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Forums Index -> The Terror Tube -> Stephen King's 'Nightmares and Dreamscapes'
Messiahman
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:02 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 3019
Location: Hollywood

Well whattaya know, it looks like I have a teensy bit of time before heading off to ComiCon to respond to this, much to your chagrin. And that’s fine, since it’s not really much of a challenge to wipe the floor with you.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Wow, that is great. You ascribe to his own self depreciation.


You mean to tell me that you have the time to go to the trouble of posting a friggin’ PICTURE of the Merriam Webster dictionary, and then you can’t even correctly use the word “ascribe?” C’mon man, you’re doing my work for me here.

As for me, I didn’t ascribe anything to the man. I merely presented some of the many examples where he’s proven to be self-deprecating and dismissive of his own work, deferring to other authors that he feels are much more worthy of success than himself. He’s consistently shown a pattern of self-deprecation that is apparent to anyone with unbiased eyes.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Interestingly enough, you shallow attempt at a cut was a very compeeling point into itself.


Never let it be said that my points aren’t designed to compeel. Laughing

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Probably masterbating to a picture of Merriam Webster (?) BTW.. That is NOT the name of a chick.. I fell for that once as well. Shocked


Judging from the lame, adolescent level of your response, that’s not surprising at all. And you have the nerve to accuse me of casting shallow aspersions? Et tu, ya perv.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Are you serious? Lovecraft? Wow. The paradigm that you mind is set upon here is so far gone that I feel like just walking away from the argument for pity sake.


But instead you’ll end up crawling away, bruised, bloodied and defeated. More’s the pity for you, sparky. Laughing

It cannot be argued that Lovecraft consistently dealt with what he deemed the “undescribable.” This turns up again and again in his work, and Lovecraft himself spoke at length about it. He very rarely gave any of his nonhuman entities enough description to make them whole – look no further than “The Unnamable” for his own admission of this. As a reader, coming up repeatedly against that sort of nonsense ultimately grows tiresome. As do his repetitive themes of forbidden knowledge leading to the discovery of outside forces influencing humanity, atavistic guilt and the inability to escape fate and family. His stories are often redundant, covering these themes ad nauseum. Once you’ve read more than a handful (and I have indeed read `em all) you can see what’s coming a mile away. And you begin to notice the things that are lacking, like remotely realistic dialogue, plot resolution or any sort of in-depth characterization. Of course, he makes up for those with his leering anglophile tendencies and blatant racist views (Lovecraft, after all, is a man who actually wrote a poem entitled “On The Creation of Niggers”) but that’s not exactly a plus.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Lovecraft is far more valuable and influential than King wil ever have been.


You’ve just crossed the line from delusion into outright foolishness, Lord Cuckoo. Like him or not, there is no denying that King is the preeminent horror icon of the twentieth century (well, you CAN deny it, but you’d be wrong) a genre giant with mainstream cross-appeal whose success (and mere existence) reinvented the definition of American horror and even caused the genre to be accepted as something more than a literary stepchild. Many of his books and characters have become horror touchstones recognizable by title alone – CARRIE, CHRISTINE, CUJO and THE SHINING have all become archetypes. Hundreds of writers in the field have aped his style and directly owe their success to his innovations. His books have remained on bestseller lists for over thirty years, have in fact made him the bestselling author IN THE WORLD. EVER. His influence is EVERYWHERE and has dominated virtually every form of media. To describe the impact he has made as monumental is actually something of an understatement. His name alone is virtually synonymous with modern horror, and even those who don't read popular fiction at all know who he is and what he does. He is a literary and cultural phenomenon. His work has reached HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people, and its influence will undoubtedly be felt for many generations to come. For god's sake, his inflluence is fucking incalculable.

To argue that Lovecraft, who wasn’t remotely a success in his own lifetime, whose body of work is relatively small and comprises the same themes ad nauseum, whose most influential works were arguably the reams of correspondence he had with other authors and whose influence is largely of a secondary nature… well, that’s no argument at all.

