Alan Wake kicks off with a memorable quote from noted horror author Stephen King. In a game with Energizer batteries and Verizon ads (which were stripped from the 2021 remaster), this real-world crossover made more sense, given its subject matter. And it turns out that quote license only cost Remedy a single dollar.
Sam Lake said he “really, really, desperately wanted” the quote
As reported by Eurogamer, creative director Sam Lake said he “really, really, desperately wanted” to start the thriller with one of King’s quote. King was reportedly on board, too, hence the small price.
“Creating the original Alan Wake, I really, really desperately wanted a quote from him to start it off,” said Lake. “It’s my understanding he wanted $1 for us to get the rights to use it. [It was] so very generous.”
King has seemingly not mentioned Alan Wake publicly or at least tweeted about it in any fashion.
The quote, spoken by protagonist Alan Wake, is as follows:
“Stephen King once wrote that ‘Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.’ In a horror story, the victim keeps asking ‘why?’ But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn’t be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it’s what we’ll remember in the end. My name is Alan Wake, I’m a writer.”
The quote is not from one of King’s books, but an EW article King penned about why he thinks Hollywood can’t do horror. In it he talks about the 2008 thriller The Strangers and argues for smaller horror films are generally better because they don’t demand big explanations that can suck the energy out.