Like many sequels, I never imagine that certain favorite books required a follow-up novel. The Shining is one that I have always been satisfied with as is. Even today, it’s #1 on my personal list of favorite reads, and I’m currently re-reading it on Kindle because it’s been several years (okay, twenty) since I last read it. Somehow, I ended up owning two hardcover editions in addition to my current electronic version.
The year it was released, back in 1977, I was 16 and laid up during a sweltering Michigan summer with a plaster cast from my toes to my hip. With little ability to get around, I was relegated to pretty much reading for the twelve weeks until my shattered ankle healed. I recall getting a hold of a copy of King’s book, and getting sucked so deeply into the story, I literally could not put it down, and spent 24 hours reading it, unable to sleep or concentrate on anything else. Once finished, I felt as if I’d run an emotional marathon. I was spent, yet oddly exhilirated. It was probably the first time I consciously realized that I wanted badly to be able to create writing like King did, that elicited such an astounding response from his readers, and me in particular.
When Stanley Kubrick decided to release his version of the novel in film form in 1980, I was horrified at the changes he’d made to the story for the sake of…well, for whatever reasons he’d had at the time to do so. I despised Jack Nicholson in the role of Jack Torrance, and thought he’d lost his mind casting Shelly Duvall as Wendy Torrance. In my opinion (at that time) I didn’t think Duvall could act her way out of a wet paper bag, and knew that Nicholson would overpower the role in the inimitable way he has. In the interim, I had been to Estes Park, Colorado, and had seen the hotel the original story was based on, and Kubrick’s vision of it fell pathetically short. Perhaps it’s then needless to say that I ended up walking out of the theater mid-screening, disgusted and upset.
When the mini-series was filmed many years later, I didn’t bother, for by that time, I figured out that my imagination would always be much more reliable than someone else’s. Based on my experiences then, I will no longer see the film version of a beloved book. And I will only see a film adaptation of a novel if I never plan on reading the novel. That’s me.
So now, King is planning a sequel to The Shining, entitled Dr. Sleep. Here’s a brief synopsis, taken from the site “Screen Rant:”
…it will follow The Shining‘s young protagonist, Danny, 30 years after the incident at the Overlook Hotel. Danny now uses his psychic powers to literally ease the minds of terminally-ill patients in hospice care. Things get twisted when vampires show up – most likely viewing the the place as the perfect buffet, if we had to guess – and Psychic vs. Vampire battle ensues?
Based on this little bit of information, I get a feeling that we’re about to see something akin to Alien vs. Predator, or Freddy vs. Jason. I mean, do we need a Shining vs. ‘Salem’s Lot?
However, as a fan of most of King’s work (minus that dismal, drug-addled period in which he released The Regulators, Desperation, Insomnia, and Bag of Bones) I feel I might not be giving him enough credit. The optimist in me really wants to believe that he’s not simply trying to cash in on one of his most successful novels by releasing a hackneyed regurgitation of subject matter he’s covered ad nauseum throughout his career, but that naggy, snaggletoothed cynic that shares space inside me says that it would be too good to be true. So as those two duke it out within, I will wait, conflicted and eager, for this to be released.
But all I can say in the interim is: This better be pretty fucking awesome King, or I’m going to drive to your house, wherever it is, and t.p. you with used toilet paper.