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Castle Rock is part of Stephen King's fictional Maine topography and provides the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. Castle Rock appeared first in King's 1979 novel The Dead Zone and recently in the novels Doctor Sleep (2013) and Revival (2014) and the novella Elevation (2018). (See list of works below.) The town name is taken from the fictional mountain fort in William Golding's 1954 novel Lord of the Flies.
Population and Geographical location
The population of Castle Rock was 1,280 by 1959 and around 1,500 in Needful Things. According to the book cover, Needful Things was "The Last Castle Rock Story". However, the town later served as the setting for the short story "It Grows on You", published in King's 1993 collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes. This story, according to King, serves as an epilogue to Needful Things.
In Needful Things, Castle Rock is placed eighteen miles southwest of South Paris. In the anthology film Creepshow (1982), written by King, there is a sign at the end of "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" that puts Portland at 37 miles, and Boston at 188 miles. "Weeds," the 1976 short story on which "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" was based, was set in New Hampshire.
Geographically, this puts Castle Rock within 37 miles of Portland, Maine. This region could include real places such as Durham, Lisbon, Danville, Auburn, Lewiston, Bridgton, and maybe even Sabattus. A map on King's official website places Castle Rock in Oxford County, in the vicinity of Woodstock. The works in which Castle Rock appears place the town in the fictional "Castle County," which also includes such fictional towns as Castle Lake and Castle View. The location of Castle Rock may also be related to Marblehead, where there is a park by the same name, but most likely not.
Works set in Castle Rock
- "It Grows on You" (1973, 1982, short story collected in Nightmares & Dreamscapes, 1993)
- The Dead Zone (1979)
- Cujo (1981)
- "The Body" (novella from Different Seasons, 1982)
- "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (novella from Different Seasons, 1982)
- "Uncle Otto's Truck" (1983, short story collected in Skeleton Crew, 1985)
- "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" (1984, short story collected in Skeleton Crew, 1985)
- The Dark Half (1989)
- "The Sun Dog" (novella from Four past Midnight, 1990)
- Needful Things (1991)
- "Premium Harmony" (2009, short story collected in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, 2015)
- Drunken Fireworks (2015, novella collected in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, 2015)
- Gwendy's Button Box (2017 novella written with Richard Chizmar)
- Elevation (2018 novella)
- Gwendy's Magic Feather (2019 novel written by Richard Chizmar)
Works referring to Castle Rock
- "Graveyard Shift" (short story which appears in Night Shift)
- "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (the narrator was a resident before his incarceration at Shawshank)
- Pet Sematary (refers to the events of Cujo which take place in Castle Rock)
- "Gramma" (short story appearing in Skeleton Crew)
- "Nona" (short story appearing in Skeleton Crew)
- Gerald's Game
- Sleepwalkers (Sheriff calls for backup from Castle Rock)
- The Stand
- Bag of Bones (significant portions of this story are set in Castle Rock, along with Derry, Maine and on TR90 at Dark Score Lake, Maine)
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
- Riding the Bullet
- Dreamcatcher (refers to the Castle Rock radio station)
- "The Man in the Black Suit" (short story which appears in Everything's Eventual)
- Kingdom Hospital (Television series)
- Lisey's Story
- "N." (short story appearing in Just After Sunset)
- Under the Dome (Chester's Mill is mentioned as being close to Castle Rock and the road leading to it is shown on the town map in the book's preface)
- A Good Marriage (novella published in the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars)
- Doctor Sleep
- Squad D (short story published in the 2018 anthology Shivers 8)
- The Mist
Use by third parties
Stand by Me (1986), the film adaptation of King's novella The Body (1982), makes reference to a town of Castle Rock in Oregon. Rob Reiner, the film's director, later named his production company Castle Rock Entertainment, which subsequently produced several adaptations of King's works.
Other Maine creations in King's work
Besides the oft-used Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem's Lot, King has created other fictional Maine towns, including Chamberlain in Carrie; Chester's Mill in Under the Dome; Haven in The Tommyknockers; Little Tall Island in Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century; Harlow in Revival; and Ludlow (unrelated to the real Maine town of Ludlow) in Pet Sematary and The Dark Half.
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On February 17, 2017, Hulu announced they were once again partnering with J.J. Abrams and Stephen King to create another limited series based on King's works. The series, entitled Castle Rock, is named after the fictional town in King's native Maine which has served as the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. A teaser of the series was released some time after the announcement by Abrams' production company, Bad Robot. The series is set to explore the themes and worlds uniting King's entire canon, while brushing up against some of his most iconic and beloved stories. On February 21, 2017, Hulu issued a 10-episode order for the series, with production set to begin at a later date. Filming is expected to begin in August 2017. The small Western Massachusetts town of Orange served as a stand in for filming scenes set in Castle Rock. The series, starring André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, and Sissy Spacek, premiered on Hulu on July 25, 2018. On August 14, 2018 Hulu announced that they have renewed the series for a second season.
- Beahm, George (1992). The Stephen King story (Revised ed.). Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel. p. 120. ISBN 0836280040.
Castle Rock, which King in turn had got from Golding's Lord of the Flies.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 17, 2017). "J.J. Abrams & Stephen King Team For 'Castle Rock' Horror Series On Hulu". Deadline. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 21, 2017). "J.J. Abrams & Stephen King's 'Castle Rock' Gets 10-Episode Series Order From Hulu". Deadline. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- Guglielmi, Luca (2017-02-23). "Castle Rock Shoot Date Revealed". All The Stuff You Care About. Archived from the original on 2017-02-25. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "Orange Locals excited to become extras in Castle Rock".
- Map of Maine from Stephen King's official website