We Still Make New Year’s Resolutions, Calvin!

So today is the last day of 2015…

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Tomorrow, we wake up to a brand new year.  And to a brand new start, as some may believe.

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And a boon to gym owners, as well.

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But you will not catch me in a gym.  Nor am I dieting, I like baking and cooking too much, and it would be a crime not to reap the pleasures, right?  I would like more money, but so far, that bitchy pi has not revealed my winning lotto ticket…slacker!

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Nor am I like the Indianapolis Colts.  In other words, I don’t need to do any housecleaning after 2015.

Oakland Raiders v Indianapolis Colts

In fact, like last year, I am kind of like this guy when it comes to New Year’s resolutions:

Calvin and Hobbes

Like Calvin, I think I am pretty swell, say thank ya!  The rest of the world needs to make a New Year’s resolution, not me!

But, I am going to make a resolution any way.  So maybe I am not so perfect…

Since last year’s resolution went so smashingly well, I am making a resolution for 2016.

In 2015, I re-read the entire Dark Tower series.  This included The Wind Through the Keyhole.  I read The Gunslinger, which I have a history of skipping…it was the revised version, even.

Roland 12

And since I enjoyed my journey through Mid-World with ole, long, tall and ugly so much, I decided to make another resolution involving The Master (it is this blog, don’t act surprised).

SK give me what I won

So, without further ado…

My 2016 New Year’s resolution is…

drum-roll-please

To read at least one Stephen King book a month.  And since The Master has blessed us (and hopefully continues to do so for a long, long time) with so many books, I have a lot to choose from.

Stephen King 1

I may take a trip to the sewers of Derry with The Losers Club…at my own risk, of course.

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Or meet up with a notorious HI-TONED SON OF A BITCH, although I hear he has an aversion to certain kinds of birds…

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Or maybe do a bit of shopping…I hear the owner negotiates!

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But hopefully, no car trouble on my journey…

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I can reunite with old friends, like Travelin’ Jack!

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Even though I have read many of King’s books many, many times, there is still a thrill in the re-read.  I feel like I’ve come home, and everything is just as I have left it.  I know where the TV is (although the remote is still a pesky little bitch and insists on hiding from me).  My key fits in the lock even after all this time, and the door opens up for me, even after all these years.  I can wander into the kitchen for a midnight snack, and not feel like an interloper.  Indeed, reading a Stephen King brings a literary kind of cozy, much like curling up on the couch with a warm blanket and furry friend.

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So, one Stephen King book per month for 2016.  Actually, let’s change that to at least one.  After all, why should I limit myself?  Yeah, I shouldn’t limit myself, not at all!  Nobody should, especially when there is a plethora of books to read and review!  Yay for New Year’s Resolutions, Calvin!

RoaldDahl

So, this is the last post of 2015…sniff…wait a minute, 2016 is mere hours away, hope you aren’t too heartbroken by my absence!  Happy New Year’s to both  all my readers, and may 2016 be an adventure for you as well!

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Keeping it in the Family: My Review of Home

Ah, taboos…

You, the things that “polite” people don’t talk about?

Although the concept of manners does not seem to stop folks like George RR Martin, Stephen King or Clive Barker.  But then again, the rules of earthlings do not apply if you are a god!

Sutter and Martin

And what better way to talk about taboos than to watch an episode (or 20) of The X Files?

Kids today will never know the struggle.  Today, we have Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, etc.  In other words, shows that push the envelope.  Shows that “go there”.  Or, at least in the case of a certain unnamed show that features a couple of sexy ass bikers, trigger some angry letters from pissed off parents over a “sex montage”

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But I grew up in the 90’s.  It was considered edgy when Jessie OD’d on caffeine pills in Saved by the Bell, for pity’s sake! So if I wanted edgy, I was relegated to sneaking R-rated movies from the video store…this was one of the few instances where early-ish puberty was actually a good thing, since 12 year old me actually did look 17.

saved by the bell

But then, we had The X Files.  And dinner table conversations became interesting, to say the least (at least at my family’s house, which is why I love my family.  Taboo? What’s that)

Every week, it seemed like The X Files “would go there.”  Circus freaks.  Guys that ate human livers.  Cannibals that were ground up and fed to their chickens.  Major-ish characters being killed off…the list goes on and on.

However, no episode of The X Files had ever managed to earn a “viewer discretion” warning.  Chris Carter decided that he could not have this, and brainstormed, until he came up with an episode that would earn that warning…it was a personal milestone!

Crack_the_censors

And that personal milestone  episode was titled Home.  Home contained lots of familiar elements:  murder, a creepy small town, adorable yet kinda dopey local authorities, along with plenty of blood and gore.  However, Home also addressed one of the biggest taboos of all (well, except for Jamie and Cersei):  incest.  And the products of incest, aka the children born of such unions.  And Chris Carter and the rest of the team were cheering somewhere, because they finally produced something that actually had to come with a warning label, and is rarely even shown in syndication today.  Meeting personal goals is a good thing!

Jamie and Cersei 2

With that being said, here is my recap and review of the nasty little piece of work, otherwise known as Home.

Oh, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a woman giving birth to a deformed baby.  The baby is then buried by three deformed men, in the middle of a rain storm.  The name of the town that these events occur in is Home, Pennsylvania.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are sent to the town of Home, PA, to investigate the death of the baby, at the request of the local authorities, who are not equipped to deal with a murder in the normally peaceful town.  The corpse of the baby is discovered by some local kids during a baseball game.

Agent Scully performs an autopsy on the deceased infant.  She discovers that the baby was born with multiple birth defects, but its lungs contained dirt, meaning that the baby was buried alive.  Mulder and Scully speak to Sheriff Andy Taylor about the baby and potential suspects for the murder, and notice that that they are being observed by the people in the house across from the baseball field.  Sheriff Taylor tells Mulder and Scully that the house belongs to the Peacock family, who have lived there since the Civil War.  The house has no running water or electricity, and the Peacock family is self-sustaining, growing their own food and raising animals for slaughter.  The parents of the Peacock family were said to have perished in a car accident a few years prior, leaving only the three sons as survivors.  It is also implied that the family practices incest.

Scully suspects that the deceased baby is actually a member of the Peacock family, and that the men (as there are no known living female Peacock family members) may have kidnapped and raped a woman.  Mulder and Scully investigate the house, and find blood, along with a rusty pair of scissors.  At the request of Mulder and Scully, Sheriff Taylor prepares arrest warrants for the remaining three members of the Peacock family.

That night, Sheriff Taylor is uneasy, and is awakened by car pulling up in the driveway, with loud music playing.  Unable to get to his revolver, Taylor grabs a baseball bat, but is overcome by the three Peacock brothers, who beat the sheriff and his wife to death.

