King Of Terror

– Stephen Edwin King Essay, Research Paper

The King of Terror, Stephen Edwin King, is one of today’s most popular and best selling writers. King combines the elements of psychological thrillers, science fiction, the paranormal, and detective themes into his stories. In addition to these themes, King sticks to using great and vivid detail that is set in a realistic everyday place. Stephen King who is mainly known for his novels, has broadened his horizons to different types of writings such as movie scripts, nonfiction, autobiographies, children’s books, and short stories. While Stephen King might be best known for his novels The Stand and It, some of his best work that has been published are his short stories such as “The Body” and “Quitters Inc”. King’s works are so powerful because he uses his experience and observations from his everyday life and places them into his unique stories.

Stephen King was born in September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. King’s father, Donald, disappeared when he was only three years old; with his mother, Ruth, and older brother, David, King moved around a good deal, finally returning to Maine in 1958. He wrote his first short story at the age of seven, and was a devoted fan of 1950s horror movies. In high school, King played football and joined a local band; he also began contributing a number of stories to mystery magazines and other publications. He graduated from the University of Maine in 1970 with a degree in English; in the fall of 1971, he began teaching at a high school called Hampden Academy.

After his first two attempts at a novel were rejected, King became frustrated and reportedly threw away his next manuscript. His wife, Tabitha Spruce (whom he met in college and married in early 1971), rescued it and persuaded him to continue—in 1974, Doubleday published Carrie, which became a bestseller and a hit 1976 movie, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Sissy Spacek. Sale of the paperback rights proved to be enough for King to quit teaching and embark on a full-time writing career.

King followed up on the success of Carrie with an astonishing run of bestselling short stories and novels. He published a good deal of work under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, which he used from 1977 to 1984. This disguised the true extent of his prolific output, until the ruse became public knowledge and he abandoned it.

King’s own name became synonymous with blockbuster novels blending horror, fantasy, and science fiction into a consistently creepy mix. He soon earned the title “King of Horror” for his continuing mastery of the macabre. All together, King has sold well over 100 million copies of his books worldwide and has become the richest writer of all time. He consistently ranks among America’s highest-paid entertainers, according to Forbes magazine. Some of his bestselling novels include Salem’s Lot (1975), The Stand (1978), The Dead Zone (1979), Pet Sematary (1983), Needful Things (1991), Gerald’s Game (1992), and the Dark Tower series.

An astonishing number of King’s works have been made into movies, many of which were box-office hits. The 1980 film version of his 1977 novel The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, became an all-time horror classic. A few other notable films made from his stories and novels include 1983’s Christine (from the 1983 novel); 1986’s Stand By Me (from a story entitled “The Body”); 1990’s Misery (from the 1987 novel), starring Kathy Bates and James Caan; 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption (from a 1983 story in the collection Different Seasons), starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman; and 1999’s The Green Mile (from a six-part serial novel published in 1996), starring Tom Hanks. King has appeared in minor roles in a number of film versions of his works, including Knightriders (1981), Creepshow (1982), Pet Sematary (1989), Sleepwalkers (1992), and the TV movie The Stand (1994).

On June 19, 1999, King was seriously injured when he was struck by a minivan on a road near his summer home in Lovell, Maine. The driver who hit King, a disabled man named Bryan Smith, lost control of his vehicle after being distracted by his Rottweiler, which was loose in the minivan; he was indicted for aggravated assault but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving to endanger, allowing him to avoid serving any jail time. (In an eerie twist, Smith was found dead in bed at his locked home in September 2000, and an autopsy failed to reveal a cause of death.) After undergoing extensive surgery on his leg and hip, King spent months on major rehabilitation and physical therapy before he was able to walk.

In the summer of 2000, King opened new doors in publishing when he released a first installment of The Plant on his official Web site, asking readers to pay $1.00 to download the chapter. The venture was extremely successful, with many faithful readers paying far more than the required dollar to read King’s work. He released a second chapter in late August 2000, and plans to continue such exclusively online ventures in the future. His latest novel, Dreamcatcher, was published in early 2001.

King and his wife live near Bangor, Maine, and have three children: Joe, Owen, and Naomi.

1974 Carrie

1975 Salem’s Lot

1977 Rage

1977 The Shining

1978 The Stand

1978 Night Shift

1979 The Dead Zone

1979 The Long Walk

1980 Firestarter

1980 Danse Macabre

1981 Cujo

1981 Roadwork

1982 The Running Man

1982 The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

1982 Different Seasons

1982 Creepshow

1983 Christine

1983 Pet Sematary

1984 The Talisman

1984 Thinner

1985 Cycle of the Werewolf

1985 Skeleton Crew

1986 It

1987 Misery

1987 The Tommyknockers

1987 The Eyes of the Dragon

1987 The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

1989 The Dark Half

1990 The Stand

1990 Four Past Midnight

1991 Needful Things

1992 Dolores Claiborne

1992 The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

1993 Gerald’s Game

1993 Nighmares and Dreamscapes

1994 Insomnia

1995 Rose Madder

1996 Desperation

1996 The Green Mile

1996 The Bachman Books

1996 The Regulators

1997 Six Stories

1997 Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

1998 Bag of Bones

1999 Hearts in Atlantis

1999 The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

1999 Storm of the Century

2000 The Plant

2001 Dreamcatcher


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