So yeah, I can see why you’d want to walk away. I’d be tempted to do the same if I were on such an obviously losing side as well. Laughing

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Lovecraft will live on in not only his powerful works, but all the people his writings have come to influence, even the King himself.


His influence on King is nominal, actually, as any degree of actual reading will attest. While King’s trio of invented New England towns are somewhat reminiscent of a few of Lovecraft’s settings, their writing styles, subject matter and handling of themes couldn’t be more different. It’s obvious and well-known that King’s primary influence is crime author John D. Macdonald, as their styles of character development, naturalistic dialogue and story structure are strikingly similar. On the genre front, King owes a great deal to modernist Richard Matheson, who went in the completely opposite direction of the Lovecraftian unknown and turned mundane objects and settings into instruments of horror. Not only is King on record as citing Matheson’s influence, but his body of work consistently supports it.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings [...] It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence [...]


That sort of overripe, grandiose purple prose that almost makes me thankful that the guy does more often than not tend to categorize his beasties as “undescribable.” It’s precisely that type of turgid, overdescriptive tripe that appeals to those who wouldn’t know characterization, plot and narrative if they were smacked in the face with them. At least Robert E. Howard (whose tremendous strides in dark fantasy directly spawned J.R.R. Tolkien, yet another writer far more influential than your little demigod) mixed it up with well-rounded characters and story movement. And let me say it again for emphasis, Howard wrote circles around Lovecraft. For that matter, so did Clark Ashton Smith.

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Dude: Let me help you with your sex life...


Oooh, what a zinger!

Thanks, but I don’t need any help on that end. And isn’t it just a tad ironic that, only a few posts after Legba quoted King as describing Lovecraft fans as being mostly prepubescent that you fixate on body fluids, masturbation (note the proper spelling) and sexual proclivities. How does it feel to be a living, breathing stereotype? Laughing

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Ah, many thanks for anointing yourself as the arbiter of spelling on these boards, and then using that shallow poke to skirt over portions of people's arguments. It makes it look like you have nothing of weight to say,


On the contrary, the consistent misuse and misspelling of words actually negates the true import of any points you might make, particularly in the midst of a literary discussion. Not that I needed to single out grammatical errors to defeat you, but I couldn't help twisting the already deeply-embedded knife after completely obliterating your arguments. Such is the nature of snark. If you wanna play with the big boys, you’ll do best to bring your A-game. Wink

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
But now if only you could look into the thoughts of the any of the book by S.T. Joshii or Arkham press, and read a real Lovecraft story then rather going off what we have heard others say...then we’d be onto something. Razz


Oh please. Are you so desperate as to trot out the ridiculous notion that I’m baselessly parroting others’ opinions, while simultaneously pointing to published critiques which have obviously formed the basis of your own? Dude, not only have I read his work, but, judging from your rather banal riposte and one-note, clichéd description of H.P.L.’s supposed intent to “paint in shades of gray,” it’s quite apparent that I have a greater understanding of his themes (and weaknesses) than you, Elder Clod. Not to mention the fact that I’m quite comfortable with my own critical faculties and my ability to express them coherently… something that seems to cause you no end of trouble. Razz

Lord Cthulhu wrote:
Chewed, and spat out. Messiahtonone Laughing


Ah, so THAT’S why your response was so phlegmy and ill-formed. Razz

All right, now that I've stomped all over your argument, I really do have to head out. I'll come back to poke the corpse on Sunday.

Here endeth the lesson.
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Last edited by Messiahman on Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Morgan Elektra
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:57 am  Reply with quote
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Hey.... no fair. Where's MY response?


You're such a fucking tease. Razz
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Sirand
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:08 pm  Reply with quote
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Wow. This thread is interesting. Laughing

On the subject, yes, King has been far more influencial.

I loves me some Lovecraft (his work, not the smug asshole) but his stories are one-note and esoteric, devoid of all characterization.

