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Horror movies and stories have been very popular in American culture. Many people do not realize that their favorite scary characters would not have been thought of if it had not been for a certain writer; Stephen King. King has put in much of his time and talent to give us our most beloved stories that we tell around a bonfire with our friends. King was able to take our most terrifying fears and input them into his stories. Stephen King has been and still is a huge inspiration to the world of horror. The horror genre would never be the same again. Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947 to Donald King and Nellie Pillsbury in Portland, Maine. King was the couple’s first child, but they later adopted their oldest son, David (Ramsey). When King was only two years old, his father deserted his family. For the next few years, King and his family moved from place to place constantly until they finally settled down in 1958 (Ramsey). While in high school, Stephen King worked for a local paper. It was in 1965 that King sold his first short story, I Was a Teenage Grave Robber, which was later changed to, In A Half-World of Terror (Ramsey). In the following two years, King successfully published two ameteur novels, one of which is considered to be the start of the King era. Stephen King attended the University of Maine on a full scholarship (Ramsey). There he worked part-time at the school library where he met Tabitha Spruce, who would later become his wife (Ramsey). Even with all of his accomplishments at such an early age, Stephen King’s legacy had just begun.
From an early age, Stephen King was able to have a few of his short stories published. Now, it was time for his career to take flight. In 1973, King wrote and published his first novel, Carrie, a story about a young teenage girl who gets revenge on her classmates. The novel soon became a success, paving the way for King’s career to fully bloom. Salem’s Lot was released soon after Carrie. Many of King’s early works were hits, including, The Shining (1977), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981), and the infamous IT (1986) (Stephen King). However, worried that people would not accept multiple books by the same author a year, King decided to make pseudonyms (Stephen King). He used Richard Bachman (Boman), and John Swithen (Stephen King). Even with different names, Stephen King’s novels never lost their touch. Some people wonder how a person could write such frightful deadly stories. What they do not know is that Stephen King actually had a near death encounter. In the summer of 1999, King was struck by a driver and thrown 14 feet in the air (Ramsey). He was hospitalized for many weeks and sustained many injuries such as a collapsed lung, broken ribs and bones, and even multiple fractures in his legs (McCann). King also underwent many procedures. Nevertheless, Stephen King used his misfortunes as inspiration. In the final book of the Dark Tower Series, The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower King named a character Bryan Smith, after the man who hit him (McCann). He took almost every detail of his accident and inserted it into that novel, down to the part where Bryan almost hits a person, named Stephen King, with his car after being distracted by his dog (McCann). Some of the interaction between the two characters in the book are based on the real dialogue that took place between King and Smith (McCann). Stephen King used his story to make his novel unique. Stephen King has written many books, some of which have been adapted to the big screen. There are many speculations on which of King’s books are the best. The top ten list of his best works consist of the novels Misery, The Shining, The Dark Tower Series, The Green Mile, Carrie, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot, 11/22/63: a novel, and the classic, IT (Greene). However, none of those novels are King’s favorite. When asked what his best book was, King answered, “Lisey’s Story… because it was about marriage, and I’d never written about that,” (Greene). There is no doubt that Stephen King’s novels have influenced many things in more than one way. King’s books have shaped many American horror stories into what they are today. Stephen King has been an inspiration to many horror films and topics today. Imagine what today’s horror world would look like without him. The world wouldn’t have IT, the story of a crazy clown which was made into a film in 1990, and again in 2017. Theatres wouldn’t be able to put on the musical Carrie. Tv shows like Under the Dome, Haven, and Bag of Bones would not have been released if King had not come up with them first. Movies like The Shining made in 1980, and The Dark Tower made in 2017, would never have been thought of if it had not been for the brilliant mind of Stephen King. King has changed and continues to change the face of American horror stories forever.
Stephen King was able to make a legacy out of his talent at such an early age. 86 novels later and King still has the same influence on the horror genre that he had when Carrie was released. King is the epitome of horror in today’s society. King’s horror novels are the reason some people fear clowns and the dark. Stephen King is a writer whose works will be remembered and read for many years. His reign of terror continues today as strong as it was when it began.
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