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King of the Castle: The Many Stephen King References in ‘Castle Rock’

Hulu looks to have another hit on its hands with Castle Rock, the original series set in the Stephen King universe.

For those not familiar with the series or the setting, Castle Rock, Maine, is a favorite fictional location of the horror master. And while the series is not adapted from any single story by the Master of Horror, the show draws from many different works by the prolific author.

The show is filled to the brim with oodles of references to the author’s books and short stories. In any given episode, there are enough insinuations to past works to keep Redditors busy for the better part of the night.

With that in mind, here are a few possible handfuls of references from the series to previous written works.

It should be noted that recently King took to Twitter to tell fans that while he appreciated all the sleuthing and conspiracy theory, to please just chill and enjoy the show. But then he noted:


And away we go…

Shawshank Penitentiary

Previous History: “The Fifth Quarter,” “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (Different Seasons), “Apt Pupil” (Different Seasons), “The Body” (Different Seasons), It, “The Sun Dog” (Four Past Midnight), Needful Things, Dolores Claiborne, Bag of Bones, Blaze, Under the Dome, “A Good Marriage” (Full Dark, No Stars), 11/22/63 (2011 novel)

A fictional prison that is highly referenced throughout the King universe.


Alan Pangborn

Previous History: Needful Things, The Dark Half, Gerald’s Game, Bag of Bones, “The Sun Dog” (Four Past Midnight)

The former sheriff of Castle Rock, who stared down the devil twice, once in The Dark Half and once in Needful Things. A widower who lost his wife and son, but found happiness in a coffee shop waitress later on. In Castle Rock, he is in his later years, dating Ruth Deavers and one of the last keepers of the secrets of Castle Rock.


RIP Warden Samuel Norton

Previous History: “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” Different Seasons

The son-of-a-bitch warden who ran a money laundering scheme using the funds from Shawshank Prison with the helping hand of the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne. When Dufresne flew the coop and told his story to the papers, Norton shot himself in his office. Apparently, you can still see the bullet hole.


RIP Leanne Chambers

Possible Previous History: “The Body” (Different Seasons), Needful Things

Chambers is a common name in King territory. In “The Body” (aka Stand By Me), Chris Chambers was looked down upon by the town because he came from bad stock. His older brother Eyeball was part of Ace Merrill’s gang and his father was the town drunk.

Another nearby Chambers would be Polly, the waitress who marries Sheriff Pangborn in Needful Things.

A far-reaching Chambers would be Jake Chambers, the main protagonist from the Gunslinger/Dark Tower series, but that seems far fetched.

But again, you never know.


Joseph & Vince Desjardins

Previous History: “The Body” (Different Seasons), Carrie

While his brother was living in his house being all sorts of creepy, Vince had a bit of a past beating up kids and scoping out dead bodies at train tracks as part of Ace Merrill’s gang.

This wasn’t the first time King used the Desjardins name. Rita Desjardins was Carrie White’s sympathetic P.E. coach who attempted to make her part of the human race again before her attempts were thwarted by evil teens and a bucket of pig’s blood on prom night.


The Mellow Tiger

Previous History: Needful Things

Castle Rock’s only bar and was the location where Henry Beaufort and Hugh Priest killed each other with a simultaneous shotgun blasts.


Nan’s Luncheonette

Previous History: “The Sun Dog” (Four Past Midnight), It

Briefly mentioned in both the short story “The Sun Dog” and It, which also takes in Maine.


“It was the fall after they found that boy’s body out by the train tracks…”

Previous History: “The Body” (Different Seasons)

During Warden Dale Lacy’s narration from his suicide letter, he mentions a football game that took place when he was in high school right after the events from the short story “The Body.”


Assorted newspaper clippings:

“Shopkeeper Missing After Oddity Store Fire”
“Anonymous Tip Led to…”
“Rabid Dog Tears Through Town”

Previous History: Needful Things, “The Body” (Different Seasons), Cujo

As Henry Deaver rifles thru Marthy Lacy’s dead husband’s belongings, he finds an assortment of newspaper clippings, as if the Shawshank warden was creating the world’s saddest scrapbook.


“I feel things other people feel…”

Previous History: The Shining, Doctor Sleep

Dick Hallorann and his grandmother used to hold conversations without opening their mouths, and he used to chat with “Doc” the same way. It looks like Molly is in the same boat with her gift. Let’s just the True Knot doesn’t get wind of this.


Jackie Torrance

Previous History: The Shining, Doctor Sleep

This could just be a tongue in cheek reference, but in Doctor Sleep, it is noted that good old Jack Torrance was a bit of a tomcat, planting his seed wherever he could find a teaching job. While there is probably a .001% chance young Jackie is a fruit from the Torrance tree, it wouldn’t be out of the question.


The lack of a gazebo

Previous History: The Dead Zone, Needful Things

“Every revitalized downtown needs a gazebo.”

Castle Rock did have a gazebo once. It was the murder scene in The Dead Zone for one of Frank Dodd’s final victims and it later burned down during the events in Needful Things.


Molly’s odd house history

Previous History: The Dead Zone

During a house showing, Molly let’s it slip that a serial strangler once resided in her house. This could easily be a reference to The Dead Zone’s Frank Dodd, the police officer/mamma’s boy who enjoyed passing the time by killing local girls.


Maple Street

Previous History: “The House On Maple Street,” Nightmares & Dreamscapes

As Henry and Alan ride together to fetch Matthew Weaver’s body, they make a quick turn down Maple Street, the same street where the four precocious Bradbury children lived in the 1993 short story.


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