Literature & Film discussion

Stephen King Movies & Books

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message 1: by Curlykerry (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Curlykerry | 2 comments 1. I loved reading "IT"...but the made for TV movie (starring the late, great Jack Ritter) was campy and horrible!
2. I still think "Carrie" is scary. Classic movie.

message 2: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Robert | 111 comments I don't think there's any reason to be guilty about King anymore. There aren't many writers who have such a clear insight into American culture. He's also been fortunate to have some fairly good adaptations of his work. The Best? Carrie, The Shining (though King himself doesn't like the film), The Dead Zone, Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery.

John Carpenter's "Christine" isn't a very good film, but I love the scene where the car rebuilds itself, to "Harlem Nocturne".

And many of the others - "Silver Bullet", "Cat'e Eye", "Pet Semetary" - are at least effective on a straight horror-movie level.

So if I had to be pinned down..
Best Novel: The Stand (but it's a hard call...)
Best Movie: Carrie

But I'll also add that I don't scare easily, so I have to credit "Pet Sematary" as being one of the few books that got to me in such a way that I thought I was going to have to set aside.

message 3: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Cal, is that really you here in our little group discussing the humble art of film??? Actually, thrilled to have you here and looking forward to some good debates. Welcome!

message 4: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   my guiltiest pleasure regarding Stephen King is the lead song the Ramones wrote for Pet Semetary called, simply, Pet Semetary. - now the Ramones are easily one of my favorite songs, but this is way into the crappy part of their career. it's an embarrasingly lame song with terrible lyrics... but i love it. absolutely love it.

best movie: CARRIE! i really don't need to explain... just read my depalma postings.

best book: Bachman Books. - in 8th grade my teacher tossed aside the school's reading list and gave us each a copy of this book. he'd have been fired or severely chewed out if we told on him... but why would we? godammit, Mr. Golder, one of the stories was a pre-columbine tale in which a kid came to school and took out part of his class with a shotgun!!! -- Golder was a genius, though, as every single one of us absolutely loved the book. talked about it during lunch, at home, on the phone, etc... i truly believe it made lifetime readers of a number of us. so nostalgia doesn't permit me to critique this book - it's my favorite thing king-related anything...

interesting that cal can discuss, as kimley put it, 'the humble art of film' only in relation to an author he considers a 'guilty pleasure'... and, yeah, robert's right: king is no longer a guilty pleasure. published in the new yorker, editor of some of the 'best of...' series, etc... he is now quite the respected man of letters. yee-haw!


Under the arc of a weather stain board
Ancient goblins, and warlords,
Come out the ground, not making a sound,
The smell of death is all around,
And the night when the cold wind blows
No one cares, nobody knows.

I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary
I don’t want to live my life again,
I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary
I don’t want to live my life again.

Follow Victor to the sacred place
This ain’t a dream, I can’t escape
Molars and fangs, the clicking of bones,
Spirits moaning among the tombstones,
And the night, when the moon is bright,
Someone cries, something ain’t right.

The moon is full, the air is still,
All of the sudden I feel a chain,
Victor is grinning, flesh rotting away,
Skeletons dance, I curse this day,
And the night when the wolves cry out,
Listen close and you can hear me shout.

I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary
I don’t want to live my life again,
I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary
I don’t want to live my life again, oh, no, oh, no
I don’t want to live my life again, oh, no, oh, oh
I don’t want to live my life again, oh, no, no, no
I don’t want to live my life again, oh, oh

message 5: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   Maximum Overdrive. didn't King write and direct that? it's a fucking abomination. awful.

and i don't think hating Shawshank is 'shocking' - quite the opposite. although the movie is loved by the masses, it's reviled by your average serious cineaste and/or book reader because it is smug and precious and sanctimonious and sentimental and formulaic and tim robbins puts in yet another smug precious sanctimonious sentimental and formulaic performance. that said... i think the movie works. i kind of want to hate it for said reasons, but i can't. every time it's on i can't stop watching. it's a fantasy and filled with hollywood tropes, but i dig it. i can't intellectually explain (well, perhaps i could, but would it matter?)why the crying fat guy getting beat to death or robbins explaining the tax code to the sadistic guard works for me... but it does. i must say - and i know i'll get some serious shit flung at me for this one: i'm a big john ford fan. i've seen nearly every movie he's directed (with sound) and i could see him directing this if he was around now. he's amongst hollywood's most sentimental directors and to call his vision of the west 'pure fantasy' would be understating the fact... anyone care to argue?

message 6: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   oh, big man leaves a trail of postings today and end with 'goodreads bores me to death'.

then don't post.



message 7: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   sorry i didn't count your third posting... unfortunately my psychic powers are a bit rusty.

