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The Stephen King thread

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JudasMyGuide, Jul 28, 2017.

?

Favourite book? (as of 2017)

  1. Carrie (1974)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. 'Salem's Lot (1975)

    18.2%
  3. The Shining (1977)

    36.4%
  4. Rage (1977 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. The Stand (1978)

    36.4%
  6. The Night Shift (1978, collection)

    9.1%
  7. The Dead Zone (1979)

    9.1%
  8. The Long Walk (1979 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Firestarter (1980)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Cujo (1981)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Danse Macabre (1981, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Roadwork (1981 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  13. The Gunslinger (1982, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  14. Different Seasons (1982, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  15. The Running Man (1982 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  16. Creepshow (1982, comic book)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  17. Christine (1983)

    9.1%
  18. Pet Sematary (1983)

    18.2%
  19. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  20. The Talisman (1984, with P. Straub)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  21. Thinner (1984 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  22. Skeleton Crew (1985, collection)

    9.1%
  23. It (1986)

    36.4%
  24. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)

    9.1%
  25. The Drawing of the Three (1987, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  26. Misery (1987)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  27. The Tommyknockers (1987)

    9.1%
  28. Nightmares in the Sky (1988, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  29. The Dark Half (1989)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  30. Four Past Midnight (1990, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  31. Needful Things (1991)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  32. The Waste Lands (1991, Dark Tower)

    9.1%
  33. Gerald's Game (1992)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  34. Dolores Caiborne (1992)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  35. Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  36. Insomnia (1994)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  37. Rose Madder (1995)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  38. The Green Mile (1996)

    9.1%
  39. Desperation (1996)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  40. The Regulators (1996 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  41. Wizard and Glass (1997, Dark Tower)

    18.2%
  42. Bag of Bones (1998)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  43. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  44. Hearts in Atlantis (1999, collection)

    9.1%
  45. On Writing (2000, non-fiction)

    9.1%
  46. Secret Windows (2000, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  47. Dreamcatcher (2001)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  48. Black House (2001, with P. Straub)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  49. From a Buick 8 (2002)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  50. Everything's Eventual (2002, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  51. Wolves of the Calla (2003, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  52. Song of Susannah (2004, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  53. The Dark Tower (2004, Dark Tower)

    18.2%
  54. Faithful (2004, non-fiction)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  55. The Colorado Kid (2005)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  56. Cell (2006)

    9.1%
  57. Lisey's Story (2006)

    9.1%
  58. Blaze (2007 - Bachman)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  59. Duma Key (2008)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  60. Just After Sunset (2008, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  61. Under the Dome (2009)

    18.2%
  62. Full Dark, No Stars (2010, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  63. 11/22/63 (2011)

    18.2%
  64. The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012, Dark Tower)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  65. Joyland (2013)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  66. Doctor Sleep (2013)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  67. Mr. Mercedes (2014, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  68. Revival (2014)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  69. Finders Keepers (2015, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  70. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams (2015, collection)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  71. End of Watch (2016, the Bill Hodges trilogy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  72. Gwendy's Button Box (2017, with R. Chizmar)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  73. Sleeping Beauties (2017, to be released)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Maturin

    Maturin Sköldpadda

    Read about 25-30 of his books. The Dark Tower VII is the definite favourite, others are Duma Key, 11/22/63 and maybe The Stand (which might be a bit dated).

    I don't think he writes too long books at all. I mean, I've never found the extra length of some books to be negative. Quite the opposite in some cases. Spending time with characters while the plot takes the backseat for a while isn't necessarily bad - not when they're as good as King's. Whereas someone like GRRM just repeats the same prose over and over, King actually never feels repetitive - unless maybe we're talking about his typical protagonists who usually end up being a version of himself (teacher/writer, addict, cripple - later years).

    Sometimes I'm disappointed - I didn't get Carrie or It at all - but most of he time he's at least very readable (Doctor Sleep, Mr Mercedes, The Dead Zone all fall into this category).
     
