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Despite his omnipresence in the world of literature and film, and the fact that his stuff is right up my alley, I'd never read a Stephen King book until recently.  NYT recently published a "Essential Stephen King" primer (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/04/arts/best-stephen-king-books.html) which pushed me over the edge, so I followed their advice and read Salem's Lot.  It was great!  Given his huge catalogue of books and movies, I thought it would be fun to have a thread to discuss his work.  What do you like?  What should people avoid?  I also picked up Night Shift, which I'm going to read next.

 

@CastlevaniaNut18

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I tried reading The Gunslinger, but I could not get into it. That has been the only book of his I have tried to read. So, I can really only talk about the movies

 

I really like the movie, The Mist. I remember liking the Thinner film but that was years and years ago and I have only seen it once. Same with movies like Christine, Cujo, Pet Sematary(89), and there were a few others. I have seen The Stand tv mini series. Can't remember anything about it. Seen Creepshow a bunch cuz my brother liked it.  I like Stand By Me, The Green Mile, and Misery as well. All worth seeing. The Shawshank Redemption is fine, but it isn't my thing. Oh, I really like 1408 as well. Pretty sure I have seen The Langoliers as well. Just don't remember anything about it. 

 

Kinda of a mess, but out of all of that this is what I recommend watching if anyone hasn't seen it:

The Green Mile

Misery

1408

The Mist

Creepshow

 

 

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I read Cujo and Dream Catcher in high school. Liked the former, the latter was a struggle to finish. Really turned me off SK for years. Finally, I decided to give him another try in 2018. I wanted a horror book to read that October, so I picked Pet Sematary. Loved it. Decided to keep reading his stuff. In addition, I've since read: 'Salem's Lot(liked), IT(liked), The Shining(loved), Misery(loved), Carrie(liked), and Elevation(liked).

 

My my TBR shelf(yes, I have a shelf dedicated to TBR), I've got The Institute, The Outsider, If It Bleeds, Doctor Sleep, The Stand, 11/22/63, and Mr Mercedes.

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Oh, and as for his movies, I really loved Misery. Felt it stayed true to the book and the hobbling was somehow more brutal than simply cutting off his foot.

 

Watched The Shining after reading the book and I honestly wasn't impressed. Jack Nicholson is great, as usual, but I felt the book was a lot better. The movie could have been shorter.

 

Don't recall much about the original Pet Sematary, other than being freaked out as a kid, but I actually kind of liked the new one.

 

The 2017/2019 IT was good, though part one was better.

 

 

And Shawshank is one of my favorite movies of all time, though I never read that short story.

 

I've watched both seasons of Castle Rock and really liked it.

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I prefer his short form stories novellas over his novels, his novels for me get a bit long winded. For me his short stories are much more creative and because hes not writing a 3000 page tome they feel more concise.

 

Nightmares & Dreamscapes- Highlights includes You know They Got A Hell Of A Band,The Ten O Clock People,Home Delivery,It Grows On You

Skeleton Crew - Highlights includes The Mist,The Jaunt,Mrs.Todd,The Raft( This is one was made into a short in Creepshow 2)

Bachman Books - 4 Novellas all good Rage,The Long Walk,Roadwork,Running Man.

 

Films

 

Cujo- Love it

Maximum Overdrive - Pure gacked out King at his finest

 

 

Creepshow An Anthology film by King and Romero. One of my favorite horror films , the use Blue and Red and off kilter shots where have you asking "wheres my cake Bedelia?"

 

 

The Dead Zone - King and Cronenberg

 

Cats Eye- Another Anthology very weird and very different, its a love or hate

 

Christine - King and Carpenter nuff said

 

Silver Bullet  One of my personnel favorites

 

While not exactly King this film has Romero adapting a King short called the Cat From Hell. 

