Do you think Stephen King was listening to this when he wrote The Regulators?
Sorry, I mean when “Richard Bachman” was writing it?
I had a cold last weekend and spent three days laid out on the couch, unable to stand up for very long. On the Friday I marathoned the end of Orange is the New Black. On the Saturday my brain was working a bit better, so I dove into our ebook library. We’ve got this massive collection of ebooks that was given to us by my boyfriend’s dad, who was given it by a friend, who got it from another friend…let’s just say that nobody knows exactly where it originated, but there must be hundreds of books on there.
In the Stephen King folder I found The Regulators and Desperation. These books, published simultaneously in 1996, take place in alternate universes but center around the same theme. In both books, the same group of people are caught up in some pretty weird and gory stuff. I am not going to explain any further. WHAT AN ASSHOLE HUH??
Come on, though, in both books the characters are just going about their lives and then suddenly coyotes are stalking them and a police man is trying to kill them and cartoon vans drawn with crayons are driving up the street. Both books take a long time to explain what exactly is going on and I don’t want to ruin them for you.
I read Desperation first and it scared my so much I had to keep putting it down and saying “Omigod I can’t even this book is so scary holy shit” and then pick it back up. You know that part in the movie “Rachel Getting Married” where they talk about having a “nachtmahr”–a nightmare so bad it’s in German? This book is a freaking nachtmahr factory.
Desperation starts with a couple driving along the highway in Nevada. They get pulled over by a really weird acting cop (who is so creepy that I immediately got the willies). Craziness ensues. Again, I don’t want to go into it, but one of the things in movies that freaks me out the most is when people seem normal and then turn out to have distorted faces or voices all of a sudden. There is a lot of that kind of body horror in Desperation.
I read The Regulators back in high school when it came out and it has really stayed with me. I think there was an element of identification with the scenario, as The Regulators takes place on a peaceful small town street, and that’s similar to where I grew up. This time around, it didn’t do much for me. I had less patience with the process of finding out what the heck was happening, because I pretty much knew already. I also found myself rolling my eyes at the usual Stephen King women problems. There are a whole lot of cheating, bitchy, stupid, selfish women in this book. But don’t worry, most of them die and the men are there to save the day.
I have to go now. Just thinking about Desperation has freaked me out so much that I have to go put on loud music and watch something cheerful on the TV.