Is Stephen King Creepier Than His Own Characters? Yeah, Probably.

By Andrew Blumetti

“My next story stars David Ortiz. It’s full of bats!”

WARNING!  BEWARE OF THE NORTHEAST UNITED STATES!

When the red, yellow, and orange leaves begin to swiftly flutter to the ground and crunch under the weight of your shoe, and jackets make their way out of the closet faster than Liberace, things begin to get especially eerie up in the beautiful and quaint New England area.

No, I’m not talking about the cackling Salem witches, and I am pretty sure I’m not referring to all the untimely injuries to all of Tom Brady’s recievers.

Nope, it’s the ever-ghastly presence of the master of the macabre, Mr. Maine himself, Stephen King.

“Quick, pull on my beard, it’ll keep us safe!”

Since the horror author first put spooky pen to paper, and began writing in the early 1950’s, libraries and bookstore shelves haven’t been safe thanks to King’s devilish novels and stories of blood-thirsty vampires, deathly plagues and killer cars.

Don’t think for a second this phenomenon is limited to only the written word, as the film adaptations of his wicked works have infamously become a part of classic American cinema history.  He’s crafted a wealth of terrifying tales that have scurried their way into our collective nightmares for decades and will surely continue to do so for years to come, long after King has hung up that same pen.

Part of King’s appeal is that he’s more than ready to delve into the seediest and darkest parts of our psyches, stirring up the pot and unleashing sinister and malevolent characters very few could imagine and even less would want to cross paths with.

That just raises the question– For all these years, how does he do it?  Why is he such a master at this bone-chilling craft?  Was Dracula his dad?  Did he watch one too many monster movies growing up?   Perhaps a rough childhood?

What leads someone to have such a natural knack for giving us the heebie-jeebies up our collective spine?  Is Stephen King really the most nightmareish creature to ever walk the earth?

Well, eight rounds with a handful of his own created brutes oughta answer that question for us…

——————————————

ROUND ONE:  “NO BEER AND NO TV MAKE HOMER SOMETHING SOMETHING…”

THE CHALLENGER:  Jack Torrance

STORY:  The Shining

STRENGTHS:  Sinister smile, friendly with fiends, heck of a swing with an axe

WEAKNESSES:  Not so speedy in the freshly-fallen snow, ghost bartenders say he’s a lousy tipper

Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic on the King favorite, The Shining, has the honor of creating a veritable buffet of some of the most infamously creepy scenes in Hollywood history, often centered around Jack Torrance, in a role that was practically made for Jack Nicholson.  In the film version, Jack takes on Jack, a caretaker influenced by the evil spirits of a giant empty hotel  (Devil Tree Holiday InnsaneMotel 666Scaryiott?) closed down for the long winter.

…and when he isn’t busy trying to turn his family into his former family, Jack spends long snowy days in the middle of nowhere lending a hand out on Extreme Home Makeover. 

Say it with me… MOVE… THAT… BUS!!!

“Hey door- YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”

…and not to be outdone themselves, as an added bonus, the classic “soil-your-pants-in-fear” Grady twins who hang out in the hallway of TACKY WALLPAPER!!

Sure, they’re unsettling, but aren’t the Olsen twins too?

We… wore… the same thing.

Now, they might be permanently etched into your dreams tonight, but don’t tell me this guy’s any better…

RESULT?:  Jack’s just a queen compared to this king.  Steve takes home the early victory.

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  1

————————————————————

ROUND TWO:  THIS IS RUFF

“Sure, Beethoven got to hang out with Charles Grodin, I get fake blood on me.”

THE CHALLENGER:  Cujo

STORY:  Cujo

STRENGTHS:  massive angry pup who’s as big as a Buick, vicious bark, fetches only the obituary section of the newspaper

WEAKNESSES:  constantly wasting time to lift his leg on hydrants, can be distracted with Milk Bones

He certainly doesn’t put the “saint” in Saint Bernard…

Many unfortunate folks became Alpo for Cujo, the rabid homicidally playful pup who single-handedly pawedly terrorized a peaceful Maine neighborhood, and was kicked out of Petco more times than I can count.

