You can’t have the scariest movie of all-time conversation without mentioning The Shining. Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror flick messed up a whole lot of childhoods and boosted bedside nightlight sales by 3000%.
Many directors work for decades without producing a career-defining image. The Shining boasts several. Kubrick packed his menacing masterpiece with images that can’t be unseen; those two ghastly sisters, a blood-spewing elevator, and the inhabitant of room 237.
Considering how The Shining still lives on in pop culture, I’m shocked by how few people know that a sequel exists. Kubrick’s 1980 film is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel. And as great as the film is, the book is even better.
In 2013, King released a follow up titled Doctor Sleep. The story sees Danny Torrance (the son of Jack “Heeeere’s Johnny” Torrance) all grown up and using his dwindling “shining” ability to help comfort dying patients. Danny comes across a child named Abra who has powerful “shining” abilities and must protect her from a band of psychic-vampires who want to feed on her energy.
Doctor Sleep never reaches The Shining’s highs (spoilers). But I loved how King took the story in a new direction and fleshed out the world’s rich mythology. It’s the kind of book you sit down and knock out over a weekend as you munch snacks and down a half-dozen of your favourite drinks. Doctor Sleep is a thrilling, twisted, and fun piece of disposable entertainment and well-deserving of a big screen adaptation.
Doctor Sleep trailer:
I’m still sorting out how I feel about Doctor Sleep’s trailer. The footage looks great and nails the book’s vibe. Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson are inspired casting choices; you need credible actors to sell such outlandish material. And Doctor Sleep’s director Mike Flanagan is a horror movie godsend right now. He took a film about a Ouija board and turned it into pure uncut nightmare fuel. And his Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House is a masterpiece. I can’t wait to see how he tackles the source material.
What gives me pause, though, is the trailer’s liberal use of footage from The Shining. I must admit, the cuts from The Shining made my nostalgia receptors light up like the aurora borealis. But I worry that’s a sign of the studio demanding Easter eggs and callbacks out the wazoo. For now, I’ll dial my cynicism meter down and let the excitement wash over me, like those red waves gushing through the Overlook’s haunted halls.
Doctor Sleep synopsis:
Doctor Sleep continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson and newcomer Kyliegh Curran star in the supernatural thriller, directed by Mike Flanagan, from his own screenplay based upon the novel by Stephen King.
Doctor Sleep opens in theatres on November 08, 2019