Fan Transforms 1958 Stereo Unit Into Derry From Stephen King’s It

1986’s It wasn’t my first brush with Stephen King’s work. That honor of course went to a few film adaptations like 1980’s The Shining as well as 1983’s The Dead Zone. Having said that however, It was one of the first books I read of Stephen King. The first two being his early short story collections Night Shift and Skeleton Crew. I recall vividly in fact my Junior High School teacher praising It and finding the paperback for sale that very afternoon, at a local supermarket.
It - Stephen King

For the next three days I could NOT put the book down. Not during class nor for that matter on the way home on the bus. Furthermore even eating dinner, you could find my nose planted firmly in the engrossing novel. While I am and always shall be a Stephen King fan – no book has captured my attention so much so like It. Until the publication of 2013’s Joyland that is!

Read: Check out my review of Joyland

When I was growing up – almost to the point of High School. We weren’t fortunate enough to have a bathroom with a shower. So for most of my young life I washed my hair in the bathroom sink. An act that I admit I was quite hesitant to do after reading King’s book…for fear of looking into the drain and finding something looking back at me!

Read: Speaking of fear – check out this vintage American Express commercial to see what scared Stephen King

Imagine my surprise and delight when the other day I stumbled across the lavish work of Kassiopeya. Who took it upon herself to craft a magnificent piece of artwork entitled Welcome to Derry. This was done by converting a 1958 stereo unit into the facade of the bright and sunlit town of Derry. As well as when the cabinet doors are opened, presenting the dark and festering domain of Pennywise.

It - Welcome to Derry

All images courtesy of Kassiopeya.

To say that Kassiopeya lovingly included scores of detail from the 1986 novel itself is an understatement. I’ve rarely seen such a work of art that has taken my very breath away as Welcome to Derry has. Don’t take my word for it – gaze on this small sampling yourself.

As I’ve already mentioned, the artist made sure to include the dangers below Derry.

Of the project itself, Kassiopeya has said of it:
“My Derry – including its underground world of the sewers – is now integrated in that furniture. The novel, with all its references to Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Fifties has merged into a whole with that furniture, and has become part of it. The surface represents the romantic sight of a Derry street bathed in the golden light of a late summer day. Only when you flip open the cabinet door you do see what is underneath: The sewage pipes way down below… in the green glowing light of the deadlights.”

I implore you fans of It to immediately follow the link to Kassiopeya’s website – there you will find so many more photos of Welcome to Derry. Now if you will excuse me I believe I must revisit Derry myself by rereading the book once again!

On the other hand I suppose I could go ahead and watch the 1990 miniseries for It

Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend

Tim Curry Terrorized My Childhood

Yes, I do have a terrible memory of having my ears pulls out and mocked by an older boy at a playground while I sat on a springy, metal-handlebar animal. But, my most terrifying childhood thoughts — which may have scarred me far worse — are carved by the hands of one Timothy James “Tim” Curry.

Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend

My first memory of Mr. Curry’s work was, of course, probably his most scary turn ever as the Lord of Darkness himself in the film “Legend.” Not sure who thought it was a good idea to let a kid of my age watch this fiery red-skinned, barrel-chested, thick black-horned beast with a voice so deep (well…. it was hellish) that bellows forth from behind his fanged white teeth. You can be sure I wasn’t sleeping that night.

Tim Curry as Wadsworth in Clue

From the devilish Darkness, the next time I saw Tim Curry was in the movie “Clue.” Harmless enough as Wadsworth, but knowing he had played such a heinous character before, I was even more suspicious than those who always think “the butler did it.” And his eyes and mouth just drip with smarm. I may have been able to sleep, but it was with one eye open.

Tim Curry as Pennywise in Stephen King's It

For some time, I was then given a respite from this Cheshire, UK cat but, oh, did he come back swinging. Curry really turned the creep on as Pennywise the clown for “Stephen King’s IT.” I was never squeamish about clowns, but this probably pushed many right into coulrophobia. A teenager by this time, but the television miniseries still managed to freaked the heck out of me.

Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

It was high school (good job keeping THIS one from me, mom) before I finally happened upon Curry’s perhaps most memorable evil turn as the sweet transvestite from Transylvania (the transsexual section, of course). “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” featured Tim Curry as Frank-N-Furter all dressed in drag — I had seen Benny Hill so this was nothing new — but never saw someone take on the heels and thigh-high stockings with such ferocity and so menacingly. Thankfully, I had grown accustomed to his evil ways and was able to enjoy his performance and get a good night’s sleep too.

These actually make for a great Halloween movie lineup. And sure, Tim Curry was in a bunch of other creepy roles or spooky ones, but these were the ones that I keep tucked between those stick-out ears of mine — which I have grown into quite well, I should add.

25 Years Ago: Stephen King’s IT

For many horror fans, Stephen King is at the top of the literary totem pole. And for Stephen King fans, many consider his best work is from the 1980s. He was firing on all cylinders then. And for me, his best novel is IT, which turns 25 years old this month.

I’m a fan of the man’s work but I have to admit I was a late bloomer to it. It was the first book of his I read at age 16 back in September 1986. I watched a few movie adaptations, like The Shining, Christine and Cujo, of King’s novels prior to IT’s release. As a side note, when I watched the film version of Cujo for the first time on HBO back in he early 1980s it was that film that made me aware that the F-word was used in movies. So thank you Cujo for making me realize there was more to movies than PG-rated content.