It’s BACONNNNN!!!!

Stephen King, on the other hand, has been kicked out of Starbucks like four times.   Geez, just let everyone enjoy their Pumpkin Spice Lattes in peace, Steve.

“They call the small size ‘tall’, now, THAT’s creepy!”

RESULT?:  Hot dog!  We have a weiner!   … and it’s King.

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  2

—————————————————

ROUND THREE:  HELLO NURSE!

THE CHALLENGER:  Annie Wilkes

STORY:  Misery

STRENGTHS:  facing a nearly immobile victim, playing on home turf, shops in the “Murder Aisle” at Home Depot

WEAKNESSES:   homebound weirdo, frumpy dresser

Now, haunted chambermaids and misunderstood pooches, that’s merely child’s play.  Here’s a real challenge:  Annie Wilkes, the batcrap crazy nurse with a heart of poo in King’s classic, Misery, is nuttier than a Snickers bar and quite the menace with a sledgehammer.  After her favorite author in the world, Paul Sheldon, seriously crashes his car in the snow near her remote home, Wilkes rescues, cares for, traps, and tortures him, all in one heartfelt tale.

“What do you mean muffins are surprisingly high in calories?!?”

But… keep in mind, this is how Stephen King acts when the crowd sings “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park.  Uncalled for…

“Good times never seemed so good… SO GOOD! SO GOOD!”

RESULT?:  King surprisingly hobbled the nurse for the win.

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  3

———————————————————

ROUND FOUR:  CLOWNIN’ AROUND

NAME:  Pennywise the Clown

STORY:  It

STRENGTHS:  being a terrifying clown, which is basically all you need here

WEAKNESSES: big goofy shoes make it awkward to walk, clown suit provides no fly to go to the bathroom

One of King’s all-time classics, It, is a long, long book with a long, long miniseries that starred Tim Curry as the infamous clown college dropout, “Pennywise”, a terrifying transformation of a malevolent force which exploits its victims’ worst fears, and is probably the reason your girlfriend is terrified of clowns.

He also went on to eventually went on to bang on tin drums on stage for Slipknot.  Or something…

“I don’t care if we’re rolling. I don’t step foot on set till I finish my bear claw.”

Clowns, schmowns, say goodbye to your balloon animals, cause Stephen King’s here, to sell you crappy kitchen knives, door-to-door!

RESULT?:  A big red nose, and a big red loss for the clown.  Halfway through, and we add another in the win column for King!

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  4

—————————————

ROUND FIVE:  THIS ROUND “SUCKS”

THE CHALLENGER:  Kurt Barlow

STORY:  Salem’s Lot

STRENGTHS:  head vampire, which luckily doesn’t include much paperwork

WEAKNESSES:  says, “fangs a lot” too much

In a book that King has referred to as his favorite in several interviews, Salem’s Lot tells the story of an writer who returns to his small Maine hometown, to find the residents are turning into bloodsucking vampires who fall in love with Kristen Stewart.  Word is, she didn’t smile once through the whole relationship.

Kurt Barlow (not to be confused with his cousin, Lou Barlow, who fronted 90’s lo-fi darlings, Sebadoh) is a master vampire, who notoriously terrorizes the town, and avoids all meals containing any trace of garlic, simply cause of bad breath.  In the novel, Barlow is depicted as a human, but is given a ghastly Nosferatu-esque appearance in the film adaptation, as seen here:

“Okay, who put my hand in warm water while I was sleeping?!?”

Stephen King, well, he just looks like a slightly thinner, less-fun version of Fat Mac from season 7 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

RESULT?:  Back to the coffin, it’s King by a country mile, again.

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  5

——————————————

ROUND SIX:  YOU DA PROM!

THE CHALLENGER:  Carrie White

STORY:  Carrie

STRENGTHS:  a mean case of telekinesis

WEAKNESSES:  extreme shyness, unstable nut mother, ruined prom dress

Many believe King, like many famous authors, loves to cloak his blood-soaked tales of terror heavily in metaphors.