King legitimized horror fiction. He enriched it and brought it the kind of worldwide attention and acclaim that was normally reserved for high-brow literature. Not only that, he created the best damn mythos since JRR Tolken.
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MONSTER19
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 10:24 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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Location: HELL

I did like the BAttleground episode, and to have no talking during the whole thing was great. Good work whoever directed it. The scenes were great.
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DW Bostaph Jr
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:58 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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Location: Swabbing the poop deck of the Flying Dutchman

I am so happy that you took the time to write back. And in doing so, not only prove a few points for me, but keep that ever loving Messiahman pointless, showy, childish arguments coming on strong.

Case in point:

Quote:
You mean to tell me that you have the time to go to the trouble of posting a friggin’ PICTURE of the Merriam Webster dictionary, and then you can’t even correctly use the word “ascribe?” C’mon man, you’re doing my work for me here.


This shows that YOU think I am stooopid. I wrote that KNOWING that you would allow it to run rampant within the body of your reply. I KNEW that it would be the one thing that YOU just had to fall back on. Sure, oh the pain, you caught me on a few typos further down, but to see how much you took this bait is enough to dispel any of the dribble you allowed to flow out of your fingers further down the page.

Quote:
As for me, I didn’t ascribe anything to the man. I merely presented some of the many examples where he’s proven to be self-deprecating and dismissive of his own work, deferring to other authors that he feels are much more worthy of success than himself. He’s consistently shown a pattern of self-deprecation that is apparent to anyone with unbiased eyes.


And just because he promotes other authors, this makes his work better?

Quote:
But instead you’ll end up crawling away, bruised, bloodied and defeated. More’s the pity for you, sparky. Laughing


Um.. I don't think so. Please go to www.schizophreniainfo.com those hallucinations must be a bitch when you are driving. I only help the ones I love. Wink

[quote]It cannot be argued that Lovecraft consistently dealt with what he deemed the “undescribable.”[/puote]

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown

So we have a man who does not want to spell it out for us. But allow us to fill in the voids. There was enough context int the movements, feelings, and reactions that are present when these things are about, that we can easily paint our own visual picture of what sort of nightmarish horror is sitting at the foot of the bed.

Quote:
This turns up again and again in his work, and Lovecraft himself spoke at length about it. He very rarely gave any of his nonhuman entities enough description to make them whole – look no further than “The Unnamable” for his own admission of this. As a reader, coming up repeatedly against that sort of nonsense ultimately grows tiresome.


To write with a style that interconnects pieces of the work? A lot of his work was done for money, and why would the man break from form if that which had paid out before was still working. ALL writers do this, even the ever forgettable King. The freshness of Carrie, and The Shining gave way quickly to bloated works like Needful Things and The Tommyknockers when the money came rolling in. Sure, IT is built in a similar manner, but this just goes to show that even when one is just hacking away for the duckets, a diamond can be excavated just as easily as shite.

Quote:
As do his repetitive themes of forbidden knowledge leading to the discovery of outside forces influencing humanity, atavistic guilt and the inability to escape fate and family. His stories are often redundant, covering these themes ad nauseum. Once you’ve read more than a handful (and I have indeed read `em all) you can see what’s coming a mile away.


Kind of like a guy who fills his book with kooky character who have to constantly spout nursery rhymes in an obsessive manner?

Quote:
And you begin to notice the things that are lacking, like remotely realistic dialogue, plot resolution or any sort of in-depth characterization.


I will take a brief book over a bloated body any day. If King had used a bit of constraint in his writings, he may have been able to create levels of tension within his writing to rival any horror maestro, but King's mind on a page has the same effect as bacteria within the dead. Sorry, but I can't give a man props for rotton gas.

Quote:
Of course, he makes up for those with his leering anglophile tendencies and blatant racist views (Lovecraft, after all, is a man who actually wrote a poem entitled “On The Creation of Niggers”) but that’s not exactly a plus.


