Reviewing the Pages: Night Shift

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More than twenty-five stories of horror and nightmarish fantasy transform everyday situations into experiences of compelling terror in the worlds of the living, the dying, and the nonliving.

“Jerusalem’s Lot” Previously unpublished
“Graveyard Shift” October 1970 issue of Cavalier
“Night Surf” Spring 1969 issue of Ubris
“I Am the Doorway” March 1971 issue of Cavalier
“The Mangler” December 1972 issue of Cavalier
“The Boogeyman” March 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Gray Matter” October 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Battleground” September 1972 issue of Cavalier
“Trucks” June 1973 issue of Cavalier
“Sometimes They Come Back” March 1974 issue of Cavalier
“Strawberry Spring” Fall 1968 issue of Ubris
“The Ledge” July 1976 issue of Penthouse
“The Lawnmower Man” May 1975 issue of Cavalier
“Quitters, Inc.” Previously unpublished
“I Know What You Need” September 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan
“Children of the Corn” March 1977 issue of Penthouse
“The Last Rung on the Ladder” Previously unpublished
“The Man Who Loved Flowers” August 1977 issue of Gallery
“One for the Road” March/April 1977 issue of Maine
“The Woman in the Room” Previously unpublished

Night Shift is a collection of twenty short stories that are all designed to fill you with terror and dread. And it does a very good job of that. Whether it’s continuing on with some of the stories in his already extensive library; or creating new stories that will become a part of horror culture, in both good and bad ways. There are a lot of stories here that have become either big screen or made-for-TV movies, or either TV shows or mini-series. Each one of these short stories contain the right amount of horror for the length that the story was. Which is good. Sometimes there’s too much horror in a short piece, and not enough time within the pages to dissipate it. For those of you who like short horror, and haven’t read many from Stephen King, then this read is one worth checking out.

Well, there’s not much more that I want to elaborate on.  I will add in my thoughts on the individual short stories as I had posted them during the course of my reading through this book.

“Jerusalem’s Lot”–King dipped into Lovecraftian horror with this one, which ties in to ‘Salem’s Lot in a way.

“Graveyard Shift”–What is it with rats and horror? In this case…the rats ARE the horror.

“Night Surf”–A precursor, or prequel-in-idea story to The Stand, the horror isn’t in the horror of catching A6, it’s the human fear of dying.

“I Am the Doorway”–not even space can escape King’s touch of horror. Couldn’t imagine having that happen to me.

“The Mangler”: almost by pure chance, a demon possesses a powerful machine and causes havoc.

“The Boogeyman”–a very…unique take on talking to the monster. Lots of in-depth analysis to be had here.

“Grey Matter”–not much I can explain about this one. Man drinks a foul beer and becomes a giant grey blob that is starting to divide.

“Battleground”–I love this story! Such a fun concept.

“Trucks”–What happens when an unexplained event causes machines (in this case, tractor-trailers) gain a mind of their own? This short story gives us an idea.

“Sometimes They Come Back”–Ghosts and demons, a perfect horror mix with childhood trauma as the catalyst event for it.

“Strawberry Spring”–Interesting premise for this tale. Weather phenomenon causing one person to get…murderous? Ending leaves the story in ambiguity.

“The Ledge”–Well, what would you expect when you try to run away with the wife of a criminal syndicate boss that has known to be a little sadistic? With the crime boss’ penchant to lie, the ending is a little ambiguous.

“The Lawnmower Man”–This is what happens when you let a Greek god start a lawn service.

“Quitters Inc.”–Interesting short story. Unlikely to happen in today’s society, but still, interesting concept.

“I Know What You Need”–A little bit of black magic to gain love? Don’t you know that any sort of magic won’t get you love?

“Children of the Corn”–Religion and horror don’t mix very often, but it can certainly be scary.

“The Last Rung on the Ladder”–A story, which while the premise is more suspenseful than terrifying; it’s the underlying terror of drifting apart and the guilt of not contacting loved ones before they leave our plane of existence. A theme that hits to close to home this week.

“The Man Who Loved Flowers”–This story almost didn’t seem like it was going to have a tinge of darkness in it, until the very end.

“One for the Road”–So, we got a prequel for ‘Salem’s Lot, and now we get a sequel…of sorts. More like a small continuation of the story that falls a few years after the ending.

“The Woman in the Room”–Horror based in reality can always be the scariest, and watching a loved one wither away can be downright terrifying.

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Reading List #4

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of my reading list! Now, I skipped over one book in the process of going through my last read, and I’m ok with that.  As much as I do like sticking to lists and following a set plan from time to time, there are just some times where I’m like “alright, I can skip that one”.  And it’s not like the book isn’t on my reading list as it is, I just didn’t have the book to read it.  I’m sure it’ll show up on here again.  And speaking of, here is a very long list of books to come.  This should take me to that magical 50 books read this year.  Wish me luck!

