Stephen King, the prolific and macabre horror writer whose work has given America many of its most culturally defining nightmares — from our fear of clowns to our collective anxiety about long hotel hallways — is also one of the most beloved faces of the Twitterverse.
When he created his account back in 2013, he cautioned fans that he probably wouldn’t tweet that often. He now does so multiple times a day, much to the delight of his 6.5 million followers and to the dismay of Donald Trump, who blocked him.
The author of 63 novels, 19 screenplays, 11 short story collections, and five nonfiction books (and counting) also blesses his fans with daily tweets featuring dad puns, pictures of his dog, and political commentary. Here are 7 iconic Stephen King Twitter moments, paired with book recommendations based on which tweet you like best (because there’s nothing like a King story to ring in the spookiest month of the year).
1. The Law & Order Vampire Spinoff
I’ll admit, I would absolutely watch this. All the cliches of a police procedural mixed with classic vampire hunting stories? It’s everything a girl who grew up on late-night marathons of Tales from the Crypt and Unsolved Mysteries could ask for.
Stephen King would absolutely kill it as the writer for this, too. The author’s second published book and still one of his most popular is ‘Salam’s Lot, the story of a small town in Maine (go figure) whose newest resident is Kurt Barlow, a mysterious antique collector from Eastern Europe whose arrival coincides with the disappearances of a few locals.
Barlow turns out to be a vampire who has been turning locals into vampires who prey on their former friends and family. There are, of course, plenty of “stake outs” in the King sense of the word.
2. The Time He Called Out a Newspaper for Reducing Tabitha King to “His Wife”
The newspaper headline is just one in a long line of headlines that seem hellbent on denying that women do anything more than become somebody’s wife. In this instance, Tabitha King, who Stephen clarifies was the mind behind the generous donation mentioned in the headline — is simply referred to as “and his wife,” even though saying “and Tabatha King” would be just as easy and less overtly misogynistic.
Stephen King stepped aside for this incident and lets his wife do the talking in a thread about why this headline is so offensive. “Wife is a relationship status. It is not an identity,” she explains, before figuratively dropping the mic.
Tabitha King is an author herself and an active philanthropist. She’s also credited with launching her husband’s career. When Stephen was working on the first pages of Carrie in the early 1970s, he tossed them in the garbage can, ready to dismiss the story as a lost cause.
Tabitha fished the pages out, encouraged him to keep working on the story, and helped him shape the female protagonist into a realistic portrayal of a teen girl going through puberty. The result would go on to become his first book to be accepted for publication — he’d written three up to that point that hadn’t gotten picked up.
Carrie follows an outcast teen girl with latent telekinetic powers. At school, she’s relentlessly bullied for being weird and, in one mortifying scene that is truly every teen girl’s worst nightmare, for starting her first period in the girl’s locker room and believing she’s dying because her mother never taught her about menstruation.
At home, she’s relentlessly lectured and abused by her overzealous religious mother who, on her best days, punishes Carrie for being a sinner and, on her worst days, locks her away under the conviction that she’s possessed by Satan.
The abuse and bullying from all sides pushes Carrie to her limits and become the motive for her to tap into her secret telekinetic powers that wreak havoc across the small town of Chamberlain, Maine. It’s one of King’s most overtly feminist works and, perhaps not surprisingly, one of his most frequently banned books.
3. His Cooking Show Idea
It’s a cheesy pun and a shameless reference to his own work all wrapped up in one and it’s one of the reasons his Twitter followers love him so much. I Imagine each episode of the cooking program would start with King appearing at the window of an amateur cook’s home and beckoning them to try a sample from his garbage can full of crepes.
Creepshow, available in both film and comic book form, is a horror-comedy anthology featuring five short stories — two of which King had already written and adapted for the anthology and three of which he wrote specifically for it — framed by the story of young Billy, whose abusive father won’t let him read his pulp horror comics.