The next morning, Scully and Mulder meet Deputy Paster at Taylor’s house.  The deputy suggests that he and the agents ambush the Peacock house, as he is saddened and angered at the savage death of Sheriff Taylor.  Scully deduces that someone must have told the Peacock brothers about the warrants, as the warrants were issued by telephone and the conversation over the warrants was probably overheard by someone in the house.  Scully also receives the genetic test results from the FBI’s lab, and thinks that a mistake was made, as the tests show an extreme genetic imbalance that she does not believe can be possible.  The results also indicate that both parents were members of the Peacock family, which Scully believes to be a mistake, as she thinks there are no surviving female members of the Peacock family.

Mulder, Scully and Deputy Paster descend upon the Peacock house.  The deputy dons a bullet-proof vest and enters the house, only to be decapitated by one of the many booby traps.  Mulder and Scully distract the brothers by releasing their livestock, and then sneak into the house, weary of the multiple booby traps.

When they enter the house, Mulder and Scully encounter the Peacocks mother.  She is living underneath one of the beds, and is missing both arms, both legs and most of her teeth.  However, she is coherent enough to indicate that she is not being held against her will, and that she believes her sons to be in the right, despite the fact that they have murdered two people.

The Peacock brothers realize that they have been tricked and rush into the house, attacking Mulder and Scully.  After a struggle, the agents are able to kill two of the brothers.  However, they then realize that the oldest brother, Edmund, has escaped with the Peacock mother.  Mulder and Scully then issue an arrest warrant for Edmund Peacock, and block the roads out of town, in the hopes that he cannot escape and will be caught to face justice.

At the end of the episode, Edmund Peacock is seen driving a stolen vehicle, with his mother in the trunk.  His mother tells him that they must find a new home, so that they can start a new family.


My Thoughts

Home is tasteless.  And disgusting.  And just plain nasty.

In other words, I love it.  One of my favorite episodes of The X Files, in fact.

First of all, let’s talk about the gore.  Gore is not necessarily taboo, but this was a cable show from 90’s.  See the above post about Jessie and the caffeine pills.

So, yes, I was pretty impressed with the gore, after I decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch this episode again.  Some of it may seem tame by today’s standards, when shows like Sons of Anarchy depict people being burned alive and Jax going crazy with his metal pipe, like it’s going out of style.  But I think that the killing of the sheriff and his wife would be unsettling even today, as the manner was so brutal.  That scene made me a little jumpy…I know I won’t forget to lock my door any time soon!

The booby traps set by those Peacock boys were ingenious, to say the least.  They say everyone has a talent.  That must mean everyone, even genetic mutant freaks:  their talent is setting booby traps to kill unsuspecting law enforcement officials.

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Another thing I love about this episode is that it is chock-full of “Mulder-isms.”  You know, the silly little one liners, delivered in Duchovny’s usual dry manner, the manner that only he can pull off?  Telling Scully that the Mulder family passes the “genetic muster.”  Changing his mind about moving to the country, since he can’t watch the Knicks game.  This is one of the few episodes of this show that I actually find frightening, and Mulder’s humor lightened things up just a little bit.

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Ok, let’s get to the good part…

Yes, the taboos…

And there were so many of them…let me count the ways…

First of all, infanticide.  That is a subject that makes people pretty uncomfortable, and for good reason.  What person who has a beating heart would not be uncomfortable with the death of a baby?  Especially the deliberate murder of a baby, even if the said baby is deformed beyond belief and probably doesn’t have much of a chance anyway (see post about the genetic tests run by Scully, which seem to come back with results pretty quickly, even for TV time).  Seeing a baby die, much less murdered, is pretty awful.  And the way that they evidence was disposed of was pretty callous:  the corpse was buried in a field and then found by kids, of all people.  And the corpse was not implied, the producers actually showed a good bit of it.  In other words, definitely not your typical 90’s TV fare, or even TV fare of today…but you knew that!

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And we have…

drum-roll-please

Yes, the incest!  You know that’s what you want to talk about here!

There are not too many taboos in modern society.  Our culture has loosened up, at least somewhat.  But incest remains a taboo to this day, and likely will remain a taboo for a long, long time.  And for good reason:  human beings are not meant to procreate with other human beings who are closely related to them.  Apparently, there is this whole thing about a gene pool and yada, yada, yada.  So most “civilized” societies have done everything they can to make incest unappealing:

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Granted, he looks harmless, but I would say this guy is pretty unappealing.  Or maybe appealing in an extremely douchey kind of way.  I must say, purple is his color, though!

All kidding aide, incest makes people uncomfortable, even though it was actually practiced for centuries, and still is practiced in many parts of the world today.  But somewhere along the way (well, probably when folks figured out that when they went outside the family, they were less likely to pass down pesky conditions such as hemophilia), incest became something outside of the norm, and we were taught to fear it.  In other words, something that is feared that much becomes great fodder for horror movies…

And a certain TV show centering around a couple of hot FBI agents.

The X Files just reinforced our fears of incest.  Would you want to meet these guys in a dark ally?

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These guys had no morals.  None at all.  They murdered people.  They dropped trou on command for mommy dearest, in the name of continuing the family tree (well, I think that tree would not actually be a tree, more like a circle, but you get my point).  They were implied to be “not all there”, but were actually pretty cunning for “not all there” (see the post about talent and ingenious booby traps).  In other words, they personified the incest taboo, reinforcing the fact that we are now “civilized” and have discontinued the practice, if we are smart.

And if you were looking for the ending of this particular episode to help settle your nerves, well then, I have some bad news for you…

The X Files has its share of ambiguous endings (Chinga, cough, cough), but the ending to Home is just downright unnerving.  For one thing, the body count.  I know The X Files is scary, but some truly innocent lives were lost:  a baby, a sheriff and his wife and a deputy.  And these people were all murdered in pretty horrible ways:  being buried alive, beaten to death and decapitated by a booby trap.  Sure, Mulder and Scully lived to fight another day, but I got no sense of victory  from this episode…

Which brings me to my next point…

The bad guys won!  Sure, two of the three Peacock brothers were taken down by Mulder and Scully (barely) but the family still survived, since the third brother managed to escape, along with mommy dearest (they probably discovered the joys of car sex too).  So now they are able to keep it in the family, and produce more monsters somewhere else.  And if anyone else tries to bring them to justice for their crimes, he/she will probably have a fate similar to that of Sheriff Taylor.  And that is a comforting thought (sarcasm font activated for your reading pleasure).

