Stephen King

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According to his online bibliography, this human word processing machine published 14 books in the years 1980 to 1989. That’s a lot of words, and he’s never, ever slowed down, save for a couple of years when he had an unfortunate encounter with a wayward mini-van. His output since the 80s: 12 books in the 90s, 12 books in the Oughts and 6 so far in the 2KTeens.

I find this remarkable, especially since many of these books are 500+ pages long. A sobering fact for anyone who’s struggled to write a 176 character tweet. (It took me two hours to compose my congratulatory tweet to Iggy Azalea when she won the MOJO magazine Young Artist of the Year award last year

I’m personally partial to his 70s output. He made his name in that decade with some top-quality work. Books like Night Shift, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone, The Shining, and his post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand bossed the Best-Seller lists of the time like Randall Flagg battering Lloyd Henreid’s mind. But we are here to talk about the 80s. To me, the decade started off pretty weak–Firestarter was more of a damp squib in my eyes. Cujo’s claustrophobic canine horror show was a gripping return to form and Christine and Pet Sematary are prime King. I mean, the latter has a dead baby as one of the main characters, for God’s sake. When you can move over a million books with a subject like that, you are pretty much untouchable. He then decided to do a collaboration with Peter Straub–the result, a would-be epic entitled The Talisman, turned out to be a bore. Sometimes, one head is better than two.

King came back strong with the seemingly 7,000 page long It. I actually never read, um, it, but I did see the mini-series, and any book that leads to a man named Tim Curry playing a clown called Pennywise on national TV deserves one of them there Nobel thingies.

By then, I was losing interest fast, but I remember giving Misery a shot and enjoying it. “Hobbling”–what’s not to like?

I’m not sure about the rest and by rest, I mean the 30 or so books that followed. I’m sure some of them are pretty decent reads, I just don’t have enough time left to figure out which ones they are.

Friday the 13th

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It’s pretty well established that the 80’s slasher flick phenomenon started in 1980 with a shabby little film called Friday the 13th. It was a summer camp movie, just like Meatballs was. But, you see, the counselors at Friday the 13th’s Camp Crystal Lake aren’t quite the innocent and playful nitwits that Bill Murray and his fellow Camp North Star counselors are. In fact, you could say they are downright rotten. They engage in unprotected sex, smoke “doobies” (home-made cigarettes packed full of the illegal drug marijuana) and swear like Marseille dockworkers. The whole lot of them are so absorbed in rabidly pursuing their own gratification that properly looking after their flock of campers becomes an afterthought. And because of this, a young boy drowns. Well, it’s a tragedy for sure, but, hey, what can you do? Accidents happen, right? And by the way, pass over that Thai stick, maaaaan.

It all would have ended then and there except for the old camp cook–mother to the drowned boy–who knows exactly what the counselors are like, and so takes action. Many deaths result. Friday the 13th is really a lesson of sorts for thoughtless, reprobate teens. If your job is to look after kids, tend to them, DON’T sequester yourself away playing strip Monopoly and shot-gunning cheap domestic beer. Because payback is a bitch, especially when it is rendered unto you by one mean bitch with a Dutch surname and unhindered access to archery equipment. Just ask Kevin Bacon.