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lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 07:58 pm:   

In the mid-nineties, Lars Von Trier, director of BREAKING THE WAVES, DANCER IN THE DARK, and other avant-gardist projects, did a mini-series for Danish TV called THE KINGDOM, a combination of horror and sopa opera and black comedy that gave echoes of David Lynch, Kubrick, et al, yet felt completely original. Set in an enormous hospital known as The Kingdom, its characters included a mother with a mutant fetus, ghosts, demons, a deranged doctor who each night screamed his hatred of all things Danish from the rooftop, a phantom ambulance driver, and so on. A few years back ABC television secured the rights and this fall will be releasing as a series a remake of the project that will bear the title Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital, omitting -- of course -- any mention of the source material . That Hollywood should do a remake without crediting the original is scarcely surprising, but that King should attach his name to the project so willingly is a surprise. I like a lot of King's stuff -- I enjoyed certain of his early novels. But his TV work has been abominable. Witness his version of The Shining, Rose Red, etc. I'm sure he has done massive rewriting of Von Trier's series, dumbing it down for mass consumption, but nonetheless, the idea of attaching one's name to someone else's conception and work, making it appear that it is entirely one's own, this strikes me as repulsive and, well, just obscenely wrong. Maybe I'm overreacting, but it seems to open up an entire new form of literature, kind of a lowbrow Borgesian thing (I'm thinking of Pierre Menard's Quixote). I mean, what''s next? Danielle Steele's Wuthering Heights. John Grisham's In Cold Blood. Jonathan Kellerman's Faust. It's the ultimate franchise move literature-wise. I can hear the conversations now. An agent calls up Dean Koontz, say, and goes, Hey, Dean! How'd you like to write, The Light in August? And Dean goes, I don't know. I've been writing a lot of Hemmingway lately. Don't you think that would confuse people? And the agent goes, Hemmingway, Faulkner....what the hey! Just stick a couple of CIA ghouls in there. Make it your own.

Like I said, Maybe I'm overreacting, but this seems like the death of everything to me. The ultimate reduction of art to McArt, a step beyond the novelizations of classic novels by hacks. Nothing can be done, I suppose, but I just wanted to sound off.
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Victoria Garcia
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 11:15 pm:   

I was just watching the real version with my husband last weekend. What revolting news.

I can totally imagine Danielle Steele's _Wuthering Heights_, by the way. Infinite recursion may be the only way to combat this scourge: Imagine Lorrie Moore's Danielle Steele's _Wuthering Heights_, or Ben Katchor's Kinky Friedman's Bret Easton Ellis's _The Magnificent Ambersons_.
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paulw
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 03:10 am:   

I love the Kingdom! What awful news. I hope at least Von Trier got some good money for it, but on the other hand, I'm distressed that he sold it, if indeed he had any rights to exercise in that decision. As for King . . . He should stick to playing music in his all-star band.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 06:29 am:   

Victoria, wow, you're taking this to newly horrifying levels. But yeah, maybe that is the combative method. I particularly like the conjunction of Kinky Friedman and Brett Easton Ellis. Very intriguing. Maybe their people should talk. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 06:58 am:   

Paul, that is the only possible upside here -- that Von Trier got enough money to fund a few movies.

As for King's band, I don't know -- I heard them once and it made having to sit through Dreamcatcher seem like a breeze.
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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 07:22 am:   

King's record is horrible.

The original Kingdom is one of my all-time favorites. We rented it on a lark, had no idea it would be any good, and then sat glued to our chairs through the whole thing.

JeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 07:52 am:   

Jeff, the Kingdom is a total hoot and Von Trier is remarakble. His new film, Dogville, is getting really strange advance notices in Europe, which usually means I'm going to love it. Anyway, I'm certain King just gonna flat rape the Kingdom and turn it into a gory mess.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 07:52 am:   

I agree, I love THE KINGDOM. I think I mentioned it a few weeks ago on another thread somebody started on weird movies. I was totally surprised to turn on the TV the other day and see the second part (there IS a second part) on one of the Cinemax channels.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 08:17 am:   

Gabe...Yup. Ten hours in all. Good and good FOR you. If you notice since the rights sale, the Kingdom and Kingdom 2 have both gone out of print on DVD and video. They'll be repressed now so we call all wallow in the greatness that is Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital without being distracted by that other little thing that's surely of no consequence.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 07:07 pm:   

I didn't realize The Kingdom 2 had officially even made it to video or DVD, the only DVD I've seen in shops was a Japanese import that appeared bootlegged, but I haven't checked of late. I did manage to see it on the big screen at Film Forum here in NY a couple of years ago. The Kingdom 1 I do have on video. Very unfortunate if they're being pulled because of the King series. I doubt they would even compete for the same audience.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 07:24 pm:   

Gabe, Kingdom 2 did make it onto official video, but not, I don't believe, DVD. The first series was a DVD. Pulling the original of a big deal remake happens all the time. Like with Vanilla Sky. When the Cruise film went into production, the original, Open Your Eyes, was pulled...though now it may be available again. I haven't checked. You're right. The two projects don't compete for the same audience, but it's Hollywood's way of staking claim to originality, I guess.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 08:58 pm:   

I know, I mentioned this months ago in a movies thread somewhere in the site. I love RIGET, and already decided I'm not even coming near the Stephen King series. What's more, Craig R. Baxley is set to direct . . . His resume at IMDb gives me the creeps. I'm disappointed that Stephen King agreed to play along with this bastardisation of a great series. It's not as if he's desperate for the money, is it?