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Well, that’s it for it my thoughts on the family friendly episode otherwise known as Home.  Join me next week as I run away to join the circus.  Well, not really but I am doing the next best thing:  watching and reviewing Humbug!

Tune in next week:  same Bat time, same Bat channel!

batman and robin

Stephen King’s Holiday Newsletter

Dear Constant Reader family,

I hope that you are doing well, and that your year has been happy and productive.  I know mine certainly has!

SK give me what I won

So proud of my boy here, he has a new book coming out in May of 2016…he is on fire!

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And Molly is quite well, too.  Although the evil grows stronger, day by day…

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But enough about my blood family members.  I love them to death (ha!) but let’s talk about my “other” family…

Yes, my “other” family…

I consider my characters to be my babies, so that makes them family, right?

Sutter and Martin

And if killing off your main characters is a sign of love, well then, I love them to death as well!

So, where to start?  Since so much is happening with these guys, it’s a little hard to keep track, but here goes nothing…

Let’s talk about my childe, Roland.  With Roland, it begins and ends with him chasing an unknown male in dark clothing across an arid region.  Gotta love Roland, although he can be a bit repetitive at times…

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And then there are Roland’s friends

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In fact, I have trouble keeping track of them, it seems like he has a different group of friends each time…

Ka_tet_by_Cordania

Speaking of friends, those kids who live in Derry!

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Poor Pennywise, always getting tripped up by those meddling kids!

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But when I get tired of Derry, I take vacations to other scenic towns…

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Well, actually ‘Salem’s Lot wasn’t much fun…seemed kind of dead, actually!  Personally, I prefer visiting Castle Rock, the shopping there is fantastic!

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But I don’t get out nearly as often as I would like…I seem to be prone to car trouble!

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Although the Plymouth Fury is a bit more reliable than, say, a Buick.  In fact, I think that Buick is trying to trick me into thinking it is a actually a car, for all the good that it’s done me…

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Now, I love to travel, but some family members certainly have me beat in that department

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Jack gets around, or so I hear.  I don’t envy him though, especially when it comes to the houses he has to visit!

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Although he does encounter some interesting folks along the way, I suppose.

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Really interesting…

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Sometimes my children take it one step further and do some really crazy things…

Like traveling back in time, for instance.  I hear November in 1963 is really nice, for instance, especially in the Dallas, TX area.

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Every now and then I need to take a break.  So I just stay in a remote hotel, because sometimes I need to get away from it all.  Although I would advise against drinking anything suggested by the management at the hotel (and if Lloyd or Delbert offers to help you, my suggestion would be to run).  I hear the red rum is a house specialty, though, so try it if you dare.

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All in all, most of the family is doing quite well, health-wise at least.  Well, except for Brady…I can never wake him up!

And then there is the matter of Annie

She is a bit spoiled, always thinking she comes first.  I don’t want to hobble her growth in any way, but I did have to take away the sharp objects from her, especially the axes. Cockadoodie children, I tell ya…what can you do but love them, right, Mr. Man?

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I take care of my health too, so I can be in good shape to watch out for my family. I see my doctor on a regular basis (he is a little bald doctor, actually).  I watch out for speeding vans now, when I am out walking.  I avoid eating too much pie, especially if it’s a strawberry pie given to me by the white man from town.  Most importantly, I get my flu shot every year!  M- O- O- N, that spells good health, I’m told.

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So, Constant Reader, I enjoyed this recap of my year, and I hope that yours has been a bloody good one as well.  It is time for me to make my final Christmas preparations, I hear the bazaar will be closing soon, so I hope I don’t miss any good sales!  I wish you a Happy Holidays, and may you get a bunch of my books good books under the Christmas tree!

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My life for you,

The Wordslinger

RoaldDahl

P.S.,

Little disclaimer:  This letter was not actually written by The Master.  It just comes from the imagination of one crazy nerd with too much time on her hands.  But you knew that!

P.P.S.,

Happy Holidays both  all of my readers.  Thanks for stopping by, and you guys are awesome, every single one of you.  Peace out, and I hope your year has been a bloody good one!

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All Dolled Up: My Review of Chinga

Oh, Friday nights in high school…

Those were the days, I tell ya…

So fun and carefree!

I got hang out with possessed dolls and try to solve cases which clearly involved alien abduction.  I encountered a few circus freaks, too…

And my partners were just so hot, too…

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We even encountered kinky stuff, like Amish-like people who were able to make people super horny, and even some incest…ewww!

Well, this wasn’t what I actually did on Friday nights when I was in high school…don’t I wish!

Instead, I did what every other kid with a ridiculously full social calendar did:  I watched The X Files.  In fact, I was an X Phile…

And if that is not the coolest fandom name ever, then we are done and we are not friends!

But, I digress.  The X Files may have started out as one of those “cult” shows (but not like a regular cult, it was a cool cult), but it soon became huge.  And people started wanting a piece of the action.  In fact, many famous people either got their start on the show, or simply made guest appearances.

Or in one case, received credit as a guest writer…

Stephen King

Yes, The Master is credited with an episode of The X Files…is there anything he can’t do (wait, more on that later, actually)?

Stephen King and Chris Carter decided to have a baby together  write an episode of The X Files together, and that baby  that episode is known as Chinga.  Chinga is set in a small town in Maine (really, I know) and tells of a mysterious doll that seems to be causing the deaths of people in the town.  Well, at least that was my memory of it, any way.

And I love Stephen King (Captain Obvious strikes again) and I love The X Files.  Even better, The X Files will be renewed again in January 2016, for a paltry six episodes (although I will take what I can get).  But I got to feeling nostalgic, and wanted to jog my memory a bit.  In other words, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane, and watch some of these old monster of the week episodes that I have not been able to forget.

Luckily, we have Netflix, which is either my greatest blessing, or the bane of my existence (anyone who has “binge-watched” something Sons of Anarchy  to the point where he/she neglects everything, like housework and showering, will catch my drift).  So I loaded up the Netflix, employed my trusty friend Google, and…

Side note:  Typing in The X Files into the Netflix search box yields some rather…interesting…results.  And this is the kind of interesting that involves naked women and floppy dildos.  Must have been Netflix evil twin Sexflix at work…

But anyway, I found several seasons of the show, including the specific episode I was was looking for.  And I settled on my couch, with my blankie and kitty, and took a stroll down memory lane.

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So, without any further ado…here is my recap and review of Chinga!


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with a mother and daughter making a trip to the grocery store.  We are told that the events take place in a small town in Maine.  The little girl has a doll, which she appears attached to.  And the mother appears nervous, but makes her way into the store.  The doll speaks, saying it wants to play.  Suddenly, the people in the grocery store begin to scratch their own eyes and make themselves bleed.  They appear to be controlled by something else.  The mother sees an image of a dead man reflected in the glass, and hurriedly exits the store.  In the meantime, the local butcher stabs himself in the eye.   The wound proves fatal, and the local authorities are called.  Before he dies, the butcher sees what appears to be the shadow of an over-sized doll.

