Firestarter starring Zac Efron comes out this weekend, and while it doesn't sound like many people liked the movie, it got us thinking all about the works of Stephen King. This is the man behind Carrie, It, Shawshank Redemption, and The Shining. He's written some of the scariest horror characters ever, as well as some truly ridiculous stuff, both thanks to cocaine. His stories tell other authors what to do, what not to do, and sometimes contain stuff even he now wants no one to read

Here's a look back at the facts we learned. The links all lead to full articles with much more info, so click every one that interests you, as that's the only way to keep the spiders away. 

1. Burger King Russia tried to ban It, calling Pennywise a McDonald's mascot. 

The Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service rejected the request, refusing to analyze every character's creative inspirations.

2. The Dark Tower series eerily shared a publication schedule with A Song of Ice and Fire

Right up until the last three books, which King hurriedly finished, following a brush with death

3. The real Carrie also ended in tragedy. 

King based the character on two girls. Both died young, one of suicide. 

4. King used so much cocaine, he needed to write with cotton up his nose to stem the bleeding. 

This was the most prolific part of his career. 

5. Fans bought the Shawshank Redemption prison for $1. 

It was scheduled for demolition, but they grabbed it for a bargain and now make money opening it for tours. 

6. He's cameoed in more than a dozen of his movies.

For more, read 15 Easter Eggs Lurking In Stephen King Movies

7. Stephen King ran the first online crowdfunded writing project. 

He asked fans to pony up a dollar for each new installment of his The Plant novel, and when not enough of them did, he killed the project

8. It: Chapter Two got stuck with the lame parts of the book. 

And it stumbled over what it had, turning scenes that should have been terrifying into failed comedy

9. The real Shining hotel dug up a pet cemetery. 

They said they needed more room for weddings and corporate retreats and no doubt invited many hauntings in the process. 

10. He was in a rock band with The Simpsons' Matt Groening.

The band lasted 20 years, and Maya Angelou sang a comedy song for their album. 

11. He thought his world-destroying populist president became real ... when he saw Sarah Palin.

For more, read 14 Stephen King Characters That Give Us Nightmares

12. King's works show the perils of shared universes. 

There are some stories you just can't tell with a shared universe, and that's why writers should feel free to break from theirs. 

13. Zac Efron's role as a dad in movies reminds us time is a thing. 

Wow, first Drew Barrymore from the original Firestarter grew up, now this

14. Needful Things was supposed to be a comedy.

And it is one, in that everyone murders each other, which is kind of funny, but the publishers didn't market it as a comedy. 

15. In one story, a maid's compelled to gobble an author's nocturnal emissions.

This supernaturally gives her unborn child writing prowess. 

16. He pulled one of his books for inspiring school shooters.

But if we look at the reports more closely, maybe it didn't inspire shooters after all. 

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Top image: Stephanie Lawton

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