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The Mangler

Discussion in 'Night Shift' started by Mr. Crandall, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. Mr. Crandall

    Mr. Crandall Member

    I've always enjoyed the Mangler. As someone who has worked around heavy machinery like the industrial laundry press, I know that those machines are loud, powerful, and remorseless. I've seen fingers lost in the blink of an eye. This story strikes home in a powerful way, and I enjoy the mysticism in the accidental demon summoning. Plus, the last image of the Mangler prowling outside the residence of the main characters, bursting with malice and infernal purpose, it's the best. A classic King ending through and through.

    Anybody else like this one?
  2. mustangclaire

    mustangclaire There's petrol runnin' through my veins.

    Yep, it's a cracking tale. All I want to do when I read it is shout "run you fools!" Some brilliant story's in that collection. He's so descriptive and I can hear the steaming and rumbling when reading it. Welcome to the board.
  3. Autumn Gust

    Autumn Gust Well-Known Member

    "The Mangler" really resonated with me. It reminded me of my grandmother's old wringer washing machine when I was little and the fear/fascination I had watching her use it. I could picture long hair or a hand getting caught up so easily in that wringer. From that time on, most mechanical equipment has seemed menacing to me!
  4. Walter Oobleck

    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    Heh! I got my hand caught in one of those old wringer-washers this once! I musta been about four, summer, "nothing to do" although that phrase hadn't as yet become a part of my vocabulary...I step into the basement and the washer is there, the arm swung over the...tank...the rollers spinning, the agitator swishing the laundry back and forth and one of my sister's dolls there on the floor, its dress in bad-need of a wash. Or so I thought. So I disrobe the doll, dip the dress into the suds to get it wet and start pushing it through the rollers only I pushed too far and the roller grabbed my fingers...no way could I pull back. My howls brought Ma running down the basement steps. I recall that you slapped something on the top of the arm to release the ringers. I've heard some horror stories about machines taking off arms, hands, so forth so on...there one moment gone the next.
  5. notebookgirl

    notebookgirl Well-Known Member

    He does a good job on descriptions of the place and making almost dingy and dark. That's what I imagine. Then there's the big machine.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...yep, I liked it...shore nuff....and he drew on his own experience in working around one of those beasts...
  7. Chuggs

    Chuggs Well-Known Member

    The thing is, when you look at this story from the outside, you think, that's just a silly story. But when you actually read it, it sucks you in. ;)
  8. prufrock21

    prufrock21 Well-Known Member

    Actually the story, um, "mangles" you in.
  9. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    Just don't put me through the wringer, okay?
    prufrock21, Doc Creed and krwhiting like this.
  10. mal

    mal Well-Known Member

    I just reread the Mangler after many years and there is a line "I'm scared green.". I wonder if that is from The Odyssey where, every so often it will say, "and the green fear came upon them/me". Which I think is a fear of the supernatural. I forgot how the story just pulls you in.
    Brian's Twinner, krwhiting and Neesy like this.
  11. Riot87

    Riot87 Love him forever

    Welcome to the skmb

    This is one of my favorites stories in the book as well.

    I would be so scared of that machine especially after it got the demon in it lol.
  12. krwhiting

    krwhiting Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. When I was younger, certain concepts did not seem to frighten me so I didn't read them. An example is Christine, which I still haven't read. It just didn't seem scary to me. The idea I mean. A haunted car, whatever. So as I was reading Night Shift, I didn't expect the Truck story to do much for me and I was wrong. It was terrifying in the reader, frisson sense. Not personally like "It" was to me, but still. The Mangler was too. I didn't expect it to be when I started it, but then it grabbed me and really was frightening.

    When I was in the Army I spent a couple years around tanks before I was in the cavalry scouts. I was the platoon leader of a tank platoon (the four horsemen of the apocalypse, my tank was The Reaper). One of the things drilled into us was that a tank is a 60 ton killing machine. And it doesn't care who it kills. You're just as handy as the other guys. Another officer I know lost his thumb in the breach of the main gun loading rounds on a firing range. When the breach snapped up to close he didn't have his thumb tucked and it caught it just right. Took it off clean at the base knuckle. Blood everywhere, like a spout. That was at AOBC where officers learn all the roles on a tank and he was loader that day. Another platoon leader friend of mine got his tank shot accidentally by his platoon sergeant on a platoon firing range in Yakima. It was bad. Round hit right at the base of the turret ring. Gunner hit in the back, which broke it (training round, fortunately). It cooked off the TC's .50 cal rounds and filled my friend and the loader with shrapnel. Started the tank on fire with the driver trapped inside. The loader saved him getting him out, sustaining third degree burns on his arms and hands doing it. And that wasn't a direct hit with a real round.