  2. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    So today it was

    [​IMG]

    Carrie (1976)

    (of course, spoilers galore, but I guess that's a given)

    I must say I'm pretty disappointed. I realise the film's a classic and that I shouldn't have neglected in the past, in any case. But I'm really not happy. But first the pros

    + Brian DePalma is a rather talented director - he can get suspense out of the mundane and the whole film has a rather fresh feel in general, so it really doesn't feel all that dated.
    + Sissy Spacek was an exceptionally good choice - she is "weird" enough for the filmmakers to avoid the accusation of "prettifying" the character from the book (well, in a way - my wife thought she was a bit too pretty for the role anyway, but then again, she's rather stern). She can also manage both being endearingly cute and inhumanly creepy.
    + Miss Desjardin Miss Collins is smoking hot, especially with that 70's 'do.
    + The first hour or so, especially considering the the fact I both knew the story beforehand and also knew the story to be underwhelming in my book, was actually compelling. Especially taking into consideration the fact I don't like the book all that much, the movie was a success for the most part.
    + The ending jump scare is really well done. Yeah, it's so famous I already had to know about it, even if it wasn't in the book, but even though I had expected it, it still made me a bit uneasy, so we get back to point No 1 - DePalma knows what he's doing.

    The "neuts"

    / Never would have thought the film adaptation would be more perverted than King's book (well, let's see if the new It movie preserve the pre-pubescent sex scene), but this one actually has. From the very introduction (The Barbarella-like Carrie almost-porn) to the finger-sucking and shit, I was kinda thinking the novel was actually rather tame. This is probably neither pro nor con, but I mention it just for the record.
    / I get that they wanted to put stress on the whole "religious lunatic" aspect, but man, those Jesuses and pictures and whatnot that the Whites had around the house were downright creepy, actually bordering on blasphemy (yeah, I know that what Margaret was doing was actually blasphemy anyway). This was probably intentional, but I still appreciate that the book made it more clear that Margaret was not your typical Christian, rather a dangerous, prideful and holier-than-thou batshit crank.

    But the cons

    - I don't know whether only Czechs have the saying or if there is an English equivalent, but we tend to say that paper is stronger than the screen - meaning that some stuff that works in a book would not work as well if done exactly the same way in the movie. And that was (IMHO) the case with mostly all the scenes with Margaret White. Take the very first confrontation between Carrie and her Mum - in the book it's genuinely creepy, because the extent of the mother's delusions combined with her degrading and physical attacks of her daughter make for a very uncomfortable read and I was genuienly frightened by the description in the book, whereas in the movie it just left something to be desired. And it's not a fault of Spacek nor Piper Laurie, who both act very naturally and do a performance that's actually very decent. It's just that put this way, actually seeing it live-action, it just comes off as unintentionally hilarious. All of their scenes are like that. From the beating to "dirty pillows" to the description of marital rape, it sorta veers into the comedy territory at times and that's not a good thing. Maybe it's just me, but this really crushed my suspension of disbelief.
    - Also, I really couldn't bring myself to actually care about the characters. The movie moves in a breakneck tempo (which is probably understood, because even the book is more of a novella than a novel proper), but it makes it hard to get into the characters enough. I was very emotionally detached throughout, even if I didn't want to.
    - Some other casting choices were absolutely terrible. I'd probably tolerate the "Robert Plant/Parker Stevenson/David Coverdale/Peter Frampton" Tommy Ross, thinking we do not live in a perfect world and that the casting people were probably mentally out on lunch when they hired the poor boy. But boy, Travolta... In his first scene, you know, that one where various cars pass them and he interacts with their crews and then that police car is passing and he throws away the brewski... I was thinking I'm watching a Grease deleted scene, except for the swearing and slaps. And then they parked and he behaved (and actually kinda looked) like a teenage Tony Soprano. Weird. But hey, he got famous, so who am I to judge?
    - The book had better distribution of casual sociopathy within the characters - it was kinda weird watching Chris cheering on Billy during the killing of the pig and then trying to run over Carrie right outside the gym.
    - The ending was completely fucked up. Okay, so I was looking forward to the destruction of the town the whole time and all we got was a gym fire, one exploding car and one house crumbling down. I could live with that. I get the movie had to be tamer. But changing the confrontation with the mother, the confrontation with Chris and Billy and, in fact, pretty much all of Carrie's actions after the blood also changed her character. And took away from the creepiness. Not cool. Making her more likeable and more a victim of circumstances did not work at all.

