Saturday, September 16, 2023

Stephen King's If It Bleeds Read-Along - Mr. Harrigan's Phone

This is a read-along so be aware of spoilers ahead.

One of the things Mr. King does best, besides the chilling and creepy, is coming-of-age themes. This theme is very clear in Mr. Harrigan's Phone. The befriending of Mr. Harrigan at first leads one to believe that something creepy is going to happen in that house (as Craig waters plants and reads to the old man as a job). And what about that phone? I liked how the story was set around the time iPhones started to appear (though I hate iPhones lol), and so when Craig gets one, he is learning, and when he gives one to Mr. Harrigan, they sort of learn together. Mr. Harrigan's reaction and subsequent liking of the phone is truly entertaining. Craig was a genius pulling off sparking the old man's interest by showing him how to easily look up the stock market standings. Something Mr. Harrigan is very interested in due to his riches. All the while, we're wondering what this all means. Why is Mr. Harrigan, a self-proclaimed "ruthless tycoon" so interested in Craig? Personally, I think as we age (especially at Harrigan's advanced age), we start looking back at our innocence as we grew up, and so Harrigan spending time with Craig is a comfort, and he is reminded of his own more innocent days. 

The more supernatural side of the story comes about after Harrigan dies and Craig slips the old man's iPhone in his pocket in the casket. And so, he is buried with the phone. When Craig has hard times in life (being beat up by a bully, the loss of a beloved teacher, etc.) he calls Harrigan's phone for comfort and leaves voice mails about the occurrences. For some reason, the phone continues working, even after years have gone by so we know that is definitely supernatural. The chilling part comes in when the bully, and the drunk driver who killed the teacher, both come to suicidal endings. 

Ultimately, the friendship wins out and Mr. Harrigan sends the cryptic text that can only mean he's telling Craig to stop. I genuinely feel that Mr. Harrigan knew that these continued revenge scenarios would take a very negative toll on Craig, and so he is still a mentor and a friend even after death. Craig complies and throws the phone in the lake.

Share your thoughts on this novella in the comments, or leave a link to a post. We'll be back October 1st to discuss the next novella, The Life of Chuck. If you need the reading schedule, find it here.

There is a Netflix film based on this (with the same name) that I thought was done well. Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan was the perfect choice, and Jaedan Martell put in a great performance as Craig. If you haven't already, you should give it a watch. Here's the trailer...

This post is a part of....

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Friday, September 1, 2023

Something Wicked Fall 2023 featuring an If It Bleeds read-along...stories, movies, and more!

Year six! It's September 1st so it's officially fall here at Castle Macabre and spooky season starts NOW!

Everything on the agenda is on the button above, but I'm going to share more details below. If you're on Facebook, we have a Seasons of Reading group and page, where we interact during readathons so I'll be sharing info there, and also on the Seasons of Reading Instagram, and in the Seasons of Reading Goodreads group. Castle Macabre also has a Facebook page and we're on Instagram here. Also, if you like Discord, join us on the Seasons of Reading Discord. There is a Something Wicked Fall channel if anyone is up for some live interaction. Here's the invite link:

😈 Stephen King's If It Bleeds read-along. We will be reading the book for the entire two months.

Discussions will be held on this blog. I will put a new post up the day after each reading section ends. We will read along according to the schedule below.

My edition is the Scribner (hardcover) edition, published 2020. 436 pages.

Read-Along Schedule
  • September 1 - 15 - Mr. Harrigan's Phone (Discussion post Sept 16)
  • September 16 - 30 - The Life of Chuck (Discussion post Oct 1)
  • October 1 - 15 - If It Bleeds (Discussion post Oct 16)
  • October 16 - 31 - Rat (Discussion post Nov 1)
💀 In September, we're focusing on Gothic stories (Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and others). There's a great list on Goodreads for reference, Best Gothic Books of All Time. I'm not going to set up any read-alongs for this. 

🎃 In October, we're focusing on horror stories. There are a couple of great lists on Goodreads for reference...Best Horror Anthologies and Horror Collections (Single Author). I'm not going to set up any read-alongs for this either.

The above are not steadfast rules. Read what horror you want, when you want. Just a guideline on what we will be focusing on here. 
There will be master posts for both of the above for you to stop by and share your thoughts on what you read in the comments. Look for the tabs in the menu bar above.

👹 Horror movie/shows I watch an inordinate amount of horror movies and shows during the season so I will be sharing my take on some of those, and will probably share a few book reviews as well. As always, I invite guest posts or reviews from anyone who cares to contribute. The more the merrier! 

👻 #FrightFall Readathon, October all month long, at Seasons of Reading. Sign ups for the readathon will be open soon. Reader's Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) is going on right now as well.

I believe I've covered everything. If you have any questions, feel free to comment, or contact me via the contact form (click the image near the top of the sidebar) No official sign-up for this. Just share that you're in by leaving a comment. You can join in as little or as much as you want.

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