Do you actively burn copies of Twain's works? Sure Lovecraft had a huge antianthropomorphic streak, and the man was a xenophobe. This combination has made him an easy mark for racism. But then again was Walt Disney a racist for "Song of the South"? No. It was a sign of the times, and what was acceptable during that time. Is it right now? Of course not. But to dismiss his work because his views do not align with the popular mindset of the modern times is to dismiss history itself. To earmark him as a racist only shows the depths of idiocy we face in these oversanitized PC friendly times. Just keep ignoring the past.. I am sure you will escape it sooner or later.

Quote:
You’ve just crossed the line from delusion into outright foolishness, Lord Cuckoo. Like him or not, there is no denying that King is the preeminent horror icon of the twentieth century (well, you CAN deny it, but you’d be wrong) a genre giant with mainstream cross-appeal whose success (and mere existence) reinvented the definition of American horror and even caused the genre to be accepted as something more than a literary stepchild. Many of his books and characters have become horror touchstones recognizable by title alone – CARRIE, CHRISTINE, CUJO and THE SHINING have all become archetypes. Hundreds of writers in the field have aped his style and directly owe their success to his innovations. His books have remained on bestseller lists for over thirty years, have in fact made him the bestselling author IN THE WORLD. EVER. His influence is EVERYWHERE and has dominated virtually every form of media. To describe the impact he has made as monumental is actually something of an understatement. His name alone is virtually synonymous with modern horror, and even those who don't read popular fiction at all know who he is and what he does. He is a literary and cultural phenomenon. His work has reached HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people, and its influence will undoubtedly be felt for many generations to come. For god's sake, his inflluence is fucking incalculable.


"Now that time has given us some perspective on his work, I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the Twentieth Century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."

LOOK STEPHEN KING GIVES PROPS to another writer. Wow, Messiah, you must be right.


Quote:
To argue that Lovecraft, who wasn’t remotely a success in his own lifetime, whose body of work is relatively small and comprises the same themes ad nauseum, whose most influential works were arguably the reams of correspondence he had with other authors and whose influence is largely of a secondary nature… well, that’s no argument at all.


I think this is the most interesting part of Lovecraft. He died a poor man, his works were all but forgotten, but then later they were released, and slowly.. over time, he posthumously gathered steam. He went from No-Name to literary star from nothing but the strength of his work.

King on the other hand, with his everyman, disposable works will take an opposite turn. His work will be forgotten not long after he quits turning out them. They just will not stand the test of time. They are dated, and the worst of them are so shallowly set within certain timeperiods, that it is impossible to see them as anything but a series of poor pop culture references with a few boo scares thrown in. Do not get me wrong, the man does have a few works that will make it to some sort of immortality, but not the volume or to the degree that HPL has.

Quote:
So yeah, I can see why you’d want to walk away. I’d be tempted to do the same if I were on such an obviously losing side as well. Laughing


Tiiiiime.. is on my side.

Quote:
That sort of overripe, grandiose purple prose that almost makes me thankful that the guy does more often than not tend to categorize his beasties as “undescribable.




Quote:
It’s precisely that type of turgid, overdescriptive tripe that appeals to those who wouldn’t know characterization, plot and narrative if they were smacked in the face with them.


Weren't we bitching FOR description?

Quote:
At least Robert E. Howard (whose tremendous strides in dark fantasy directly spawned J.R.R. Tolkien, yet another writer far more influential than your little demigod) mixed it up with well-rounded characters and story movement. And let me say it again for emphasis, Howard wrote circles around Lovecraft. For that matter, so did Clark Ashton Smith.


To each their own. To me the distiction between Howard and Lovecraft is vast, but I prefer the latter. Howard and Smith owe so much to Lovecraft's creation of a fucntional universe. Howard's Hyborea is argued to be a part of Lovecraft's mythos, and I would LOVE to see a return to this with regards to Conan and the upcoming film. A return to the interauthor creation that was the real Hyborea.

