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Night Shift
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Short Stories & Collections > The Boogeyman-NS

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message 1: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
Discuss story here!

message 2: by Tek (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tek | 94 comments I first read this in my darkened room which happened to be in the basement. I was freaked out. It spooked me.

Kandice | 3944 comments The entire time I was reading this for the first time, I had no idea....I was so shocked as it became obvious who the psychologist was.

message 4: by Chris , The Hardcase (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris  (haughtc) | 1099 comments Mod
What did y'all think about the way the main character kept talking about how to raise his kids and intereact with his wife?

message 5: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
I didn't get the psychologist was the boogyman until he became the boogeyman. So I was in complete shock.
Chris... not sure what you mean?
I also think it is scary that the same boogeyman was only hunting their family! Yikes!

message 6: by Chris , The Hardcase (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris  (haughtc) | 1099 comments Mod
Well, he talked about knocking his wife around a bit. And with the kids, he was all about making them tough, and not turning out to be sissies.

It struck me as indicative of the times the story was written, but I found it somewhat comical. Like Ralph Crampton or Archie Bunker....

Betsy Boo (betsyboo) | 195 comments Rob's teacher asked, "WAS there really a boogeyman?" That is exactly what I wondered this time. The first time I read it there was no doubt, but now than I'm older my view has changed. His violent tendencies toward his family made it seem possible that HE was the boogeyman. On top of which, why go to the shrink at all unless he subconsciously knows there is something wrong with his mental faculties? He said he'd rather be in prison...why not just go to the police? The fact that the shrink turned out to be the boogeyman just reinforces this, in my opinion.

Kandice | 3944 comments I flip back and forth, between readings. Sometimes it seems glaringly obvious he's killing his own kids and a guilty concious is blaming it on the boogeyman. (Twilight Zone theme song in background) Other times, I guess mood makes all the difference, I really believe that psychiatrist IS the boogeyman and here long last ...his ultimate prize! Or whatever. (Vincent Price laughter in background)

message 9: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
Whoa I never thought about it in the sense that the dad did the killings. That is GOOD! It would make sense that someone who has mental disabilities might actually really believe there is a boogeyman when they themselves are doing it.

Kandice | 3944 comments Rob wrote: "Maybe King left it intentionally vague. I tend to like stories like that...where it could go either way."

Me too. He did a good job, too, because like I said, it makes perfect sense to me wither way depending on my mood.

message 11: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam c'mon people ... the boogeyman is really in there i tells ya

nice thread btw ;o)

Kandice | 3944 comments I don't think it really DOES. I think it's left up to us, the readers. It's funny, because I used to re-read the same books over and over before GRs, and since I've joined, I've read reviews where people thought something completely different about a story than I did. I think those are the best books! They leave you thinking wiggle room.

Betsy Boo (betsyboo) | 195 comments I completely agree with you Kandice! I still can't get over how different I saw THINNER than everyone else. I love being able to come here and see what all of you have to say. It makes the stories that much richer!

message 14: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
Had I not discussed this with other people I would've never thought of Jim as the Boogeyman! I wonder though why the police never investigated him?

Trudi (trudistafford) | 150 comments This story scared the piss out of me - I actually think it's one of King's best pieces of writing. Like Rob says, simple story, the build up is slow, precise, but the ending goes for the jugular. Lean and mean. It jolted me to my core (the only time I can remember feeling that level of shock and disorientation was with Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery").

...and I do think there is a bogeyman! This is what King does best, tapping into our primal fears, this time of the dark closet and the creature that lurks there. We know it's bullshit ... we tell ourselves, we tell our kids, but what if the bogeyman is REAL, man? That's what scares King the most, and that's why he can write it so well it scares the bejesus out of us!

Trudi (trudistafford) | 150 comments Just like to throw this out there too:

I think this story is an early example of King writing about one of his most deep-seated fears, not the bogeyman, but the thought of something hurting his children.

As a parent you can feel so helpless to the plethora of dangers that stalk your child - illness, predators, freak accidents, etc. When asked what scares him most, King has often answered having something bad happen to one of his kids. It petrifies him. Or at least it did when his kids were small and I guess that's why the theme shows up much more in his early stuff like, The Shining, Cujo, Pet Sematary, The Mist, It

Think so?

message 17: by Chris , The Hardcase (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chris  (haughtc) | 1099 comments Mod
I agree, Trudi. As a parent, that's indeed the scariest thing to think about. And "The Boogeyman" deals with the fear of brushing off your child's fear as nothing, only to find out they were right all along and you did nothing to stop it.....

message 18: by Patrick (new)

Patrick (horrorshow) | 62 comments Yes...I thought the boogeyman was scary. I never even heard of the boogeyman before Stephen King obessesed over it. I often imagine the boogeyman as wearing all black and only having a white dead pasty face with bulging eyes and a bit of dead folded in skin for a mouth. I just did not find out about the rotten spade clawed hands...

message 19: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna | 64 comments this is one of my favorite stories from this book so far. I never thought of it as the father killing the kids and using the boogyman as an excuse but I can see it from that view point.