if the 'pedantry' bores you then stay off... it's the mark of a coward, and very transparent, to ridicule others (and thereby protect oneself) by commenting on how boring is that in which he had just participated...

if you want vitriol then voice an opinion. a dim-witted chap with such bad taste as yourself shouldn't have a problem starting up an argument...

love and kisses...

message 8: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   you're a strange guy, manuel. you lament the lack of vitriol; in fact, you say it's why you're bored of goodreads. and when i comply and throw a nice steaming heap your way... you take it all personally and flit away like a little girl.

is this, what i wrote earlier to cal, veneration? check it:

"interesting that cal can discuss, as kimley put it, 'the humble art of film' only in relation to an author he considers a guilty pleasure"

not really, huh?

also, manny: cal came at the thread honestly, with enthusiam. you complained of boredom, indirectly insulting all who are enjoying the shit out of this thread. and we are.

and please be logical: when i masturbate to morrissey, i am not looking into a mirror. i'm looking directly at one of the many images pasted to my ceiling and/or walls.

message 9: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   i can't even respond as your post was pretty damn funny. the kevin smith bit (while ridiculous and wrong) was kind of great. i love it. well done, my good man(ny). and hey: i'm very proud of my nose. yes, it's big, but it ain't hooked. what're you, some kind of an anti-semite, ya big serbo-mexican't.

message 10: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Ah, I do love me a good Brian/Manny bitch slap fest...

Although Manny it does sound like you're calling us all a bunch of pedantic bores and for that I have to take you to task!

Pedantic? You bet your ass we're pedantic. It's the nature of the beast. Are we supposed to just go back and forth calling one another an ass for not liking the same books/films?

And yes, the "list" thread is supposed to be just that - a list of things that people want to discuss down the line - no more, no less. And frankly, I've discovered a bunch of interesting items in other people's lists.

Boring - well that's subjective and I'm truly sorry that you are not enjoying yourself here though I do believe most of us are having a pretty good time but ya know if you're sitting around waiting for OTHER people to post things that make YOUR life interesting well therein lies the problem.

So, Manny, I beg of you, please go start an interesting thread! I wish more people would start up topics as I have absolutely no interest in dominating all the discussions here.

And Manny, I'm just giving you shit - I do hope we get interesting enough for you to stay...

And by the way, why did you quit the War & Peace group???

message 11: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

brian   goddamn! kimley just ripped the reins from my hands, pushed me off the carriage, and stampeded that team of horses right over your bitchy little ass, manny.

nice work.

remember kimley: 'with great power comes great responsibility.'

that's peter parker, by the way, who said that.

message 12: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Oh Brian, I would never push you off the carriage. I am a lady after all - it was merely a slight nudge...

And Manny we all love you precisely because you like to start some shit. And full circle - I think Manny has found his center!

message 13: by Alison (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Alison Geez, and I thought A Clockwork Orange was brutal (haha). Is it still O.K. to say I liked Carrie? Be gentle!

Also, wasn't the guy driving the truck in the Gage-squashing scene of Pet Semetary listening to a Ramones song? It's been like 20 years since I read that book (I think I was like ten--and why was my mom letting me read that?) but I somehow recall......

message 14: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:24PM) (new)

Sarah Sammis (caligula03) I am also partial to the Kubrick version of The Shining. I also like Secret Window from the story Secret Window / Secret Garden (in Four Past Midnight).

message 15: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 4 comments Back to the original question.

Best Book: I liked IT
Best Movie: Misery was totally awesome! Go Kathy Bates.

Worst book and movie: DREAMCATCHER!!!!!


message 16: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

brian   no marshall no! i definitely will not reread the book and ruin the feeling i have for it. i'm sure you're right. i'm sure it's horrible. but in my head and heart it's badass. it's magical the way things are only when you're a kid. i don't wanna ruin that.

i've read very little King. actually, only some short stories and i gotta agree with you: his prose is distractingly bad. and this is not from the standpoint of a reader/writer guy, just someone wanting to enjoy some creepy stories -- i really couldn't enjoy then as the clumsy language seemed to get in the way.

if anyone can recommend a king story or book that they think will prove me wrong... lemme know. i want to like king. i really do. his ideas are fucking terrific and i love scary stories. but i think i'm with marshall on this one.

message 17: by Jonathan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Jonathan | 8 comments My favorite King novel is "Bag of Bones" which I had heard had been optioned by Bruce Willis but nothing has ever come of it.

The only good King adaptation for which I read the book AND saw the movie in its entirety was "Misery." It was a good film. I never read "The Shining" though I know King hated the Kubrick version. "It" was awful on TV, and from what I saw of "Hearts in Atlantis" (taken from the novella "Low Men in Yellow Coats") it seemed a bit flat.

message 18: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Several of you have mentioned that King hated Kubrick's The Shining. And interestingly, several of you have mentioned this as a favorite. I read the book and saw the film when it first came out so I don't really remember either all that well.