Agent Dana Scully is shown exiting her car in the same small town, presumably to pick up supplies.  She receives a call from her partner Agent Fox Mulder on her cell phone, but hangs up on him, telling him that she is on vacation and will not be distracted by “shop talk.”  However, Scully sees the scene unfolding at the local  store, and offers her help to the local authorities.

Scully reviews the footage of the incident at the grocery store with the police chief, John Bonsaint.  She also confers with Mulder, who thinks the incident may actually be witchcraft in some form.  However, Scully notices that woman and little girl, Melissa and Polly Turner, are unaffected by the incident and suggests that the authorities question them.

The sheriff’s deputy, Buddy Riggs, tells Melissa that the authorities may question her and tries to help her.  He buys Polly an ice cream sundae, and tries to convince Melissa to leave town.  Melissa is reluctant, and tells Buddy that she has seen images of violent deaths, including that of her husband, before they occur.  While the adults are talking, Polly asks for more cherries on her sundae.  The ice cream parlor employee tells Polly that she will need to pay for the cherries, which upsets Polly.  The doll again talks, saying it wants to play.  The employees hair becomes caught in one of the machines, and she is nearly decapitated until Buddy rescues her.  Buddy hands Melissa the keys to a remote cabin, and again advises her to leave town.

While reviewing the surveillance footage with the local police, Scully learns that the ancestors of Melissa Turner were accused of witchcraft.  Scully and the local authories visit Ms. Froehlich, the owner of a local daycare formerly attended by Polly Turner.  Ms. Froehlich also accuses Melissa Turner of witchcraft and is not cooperative with the authorities.  Scully speaks to a man who was the partner of Melissa’s deceased husband, a local fisherman.  The man tells Scully that the death of Melissa’s husband may have been a bit unusual, but is convinced that what he saw was a trick of the light.  Scully learns that Melissa’s husband had found the doll in one of his fishing traps, and gave it to Polly as a birthday present.  Scully and the local authorities also drop by Melissa’s house, but find no one home.

Melissa and Polly make their way to the cabin.  They encounter a park ranger, which makes Melissa nervous.  Polly demands to go home, and the doll speaks again.  Melissa sees a vision of a dead Ms. Froehlich, and immediately turns the car around and heads back home.  In the meantime, Ms. Froehlich has killed herself in a gruesome, using pieces of broken records to cut herself.  She has also seen what appears to be the shadow of a large doll before her death.

Melissa and Polly return home, and Polly becomes demanding, making Melissa nervous.  Buddy also visits, and chastises Melissa for returning, and also telling her that she nearly ran over the park ranger.  Melissa sees a vision of a dead Buddy, and the doll forces him to bludgeon himself to death.  Melissa then sees a dead version of herself, and attempts to burn down the house.  However, the doll extinguishes the matches and she is unsuccessful.

Scully and the sheriff return to Melissa’s house and attempt to enter.  The sheriff finally breaks down the door, and they enter and find Melissa involuntarily bludgeoning herself with a hammer.  In an act of quick thinking, Scully seizes the doll from Polly and puts in the microwave, burning it.  This act seems to break the spell, and Melissa does not kill herself.

Scully returns to work, and finds Mulder in his office.  He tells he was productive while she was gone, but it is clear that he missed her.  In the meantime, another fisherman finds the Chinga doll, who is burnt almost beyond recognition but still turns up in a trap.


 

My Thoughts

So…

Let me clear the air…

And I will just come out and say it…

Chinga is just…bad.  There, I said it.  And let me allow a moment for the collective fandom to beat me with the virtual wet noodle.

Whew, ok now that you’re done beating me with that wet noodle (geez, you can go a little easier next time), let’s talk about this episode, and what worked, and what didn’t.

Now, I love The X Files.  I love Christ Carter.  And I LUUUVVVV Stephen King!  So X Files + Stephen King = one blissed out nerd, right?

Stephen King 1

Well, not for this nerd.  There are some things I just love…

Like chocolate chip cookies.  Macaroni and cheese.  But a chocolate chip cookie macaroni and cheese casserole?

No, I think I will pass.  Love those two things, but if you put them together, who can swallow that concoction?

And to me, this episode was a concoction that I just couldn’t swallow.  In other words, we put chocolate chip cookies and macaroni and cheese together, and just got something weird and kind of gross too.

Chinga 1

Normally, weird and gross are good, especially when associated with The X Files and Stephen King.  But Chinga was not the good kind weird or gross.  No, it was weird.  And gross, too.

Tig dolls

First of all, the acting.  And I am not talking about the acting of the front runners, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.  They were…well, they were Mulder and Scully.  And I can’t really fault them for that.  But they stuck out like sore thumbs in the weird conglomeration of Chris Carter and Stephen King.  And I am not sure that Mulder and Scully belong in the King Universe, as awesome as they are.

The townspeople, in terms of acting, were uneven at best.  The woman who played Melissa sounded like she was reading lines from a cue card, and throwing in some occasional tears, to induce sympathy (note:  didn’t work, better luck next time, perhaps).  The rest of the townspeople were just flat at worst, caricatures at best (especially that scene where the sheriff orders a lobster in the restaurant and tries to convince Scully to try the delicacy…really?!)

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Which brings me to my next point.  In any Stephen King book, the town is just a much a developed character, if not more of a developed character, than the people in the story.  ‘Salem’s Lot, It, Needful Things and several other books immediately come to mind.  However, the town in Chinga does not have the personality of any of King’s other towns.  So Chinga is missing one of the great things about King:  a small town with its own personality and dark secrets.

small towns 1

Ok, the rant is over for now.  Believe it or not, I did like something about this episode.

Someone, actually…

Scully 1

Yes, Scully was favorite part of this episode!

Now, I may refer to Mulder as one of my show boos, which he is (sorry Raylan and Jax, hope you don’t get too jealous).  But I think my favorite part of The X Files was (and still is) Scully.  She made science cool.  She was a bad ass who chased down bad guys (and girls) in her heels, and there was rarely a hair out of place.  And a fellow soul eater…er…red head.  She gave hope to me, and if I can ever be half as cool as Scully, I will consider my life to be an unparalleled success.

And this episode was heavy on the Scully.  As stated before, I love Mulder.  But seeing him get hung up on (gotta love those 90’s cell phones, yo) and rebuffed for the umpteenth time was priceless.  Usually, Mulder is spot on, but for this episode, he was an epic fail, which was hilarious!

