Horror author Stephen King is an undisputed master of terror. He's written dozens of novels, many of which have been made into blockbuster films. He's behind some of the most chilling and memorable characters ever conceived, from the murderous Pennywise the clown to Carrie, the violent misfit. It's safe to say that there's no one like King in the writing game today.
King's books are undeniably frightening. But take a look at the facts of Stephen King's life, and you'll see all the reasons Stephen King is scary in real life, too. He's had plenty of creepy run-ins over the years; that twisted prose didn't just come from nowhere. Stephen King's life hasn't been particularly easy. From drug addiction to horrific accidents, King has had plenty of fuel for his uniquely dark mind.
In 1999, King went for his daily walk near his home in North Lovell, ME. While on the road, he was struck and thrown by a minivan, and suffered multiple serious injuries. He narrowly avoided being killed. King described the incident with his usual chilling clarity:
"This recollection is very clear and sharp, more like a snapshot than a memory. There is dust around the van's tail-lights. The license plate and the back windows are dirty. I register these things with no thought that I have been in an accident, or of anything else. It's a snapshot, that's all. I'm not thinking; my head has been swopped clean."
King's leg was snapped in nine places, and he suffered breaks in his hips, spine, and ribs as well. He eventually recovered, but the process was a long and painful one. And not all of the damage was visible to the naked eye. As King morbidly quipped, "I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged."
Coulrophobia - the fear of clowns - has probably been around for a long time. But no one brought it to the public conscious like King, who created the horror that is Pennywise the clown. The malevolent force haunted the pages of his novel It, and came to television screens in 1990.
Good luck sleeping after you've seen Tim Curry's spin on the character.
The FAQ page on King's website contains plenty of queries, from questions about writing to inquiries about his personal life. And then there's this spooky question: "Are you dead?"
The answer is a simple "Nope," but you know you're seriously dark when many of your fans aren't even sure if you're still among the living.
What better home for a horror novelist than a gothic mansion? King's home in Bangor, ME looks like the stuff of Victorian ghost stories, with its small balcony and bat-topped wrought iron gates.
King doesn't always live in the house; he splits his time between that property and others in Florida and western Maine. But his fans show up to the home most days, and a neighbor's black cat is known to drop by as well.