I am a huge fan of Stephen King.
I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to his books and I have been one of his Constant Readers for quite some time. I still remember the first Stephen King book I read: Skeleton Crew. I remember the monkey on the front cover of the book filled me with delicious fright. I opened the cover and have never been the same since.
After reading his other non-fiction offerings (Danse Macabre and On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft) I was super excited to hear about Stephen King Goes to the Movies. It promised to be a treat. The book description described it thusly:
Now available, the #1 bestselling author reflects on the filming of five of his most popular short stories. Those movies are The Shawshank Redemption, 1408, Children of the Corn, The Mangler, and Hearts in Atlantis.
Includes an introduction, his personal commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights by Stephen.
On reading those words, my first thought was: HOLY CRAP! My second thought was: AWESOME!
I thought it would be really amazing to get a behind the scenes look, as it were, at the stories behind the movies. We would get the stories themselves plus personal commentary and behind the scenes insights? Oh, it was every Constant Readers dream!
Except, it was a dream that was never realized.
I should have flipped through the book when I was in the bookstore, but I was in to big of a hurry to get home and delve into the mind of Stephen King. Imagine my surprise when I got home and opened the book to find the five stories and not much else.
Stephen King Goes to the Movies consists of the five stories behind the films 1408, The Mangler, Hearts in Atlantis, The Shawshank Redemption and Children of the Corn. As for new content, Stephen King has written a brief (and I mean brief: one to two pages) introduction for each story. He’s also provided us with his top ten list of the favourite adaptations of his work.
At first, I was rather pissed off. I mean, the advertising made it sound as if the book was non-fiction, a real behind the scenes look at the stories behind the movies and behind the scenes insights behind the making of the movies.
And all we get is a book of five short stories and some short (very short) introductions?
I was not pleased to say the least. But I decided, after spending my hard earned money on the book, to read the stories anyway. I figured it would fill the gap between Just After Sunset (which came out in November of 2008 ) and Stephen Kings new novel Under the Dome (which won’t come out until the fall of 2009). So I decided to give the book a chance.
And, you know what? I’m glad I did.
It had been some time since I had read the stories contained within Stephen King Goes to the Movies. I remembered reading 1408 and Hearts in Atlantis, but The Mangler, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and Children of the Corn might as well have been new to me. I’ve read them, but it’s been years and I didn’t remember them clearly at all.
And you know what? They were good.
I mean really good. It felt wonderful to be surrounded by stories that held so many memories for me. Stephen King’s stories kept me company during many a dark hour during my turbulent upbringing; thus it’s little wonder that he inspires me so much.
The stories were so good, so scary, so moving. The most interesting thing about the stories contained in Stephen King Goes to the Movies, however, was that after a few pages into the story, I stopped picturing the movie. All I could see were the images that the story itself called to mind.
Though the new content in Stephen King Goes to the Movies is almost nil (really about ten pages worth of new material) that doesn’t matter. Before you put the book back on the bookshelf, give Stephen King Goes to the Movies a chance.
Read the stories and let Stephen King scare you once again.