The Spinning Image Newsletter #14
IT'S GREAT TO BE KING!
Yes, indeed it is, especially if you're multi-millionaire writer Stephen King.
Apart from getting run over by a van and stuff. Welcome, then, to the deceptively normal on the surface,
but terrifying once you scratch the hairy underbelly, Fourteenth Spinning Image Newsletter. A Stephen
King Special, no less.
First, the usual...
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MR KING GOES TO THE MOVIES
So let us join him shall we? Here's a list of the King movies, I suppose you
could call it a Kingdom of Fear. We're not bothering with those miniseries,
because they're not very good for the most part (hey, what about Salem's Lot!
- Ed). Not as good as Sleepwalkers, at least. So let's take a walk down the
streets of Castle Rock, noting the highlights of terror along the way...
It all began here, with Sissy Spacek as the much reviled teen turning her newly discovered psychic powers on her tormentors.
Scary Bit: When Carrie gets soaked in pig's blood, and takes her revenge...
THE SHINING (1980)
King didn't like it, but this comedy version of his horror classic features Jack Nicholson way over the top as the axe-wielding family man in an isolated hotel.
Scary Bit: The interior decoration of Scatman Crothers' house.
George Romero directs an anthology of stories in the manner of those 1950s horror comics, with a starry cast, including King himself, all subject to numerous horrors.
Scary Bit: The cockroaches or Stephen King's accent.
Dee Wallace and her son are trapped in their car with a rabid St Bernard Dog
prowling around outside.
Scary Bit: When Cujo the dog makes a prank phone
call to the husband, sending him out for sausages.
THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Christopher Walken stars as a man sent into a coma which makes him psychic
when he awakes years later - to forsee the apocalypse! David Cronenberg directs.
Scary Bit: When Walken realises he's left the television on downstairs just
as he's settled down in bed.
Courtesy of John Carpenter, it's the killer car movie! A big red one, too,
taking over the life of a young teen and running over anyone who gets in its
Scary Bit: When the current owner neglects to replace the pine tree air
CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
A couple arrive in a small town to find it deserted - except for a bunch of
children who have killed the adults, of course.
Scary Bit: When the couple
try to use the swings, but their arses are too big for the seats.
Drew Barrymore is a sweet little girl who just happens to be able to set things
on fire. And when she gets mad, the whole place goes up.
Scary Bit: When she runs out of cocaine.
CAT'S EYE (1985)
Drew Barrymore again? This time she's part of an anthology of short stories,
about cigarette quitters, a ledge adventure and a breath-stealer.
When that thing happens that I forgot about.
SILVER BULLET (1985)
It's an update of the old werewolf tale, with an American smalltown in the
grip of a priest turned lycanthrope.
Scary Bit: When the wolf can't be arsed
going out during the full moon because it's too chilly and orders a beefy pizza
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986)
The trucks are taking over when various vehicles adopt a malevolent life of
their own. King himself directs this one.
Scary Bit: All that noise. Car horns,
revving engines. It's a disgrace. Some people are trying to sleep.
STAND BY ME (1986)
Four kids set out to see a dead body one summer, and have a coming of age experience
Scary Bit: When you realise the fat kid grew up to be in Sliders.
CREEPSHOW 2 (1987)
More of the same from King and Romero, only not as good.
Scary Bit: When the blue spod rolls out of the bathroom.
THE RUNNING MAN(1987)
The future, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is put into a gameshow which sees him
in a fight to the death.
Scary Bit: When Ahnold picks up a helicopter with
PET SEMATARY (1989)
A doctor decides to bury the recently dead family cat in an Indian burial ground
- and it returns with a bad attitude.
Scary Bit: When the reanimated goldfish tries to flush the doctor down the lavatory.
GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1990)
A factory is infested with rats, but what the exterminators don't know is how
big those rats have become...
Scary Bit: When the king rat wears the whole of Brad Dourif for a hat.
Kathy Bates is James Caan's biggest fan, so when his car crashes nearby, she
takes him in - and make sure he stays there.
Scary Bit: Yet another Kathy Bates
nude scene - and this one lasts ninety minutes!
THE LAWNMOWER MAN (1992)
Scientist Pierce Brosnan turns the simple handyman into a computer assisted
Scary Bit: When it occurs to you that this has nothing to do with Stephen
A mother and son duo of vampires want to suck the youth out of Madchen Amick.
Scary Bit: Madchen's hysterical laughter at the special effects.
THE DARK HALF (1993)
Author Timothy Hutton decides to bury his pen name, but the guy just won't
stay dead. Also directed by George Romero.
Scary Bit: When Tim and his evil double
do that "looking in the mirror" routine from Duck Soup.
