Four Past Midnight
By Stephen King
I’m not really a fan of short story anthologies. So why buy a short story anthology? Wasn’t paying attention and bought it thinking it was one story.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Stephen King. He is one of only four writers I would call my favorites. So, even after I realized my mistake, I read the book.
FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT is a collection of four short stories written by the incomparable Stephen King.
The first, THE LANGOLIERS, I’ve read before and seen the movie. It’s great! It’s a scrape-your-fingernails-along-the-arm-of-your-chair kind of story. A real white knuckl-er, if there ever was one. Strange rolly-poly, furry, nothing-but-teeth-demon-creatures are eating the world and all those left in it! I love it.
The second, SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN, is about fiction writer Mort Rainey whose wife is a cheat, whose life is a mess and whose idyllic get-away turns out to be a really bad place to be when a stranger named Shooter shows up and accuses him of plagiarism. To prove to Mort that he’s not fooling around, he wants recompense for his work, darn it, Shooter kills Mort’s dog with a screwdriver and then uses that same tool to make Swiss Cheese out of another man’s brain. This guy is seriously crazy and Mort’s not too far from being the same. It’s an okay story…but left me feeling kind of…sigh. Do you know what I mean? This one fell flat for me. This is the reason for the four-star rating.
Story number three, THE LIBRARY POLICEMAN, is just…weird. Sam borrows books from the local public library (not realizing when he walked through the doors he stepped back into the 60’s and was met there by a truly demonic librarian). When the books come due, he’s confronted by the Library Policeman who brings back some horrific memories from Sam’s past and some brand-new horror to deal with. This one was more exciting for me than SECRET WINDOW… but, still, not what I would consider King’s best.
Story number four, THE SUN DOG, is true STEPHEN KING HORROR. Young Kevin gets a polaroid camera for his birthday. His first shot though—a family pic—doesn’t develop. What does is a picture of a dog walking by a fence. Kevin tries again, and again and again. Every picture is of the same dog. Kevin soon realizes when he takes in the scope of all the pictures together that the dog is moving along the fence and getting closer and closer to the cameraman—him! Before long, the dog will attack and the true terror begins! Some of the characters in Sun Dog will appear later in Needful Things—one of King’s most horrifying stories. I loved Sun Dog and when I was through with FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT I was still hungry for the scare… so I re-read Needful Things!