Simon & Schuster just sent along some information on Stephen King‘s newest short story collection. Here’s what they had to say about it. Certainly can’t wait to dig my claws into it!
A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.
Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.
There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.
Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”
Yesterday, the horror world lost one of the greats. Rest in peace, Mr. Craven, though your handiwork did little to pass on peace to the rest of us. It makes me too sad to know the darkest corners of your mind are now beyond quiet.
You would have been 116 today, and I can only imagine what kind of movies you’d be making today — let alone what you would think of the movies being made today. Thank you for Psycho, Rear Window, The Birds, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents! You’ve made many a lazy afternoon in my life enjoyable.
Three days ago, the entertainment world lost an iconic and memorable actress: Betsy Palmer. Some may like to chuckle at her role in the 1980 campy slasher Friday the 13th, but that was just one light in a whole spectrum of work–said slasher coming 29 years after Palmer debuted on the small screen. Not only has she made several TV appearances since the 1950s, she’s also had major roles in several series, taken spots as a panelist on popular game shows, and has starred in several horror and non-horror films. She’s had a strong and prosperous career, even working up until the last eight years or so. Her most recent addition to the film world was Bell Witch: The Movie from 2007.
May you be peaceful and happy, wherever you are.
Please, feel free to read a more articulate tribute to My Lady Palmer from CNN.com.
What novels scored big with readers this year? Truth is, that’s a tough question to answer, as we all seem to be looking for something a little different. However, we can definitely let you in on the books that really won us over. The following are the 10 best novels released in 2014, as voted on by myself and a number of our contributors!
10 Sergey Kuznetsov – Butterfly Skin
Verdict: Butterfly Skin reads, at times, like a vintage giallo picture… mixed with a little Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. It’s wonderfully written and about as addictive as I imagine crack being. A stunning story that delivers tons of chills, the novel is about as disturbing as they come. Reviews of the novel seem to be a bit mixed, but lovers of the extreme are going to dig this one quite a bit.
Saw this on Yahoo! News and I’m so excited I can’t even find words…So, I’ll just use theirs. Enjoy!
Both well acquainted with the genre, the two actresses will headline the horror-comedy series “Scream Queens,” which is due to premiere on Fox in fall 2015.
Jamie Lee Curtis is preparing to reconnect with the genre that propelled her to fame. The actress whose career was launched in 1978 with John Carpenter’s “Halloween” went on to star in several other spine-chilling films, earning the epithet of “scream queen” at the time. So she was a logical choice in the title role of Ryan Murphy’s next series….
Fox has placed an order for the first 15 episodes, which are to focus on two female protagonists played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts. Julia Roberts’ niece is already familiar with Murphy’s flavor of horror, having appeared in the two most recent seasons of “American Horror Story”: “Coven” and “Freakshow.”
If you follow my other blog, then you know that I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month this month. That may also explain why posts here have been far fewer than normal. However, in an effort to celebrate NaNoWriMo across all of my social media arenas, I’m listing here another meme of sorts. At “The Writer’s Dig”, the regular blogging site of the Writer’s Digest Online Editor, Brian A. Klems, he’s asked his readers to make a list of the 10 Books That Never Left You. Those 10 stories that left an indelible mark on you. I’m going to do my best to get all 10 in this post–so that tomorrow I can get back to bringing you the funny!
Again, these are in no particular order except for that in which I remembered them, which may say something more about them than an intentional ordered list would:
1) IT, Stephen King
This was the first adult book I ever read, and at the age of 12 it certainly left its mark. Especially since I would probably go on to re-read this about 10-20 more times in the time I spent waiting for high school to happen. Back then, it was the character of Beverly who intrigued me. Being the only girl among a circle of boys, creating “The Loser’s Club”, I felt like I could relate to her more than the other characters–even though Ben and I shared weight issues and bullies who insisted on pointing it out. Even if it meant my fighting Pennywise along with them, I desperately wanted a Loser’s Club branch at my high school. It’s still one of my favorite novels of all time, and the story of perseverance and facing your demons is relatable for anyone who picks it up.
2) Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
The first Palahniuk characters I was introduced to were those from the film Fight Club. No, I haven’t read that yet, and I know I should–because I loved the movie. However, I was kind of hoping that one day dear old Chuck would write a similar story about a female character. Though Invisible Monsters is noFight Club, for me, it was even better. It looked at issues of beauty and identity. Living up to the expectations of others while trying to pursue your own ideals. And what it really means to live the life you choose, even if that means totally forgetting where you came from. Brandy Alexander and Shannon McFarland make us look at what it means to be a woman in today’s world–biologically or constructed.
3) The Gunslinger, Stephen King
The first in his iconic 8-part series (with the introduction of Wind Through the Keyhole) easily made me hungry for the rest. The compelling chase and familial discord is yet another arena for a head-strong and developed character to face his own demons. The Man in Black proves to be a worth adversary, causing havoc in more stories than just The Dark Tower series, but no matter what he sends out Roland doesn’t stop. Time is merely a face on the water; the wheel of ka turns, and you have your place along the beam if you’d like to take it up. Doing so will alter your imagination in ways you never imagined.
4) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
The story of a young woman making her own way in the world after basically growing up an orphan. This classic love story does so much more than present a stage where boy meets girl. Jane is complicated, as are her feelings for the men in her life. Even when she’s at her lowest point, sleeping in a field under a tree when she has nowhere else to go, she finds solace in her connection to the world. But, she is the epitome of unconditional love. Though Rochester does little to garner her affections–especially considering how he’s handled treatment of his current wife–Jane does not give up on her man–caring most for him when he cannot seem to care about himself. Her determined loyalty and unconditional affections reflect my own actions in a romantic arrangement, even to my own detriment. Even though the overall theme of the book is to criticize the social situation of women, I feel like it is truly about a woman’s ability to overcome all those expectations and achieve the happiness she truly wants, even from the heart of a boorish brute of an employer.
5) White Oleander, Janet Fitch
Exploring the vital intricacies of the mother/daughter relationship, I felt like this book called to me. Though my relationship with my own mother wasn’t nearly as toxic, I felt like I could understand Astrid’s loyalty and desire to connect to others when her mother was locked up. My mother could only provide me with so much in life, and trying to make up for that is where Astrid and I cross paths. We are both overcompensating for a maternal connection that simply didn’t provide a strong enough foundation of self-esteem, functionality, and capability to connect to others and seek out what we need. We try our best not to need the affections of others, but we quickly realize that though isolation may keep our hearts intact, it does not a happy life make.
6) The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Exploring one woman’s psyche from the 1950s resonated more with me than I thought I would. I didn’t get the chance to read this book until later on in my college career, and it left a mark on me that could never be wiped away. Esther is a very talented girl, but that doesn’t seem enough to keep her happy. She questions, she wonders at her purpose, she squirrels herself away in a vain attempt to hide the fact that she just can’t get happy. Even with a New York City opportunity, even with the potential for love, poor Esther just can’t find her joy. When she begins seeking treatment after a particularly awful breakdown where she hides herself in the family basement, I sobbed for her first attempts at shock treatment, and my heart broke for her when it seemed like no one would listen. Sylvia’s words of discovery upon interrogating Esther’s issues will forever speak to me in a way no other book ever has.
7) Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel
That is, until I read Prozac Nation. However, the funny thing is, is that I read PN first. Just a year before I read The Bell Jar. Though Elizabeth’s version of depression recalled more of my own life than The Bell Jar did, I wasn’t as self-destructive as Elizabeth. Even though I always wanted to be. I longed for the downward spiral, for all of its confusion, for all of its glamour, because then I might have a reason for feeling as badly as I did. Speaking more to my own generation’s issues than The Bell Jar could, PN would not be here without Plath’s path to come before it. Wurtzel’s depression felt like my depression, but Plath’s breakdown for Esther was more of an emotional journey for me.
8) Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
A novel I read in middle school, Hatchet made me realize that I had power of my own. Even though I was viewed as a child by the rest of the world, Gary Paulsen made me feel like with the right tools in hand I could conquer the world which underestimated me. Though hanging out in the wilderness isn’t exactly my idea of a good time, connecting with nature can call up a kind of clarity and strength within us that we might not have been aware we had before. Brian’s adventure was one that I wouldn’t wish on myself in a literal sense, but the discoveries Brian made about himself on that journey are goal-worthy, post-adventure or not. And I just learned recently that there are four other novels in this series. After NaNo and finishing the books I’m in the middle of now, I may just have to visit my local library and check them out for myself. I would love to see what else Mother Nature brought out of my old friend Brian on his return treks into the wild.
9) My Favorite Book, Good Will, Inc.
This is the very first book I ever remember reading, and that was sometime before kindergarten–easily between the ages of 2 and 4 (and I say that because I don’t remember learning how to read at all, but I remember my baby sister being born just before I turned 4). It talks about gratitude, positivity, and being generally kind and thoughtful. It talks about appreciating the sunrise and bedtime. Apparently, there was an earlier edition (this is from 1980) that had religious/Christian references in it. And, I have to say that I’m glad I didn’t get that one. My grandmother went a long way to putting Jesus in my head, but this book taught me to appreciate good things for their own sake, on their own merit. Appreciate the good because it is good–not necessarily because it came from a good God. That is a trait I carry to this day, along with having mad respect for Jesus (while some of his followers worry me). I believe in being good for the sake of putting good things out in the world, not necessarily because an omnipotent father-figure thinks I should. I think I can have this book to thank for that.
10) The Dancing Man, Ruth Bornstein
I freaking love this story, and I can’t believe it wasn’t the first one I thought of. (P.S. I had a chance to re-read this just this morning; so it’s very fresh in mind.) Though, whenever I think of my favorite novel IT is the first one that always comes to mind. But, when it comes to pure story, Ruth Bornstein brought it back in 1978. The Dancing Man may appear to be about a dancing man on the surface (the very cover, no less!), it is really about the passing along and sharing of dreams. Every writer should read this story, because dreams are made real only after they are shared. That is the moral of this beautiful, simple story. Is time glossed over? Yes. Do we ever find out what happens to Joseph’s village (*SPOILER ALERT*)? No. Are we ever told how Joseph is always able to fit in the same outfit for the entirety of his life (*SPOILER ALERT*)? No. But does it matter what you wear when you share dreams? No. Does it matter how we got to the southernmost sea? No. What matters is that a new reader, a new author, a new book fiend could be there at the end of our road, with new dreams of their own, just waiting to carry on the torch your dreams ignited.
Thirty years ago, Wes Craven, Bob Shaye, and New Line Cinema launched the face that would scare millions of kids. Their parents tried to kill him, but now the children of Elm Street in Springwood, USA are being haunted in their dreams by the villainous child killer, Fred Krueger. Fire, a dream master, and even his own daughter couldn’t really kill him. A dream demon returning to fulfill a quest of vengeance; they took his life, now he’s taking their children: one nightmare at a time.
I want desperately to talk about the legacy of this movie; I mean, 30 years, is a long time for anything. Marriages don’t even last that long anymore, and this movie has managed to stay relevant, timely, and creative for the past three decades. I have enjoyed these movies my entire life–I was born just two years, one month, and 25 days before its debut. They held me captive, helped me escape, and taught me that things aren’t always what they seem. The nature of reality is viscous, liquid at best, and Nightmare on Elm Street uses that against us in every incarnation, in every sequel.
Let’s not overlook the power of women in Nightmare on Elm Street. Nancy, Kristen, Alice (and Alice, again), Maggie, Heather, and Lori all stand up to Freddy and come out on top. Each one of them “kills” him and walks away (though Nancy doesn’t make it in Dream Warriors after a valiant fight), even though death isn’t really permanent for Fred. That isn’t anything the ladies could have changed, though, he’s a demon now. Killed by vigilante justice and coming back over and over again to serve up poetic justice–the irony being Fred is still tormenting and killing children, only now the parents won’t believe the cries of warning from their haunted children. Because they have to believe he’s already dead. But, death means nothing to evil, to revenge.
Even though the remake was kinda crappy in my opinion, I don’t think Freddy is going anywhere. Even if we only ever have the originals–God forbid! /sarcasm–Krueger has made his mark, and the world will never be the same.
Some ultra-creepy, retro horror movie music. Enjoy!
So, I left this post for the end of the week because I thought it was going to be the easiest post. I’ve watched (and re-watched) so many different horror movies that I thought at least 5 or 10 would just come rolling off the tip of my tongue. But proverbials aside, I found myself stumped this morning. I mean, you already know that I pretty much adore the character of Freddy Krueger, and because of my feelings for the remake…before it even got to theaters. I don’t really want to retread a known rut in the road. But, I don’t want to drop a bunch of names because they’re expected names. Of course, Jason, Michael, and, hell, even Chucky are classics, but they are not the end-all, be-all of the horror world.
I mean, this t-shirt image from Fright Rags (click the link for image source) even includes Leatherface, who is an intimidating and frightful villain! But, when I say Leatherface, you know immediately who I’m talking about.
What about the villains who get almost no mention at all? Not because they weren’t scary, but because there may not have been as many movies made. Or maybe they only reach a niche market. It’s possible that I’m merely a sheltered child (even in the shadow of the Internet), and I just don’t realize how popular or widely known these figures really are.
All I know, is that I won’t be mentioning the villains that I assume people will expect to see here. Granted, I know what assuming can do, but in this case, I’m willing to take a risk and talk about movie villains that I rarely think of, though have enjoyed watching in the past.
So, where do I start? I’ve finally got a couple names boiling up in the old gray matter… I’ve got two pair and three queens. No, I’m not cheating at poker…
Angus Scrimm does little work at being ultra-creepy in the series of films that follow this dark mortician and his hunt for the young man, Mike, who mistakenly uncovers his dark tendencies toward the small town they live in. Mike’s brother and best friend, Reggie, work and try to survive at uncovering Tall Man’s tools for destruction.
I coupled these two characters, because they remind me of each other. Reverend Kane could easily be Carol Anne’s Tall Man. Towering over her, casting her in his shadow every time he arrives — he might as well be dragging a team of dagger-sharp silver balls around with him. Though, that wide-brimmed black hat and skeletal scowl does quite enough for rendering Kane creepy as Hell!
Julian Beck and Nathan Davis, in Poltergeist II and III, respectively, frighten poor little Carol Anne Freeling and haunt her supportive family members as the demons try their best to get the little bulb of heavenly light to guide them to the other side. She’s just so pure, so blonde — they simply cannot help themselves. Though the sequels catch plenty of flack for not being up to snuff in comparison to the first, I cannot deny that Reverend Kane gave me nightmares for a week!
Now, you might think I have this backwards. Because you’re seeing the movie name, but the villain listed is a set of human beings — not Cenobites. Well, in the first two movies, I don’t think the Cenobites are the villains. Frank and Julia are more villainous in this case, because it is their thoughtless and selfish actions which bring about the Cenobites anyway. Kirsty certainly didn’t call them (not until later, anyway) and Larry couldn’t have had a clue. He certainly didn’t seem to notice when his wife and brother started knocking boots. Though, for the sequel, it’s Julia and the good doctor who rescues her. That evil seductress!
Annie Wilkes, on the other hand, was no seductress. Though, she did fall in love with her favorite writer of all time, Paul Sheldon. The source of the image is a wonderful detailing of not only the movie (with book comparisons), but the character of Ms. Wilkes herself. She is certainly unstable, monstrous, and dedicated to the man who provides her with the stories she loves. A number one fan, of course, and a nurse, she takes care of Paul after a major car accident. Then, Annie finds out that Paul killed off her heroine — that’s when the story truly takes off. Though I’ve always wanted a number one fan, Annie makes me kind of wonder why.
If it is a Spoiler Alert for you, have my humblest apologies. But it has been almost 10 years since it was released, maybe it’s about time you knew.
Judy Greer really brought this character to life for me; I don’t know another actress who could have pulled this off the way she did. Joanie, a Type-A publicist, was so bright, bubbly, and blonde, that to reveal the bleak hairy beast beneath felt really defamiliar to me. I wish it could have been played up more monstrously, like the werewolf movies of the ’50s, but she definitely gives good gore and generous bite marks! (Plus, counter-pointing her with Scott Baio — which just kind of made me chuckle — was brilliant.) I assumed Jake from the beginning, but never did I see Joanie coming, which is what made her transformation and methodical killing scary. Though, this is another movie that is laughed at as often as watched (only 4.9/10 on IMDB), I loved that surprise element, that unexpected reveal, and it really redeemed the movie for me. On top of all of that, it’s got great atmosphere, and, you know, because Joshua Jackson and Christina Ricci and Wes Craven. C’mon, what was I supposed to do?
Betsy Palmer is damn creepy, and I don’t care who knows it. She really breathed some dark life into the mother of all villains. Her son, driven by the demons of vengeance and negligence, is eternally resurrected to take the lives of those who “were supposed to be watching.” And it is clearly her drive to avenge him that provides him the otherworldly power. But, there is truly no fury like the wrath of a mother scorned, and Pamela Voorhees is no exception to the rule. Taking the initiative, she begins offing her “old friends” and the counselors they hired because they had the audacity to start the camp back up where her son so tragically perished. I mean, who wouldn’t get pissed off about that?
Well, this is my list of favorite horror movie villains. I’ve seen each of these movies numerous times, but they aren’t always the names that pop up when I first think of horror movies. And I hope that maybe I inspired you to watch something other than the standard fare on this All Hallow’s Eve.
Now, you probably think this post is better suited for tomorrow night; don’t worry. I’m giving you a little bit of help toward really enjoying Halloween by not only telling you my favorite go-to flicks but also listing where they are available for picking up your Halloween get-together! I’ll provide a picture of the movie’s poster and the links to where it can either be streamed or rented for a small fee. Gotta share the horror love, right? I’m just doing my part. Enjoy!
Clearly, these are go-to Halloween movies. Classic stalk and slash, featuring the always captivating Jamie Lee Curtis and her sibling nemesis: stone-cold Michael Myers.
This classic is not available at any of the “traditional” viewing outlets: Redbox or Netflix. Not even Blockbuster on Demand (which I just downloaded this morning) or the YouTube Horror Movie Channel. You might just have to go and check out your local video store if you don’t already own this horror classic! If you Google this little dilemma, there are some interesting results. However, be very careful when interacting with websites that you aren’t totally and wholly familiar with. Don’t get a virus on Michael’s behalf; although, he might find that a bit humorous (because in my world all horror villains have a dry sense of humor).
Now, this little beauty is available through the Netflix DVD option; though, it might be a little late in the game to snag this one for tomorrow night. But, I don’t know how long processing takes on that because I only pay for the streaming option.
Blockbuster on Demand has this little filly of a sequel for viewing, and all you have to do is sign up and download the app. You pay per movie (starting at $2.99) and registration is free. They do take your credit card information at sign-up, but they won’t charge you until you actually view a film. Again, I’ve just downloaded it this morning; so if you use it and there’s issues, come back here and let me know. Then, I can let the world know. Muah-ha-ha!
This is not just a kid’s movie, although it is aimed at children. It has a host of talented stars: Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Omri Katz (Eerie, Indiana LOVE!), and young Thora Birch. Not to mention Mr. Sean Murray, who would grow into a well-liked NCIS agent one day! And, it explores a city’s history, contains a great ghost story, and puts witches in an oven–just classic story telling here.