Sure, Carrie may be the tale of a shy, bullied high-schooler who exacts her revenge on her tormenters at the prom, connecting bridges to areas of isolation, religion and the troubled youth of our society.  But really, Carrie, one of the most notorious banned-books in high schools across the country, is much more straight-forward; it’s really the story of a shy high-school girl who is really bad at pouring ketchup:

“But I tapped the bottle right on the ’57’, how did this happen?!?”

But even if you didn’t find a date to the prom, an encouraging word to all the single readers out there spending wakeless hours a day on Match.com… Don’t lose faith, this guy found a wife!

(I almost take it back, this picture is kinda awesome.)

RESULT?:  The win goes to the prom king.

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  6

———————————————

ROUND SEVEN:  “DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME”

THE CHALLENGER:  Randall Flagg

STORY:  The Stand

STRENGTHS:  pure concentrated evil, a love for demin

WEAKNESSES:  bossy, kind of a jerk, and let’s face it, way too much denim to be honest

Look what the cat dragged in…   It’s Randall Flagg, King’s self-proclaimed “best villain”, who was featured in a number of his works, but most notably as the antagonist of the apocalyptic magnum opus, The Stand.

After 99% of civilization takes a swan dive thanks to a released superflu, the wicked Flagg begins an arbitrary society of some survivors in Las Vegas of all places.   Not only do you not want to run into Flagg at the craps or poker table, you just don’t want to run into him period.  Just ask Wayne Newton.

He’s super-duper evil and has maraschino cherries for eyes.  He killed a lot of people, but most of all, he killed Laura San Giacomo’s career…

“This mullet will end humanity one day.”

…and Stephen King has a fantastically creepy Dwight Schrute-ish face.

RESULT?: Bears.  Beets.  Battlestar Galactica.  King for the win!

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  7

———————————————-

ROUND EIGHT:  EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS

THE CHALLENGER:  Evil giant spider

STORY:  The Mist

STRENGTHS:  speed, shoots acid, stronger webs than Spiderman, there’s a billion of little ones crawling around

WEAKNESSES:  none, this thing could kill me in a second.

The Mist, a novella by King which was turned into the feel good film of the century by The Walking Dead series developer, Frank Darabont, featured a bountiful bevy of freaks, monsters and deadly oddballs in an unnatural evil fog engulfing a small town and closing in on a group of its trapped townspeople.

..and if you hate spiders, oh man, they had spiders.   They broke into millions of little freakin’ spiders and had webs of acid too, unlike regular spiders, which make webs Gwen Stefani walks into.

“Sorry I’m not home right now, I’m walking into spider webs, so leave a message and I’ll call you back!”

Ok.  The spider wins.  Sorry King.

FINAL SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  1

KING:  7

—————————

and the winner is… 

Well, dang-it, 26 outs is close to a perfect game, and King came pretty close in his own right today.  In a landslide, there’s no question on who’s the creepiest of the creepies, long live the…. yep…  King.

king

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63 Comments

Filed under Books, Comedy, Entertainment, Halloween, Humor, Movies, Pop Culture, Retro, Television

63 responses to “Is Stephen King Creepier Than His Own Characters? Yeah, Probably.

  1. I love this piece :)))))) D.

  2. You so could have left out the spiders from The Mist, lol. Another fun post and about my favorite author to boot. Thanks for the laugh (and the creeps…spiders, sheesh! *shivers*)

  3. I usually don’t like remakes, but someone really needs to remake The Stand, maybe as a theatrically released trilogy. Also, the line about ghost bartenders complaining about Jack Torrence’s bad tips is funny.

    • You hit the nail on the head about The Stand. I enjoyed the miniseries, but over the years, I’ve kinda hoped they’d give it the feature film treatment in theaters, give it a try with some new blood directing and the freedom of an R-rating. And as you mentioned remakes, I wonder if the Carrie one does well financially, if they’ll start dipping back into some of Stephen King’s classics for new films.

