1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How scary is Stephen King?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Mckk, Mar 17, 2014.

    I'm not a horror fan, but since I've been reading his On Writing, I've become intrigued by 2 of his books and kinda want to read it. Problem is, I get scared really easily and don't wanna be left with nightmares after the book. I tend to remember almost everything I read for a long time. Needless to say if something scared me, I remember it for an extra long time.

    So, to read or not to read?

    Specifically I'm interested in The Stand and Dead Zone. Anyone read these books before?

    Btw, when I said I wasn't a horror fan, I meant that I am actually fascinated by horror - many of my own stories contain dark and freaky elements - but I get scared so easily that in the end, the nightmares weren't worth it.

    To give an example of how easily scared I am, The Happening managed to scare me. So did World War Z. Even I could tell World War Z wasn't actually scary and The Happening was downright stupid. Yup. Still scared me. I tend to regret watching horror afterwards.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The sheer physical weight of Under the Dome will scare you, as will the dismal quality of the writing therein. However, some of King's works are genuinely scary horror fiction.
     
  3. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I don't know if he's scary, he seems to be a stand up guy.

    Just kidding, his works can be pretty scary at times, even if it's more pathos than fear from my point of view.
    But it's difficult to quantify fear. We all feel different about it.
     
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  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I got about 350 pages into The Stand (unabridged edition) and was bored stiff. I put it aside. The only other Stephen King works I've read are Misery (not scary) and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" (not intended to be scary, and actually excellent).

    I don't really know where his reputation for scariness comes from. I've found Edgar Allan Poe creeps me out a lot more than King has.
     
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  5. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surely it's dependent on which of his works you read? As I mentioned on another thread about scary movies, 'It' scared the bejesus out of me when I was a young lad.
    If as @Mckk says, she has had prior experience of having nightmares and the like, probably best to err on the side of caution and give him a miss.
    Personally, these days I sleep like a log irrespective of whatever I've been reading/watching.
    In fact the scariest thing I've read recently was my credit card bill after a lad's trip abroad for a stag do (I think that's a buck's night in the U.S?)
     
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  6. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, with King it depends much on which book do you read. The new books didn't scare me not one bit. But I've read Pet Cemetery, and that was some scary shit.
    What I really like about his books is the character development. I've read about five of his books and the psychological development was great in all of them. Sometimes when you read books, you can get a feeling that certain actions are forced - I never got this feeling with King.

    If you are easily scared, then maybe Christine would be good for you. It's about high school student who becomes obsessed with his car - if you are interested in this topic. It is scary, but not so much as some other works. :)
    But if you'd like more dramatic, not so scary fiction, The Green Mile might be a good choice. It was excellent, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Agree with the above about Pet Cemetery and about twenty pages out of The Shining were kind of scary. I never thought the stories from Night Shift or Monkey Shine were scary, but I find his shorts much more enjoyable than his novels.
     
  8. Glen Snow
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    Glen Snow Member

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    Carrie, Firestarter, and Stand by Me aren't scary but "It" is without a doubt one of the most twisted things I've read. If you have a fear of canines I'd steer clear of Cujo .
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if I'd call Pet Sematary scary, but it was upsetting. In particular, one scene involving a highway and a sneaker was so graphic and disgusting I threw the book across the room, and it was months before I returned to the book and finished it.
     
  10. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't really find The Stand scary. I didn't really get the "horror" vibe from it. I agree with Cogito, that Under the Dome will scare you in it's intensity. Again, I don't get "horror" from the novel, but it's definitely a shocking and unsettling story.

    The Green Mile is a good one. If you've seen the movie, it followed the book pretty well. 11/22/63 is also very interesting, but not scary. I'd steer clear of Full Dark, No Stars though. The first story mildly freaked me out and the rest of them were just a little strange..

    I really think his new stuff is a less scary and more psychological than his older works.


    Have fun!!
     
  11. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    'Round here, we call it 'Thursday'.

    I think Pet Sematary and It are King's scariest books (so far, anyway). If you want to start with a less-scary book that will still make you uneasy, find a copy of From a Buick 8.
     
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  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    He's about as scary as a glass of warm milk. Anyone who says they have been made afraid by a Stephen King book - sorry but I don't believe you. Stephen King is at his best when he is writing serious, 'one-off' fiction.