Speaking of which, I hear there's going to be a remake of BATTLE ROYALE too. Not content with ruining whatever few good ideas they can come up with, the American movie and tv industry has started to buy and ruin everyone else's too.

<sigh>

Luís
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 09:08 pm:   

I wonder if they'll remake this one too. I saw it on DVD and loved it, even though the base idea is a bit trite. Check it out if you can, it looks like it's going to open in theatres in the US:

THE EYE
http://us.imdb.com/Title?0325655

Cheers,
Luís
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 09:38 pm:   

Battle Royale...aw, that's too bad. They'll absolutely ruin it. Stick the Dawson Creek cast in it and do all kinds of BS teen angst.
And I agee, King has lost perspective here. The horrible thing is, he probably thinks he can improve upon it. I mean, he thought he could do better than Kubrick. As for Baxley, don't know him. But he can't be worse than Mick Farris, who directed a couple of other KIng TV projects, like The Shining...or can he?

I'm sure the Eye is in pre-production, I believe I heard it was. If that's not right, I'm sure it and all the recent spate of cool Japanese horror flicks will be soon. The US version of the Ring made money, man, so every studio will have to have one.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 09:41 pm:   

Luis, have you seen Uzumaki? It's one of my favorite new Japanese horror films. About a town in Japan that;s afflicted by a plague of spirals (or vortexes).
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 05:42 am:   

Is King actually re-writing The Kingdom? Or is is one of those things where he's just executive producer and they stick his name on it for recognition (like Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000). Either way, it sounds like a terrible idea. As does remaking Battle Royale.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 07:15 am:   

Robert, I can't swear to it, but when the deal was made a couple-three years ago, it was supposed to be a complete King rewrite to make it "more accessible for an American audience." You know what that means. Dumb and dumber. Given King's penchant for simplistic treatment of the impaired, I can only imagine the maudlin take he's going to have on the Kingdom's kitchen help.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 08:50 am:   

Alas, I haven't seen UZUMAKI yet. But I heard many good things about it. Couldn't find the DVD locally yet, but I'll get it as soon as I lay my eyes on it.

Considering the kids in BATTLE ROYALE escape to become dangerous terrorists, I wonder how much Hollywood will change the story. With luck, maybe they'll give up on the movie. Have you seen the BATTLE ROYALE 2 trailer? Looks like there's a shitstorm waiting to happen around it.

The little information I have is that the new Kingdom series is written by Stephen King and "based on Lars von Trier's *characters*". Which means anything can happen in addition to the dumbing down.

As I heard it said once, "the more you hit the bottom, the more the bottom falls away from you."

All best,
Luís
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 10:52 am:   

We've been fortunate with RIGET here in Portugal. It's been aired three times in the past four years or so, twice on public television and once on cable.

Here are a couple links to the BR2 trailer, both high and low resolution:

http://sb.tsutaya.co.jp/WM/br2_toku_high.asx
http://sb.tsutaya.co.jp/WM/br2_toku_low.asx

BR2 is full of references to September 11, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is blown up in the trailer. The film will no doubt be controversial, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's censored in the US (if released at all).

Best,
Luís
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

Thanks, Luis. I'll check it out.

As for BR2 being censored, we can always get the Hong Kong VCD/DVD, thanks be to the internet.
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Mike Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 10:46 pm:   

UPN also did an Americanized TV series version of "The Kingdom" called "All Souls" (http://us.imdb.com/Details?0280229).

I was lucky in that I saw both seasons as theatrical releases in Australia years ago, and then they were each played uncut on one of our TV stations, so I got a chance to tape them off air. I've subsequently replaced them with the DVDs. I guess I've seen both series about 4x each.

Since I assume anyone with any taste has a multi-region DVD player, just go for the Region 2 release of The Kingdom. (http://www.blackstar.co.uk/video/item/7000000062090)

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John Thompson Jr.
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 02:38 am:   

Perhaps what made the earlier King novels so much more entertaining is that he was less self-conscious. His stories took a nose-dive in quality once he was anointed as America's Favorite Horror Guy. I feel that the best ghost stories come from being genuine, digging into your own fears, not trying to reproduce what Lovecraft, Poe or Barker have done.