Who saved the day in this episode, you ask?  Why, Scully of course!  Even though the method was a little lame (the microwave?  Really?  Is this a doll or gremlin?), Scully was the one to defeat the bad guy er doll, and presumably, have everyone live happily ever after (although the vague ending may bring questions to that scenario).  And Scully showed us all just how much of a rock star she really is.

Scully 2


 

Now, I may have said that Chinga was bad, which it is.  But bad can also be good.  Like Batman.  And sex.  So Chinga falls into the category of things, like sex and Batman, that are so awesome that even when they are bad they are still good.  And there is nothing wrong in indulging in good bad.  In fact, it even warms the soul.

Join me next week when I review and dissect Home, the episode so terrifying that (supposedly) no network will air it any more…tune in next week:  same bat time, same bat channel!

batman and robin

Picture This: My Review of Duma Key

Art is life.

Life is art.

Art imitates life.

Life imitates art.

Art…well…

Anyone who knows me knows that art is extremely important to me.  It is one of my favorite forms of expression.  I am always drawing, painting, woodburning, glass etching…

So I guess I am a little obsessed…this guy might understand something about that…

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But art has kept me.  Kept me from losing my mind when my ex had legal troubles of the worst kind, and that was all he would talk about, day in and day out.  Kept me from feeling completely worthless after I finally left my ex (yes, the same one), and going out of my mind with loneliness.  Recently, I had to euthanize my poor 15 year old dog Igloo, who had been my best friend for about the same length of time.  This was one of the most agonizing decisions that I had to make, and I questioned it constantly, never sure that I was doing the right thing, even though I saw the gratitude in her eyes at the very end.  The next night, I finished a woodburning piece with the phrase “Stand and be true” included on it.  The irony was not lost on me, reminding me once again that coincidence had been cancelled.  The tears came, but it was cathartic and I needed it.  Once again, art healed me when I was at my most broken.

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So, art has kept me.  Kept me in the land of the living when it seemed nothing else would.  And I imagine that is true for most creative people.  We may appear to be escaping, but really, we do it so that we can stay engaged with “the real world.”  And art, of any kind (literature, paintings, comic books, you name it), is just one of the few things that makes “the real world” just a little less cold.

And one those things that makes our world a little less could is…wait for it…

Yes, a Stephen King book!

Stephen King

Don’t be surprised, it is this blog, after all.

The art of Stephen King has been making my world brighter for the past 25 years, and I imagine that he has been brightening the worlds of many, many other folks as well.  He is an artist, and much needed warmth in our world.

I am also sure that, like most other artists, King needs his art to stay engaged, especially after the horrific accident that nearly claimed his life.  I would like to think that thoughts of writing more books and finishing his magnum opus helped to keep him engaged with “the real world”, and provided a source of healing for him when he needed it the most.

Enter the novel, Duma Key.  On one hand, it is a ghost story…Perse on her ghost ship…shudder.  But on the other hand, Duma Key is about art, and the healing qualities that art can have on the human spirit.  Once again, King has taken the ghost story, and elevated it so that it is no longer a ghost story, but something far more than the tale of a haunted island.  But then again, we are talking about The Master, after all!

Without further ado, here is my recap and review of Duma Key.

Oh, and don’t forget:

Homer spoiler


 

Synopsis

At the beginning of Duma Key, we are introduced to a man named Edgar Freemantle, or Eddie.  Edgar is a seemingly ordinary man:  he is married, owns a successful construction company and is the loving father to two children, Ilse and Melinda.  However, all of that changes when Edgar is in a near fatal accident on a job site, when his truck collides with a crane.  As a result of that accident, Edgar loses his right arm.  He also suffers severe brain damage, and his personality undergoes a drastic change for a time.  Edgar is unable to control his anger after the accident and stabs his wife Pam with a plastic butter knife, and also tries to choke her.  Edgar also has trouble with language, and is unable to find the right word for common objects and even the people he loves.  This contributes to his anger problems, but Edgar undergoes much therapy and slowly begins to recover.  However, Edgar’s marriage never recovers from the fallout of the accident, and Pam files for divorce shortly afterwards.  Edgar is devastated, but understands how Pam feels and does not contest the divorce.  Edgar also begins seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Kamen, who gives him a doll to use as a punching bag for his rages.  Edgar names the doll Reba, and becomes attached to her.  Dr. Kamen suggests that Edgar consider a geographic change. Edgar agrees, and decides to temporarily re-locate to Florida from his Minnesota home, and picks a house on the island of Duma Key, located off the coast of Florida.  Dr. Kamen also suggests that Edgar take up a hobby to keep his mind off of his injuries and other problems.  Edgar remembers that he used to enjoy drawing, and packs his art supplies when he moves.  Money is no object, as the success of Edgar’s construction company will allow him to live out the rest of his life in comfort.

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We are also introduced to a small girl who seems to have suffered a similar injury to Edgar’s, but the events are indicated to have taken place many years ago.

Edgar arrives on the island of Duma Key and is introduced to Jack Cantori, a college student who will be driving Edgar to places he needs to go, and also assisting him with duties such as grocery shopping.  Edgar immediately likes Jack and is glad to have his assistance.  Edgar also falls in love with his rental house on first sight.  The house is nicknamed “Big Pink”, and Edgar finds immediate peace in his surroundings.

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Edgar continues to convalesce at Big Pink and Duma Key.  He also continues to hone his drawing skills, sometimes adding in a surreal element to his work.  Many people, including his psychiatrist, Dr. Kamen, tell Edgar that he has a real talent and should consider a second career in the arts.  Edgar walks on the beach, which helps him with his mobility and makes him less dependent on pain killers.  On the beach, he sees a middle aged man and elderly woman, and the man waves at Edgar every time he sees them.  Edgar also finds out the his daughter Ilse has a new boyfriend, and is somehow able to draw a picture of the young man, even though he has never seen him.  Edgar  finds out that Ilse is engaged, through his clairvoyant visions.

Ilse visits Edgar shortly after Christmas, and the two take a drive on the island to the lone other house on the island.  However, this drive does not go well.  Ilse becomes violently ill and Edgar’s missing limb begins to madly itch.  Edgar is able to drive his daughter back to the house so that she can recover.  While Ilse is resting, Edgar is overcome with an urge to draw, and draws a picture of what appears to be his anger doll Reba surrounded by an ocean of tennis balls.  Ilse is impressed with the drawing, so Edgar gives it to her, naming it The End of the Game. Edgar receives a call from the owner of the other house on the island, an elderly woman named Elizabeth Eastlake.  Elizabeth is kind and cordial to Edgar, but warns him that Duma Key is a dangerous place for daughters, and to immediately send Ilse away from the island. Ilse also confirms that she is indeed engaged to her new boyfriend, and Edgar experiences a sense of dread, and thinks that Ilse is moving too fast in her relationship.  Ilse also convinces Edgar to invest in some paints and canvases, which he does after dropping her off at the airport so that she can return to college.