Confusing as this may be, Redbox has a movie page for Hocus Pocus but no ways to secure it for renting or the elusive “ADD” button to place it on a wishlist for viewing “when this is at the box.” So, whether it is or isn’t there, I can’t say for sure.
It is available on Netflix through the DVD option, but not online streaming.
YouTube is here to save the day! Through their Movie Channel, they offer the full Hocus Pocus experience for only $2.99! That’s not too bad.
What a classic Halloween movie. It teaches us acceptance of others despite inherent differences, how to come together in times of crisis, the importance of family and love, and how to put your heart on the line and dream. Oh, and it’s about witches.
Seems as though, the farther you get from a year beginning with a 2, the harder it is to find streaming online options. Redbox is a no-go, doesn’t even have it available to rent “at the box.”
Netflix offers this beauty through the DVD option.
YouTube and Blockbuster on Demand (You’ll need to register before you can see the movie page; it’s only available through the app.) offer this for the low rental price of $2.99! Totally worth the money!
I was 12 the first time I saw this movie, and I loved it from that instant on. It was hard to get on video, then, and I would go a year or two between viewings until about college or so, because I just. couldn’t. find. it. I’ve never been to a “live” performance, either, whether interactive movie screening or stage performance. It’s certainly on my bucket list; I just don’t know who I would dress as. So many colorful characters! And it’s those Frankenstein/Sci-Fi/Get-in-drag elements that make it perfect for any Halloween celebration, even just providing background noise. Though, how could it ever simply be background noise? I think Dr. Furter would be disappointed. Don’t miss the floor show!
As expected at this point, no Redbox options–though I cannot speak to how sad that makes me. Especially since I grew up longing to watch this movie over and over again (I still do, even though I own it!), and it isn’t instantly available to the masses for less than $2. Not that it’s cheap, never; but access to it should be! (Sorry, Mr. O’Brien.)
Netflix, of course, has this available via the DVD option, but no online streaming.
YouTube and Blockbuster on Demand, to the rescue again, offer it for your ultimate viewing pleasure at a devilishly low $2.99! Definitely worth every penny for the sheer entertainment value and decadent musical numbers. You’ll be humming “The Time Warp” all night, kind of like I do every day.
This list is not exhaustive, there are plenty of hours to fill on Halloween and plenty of horror movies to be watched. Between the links back to YouTube, Blockbuster on Demand, Netflix, and Redbox you are bound to find something entertaining for every member of your family, even if my suggestions here did absolutely nothing for you.
I hope the mood music lasts the life of the read, or hit repeat. It’s what I would do.
So, I’ve spent the majority of my life as a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I know I’ve mentioned this here before, and it probably won’t be the last time I mention it–because I wholeheartedly believe that people could trade stocks and run businesses in jeans if they wanted to, they just don’t. However, I think they should. What’s wrong with a little bit of comfort in the workplace, after all; but I digress… I’m telling you (again!) that I would live in a tee and jeans in order to introduce you to my favorite Halloween and horror merchandise web retailer: Fright Rags.
These are just a sample of the good works this company is doing, and they are all available for pre-order right now! There is also the option of voting to resurrect old designs, from the Graveyard. So, if it’s a first-time visit for you, make sure you stop by the Graveyard and vote on the designs you never even got a chance to shop for! They send regular emails detailing their plans for future (and past!) designs, and they love to hear how their fans feel about their designs, often taking fan suggestions and ideas. I love that they’ve incorporated baseball tees and zippered sweatshirts.
They are willing to represent every age and genre within the horror realm, and the designs are bright, clear, and educated for being so dark and demented. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase a t-shirt, but I love getting their regular emails and seeing all the beautiful items of attire that would fill my closet in a paradise of my own making. I would wear nothing but horror tees if I could–imagine that in an interview!–and I could be the happiest girl in the world. Because fashion was not made for me unless it features my favorite villains!