Not to fear, the rotting corpse outside Billy’s window will give him his fill of tales of terror and gore — along with a handy voodoo doll to torment his mean dad with. The comic book is a delightful buffet of horror stories that don’t take themselves too seriously but the film, directed by another horror master, George A. Romero, is also a must-watch.
4. His Eerily Accurate Label for the Trump Family
This photo of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, is enough to spark nightmares all on its own. Are those eyes pleading for help or are they using their telekinetic powers to put a curse on whatever poor sap snapped this picture?
Stephen King is spot on when he calls them The Shining twins. Right down to the facial expressions.
While the twins are the work of Stanley Kubrick’s imagination and don’t actually appear in King’s book, The Shining is still a must-read. What you lose in not having the twins, you more than make up for in the rich, eerily authentic story of an alcoholic struggling with addiction and trying to repair his relationship with his wife and son which he irrevocably destroyed through years of absence and violent outbursts — all while a carnivorous hotel gets him ghost-drunk and tries to eat his son’s soul. It’s my favorite King book and a masterpiece of storytelling that will stick with you just as much as the Kubrick film did but in entirely different ways.
5. The Time He Joked About His Own Book
Here Stephen King stands defiantly in a cornfield in a tweet that sounds suspiciously like a confession that he was the leader of that cult of murderous children from Children of the Corn. “He who walks behind the corn” is the mysterious god whom the children in the story must appease by systematically sacrificing every single adult in the town (and then, when they run out, any adult who happens to pass through).
Stephen King is a master of making some of the most ordinary things suddenly feel like the most cursed objects on the planet and his short story, “Children of the Corn,” is no exception. He made every adult a little suspicious of kids and every midwest kid’s life a living nightmare by turning those endless rows of corn outside their windows into a harbor of bloodthirsty demons.
You can find the story in Night Shift, a collection of many of the short stories that first appeared in Penthouse and Cavalier, the porn magazines that first recognized King’s talent long before Carrie had even been dreamt of.
6. The Other Time He Joked About His Own Book
Stephen King is really rubbing it in with this photo of himself beside a clown and the playful caption referencing the book that is partially responsible for the cultural shift that turned a childhood favorite into one of the most creepy monsters to pop up in our nightmares.
The 1,000+ page novel, It, is probably his most popular book to date. It was adapted into a successful miniseries, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown (It) and a successful 2017 feature film, starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown.
The book follows seven outcasts — each bullied and/or marginalized for various “flaws” ranging from having a speech impediment to being a girl — who must save the town that ostracizes them from a mysterious being, known only as “It,” who appears every 27 years to feed on children.
The being is only known as “It” because it changes form, becoming the thing that its current prey fears most. For one kid, it’s a clown. For another, it’s the racist neighbor who terrorizes his family. For another, it’s endless floods of blood pouring out of faucets and staining every surface of the bathroom.
It’s a book that will keep your heart racing and make you feel like finally confronting your own worst fears (or like keeping every light in your house on while you sleep).
7. The Time His Corgi Did Hard Time
Stephen King named his corgi Molly, Thing of Evil. He tweets about her often, always implying that something sinister lies behind that adorable puppy dog gaze. The contradiction between the adorable pics of the most harmless corgi and King’s increasingly sinister captions of her photos make for great entertainment — and possibly a cry for help? Has the Thing of Evil taken King prisoner and, while the author desperately pleads for rescue, his millions of followers just gleefully awe over what a cute little furball of evil Molly is?
We may never know until it’s too late. In the meantime, you can search for clues in Different Seasons, the collection that features Stephen King’s novella, Shawshank Redemption which this tweet (and the beloved 1994 film adaption) references.
The collection gathers some of King’s only stories to not fall squarely into the horror or sci-fi genres. The four novellas in Different Seasons lean more toward drama and tragedy than supernatural or other-worldly themes. Hence the title of the collection, which is a reference to the fact that the stories in the collection are something different from what King fans had come to expect from the horror writer.