A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD OF STEPHEN KING – PART ONE: DERRY

ONE HELL OF A TOWN

The books and films of Stephen King aren’t just creeptastic portals to the weirdest corner of the imagination; together they make up an entire shared universe of strange happenings and memorable characters.

Join us on a three-stop tour of some of King’s most famous fictional locales and the movies that bring us to them. First stop: Derry, Maine, the town where terrible misfortune waits just beneath the surface.

Derry is most widely known as the setting for Stephen King’s It, the twisty tale of a population under attack from a murderous shape-shifting clown. Both the original 1990 miniseries and the 2017 film (soon to be followed by this year’s sequel) reveal Derry as a quaint and sleepy town where terrible tragedies are somehow easily forgotten by the adult residents…

Dreamcatcher is another King film starting in the town of Derry, in which a group of teenage friends awaken telepathic abilities that they later put to good use fighting off a race of body-snatching aliens.

The bedeviled beasts of Pet Sematary are also (coincidentally?) no stranger to nearby neighbor Derry. A road sign in the 2019 remake points the way to the town, although cautious travelers might not want to follow.

The hero of 2017’s The Dark Tower also owes a great debt to the good people of Derry. In King’s novel Insomnia several Derry residents foil a homegrown terrorist plot to blow up the Derry civic center, and in doing so prevent a sequence of events that would have eventually spelled doom for the Dark Tower and its protector.

The Running Man, while differing greatly from King’s original novel, tells the story of a hard-nosed fugitive who (at least in the book) passes through Derry while eluding his powerful pursuers.

Finally, who could forget Misery? King’s tale of a beleaguered novelist and the obsessed fan who kidnaps him bears a small but significant connection to a certain small but significant town. Based on a short anecdote relayed in the book, protagonist Paul Sheldon may in fact have spent part or all of his childhood years in Derry (which might account for his streak of bad luck).

Has all this sightseeing got you in the mood for a macabre movie marathon? Word on the street is, purchasing the newly released Pet Sematary on Vudu may unlock some scary good deals on other Stephen King classics (but only for a limited time)…

If you want to head back to where it all began, start with the novels that inspired all of the films above, available on Walmart eBooks: