This is a short story by Stephen King. I thought I would read it since I watched the movie and did a review on it. (You can read the film review HERE.) Plus, King has listed this as one of his ten favorite movie adaptations of his stories. So, I wanted to see where it all started.
I did enjoy reading this story. Although, even though it’s a short story, I expected more detail from King as he tends to get a little long-winded and microscopic at times. So, I expected a little more. However, the less detail given by the author allows the reader to use their imagination to fill in the gaps and that is always fun. I mean, what’s the point of reading if you aren’t taken away to another place in your mind?
There were some differences between the book and the movie, as you might expect.
First of all, in the book, there is no back story on Mike Enslin. There’s nothing about him being a writer in a slump nor about signing autographs on tour to stay away from his family because…he doesn’t have a family in the book. That’s right. There’s no ex-wife to call for help over web video chat and there’s no dead daughter to mourn. He also doesn’t have any hallucinations about his father in the book version.
The described entity of the room itself is still very much the same. It imprints a loathed feeling of impending doom upon whoever dares to enter. King intended for the room to have an effect on people like the physical, emotional and visual effects of taking mescaline or LSD…not to mention the psychological effects.
Mr. Olin, the character played by Samuel L. Jackson, is the same. He played that part to perfection. His character in the book is still as certain that no one should go into that room.
Now, in the movie, we are informed that nobody has ever lasted more than an hour in that room. This is a big part of the movie and its suspense factor. In the book, there is no warning. There is no clock counting down or playing creepy music.
Also, when he calls anyone from the room, it happens differently in the book.
We have no repairman in the book to come fix a broken thermostat either. There is no mention of a temperature issue at all.
When Mike enters the room in the film, it takes some time for it to start to affect him. In the book, his downward spiral into madness starts almost immediately. It’s also where the vagueness comes in as the descriptions of the madness itself are not as detailed as King normally gets. Mike is also much more deeply traumatized and forever changed in the book as opposed to the film ending where he finds some peace at least. That being said, it completely adds to the darkened sadness of the story. Knowing that an hour in that room scarred him emotionally and psychologically forever is truly heartbreaking. I mean, it practically ruins him in the book.
King intended this story as just an excerpt for a book he was working on, “How to Write”. He later went back and developed it into a short story purely to satisfy his own curiosity. He wondered what would happen if Enslin, a non-believer in ghosts and the like, actually met and had to face proof that he was wrong.
King also praises John Cusack for his performance in the film. I read a few comments of his in the book “Stephen King Goes to The Movies” distributed by PocketBooks. It’s a collection of his short stories that have been made into movies. He talks about each one in a blip before the story. 1408 can also be found in Everything's Eventual, another book of King's short stories.
Although I really enjoyed the book version, as far as real horror and thriller type stuff goes…I think the movie takes it. King comments about how adding a back story hardly ever works in these situations but, in this one it did and he liked it. (I mean, I think it’s a real compliment when the author thinks the director and actors grabbed ahold of his vision and got what he was saying.)
This is, however, a good read for any horror short story fan. I would tell any fan of the genre to check this out if they liked to read. If they aren’t big readers that’s okay too because it’s not a very long story.
I hope you guys check it out sometime.
Lately, I have been reading a set of short stories that I graciously received from the author himself, Mr. Bradley Poage. I have three of these books (Book I, II and III) and I am almost done with Book I. I was so pleased with what I received that I decided a review would be necessary, as I truly thought these were great stories.
These tales of horror are definitely creepy. Although I read a lot of comic books and graphic novels, I do so enjoy reading books and novels for the simple fact that I, as the reader, get to incorporate my own imagination and thoughts into the story as well as what the author has presented me with. This allows me to get more involved in the story. It’s like when a director and a bunch of actors get together and make a movie. You have all of these different people involved and each one brings their own interpretation and skill set to the table, forming a team of imagination to deliver us THEIR film version of a scripted idea. The only problem with this is that it’s THEIR interpretation. When you READ a story, you get to form the images of characters, setting and happenings yourself.
Now, these stories are very good. Very good. Mr. Poage has a slight “Stephen King” kind of style to his writing, which is very intriguing. Each of these stories has a unique plot, are just the right length and truly keep you interested all the way to the end.
For instance, we have a tale of a mysterious ant bite. Something a number of us have experienced (me definitely, I climbed a cherry tree in our backyard as a child to pick cherries for Mom to bake and I was truly attacked by an army of red fire ants. Having severe allergies to insects at the time, this was ultimately terrifying to a small child, I thought I might die. We didn’t have epi-pens at the time). So, this particular tragedy sort of colored my brain for the first story, making it incredibly impactful to me on a personal level.
There’s also a story of two brothers and a little healthy sibling rivalry (sibling rivalry, something I think a lot of us also know a little something about). There’s a tragic story of devouring hunger and pain. We walk with an insecure woman and her journey for perfection. There’s carnivorous lust and lonely hitchhikers.
Poage brilliantly plays on real life events, some innocuous and some not, all of which can be related to (in some way) as a regular human being. There are a number of stories from this first book in the series that, I feel, are definitely good enough to be more fully developed. This particular collection is short, simple and to the point. The length of the tales are just right, allowing me to read one at a time OR a few in one sitting (like today, where I read the last four stories all in one shot).
I would certainly recommend this to anyone who likes short stories of the horror and suspense genre.
About the author:
Bradley Poage All Author Page
Bradley Poage Goodreads Author Page
You can find the books to buy on Amazon for Kindle at the links below:
Page for all published stories and books: HERE