Anyone know specificallly what King objected to?

message 19: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Robert | 111 comments King didn't say anything about the film when it was new, but in recent years he's been more direct about it. From what I've read, it seems that his biggest objection seems to be that the film rests on Jack's gradual resentment of his family, while he sees them as being a loving family threatened by evil.
But I also found this at
"How does Stephen King feel about Kubrick's adaptation of his book?
Initially King was flattered that Kubrick was going to do something of his. Later he expressed disappointment in the film. "There's a lot to like about it. But it's a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery - the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene - which has been used before on the Twilight Zone"

King had the chance to "do everything different" with the I997 TV movie adaptation of The Shining which he wrote and produced. However the TV Shining was poorly received and generally considered to be vastly inferior to the Kubrick's version. Friction between Kubrick and King was probably further exasperated because Kubrick refused King the rights to release his version of The Shining on video.

Recently it has emerged that King used to be an alcoholic, and that parts of The Shining are, if not autobiographical, then very personal for the author. King was annoyed because Kubrick's adaptation, in his eyes, marginalised the book's most important theme, that of an good father can be turned into a monster through alcohol abuse."

Personally, I didn't like the film the first time I saw it but have come to admire it. As for the book, I read it almost 30 years ago and couldn't really say much about it today...

And I know this is old, but there's the possibility that some of you haven't seen this inspired variation on the film

message 20: by Robbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Robbie Bashore There was a time in my middle school/high school years that I had read every Stephen King book that I could find in my local library. Then I started taking literature classes, and I just couldn't go back. Jonathan keeps recommending "Bag of Bones," though, so I might considering reading it on vacation sometime.

I think "The Shining" might have been one of my favorite books (movie was okay, but not faithful), although I also enjoyed some of his collections of short stories. I think the movie "Carrie" was probably one of the more faithful film adaptations.

I remember seeing "Shawshank Redeption," and having a feeling of deja vu. It was only when I saw the end credits that I figured out I had read it before. Yes, I liked the movie--I'm a sap!

message 21: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

brian   get a sense of humor, cal. manny's a riot - we love it. as far as i remember, you're the one who wrote:

"if i offend anyone... good."

message 22: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

brian   there are many on this site who are, in dostoyevsky's words, "touchy... like a dwarf."

message 23: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

brian   robert's right... but it's more complex than just that.

you see - i have a mirrored ceiling. i lay in bed, naked and on my back, with a cut-out of morrissey's face over mine. i cut tiny holes in the eyes, so in the mirror it appears that morrissey's laying in my bed and being fondled by my hand.

message 24: by Jonathan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Jonathan | 8 comments I was under the impression that King had a problem with the casting of Nicholson as the father. The way he saw it, Kubrick was pretty much telegraphing to the audience what was going to unfold.

message 25: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

brian   i've heard that as well... and it's a trade off. with a more innocuous actor, there isn't the sense of foreboding and the transformation to "all work and no play..." is more startling. on the downside... no jack. i think kubrick made the right decision.

message 26: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Tosh | 68 comments I have a hard time with King's novels due to the fact that they have horrible book covers. I can't be seen in public (I read on the bus) in the public with covers like that! I know it sounds silly, but it's a big issue wth me!

Hmm, but didn't they re-issue some of his 'classics' with a much hipper cover? I will try to locate those editions.

message 27: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
And you say you're not a dandy Tosh??? But yes, I agree! I read on the subway and let me tell you I DO check out what other people are reading and then decide whether or not to sit next to them!

As for King, I read a bunch of his stuff when I was a kid and remember enjoying it but I just enjoyed horror books in general when I was young - the Omen, Exorcist etc.

Once I got into the Beats, noir stuff, crazy French witers (Celine et al.) in my late teens I just haven't made my way back to horror fiction.

But you know, if I can get some King books with a good cover, maybe I'll reconsider this stuff!

message 28: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

brian   it's funny, kimley, but seeing Celine up there made me think... i don't believe i've ever read a horror book or seen a horror movie that was more horrifying than a celine novel. Journey to the End of the Night is just a nightmare, isn't it? a truly evil book. easily one of the my favorite novels. as he is easily one of my favorite authors. a real twisted guy, huh? i've always wanted to get hold of the pamphlets he wrote for the nazis. i imagine they're quite fascinating. if celine wasn't such a hateful anti-semitic pro-fascist i think he'd be amongst the most highly regarded writers of the last century; but, if he wasn't such a hateful anti-semtiic pro-fascist, i doubt he'd have been able to write those gorgeously hateful and truly evil books...

message 29: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:26PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Brian, that's so true! Clearly, my reading took a natural progression.

