The Cutprice Guignol

The Ninth Year: The Haunting of Swill House

Tag: stephen king

Carrie Recaps: Part Six

We’re back! And, in the time it took me to get to this recap, I finished Sleeping Beauties and was just thoroughly unimpressed and bored witless by the entire third act, so basically it falls into the category of “Every Stephen King Book Written After 2000”. What is it about SK books that just go on at least a hundred pages too long? Is it that, after a dozen or so brilliant books, editors were too nervous to go “er, Stephen, this is all well and good but what’s the bloody point of any of this nonsense?” and then they just sort of had to let it slide when he kept handing in this bloated corpse of a manuscript? Is he too much of a sacred cow to even edit any more? Sigh. But there’s still some hope for those written before the turn of the millennium, and with that convoluted and grumpy opening, let’s get back to Carrie!

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Carrie Recaps: Part One

So, a few things.

The housekeeping first: yes, I am recapping a new book and yes, I haven’t yet finished Fifty Shades Freed. But, as I’m sure you can tell from my last couple of recaps, my heart hasn’t really been in those awful books for a while. I really can’t overstate how depressing, boring, and truly terrible EL James’ books are and frankly, I need a little bit of a break before I get over the final hump. I will go back to them (hopefully by the start of 2018), but for now, I need something new, something that I don’t actively dread doing. If you want to catch up on my other Fifty Shades recaps, you can find them here. ┬áMore importantly, let’s get on to the fun stuff: my new recapping adventure.

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Movie Marathon #17: Sinister

Now, I write quite a lot. Hence, I enjoy movies and books about writers. True, most of the time they make the lot of us seem like a ragtag group of garrulous scum, but nonetheless, it’s always fun to see how various people produce their own interpretations of what the glamorous and brilliant lives of writers are actually like.

And that’s what eventually turned me onto the Scott Derickson flick Sinister. Following the tale of writer Ethan Hawke trying to write a follow-up to his hugely successful true-crime novel by shifting his family across the country to live in a house that was initially home to a grisly murder.

Personally, and judging by the conversations I’ve had with other people who write lot, there’s a similar experience most of us have had. At one time, you write something you’re inordinately proud of; an idea so brilliant, so well-articulated, so utterly perfect that you can simply never top it-but you’ll spend years trying to do exactly that. And that’s entirely what Sinister is based around.

There’s an incredibly well put-together scene in Sinister where Ethan Hawke first encounters real evidence of some majorly unsettling events taking place in his new home. His immediate reaction is to phone the police and, as he does so, he paces around his office, coming face-to-face with a stack of copies of his last book. He’s presented here with a choice; take his family and run like hell, or have one last grab at the fame, fortune and respect he always dreamed of as an author. And what does he choose? Like any writer, he dobs in safety and sanity to chase after one more hit. It’s brilliant; Hawke’s writer isn’t a terrible man, but he makes some awful choices based on what he thought would lead him to his Capote-level discovery.

Aside from that, I think it’s a generally solid horror film; unrelentingly tense, very disturbing, and completely compelling. It owes a huge and obvious debt to Stephen King-the rural setting, the family in peril, the author as a lead character-but that works in it’s favour rather than against, as the straightforward and classical stylings of the plot work to elevate it above overly complicated fear fodder like Insidious.

Overall, it’s a film I have particular affection for because I like the character it follows and the genuinely fear-inducing scary bits. It might not be the best horror film ever made, but compared to a lot of the dreck currently being churned out in the name of fear, it’s a very tight piece of cinema.