King's conviction, at least in the beginning, elevated what would have seemed schlocky in the hands of another writer. Now, sadly, ROSE RED stands as the very definition of same.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 06:32 am:   

Mike, I didn't know about tthe UPN version. That's interesting I don't suppose it's worth watching, is it?

And yeah, you need an all-regions player these days, for sure. Thanks for the links.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 06:49 am:   

John, yeah, it's apparent that one of the dangers of great fame is that it leads to a tendency to become self-parodying. There are, I think, a couple of other things in play with King's decline. One, he got lazy and too big to be edited. Secondly, and perhaps more interetestingly...A friend of mine once said that everyone eventually reaches an age when their behavior becomes appropriate. Judging by King's obsessions, that age for him was sometime during his childhood, perhaps his teens. It's like those years from 12-13 to 18 were really a big deal in his life and you get the idea that the reason he writes nerdy guys so well is, well, familiarity. I think it's been tough for him to out grow his early materials, He's done it at times, but not-- to my mind-- with the conviction with which he wrote about teenagers and children early in his career. He did a good job of dealing with adult matters in the Shining, but generally-speaking, I have the idea that he feels more comfortable doing kids, and in the end, that's limiting.

Anyway, it's too early to think about this stuff. I need coffee.

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David G.
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 08:34 am:   

I just saw, for the first time, the full-length ad for Kingdom Hospital during the Orange Bowl telecast. I had figured it was OK they didn't mention Von Trier in the little five-second blurbs I had seen, as ABC no doubt wanted to hit people over the head with King's brand as much as possible. But in the extended TV ad, there was plenty of opportunity to mention Von Trier or the original show. Nothing. And King's brand was used about a dozen times or more. Even in an entertainment world where money talks and ethics whisper, this struck me as wild, blatant misappropriation of a man's intellectual property. Really sleazy.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 09:33 am:   

Jesus.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 10:34 am:   

Steven King...and sleazy? No! Say it ain't so: Yeah, this is like the Rolling Stones claiming to have written Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain." I'd think it would be embarrassing to poor old post-death van Steve, but I guess the accident knocked out the last of his integrity...

Not just a theft, but a corruption of Von Trier's intellectual property....
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David G.
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 12:45 pm:   

For what it's worth, the imdb.com listing gives Von Trier a writing credit with the parenthesis "(characters)". Apparently, King is limiting Von Trier's credit to creating the characters and nothing else. Frankly, I've never seen this before. Has anyone actually seen both films to assess how similar the plot/storyline of Von Trier's and King's versions are?

At any rate, this seems like an awfully churlish and petty way to parse credits.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 01:04 pm:   

I haven't seen the King and probably won't. WHat I gleaned from the long preview testified that it's his usual bumpitty bump, the little girl spirit and the dumbass stunned freakos and etc. I'm sure the plots are way dfifferent from Von Trier, yet I'm equally sure that many of VT's plot elements will be retained -- they'll just be made stupider.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 08:11 am:   

While we're on the subject of King/arrogance, did anyone see the big Wash. Post piece today re: his speech at the National Book Awards accusing awards-givers of elitism and challenging them to read Clancy, Grisham, etc.? Apparently novelist Shirley Hazzard had a curt but tart rejoinder that really got people talking.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 09:08 am:   

Christ, what an asshole! Sorry, but that guy's getting to be a nightmare. Good for Shirley Hazzard!!!!
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

I dunno. The speech doesn't look too bad here.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

Naw, it isn't that bad, actually. But he has had moments...in any case his mention of Pete Hamill deserving the NBA....hasn't Pete already won one....
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 04:06 pm:   

It's a nice speech; a generous one, actually. But did anyone else notice how many times he talks about being "honest" in there? Kind of funny when you consider that this whole thread kicked off with a discussion of King writing his name over Lars Von Trier's on "Kingdom Hospital"...And when you consider that a guy who falls all over himself to talk up friends at the podium of the NBAs can't spare some airtime for the guy who made "Kingdom" possible.
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 06:53 pm:   

Well, he unfortunately managed to bring in quite a number of hacks, like Grisham, but I do think it was nice he mentioned Jack Ketchum, I do. Personal favorite of mine.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:26 am:   

Dave: Eh, let's not be too zealous here. I think it's disgusting that King's name has all but completely blocked out Von Trier's, but I don't think it was his decision. I'm no King fan (nor am I an anti-fan; I've just never been interested enough to pick up his books), but it seems uncharitable to attribute the Kingdom thing to King's ego rather than corporate concerns unless there's strong evidence to the contrary.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:46 am:   

Nicholas, unfortunately I think Dave is more than a little correct. I had a passing acquaintance with the man back in the 80s and it seems to me that his ego has "evolved" over the years. I'm sure you're correct, that corporate concersn are involved, but if King's standing up for his fellow hacks can be perceived as generosity (which I don't believe it is --that's his club he's talking about), his non-standing up for Von Trier must be perceived as its antithesis. Ego. Selfishness. I'm certain he has the weight to get Von Trier a mention, and yet it does not seem a priority, After a second reading, that speech is rife with self-aggrandizing bullshit--I definitely believe the guy's an egomaniac,

