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

By Andrew Blumetti

Rock Bottom Remainders In Concert

“My next story features David Ortiz…it’s full of bats.  Get it?!?”

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, you goofball, I’m not talking about the cackling Salem witches, and I am somewhat sure I’m not referring to Bill Belichick attempting to crack a smile and thus cracking a black hole in the nexus of the universe.

Nope, it’s the ever-ghastly presence of the morose 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?  Is Dracula his pops?  Too many Universal Monster marathons as a kid?   Perhaps a dark childhood could be the reason?

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…

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

king jack

“Is this apple juice?  It’s apple, juice, right?”

 

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…

Enter a caption

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!

“You can’t stop me.  I survived in ‘Titanic’.”

 

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

“I do Sudoku puzzles… IN INK!”

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

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ROUND FIVE:  THIS ROUND “SUCKS”

“Hurry up, I have to go host on The View.”

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:

“I’m packing on mass.”

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

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  5

——————————————

ROUND SIX:  YOU DA PROM!

 

carrie

“I may look happy, but my date has the hair of an English Sheepdog.”

THE CHALLENGER:  Carrie White

STORY:  Carrie

STRENGTHS:  a mean case of telekinesis, bug eyes

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 world may have ended, so I just raided Jay Leno’s closet.”

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 significantly 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.

“Mose is chopped up and hidden in my backyard.”

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

CURRENT SCORE:

CHARACTERS:  0

KING:  7

———————————————-

ROUND EIGHT:  EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS

 

It’s nice to see they’re still giving Wanda Sykes job opportunities. 

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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PERFECTION: The Most Terrifying 60 Seconds of Your Life

By Andrew Blumetti

And now, a play-by-play of every time I’d play the classic Milton Bradley board game, Perfection.

You know the drill of this heart-attack in the making- twist, timer, tick, tock, trouble, and KA-BLOOM!  A yellow mess on the rug that the dog isn’t responsible for this time.

Please enjoy, relate, and relive the hair-raising madness of the most nerve-racking minute you’ll ever come to experience in your lifetime.  It’s cheaper than a shrink afterall…

—————————-

Tick tick tick tick

– Strap in for one minute of pure geometrical mayhem!  In your face math!

I’ve just turned the cheap plastic round timer on my Perfection game, and that stupid thing is spinning faster than Amanda Bynes’ vision when she slunks behind the wheel on a Friday night.  Gotta make sure not to over-tighten it though, that “Made in China” Smurf-blue knob looks like it’ll break if the wind blows too hard.

– Reaching over to that pile of golden plastic pieces, and fumbling around, there goes about five of them off the coffee table, and I’ve realized this godforsaken game would’ve been better played on the rug instead.

– Quick!  Grab that triangle or square one or anything that looks like a simple Sesame Street-level shape, and try to fit it in game board holes while the gettin’s good.  Basically, just avoid getting held up on those tricky looking ones from the island of misfit shapes, they’ll just gum everything up.  Squeeze those in like a champ in the final precious seconds instead.

– The gravity of the situation hits like a splash of cold water:  this game is for “ages 5+”, so at my current anemic pace,  basically I’m handling this as badly as a kindergartener.  After more nervous laughter than a first date, time to look at the timer on the game for some piece of mind.

– Phew!  All that self-doubt was a mere overreaction… still have 35 seconds left.  This thing’s money in the bank…

– Oops, spoke too soon- the faded numbers are impossible to read, it’s actually only 25 seconds left…

– And to top it all off, that nonstop ticking, which is the soundtrack to my obvious board game failure, is starting to make the hairs on my arm stand up straight.  It’s like watching that scene in Paranormal Activity, when possessed Katie awakens, gets up and just stares at… wait, this isn’t the time for that!

…and is it me, or does the ticking seem to be somehow speeding up as time goes on?  Is that physically possible?   Is Milton Bradley practicing some sort of voodoo?   Cause I don’t think they should be.

– Geez, why did I waste time thinking about the ticking?  That was another precious ten seconds down the crapper…

– OK, down to just a few left, time’s running short, but it’s time to dominate this ticking time bomb like Tom Brady marching the troops down the gridiron with two minutes left.  These back-against-the-wall heroics are what separates the men from the boys.

but big time folly:  those annoying shapes from before are still staring me in the face, laughing.

– Maybe I should just stop the timer for a couple seconds, you know, just to fit a few extra pieces in… nah, that’s cheating.  I guess, right?   …and I am an adult.   …Stupid adults.

– …and to top it all off, I can’t believe they made me apply the stickers onto this thing myself.  Cheapskates…

– Let’s see… nailed the diamond, star shape and the pentagon…  can’t wait to push that switch that stops the game!  No messy cleanup, no heart-stopping plastic explosion that I know is coming, yet still makes me jump.  (I mean, who wants to go through that?  Look at how those Caucasian kids are being thrown around on the box, I’m too delicate for that fate.)  I’ll tell ya, if they gave out medals for Perfection playing, I’d pull in gold, silver and bronze.  That’s right… all three platform levels. 

Five seconds left!  Better hurry!

– Crap on a stick!  That stupid S-shaped piece that looks like Pac Man if Picasso got a hold of him then threw him in a blender.  This awful thing always haunts me.  I always fumble it the way an arena football player fumbles pretty much every play.

– This feels like watching one of those poor sap victims in a Saw movie watching the timer tick down till their arms and legs get yanked out.

3… (gettin’ hairy…)

2… (man up Andrew- it’s time for a last minute board game miracle…)

1… (hmmm…)

uh ohhh…

DING!!

– Ahhh, stupid piece of plastic crap.  It wasn’t me, the timer must be busted.  Maybe they should call it Imperfection.

(That line was gold!   I wish someone was here to hear that…)

– Ehhh, this Commie game’s for kids.  I’ll clean it up later.  I’m gonna go have some Fruit Roll-Ups.

THE END.

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Games, Humor, Retro