NEEDFUL THINGS (1993)
Max Von Sydow sets up a shop in town that gives the townsfolk their heart's
desire - at a hellish price!
Scary Bit: When Max gets speared by a huge spaceship.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION(1994)
Tim Robbins is determined to escape from prison, no matter how long it takes,
and Morgan Freeman tells us how.
Scary Bit: When the prisoners are emotionally
overwhelmed to hear "Disco Duck" played over the loudspeakers.
THE MANGLER (1995)
The workers at a laundry are getting killed off... by the machinery? Surely
Scary Bit: The stains on those underpants.
DOLORES CLAIBORNE (1995)
Kathy Bates doesn't get on with her daughter because of the small matter
of her killing her husband a few years ago.
Scary Bit: Kathy's extensive collection
of watercolour feet.
Big fat man runs over a gypsy and is then faced with a curse where he gets
thinner and thinner...
Scary Bit: When he's just a skeleton walking around
and everyone politely pretends not to notice.
APT PUPIL (1998)
Young kid gets fixated on the Nazis when he discovers his neighbour, Sir Ian
McKellen, is a genuine fascist from Germany.
Scary Bit: When Sir Ian roasts chestnuts
on his sitting room radiator - it takes him DAYS!!!
THE GREEN MILE (1999)
Tom Hanks is a prison guard who realises that the latest convict on Death Row
is innocent - and possesses strange healing powers.
Scary Bit: When Hanks escapes
in a hot air balloon, when he didn't need to... he could have walked out the
front door. He's not an inmate! What?
HEARTS IN ATLANTIS (2001)
Mysterious stranger Anthony Hopkins lives above a young kid, and reveals
he has special powers.
Scary Bit: When Hopkins paints a big smiley face on
Space aliens crash land, bringing with them wriggly beasts which erupt
from people's bottoms.
Scary Bit: That someone thought this was a good idea.
just the film, this feature as well.
Johnny Depp is a writer who has an unwelcome visit from a stranger who insists
that he has stolen his story.
Scary Bit: When Johnny rapsaddooie shqueenter follobliosity
and fartawn watanabe bumphter.
So there you go. A trip down a memory lane of sheer, blood-freezing terror,
I'm sure you'll agree. He's still the King! He's 'king great!
KING OF THE LINKS
start with the official webpage of the man himself: http://www.stephenking.com/index_flash.php
Which has all the latest news (he seems to be bogged down in Dark Tower stuff
at the moment), and mentions that films of The Talisman, Riding the Bullet
and Eyes of the Dragon (animated and French!) are on their way.
http://www.stephenkingshortmovies.com/ ...is a place where you can find short adaptations of King works. Doesn't
look particularly legal, but there's a few interesting items there, and Michael
Jackson's Ghosts, which is worse than Dreamcatcher.
http://www.angryalien.com/0504/shiningbunnies.html ...is nothing short of genius. If you can't be bothered watching Kubrick's
version of The Shining, then sit back for thirty seconds and see all you
need to know with this adaptation.
http://www.stephen-king.tk/ Lastly, if you want a guide to every King movie and TV show, try this Dutch
site. Don't worry, it's in English and very comprehensive. Plus it has Dutch
book covers - a USP.
Sorry to say, but our esteemed editor is getting swamped under an avalanche
of questions from you, our valued readers. So if you want to know where you
can get the Breakin' soundtrack, a copy of A Summer Place, or any other specialised
query, ask on the message boards, where you'll reach more people. Yeah, you
might not get an answer, but give it a go, anyway.
Editorial note: I've been more than slack getting this edition
of the newsletter laid out and sincere apologies go to Graeme Clark who puts
in all the real work with its writing. As this edition has been so long in stuck
inside a pc, and not on the shelf(?) I feel I should warn you the next piece
makes one hell of a sickening read. Fay Wray, Marlon Brando and I really still
can't get over Christopher Reeve someone who I honestly hope is now resting
in peace. I think it only fitting we honour him with a TSI logo...
REST IN PEACE
Actress Carrie Snodgress died aged 57 in April, after a career which got off
to a great start with her Oscar nomination for Diary of a Mad Housewife, whereupon
she took a long break to live with Neil Young and look after their son. She
returned to acting in The Fury, and subsequent films included Pale Rider, The
Ballad of Little Jo, Blue Sky and White Man's Burden.
Supporting actor Victor Argo appeared in many films, often those of Martin
Scorcese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Last Temptation of Christ) and
(Bad Lieutenant, The Funeral). Other films included Unholy Rollers,
Shadows and Fog, True Romance, Smoke, Blue in the Face, Ghost Dog and
Coyote Ugly. He died aged 69 in April.
Nelson Gidding wrote screenplays including I Want To Live, Odds Against
Tomorrow, The Haunting, The Andromeda Strain and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure.
died aged 84 in May.
