narratives, finding himself. While the excesses of “Battleground” occasionally rear their ugly heads over King’s 40+ year career, fortunately the brilliance of “Gray Matter” shows up a lot more.

Atmospherics, Creature Design, and Bad Horror

Horror deals in something fundamental: fear. More than that, though, it can incorporate the full range of human emotions through a medium that is both enjoyable, entertaining, and deeply cathartic. But in order to succeed, horror needs to master a few key ingredients. Comparing Terrifier and The Nun, BLK STG gets to the heart of why one succeeds and the other doesn’t.

Boogeyman

Stephen King’s work doesn’t lack in terrible parents, but Lester Billings in the Night Shift short “The Boogeyman” might actually be one of the most terribly relatable.

The Mangler

"The Mangler" is not a terribly great story. The characters are boilerplate and the thinly-plotted police procedural is limp. Yet the story has a through current that is prescient and terrifying.

Graveyard Shift

Stephen King is one of the most aggressively blue collar authors ever. Despite also being one of the most successful authors ever, King protects his image as a lucky bastard milltown boy with everything he can muster. Nowhere is this more present than in his short fiction, which often centers on fish out of water college educated characters in blue collar worlds. “Graveyard Shift” from the 1977 shot collection Night Shift is perhaps the quintessential example.

Jerusalem's Lot

The first short in Stephen King’s 1977 story collection Night Shift, “Jerusalem’s Lot” is a play on the formula of Dracula that takes the former novel’s dread and ramps it up to 11.

Everybody Has An Annie Wilkes

One of the things that makes King so great is the constant what if question that we as readers are provoked by his prose to ask ourselves:What if this happened to my favorite author? Or wait, worse still — what if this were to happen to me? What if I were the prisoner?

An Education in Horror

Every horror fan has an origin story, that moment when they realize they’ve found something truly special. Mine began with Aliens, and I’ve continued my horror education throughout my life. Here are the five films that have most affected me.

Rage

Over the course of 50 year career that has included killer clowns, rape, spousal abuse, and devil worship, Stephen King’s third published novel Rage is arguably is most controversial…and it wasn’t even released under his name.

Stillborn

When the dead started attacking, my wife and I barricaded the house with all the furniture we could find. We put couches against doors, hammered shelves and floorboards across windows, put heavy things against all entrances. It looked like an explosion had blown all the furniture to the walls. The house was empty and turned inside out.

Carrie

Carrie is Stephen King’s first published book, and includes one of his most iconic scenes. But what else lies beneath the surface of this seemingly simple tale of revenge? Is it a sloppy first book by a young writer, or a broader play for social relevance that stands the test of time?