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David G.
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

I'm sure the suits at ABC were pushing to exclude Von Trier, but King is no lightweight. I have to believe if his reps insisted on the credits being written a certain way in exchange for the use of King's moniker, ABC would have no choice but to listen. He's using his clout to push the Straub book, but not to further Von Trier's notoriety.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 11:36 am:   

Right on!
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 05:26 pm:   

Well, to be fair, I don't know if it still says this, but on his website it used to make note that this was the *only* adaptation Stephen King has ever written, which makes one think that he holds the work in high regard to have passed over all the offers for other adaptations and later picked this one.

Also, I disagree that only his early work was good. I've read everything he's written, and while he's written plenty of stinkers, I believe that _The Wastelands_ was written in the early 90's, what I consider to be better than all the other Dark Tower books put together, and _Bag of Bones_ (over the years, I've realized that _Bag of Bones_ is one of those novels that you either love or hate, I was one of the ones who loved it) and a few other not-so-brilliant-but-still-good-gems.

However, I think everything he's written since (and including) _Dreamcatcher_ have been failures. I couldn't even finish _From A Buick 8_ and I'm currently fighting my way through _Wolves of the Calla_ which I consider to have *ruined* the Dark Tower series.

And as for "hacks," there was a good article in Time that was written about this, but the link only works for subscribers, but long story short: the writer goes on to evaluate the response to Stephen King winning the award and reminds us all that America has forgotten the original intent of books: To entertain. Back when Charles Dickens was writing books, he wasn't labeled as an intellectual literary writer, people purchased his books to be entertained just as people today purchase John Grisham books to be entertained. I'm an English major myself, and my favorite authors are now Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde, but I will never completely abandon those authors I fell in love with as a kid who got me interested in reading. You know, those "hacks," as you call them. To be honest, I’m actually surprised to hear this coming from science fiction and fantasy readers, who are constantly attacked by literary academia as “hacks” themselves.

So I guess my ending note to all this rambling is that I don't think he deserves to be spoken of in disrespect, as if he has some hidden greedy motive, because even though he's written plenty of stinkers (just as several people on this board have written and published plenty of stinkers, and I don't say that as an insult), he has always been an encouraging and generous writer, and as far as I know, is a good person.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 07:00 pm:   

Gee, Simon, you're banging on the wrong door here. I don't fucking care if the guy wins awards--I said as much on another thread. Awards are bullshit. I hope his mantlepiece collapses under the weight of his many accolades. I could give a damn. As far as my opinion of his work goes, I stand by it -- I thought Bag of Bones was spectacularly bad. You have a different opinion? Fine.

As far as him holding Von Trier's work in such high regard, well, if that's the case, then why doesn't he ever toot Von Trier 's horn? Answer: Because whether or not there's the word "adaptation" somewhere in the credits or on his website, unless King makes an effort to publicize Von Trier, he knows people will assume it's his work. That, to my mind, is duplicitous, and that, to my mind, merits a measure of disrespect.

Your comparison of King to Dickens is informed by shaky logic. It fails to take iinto account the difference in the times, in marketing, in the audiences, etc. This Dickens argument is trotted out anytime somebody seeks to support the notion the Clancys and Kings and Grishams are great popular writers. The fact is, most great writers don't find a mass audience. Dickens was an anomaly. Dickens was a marvelously talented writer and King is a merely competent one at his best. Why not use the same argument to support the awesomeness of Danielle Steele or Joan Collins? Or Burger King, for that matter. Whoppers are popular.

As for your statement concerning his generosity and essential goodness (as far as you know), well, what do you know aside from PR concerning these subjects? It may be true, but the fact is, you don't know. In my view, King is generous to his pals. Period. That doesn't make him evil incarnate, just a normal human being.

Regarding the literary establishment and what they think, why should that have the least effect on my judgments? They want to believe that a piece of dreck like "The Corrections" is literature, hey, that says it all for me. Let me state that I'm not part of a group. I have friends who write genre fiction, friends who write mainstream fiction, friends who write non-fiction, friends who don't write. What one group says about another group may affect how I'm perceived, but I don't live my life as part of a group -- I don't get up every morning and say I am a genre writer! Give me my freedom! Maybe I should, maybe it would be a wise move financially. But that's not me. My definition of a hack is someone who writes formulaic, predictable books that use the same characters over and over, dressed in different names; someone whose plots turn on the same damn gears time after time, who lifts tropes from other writers like him- or herself and whose own peculiar tropes are essentially caricatures and melodrama. As I said in my review of the Dreamcatcher movie, I think King does what he does pretty well, but he's nonetheless a hack by my definition. Unless I'm pissed off, as I was in this instance, I don't use the word as a pejorative, however. Hack is a job description -- just like mechanic.