I wonder if the boogyman was visiting other kids and this is just one of the stories that were told to the "psychiatrist"

alicia grant (shesha34) ooh this one put right back into my chilhood fear.I always had to have the closet door closed.If I had actually read this in the dark i might have had a little trouble getting to sleep.

message 21: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
I never liked to hang my hand down to where it could hang below the bed... as if there was something under the mattress! Yikes!

message 22: by Lonnie (last edited Sep 29, 2009 07:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lonnie Rob wrote: "I used to be scared of having my feet slip out from beneath the covers. I always imagined something from under the bed would grab them. Not sure why it wouldn't grab them if they were COVERED....."

What about the across the room Superman fly after switching the light off? I remember at least once hoping that I didn't misjudge the bed by 3 feet and once that there wouldn't be something in my bed when I landed.

When I was 6 I had gone to bed (Superman jumped) and was grabbed from underneath. My stepbrother had hidden under the bed while I brushed my teeth. Jerk!

message 23: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam Lonnie wrote: "What about the across the room Superman fly after switching the light off?..."

Lonnie i remember this exact same experience ... standing at the light switch at the door ... heart pounding ... trying to find the best way to leap to the safety of my bed without touching the floor ... :o)

Lonnie Oh, yeah been there done that! My grandmother lived in a house that had a basement that you only entered from the outside. It was really old and only had 1 light bulb that lit the main room. Luckily it was on a switch at the door. But, if you had to go to the back room in the basement you had to walk through a doorway, your body would cast a shadow blocking the light from that single dim bulb. Then you had to walk into the middle of the room and reach your hand up for the chain hanging from the bulb in the middle of the room. I can’t tell you how many close calls I had at night with the boogieman with that stupid light. I’m surprised I ever made it out of there alive.

Lonnie my sister still lives in the same house. The basebment is still spooky! ;)

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a fantastic thread. After reading Cujo, I started reading the stories from Night Shift and this one just petrified me. One of my all-time favorite shorts. As a young kid, there was no doubt in my mind that the the psychiatrist was the bogeyman. As an adult, I'm not so sure if it wasn't Jim, in a Poe-ish kind of way (think "William Wilson").

Vanessa (talkbookstome) | 1 comments Great Thread Everyone!! (warning: contains spoilers about the story)

Okay here was my first reaction on the ending: I felt that towards the end, Billings makes somewhat of a deviation from his attitude towards the whole thing. He decides to make several more appointments, perhaps his first step towards his recovery from this guilt/mental illness. However, he can't. His fear has completely consumed him.

I believe he only IMAGINES that his psychiatrist is the boogeyman in the end. Granted, the boogeyman may have truly killed his children... but I see it as an example of how fear is the most powerful force on earth.

Perhaps also, coming face-to-face with the Boogeyman was the only result possible for Billings? Perhaps his own guilt for failing to protect his children demanded that he share their same fate in his own mind? Either way, he got what he deserved! What a selfish, heartless husband and father! Good riddance - the boogeyman can have him!

As far as the ending goes though, who knows! That's the power of King! Definitely will have a hard time falling asleep tonight though!

message 28: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
Cameron asks in another thread: Cameron Ashworth | 4 comments Am I correct in thinking this story has been made into a TV episode of some kind? Because I seem to remember the final scene.

Cameron Ashworth Thanks Angie didn't realize a thread was already on here.

message 30: by Lucy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lucy | 6 comments Hmmm interesting thoughts and ideas raised here. I, for one, never doubted the existence of the boogeyman, and I still remember reading the story and coming to the part where the boogeyman held the mask of the doctor in his hand. Yikes! But, looking at it in another way, maybe Lester did kill his kids...and maybe it was his deeds that brought the boogeyman to him. His punishment, so to speak.

message 31: by Jocelyne (new)

Jocelyne Serna | 1 comments Now reading all of your comments, something clicked in my head. What about if Billings did it for fear of the unknown. A lesson to be learned. Instead of confronting said monster, he sacrificed his kids. He didn't face it, he ran away instead

message 32: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
Good point!!!

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Kandice wrote: "The entire time I was reading this for the first time, I had no idea....I was so shocked as it became obvious who the psychologist was."

I know what you mean. This is honestly the scariest short story I have ever read.

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