 

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1 hour ago, Bacon said:

I tried reading The Gunslinger, but I could not get into it. That has been the only book of his I have tried to read. So, I can really only talk about the movies

 

 

 

 

I'll respond later with more thoughts on King's body of work, but just a quick response to this comment. You aren't alone in this. I know quite a few people who struggled with the Gunslinger. And to be fair I completely understand. It was one of his early works and doesn't really fit a genre, not to mention it's a bit off in that there is some much to these characters that you don't know yet. That being said, I would encourage you, if you truly can't get into Gunslinger, to skip it and start with The Drawing of the Three the second book in the series and one of my all time favorite books. (seriously I read the entire thing in one sitting) and then if the Dark Tower saga gets its hooks in you, you can go back and give Gunslinger another chance. 

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3 minutes ago, Keyser_Soze said:

No one mentioned it yet but Thinner was fun back in the day.

 

1 hour ago, Bacon said:

I remember liking the Thinner film

:dab2:

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1 minute ago, Keyser_Soze said:

 

Ah, I only saw your list and saw it lacked Christine and was disgusted.

I mean, I mentioned I saw it, but it was so long ago I can't remember anything about except car. 

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1 hour ago, CastlevaniaNut18 said:

I read Cujo and Dream Catcher in high school. Liked the former, the latter was a struggle to finish. Really turned me off SK for years. Finally, I decided to give him another try in 2018. I wanted a horror book to read that October, so I picked Pet Sematary. Loved it. Decided to keep reading his stuff. In addition, I've since read: 'Salem's Lot(liked), IT(liked), The Shining(loved), Misery(loved), Carrie(liked), and Elevation(liked).

 

My my TBR shelf(yes, I have a shelf dedicated to TBR), I've got The Institute, The Outsider, If It Bleeds, Doctor Sleep, The Stand, 11/22/63, and Mr Mercedes.

I saw Pet Sematary is on Amazon Prime now - would you recommend reading the book first?  I know the general story and saw the original adaption a long time ago, but I've also heard that the book is excellent.

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26 minutes ago, Moa said:

11/22/63 deserves a mention. It's not horror but it's damn gripping.

I just got my copy this week! Not sure when I'll get to it, though.

23 minutes ago, ShreddieMercuryRising said:

I saw Pet Sematary is on Amazon Prime now - would you recommend reading the book first?  I know the general story and saw the original adaption a long time ago, but I've also heard that the book is excellent.

Yes, definitely read the book first.

 

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So, I've read: 

 

Carrie

The Shining

The Stand

The Dead Zone

Cujo

The Dark Tower: Gunslinger

Pet Sematary

It

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three

Dolores Claiborne 

The Green Mile

The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass

The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla    

The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah

The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower

Cell

Under the Dome

Doctor Sleep

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The Mist

The Body

 

 

I really enjoy King's style of writing, but can only enjoy it in bursts (so I couldn't read back-to-back books) and will pick up the other mains one I haven't touched at some point, though really that's only 'Salem's Lot, Christine, The Running Man and Misery. 

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I’ve only read The Mist out of his entire collection. I have read more of his sons books instead (Joe Hill) I like some of his movies like The Mist (still prefer the book) Shawshank Redemption, Creepshow, and It(remake) Still they have made a to. Of duds out of his material as well like The Dark Tower and the godawful Dreamcatcher (minus Damien Lewis dual roles) Glad to see he and his sons working on the Creepshow tv series now, which I gotta watch sometime 

 

if you haven’t read Heart-Shaped Box or short story collection 20th Century Ghost Stories from Joe Hill. I highly suggest you give them a shot

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I consider myself a fan of King, but I've probably only read like 20% of his books. He's just too prolific and I'm too slow of a reader. The Shining is one of my favorites, the book and the movie.

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You know that old joke about how it would be quicker to list the amount of stuff of his I haven't read is literally true for me with King's biblography.

 

I've read....


 

Spoiler

 

Novels

 

Carrie

Salem's Lot

The Shining

The Stand(complete version, never read the original)

The Dead Zone

Firestarter

Cujo

Christine

Pet Sematary

Cycle of the Werewolf

The Talisman

The Eyes of the Dragon

Thinner

It

Misery

The Tommyknockers

The Dark Half

Needful Things

Gerald's Game

Dolores Claiborne

Insomnia

Rose Madder

The Green Mile

Desperation

The Regulators

Bag of Bones

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Dreamcatcher

Black House

From a Buick 8

The Colorado Kid

Cel

Lisey's Story

Blaze

Duma Key

Under the Dome

11/22/63

 

 

The Dark Tower

 

Little Sister of Euluria

The Gunslinger

Drawing of the Three

The Waste Lands

Wizard and Glass

Wind Through the Keyhole

Wolves of the Calla

Song of Susannah

The Dark Tower

 

Short Story of Novella Collections

 

Night Shift

Different Seasons

Skeleton Crew

The Bachman Books

Four Past Midnight

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

Hearts in Atlantis

Everything's Eventual

Just After Sunset

Full Dark, No Stars

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams(working on it now)

 

Non-Fiction

 

On-Writing

 


 

 

 

So other than fairly obscure stuff, really the only hole in my reading is his more recent novels. There are a few I am interested in reading, but honestly I just do not care about his crime novel phase that's been going on, and so much of his work in the mid to late '10's were those books.

 

 

On 5/29/2020 at 7:02 PM, Bacon said:

I tried reading The Gunslinger, but I could not get into it. That has been the only book of his I have tried to read. So, I can really only talk about the movies

 

I really like the movie, The Mist. I remember liking the Thinner film but that was years and years ago and I have only seen it once. Same with movies like Christine, Cujo, Pet Sematary(89), and there were a few others. I have seen The Stand tv mini series. Can't remember anything about it. Seen Creepshow a bunch cuz my brother liked it.  I like Stand By Me, The Green Mile, and Misery as well. All worth seeing. The Shawshank Redemption is fine, but it isn't my thing. Oh, I really like 1408 as well. Pretty sure I have seen The Langoliers as well. Just don't remember anything about it. 

 

Kinda of a mess, but out of all of that this is what I recommend watching if anyone hasn't seen it:

The Green Mile

Misery

1408

The Mist

Creepshow

 

 

 

 

The Gunslinger is actually one of my favorite novels ever. Probably my most reread novel. It's just the right length to sit down and read for a few hours. Some people have a sad breakup album or movie they like to listen to or watch, I read The Gunslinger when I want to relax.

 

The said, it's probably not a great novel to read as an introduction to King. For one thing, The Dark Tower is one of the most glorious mishmashes of genres in all of literature. Which many like, but is probably a bit much to dive into and not at all the right introduction if you are expecting the infamous Stephen King spooky Horror Master that his is so commonly known as. For another things, depending on which version of the novel you attempted to read, the original can be kind of florid and obscure at times. Parts of it were written when King was only 19, and it is much different than the more workman-like prose he would adopt later on. One might call it pretentious at times, though as I said I think the novel has a ton of charm and I love it to death. The Revised version attempts to correct continuity errors in the original, but I've always suspect King also wanted to flatten out some of his youthful indiscretions. But it comes across badly, I think and I always reread the original when I pick it back up. Even though in some ways the prose might be more "correct", it comes across a bit like a translation that has been run back and forth too many times. You can feel there's something missing.

 

Anyway, if you want to give a book a try, Misery might be a good one since you enjoyed the movie. It's funny, King's written work is almost always much better then the films, but most of the stuff you listed is actually pretty good compared to the books. The Green Mile is such a good movie that it is probably even a little better than the very good serialized novel that it cam from. 1408 and The Mist are both short stories(though the Mist is probably novella territory) that are good with pretty good adaptions that mostly do justice to the source material. They  are in two different collections that might be worth giving a try if you want more short bites of King to see if you like his work. The Mist is in one of King's earliest collection called Skeleton Crew. Mrs. Todd's Shortcut, The Jaunt, The Raft, Word Processor of the Gods, Nona, Beachworld, Survivor Type, and The Reach are my favorite stories from that one. 1408 is from a later collection called Everything's Eventual. It's one of his more underrated collection imho. I like almost every story in it, but J.T.'s Theory of Pets is one of his real underrated gems. And Lunch at the Gotham Cafe is one of my favorite short stories of his. The Shawshanke Redemption is probably the biggest gulf in quality as far as King stuff goes. The amazing movie is so much better than that forgettable novella it is based on.