    (Too tired to check for mistakes or whatever, see ye tomorrow)
     
  3. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    I bought The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and End of Watch today. See, I'm serious about this.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  4. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    [​IMG]

    The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)

    Boy, talk about your number 2s... Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. My expectations were really low and I mean really low. Based on its reputation, I was expecting an abomination to end all abominations and all I got was... just an average movie.

    Of course I had to get past the fact the very idea of Carrie sequel sounded completely moronic. But hey, it's already there, so I tried to be merciful.

    It's funny how those films made around the turn of the millennium tend to be these weird time capsules. I mean, this one just screams 1999! at ye. And when in the first 10 minutes you already get your generic nu-metal (Five Times Down), The Hippos' ska punk, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Mena Suvari, I was honestly thinking about pinching myself, because I could swear I was watching some weird American Pie spin-off pilot. In fact, most of this movie feels like a mere teenage movie, apart from the last fifteen minutes or so. And for a teenage movie it actually isn't even all that bad.

    Oh, and the Scream shout out was actually pretty funny. Well, I actually quoted the "Do you like scary movies?" to my wife about two minutes before it happened on screen, so that probably made it funnier, but whatever.

    Then of course we get to the closing carnage (because we simply cannot have a "Carrie" movie without some kind of public humiliation and the telekinetic "blow-up"). And that's where the movie completely loses it and fucks everything up. The humiliation is forced, not really believable, Rachel's breakdown and backlash (and killing of everyone) is neither built-up to nor telegraphed in any way (and way less proportional and understandable than in the original movie) and the whole thing does not make sense. On the other hand, the massacre is rather gory and shocking (yet not over the top) and even darkly comedic at times, so that probably makes up for it.

    Some other decisions of the filmmakers were admittedly pretty idiotic - throughout the film there is this annoying tendency to suddenly shift to black and white for no apparent reason - probably just to fuck with the viewers and sometimes the picture weirdly stretches (and to top it all, sometimes it turns into black and white and then it stretches and squirms. Wonderful).

    I was wondering whether I would survive the movie, but in the end it didn't even matter I was not only mostly not offended, but I actually wasn't even that bored. I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but the rating it has is absurdly low, IMHO. Or maybe I just got myself into bit too merciful a mood today.
     
  5. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Well, the reviews are in, and evidently The Dark Tower (the movie) is terrible. That's really too bad.
     
  6. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    [​IMG]

    Carrie (2002)

    (There will be spoilers)

    This one was a TV-only movie, in fact it was originally supposed to be a possible starting point of Carrie TV series that never came to be (a "backdoor pilot" is the terminology, hilariously funny for anyone with a post-pubescent state of mind). Actually that's the reason for the biggest and most stupid change in the whole movie - yep, indeed, in the end Carrie survives, only fakes her death and leaves for Florida with Sue. I'm not going to ruminate further on the moronity thereof, just remember to either suppress the memory of the last five minutes in your mind or turn it off altogether at proper time.

    But otherwise this one was pretty cool. Better than DePalma's version, in some ways, in fact.

    It was definitely truer to the source material - a lot of scenes are absolutely the same. This mostly works, I think that only the "stone shower" was a bit too much, especially since the stones looked more like meteorites. Also, the narrative was changed a bit - this version was all told in flashbacks, as the police investigated what happened. Not a bad idea, but my wife was really bored, because these parts were somewhat long, nothing really happened there and the cop was really bland and kind of annoying.