Reminder: all covers come from Goodreads.

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Reviewing the Pages: The Shining

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What of the penetrating cold terror of an old hotel, a haunted place of seductive evil with a malevolent will of its own—and a five-year-old boy of innocent beauty whose mind mirrors the nightmarish secrets of its past?

Behind every door of the Overlook’s 110 empty rooms there is a chamber of horror. Little Danny knows of these things because he has the terrible power—The Shining

I forgot how tiny the font is in the edition I read. But, 8 point font aside, The Shining is a book that you have to read to experience the terror. Of a family that started out on a bit of a rocky point; a man who has his inner demons to battle, and a kid with some sort of psychic ability (undefined, but a bit of mind-reading and precognitive aspects). To top it all off, there’s a malevolent force that wants that ability for itself, and it all takes place in the middle of nowhere in a snowy Colorado winter.

To me, that’s where all the horror lies. The scenery. The vast…aloneness in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. If we took this tale somewhere else, it wouldn’t have that exact same impact. Stephen King does a marvelous job of letting the atmosphere sink into the horror, and catches you when you let your guard down.

Now, having read this book again, I can see why King despises Kubrick’s movie so much. While I do like Kubrick’s film; this book is much better because it draws out the suspense a little bit; drawing you in until the very, very end.

So, how’s everyone doing? Sorry that I haven’t been here for a while.  I was originally going to read The Blood Lives: In The Blood to start out, but quickly realized that the electronic version I have…is just a preview.  Which irked me.  Because I read the preview.  And I wanted more.  So I skipped over that, and went to this book.  And then I couldn’t find my copy of this book.  I looked through my entire Stephen King collection shelf at least a half-dozen times; pulling books off and putting them back on the shelf.  I even checked some other spots just in case I happened to rearrange it wrong; I even went through some of the boxes I moved with to see if I happened to leave it in there.  Nothing.  So, I did the next best thing.  I finally went and got myself a library card, and checked this book out.

So, rant about getting to read this book aside, I forgot how much I liked this book until I dove into the pages.  I said it above in my Goodreads review, but I do like that King stretched out some of the suspense.  We see the slow (yet, quick) descent into insanity that the hotel brings upon him.  Which, speaking of, the time frame that the bulk of this book takes place is incredibly short.  It takes about four months from the time they get “locked” in to the time the Overlook explodes.  But, it feels so much longer than that.  And I love it.

For those of you who like King’s work, Kubrick’s version, or suspenseful horror that will stick around for quite some time, then you should check out this story.  Just…make sure you find a version with large font.

Reading List #3

Hello everyone! Welcome to another reading list! I’ve polished off two book lists, and have successfully met my original goal of 20 books read in 2017.  So, I’ve bumped it up.  Currently sitting at 25, I have a feeling that I’m going to be bumping it up even further.  Probably to 30, or even 35.  Just so I have something to shoot for.  That being said, here’s my next list of books, in order that I will read them in, just for you to peruse.  Remember, all covers are taken from Goodreads.

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There, that should knock down some of my TBR list, right?

Yeah right.  There’s no such thing as getting rid of a TBR list.  It’s like laundry.  Everytime you think you’re done with it, there’s just another pile that springs up, ready to be done.

Did you find any book that you might like on this list? Do you have any recommendations for me to check out? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Something New: Reviewing the Trailer of “IT”

DID YOU WATCH IT!? DIDYOUWATCHITDIDYOUWATCHITDIDYOUWATCHITDIDYOUWATCHIT?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

Ahem.  Excuse me a second while I compose myself.

There.  That’s better.  Before you read on, you really probably should watch this.  There be details about the trailer below.

Alright.  So, I have this rather…long connection with IT.  It’s the first adult book that I’ve read out of, at the tender age of 2 and a half.  Yes.  I did say 2 and a half.  I’m the oldest child of three, and so I got almost three years of parenting to myself.  And my mother read everything to me.  I mean everything.  Children’s books, magazines, newspapers, recipes, the back of cereal boxes, whatever.  She read and read and read to me.  So, when I started to read on my own out loud, Mom used whatever she could to help me out.  And since we didn’t have a lot of children’s books in the house at the time, she used what she was reading, which was IT.  I only know this is because my mother told me about it when I was reading the book as a teenager.  Which I did…constantly.  Between my mother and I, we read the cover off of that copy.  I even used the TV miniseries for an assignment in high school (which meant a couple of nights up waaaaaaaay late watching both parts).  So, I have a bit of an attachment to this novel.