    Once I jumped from the tank to the ground on the side and I was wearing my class ring (a huge no no, for really good reasons, but I'd forgot), and my ring caught on a piece of metal at the top above the tracks. When my feet hit the ground, I was at full extension with my hand pulled up tight. There was just enough space to not have my finger stripped clean by my ring. If I'd been an inch shorter; goodbye ring finger. Anyway, machinery can be scary if it isn't treated with a good degree of fear.

    Those things make a story like the Mangler or Trucks more seriously dangerous to me.

    Doc Creed, FlakeNoir and Neesy like this.
  13. krwhiting

    krwhiting Well-Known Member

    I also think that these stories manifest a bit of the nervousness people feel with the ever-expanding reach of technology into our lives. In the 70s and 80s (and even before), that was manifested by machinery. Today it's mostly manifested by movies and books about the internet or bio-tech or software, etc. But we always struggle to integrate new technologies into the processes of our regular, work-a-day lives. Seriously, I will not ever participate in the "smart" appliance revolution. No google-glass for me. No chips. No on-star. No phone-linked home security system. Not because I think the machines will take over or develop real AI, but because I don't trust people.

    Neesy, Doc Creed, mal and 1 other person like this.
  14. Sunlight Gardener

    Sunlight Gardener Well-Known Member

    The Mangler has always been one of my favorites in the collection. And that is saying something because Graveyard Shift is my favorite of all SK's collections. I have the Audio CD of the collection as well. As if the story couldn't get any more awesome, the CD has the sound effects of a giant machine running as the Mangler starts cranking at maniacal speed. Lol, priceless! I love it.
    Neesy likes this.
  15. Pucker

    Pucker We all have it coming, kid


    Yes. That is an apt descriptive.

    A few years back (but not too many) I had what I considered to be a very good job with a giant multi-national conglomerate that you would recognize if I told you its name, manufacturing water filtration elements designed to make a whole bunch of rich people a lot richer and help save the planet at the same time.

    Awesome, right?


    What this giant multi-national conglomerate did in the interests of more and bigger profits was to build a machine -- a very large machine . . . a machine as big as a house -- to incorporate every aspect of the process into one continuous assembly loop. What this did was reduce a department that had previously employed roughly 75 people on three shifts to about 20, one of which was not me.

    Maybe losing your job to a machine isn't quite as bad as getting chewed up by one, but I've spent some time since I changed careers wondering just exactly how I feel about that image of The Mangler busting straight out of the laundry and bopping down the street, looking for new and better rows to hoe.

    Where's John Henry when you need him, right?
    Neesy likes this.
  16. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    Listened to this on audio last night. The narrator was fully committed and made the story come alive. All of these stories are terrific. I hope this narrator narrates the others.
  17. Sunlight Gardener

    Sunlight Gardener Well-Known Member

    Did your copy have the sound effects in the background as well?
    Neesy and Doc Creed like this.
  18. Doc Creed

    Doc Creed Well-Known Member

    Yes, it did. Very atmospheric.
  19. Sunlight Gardener

    Sunlight Gardener Well-Known Member

    I love the sections in the Mangler that pertain to the black magic necessary to conjure a demon and the characters speculating about how bad it could be considering the ingredients at hand. And the massive misjudgement that leads to the climax of the story.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
    Doc Creed and GNTLGNT like this.
  20. Nuther_Wun

    Nuther_Wun Member

    The Mangler remains one of my favorite tales, and I'll never forget the first time I read it. I still get the willies when I see this demon possessed, several ton steaming, hissing, grinding machine lurching down the road, ripping up chunks of asphalt as it makes its way unerringly toward the house where the person who managed to escape its clutches earlier undoubtedly won't again...one of the most searing "oh wow" mind images of all time for me.
    Doc Creed and GNTLGNT like this.

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