Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors of all-time. Even if you’ve never read one of his works, you’ve seen it in some variation, be it miniseries or movie adaptation. King almost always writes about his home state of Maine, but even beyond all of these otherworldly events taking place in that one mostly rural state, the Stephen King universe has more connections running through all of his stories than you’d believe.
10Everything is Connected to the “Dark Tower”
This one seems pretty apparent for anyone who’s ever read even parts of King’s magnum Opus, the seven-book Dark Tower series. The series follows a nomadic gunslinger named Roland as he attempts to reach the Dark Tower and destroy the Crimson King. Along the way, he encounters people who pop up in various other King stories, most notably the villainous Randall Flagg, who is basically the right-hand man of the Crimson King. Flagg, of course, is also the antagonist in The Stand.
9The World of “IT” is Connected to the “Dark Tower”, Too
But Flagg isn’t the only villain from the King universe to pop up in the Dark Tower series. One of the most famous villains King has ever created is Pennywise, the titular clown from the book IT. Late in the Dark Tower series, Roland encounters a dangerous creature named Dandelo. Dandelo is the servant of the Crimson King, and when killed, he turns into a clown. Basically, Dandelo is believed to be Pennywise himself, meaning that he and Flagg serve the same master.
8“IT” is Also Directly Connected to “The Shining”
At this point, more people no doubt know The Shining more as that movie starring a crazy Jack Nicholson alongside the kid who went around saying Redrum. But hey, remember the old caretaker in The Shining, the one who recognized the power that little Danny (aka, the kid who said Redrum) possessed?
His name was Dick Hallorann, and believe it or not, he was also in the book IT. Or at least, he’s referenced in the book. It turns out that the father of one of the kids from IT served with Hallorann, bringing a connection from IT to the Dark Tower.
7“Misery” is Also Connected to “IT”
As it turns out, IT has a ton of connections to other worlds within the Stephen King universe as well. One you probably won’t believe is the world of Misery, which is best known at this point as that movie where Kathy Bates breaks James Caan’s ankles with a sledgehammer.
In that story, the protagonist is Paul Sheldon, who it turns out is from the same town as the kids from IT. In fact, it’s revealed that he was the next-door neighbor of one of them. Now that is one doomed little town, isn’t it? If you were curious, the town is called Derry.
6Derry is Also Home to the Alien Invasion in “Dreamcatcher”
Dreamcatcher is another one of those stories you’ll probably remember more for its movie adaptation than the actual story, even though in this case it’s remembering how god awful the movie turned out.
Anyway, in that story, four friends were granted certain psychic powers as kids, as is a common theme in King stories, and when they grow up they need to try to use their psychic connection to defeat an alien invader which, yes, takes place in the town of Derry. Derry is a setting in one of King’s more recent stories, as well. That one is called “11/22/63.”
5“11/22/63” Is Also Connected to “Rita Heyworth And The Shawshank Redemption”
The story of 11/22/63 is that a young English teacher in Maine is shown a doorway to the past, which will allow him to go back to 1958 and live for five years in that era, in order to travel to Dallas, Texas, to thwart Lee Harvey Oswald’s attempt to assassinate John F. Kennedy.
However, in order to make sure that stopping Oswald will in fact change things for the better, the teacher does a test run by stopping another, smaller atrocity, which is a horrific murder…in the town of Derry. By the way, it’s mentioned several times that criminals in 1958 in Derry were terrified of winding up in Shawshank Prison. That means that, amazingly, Shawshank Redemption is connected to the Dark Tower.
4“Rita Heyworth And The Shawshank Redemption” is Connected to “Apt Pupil”
It does sort of make sense that Rita Heyworth and the Shawshank Redemption would be connected to Apt Pupil since they were part of the same short story connection. Anyway, everyone knows the story of Shawshank thanks to the classic movie, but people maybe a little less familiar with Apt Pupil despite it being a movie that starred Ian McKellen.
It is revealed that Andy Dufresne knew the Nazi war criminal Kurt Dussander – the character McKellen played – and that Andy helped Dussander buy stocks for him a year before he was falsely convicted of murdering his wife and winding up in Shawshank.
3“Dark Tower” Also has Direct Connections to “Hearts in Atlantis” and “Salem’s Lot”
Late in the Dark Tower series, some very familiar characters are introduced who become allies to Roland and his group, or ka-tet if you want to use King’s favorite made-up language.
One of them is Father Callahan, the preacher from Salem’s Lot. In fact, a big chunk of book five of the Dark Tower is told in flashback by Callahan, as he goes over some of the run-ins he had with vampires over the years. Another character who becomes central is Ted Brautigan, who was central to one of the stories in Hearts in Atlantis.
2“Hearts in Atlantis” is Connected to “From a Buick 8”
Throughout the story “Low Men in Yellow Coats,” Ted Brautigan was being pursued by, well, Low Men in yellow coats. At the end of that story, Ted is taken away by the Low Men.
In another connection to the Dark Tower, the story closes with a grown Bobby – the other central figure of the story, who befriended Ted when he was a kid – receiving an envelope filled with red rose petals from the area surrounding the Dark Tower.
The Low Men connect Hearts in Atlantis to the book From a Buick 8, as mysterious men who fit the description of the Low Men are known to have driven the Buick 8 and cars like it. One such man, a mysterious man dressed all in black? Oh, there’s speculation he’s actually Randall Flagg. Yep, that guy again. Which makes sense, since the Low Men are basically the henchmen of the Crimson King.
1And Familly, a Secret Organization is Responsible For Everything
Throughout the Stephen King universe, a shadowy organization known as The Shop is mentioned and appears to be behind the scenes, pulling strings and screwing around with horrible experiments that always end in disaster.
One such experiment is that they gave the titular character in Firestarter her powers, and another was that they became involved in an operation called the Arrowhead Project. The Arrowhead Project is responsible for creating the rip in reality that allows the monsters to enter in and terrorize the world in The Mist.
The rip in reality, by the way, would appear to be a “thinny” – which is a spot in the world where the boundary between one world and another is weak and could be easily punctured. You know what other work by King has thinnies? You guessed it, the Dark Tower. Yet more evidence that in King’s universe, literally everything is connected.