    Some of his short stories are actually fantastic, I really have to give the man that much. Stories like 'The Man in the Black Suit', 'Riding the Bullet', The Long Walk (a 'Richard Bachman' novella) is pretty good sci-fi too. The novella 'The Mist' is classic Lovecraft, and it works really well as a kind of modern homage. The short story 'The Fifth Quarter' is also one I think is excellent. With the exception of 'The Mist' none of these stories are really 'horror'. I also think he's a pretty decent poet too, I also have to give the guy this: I would love to see him publish more poetry.

    Misery is a good book too, but that's more good on a conceptual level. I mean really, who gave a rat's ass about that Misery/Romance novel within that novel? Scary, though? Nah, and certainly not in the macabre way he's often praised for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  13. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are many different kinds of people. Like Mckk said, she is easily scared and you are not. Thank God for diversity, otherwise we all would be reading the same books. :)
     
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  14. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was about fourteen when I read 'It' so in that context I think it's forgivable.
    A warm glass of milk is pretty scary, mind.
     
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  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wasn't even aware King wrote non-horror books. If there're books that are not scary at all, then all the better - I just thought that if I wanted to see his work then I'd have to endure horror. As someone else mentioned - it's his characters I'm most interested in. From what he says in On Writing, he seems to think a lot about his characters and they sound well-thought-out.

    I'm gonna have to scroll back and make a note of all the titles you guys have suggested. Thank you very much everyone! I'm all for shorts. I'm actually just curious about his writing.

    I've never read or seen It and The Shining, and I never, ever want to lol. I actually have no idea what either of them are about :D

    Is Misery the one about Anne Wilkes?

    Speaking of horror - House of Leaves anyone? That's another book I really want to read, but don't yet dare to. Should I read it?
     
  16. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Yes.

    Yes, but only if you like horror, or could like horror. I love House of Leaves, but it's ... kind of different.
     
  17. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surely you've seen The Shawshank Redemption, one of the best movies of all time IMHO? That's based on the novella Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption. To be fair, I haven't read this novella (really must get round to it) but if it's anywhere near as good as the movie. . .
    Also the popular movie Stand By Me was based on another of his novellas, The Body.
    None of these can be considered a horror in my estimation (even though the second one kind of sounds like one). ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @outsider - yes I've seen Shawshank Redemption - only once though so I've forgotten a lot of it. And yes, it was a wonderful film and I should totally rewatch it! That's based on a King novel!?

    I may have heard of Stand By Me, but I don't know what it's about.

    @Lemex - well, I like horror, I just don't like the nightmares that come with it. Or to put it more accurately, I don't get nightmares per se - I get vivid flashes of visuals and the same emotional intensity as I recall the story just as I close my eyes for the night, rendering sleep very difficult. I don't usually actually get round to dreaming of the actual monsters. But ever since I was a little kid, I've been prone to nightmares. Used to have nightmares every night until I started praying as a child, I'd wake up and crawl into my parents' bed every night. Think it's supposed to be common for kids to have nightmares but I've never had anyone say they had this experience!
     
  19. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Pet Sematary scared the bejesus out of me as a kid, especially 'cause its title was translated brilliantly; instead of going for some Finnish bastardization of a 'pet cemetery,' the translator used a creepy phrase.
    I kept having nightmares of Zelda for a long while.
     
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  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is not too scary and also pretty short. (272 Kindle pages versus 1213 for The Stand.) I enjoyed it.
     
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  21. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want Stephen King character then definitely read Under the Dome. It's all about how people would behave in that situation, and it gets pretty.. intense. Reader discretion advised. The ending is terrible, IMO, but it's still a great novel.

    DON'T watch the TV show Under the Dome (if you get that where you're from) as it's terrible and doesn't follow the book at all.
     
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  22. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's quite a few movies based on his books:
    Christine, It, Shawshank redemption, Stand by me, pet cemetery, The shining, Green mile, 1408 (not so sure if there is also a book) Secret window (this one's also good), Carrie, Misery and quite a few others. Movie adaptation of Cell is being filmed now I think.
    So there's no wonder why his net worth is about 400 million dollars:D
     
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  23. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Poe is in the Hall of Classic Elites.

    I also read "The Stand" and wasn't all that impressed. I haven't read any of his other works, but I've read a lot of Lovecraft and his work gets me edgy.
     
  24. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every one of his books bored me stiff. The only one I finished was Pet Sematary and it didn't frighten me in the least.
     
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  25. outsider
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    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only a classic 80's coming of age movie with River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland (to name a few) in it.
    God, I'm starting to show my age.
    Anyway, get it on Netflix or whatever. It's class.
     
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