I know I don’t cover too many fictional writers here, or fiction for that matter, but back in the day, I devoured horror fiction as much as I do movies and non-fiction books today. One of the writers I followed was Peter Straub. His earlier novels, such as Julia in 1975, which became a great little ghost story film The Haunting of Julia in 1977, Ghost Story, which the movie adaptation became a big hit in 1981 with an all-star cast. In 1984, he collaborated with Stephen King with The Talisman, which they revisited with a sequel in 2001 called Black House. His 1982 novel, Floating Dragon, creeped the hell out of me.
So it is with sadness that I mention that Mr. Straub has passed away, at the age of 79. I remember either reading or seeing an interview with Stephen King, where he mentioned that Straub hand wrote all of his work, and that he didn’t feel sorry for anyone more than Straub’s editor because his handwriting was damn near illegible. In the late ’80s, when I was reading a lot of fiction, I would often write to authors, many times getting a letter back. When I got one back from Straub, I realized how right King was. I’ve posted the letter below.
Last night, I ventured into Chicago to the Music Box Theatre for The Creepshow, a Stephen King film festival, where they had a bunch of King movies being screened over 3 days. Friday night, they were screening the original The Shining (1980) and Doctor Sleep (2019), which I had originally planned to go but didn’t make it. Which kind of worked out for the best, since I heard it sold out early in the day. But I did go last night because they were screening Creepshow (1982), which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time. They were also screening 1408 (2007), and Christine (1983), which we planned on staying for as well.
When we (myself and my partner-in-crime for the evening, Brian Martinez) drove up to the theater, we could already see a huge line outside the theater. I lucked out in finding a parking space right in front of the theater. Any locals know just how lucky you are when that happens. In fact, we were so excited, I completely forgot to pay the parking meter. So, after over 30 years of coming into the city for movies and such, I ended up getting my first parking ticket! But back to the real story.
Released by Intrada, 2013
84 Tracks, with a total running time of 99:53 min.
Music Composed and Conducted by Harry Sukman
If you’re one that grew up in the ‘70s, then you remember the made-for-TV movies back then were sometimes more entertaining than what was screening at the theaters! At least they were to me. One of the things that always enjoyed for those films were the scores. They just had this same feel and style to them that were easy to recognize, as well as being very effective. Thankfully, we now have the complete score for one of the best made-for-tv movies ever to be made. And one of the reasons for that is the incredibly creepy!
The Dark Half
Released by Varèse Sarabande, 1993
13 Tracks, with a Total Running Time of46 min.
Music Composed by Christopher Young
I’ve been a fan of Young’s work since those first notes from his Hellraiser score reached my ears. He never ceases to impress me with the sounds and feelings from his scores, and this is no different.
This one starts out with such a beautiful opening track, a pleasant piano tune that is quiet and somber, before some strings and other strange sounds start to come in. And then the angelic vocals! But even with all this striking sounds, there seems to be a darkness lurking under there, waiting to break free. Considering the story, it makes perfect sense. Continue reading
Directed by John Hough
Starring Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowell, Clive Revill, and Gale Hunnicutt, and Michael Gough
Strange that I have never reviewed this on here since it is one of my favorite haunted house movies of all time. This has been a constant battle with me, between this one and Robert Wise’s The Haunting (1963) for the top spot, but Hell House usually comes in second. This was also the very first VHS tapes I rented after buying my first VCR. I don’t remember when exactly was the first time I saw this, probably around the same time I saw The Haunting for the first time, thanks to my future wife, Dawn, and her mother. But I know I immediately fell in love with it. Continue reading
Ever since the publication of Stephen King’s 1979 novel, The Dead Zone, the fictional town of Castle Rock would become a staple in a lot of King’s later stories. Now with Hulu, King, and J.J. Abrams creating a new series based on this little strange town, it seems the perfect time to celebrate the different stories that have a connection with it. And now thanks to the Music Box Theatre and Consequence of Sound podcast, Chicago area fans will have a chance to see 8 different films based on King’s work on the big screen.
Released by La-La Land Records
First in 2003 & then again in 2014 in an expanded edition
Original release has 14 tracks with a Total Running Time of 1:06:49 min.
Expanded release has 48 tracks with a Total Running Time of 75 min.
Composed and Performed by John Harrison
2014 Expanded Release
George Romero and Stephen King made this movie as a homage to the old EC Comics of the ’50s, such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. Listening to Harrison’s score for this movie is just like reading through the comics yourself. The eerie sounds both in and around the music is incredible, making this one of my favorite scores of all time. Granted, the film itself in one of my favorites, so the music just adds to that.
The Shining (1997)
Released by Varèse Sarabande Records, 2017
3 Discs – 64 Tracks with a Total Running time of 2 hr. 29 min.
Music by Nicholas Pike
Being released for the first time, Varèse Sarabande has unleashed Nicholas Pike’s epic score for the 1997 mini-series version of Stephen King’s The Shining. It’s common knowledge that King wasn’t particularly fond of the movie version of his novel, so with him writing the screenplay and directed by long time King collaborator, director Mick Garris, they made a version that he would be happy with. Pike was in charge of bringing the sense of dread in musical form for the mini-series. And he does a fine job with it too.
Released by Varèse Sarabande Records, 2017
Disc 1 – 16 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 46 min.
Disc 2 – 17 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 42 min.
Music by W. G. Snuffy Walden
It has been years since I’ve seen Stephen King’s The Stand, but can remember there sitting in front of my TV when it first debuted, anxiously awaiting it to start, like millions of other King fans. But since it has been so long, I don’t recall much of the score, other than hearing Blue Öyster Cult’s Don’t Fear the Reaper in the opening minutes, so this was almost like listening to it for the first time. And I have to say, I am amazed that I don’t remember more of this highly entertaining set of music.
If you’re a fan of Stephen King and love soundtracks, then you are probably going to love this bit of news. Varèse Sarabande Records has announced an 8-CD set that has the soundtracks for four of King’s films. They are:
Dreamcatcher (2003) – Composer James Newton Howard’s score on 2-CDs
Firestarter (1984) – Tangerine Dream
The Stand (1994) – Composer W.G. Snuffy Walden’s score on 2-CDs
The Shining (1997) – Composer Nicholas Pike’s score on 3-CDs