After Ilse leaves, Edgar continues to hone his craft, becoming better and better at painting.  He also researches limb loss and “phantom limb syndrome”, and finds out that there are others who have experienced strange happenings after the loss of a limb.  Edgar asks Pam for a pair of her old gardening gloves, telling her that he wishes to include those in one of his paintings.  However, he is really trying to find out if Pam is dating another man by using his clairvoyant abilities.  Edgar continues his walks on the beach, and the middle aged man tells him to come join him and the elderly woman when Edgar is able.

We also learn more about the young girl who suffered a head injury years ago.  The young girl has also developed the ability to produce extraordinary drawings that sometimes predict events that the little girl could have no knowledge of.

Edgar decides he wants to use Pam’s gloves to try paint his ex-wife.  He almost talks himself out of the attempt, but falls down on the floor.  However, when he falls, he is able to touch the floor and save himself with his missing right hand.  Edgar then appears to become possessed, and produces a painting of ex-wife.  The painting reveals that Pam has had a relationship with a man in California who lives in her parents’ neighborhood.  Edgar also learns that Pam has had an affair with his friend and accountant, Tom Riley.  Edgar is upset by this vision, but tries to forget about it and move on.  He titles the painting “Friends With Benefits.”

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Edgar finally makes the acquaintance of the middle-aged man that he has seen while walking on the beach.  The man is named Jerome Wireman, but tells Edgar that most people call him “Wireman.”  In talking with Wireman, Edgar learns more about the island and its peculiar history.  Wireman tells him that his employer, Elizabeth Eastlake, owns the house Edgar is renting and a few other properties.  Wireman also informs Edgar that his rental house has been occupied by several artists, the most notable name being Salvador Dali.  Wireman invites Edgar to come visit him at Elizabeth’s Eastlake’s home, and Edgar agrees to take him up on the offer sometime.

Dali painting 1

When Edgar returns home, he receives news that a local art dealer wishes to look at his paintings, which makes him nervous.  However, Edgar does not cancel the appointment, as he has promised his daughter that he would meet with the art dealer.  Edgar also sees a vision of his friend, Tom Riley.  Tom appears to be dead, and Edgar thinks that he will commit suicide.  Edgar is unable to reach Tom, but is able to reach Wireman.  Edgar tells Wireman that he needs to talk, and Wireman invites him for a visit the next day.

Edgar visits Wireman and tells him of all the strange happenings since he moved to the island, including his vision of Tom Riley.  Wireman tells Edgar that he must talk to Pam about Tom Riley, even though the conversation may be uncomfortable and that Pam may not believe his story.  Edgar also meets Elizabeth Eastlake, who immediately knows that Edgar is an artist, and shows him a sketch that Salvador Dali had given her when he stayed in the house.  We also learn that Elizabeth has Alzheimer’s disease, and is not always of clear mind.  Before he leaves, Edgar reads to Elizabeth from a book of poetry, as she enjoys being read to.

Per his promise to Wireman, Edgar contacts Pam in regards to Tom Riley.  Pam is upset, but when the phone call ends Edgar is certain that she will act in regards to Tom.

There is a storm that night, and Edgar produces another painting that is of seashells on the beach, but also contains roses.  Edgar also has a vision of Wireman, and realizes that Wireman attempted suicide in the past but was not successful.

Jack, Wireman and Edgar head to the local gallery so that an art dealer can look at Edgar’s paintings.  The meeting is a success, and patrons offer to buy Edgar’s work on the spot.  Edgar also catches the attention of a local art critic named Mary Ire.  Jack, Wireman and Edgar go out to a nice restaurant to celebrate.  On the way home from the restaurant, Wireman suffers a seizure, and Edgar becomes worried.  However, Wireman brushes off Edgar’s concerns, and refuses to speak of his past.  Edgar also receives another message from Elizabeth Eastlake on his answer machine that night, again warning him that the island is not a safe place for his daughter.

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The days pass, and Edgar continues to work on his painting.  He receives a call one day from Pam, who has confronted Tom Riley in regards to his intent to commit suicide.  Pam is angry with Edgar, and does not believe that he has clairvoyant powers.  Edgar tries to convince Pam otherwise, but she will not listen to him.

One afternoon, Edgar agrees to watch Elizabeth because Wireman is busy.  He discovers photos and information in regards to the Eastlake family.  He is also able to draw a picture that shows details of Pam’s life, such as her new television and her new cat.  Edgar relays this information to Pam, but she is still angry and accuses him of spying on her.

Edgar receives a frantic call from Wireman one afternoon.  Wireman has lost the vision in his left eye, and Edgar rushes him to the doctor.  The doctor tries to keep Wireman in the hospital, but Wireman refuses, as he knows his condition is deteriorating.  Wireman tells Edgar about the accident that caused his problems:  he attempted to commit suicide after the death of his wife and daughter, but was unsuccessful, as the bullet was deflected by an apple on his kitchen table.  However, the bullet lodged in his brain, causing his current problems.  Edgar and Wireman also hear of a man named George “Candy” Brown on the news.  Candy Brown was caught abducting a little girl on a mall video camera, and later murders the little girl.  Both men are horrified by the story.

That night, Edgar returns home and tries to sleep.  He is awakened in the middle of the night by the itching on his missing right arm.  Edgar then paints a picture of Candy Brown and the little girl he murdered.  After he is finished, Edgar returns to sleep, the itching in his missing arm gone.  The next morning, Edgar receives a call from Wireman.  Candy Brown passed away his sleep in his jail cell.  The official cause of death is sleep apnea.  Edgar again looks at his painting of Candy Brown, and notices that he painted the accused murder with no mouth or nose.

Edgar realizes that his paintings can alter reality, and that he may be able to help Wireman.  He takes one of the x-rays of Wireman’s brain that shows the bullet that has been lodged in his head for so many years.  He paints a picture of Wireman’s brain minus the bullet, and receives a call from Wireman that his headaches, which he had suffered from ever since his suicide attempt, have disappeared.  However, Wireman still does not have full vision in his left eye.

Realizing that there is more work that needs to be done, Edgar begins to paint Wireman’s portrait.  He also accepts the offer from the local art gallery, and makes plans to invite people, including Pam and his daughters, to his first show.  Edgar begins a series of paintings that he titles “Girl on Ship.”  He realizes that the “girl” is actually his daughter Ilse.  As he paints the ships, he begins to see lettering, namely a P, E and R.  Edgar wonders what the lettering spells, and is determined to find out what these letters will spell out.

