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Writers, Filmmakers and Actors Talk About the Powerful Impact of Stephen King

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I am pretty sure I have read every one of Stephen King’s novels … and most of his short stories and novellas as well. “Pretty sure,” I said, rather than “completely sure.” King has written a lot of novels, and he writes them so fast that I might have missed one or two along the way. If so, it was only because of a lapse of attention, not a lack of interest. Once I am aware that King has a new book out, I tend to snap it up at once, take it home and … well, if I put it on my bookshelf it may linger for a while, but if I should crack it open and read the first page, my doom is sealed. There are a handful of writers whose novels, once begun, cannot be put aside. They grab hold of you, and there’s nothing to be done but read, and read, and read, all night and all day, until the tale is done.

I was 16 when I read “Skeleton Crew,” greedy for stories about other lives, other worlds, and the horrors lurking in those other places. The glorious, spendthrift volley of stories in the collection blew my mind. It opens with a banger — “The Mist” — but “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” “The Jaunt” and “The Raft” have stayed with me all my life. I still look at floating docks askance, and I wouldn’t go to space for anything, though, like Mrs. Todd, I now live in a rural area and delight in questionable backcountry shortcuts.

Stephen King hit a nerve with “Carrie.” He created a story that gave face to the underdog, and after 50 years it still resonates.

I identified with Carrie, but I also felt pity and disgust toward her. However, I was fascinated with the character of Chris Hargensen — she was so beyond the usual beauty queen, she was vulgar and rebellious and a regular at detention. She was a monster, yes, but she was a bad bitch ahead of her time. I think Chris must have been in my mind when I created the character of Jennifer in “Jennifer’s Body” many years later.

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