All tagged The Mangler

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.

Strawberry Spring

Like “The Mangler,” “Sometimes They Come Back,” and “The Boogeyman” before it, “Strawberry Spring” suffers from a lack of imagination at the crucial moment. What begins as a solid world-building exercise, showing how a small community can devolve into panic with a little injection of chaos, turns into a strange gotcha finale that is somehow both unearned and wholly unoriginal, even by 1970’s standards.

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.

Trucks

Stephen King is a master at creating diabolical metaphors for the plight of the working man. Night Shift, in particular, is littered with tales of blue collar stiffs battling real world and supernatural disorder. “Graveyard Shift,” “The Mangler,” and “Gray Matter” all do a tremendous job of rooting the horror in the real world anxieties of the northeastern industrial working classes. “Trucks” takes the horror of industrial decline and takes it on the road for one of Night Shift’s most memorable tales.

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.