    There is a lot to be said about the casting here. Angela Bettis (Emily Birch from Dexter) in the title role was an exceptionally good choice, because she really managed to capture all the different sides. Also, they made Sue black here, and kind of reinvented her personality to that whole "black sassy woman" paradigm. I was actually quite impressed and liked this Sue the most so far. By the way, that make-up scene was a nice touch, not done anywhere else, I believe. Also, Miss Desjardin was played by the beautiful and charming Rena Sofer and it gave me some serious Matzo Fever in the process.

    However, just as some of the actors were pretty incredible, some others were pretty bad, as if the budget allowed only for half of the cast of real actors. Therefore Chris and Billy were absolutely bland and forgettable. But then again, even in the original they were nothing exceptional, so..

    I don't know what to make of Carrie's Mom. She was done in an utterly different way, actually being quite gentle and sweet from time to time, which might make her more realistic and terrifying, I presume, but it didn't really work out here, IMHO. Probably because of the actress.

    Of course, the CGI was pretty cheap, bad and dated, on the other hand I really appreciate they didn't shy away from showing the ending carnage in its entirety. Despite the bad special effects, there was something to the scenes. So kudos to the filmmakers.

    The film's kind of overlong, though. It has over two hours and sometimes the pacing isn't that great. It's really not that bad, but you tend to check the watch from time to time. In general, though it's probably less of an artistic statement of the director (which the original was) and the ending's a bit stupid, I'd probably put it right there with the 1976 version. I know I'm probably alone in that regard, but I always found the DePalma version a bit overrated and this one at least sticks more closely to the original book. Thumbs up for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  7. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    [​IMG]

    Carrie (2013)

    I was just being lazy, actually, in the meantime I have already finished Lot and currently I'm more than halfway within The Shining, so let's get this one over with.

    Honestly, I don't know what to make of this one. It's a good movie, it really is (well, defying my expectations, all Carrie movies eventually more or less are), but it's also completely unnecessary. I mean, how many more times will we watch the "plug it up" scene, take Carrie to the prom, watch her flip out etc.? There will be a Stephen King short story further on down the line where he describes a possible view of Hell as a place where everything endlessly repeats and you're completely aware of it - and I really felt that way watching this last one in a series of adaptations of one of Stephen King's least substantial novels ever.

    There's really nothing new here, except for these little touches here and there (Carrie's mother self-harm, the video of the bullying incident) - sure, we get to watch the failed "offering" right there in the beginning and it's a particularly disturbing scene and Julianne Moore is really good here in general (what's with all the redheads in all the adaptations?), but there's really no reason to watch this movie. Chloe Moretz is absurdly cute and endearing - her casting makes no fucking sense. Yeah, she does the part well, but nobody in his right mind would cast her as the ostracised outsider, fundie religious background be damned. Also, Sue and Chris' actresses should have been swapped, IMHO - Sue is way too much a "blonde bombshell" type here whereas Chris has more of that Maggie Gyllenhaal/Alyson Hannigan kind of feel and it doesn't really work with the characters.

    No chills, no thoughts, nothing. If they at least didn't make the titular character more heroic (for the first time in the movie adaptations), but sure they did it as well. I understand that nowadays we live in the era of remakes, where everything that was once successful will get annoying endless repeats, because there supposedly aren't people around who'd remember the originals, but that's still no excuse. Unfortunately, there are people my age around me who wouldn't watch a movie because it's "too old" (cca pre-1992-5), so maybe Hollywood's right. Anyway, don't watch this one. DePalma's version is a classic (though I'm not really sure why), whereas this one will never be. Unless you get arousal from the idea of Chloe Moretz being soaked with blood, in which case - well, whatever floats your boat, I guess.