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One night, Edgar continues working on Wireman’s portrait. He paints in a frenzy, and has another vision after he is done painting for the night.  He sees two little girls, whom he recognizes as the ghosts of Elizabeth’s deceased twin sisters.  Edgar faints.  When he awakens, he receives a telephone call from Wireman, who tells Edgar that his vision has been restored.

Edgar makes his opening speech to introduce his artwork.  He is nervous at the beginning, but discovers that Dr. Kamen, his psychiatrist from Minnesota, is in the audience.  The speech is a success, and people are demanding that he sell his paintings.  Edgar catches the attention of Mary Ire, a local art critic.  Edgar meets with Ms. Ire, and learns that Elizabeth Eastlake may have also been an artist as a child.

Finally, it is the night of Edgar’s show.  Edgar has made sure that his close friends and family will be attending, but not staying on the island of Duma Key.  Per Elizabeth Eastlake, Edgar also instructs the art gallery to sell his “Girl In a Ship” paintings to separate buyers.

Edgar’s show is a huge success.  He is able to sell all of all paintings, bringing in nearly half a million dollars.  Edgar’s ex-wife, daughters, psychiatrist, Wireman, Jack and even Elizabeth Eastlake attend the show.  However, tragedy strikes when Elizabeth is stricken with a seizure that night. She warns Edgar of a being she calls Perse, and says that “she must be drowned in fresh water.”  Elizabeth also tells Edgar that there is a red picnic basket that he must find. Elizabeth is rushed to the hospital, but passes away that night.

Wireman shows Edgar an article published in the 1930’s in regards to Elizabeth.  The article confirms that Elizabeth was an artist, but gave it up when she was just a four year old child.  Elizabeth also suffered a brain injury similar to Edgar’s, and her artistic ability emerged shortly after her injury.

Edgar returns to his hotel, and seeks momentary comfort in the arms of Pam.  The next morning, Edgar also speaks to Ilse, who tells him that her boyfriend has cheated on her.  Edgar has a heart-to-heart with Ilse, and tells her not to rush things with her boyfriend.  He then sees his friends and family off, and returns to his hotel room.  Edgar receives a message from Wireman telling him that something odd has happened on the island and that he must return right away.

When Edgar returns to his home, he discovers that it is in a shambles.  He also discovers that Jack and Wireman have located the red picnic basket.  The picnic basket contains drawings and paintings that were the work of a young Elizabeth Eastlake.  Edgar realizes that he must find out her story, and that he must use his own artistic ability to do so.  Wireman agrees, but says he will check on Edgar to make sure that nothing happens to him.

Edgar begins to flesh out Elizabeth’s story through a series of drawings.  Her story is familiar and also tragic:  the being known as Perse used Elizabeth’s gifts for her own evil purposes.  When Elizabeth tried to stop her, Perse punished horribly, by murdering her sisters.  Edgar, however, is still unable to come up with a way to stop Perse.  When he returns to the downstairs part of his house, he sees the ship that carries Perse coming towards his house.  Edgar also encounters the ghost of a young man who is intent on harming him.  However, Wireman steps in just in time to save Edgar.

Jack, Wireman and Edgar convene, and Edgar relays what happened to them.  Edgar realizes that the ghost he saw was the fiancee of Elizabeth’s older sister, who was also likely a victim of Perse.  He also receives a call from Tom Riley.  Tom tells Edgar that he is dead, and intends to take Pam with him.  Edgar panics, and calls Pam.  Pam confirms that Tom has committed suicide.  Edgar tells her that she must warn anyone who has purchased his paintings, as Perse’s influence extends far.  Later, Edgar finds out that Dr. Kamen has died from a heart attack after purchasing one of Edgar’s paintings.  Pam assures Edgar that neither she nor their daughters have any of his paintings, but Edgar is still uneasy.

Edgar realizes that he must try to destroy Perse before she can do any more damage, and makes plans with Jack and Wireman to do just that, by the light of day.

Unable to sleep, Edgar awakens and remembers that he gave the drawing titled “Hello” to his daughter Ilse.  He calls Ilse, who has been under the spell of Perse.  Ilse believes Edgar to be dead.  Edgar reassures her that he is still alive, and tells her to burn the drawing.  Ilse complies, and Edgar goes back to sleep, believing his daughter to be safe.

The next morning, Edgar receives a frantic phone call from Pam.  Pam tells him that Ilse is now dead.  It turns out that Ilse has been murdered by Mary Ire, who later commits suicide.  Mary drowned Ilse in the bathtub before killing herself.  Edgar is grief-stricken, but still determined to defeat Perse.

Jack, Edgar and Wireman head to Elizabeth’s childhood home.  They encounter a few tricks, including a lawn jockey that appears to come to life, but are not fooled.  Underneath the stairs of the old mansion, Edgar finds Noveen, Elizabeth’s favorite childhood doll.  Jack is able to use his gift of ventriloquism to have the doll speak, and the doll speaks, even though it is actually the ghost of Nan Melda, Elizabeth’s childhood Nanny.  Nan Melda tells them that Edgar must paint, which he does.  Edgar spends hours in a painting frenzy.  The pictures reveal what happened to Elizabeth and her family, and how to defeat Perse.  Perse can only be defeated by drowning the doll that contains her essence in fresh water.  That doll is located in a cistern under the house.

The three men locate the pool, and Edgar locates the doll that represents Perse.  After a struggle, he is able to trap her into a flashlight so that she can be contained.   The three then head back to the house that Wireman shared with Elizabeth.  Edgar insists on heading back to Big Pink.  When he arrives, he encounters what appears to be his dead daughter, Ilse.  However, this is one final trick of Perse’s, and Edgar is able to resist, and defeats the entity one last time.

Some time later, Wireman travels to Minnesota to meet up with Edgar.  It is also revealed that Jack is currently attending college and has moved some miles from Duma Key.  Edgar and Wireman head out to a lake in Minnesota, which happens to be quite deep.  There, they drown the flashlight containing the essence of Perse, so that the creature is unable to do any further damage.  Wireman tells Edgar that he is heading to Mexico, where he plans on opening a resort.  He invites Edgar to join him.  However, Edgar never joins Wireman, as Wireman dies of a heart two months later.

Edgar travels to Duma Key, with the intent on creating one final piece of artwork.  And he paints one last picture:  a picture of a storm destroying the island.  After the painting is completed, the wind begins to blow.

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My Thoughts

Well, they say that the third time is the charm…

And I do believe that the nebulous group known as “they” may actually be correct, at least in regards to Duma Key.

