Stephen King Wiki

John "Ace" Merrill (1944-1991) is the main antagonist in the novella The Body from Different Seasons and the movie Stand By Me. He's also a secondary antagonist in the novel Needful Things. Ace lived most of his life in Castle Rock, Maine (except in Stand By Me, in which Castle Rock is located in Oregon).

Ace is the nephew of Reginald 'Pop' Merrill. He leads a teenage gang of bullies who torment and terrorize Gordie LaChance, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio. His closest friends among his gang are Norman "Fuzzy' Bracowicz and Richard "Eyeball" Chambers, Chris's older brother. He once had a girlfriend named Betsy Malenfant. 

After being caught by Sheriff Alan Pangborn for trying to crack the safe in The Mellow Tiger, Ace was sent to Shawshank Penitentiary for 4 years. After being released in 1989, Ace moved to nearby Mechanic Falls. He got a job at Oxford Plains Speedway as a part-time pit mechanic. In 1991 he was shot and killed by Deputy Norris Ridgewick.

Ace is not to be mistaken for John Merrill, who was mentioned in The Tommyknockers as the father of Ruth Merrill McCausland.

Castle Rock

John Merrill will be played by Paul Sparks in Season Two of Castle Rock. He will be taking over his uncle Reginald's criminal business and threatening the fragile peace between Castle Rock, Maine and Jerusalem's Lot, Maine.

Physical appearance 

Ace was described by Gordie to have "sharp, handsome features" during his teenage years. As an adult, Gordie says his attractive looks were "buried in an avalanche of flesh" in his 30s. In a few pages in the confrontation between his gang and the boys during the storm, he had an "Elvis D.A" and a "Nylon school jacket", giving him a greaser type appearance. Ironically, many bullies in Stephen King's works tend to be greasers if set in the 1950s, '60s, or '70s. Since in the novel, Billy, Charlie, and Norman were described as having motorcycle boots at some points in the novel, it is most likely that he wore them as well. In Needful Things, it is said that during his teenage years, he wore a motorcycle jacket and engineer boots.

He is played by Kiefer Sutherland in the film, who resembles Ace in the books accurately. He also has Blonde hair. His hair is in some sort of crew cut with the sides slicked back and the top being somewhat spikey. He wears a black or white t-shirt with black chinos and penny loafers. He sometimes wears unbottoned shirts over the t-shirt.


  • "We're gonna get you for this."
  • "You're dead."
  • "What are you gonna do, shoot us all?"
  • "This is big time, baby."
  • "C'mon kid, you ain't got the sack to shoot a woodchuck."