    PS: Also, it was very weird watching the crazy fundie Carrie's mother saying a Marian prayer right there in the beginning. (You know, because every denomination bar Catholics/Orthodox/Anglican/Episcopal usually tend to consider it idolatry, so I'm kinda confused. Probably the filmmakers thought the viewers wouldn't know and wouldn't care).
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  8. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    Don't worry, the Salem's Lot post is already under construction. I have not forgotten :D However, sometimes the updates might be a while apart. I'll try to keep 'em comin', though.
     
  9. Lampwick 43

    Lampwick 43 Arriving Somewhere But Not Here

  10. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    Carrie as # 3 :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:
     
  11. Lampwick 43

    Lampwick 43 Arriving Somewhere But Not Here

    I'm surprised The Green Mile is so low. Also, Secret Window should be a lot higher than #36.
     
  12. Ariana

    Ariana Purple leopard

    I've read two King books lately. One was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and I believe it is one of the weakest novels of his. It still resonated with me due to the fact that the protagonist reminded me of my own daughter a lot, but once the initial appeal of that wore off, the plot turned into a plod. The book was quite short, mercifully.

    The second one was Joyland, and what a delightful experience it was! There is something magical about King's 1970s. The atmosphere of the book reminded me a lot of Hearts in Atlantis, so if you have liked that one, I strongly recommend Joyland. It's simple in its premise, but the story made me feel warm, cozy and somehow nostalgic, even though the 1970s are so foreign to me.
     
    JudasMyGuide likes this.
  13. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    Wholeheartedly agree on the first. I guess it was an experiment, but a tedious one indeed. More on that later.

    Now I'm definitely looking forward to reading Joyland - I'm quite fond of Hearts, so I'll guess it'll speak to me as well as it did to you.

    Also, I really really hope I'll manage to do the Salem entry as soon as possible. Too much work, too long posts, too stupid adaptations (man, just wait til I get to it). But I'm on it.
     
  14. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    That is a little surprising, but I nonetheless agree. Good LORD that movie was WAAAAYYYY too long. It could have been a very good 110-minute movie. At 3 hours, I pretty much hated it.
     
  15. Maturin

    Maturin Sköldpadda

    Haven't even seen half of those films, but The Green Mile was indeed surprisingly low. That, 1408, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Mist are films that I've seen and liked. And I saw The Dark Tower at the pictures a week or so ago and liked it a lot. It is The Dark Tower light, and as that - it is a nice little film. Unworthy of the grand "magnum opus" saga it is based on? Perhaps. But on its own, it is a decent film.

    There are also some mini-series that deserves to be included in the discussion. The 1994 version of The Stand with Gary Sinise and Jamey Sheridan as Randall Flagg is camp as hell, but still quite charming, wouldn't you say?
     
  16. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    Will get to it soon (well, in its place), I need to re-watch. I don't remember it all that much.
     
  17. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    [​IMG]

    ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)

    Originally to be titled Second Coming (before Tabby convinced him that sounded too much like a bad sex story, showing that some women, Misty, are dirtier than I), then Jerusalem's Lot in full (before someone in the publishing company convinced him that sounded too religious), 'Salem's Lot shows King already in an altogether different place than the last time around. I honestly don’t know what happened, but there’s this unexpected and striking jump in quality between the debut and the sophomore work that cannot be reasonably explained in any way (unless we propose some kind of "Paul-is-dead-" lookalike theory). If I may give you some advice, just like with SymphX and DT: completely disregard the first entry. I mean it. Reading this book reminded me what actually made me go through with this project, right at the point where Carrie and its stupid adaptations almost made me forget that near the very beginning.

