Daily Horror Film Fest: Stephen King On Childhood

Like the first entry in this year’s DHFF, I found this one through the Boston Short Film Festival. It’s an oddity for this series, in that it’s not a narrative film, but part of PBS’s Blank On Blank series, which features a noteworthy person talking about a single subject. In this case, it’s Stephen King On Childhood. The master horror writer talks about the relationship between childhood and horror, illustrated by Patrick Smith.

The interview is taken from King’s appearance on The Public Radio Book Show in 1989, when he was interviewed by Thomas Smith. King talks about the difference between how we think as adults and how we think as children. We’re more linear as adults, whereas we tend to process life in a kind of dream state when we’re young. That’s useful, because it’s connected to how we might process fear. Where fear comes from, he says, is the friction between very real concerns and how our minds change them in that dream state to make them more palatable.

“I think that in a lot of supernatural stories, we’re dealing with fears that exist on a very practical level,” says King. “And in between those two levels, the shout on top, where the make-believe is going on, and the whisper underneath, where the subconscious is saying, ‘Yes, but this could really happen if you just changed a few things,’ that’s where the story can succeed.”

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