      Thanks for the comment- much appreciated!

  4. I’m a huge Stephen King fan so, in my humble opinion, this was perfect. Hey how do you feel about the latest Carrie remake coming out?

    • Well thanks very much, that means a lot!

      Well my gut instinct is to always be skeptical of remakes (especially horrors) at first, but then I remember a few of them have actually been quite enjoyable over the years (Dawn of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, Evil Dead, The Crazies, etc…). So while I kinda scoffed at the idea when I first heard of it, and the remake isn’t really necessary, I gotta admit the previews haven’t looked too bad so far, so I’ll definitely give it a fair shot.

      I just can’t believe that Carrie is the little sister from 500 Days of Summer. That’s weirding me out a little bit, haha.

      How about yourself?

      • That’s pretty much just how I feel, I always start off skeptical, but then I absolutely think about some of the remakes I’ve loved – Dawn of the Dead is one of my faves, The Hills Have Eyes for sure, The Grudge, The Fly. The Thing (not the newest one, but the one with Kurt Russel), Let Me In (also one of my faves, and also starring the girl who plays Carrie in the remake – Chloe something or other), etc. I could go on and on, I really really love horror movies. Although, I admit, I haven’t seen The Evil Dead remake yet. When it comes to Carrie I’m pretty hopeful, because I think Chloe an amazing actor, and I really love Julianne Moore as well… and yes, the previews look pretty promising. We shall see!

      • Oh yes! I forgot she was in Let Me In! She’s possibly working her way into becoming a modern-day scream queen. And Julianne Moore does look like she’s gonna nail that part of the mother perfectly.

        I know a lot of snobby horror fans who hate any remake simply because it’s a remake, but honestly, when I think of a lot of them (plus the ones you just mentioned), there’s actually a surprisingly high amount of good ones, so it’s really their loss. (Except for the remake of Fright Night- I haven’t seen that yet, and I’m a bit leery to, haha.)

        I highly recommend the Evil Dead remake! I think it does a great job of honoring the original, updating it, improving on some of the visual aspects, but not doing anything to sour the campy enjoyment of it. It’s really one of the more all-out fun, bloody horror experiences I’ve had in a long time.

        If you see Carrie, let me know what you think! I’ll do the same.

      • Yeah that girl is “kick ass”… get it?… She was in Kick Ass HAR HAR! I know people who snub remakes as well, but I try to give most things a chance. I look at it like I look at food – if you don’t try it, you might be missing out on something really good! As for the remake of Fright Night… don’t bother! UGH! It was terrible! Or better yet, go ahead and bother and let me know what you think. I didn’t like it at all, but I really loved the original, so I might be biased. I’d really appreciate a write up about it on your blog here, I think it’d give me some amazing laughs.

        I’ll definitely have to check out Evil Dead for sure. I was definitely leery of it, because I mean c’mon – Bruce Campbell, hello! But I’ll take your word for it and give it a chance.

        I don’t often to go the movie theater to see movies (the people really annoy me to no end), but I do believe the latest from the Master of Horror may lure me out, so I’ll let you know!

        Oh and by the way, whenever there are comments, replies, responses, etc., it’s usually me – me being Kim – as opposed to Chris. He’s an eater and fine discussionist (I just made that word up) of eating, he does not, however, type.

      • Thanks Kim! I always feel better when I can personalize the messages.

        Haha, I am always a fan of “bad” jokes like that, but the HAR HAR! part just totally sold me. Bravo!

        I actually just watched the original Fright Night again the other day, and besides still hoping for Al Bundy to walk by and make fun of Amanda Bearse, I always enjoy the 80’s feel of that film, and couldn’t imagine how bad the remake must be. However your words on it both scare and intrigue me! I’ll have to get on that ASAP.

        Actually, what’s great about the new Evil Dead is that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell both were producers, so the fact they were attached and gave their blessing took away any early fears I had. I thought it was a blast of a movie.

