Tag Archives: Stephen King

In a ‘Horror’ble Mood

It’s October again and for the husband and me, that means it’s time for horror movies galore! We watch them year round, but in October we try our best to watch one a night when possible.

We started a little late this year – we didn’t watch our first until the 2nd of October (we’re such slackers) but we’ve stayed on target ever since.

It wasn’t intentional, but we stumbled upon a theme for our two movies this past weekend – the consequences of fear and ignorance in extreme situations.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Bubba Ritter...he's all messed up

We started out pretty low key with a made-for-tv movie from 1981. Otis P. Hazelrigg (Charles Durning) leads a group of weak-minded characters who are literally looking for any excuse to torment the local mentally deficient man-child, Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake).

After brutally shooting Bubba down while he is hiding inside his mother’s scarecrow, they find out that Bubba is innocent of the crime they were chasing him down for – the death of his only friend, little pre-pubescent Marylee (Tonya Crowe).

But that doesn’t really matter. They weren’t chasing him down for what he did – just for what he was – something they didn’t understand or, in Hazelrigg’s case, something they envied.

At the trial, where all four men are found innocent of murder, Bubba’s mother warns them that there are different kinds of justice and that someday, they will pay for what they did.

They find out that Momma Ritter is right when one by one, they are tormented by the presence of a new scarecrow in their fields – one that disappears when they gather their friends to check it out. Tension levels and panic rise as each are struck down in turn until only one is left and running for his life.

Being made for television, there is very little gore in this movie amounting to a little blood and some gunshot wounds. All violence is implied except for the brutal killing of Bubba and by today’s standards even this is pretty tame. However, the emotional impact has a chilling effect.

This kind of movie just doesn’t work without a strong cast and this movie definitely has that. Charles Durning, a steadily working actor from the 1960’s to the present, will no doubt be familiar to almost any viewer and his performance makes this film.

I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys atmosphere, a little mystery, strong characters and a solid story.

The Mist (2007)

The Mist

On the run from monsters

Sunday night we re-watched The Mist for the first time since purchasing the DVD back when it first came out. Remembering how good the movie was, I wondered why we hadn’t watched it more than once. Halfway through the movie I remembered why.

This movie pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. It’s a very good adaptation of Stephen King’s novella by the same name, and even improves on some plot points that I really didn’t like from the original source material. The cast is top-notch and the direction superb.

I’ve just gotten to a point in my life where I can’t sympathize with ignorance any longer and especially the use of ignorance to generate fear and even more the use of religion to perpetuate that ignorance and fear. The character of Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) is a loathsome woman who does more damage to the survivors of the mist than the actual monsters now roaming the world.

I realize that this is the point of the film – that letting others use fear to control us is even more dangerous than letting the unknown frighten us out of our wits. By the end of this movie, the few rational people left dare to face the very real monsters outside the store rather than deal with the even more dangerous monster that is now human society.

Perhaps this is why my husband has such a problem with the movie’s ending – which does differ from the source material and not in a necessarily better way. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I think I have to to make my point here. Our few heroes brave the unknown but it still ultimately destroys them. The only survivor has to kill all that he has left, including the personification of innocence, only to find that it was completely pointless.

So, yeah, if they had kept the original ending from the book, my analogy here would have been much more uplifting. And maybe that’s ultimately why I’m not going to be able to watch this movie more than once every few years.

The Mist

Less scary than fanatics

Still, I highly recommend the movie. So many of King’s horror stories have been butchered by Hollywood and director Frank Darabont does a marvelous job adapting this tale for the screen.

If you get the special edition, I do recommend watching it as intended – in black and white. We watched it in color this time and while it still works, the black and white photography lends more to the alien atmosphere outside the store and reinforces the metaphor of opposing factions inside the store.

Purchase Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Purchase The Mist on Blu-Ray

I’m it

I’ve been tagged by DKM. I don’t normally do Memes, but this one’s a bit different so I thought I’d participate.

The rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

I just got the new Stephen King Book Duma Key which is sitting here next to my desk, so here it goes:

“The sea oats belong, but the rest of that shit has no business growing witout irrigation. Somebody better investigate, that’s what I think.”

“My daughter and I went exploring one day.”

When stupid people ruin it all…

I’m a big Stephen King fan. It was kind of unavoidable growing up in my house. My mother was a fan before most of the world knew King’s name.

This past week I finally got a copy of two of his newer releases, Duma Key and Blaze. Duma Key was written by Stephen King. Blaze was written back in 1973 by his alter-ego, Richard Bachman.

I haven’t read every Bachman book, but every one I have read I really, really like. Even though ‘Stephen King’ seeps through sometimes, they really do feel like they’re written by someone else. As much as I love Stephen King, I think I like Richard Bachman better. of course, his output wasn’t nearly as prolific as King’s, so there was less chance of hitting sour notes (*cough* Tommyknockers *cough*). So, I chose to read Blaze first.

I read the introduction this morning and a couple of things really disturbed me. First, the front page that lists other books by Richard Bachman. There was one glaring omission. And then, in the introduction by Stephen King, that omission is mentioned but dismissed as a mistake!

I know why he feels the way he does about Rage. I suppose if something I wrote influenced someone to commit violent acts, I wouldn’t look so kindly on that work either. However, I personally think Rage is one of the best things he ever wrote. It just so happens that I’m not a disturbed, anti-social human who reads it and thinks, “Hey, I sympathize with this character (which I do) therefore, I should try to emulate him and do exactly what he does.”

The book is no longer in print.

I don’t like censorship. I don’t like limiting freedoms because of the stupidity of others. I choose to wear my seatbelt – but I don’t think it should be required for anyone over 18. I personally don’t like guns, but I also don’t have a problem if an adult who can prove they’re responsible with firearms has one. This list could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point.

It all reminds me of when I was a kid. I loved bottle rockets, but when I was around 8 or so I leaned over the bottle – right after my dad told me not to. I was therefore banned from bottle rockets for a very long time. When I was finally allowed to shoot them again, I never – ever- leaned over the bottle again. My parents made my safety their responsibility, and no one else’s. Most of my friend’s parents seemed to parent in this same manner as well.

So, why is it, that my generation is raising a mess of spoiled, pampered, ‘nothing is your fault, dear – it’s society’s’ assholes? I’ve met some exceptions, certainly, but for the most part, the next generation is a bunch of passing-the-buck jerks!

I have yet to figure out when and why this mental shift happened. Was it a ‘I want to be friends with my kids because I personally thought my parents were tyrants’ attitude? Or were we raised by parents who were too lenient as well and we just continued this trend?

Ugh. I could continue to bitch about today’s kids, but I suppose I should stop. I mean, I’m only 35. What am I going to be like when I’m 60? Hee hee.

Nozz-a-la…here to refresh everyone

20050113_nozzala.gif This site was pointed out on a mailing list that I am a member of and I must say that’s an ingenious little site.

If you’re a fan of the Stephen King Dark Tower series you’ll find it quite amusing and very well done. It almost had me convinced for a moment.

If you’re not a fan of the Dark Tower series, this post will probably make very little sense to you. My suggestion? Go read the books so you can share in the joke.