Dr. Sleep: Stephen King Writes Sequel to ‘The Shining’

The Shining is a classic movie by all accounts, and bridges the gap between horror and thriller genres allowing it to be heralded by geeks, fiends and “the thinking man” alike.  It’s a movie that is extremely quotable and therefore quite often lampooned and even though it was a product of the 80’s it is still watchable and relevant today. The Shining came in at #29 on AFI’s “Top 100 Thrills” list and more importantly is #2 on The Grizzly Bomb’s list of “Top Horror Movies of the 1980’s”.

The Shining was of course based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and it seems that King has finally returned to the Torrance family with the announcement of his new book Dr. Sleep. According to Wikipedia and other online rumor millings Dr. Sleep follows a grown up Danny Torrance who is using his mental powers to help terminally ill patients move to the beyond. On his current promotional tours Stephen King has been reading the first chapter of Dr. Sleep which catches up to an 8-year old Danny Torrance. Danny and his Mom have moved to Florida where they keep in touch with fellow Overlook survivor Dick Hallorann {he doesn’t get axed in the back in the book} and, as we soon find out, the woman from room 217 haunts more than one bathroom in the world. By doing some quick math we can extrapolate that Dr. Sleep will likely be a modern tale. The Shining takes place in 1977 and Danny is four and if Dr. Sleep follows him at age forty, as rumored, that would set the tale in 2013.

In a separate reading King reveals a little more of the Dr. Sleep story this time focusing on “The Tribe” a group of vampire-like  octogenarians who mask their youthful vitality and nefarious ways under the guise of  America’s RV crowd.

After listening to the two chapters it seems clear that Dr. Sleep will have little similarities to The Shining except for the involvement of  it’s characters. The Overlook has been destroyed so there’s no returning there, and although Jack Nicholson is old enough to play a ghost it’s wholly unlikely King will be going down that road. The title Dr. Sleep seems to reference Danny Torrance’s new vocation, but there is assuredly some other parallel to be made in what we expect is the eventual battle between Danny and his vampiric tormentors led by the woman from Room 217.

As King has not even released a date for the books debut it’s unlikely the inevitable “Shining sequel” will be headed for the big screen anytime relatively soon. Worthy or not, you know that the sequel will be made. It’s too bad that Stanley Kubrick is no longer with us to put his masterful stamp on Dr. Sleep, but based on the preliminary plot line is seems more like the kind of movie that will be helmed by the likes of James Cameron, Michael Bay or some other action junkie. If we’re lucky maybe it will fall into the hands of a Guillermo del Toro or a Peter Jackson where it can get the intellectual horror vibe it will hopefully warrant.

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