    This time around King decided to do a modern vampire story. I'm sure by then the theme had been already exhausted and percieved as cliché, let alone now, taking into consideration not only this very book, but everything it inspired (as far as the "vampires in a modern small town" is concerned, even including that kinda' 50's throwback feel, 1985's Fright Night - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fright_Night - is obviously taking inspiration from Salem and is quite good on its own, IIRC) as well as Anne Rice and her Lestats, Interviews, Queens of the Damned, Marvel's Morbius, Blades, Underworlds, True Bloods and, of course, Twilights, it's rather hard to cheer beforehand and have great expectations. I mean, let the fucking vampires be, right? The last time the theme was really fresh was nearly a century ago and since then we've been only sucking the residual life force out of it even further, so to speak. All the more interesting then that King actually managed to handle it very well , not making his reader feel ashamed for the author, nor bored; when he uses clichés, he admits it outright, but does not stoop to being annoying about it and winking at the reader all the time in a perpetual chain of references like some kind of "hip" post-modern shlock like True Blood does.

    The parallel between the dying small American town and the physical death/damnation of its residents, while heavy-handed, was cool and it was one of the things that made the book quite interesting, IMHO. And I guess it's not just an American thing, it's probably the Western world in general. I was born and raised in a city with a population of nearly 80.000, which already looked like Pripyat on weekends and I know enough small towns where indeed you'd might not even notice if a vampire invasion was in progress, just like here. The loss or downright destruction of cultural and social connections, especially among families and parishes, is probably only worse nowadays than it was in 1975. And that's the truly scary message of the book.

    On the other hand, because King tackles this issue, it tends to show his writing abilities were not yet fully mature. As I've mentioned above, the theme is a bit explicit and heavy-handed at times (he'd soon learn to be more subtle, though The Stand, amazing as it is, still has this problem a bit) and probably the worst thing about the book is the pacing. Not because I'd complain about the length or anything, it's just that the tempo of the narrative is weird - there is this long, thorough build-up where nothing happens (which is actually important for the theme I mentioned above), but then everything sort of happens at once and then you have this catharsis that's again way too long. The confrontation with Barlow comes way too soon or the epilogue is too prolonged or I don't know. I just felt alternatively that the book is really slow and again rushing too much and it threw me off balance at times.

    Despite my criticism below I was actually quite fond of Father Callahan - not only because this book seems to put forth the proposition that you gotta “have Catholic” to fight vampires/evil in general (flattering though as it may be), but because this take on a disillusioned, graying, slightly lost priest was something I really could feel in my heart. I have always, even earlier as an atheist, had a soft spot for priests in general and the uneasy task they are faced with. A lot of my prayers and charity money go to priests in missions and - knowing a handful of them myself - I always appreciate when the story is told from their point of view. It was awesome in Calvary, it was awesome in I Confess, it was doubly awesome in Silence and while maybe slightly less awesome, it moved me here anyway.

    The romance between Ben and Sue was very believable and its resolution was pretty heartbreaking. Actually, I liked most of the characters. They were all very fleshed out - a no mean feat for a starting writer in a book where the number of named characters exceeds 20.


    But also, because one of the main characters is a Catholic priest, of course there’s some theology bullshit, so let's look at that:
    - The crosses and crucifixes. Obviously, in this book a mere cross is enough to ward off the vampires; you don’t need a crucifix (the one with Christ on it) to work. This is proven by the fact that two tongue depressors put together work as a provisional do-it-yourself weapon against the bad guys. Yet when they ask other people whether they have a cross with them, they all answer something like “I’m not a Catholic” or some other shit. Does it mean King thinks baptists etc. don’t wear/use crosses? That’s bullshit. Most Protestants would object to the crucifix in particular (because it depicts Christ, i.e. God, i.e. idolatry - which, by the way, the use of crosses here smells of anyway, but I digress), but I see no reason why having a plain cross by yourself would be a specifically Catholic thing to do.

    - I'm not sure what to make of Callahan's beliefs. On one hand, he sounds pretty much like a product of his era - a post-Vatican II priest in a rural setting with crisis in both faith and (possibly) vocation, that makes his thoughts on the origin and the nature of evil very understandable. On the other hand, I really don't see why his bishop is not taking care of him some more. Though it's true that Maine is one huge diocese and like they used to say in Russia "God is high above and the tsar is far away", so I guess that's plausible too. Still - while realistic - something felt iffy about that and I'm not really sure why, just wanted to mention it.