 

Christine is probably also pretty close in quality, though I think the book is better. Gives more depth to the characters. Cujo and Pet Sematary are both books that are substantially better than the movies. Cujo especially is a book that is underrated in how much more it's about than just a big scary dog. Fun fact, if you want to call it fun. King has said Pet Sematary may be his scariest novel to him personally, and the one he had trouble writing at times, because the scene where Gage is run over is basically a real account of what happen to King's son Owen. The only difference is that Stephen got to Owen in time.

 

 

On 5/29/2020 at 7:37 PM, CastlevaniaNut18 said:

I read Cujo and Dream Catcher in high school. Liked the former, the latter was a struggle to finish. Really turned me off SK for years. Finally, I decided to give him another try in 2018. I wanted a horror book to read that October, so I picked Pet Sematary. Loved it. Decided to keep reading his stuff. In addition, I've since read: 'Salem's Lot(liked), IT(liked), The Shining(loved), Misery(loved), Carrie(liked), and Elevation(liked).

 

My my TBR shelf(yes, I have a shelf dedicated to TBR), I've got The Institute, The Outsider, If It Bleeds, Doctor Sleep, The Stand, 11/22/63, and Mr Mercedes.

 

 

It's a shame that Dreamcatcher turned you off King. It is almost certainly in my top 5 worst novels of his. It really kicked off the worst stretch of his career imho. Starting with Dreamcatcher through to Lisey's Story are a lot of stinkers. I think it was due to him not being sure if he wanted to write anymore after the accident, but not knowing what to do without writing,. But that's just a guess. Once he accepted that he was going to be a semi-retired writer that pumped out books at a slower pace, that's when he got back to form with stuff like Duma Key, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63.

 

 

On 5/29/2020 at 9:43 PM, Paperclyp said:

I'm about halfway through the Dark Tower series, and while it has some issues, I'm enjoying it. 

 

 

So you're on Wizard and Glass? That's probably my favorite in the series beside the Gunslinger.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Chairslinger said:

It's a shame that Dreamcatcher turned you off King. It is almost certainly in my top 5 worst novels of his. It really kicked off the worst stretch of his career imho. Starting with Dreamcatcher through to Lisey's Story are a lot of stinkers. I think it was due to him not being sure if he wanted to write anymore after the accident, but not knowing what to do without writing,. But that's just a guess. Once he accepted that he was going to be a semi-retired writer that pumped out books at a slower pace, that's when he got back to form with stuff like Duma Key, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63.

Phew, while I loved your whole post, I'm just gonna highlight the reply to me. I did read later on how King himself doesn't like Dreamcatcher. While I wished I'd have read some of his better works earlier, I'm just glad I gave him another chance. I don't want to read all his books, but I'm really enjoying going through parts of his catalog.

 

 

I've also got a couple Joe Hill books I need to read.

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Just now, Keyser_Soze said:

Dreamcatcher the movie was also not good.

 

 

I wanted to like it because I really like Thomas Jane, but yeah....it was crap. He was really good in The Mist, though.

 

I need to watch 1922. It was a good novella and I've heard good things about the movie and his performance.

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50 minutes ago, Chairslinger said:

I wanted to like it because I really like Thomas Jane, but yeah....it was crap. He was really good in The Mist, though.

 

The first half was ok but the second half, oh boy.

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I also should mention that I watched Misery for the first time recently and really loved it.  Also watched Cat's Eye, which was hokey but fun.  I am reading Night Shift and have Pet Sematary on the way.  I really enjoy King's writing.  He knows how to construct a good story, and he strikes a great balance between the propulsive, visceral stuff and descriptive internal monologues for all of the characters.

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  • 4 months later...

Figured I’d NercroBump this thread. Just watched Doctor Sleep as part of my 31 movies in 31 Days. Absolutely loved it. 
 

Im curious for those who read the book, since the movie is very clearly a sequel to the Stanley Kubrick movie which, while an amazing movie, is a terrible adaptation of the book. How much does this movie differ from the actual book?

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I’ve read and seen The Green Mile, read the first three or so Dark Tower books, and I’ve seen Pet Semetary (original) and Stand By Me. I’ve also seen Maximum Overdrive, which may unironically be my favorite Stephen King work. 

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