Quote:
Thanks, but I don’t need any help on that end. And isn’t it just a tad ironic that, only a few posts after Legba quoted King as describing Lovecraft fans as being mostly prepubescent that you fixate on body fluids, masturbation (note the proper spelling) and sexual proclivities. How does it feel to be a living, breathing stereotype?


Quote:
Lord Cuckoo


Quote:
Elder Clod


..and yet you are so very adult!

Quote:
On the contrary, the consistent misuse and misspelling of words actually negates the true import of any points you might make, particularly in the midst of a literary discussion. Not that I needed to single out grammatical errors to defeat you, but I couldn't help twisting the already deeply-embedded knife after completely obliterating your arguments. Such is the nature of snark. If you wanna play with the big boys, you’ll do best to bring your A-game. Wink


But all you do is skirt the issues and point out where I zigged instead of zagging. Your argument would be far weightier if you had a point to begin with.

Quote:
Oh please. Are you so desperate as to trot out the ridiculous notion that I’m baselessly parroting others’ opinions, while simultaneously pointing to published critiques which have obviously formed the basis of your own?


In truth, I never read a stitch of Joshi till just recently, and have been a fan for years. I find the man to be a real plug and his ideas on the author are far removed from my own. He is in denial to the degree to which HPL was a xenophobe and a racist, and I feel that these are important points in understanding the man behind the stories. I think they tap directly into the fear he felt by things that were alien to him, and this interaction with the constant barrage of incoming peoples from other lands has a direct link to the feeling of invasion that HPL dealt with heavilly. I am sure you will not find that in Joshi.

Quote:
Dude, not only have I read his work, but, judging from your rather banal riposte and one-note, clichéd description of H.P.L.’s supposed intent to “paint in shades of gray,” it’s quite apparent that I have a greater understanding of his themes (and weaknesses) than you, Elder Clod. Not to mention the fact that I’m quite comfortable with my own critical faculties and my ability to express them coherently… something that seems to cause you no end of trouble. Razz


Holy shit that's funny!



ah.. ah... ah... Oooookay... just breathe....


Holy shit that's funny!


man.. my KIDS have a better grip on this shit than you do.
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Bambi
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:59 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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Location: KY

So what did you all think of Umney's Last Case?
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Grimmaldi
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 12:26 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 07 Jul 2006
Posts: 70
Location: YMB

Bambi wrote:
So what did you all think of Umney's Last Case?


Actually nodded off as it started, heh. Although the elevator guy was creepy, bout the last thing I saw. Woke up for End of the whole Mess which was what I expected it'd be. Those 2 episodes more like Outer Limits type plots.
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dead postman
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 2:25 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 29 Jun 2006
Posts: 68
Location: Birmingham, AL

I enjoyed "Umney's" and "Mess" a little more than Crouch End but not as much as Battleground. Granted they are rather "Twilight Zeoney"; more Dreamscapes than Nightmares, but better executed than Crouch was.

Macy carried Umney's; he's a great actor and I enjoyed his dual role a lot. When the Big Re-Write happens I thought the wife sure did accept it really quickly, and her downward spiral seemed rushed, almost as if there were some scenes missing from the episode.

POSSIBLE SPOILER:However, when it got to the last scene where Umney was trying to write and quoted Hemingway, I took that to mean that a lot of what happened was going on in the author's mind as he was basically switching personalities with his own character. In that respect, things made more send. END SPOILER

I liked "End of the Whole Mess" also. Well acted, cool framing concept with the self-video thing, and the ending was appropriately bleak.
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Mina Harker
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 4:02 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 26 Jun 2006
Posts: 273
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I've only seen Battleground and Crouch End so far. I know the tomatos are going to fly, but I was totally uninterested in Battleground. I forced myself to finish watching it. For some reason, I kept thinking: Is this really Small Soldiers Gone Bad?? Rolling Eyes William Hurt was great, which was probably the only reason I watched it all the way through. The premise of Crouch End was more to my liking, but aside from a few good scenes, I thought the execution was weak. And that ending???? WTF?????
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Samhain
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:30 pm  Reply with quote
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Without getting involved with everyone else's pseudo-intellectual prattle, I'll go on to say that, on the second night, I enjoyed 'The End Of The Whole Mess' and was a little bored by 'Umney's Last Case'.