        Oh yes, I know all too well about bad crowds at theaters, as I think it’s a rule in New Jersey for the crowds to be annoying, especially during scary flicks, as I’m sure you can relate. I’m not sure what area of the state you reside in, but I often frequent the theaters in either Paramus or Clifton, and wowwwww, sometimes it’s hard to justify spending 12 bucks to deal with those talking/constant cell phone using derelicts, but the movies are just too much fun overall, so I take the risk.

      • Oh yeah man! That movie was most definitely the 80’s defined! The hair, the denim, the music… man I love that movie! Just wait until you see how Colon (yeah, I said colon) Farrell mutilates the role.

        We’re in North Plainfield, so we have a choice of the hoity toity dine-while-you-watch movie theater in Bridgewater for like a million bucks, or the complete chaos of Mountainside where there are so many laser pointers you’d swear you were at a cat-lover’s convention. The cell phones drive me nuts, but I’m a candy thrower, so it almost makes it fun when they try to text and get pegged with a jujube on the nape of their neck.

      • Candy tossin’ at loud punks is my favorite pasttime! My friends and I let loose some Skittles on a bunch of derelicts during a showing of “The Darkness” back in like 2005. Needless to say, my best memory of going to see that movie was the candy throwing. Although I did weep a bit as I would’ve rather eaten them.

        Have you ever gone to the dine-in theater? The price has scared me, but I’ve always wondered what it was like, and how can one keep their attention on the food and film at the same time?

      • I haven’t yet! I have this really weird issue of having to eat in a lot of light, so I have yet to brave it out! I really wanna go though, and review it in our blog. Maybe Carrie will be just the thing to force me into it.

        Oh and here’s my tip of the day – or quite possibly of the month, because I mean, I’m not sure how often I could actually offer you a tip – but you go get a crap candy at 5 below or something and bring that to throw. Don’t go wasting the good stuff on some cretins!

  5. Dawn

    Stephen King is King……’nuff said…..!!! 😀

  6. Love this, and I love Jack Nicholson! As for Stephen King, I’ve now seen him in a whole new light… 😉

  7. This…is wonderful. And yes, seven times out of eight, the King wins. I might even say 7.5 times out of 8. Spiders with acid webs are pretty awful, but DAMN that man’s smile will chill your bones…It’s like every time he smiles a labradoodle puppy goes on a statewide killing spree.

    • Cara, I think we have to work up a story about a labradoodle puppy on a statewide killing spree and sell it to Stephen King. It could usher in a whole new era of horror villains- adorable killers! Because just thinking of a cute puppy clumsily walking around, bumping into walls and falling asleep randomly just after brutally strangling someone sounds Oscar worthy. I’ll start tux shopping right now.

      Possible title for it: “A Tail of Murder”

      Thanks very much for the kind words by the way!

  8. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Loved this Andrew!!

    I used to watch and read Stephen King as a teen, endlessly. Loved him. These were so great to look at again. Wonderful photos 🙂

  9. This is my first post written by you, and I clicked FOLLOW before I was 25% through it.
    Your use of one of my favorite Homerisms ( ‘No Beer and No TV Make Homer Something Something’) made you one of my favorite people. When I quote it, I’m met with blank stares.
    I’d be here all night if I told you every single thing I love about this post, and my time would be better spent reading ‘Horror Villains Celebrate Halloween: THE SEQUEL!!’, ‘White People: Ruining Hip-Hop Halloween Costumes Since the 80′s’, ‘Horror Villains Celebrate Halloween!’, and ‘Do You Like The Human Centipede AND Dessert? Then This is The Blog For You!’. 😀
    I will say this… the time and effort you put into choosing (& editing) each pic shows a level of ADD that I appreciate!! So… O/ HIGH FIVE, Andrew! You’re awesome! I look forward to reading more.

    • Hello hello and howdy Becki,

      You know, I started this silly blog a couple months ago, I did it to A) scratch an itch to be creative and B) hopefully give people a chuckle. And when I read a sweet, encouraging, and amazing comment such as this one, it really really really makes me happy I signed up at started this blog. Thanks very much- your comment, support, and kind words made my day!