    - I’m on the fence regarding that pseudo-confession stuff. I mean, I don’t even want to begin to try and figure out how this one would work (a Catholic sacrament of Penance handed out to people who are explicitly not Catholic - well, whatever works for the book, I guess), but then again the people in question were probably baptised in the Trinitary fashion (Father-Son-Holy Spirit - none of them is JW, for example), so it’s neither here nor there. A rather non-orthodox thing to do, but done by a rather non-orthodox priest and probably acceptable in the whole general narrative. Someone else might not even notice.

    - Much worse (and I mean much worse) is when they find Straker hanged upside down. Then the Catholic priest Callahan (doubting or not, he must have had some education) drops this bomb: „It’s as old as Macedonia [...] Hanging the body of your enemy or betrayer upside down so his head faces earth instead of heaven. St Paul was crucified that way, on an X-shaped cross with his legs broken.“ That's bollocks. First of all, we do not really know for sure what happened to St. Paul - there are several theories and/or reports, most of them presuming he was decapitated (more on that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_the_Apostle#Death ), but none really truly confirming he was crucified at all, let alone upside down. The bloke who was crucified upside down was St. Peter and it was not because it was some kind of special treatment for traitors, but because he asked for it - he felt he was not worthy of being killed in the same manner as the Messiah had been (I'm not kidding - that's why the upside-down cross is called the Cross of St. Peter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Saint_Peter - that's why we have it in Vatican, in case you once again came across some Evangelical fundie who's gonna have "proof that the Catholic Church is SATANIC", like here: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False Religions/Roman Catholicism/satanism_in_the_vatican.htm - BTW that makes its use by "Satanists" rather funny, but I digress again). Yeah, I know, Callahan is a doubting priest from the bush and I get that - I really wouldn't take that so seriously if we were talking about some obscure saint nobody really knows about. But we're talking about two blokes, one who wrote half of New Testament and another one who was the very first Pope.

    - But the single biggest offender here is the scene where Callahan's cross stop working against Barlow and the latter says this: „There is no need of it. You have forgotten the doctrine of your own church, is it not so? The cross… the bread and wine… the confessional… only symbols. Without faith, the cross is only wood, the bread baked wheat, the wine sour grapes.“ Yeah, this is not a Catholic doctrine, absolutely not. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. I guess he’s confusing sacraments and sacramentals there. Just as with the other sacraments, it doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, according to the Catholic doctrine the bread becomes the Body and the wine becomes the Blood (they “transsubstantiate” - more on this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation ) by following steps of the liturgy - these are the “visible signs of invisible Divine grace”, or “efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses”. Now, I’m not talking about unorthodox beliefs of a single character - this is supposedly the belief of the Church. Considering Tabby is allegedly (raised?) Catholic, this took me by surprise. That said, keep in mind it is the villain - the vampire who says this, so maybe I’m making too big a deal out of this.

    - On the other hand, I actually like that aforementioned scene otherwise - disregard what the vampire is saying and what actually happens there seems to be a rather good lesson on the correct use of sacramentals - e.g. don’t expect the cross to work if you don’t believe (or worse - don’t know) in what it represents.


    This time I wrote down the following musical references. Yup, it’s a bit rednecky, but then again, I guess that fits the overall setting...









     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  18. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    And because the forum disallows too many YT videos, here's the rest of the musical references:



    Also, near the very end the cover and the title of Edgar Winter’s They Only Come Out at Night album is mentioned, but no song off it, so I picked the most famous one

     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  19. Travis The Dragon

    Travis The Dragon The dreamers may die, but the dreams live on.

    We got tickets to see the remake of IT. Hopefully it can capture the suspense and scariness of the original.
     
  20. JudasMyGuide

    JudasMyGuide Domini canis

    We go to see it tomorrow. I can't wait.
     
    Travis The Dragon likes this.

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