suspense

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STEPHEN KING: The desk

by Gav

Think about this: Stephen King has been releasing one, sometimes two books a year pretty much every year since his first novel, Carrie, was published in 1974. That’s 43 freakin’ years of consistent output! He’s become such a mainstay of our culture that it’s easy to take his genius for granted.


King’s been writing since he was 7 years-old, when he would copy and rearrange the stories out of his favourite comic books. Impressed by her son’s talent, King’s mother urged him to write an original story. He began submitting short stories to horror and sci-fi magazines at age 12 and would use a nail hammered into the wall above his typewriter to hold all his rejection letters. By the time he was 14, the nail wouldn’t hold the weight of the letters anymore and King had to replace it with a larger spike. By the time he was 16, King was still getting rejection letters, although at least now there were hand-written notes of encouragement from editors scribbled on them. By his mid 20s, King was selling the occasional short story to pulp and mens magazines but not nearly enough to make a living. He was working in an industrial laundry, cleaning maggot-infested restaurant and hospital sheets, while his wife Tabitha, also a writer, worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. They had two young children, were living in a trailer and although King managed to find better work as an English teacher, he was starting to despair that his writing career would never take off.


“Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognise them when they show up.”


King chanced upon the idea for Carrie when he recalled working as a high school janitor. While he was cleaning the female locker room he paid special attention to the shower curtains since he knew the boys lockers didn’t have them. He imagined an opening scene (NSFW) in which a girls locker room didn’t have the curtains and students were forced to shower in front of each other. What if a girl had her period in the shower but didn’t know what it was, and all the other girls laughed and threw tampons at her? How would that girl retaliate? Then King remembered reading an article about telekenisis and how there was evidence that it was prevalent in young girls, especially around the time of their first period. Boom, that’s when two unrelated ideas came together to create something new. King knew he had found an idea for a book and wrote three pages of a first draft while working his teaching job. He hated it and threw it in the trash. It was King’s wife Tabitha who found the pages while emptying the bin and encouraged her husband to finish it. Carrie was published in 1974 and was King’s breakthrough novel. King finished off the decade with a string of bestsellers including ‘Salem’s Lot and The Shining.


By the ’80s King and his family were living in a beautiful house in Bangor, Maine, and King was writing at his dream, massive oak desk. However, he was also an alcoholic and a drug addict. He would write all hours of the day strung out on cocaine and medicate at night with a whole case of 16-ounce beers. In 1985 and at risk of losing his family, Tabitha held an intervention and gave King an ultimatum: get help or get out of the house. Thankfully, King managed to get clean and put his family life back together. And thankfully for us, through it all, he never stopped writing.


I tried to find a picture of the actual massive oak desk King mentions. The best I could do was this brief glimpse into King’s office in an interview from the mid ’80s. You can see it at the 2.40min mark. The newer, smaller desk I’m guessing is this one. I could be wrong about both.

How Alfred Hitchcock Blocks A Scene

by Evan Puschak

About the only law that I think relates to the genre [of horror] is that you should not try to explain, to find neat explanations for what happens, and that the object of the thing is to produce a sense of the uncanny. Freud in his essay on the uncanny wrote that the sense of the uncanny is the only emotion which is more powerfully expressed in art than in life, which I found very illuminating; it didn’t help writing the screen-play, but I think it’s an interesting insight into the genre. And I read an essay by the great master H.P. Lovecraft where he said that you should never attempt to explain what happens, as long as what happens stimulates people’s imagination, their sense of the uncanny, their sense of anxiety and fear. And as long as it doesn’t, within itself, have any obvious inner contradictions, it is just a matter of, as it were, building on the imagination (imaginary ideas, surprises, etc.), working in this area of feeling. I think also that the ingeniousness of a story like this is something which the audience ultimately enjoys; they obviously wonder as the story goes on what’s going to happen, and there’s a great satisfaction when it’s all over not having been able to have anticipated the major development of the story, and yet at the end not to feel that you have been fooled or swindled.   
    
  - Stanley Kubrick  
  cinephiliabeyond

About the only law that I think relates to the genre [of horror] is that you should not try to explain, to find neat explanations for what happens, and that the object of the thing is to produce a sense of the uncanny. Freud in his essay on the uncanny wrote that the sense of the uncanny is the only emotion which is more powerfully expressed in art than in life, which I found very illuminating; it didn’t help writing the screen-play, but I think it’s an interesting insight into the genre. And I read an essay by the great master H.P. Lovecraft where he said that you should never attempt to explain what happens, as long as what happens stimulates people’s imagination, their sense of the uncanny, their sense of anxiety and fear. And as long as it doesn’t, within itself, have any obvious inner contradictions, it is just a matter of, as it were, building on the imagination (imaginary ideas, surprises, etc.), working in this area of feeling. I think also that the ingeniousness of a story like this is something which the audience ultimately enjoys; they obviously wonder as the story goes on what’s going to happen, and there’s a great satisfaction when it’s all over not having been able to have anticipated the major development of the story, and yet at the end not to feel that you have been fooled or swindled.

- Stanley Kubrick

cinephiliabeyond

Arnold Schwarzenegger called it “a shitty film” on one occasion. Michael Biehn was unsure about coming on board because he thought the film sounded silly. James Cameron’s agent called his idea stupid, and Orion Pictures, the distributor, had little to no faith in the film’s commercial and critical success. And yet, Cameron insisted on going all the way with the project born as a vision that came to him in a fever-ridden dream. As they say, the rest is history. Starting from an idea immediately labeled as implausible, silly and that was unlikely to be done properly with the technology at disposal,   Terminator   turned into a science fiction and horror giant, launching director James Cameron’s career into the orbit, transforming Schwarzenegger into a deeply desired commodity, telling a story that would not only spawn a series of sequels, but ultimately change the way we observed the genre. Since 1984, the chronology of science fiction action films was defined as either before or after   Terminator  .   From our experience, seeing   Terminator   for the first time is like having your eyes opened and mind blown after years of blind boredom. One of a kind.  
    
  http://www.cinephiliabeyond.org/james-camerons-terminator-true-classic-powerful-influential-films-can-get/

Arnold Schwarzenegger called it “a shitty film” on one occasion. Michael Biehn was unsure about coming on board because he thought the film sounded silly. James Cameron’s agent called his idea stupid, and Orion Pictures, the distributor, had little to no faith in the film’s commercial and critical success. And yet, Cameron insisted on going all the way with the project born as a vision that came to him in a fever-ridden dream. As they say, the rest is history. Starting from an idea immediately labeled as implausible, silly and that was unlikely to be done properly with the technology at disposal, Terminator turned into a science fiction and horror giant, launching director James Cameron’s career into the orbit, transforming Schwarzenegger into a deeply desired commodity, telling a story that would not only spawn a series of sequels, but ultimately change the way we observed the genre. Since 1984, the chronology of science fiction action films was defined as either before or after TerminatorFrom our experience, seeing Terminator for the first time is like having your eyes opened and mind blown after years of blind boredom. One of a kind.

http://www.cinephiliabeyond.org/james-camerons-terminator-true-classic-powerful-influential-films-can-get/