‘Them’ Scares ‘King of Horror’ Stephen King
When the King of Horror tips his cap to new stories in the genre, people pay attention. Stephen King has stated many times that he’s not a horror writer, but a suspense writer. I’ll admit, his books take on a very charming, small-town-America quality as he introduces tangible and relatable characters in believable environments.
But any reader of King knows the charm only lasts until the monsters come out. Which they always do. He’s authored some of the most legendary horror stories in the history of literature (and film). To name a few: Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, It, Misery, Pet Sematary, Gerald’s Game, The Stand.
Stephen King praised the new Amazon Prime horror series, Them. He said in a tweet, “Amazon Prime Video: THEM, starting tomorrow. The first episode scared the hell out of me, and I’m hard to scare. Bonus: If you’ve neer seen a bunch of extremely creepy white ladies in 50s dresses, here’s your chance.”
“I as an artist have to sit with myself and grapple with the authenticity of the show.”
Them stars Deborah Ayorinde (Girls Trip), Ashley Thomas (Shank), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Us), and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Dead Silence). The show is about a black family that moves to a white-abundant neighborhood in 1950s LA where racist neighbors terrorize them.
Stephen King clearly has the stomach to go to the dark places we all fear. So when he shared his thoughts on the new series, people (like me) felt the danger in the air before even watching it. Series creator and executive producer, Little Marvin, came under fire due to the violence and upsetting racism depicted in the show. “Yes, there is a concern, but at the end of the day, I as an artist have to sit with myself and grapple with the authenticity of the show,” Marvin said. “If I can’t sleep at night knowing this entire enterprise has an authenticity and integrity to it, then I’m good.”
Marvin continued to defend himself and the other writers of the show saying that they, “never once sat in the writer’s room and said, ‘How can we be controversial? How can we be provocative or hot button?’ We asked ourselves two things” what terrified us the most and what felt most true. Typically, those two things were the same.”
When speaking about his inspiration for the show, Marvin said, “My inspiration was waking up every day and seeing cellphone videos of Black people being terrorized in some ways, either by threats from the police, surveillance, or something else.” He continued, “I was also thinking about the American Dream. There’s nothing more emblematic of that than owning one’s home. There’s great pride in that, particularly for Black people. But as you know, it’s been anything but a dream. It’s been a nightmare for Black folks.”
Stephen King recommends many TV shows through Twitter including, Da Five Bloods, To the Lake, DARK, and The Queen’s Gambit. The King of Horror (or suspense, as he puts it) turned 73 last September and still cranks out hit books. Later just came out in March, 2021.