See, this is the third read of Duma Key.  And it has taken me three times to finally appreciate it and love it…

I know, bad me!

breaking bad

And there is much to love and appreciate, in regards to this fine book!

First of all, Wireman…

I know he is probably a little old for someone who just turned 21 for the fifth time this year, but boy, does this nerdy blogger have quite the crush on him!

I can just hear him speaking Spanish to me…swoon…

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Yes, he reminds of Nero from one of my (and The Master’s) all time favorite TV shows…what can I say?

Oh, and the reference to “water brothers” and Stranger in a Strange Land…that made me want to give him a wet, sloppy kiss that Duncan the pup at arms would envy!

And speaking of great characters, let’s not forget the main one, aka Edgar Freemantle.

I love Wireman, but I think I may have found another spirit animal in Eddie.

Obviously, the art.  I may work in the exciting industry of tax resolution and rock to the beat of IRS hold muzak, but I do consider myself to be an artist.  I even try my hand occasionally at the works of The Master…

Duma key acrylic

While I may not (thankfully) have had a traumatic brain injury, I feel a kinship with Edgar.  Like me, he used his art to draw himself back into the world, in a manner of speaking.  Like me, he often does not feel like he is complete, unless he is working on a piece of artwork.  And art really does draw some of us back into the “real” world.  Most artists, if their capacity to create more art is taken away from them, would probably wither like a flower that lacks sunshine and water.  I can relate when Edgar describes his need to paint as an “itch”;  often, I feel that itch myself.  And if I ignore it too long, it becomes unbearable and has to be let out, in the form of a painting, drawing or possibly a woodburning.  And it must be let out, for the sake of myself and anyone who is stuck caring for me and loving me.

And again, I have to give a shout out to Sai King for his treatment of mental illness in Duma Key.  King has dealt with this topic in a few of his other books, including Lisey’s Story, The Dark Tower series, Dreamcatcher and several others.  As always, King deals with the topic in a sensitive, thoughtful way and does not disappoint.  Wireman, Edgar and Elizabeth all suffer from various mental illnesses, including aphasia, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.  However, King is able to make these characters much more than their illnesses, and yet still make them sympathetic because of their various illnesses.  He does a fantastic job with Elizabeth in particular, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.  My grandmother has suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for nearly four years now, so I am familiar with the lows of this condition.  There is nothing more heart-breaking that someone who has known you for your whole life being terrified of you because she thinks you are a complete stranger, and having to lie to that woman and telling her that yes, Grandpa is just in the next room and he will be back soon.  But the disease also has highs:  like Elizabeth, my grandmother is occasionally able to remember the past in perfect clarity, bringing back hope, at least momentarily.  And to paraphrase a certain writer, hope is a good thing, and also the best of things.

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While I think that Perse is a terrifying King villain, I consider this book to be more tragic than scary.  Again, that is the power of Stephen King:  he can scare you into a change of pants, and he can also make you reach for the tissue box in almost the very same breath.

For example, there is the scene that depicts the final confrontation with Perse, who comes to Edgar under the guise of his now deceased daughter, Ilse.  Yes, the scene was spooky.  The description of the apparition as a sandstorm did make me shiver.  But it also made me feel sad, seeing how tempted Edgar was by Perse, at the chance to see his daughter one last time. And then he literally watches his deceased daughter turn to dust. So Sai King creeped me out, and then gave me a case of the feelsies a few minutes later…yes, he is that talented!

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I think that Duma Key must King’s most tragic book, or at least in the top five.  So.  Many.  Feelsies.

For example, Wireman.  Yes, we are back on that subject again.  But Wireman is one of King’s most tragic characters, along with being one of my book boyfriends.  He loses his wife and child literally moments apart from each other, attempts to commit suicide but is saved by an apple and then begins to lose his vision.  He also loses his one remaining family member when Elizabeth Eastlake passes away.  However, Edgar cures him of his blindness.  But he still passes away from a heart attack while dickering over tomatoes in Mexico…greedy old ka, as a certain character from  a certain other King series would say.

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And the ending to this one.  King has had some interesting endings in his books (Under the Dome, The Stand, 11/22/63 and The Dark Tower series all come to mind, for various reasons).  But I think that the ending to Duma Key is probably his saddest.  Yes, the evil is technically defeated, after Perse is drowned in fresh water.  But did anyone really win?  Elizabeth did not, she was Perse’s last victim.  Wireman did not, he may have been cured of his blindness, but he died after escaping Duma Key and trying to make a life for himself.  Edgar was perhaps the biggest loser of all:  he lost his marriage, his daughter and his new-found calling as an artist.  He also lost Wiremen, who could be considered the last of his remaining family. So it turns out that Edgar has only one choice:  return to where it all started, and destroy it, no matter the cost.  And at that point Edgar has nothing to lose, as everything has been taken from him.  And he does just that:  destroys Duma Key, and ultimately puts his hobby to good use so that no one else will be subject to the suffering.

duma key 1


Any kind of creative process, whether it be writing a novel, painting on a blank canvass, composing a song or any other piece of art, often requires an enormous sacrifice.  The artist gives a piece of himself or herself, so that something new is born.  And often, demons are roused during this process, and must be faced.  So the creative process can be a battle.  Duma Key symbolizes this perfectly, reminding us of the pain, and also utter joy, that is the creative process.

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Connections:

Just for the fun of it, here are some of the connections to King’s other work that I found in Duma Key:

-Edgar’s abilities are strikingly similar to Patrick Danville’s abilities, another King character who is also an artist.  Patrick Danville is a character in the novels Insomnia and The Dark Tower, and he also has the ability to alter reality through his art.

Insomnia 4

The number 19 makes an appearance in Duma Key.  Edgar’s email address ends with the number 19, and the room number to Pam’s hotel room is 847 (the digits add up to 19).  The number 19 plays a huge role for Roland and his friends in the last three books of The Dark Tower series.

The-dark-tower-19

-Edgar shares the same last name as Abagail Freemantle, who is a main character in the novel The Stand.  The two also seem to share similar clairvoyant abilities.

Mother Abigail

-The house that Edgar lives in when he relocates to Duma Key is described as being pink in color.  In the novel Wizard and Glass, there is an object known as Maerlyn’s Grapefruit that is also pink in color, and whoever looks into that object gains clairvoyant abilities that are similar to the ones Edgar gains after he moves to Duma Key.

Maerlyn's rainbow

-Ilse tells Edgar that Perse talks to her through the drain in the kitchen sink.  This is similar to how Pennywise the Clown communicates to his intended victims in the novel It, and may suggest that Perse and Pennywise are the same type of creature.

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