You say you "will never abandon those authors I fell in love with as a kind who got me interested in reading." Wow. Sounds like a pledge of allegiance, not a lirerary judgment. Me, I go back and look at the books I liked as a kid, I think I must have been brain damaged to like them. The first books I fell in love with were the Oz books, but I have no urge to re-read them. Ever. But that's just me. To each his own and all that good shit.

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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 09:41 pm:   

Perhaps I shouldn't have used Dickens, since you've obviously encountered other arguments with him used as an example that are different than my own, I was just pulling up a name that would be easily recognized.

"fails to take into account the difference in the times, in marketing, in the audiences"

--This is true, and the point of the article I referred to. He was stating that these novels that have become classics weren't so focused on their literary genre than to be entertaining. I think that you will find that your definition of "hack" applies to a lot more writers of great classics than it would first seem, the only difference is that their terrible books faded into the background while their greater ones became classics. Take _Dune_ for example, Frank Herbert wrote a great novel and then while it was still popular pumped out several sequels that would never come close to amounting to the original. Likewise, I've encountered the apocrypha of other great novelist who found a formula and rode with it. Some literary critics say that Faulkner's _The Unvanquished_ was a weak shadow of _The Sound and the Fury_.

Anyway, the point of all this is that fifty years down the road, when Stephen King is long and dead, he will no longer be considered a "hack" because by then his bad novels will have faded out into history while his better novels will have become classics.

I think you took more offense to my post as I meant to be taken, and for that I apologize, I wasn't directly attacking your statement but refuting the board's seemingly unanimous consensus as a whole. I think a lot of us have met this kind of situation before, when I found out that Dick's movie "Paycheck" was going to be a Ben Affleck action movie, I groaned.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 10:18 pm:   

I took no offense. I was writing in a hurry. Perhaps I sounded clipped.

Obviously writers repeat themselves when they're tired or rushed or faded. I can't in good conscience classify Dune as a great novel, but Fauikner, as far as I know, was not in the habit of using uneducated blacks as conduits to the divine, nor did he have a penchant for using the mentally challenged as pyschic warriors, nor did he habitually oversentimentalize childhood bonds...these are the tropes that qualify King under my definition. Faulkner may have written some less than terrific books, but he never stooped to that sort of authorial incest.....
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 08:30 am:   

Just when you thought Stephen King couldn't get any more cheeky.

New commercial on ABC this weekend for Kingdom Hospital...

"From the mind of Stephen King...a story so personal, only he could write it..."

No lie. Does this guy have some big huevos or what?
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 09:23 am:   

I guess that's because he incorporated his dumbass van accident into the plot -- yeah, like no other writer spills his guts onto the page. Really amazing...
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Adam-Troy
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 08:23 pm:   

Uh...whatever else you may say about King...who's saying he wrote that line? That's PR.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 08:35 pm:   

Whoever wrote the line is of no great moment. The thrust of this thread is that King, for all his purported largesse to other artists, hasn't done a thing to bring Von Trier's creation of the Kingdom to light. This suggests to me a number of unflattering possibilies.

And are you suggesting that he hasn't heard that line? Or that he doesn't have the power to change it? Him not doing anything about it, man, now THAT'S PR.....
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Luís
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 05:40 pm:   

http://www.kingdomhospitalofmaine.com/index.php?type=5

It's the promo site disguised as a hospital web page but like, all subtle and shit:

"Anybody who actually follows these directions will arrive at the gates of Hell, where they will be greeted by the walking dead."
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 06:08 pm:   

"...by the walking dead." And a little girl wearing a pinafore, and an evil clown, and an ancient evil dressed as a large spider, and a mentally challenged kid with a aptitude for telepathy, and all those highly original products from the mind of Steven King that endless repeat throughout his work. Thank god he lives so as to transform a work of proximate genius into a pile of crap that everyone can understand....
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Richard Patterson
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 07:56 pm:   

That website really says it all. A quick listen to patient Eleanor Druse's audio sample (a letter to Stephen King) confirms Lucius's predictions about the story lines. It's not much, but there is a nurse Carrie Von Trier listed under "staff". Hmmm... the one reference to Von Trier is a CARRIE.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 07:59 pm:   

Gee, what an honor for Lars... :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 10:45 am:   

Apparently the latest bit of merchandising is a "report" of paranormal phenomena investigator "Eleanor Druse" to Stephen King regarding the strange goings-on at Kingdom Hospital.

Can the McDonald's Happy Meal toys be far behind?
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outpatient
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 02:51 pm:   

Anyone read the article about Kingdom in Entertainment Weekly last month? It was made quite clear that King's Kingdom is based on the Danish one. Nowhere since have I gotten the impression that King has taken more credit for it than is his due. You guys have no idea how much Von Trier was paid. I don't hear him crying foul.

