“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya.” Who here does not appreciate the sheer cinematic creepiness of Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Stanley Kubrick really knocked that film adaptation out of the park, but let us not forget where the genius behind the Outlook Hotel came from. Stephen King published The Shining in 1977 and it quickly became his first hardback bestseller. It was then adapted to film in 1980 and has etched more than one memorable scene into our minds. I begrudgingly carry those images with me every time I stay in a hotel. Will there, or will there not be an enormous pool of blood that spills out of this elevator?
So what if we could have more? King has recently set a date for a sequel to be released to the 1977 classic. Dr. Sleep will be published on September 24th, 2013. The novel will follow an older Daniel Torrance who now uses his “Shining” to assist the elderly. Enter plot point. A gang of psychic vampires are feeding off of people’s energy, and are targeting those with “The Shining.” This kid just can’t catch a break, now can he?
Ultimately, I have three questions for Mr. King; Should he? Would he? Could he?
The first question I would like to ask is, “Was this necessary?” 35 years after the original novel, have their been screaming fans calling for more of the Torrance family? This is one of the most eerie, suspenseful stories that I have ever seen beautifully adapted to film, but I can honestly say that I left feeling fulfilled. No further part of me had even an inkling to see what else could come out of this story. Jack, the maniac, was always destined to succumb to his vices. He belonged there, and just as the final portrait shows, he has always been there. It gives me chills just thinking about it. So with a stern, “No.” I can honestly say this book did not need to be written.
The question of would he is obvious. He has! For those of us that are still curious 36 years after the original, the book will be out next September. When it comes to writing something this long after the original there are two schools of thought. King has either spent thirty plus years crafting the perfect conclusion to a story we thought was over, or he is simply reminiscing on a past muse to find something to write about. Regardless, it’s Stephen King. The book will sell.
Here is my third and final question for Mr King. Can you do it, sir? Can you write a book 35 years after the original and still keep it fresh and exciting? For this I say, “Yes.” The reason being is that good writing is good writing. I could be listening to the dumbest story, but if the person is a good story-teller, I will still be engaged. This will always be applicable to good writers. If you captivate the audience, they will keep reading those pages. The audience sometimes fails to recognize that it is not their story! It’s King’s. He can do whatever he wants with it. You are given the option to either acknowledge, or ignore. I’ll probably chose to ignore. I am more than satisfied with where The Shining has left me. Jack is still frozen with that terrifying look on his face, and Scatman Crothers still has an ax buried in him. All work and no play makes Stephen a dull boy.