Pack your bags and don’t worry about the Tripadvisor reviews: the Overlook Hotel is beckoning you to check back in this week, with the release of The Shining sequel, ‘Doctor Sleep’.
The follow up movie to one of the most influential horror films of all time, based on the sequel novel written by Stephen King, is an amalgamation of its 1980 silver screen predecessor, ‘The Shining’ and King’s novel. That’s a particularly complex task, given that Stanley Kubrick famously changed King’s initial The Shining source material for the silver screen, including, crucially, the ending.
The people taking on the seemingly impossible challenge are director Mike Flanagan, and producer Trevor Macy, who both also wrote and directed, and the latter produced, the recent horror films ‘Ouija: Origin Of Evil’, ‘Hush’, and Netflix series ‘The Haunting Of Hill House’, of which Flanagan is currently developing the second season of.
Starring Ewan McGregor as a now-adult Danny Torrance, ‘Doctor Sleep’ takes place years after the events of ‘The Shining’, with Dan returning to face the ghosts of his past. Literally. Taking a young girl with the Shining ability under his wing, he must protect her from a horrific cult who prey on children with powers, led by the creepy Rose the Hat, played by ‘Mission: Impossible’s Rebecca Ferguson.
Naturally, the movie is filled with homages to Kubrick’s filmmaking style – with iconic scenes from the first movie even recreated for the sequel. This was a mindblowing task, they tell us. “Just being in those spaces was really remarkable,” says Macy. For the filmmakers, this meant reconstructing the Overlook Hotel, even though Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ setting is famously impossible to map out.
“It makes no sense whatsoever,” Flanagan explains to Shortlist, “We spent months trying to figure out where the lobby doors should be. And we never got an answer to that question. There is no knowable answer to that question based on the rules that Kubrick laid out. He had abandoned logic when he designed it. It was incredibly daunting. But it was one of the most fun and rewarding challenges we've had professionally.”
“The conversation about where the front of the hotel is, is actually not a straightforward one,” adds Macy. “By the end we gave up and said, we'll use the same door Kubrick used. It’s not the front door or the lobby door. It's this other door, off to the side that just had a little umbrella stand by it. That's where you see the characters enter and exit. But when we finally couldn't locate the front door of the hotel, we decided, ‘OK, we're just not going to bother anymore. We'll just do whatever Kubrick did. It'll have to work!’”
So, in honour of the spooky sequel now in cinemas, here are five more scary movies for fans of true horror, according to two filmmakers whose movie will undoubtedly inspire (and freak out) generations to come.
After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…
- These are the best Stephen King adaptations of all time.
- This is ShortList's ultimate guide to horror.