Call For Comments: King of Horror

From Wayne: Halloween is sneaking up on us so we want to record some appropriately themed episodes. It is impossible to discuss the modern horror genre without addressing Stephen King, so we’re going to dedicate an entire episode to him.

I’ve been a fan of King’s work since the early 80s. I read most of his earlier oeuvre at that time, then took a ten to fifteen year break for some reason or other. King did not take a break, so when I did come back there was a lot of catching up to do. While I am a fan, and still read his new work, I don’t like everything he has written. Still, his influence cannot be underestimated.

We want to talk about this influence and how he fits into the history of the genre and the literary canon. I would like to look at his influences, Horror Comics specifically, and how they shape our view of horror and monsters. I’m interested in how many people who are interested in the genre dismiss him simply because of his immense popularity.

Hannah noticed that there have been three King theatrical adaptations this year alone: It, Pet Semetary, and the upcoming Doctor Sleep (a sequel to The Shining). There is also a Netflix movie based on In the Tall Grass, a short story he coauthored with his son Joe Hill (who I am also a fan of and will no doubt talk about before the show is over).

Maya Deren in Meshes of the Afternoon. Okay, not really. But it’s an obvious reference.

So, what do you think of Stephen King? As a writer? As an influence? Who are some of your other favorite Horror authors and how they stack up?


2 Comments and 3 Webmentions for “Call For Comments: King of Horror”

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  1. Don’t forget the Hulu series “Castle Rock”

    Stephen King’s stuff is something I feel as if I’m SUPPOSED to like but my entire time growing up… I didn’t? But I speak primarily from a movie/tv/miniseries perspective… many of which you can argue were not adapted that well. Hell, one of my favorite King adapted movies is Stand By Me, so… I guess that shows how I feel about his books adapted for horror films. I only cognitively watched The Shining within the past 3 years… although I experienced the entirety of that film through pop culture references and Treehouses of horror for the entirety of my life… (which let me tell you THAT phenomenon should be something you do an episode on if you already haven’t. Learning about pop culture just through pop culture references or other non-conventional means is… weird.)

    All of that said though, I think King ultimately has solid ideas that have a lot of room for growth (or different interpretations/adaptations) and he definitely seems to be the name to pull “non-horror” people into enjoying horror content and that’s always a good thing IMO.

  2. My first thought is King’s niche, and maybe most endearing quality, is cementing his work in small town USA. Evil and monsters and horror prior, his several exceptions of course, focus on the scary concept, or creature, and the characters are 2-D and west/coast generic. King’s work makes the reader/viewer feel as if this terror could be on your street.

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