Popular comedian Alan King appeared in a few films, among them Bye Bye
Braverman, The Anderson Tapes, I, The Jury, Cat's Eye,
Enemies: A Love Story, Casino, Rush Hour 2 and Sunshine State. He died aged 76 in May.
Actress Anna Lee started her career in Britain in films such as The
Passing of the Third Floor Back, but had greater success in Hollywood, in King
Solomon's Mines, The Man Who Changed His Mind, How Green Was My Valley,
Die, Flesh and Fantasy, Bedlam, The Ghost and Mrs Muir,
The Crimson Kimono,
Jack the Giant Killer, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? and In Like Flint.
On television she acted in a wheelchair in popular soap opera General Hospital.
She died aged 91 in May.
Tony Randall, the comic character actor who gained fame in light sex comedies
of the fifties and sixties, died aged 84 in May. Coming from the stage,
his films included Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Doris Day and Rock Hudson
Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, and Marilyn Monroe musical Let's Make
In the seventies he became a star on TV in classic sitcom The Odd Couple,
for which he won an Emmy. His other films included cult favourite The 7
Dr Lao, Gremlins 2 and recent spoof Down With Love, his final role.
Actor Ronald Reagan was a likeable presence in a variety of films, including
Knute Rockne All American, Desperate Journey, King's Row (with the famous
line, "Where's the rest of me?!"),
The Hasty Heart, Storm Warning, and cult favourites Hellcats of the Navy,
Bedtime for Bonzo and Don Siegel's remake of The Killers (a rare villainous
He then pursued a career in politics, eventually becoming President of
the United States of America, with fellow movie star Nancy Davis as his
In his later years he developed Alzheimer's, and he died in June aged 93.
One of his favourite movies was Rambo: First Blood Part II.
Comedy screenwriter Robert Lees wrote for Abbott and Costello with Hold
that Ghost, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Abbott and Costello Meet
Invisible Man among his credits. He also wrote The Invisible Woman, The
Black Cat (1941) and Crazy House. Sadly, he was murdered by beheading, in June,
Producer Max Rosenberg, who died aged 89 in June, was best known for his
horror films from his Amicus production company, such as Dr Terror's House
The Skull, Dr. Who and the Daleks and its sequel, Torture Garden, Scream
and Scream Again, The House that Dripped Blood, The Vault of Horror, The Beast
Must Die and Welcome to Blood City.
Movie legend Marlon Brando, who influenced whole generations of actors
a megastar in the process, has died aged 80. He came to fame in the stage
production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and the movie version, which led to
a run of starring
roles in films such as The Men (his debut), Viva Zapata, Julius Caesar,
On the Waterfront (for which he won his first Oscar), The Wild One, The Young
Lions, Guys and Dolls, The Fugitive Kind, One Eyed Jacks (his only film
director), Mutiny on the Bounty, A Countess from Hong Kong, The Chase,
Reflections in a Golden Eye, Candy, Night of the Following Day and Quiemada.
In 1972 he
won his second Oscar in the title role of The Godfather, and followed
it with increasingly eccentric performances in Last Tango in Paris, The Missouri
Superman (with his record breaking paycheck), Apocalypse Now, A Dry White
Season, Don Juan de Marco, The Island of Dr Moreau and The Score. In later
became as well known for his bizarre behaviour and family tragedies as
his acting, but he deserved his reputation as one of the greatest screen actors
of all time.
Former wrestler Pat Roach was best known for his role in Auf Wiedersehen,
but he also had roles in all three Indiana Jones movies, Barry Lyndon,
fantasy movies such as Willow, Conan the Destroyer, Red Sonja and Krull the
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and Never Say Never Again. He died from
cancer aged 67 in July.
Prolific composer Jerry Goldsmith came to prominence on television, on
shows including Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone and The Man from Uncle, and
scores included Seven Days in May, Seconds, Planet of the Apes, The Ballad
of Cable Hogue, Chinatown, Logan's Run, The Omen, Alien, the Star Trek
movies, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Total Recall and Basic Instinct. He died aged
August, after a long battle with cancer, but leaves a lasting legacy
of great music.
Director Irvin S. Yeaworth died aged 78 in a car crash in July. A religious
film maker, he was best known for directing science fiction movies The
Blob, along with The 4D Man and Dinosaurus.
