Doctor Sleep: The Shining Anticipatory Review

7 Sep

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I decided to reread this classic before Doctor Sleep comes out (in two weeks or so). I admit to seeing the film before I read the book when I was in middle school. It has remained an enduring favorite: one of the best horror films of all time. Strangely, King has been quoted, on numerous occasions, as expressing distaste for the adaptation; rereading it, was struck by how faithful it is (literally whole pages of dialogue repeated verbatim). True, there are some major plot alterations (the ending, as is typically remarked upon, for instance), but in some ways Kubrick represents the gradual slide into insanity with greater accuracy (I was dumbfounded that the “all work and no play…” scene was absent from the book!). I really loved the extended dog costumed man scene in the book (only a flickered image in the film), but am going back and forth about the effectiveness of the topiary as an object of terror (Kubrick’s emphasis on Grady’s daughters was a far better choice), however I preferred King’s handling of the ghost party; where Kubrick played it straight, King’s party was much wackier and wild. Kubrick also misses King’s emphasis on Jack’s alcoholism–a fascinating back-story that adds a great depth to a character which, in Kubrick and Nicholson’s hands, occasionally veers into parody. I wait expectantly to see what King has cooked up in Doctor Sleep and why he’s chosen to return to these characters after all these years.

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