“King of Horrors”: Stephen King is still teaching us to be afraid

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“King of Terror”
Stephen King is still teaching us to be afraid

The horror has a name: Stephen King. “The Shining”, “Stuffed Animal Cemetery” or “It” – the American author has been the grandmaster of horror novels for decades. And his work is not in sight, even now that he is 75.

He allowed pets and small children to climb out of graves in cemeteries. He turns cars and St. Bernards into monsters in American suburbs. He has permanently damaged the peaceful image of clowns. It has destroyed civilization several times – sometimes it was due to a deadly virus, sometimes to cell phones, sometimes to fog.

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King has sold over 400 million books.

(Photo: photo alliance / empics)

Above all, he has scared hundreds of millions of people for decades: Stephen King, one of the most successful authors in the world, known as the “King of Horrors”, turns 75 this Wednesday. His chilling track record: 40 novels, more than 100 short stories, short stories, screenplays, poems, essays, columns and non-fiction books.

Stephen King spent his entire life giving people the goosebumps they wanted. According to his publisher, the man from the US state of Maine has sold more than 400 million books in more than 40 languages. But does he scare himself? In any case, he makes sure that his feet never stick out of the covers at night, he revealed when he appeared on Markus Lanz’s talk show in 2013. “If you’re under it, you’re safe,” he said. “But if something sticks out, someone can always grab it from under the bed.”

The heart of a boy

As you read King’s tales of how he repeatedly turns the ordinary into the horrific, in addition to admiration, you have to wonder what goes on in this man’s mind. “People think I’m a very strange person, but that’s not correct, I have the heart of a little boy,” his publisher quotes him as saying. “It’s in a jar on my desk.” brrrrr.

As a child, King was fond of fantasy and horror stories and wrote them himself, then he was afraid of what was in the closet, under the bed and in the shower. “If I saw a shadow, it was for me a monster that came to grab me.” He then put his fears on paper and saved himself the trip to the psychiatrist, he explains.

He studies English, works as an English teacher in the early 1970s, but can hardly support the family. At night he still has to work in a laundry. In the little spare time he has, he writes short stories. Publishers are sending him away. In a rented caravan, he eventually embarks on the novel “Carrie” – and is initially so dissatisfied with the manuscript that it ends up in the trash. His wife fishes it out again and urges him to keep writing. King became famous for the story of a girl with telekinetic abilities who goes crazy at the prom and takes revenge on her tormentors.

Like bic mac with fries

He writes bestsellers such as “The Shining”, “It” and “Stuffed Animal Graveyard”. His works are world famous and many are made into films. It’s about supernatural ghosts, but also always about the horror within ourselves. In the end, humans are the worst monsters. He once unceremoniously replied to literary critics who discredited his work that his books were “the literary equivalent of a Big Mac with a big helping of fries.”

His own biography also contains traits of terror. In the 1970s he became addicted to alcohol and drugs and is still with Alcoholics Anonymous. In the summer of 1999, he was hit by a drunk man and seriously injured. But nothing stops him from writing. “My imagination is as dangerous as putting a small child behind the wheel of a race car,” says King of King. And the race car runs and runs and runs. King is a non-stop horror production machine. He stays true to his style, but moves with the times. Main characters in his more recent works gossip about Donald Trump and watch series on Netflix, but suffer the same internal struggles as all generations before them.

His new novel, the fantasy fairy tale “Fairy Tale”, has just been published. Even in his mid 70’s Stephen King is still producing like an obsessed man, writing about 2000 words a day. He runs his own radio station and publishing house with his wife Tabitha. His children are writers themselves. Is he afraid of death? No, at least he said at the time of his Lanz appearance. Fear of pain and pain perhaps, but not of death. Still, he would like to be there for a while.

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