King has always brought attention to other writers out there. As for Trier, anyone who cares knows who wrote what anyways. So what if King is offering his own version? If you haven't read the teleplays, your criticisms may be premature.

I loved what I was able to see of the original Kingdom (years ago!) and am glad that King's version will bring the original some renewed attention. Maybe King's Kingdom will be quite good; maybe it'll suck...like Rose Red.

But please, why do people love to trash Stephen King? Professional envy?

I think his speech was first-rate. He stands up for the genres...and you can't tell me the 'literary' world isn't full of snobs. He's earned his opportunity to put a few in their place, and has the jam to do it. Just my opinion, folks! ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 08:32 pm:   

Hi Dave....I;m looking for action figure van. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 08:58 pm:   

Outpatient...

I love this. Anytime someone points out something of this sort, some little fanboy troll too chickenshit to announce himself crawls out from under his rock and peeps, "Professional jealousy." Dude (or dudette, whatever unsuccessful gender assignment is yours), I;m professionally jealous of Celine, Joyce, Denis Johnson. I wouldn't wipe my ass with the stuff King's been writing the last fifteen years or so.

I particularly enjoyed the following passage from your post: "King has always brought attention to other writers out there. As for Trier, anyone who cares knows who wrote what anyways."

So like the fact that King has not been generous to Von Trier, that he's not bringing attention to the man whose intellectually property he's permitting ABC to claim as King's alone, that's an allowable exception in your view? Jesus. And regarding "as for Trier, anyone who cares knows who wrote what anyways...". the point is, if other people knew, it might help Von Trier's profile.

"I don't hear him (Von Trier) crying foul."

And that means he's not, right? Because you hear all, see all? So he's been paid a lot? The point of this thread is that it just seemed sad that the Kingdom was going to be dumbed down (and I don't see more than previews to know that's what's happening) and made into another stupid schlockfest. Apparently you don't share that opinion. So fuck off...
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 08:22 am:   

I admit I didn't read the EW piece (I love that abbreviation... EWWWWWWWW...) and there may have been decent attribution in there. I don't know. Question: was the attribution from King, say, in an interview quote, or by the reporter who had to dig and do the background research to "unearth" the info.?

I can't be professionally jealous, since I don't write for a living, but I like to see creative people get their due. I'm coming at this from the POV of the average consumer, the guy who doesn't root around in the "Foreign" sections of video stores and mostly knows about TV what he reads in the TV Guide and his local paper. In short, a guy who knows zilch about Von Trier. Although this average viewer may have seen the piece you mention, my impression is that it's 90% certain from the KH publicity campaign that he's going to see the TV commercials and little else and attribute KH solely to King. I guess the point, for me, is that the consumer of work like KH shouldn't really have to put in extra EFFORT to know about King's debt to Von Trier, any more than someone who watched the Demi Moore Scarlet Letter should have to "read up" to learn about Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Maybe I'm being presumptuous here, but I think I'm with Lucius in feeling that the adaptor who is getting paid for modifying the work of another assumes an ethical obligation to educate people about his sources. It just seems to me that King and ABC have been very lazy about living up to this obligation.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 10:02 am:   

What you said, DG! If King is generous, here's a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate it....
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rwexler
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 05:41 pm:   

When the Traffic movie came out, I never saw anything attributed to its first having been a TV miniseries in England. All I saw was how brilliant Soderbergh was. Of course his version was spelled diferently, so maybe that made it okay.

Robert
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 07:02 pm:   

Nor was there a mention of the Britsh miniseries in any of the publicity leading up to the recent Traffic minseries starring Elias Kotea on USA Network -- there was, however, a bunch of publicity relating to the movie...
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 06:32 am:   

According to the Internet Movie Database, the WGA writing credits for Soderbergh's Traffic included a credit to screenwriter Simon Moore for the mini-series. How much the PR department talked up the mini-series is another question, but at least the guy got more than the limited credit Von Trier gets for KH.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 07:23 am:   

Having been involved with this stuff, getting credit on a screenplay is strictly a lawyer thing. For instance, the guy who won the Oscar for screenplay for Saving Private Ryan was one of , as I recall, 17 or 18 writers who had a go at the script -- he apparently did less work than any of the others, but his application for credit was ratified by the Writers Guild and the others were not. Moore may have gotten a credit, but was not acknowledged at the Oscars. The British miniseries was asiduously avoided by the American miniseries
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 08:00 am:   

I read a New Yorker article on WGA credit arbitration that made it seem like the most subjective, slippery, amorphous, arbitrary process I had ever seen. I would hate to be involved in it.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 08:21 am:   

Truthfully most of the stuff I worked on, I wouldn't have wanted credit for, but yeah, it's truly a bizarre process. It's actually better to just hired and fired and not give a shit....Which is my experience.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 07:37 am:   

Alex Strachan of the CanWest News Service had his review of 'Kingdom Hospital' published in our local paper today. The headline is 'Kingdom Hospital worse than bad.' He cites von Trier's original and compares it very favorably to King's effort. He goes on to say 'It's awful,' 'it's dull' and then he gets nasty.

