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My Week With the King

It (1990)

I moved back to Vermont this past weekend to resume this semester of Zoom University, and on my drive back I was captivated by the autumnal beauty of New England. Fall tends to make me extremely sentimental and I’m often drenched with cider-scented nostalgia of trips to the pumpkin patch, hayrides, and trick-or-treating. Being a child of divorce, I had two different households. This meant two different Autumn experiences and more importantly-two different Halloweens. My mother has a large family, so Halloween in the Remington family is often associated with laughter riddled traditions that go back as far as anyone can remember. My father, being the child of a single mother, created his own traditions that revolved around his children. Pumpkin carving, the North Bennington Halloween Parade, leaping into enormous piles of golden leaves, and making crafts. My father didn’t sculpt often, but when he did he sought to make something worthwhile. His favorite was a weeping woman named “Matilda” who we painted black and put her on our porch. I wish I had a photograph of this piece because, to put it bluntly, Matilda used to scare the shit out of me. Matilda was supposed to look like the angel of death, I think. She was wrapped in a shroud, face covered and bowed. Her hands were almost claws, bony and thin. If you were passing by Rob’s screened in porch at night, you could feel the eyes of an old crone in dark robes watching you. I’m not sure what happened to Matilda over the years, Rob moved constantly and each time more and more of my childhood memories would disappear. My father had a deep love (i.e obsession) with Stephen King and both his writing and the on-screen representations of his work. Upon a recent reading of The Shining I discovered a quote that struck me: “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” Looking back on it, Matilda was pretty symbolic of the darkness that lived inside of my father’s mind. She was a monster, a shell in which hungry demons lived rent-free. Knowing that something that macabre lived inside of my father- who I would like to clarify was nothing like King’s Jack Torrance- is heartbreaking. All of that being said, just because Rob is now gone, doesn’t mean that he would want me to mourn for him on his favorite holiday of the year. Because of that I decided it was time to celebrate The Season of the Witch from now until October 30th. This week (keeping in the theme of Stephen King) I watched one of dad’s favorite movies: The OG It. I really do love the re-make and thoroughly enjoyed the cameo that the writer himself makes in the sequel, It: Chapter II  (banjo? bevah?), Rob definitely made it clear to me that he preferred the original (I think it was definitely Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise). Hear me out, it’s really good. From the accent (slightly Bronx?) of the dancing clown, to the absolute dated nature of the effects, to the actors (SETH GREEN?!) I can see why this was a Halloween staple in my father’s house. I must admit though, my favorite Stephen King masterpiece stars Kathy Bates as a nurse, fangirl, and psychopath in Misery. I am now old enough to form my own love and appreciation for The King and last month I actually took a drive over to his house in Bangor- yes for those of you wondering, it was as cool as you’d think. I felt my dad jumping up and down beside me shouting, “That’s it, Sweetpea! That’s his house!”. Without my dad I never would have found these movies or these books, never would have been able to find this mansion in Maine as beautiful as I did, but without Mr. King my father would have had such a difficult time escaping his own reality when he desperately needed to. So Mr. King, though I doubt you will ever see this, thank you and Happy (almost) Halloween. 

Misery (1990)


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