Movie star Fay Wray, who was immortalised as the object of the giant ape's
affection in King Kong, died aged 96 in August. She broke into films in the
notably in Erich Von Stroheim's The Wedding March, but it's as the screaming
heroine of early thirties horror movies such as The Most Dangerous Game,
Doctor X, The Vampire Bat and Mystery of the Wax Museum that she will be best
In later years she appeared in more motherly roles in films like Rock
Pretty Baby and Tammy and the Bachelor, but had retired from the screen for
Elmer Bernstein, the superlatively talented and incredibly prolific film
composer, died in his sleep aged 82 during August. He started out scoring low
films like Robot Monster and Cat-Women of the Moon, but in a few short
years he had graduated to The Ten Commandments, The Sweet Smell of Success,
The Man with the Golden Arm, The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird,
Hud and The Great Escape. He followed these with an Oscar winning score for
Thoroughly Modern Millie, True Grit, The Shootist, Airplane,
Stripes, Heavy Metal, An American Werewolf in London,
Ghostbusters, The Grifters, The Age of Innocence
and Far from Heaven.
Model turned cult actress Acquanetta died aged 82 in August. She rose to
brief fame in Captive Wild Woman, which was followed by Jungle Woman, Dead
Man's Eyes, Tarzan and the Leopard Woman and Lost Continent.
Russ Meyer, one of the most notable cult filmmakers of the 60s and 70s, died
aged 82 in September. Meyer worked as a newsreel cameraman during World War
before becoming a photographer. In 1959, his work for Playboy led to his first
film – the hugely successful ‘nudie’ feature The Immoral Mr Teas. Other soft-core
features followed before Meyer moved to a series of trashy, thrilling B-movies – Mudhoney,
Lorna, Motor Psycho and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
– that combined the two elements – incredibly voluptuous women and graphic violence –
that would become Meyer’s trademark. Cherry, Harry & Raquel! and Vixen
were more sexual and cartoonish, developing Meyer’s excellent visual sense and skilful editing
techniques. Meyer made two films for 20th Century Fox – the bawdy satire Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(written by critic Roger Ebert) and the semi-serious The Seven Minutes, but their
commercial failure led the director to return to his independent roots. Supervixen,
Up! and 1979’s
Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens were even more energetic, inventive
and sex-filled than their predecessors, the latter proving to be the last
directed. In latter years he had retired, suffering from dementia, but
he will be remembered as a legendary trash auteur and one of a kind.
Cult actress Janet Leigh, one of the most beautiful stars of the fifties
and sixties, died in October aged 77. She started appearing in films during
the forties, but by the next decade she found popularity in movies such as
in the Outfield,
Scaramouche, The Naked Spur, Pete Kelly's Blues,
Touch of Evil, The
Vikings, Jet Pilot, The Manchurian Candidate, Bye Bye Birdie
and Psycho, where
death is possibly the most famous in film history. In later years she
appeared in The Fog and Halloween H20. Offscreen, one of her four husbands
was Tony Curtis, with whom she had two daughters, actresses Kelly Lee Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Character actress Sheila Keith gained cult success as the star of Pete Walker's horror films,
such as House of Whipcord, Frightmare, The Confessional,
The Comeback and House of the Long Shadows. Other films included Ooh You
Are Awful and Clockwise. She died aged 84 in October.
Julius Harris became well known for the cult movies he appeared in during the 1970s, including
Superfly, Trouble Man, Black Caesar, Bond movie Live
and Let Die (as a villain), Hell Up In Harlem, Friday Foster, the
campy King Kong remake and Looking for Mr Goodbar. Among his later films were
To Sleep with Anger, Darkman and Shrunken Heads. He died aged 81 in October.
Christopher Reeve, who rose to fame as the star of the Superman films, died of
heart failure aged 52 in October. His screen life had started on a TV soap opera when he was
awarded the role of the superhero, in which he so perfectly portrayed the icon that his other
roles tended to be forgotten. Nevertheless, he made a strong impression in cult science fiction
romance Somewhere in Time, mystery Deathtrap and The Remains of the Day.
In 1995 he was tragically paralysed in a riding accident, but didn't let the incident hold him
back - he worked tirelessly to overcome his condition and fund research into a cure. In later
years he had guest starred in Smallville, the Superman TV show.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
I Heart Huckabees
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex Vol. 1
Lee: The Lost Interviews
in Blue, The
Thugs: Innocent Blood
Jones and the Casino of Gold
Muyo! In Love
After Tomorrow, The
of the Fireflies
III: Hell On Earth
Girls and the Monster, The
of the Dragon
of the Christ, The
All About Love
at the River Styx
Dangerous Game, The
of the Opera, The
I Won The War
for the Honeymoon
of the Moon
Angels on Wheels
of the Zombies
Royale 2: Requiem
The Werewolf Hunt
Look in the Basement
Witch Project, The
RUNNING OUT OF KING PUNS ALREADY
We've made it through the Thingdom of Kerror - no, the Kingdom of Terror, and
rest assured there's more product from the Master of Horror on the way, both
in print and on screen. Next time: The Great James Herbert films, in our pocket-sized
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