Two for two on both nights.
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Morgan Elektra
PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:29 pm  Reply with quote
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I can't talk about Umney's Last Case. Wait for my review and you'll understand why.

All I can say is - Here:

http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/king/kingtoc.htm
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Morgan Elektra
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:26 pm  Reply with quote
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Messiahman wrote:


Horror Chic wrote:
First off, if Prey isn't a direct inspiration for this story I don't know what is.


Please reread my above post where I just told you what is – namely, the original TZ episode entitled “The Invaders,” which featured Agnes Moorhead fighting miniature invaders in her home and using household appliances as weapons. Care to guess which particular genre luminary penned this particular episode? See, you’re right on the Matheson inspiration, but you’re citing the wrong story as the most direct inspiration (I’m not saying that some of "Prey" isn’t there, but the TZ correlation is much more obvious). And hey, it’s not like I’m alone in pointing this out, as quite a few other reviewers have brought up “The Invaders” as well. Just because you’re ignorant of this particular work doesn’t make its obvious influence any less valid. Particularly since “Trilogy of Terror” was made in 1975, while “Battleground” was published in Cavalier in 1972. Granted, King may have gotten a chance to read “Prey” in its single publication, but “The Invaders” was a hugely popular episode of one of his favorite genre shows ever. If you get a chance to see it, you can’t not notice the similarities.



See... I told you I'm forgetful... I almost forgot I wanted to call you out on this particular line of bull.

First, I'm not "ignorant of this particular work"... I just happen to have recently read Matheson's own words regarding the origin of The Invaders... namely that he submitted the premise for Prey to Twilight Zone and they rejected it because it was too bleak.

"So I turned it around into a science fiction story - and it became The Invaders - the episode that Agnes Morehead was in. Because it's the same damn story - except there's only one doll."

*Edit* And Battleground may have been published in Cavalier in 1972, but Prey was published in Playboy in 1969. And you can't argue that Playboy isn't wildly popular as well. And yes, I'm aware that the original air date of The Invaders is 1961, so that may have been the initial inspiration, but Prey was actually closer to the date of Battleground publication.
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Red VonMunster
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:57 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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Terminal wrote:

Mainly, because I had no idea what was going on. I love Claire Forlani, but what the fuck was this all about anyway?




An homage to H.P. Lovecraft, that's why at the end you saw names on the buildings like Cthulhu Nyarlethotep and Yog Sothoth.
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Jack19
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:15 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 30 Jun 2006
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I haven't seen any yet, but I just set my Tivo to record The Road Virus Heads North. I remember that as being one of King's most unsettling stories. Hopefully the adaptation will capture that mood.
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birdie
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 12:21 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
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I'm a bit behind, but just saw Crouch End. What the hell was that???

Where the hell did they shoot it? It looked like a load of used movie lots jammed together like a weird (and totally American) jigsaw.

One of the things that worked really well in the orignal was that Stephen King is obviousley familiar with the creepily intense maze of streets that criss-cross through North London. Those sets looked more like Carolina or somewhere than anywhere in England, let alone London. And what was up with the fifties urchins, rub-a-dub, governor. Forlani must have been cringing in Embarassment.

Loved (as in didn't) the way they had to hammer home the Lovecraft connection with all the names. And what the hell has happened to Eion Bailey since Band of Brother?

As a Brit who knows Crouch End area really well, this was probably the worst King adaption ever. Please God, let the others be better.

Rant Over.
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