The review closes with, 'Kingdom Hospital is frighteningly stupid.' Not much room for ambiguity here.
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GabrielM
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 09:24 am:   

The review in the Times today was also a pan.

But Von Trier is actually mentioned in the accompanying info box that lists the cast, etc. In fact, the original turns out to have been written not just by Von Trier, but together with Niels Vorsel.

The review says that King apparently rented a video of The Kingdom while on a shoot in Colorado in '97 "and was riveted".
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 09:42 am:   

Andrew McCarthy was on Good Morning America today -- no mention of Von Trier or Vorsel. Just a lot about how King was inspired by his recent hospital stay and how he turned those materials into a work of pop genius. They showed a clip. Gah! Turns out the hospital is built on a sacred burial ground or some shit and "the dead are unhappy."
Double gah!!!!
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 09:45 am:   

That shoot in Colorado must have been the mighty remake of The Shining, the "doing it right" version with Steven Weber and Rebecca deMornay and that hideous kid...

Triple Gah!!!!
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John Langan
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 12:23 pm:   

Small Irony noted: While King is busy taking all the credit for Kingdom Hospital, has anyone noticed that his name is noticeably absent from the latest film adaptation of his work? The only "names" associated with Secret Window are those of its star and director. Yes, I realize this isn't cosmic justice at work, but it did make me chuckle...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 12:30 pm:   

Yeah, Jonathan. I noticed that as well. The buzz on this movie is pretty good and it's being touted as "high-end product," which may explain why they want to distance themselves from King...who knows how these peoples' minds work?
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 12:34 pm:   

The always-quotable Tom Shales in today's Wash Post:

"Since the show is based on a miniseries by Lars Von Trier that already aired on Danish television, it isn't even King's original idea. That's not going to stop the network, desperate for an audience, from advertising it as 'Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital.' His name, mystifyingly enough, still draws crowds, even though most of the TV productions under his inauspicious auspices have been long, drawn-out duds."
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

Yea, Tom Shales! Though I think dud is way to kind a term. The Shining and Rose Red... they're the cinematic eequivalent of Lincoln Logs.. :-)
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Will
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:40 pm:   

Hey! I love lincoln logs!

I think they are getting away with the title by letting it imply that this is Stephen King's take on Kingdom Hospital.

Why can't they just play the original? Lars Von Trier is not an unknown commodity.

For God's sake, when will American's learn to read subtitles?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:50 pm:   

"when will American's learn to read subtitles?"

When the President learns to say "terrorist." :-)
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GarthMarenghi
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 03:25 am:   

Pffft. The original "Kingdom" has been the subject of a parody by English Television (Channel 4) called "Darkplace".
Keep up you lot.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 06:33 am:   

Well, Garth, now it's got a second parody, but this one, I'm certain, is not as funny as the British version..
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S. King - no relation
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 09:44 am:   

This false "Garth Marenghi" belittles the howling majesty of the original hosp-horror epic, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, which you can view with your trembling eyes here:

http://www.garthmarenghi.com/darkplace

Not suitable for children and the unsane.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

Wow. Wish I could see it. The false Garth Marenghi, huh? There's probably a horror epic in that.
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Luís
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 10:13 pm:   

Lucius: "When the President learns to say "terrorist.""

And nuculer . . . nucular . . . newkew . . . gah!

Best,
Luís
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bill reynolds
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 07:26 am:   

Always hated King's prose. Can't read it. However, he is a decent rhythm guitarist and deserves kudos as a rock critic for touting great Kansas City band The Rainmakers, even if he did betray his knowledge of rock criticism by swiping John Mendelsohn's review of the Kinks: 'I nearly drove off the road when I first heard "You Really Got Me"/"Let My People Go Go."'
Since I try to avoid all mainstream media I didn't know about the US Kingdum (sp deliberate) before running into "The Journal of Eleanor Druse" in Borders. I looked in vain for a von Trier credit.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 07:47 am:   

You know, I ain't a King hater, it's just the ripoff shit bugs me. I mean, it's like when the Rolling Stones took writing credit for Love in Vain -- what was the point? Why did they feel they needed that? King's supposed to be so generous to fellow writers...well, here was his chance to step up and say, hey, you oughts check this Von Trier guy out. He didn't.