So, when I saw that they were going to remake the miniseries, I was a little cautious about it at first.  Because Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown…

is amazing.  100% awesome at giving this entity life.  But, things started to pop up.  Production stills and teaser images of not just the kids, but the new look for Pennywise.  And let me tell you, Mr. Skarsgård looks downright evil.

And I love it.  My only hope was that they were going to be able to mix the clowning antics of what Pennywise is suppose to portray with the horror that is befalling Derry.  Well, with this trailer, we certainly have some indications that we do.

We had to get that iconic scene where Georgie is chasing his boat down the rain gutter, though him running right into that barricade is a bit of humor that doesn’t last very long.  We then get various scenes, such as the kids walking through the drainpipe, a balloon floating behind Ben, the kids going over old pictures of town that quickly gets out of their control, what I believe is Mike’s interaction with Pennywise at the burned-out mill, and the blood geyser out of Beverly’s drain.  But, what really gets me is at the very end, with Georgie going “you’ll float too” about four or five times, with it increasing in intensity until Pennywise comes running out of this pool of water.  That part did startle me a little bit. But that’s good.  The book is a lot darker than the miniseries was allowed to show, and I think that was partially due to the platform in which it aired on (ABC) than anything else.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the miniseries, and I love the book.  And I already have some good expectations of this movie, and I hope it doesn’t let me down.

Thank you for letting me cover the trailer for you.  It’s not in-depth like a lot of trailer reviews are, but if you’ve read the book, you already know where it’s going.  So, until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.

Reviewing the Pages: ‘Salem’s Lot

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Something strange is going on in Jerusalem’s Lot … but no one dares to talk about it. By day, ‘Salem’s Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window. Stephen King brings his gruesome imagination to life in this tale of spine-tingling horror.

King went and took a shot at one of the oldest horror monsters, and hit it out of the ballpark. King’s vampires have a lot of evil going for them, especially with Barlow being as ancient a vampire as he says he is. King takes a small-town setting in a rural area, and he plunges it into darkness and taints it with evil. There are plenty of characters that get a lot of growth, whether it’s in a positive direction, or get a sudden stop in their living growth, and start their undead growth. There were plenty of times in this tale where I went “now, why do I remember this? I certainly remember this, but can’t remember if this is important.” I’m glad I came back to this read after being away from it a very long time. For those of you who like vampires, or horror in general, you should check this book out.

First off, if I didn’t spoil enough for you in my review on Goodreads, then you should probably stop right here.

This is the first book (granted, yes, this is only the second book that King actually published) that King branches out and gives us a full world view.  In this case, we get what is happening in the town when the core group of characters are either incapacitated or doing something else.  And it works in this story.  We get a lot of minor characters that meet an untimely end, and we do get some focus on the secondary characters that get tied into the tale in one way or another, whether it’s interaction with the core characters, or working out their own side stories that eventually lead up to the main tale.

One of the funniest things in this story that sticks out to me (yes, I know I’m slightly macabre, but let’s get real here) is the one intimate scene in the story.  There’s not a lot of description in it…at all.  Besides some light pawing, all we get is “-‘There,’ he said. ‘Oh, Susan.'”.  And that’s it.  I don’t know why I find it so…unintentionally funny, but I do.  I know there are a lot of you that are looking at me weird right now, and that’s ok.  I’m used to it.

Moving right along, King builds up to the climax, with a lot of small reveals and revelations that lead us to one final, climactic moment, that seems rather anti-climatic in terms of the story.  We don’t get one final battle between good and evil. Instead, we get good finishing off “evil”.  However, the epilogue seems to bring not necessarily closure, but at least a hint that the battle with our stake-wielding duo is to continue.

One final note. As far as I can think back, this is the first Stephen King novel that connects back to his Multiverse, and in more specific terms, ties into the Dark Tower.  I am referring to Father Callahan, who appears in latter half of the Tower series.  There are other references to ‘Salem’s Lot later on down the road, and I’m sure I’ll be catching those along the way.

For those who enjoy a good vampire tale, or just like enjoying suspense creeping down your spine, then you should check out this read.

Stacking the Shelves 2: Electric Boogaloo

Hello everyone, and welcome back once again to another edition of Stacking the Shelves! Yes, cliched title is cliched, but what can you do?

To remind you, since it’s been a long time since I did the Stacking the Shelves: Special Edition, here’s what Stacking the Shelves is:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

And technically, I did a post where I let you guys and gals know about my recent purchases, but then, that was also a few weeks ago as well, and I’ve added to it since then.  So, without further delay, let’s get right on into the books.

PHYSICAL COPIES

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E-BOOKS THROUGH INSTAFREEBEE

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Well, there we have it folks.  Find something that you wanted to read? Got any recommendations for me to check out? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.