We’ve seen tons of iconic Stephen King stories make their way on screen but few match the terrifying phenomenon that was Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic interpretation of The Shining. Kubrick’s iconic direction and Jack Nicholson‘s menacing performance put the film in the horror hall of fame. So it is only fitting that King’s follow-up book Doctor Sleep would get its own cinematic adaptation. Directed by Mike Flanagan, the upcoming release of this sequel calls for us to relive the horrors of the ominous Overlook Hotel. Here’s everything you need to know about The Shining (1980) before you watch Doctor Sleep.
Adapted from King’s bestselling horror novel, the film also followed Jack Torrance’s (Jack Nicholson) descent into madness and mayhem. Jack, along with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), move into the Overlook Hotel as caretakers while it shuts down for the winter. Isolated within the walls of this massive hotel, the family is warned that a former caretaker had murdered his wife and two daughters before committing suicide in that very hotel. Jack reassures that the same is not going to happen with his family but, spoiler alert, history tries to repeat itself.
After the hotel chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) gives the family a tour and tells Danny to stay away from room 237 where the murders took place, the family is left all alone. Wendy and Danny begin a routine of breakfast cereal, playing with toys and a lot of TV. Meanwhile, Jack slaves away at his typewriter looking for inspiration. His writing seems to go nowhere and he soon discovers the hotel’s dark secrets while questioning his sanity. Descending into madness, Jack unravels into a homicidal maniac that is hell-bent on terrorizing his wife and son. The film follows the family as their stay at The Overlook Hotel becomes more mysterious, hallucinatory, and thoroughly terrifying. Towards the climax, Jack’s violent pursuit ends with a shot of his frozen stare leaving us to decide whether he is alive or not. Then comes another gut punch with a slow zoom-in of that same face in an antique photograph on the Overlook Hotel leaving us to believe that he might not just be Jack.
From the trailer of Doctor Sleep, we know that this film comes decades after the events of The Shining as Ewan McGregor plays the role of a now grown-up Danny. So, let’s look back at his story in The Overlook Hotel. As chef Hallorann points out, Danny has the “shining“, which is the gift of psychic premonitions and also has an imaginary friend named Tony who is “a little boy who lives in my mouth“. Tony seems to be the channel for Danny’s psychic visions – the most horrific ones being blood spilling out from doors and flooding a hallway and two little girls dressed in matching outfits who might resemble the two murdered sisters. Another recurring horror in The Shining is the word ‘Redrum’ scribbled on walls, which is ‘murder’ spelled backwards. The Doctor Sleep trailer also features this creepy carving and Danny seems to return to the hotel of horrors but we’re yet to find out what leads him there.
We can witness the full story when Doctor Sleep releases in cinemas this November. Meanwhile, stay tuned to know more and click on ‘Interested’ for the latest updates.