As to "rock critic," isn't that one of those terms like "military intelligence....?" :-)
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bill reynolds
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:01 am:   

I don't hate King. I only hate Bush. I just can't read his prose. I sure can read yours. WOOOOSH.
Besides he really did contribute to what little fame The Rainmakers got, keeping them going a while longer.
Wasn't Rocky the Flying Sq. the first to point out the problem with "military intellligence?"
"Rock critic?" As an early reader of Paul Williams Crawdaddy (I still have every issue) and as an admirer of Lester Bangs, I can't agree. I'm given to dogmatic statements. Robert Christgau, a critic with whom I don't generally agree, said "Waterloo Sunset" was the most beautiful song ever written in the English language, and, of course he was completely correct.
Liz Hand refers to that song in her wonderful Mortal Love, and includes (without attribution, which I loved)a couplet from Astronomie Domine. From the only real PF LP.
I'm listening to live Rainmakers now downloaded in .SHN. Can't say enough about Walkenhorst's songwriting.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:11 am:   

Bangs, Williams, and Christgau have, sad to say, moved on to other things or become dead or mainly irrelevant (at least so Christgau seems to me these days, having spoken to hm in NYC on several occasions--he's a friend of a friend.) Rock Critic today seems generally to refer to a debased form of cheerleading/marketing. Umma Gumma was the shit, for sure. But I'm enough of a Gilmore fan to cherish some of the later stuff just for his leads. Haven't read Liz's new one yet. But others have said good things as well....
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:14 am:   

That "Journal of Eleanor Druse" gave me the heebie jeebies when I saw it.

I mean, it's one thing to "adapt" a man's work while stamping your own name all over it. But spinning off ancillary merchandise? It's like spinning off a "Scarlet Letter" clothing line to coincide with a film version of the Hawthorne novel. Just creepy.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - 10:37 am:   

Yup. Sucks. Hopefully SK will soon have his own theme park--he'd make a cool exhibit.
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liz
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 03:36 pm:   

So, are the Rainmakers the ones who did "Let my people go-go"? and that song with that great refrain, "why does the devil get all the good music?" I haven't heard them, or heard OF them, for years. But I did love those songs, if it's the same group.

Thinking of van trier, anyone seen MORVERN CALLAR? not by him, but reminded me a bit, tonally, of his work. I saw it last night -- here in maine I pretty much have to wait till everything is out on DVD. Of course, this has its perils -- I checked out CEREMONY several years ago on a whim. It was filed under Comedy. A real dogma laff riot!



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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 03:42 pm:   

Hopefully Bill will answer your questions -- not a Rainmaker fan, me. Nor have I heard of Morven Callar -- not much help today.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 07:53 am:   

Morvern Callar by Lynne Ramsay is based on a novel by Scot Allen Warner. Excellent movie, even better and richer book. I recommend both. Scottish girl wakes up one AM to find her novelist boyfriend has killed himself and left her a mix tape and a finished novel he asks her to send to publishers. She claims the book as her own and launches a series of adventures. Great soundtrack (Stereolab, Can, Aphex Twin, Velvets). Really slow, contemplative, dreamlike tone. Just saw it for the second time on DVD. Eerie, it really stays with you, sort of like Ramsay's first, RATCATCHER.

But absolutely you should read the book.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

If i can find time, will check it out....
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 03:00 pm:   

Wow, someone went to the trouble of registering for the board just to post this piece of spam. In the great list of useless human endeavors, I wonder how many rank more useless than this one? Maybe the act of collecting used pop tops from old soda cans...?
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 05:20 pm:   

And here I was hoping it'd be another chance to talk about Garth Marenghi's Darkplace.
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ls
Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 06:08 pm:   

You can talk about it anytime you want, Marc. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 07:11 pm:   

Why hear me blather on when you can watch the first episode yourself:

http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=1358
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ls
Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 07:34 pm:   

I have a Cretaceous-age computer, unfortunately...
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Robert
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 06:09 am:   

Gordon - you don't need to actually register to post. You can still post by just entering a Username with or without e-mail. This message is an example.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 10:43 am:   

Your last post was pretty funny, Spammer, but I still think you'd be better off doing something useful. Like, y'know, working as a publicist for Tom Cruise or something.
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LS
Posted on Friday, April 21, 2006 - 10:50 am:   

I don't get it..What's this stuff about having to register for the board? I can't sign myself Lucius because it gives me some shit about Lucius being too close to the name of an administrator...?
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Bob
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 11:38 pm:   

Hey, Marc, isn't that the guy who played the annoying computer tech on the Brit version of The Office?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 12:19 am:   

I only saw the first season of The Office a long time ago and don't recall many of the character actors other than the lead, Ricky Gervais. However, Gervais's other show, Extras, which I personally like better than The Office, was co-written/directed by Stephen Merchant, who also played Gervais's idiotic agent. And Merchant plays the chef in episode 2 of Darkside. So it would seem to be a tight-knit community.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 12:22 am:   

According to IMDB, the guy who created Garth Marenghi had a role in the second season of The Office.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 06:04 am:   

Merchant is really funny in EXTRAS, more so than even Gervais. It made me wish they had found a way to work him in on-camera in THE OFFICE.

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