Through most of my twenties I think if asked I would have said Celine was my favorite author. I haven't read him in ages and keep wanting to go back and read him in French but his work is so full of slang that it's a tough read for a non-native speaker.

Apparently nobody can read his pamphlets. I believe they are locked up somewhere in a vault. I think you can only access them if you are a scholar. When I was a comp lit grad student, getting to read those at some point was definitely something I was hoping for... I'm sure they are some pretty powerful nasty bits of writing.

message 30: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

brian   well... i'm veering off from the thread's intented subject matter (that is, film and lit), but this will be the last one... what's also great about Celine, kimley, is that he is also an incredibly funny writer. in the darkest and most black sense, of course. two things always stick out, two things i find myself chuckling about when they pop into my head:

throughout Journey, when speaking of sex and of the female gender, in that wonderful celine-esque stream of consciousness way, he remarks, "ah... the mystery of the ass." - i always loved that. i think it really captures something crass and strange and true.

also: at the most dire times, when things are bad - i mean really bad... not like losing your keys bad. like 'finding yourself in the middle of a war and germans are shooting at you' or 'accidentally blinding someone' or 'about to get pummelled by an irate gang of maniacs' bad... in a very casual manner, the narrator will simple say, 'my goose is cooked.' yes! yes! yes! i laughed out loud as i was reading it...

i think celine may have been a human manifestion of satan. yes!

message 31: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Hmm. Brian, you've just given me a serious need to revisit Celine and finally get through it in French! But, yeah, for me Celine has always been about the deep dark and disturbed humor. He is the definition of black humor. When you mentioned above his horror, it's so true that his books are pure horror but the sick humor is really what sticks with me for him.

And in an attempt to bring this ever so slightly back to topic. Anyone know of any Celine books adapted to film? It seems unlikely and a pretty impossible feat but hey, people have tried to bring Burroughs to celluloid so you never know...

message 32: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
An additional thought - since I'm currently reading A Clockwork Orange which is in the same vein as Celine. I think if I hadn't seen the film before reading this book, I'm not sure I would have thought this could be successfully adapted to film either. Just goes to show...

message 33: by Tosh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Tosh | 68 comments And Celine was a Doctor, who mostly served the poor! Who in their right mind would want Celine as their doctor???

But Brian brought something up that I never thought of before. Celine is truly a horror writer to the core. King writes in a genre of horror that is basically entertaining -even light perhaps. But yes, writers who wrote or covered a war are truly horror writers of the first degree.

There is horror where one wants to be scared or 'entertained' and then there are writers who really expose and comment on 'evil.' Highsmith to me is truly an evil writer as well. Her stories scares me to the core! Fascinating trend here!

But back to film/literature, and maybe Kurbrick, horror to him is basically life. Paths of Glory is a horrific story and so is Clockwork Orange. The Shining is horrific in that writer's block is probably the most horrible thing for a writer to go through. Total nightmare!

message 34: by brian (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

brian   celine blew me away five pages into Journey. ferdinand decides to go to war and the second he's in a battle all nobility and loyalty and patriotism and nationality are right out the window. he's all 'what the fuck am i doing here, get me the hell out of here!' - there are no digressions, ruminations, or even the tiniest aside about anything that another writer would consider regarding war, bravery, freedom, politics, etc... it's all survival and anger. and that resonates. it is, at once, very hysterical and very tragic. celine taps into something very very real - and very very horrifying - about people.

as far as a celine film... i'd have said it's impossible, but you're right kimley - if they can do burroughs, they can do anything. the filmmakers would have to take serious liberties and basically construct their own movie based on celine, rather than try anything faithful to the book. that just could not work. even with Journey, his most accessible book.

i think celine, and his character ferdinand, represent a large portion of europeans who had just seen WW1 tear through the planet for no good reason. his country was wrecked, his countrymen were dead and/or limbless, and celine was so unsure about man and his fate he felt the iron grip of fascism was the only thing that could hold us, as a people, together... he was wrong, but it's helpful to understand the context of his pro-fascist pro-nazi beliefs.

message 35: by Kimley (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Kimley | 201 comments Mod
Brian, I think you should start a Celine group here at Goodreads! All this talk has gotten me so hot to reread all his stuff.

I think it's also interesting that humor is so often combined with horror. Think Jack Nicholson all crazy-eyed and devil smile and sure he's scary (wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley!) but he's also hysterical. And Celine using this dark dark humor that literally makes you laugh out loud right in the immediate aftermath of a war that people still hadn't recovered from. But it's so cathartic and at the same time it actually pushes the point home even further - that contrast merely heightens the horror.

Highsmith on the other hand is not funny at all! She's all about very personal one-on-one spine-chilling evil. Her's isn't a societal horror but she really makes you start to wonder about your next door neighbors...

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