I grew up in a very small, rural town in central Illinois. It didn’t have any caves to explore, mysteries to solve or monsters to hunt. I had heard about this novel and was interested in reading it. I liked horror and reading a story set in a small town certainly appealed to me.

The official synopsis of the novel from is “A promise made twenty-eight years ago calls seven adults to reunite in Derry, Maine, where as teenagers they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Unsure that their Losers Club had vanquished the creature all those years ago, the seven had vowed to return to Derry if IT should ever reappear. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that summer return as they prepare to do battle with the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers once more.”

The book is long. At the time of release it was King’s longest by page count. Now I believe it ranks third behind the “director’s cut” of The Stand and Under the Dome. As for the story, it take a few hundred pages of exposition before the story and action really get going but it’s worth the wait. For me it is my favorite Stephen King novel and the best small town story. The novel definitely isn’t an adventure story or “fun” horror. It introduced us to Pennywise the clown, one of modern literature’s creepiest characters.

IT is a rare storytelling concept in that it tells two stories at once. One is the story of the main characters’ childhood in the 1950s and how they initially deal with the horrors that are discovered in Derry, Maine. At the same time, the story of the main characters return to Derry as adults to face the horrors of their childhood one more time is told.

If you’ve never read Stephen King this is the best book to start. Then once you’ve read it move on to the TV adaptation. The novel was adapted into a television mini-series in 1990 starring Richard Thomas, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Annette O’Toole and Tim Curry that has become a cult favorite.

To celebrate the publishing milestone, a 25th anniversary special edition of IT will be released this December from Cemetery Dance Publications. The birthday version features a plethora of extra content including an afterword by King on why he wrote the book and interior artwork.

And the artwork gets a chance to shine by itself. As another birthday treat, Cemetery Dance Publications is also publishing IT: The 25th Anniversary Limited Edition Artwork Portfolio. It collects the new artwork featured in the new edition of the novel.

Stephen King’s “It” Was It

I saw it sitting on a desk, the desk of a fellow seventh-grader named Beth H— (yes, I can remember her name; that’s how influential this whole thing is). Actually, I guess what I should say is that I saw It sitting on a desk, for It was indeed its name. It was a book, an unbelievable thick paperback book called It written by a man named Stephen King. Now that man’s name held no attraction for me; I had no idea who Stephen King was (and am not totally sure that Stephen King was then who he is now). The fact that the book was a new release also held no attraction for me, either (until that time, I had always just figured that books were and didn’t know that they were released; I wouldn’t become aware that media was released and of how media was released for quite some time after that). The title, though, did; that simple but clearly foreboding title It, printed in a huge red and ragged font, held an immense attraction for me. And if that title wasn’t enough, there was the cover art which showed a green reptilian claw reaching out of a sewer grate toward a young boy’s paper boat. Two seconds of looking at that title and that art and I (that is the I who had been enthralled by monsters for several years, the I who would stay up until midnight to watch the cheap scares of Chiller Theater ) knew I had to read it; I knew I had to find out what It was; I knew I had to face It. And I did. For some reason, I actually purchased the book from a local convenience store; what made me think I had to buy it rather than borrow it, I don’t know, but I did; I actually laid down the few bucks I had, the few bucks I had somehow scrounged up somewhere and had been hoarding for some time, on the convenience store counter and took the paperback off the wire rack by the door. And having bought it, I read it; I read it all the way through; I was young and the book was long but I read it front to back during the fall of 1987 (I’m pretty sure it was ’87; the book was released in ’86, but I’m figuring the paperback version would have reached my hands a year later), read it during that more primitive time when there were no reviews to consult and the only possibly spoilers could come from friends who had read the book before I did, read it during that time when it was just me and the book.

Now the book itself was great. It was the monster story I had been hoping for, sure, but it was a love story as well, a story of a great love not just between a boy and a girl but between a group of friends (“The Losers Club”). It was, in fact, and still is (as a recent rereading has convinced me), a masterpiece; a flawed masterpiece, perhaps (I don’t think the parts of the book are as evenly distributed as they should be and the final confrontation is a somehow less climactic than it could be; I don’t think Richie should have caught It’s tongue), but a masterpiece nonetheless. Beyond that, though, way beyond that, was the experience of reading the book. The experience of reading the book was more meaningful to me than the book itself. I had always been an avid reader; I had been reading since before I could remember and often carted home my limit from the local library (four books at a time, I believe). However, I had always read children’s or teen’s book; I had not yet entered the world of adult fiction, nor had I tackled a book as long as It (1000+ pages). It, then, was my entry point; it was the threshold into adult reading, and once I crossed it, I never looked back. I read almost all of King’s works after it (Salem’s Lot, Christine, Firestarter, Cujo, Pet Semetary, etc) and went looking for other adult authors as well. And though my tastes run differently today (I’m much more apt to grab a Robert Parker book and than a King), It no doubt is and always will be my favorite book; It has a place in my heart which no other book can take; It was it for me.

So I had an experience, and the thing about these experiences is that you never can figure out what made them what they were. Was it the book, or the time, or the time of year, or me? I can’t answer those questions. Here’s what I know, though: I picked a book by its cover, and I got lucky.