      If you ever find yourself in the New Jersey area, we are officially having a Simpsons quote-a-thon! A big boomerang HIGH FIVE right back at ya for using that quote! The people who don’t get it should have to wear a dunce cap.

      Please keep in touch, and thanks again!

      -Andrew

  10. Genius! To buying the parking lot, I mean. I couldn’t find a way to reply to your comment on the thread we had going above. I think WordPress hates me for trying to make it even more obnoxiously long than it was. I bite my thumb at WordPress.

  11. Another great post….even though my two favorite King movies didn’t make it. 🙂

    • Thanks! You’re always too kind!

      Hmmm, there were a few I sadly left out, just to avoid it becoming too obnoxiously long. Lemme think- Pet Sematary? Stand By Me? Christine? Children of the Corn?

      • Ding, ding: Pet Sematary and Children of the Corn. I included them both in my Five for Friday (Friday the 13th edition) post. They’re two of my fave scary movies.

      • Both excellent choices!

        What did you think of Pet Sematary Two? It was during the height of Edward Furlong’s career, which doesn’t really sell it too well now that I think of it, haha.

        I should’ve titled this comment, “Movie questions from 1992”

      • I thought it was hilarious. The part where the Dad’s neck has mash potatoes coming out of it sent me into hysterics. If you can just completely separate it from the first and appreciate it for the cheese-fest it is, it’s a solid watch.

        As to little Eddie Furlong, man what a disappointment. I thought that guy was gonna have a real career. I mean I had a Tigerbeat poster of him and everything. Off to Google “what ever happened to Edward Furlong?”

      • Yikes! Careful before you Google! I recently saw some pictures of him, and it’s as “Eddie Furlong in 2013”-ish as you’d imagine it’d be. Brace yourself.

        Spot-on review on Pet Sematary Two!

      • Too late. I did it. Eddie Furlong 2013 is the perfect idea for a horror movie. It’s on record as mine now though. So don’t even think about stealing it and writing your own screen play.

        Want to see something even scarier? Go check out what happened to the London brothers. Heartbreaking. More of my 90s crushes crushed.

      • Ahhh Father Time, you cruel beast! You know, in trying to search for the London Brothers, Google REALLY wanted to show me pictures of The Chemical Brothers instead. Google is so electronica.

        Coincidentally, I actually feel fortunate today as far as 90’s crushes go. I got my new issue of Entertainment Weekly in the mail this afternoon, featuring all reunions of shows, films, etc… and they did one of Boy Meets World, and luckily, Topanga aged rather well, which I’m pretty shocked happened.

        Now, you may have the Eddie Furlong aging horribly film, but I have the tagline: “He won’t be pretty, FURLONG!”

      • I will make sure to give you a quick rolling credit as assistant to the associate producer of craft services.

        Topanga looked like she was gonna go the other way for a few years. Glad to see she pulled it together again. I always thought she was pretty and was quite jealous of her hair.

        I would say I’m off to Google what ever happened to Corey Matthews, but I have a feeling we’d just slip further down the spiral.

      • Right?!? Topanga was headed down a path in the totally opposite direction. My guess is that since she’s going to be in Girl Meets World, she hit the breaks on her skid.

        Ahhh, Corey Matthews- you’re right, we’re heading down a scary rabbit hole here, and all the rabbits inside have razor sharp teeth… and machetes… and dynamite… and stink bombs.

  12. Pingback: Quick Stepp | Five for Friday: 5 Where Are They Nows That Should’ve Never Been Googled

  13. Excellent! article about my favorite creepy storyteller. I’ve been watching all the King movies as part of my Halloween tradition. Great stuff!!!! Thanks!

  14. Stephen King is brilliant, but he scares the hell out of me. Dude is otherworldly. Silly fact about: I will not Pet Semetary or IT at night. Those are strictly 7am movies.

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