Telling you that The Shining ranks in my top five favorite horror movies of all time isn’t news here at Black Gate. Over the years I’ve found all sorts of ways to weasel it into my posts, even going so far as to cyber-stalk Danny Lloyd, the reclusive adult who played the emotionally damaged little kid with the “shine” all over him.
The Shining is my stormy, Sunday afternoon go-to movie, and the first one into the Blu-ray player as soon as the snowfall breaks the 12 inch mark here in Chicago.
No matter that I know the dialog by heart, it scares the crap out of me anyway. Because let’s be honest; those two creepy little girls will get you every time.
But as much as I love the adrenaline rush brought on by the film, ironically I’ve always been a little lukewarm on the book.
I say “ironically” because it is a rare thing indeed when a movie manages to simply not massacre the text upon which it is based — not to mention equal it or surpass it.
The Shining book is absolutely interesting in that it provides all the backstory about why the Overlook Hotel is such an attractive vacation spot for evil spirits, and why Jack Torence is such a fractured human being.
However, what makes the book less of a fav for me is that exact same backstory.
In The Shining novel, Jack Torrance is far more sympathetic and Wendy Torrance is far less a helpless victim, which somehow makes the mounting terror somewhat less terrible. In the movie, The Overlook wins to a large extent, though it ultimately doesn’t consume Danny, whereas the book… well, I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t read it.
But I must admit, both book and movie have made me wonder what would have ultimately happened to little Danny Torrance.
I mean, most little kids only fear imaginary things that never materialize. But what becomes of Danny, who saw (and smelled) dead people dragging around his place of residence and who ultimately left him fatherless.
I’m thinking we have an emotionally damaged adult who still sees dead people.
Well, the question of what happened to Danny post-Overlook Hotel has apparently been keeping The Shining author Stephen King up at night as well.
On November 19, 2009, while on a promotional tour in Toronto, Ontario for his latest novel Under the Dome, Stephen King described to the audience an idea for a sequel novel to The Shining.
The story, King said, would follow Danny Torrance, now in his 40s and living in upstate New York where he works as an orderly at a hospice and helps terminally ill patients pass away with the aid of his extraordinary powers.
Later, on December 1, 2009, Stephen King posted a poll on his official website, asking visitors to vote for which book he should write next, The Shining sequel or the next Dark Tower novel.
Voting ended on December 31, 2009, and it was revealed that the sequel (now tentatively titled Dr. Sleep) had won by 50 votes.
Flash forward to September, 2011, when Stephen King received an award at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, during which he read an excerpt from Dr. Sleep, and three days later King’s official website posted this:
It’s now official –- Stephen is working on Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining.
Here’s what King himself had to say about the sequel while appearing at GMU.
This is an idea that I’ve had for some time. I wrote a novel in the ’70s called The Shining… I always wondered what happened to that kid, Danny Torrance, when he grew up… and this story started to form. The book isn’t finished yet, it’s called Dr. Sleep. This kinda goes back to: what’s the worst thing you can think of? I knew that there were bad people in this story that were like vampires, only that what they sucked out was not blood, but psychic energy from special people like Danny Torrance. And I came to realize that these people were called The Tribe and that they move around a lot.
This past weekend Stephen King made an appearance at the Savannah Book Festival. During his lecture which apparently touched on all aspects of his career, he read an excerpt from Dr. Sleep. It sounds like the prolog as Danny Torrance is only eight years old and still having issues with “the shine.”
So what do you think? Will you give Dr. Sleep a try or is this another case example of the sacrilege that comes from tampering with a classic?
But most important, will little Danny Lloyd come out of hiding to play his adult self for the movie version? Post a comment or drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.