The Shining Meets Dr Sleep Meets Film Exploder

The Shining Meets Dr Sleep Meets Film Exploder
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The Shining Meets Dr Sleep Meets Film Exploder. You may have missed the announcement, but Barry and I are having a crap ton of fun making a podcast together called Film Exploder. And for episode 4, we’ll be covering the movie Dr Sleep, and incidentally, The Shining, and incidentally, the books – The Shining and Dr. Sleep. A truck load of content. And so, heading into our recording in a day or two from now, I watched both movies, and read both books. To say that the movies got under my skin a little? Well, yeah, that would be the understatement of the year.

Here Be Dragons Here on Out

It was really quite fascinating to go and revisit my favorite horror book of all time – The Shining. It literally is perfect. There isn’t another horror/thriller/mindjobby type novel that even comes close to holding a candle to Stephen King’s best novel. (Misery is his tightest scripted novel – but doesn’t come close to the scale and mental trauma that The Shining brings to the reader.) But why is it so good? Well that’s simple… it tells the story of pretty much any American family trapped in a bad situation. The dad is begging for one more chance to overcome his demons. The kid and the wife? They have bought all the lottery tickets they can buy on the dad-train… and the reader? Yeah, we all know that those lottery tickets are all duds. There is no one, nobody, that is coming out of this story unscathed. Why? Because the book breathes fire and brimstone from page one. There is zero chance that this book is letting these characters go free from its grasp.

But we know about The Shining. We know about the twin girls standing inside The Stanley – whoops, I mean The Overlook Hotel. (I have family that lives just 3 miles from The Stanley – which is what spawned the idea – and we regularly have dinner there.) Redrum. The pulsing heartbeat of that furnace in the basement. The room, 217, where Mrs. Massey lives, and drips, and waits. Danny’s alter ego Teddy. Redrum. The relentless snow storm setting that traps Jack and his family in for the winter. And the place where REDRUM the alcohol breaks Danny’s father once and for all. Super spoiler alert? I don’t think it’s a story about supernatural horror at all. I think it’s a very real story about the horrors of addiction and the hell that is life among very real life problems like “accidentally” breaking your three year old’s arm when a bit too drunk. But what about Dr. Sleep?

The Shining Grows Up

When Dr. Sleep first came out, I was not a fan of the book. I tried twice to finish it, and got maybe 3/4’s of the way through it twice. But when Barry decided he wanted to cover Dr. Sleep – and convinced me to actually watch the movie this past week, I decided I needed to actually read the book once and for all. And you know what? The movie is the book. The book? Is the movie. They are basically the same animal. Like, painfully similar. Sure, there are some more details about Dan and his gift and how he used it to help people. Same for Abra, and the way she used her gift to hunt down the True Knot, etc. Or used it assist family or friends in need of assistance. But overall. It’s the same. Well, that is, until the end.

The Differences Between Dr. Sleep the Book and the Movie:

#1 – Uncle Dan is Uncle Dan

  • Abra’s grandmother (Concetta) is helped to die by Dan who takes her cancer while consuming her steam
  • Concetta’s half brother is Jack – Dan’s father
  • Abra and Dan are related
  • Which explains their extra strong Shining connection together.
  • We can also surmise that The Shining is Hereditary as a result of this revelation

#2 – How the True Knot are Killed

  • Dan uses the cancerous steam he got from Concetta to kill members of the True Knot

#3 – Abra does more magic

  • in the book similar to sticking spoons to the ceiling
  • She predicted the 9/11 attacks
  • Similarly, we see lots of details about Dan helping patients at his AA meetings (lost watches etc) as well as watching him help more people who are dying

#4 – In the Book – Jack Plays a big part

  • Jack plays a much bigger part than just one bar scene
  • He even helps to defeat Rose the Hat by pushing her off an observation platform to her death.
  • And we watch as he waves goodbye as Dan heads out of the campgrounds where the Overlook hotel once stood.

#5 – In the book Dan Survives

  • As the book ends, we see Dan and Abra celebrating her 15th birthday and him celebrating 15 years sober.

What are the differences between the Ending of Dr. Sleep Book and Movie

Issue number one – if you are a real fan of The Shining – as opposed to the movie, you know that The Stanley, I’m sorry, I did it again, The Overlook Hotel… burnt to the ground. So while the movie spent a lot of time revisiting the hotel and the horrors of the hotel… there was no such place for the book to go to. It had become a campsite, and that is where the final showdown happens. At a campground at the location of The Overlook.

Secondly, Jack, Dan’s father, he is the one that kills Rose the Hat. He not only tempts his son with alcohol, but he also steps in and saves the day by killing Dan’s nemesis. It’s a VERY interesting commentary on Dan’s father, and the evil that he became at the end of The Shining novel. We also know that he used the cancer from Concetta, and murdered a number of members of the True Knot with it. And similarly, Dan used the ghosts locked in his boxes to finally save the day.

My Explanation of The Shining and Doctor Sleep

Here’s a controversial hot take. The Shining isn’t a horror novel. Dr. Sleep? Not a horror movie. These books and movies are real, true to life, horrors about living within the family of an alcoholic. The family hides the abuse. The kids do whatever they have to do to survive. The spouses? They do whatever it is that they have to do to survive. Everyone lives on edge – hoping, praying, begging for dad to make it a day, or two, without the bottle. Or, more likely, a day without WAY TOO much to drink. And these novels, and these movies are a perfect representation of these night terrors.

The evils lurking in the hotel hallways? Those are all very real life results of alcoholism. The A.A. meetings. The sponsor conversations. The terror of the demon coming and terrorizing you another day. Yes, all of it is spot on. Both books told this story that lives in the under-belly of our American suburbs, hiding away, creeping in the darkness of our wet bars, and our mini-fridges. Stephen King is a master story teller – but the story he told here was all real. You don’t have to believe in the paranormal to really understand this. Honestly, both stories have been a real inspiration. A scary inspiration really. King hasn’t lost an ounce of skill when it comes to eliciting the emotions and fear involved with a world like this one.

Final thoughts on Dr. Sleep… Hrm. My thoughts? Did I mention that it was connected to the greatest horror novel ever penned? One of the best novels ever? Top ten for sure for me. And that if Stephen King had written a sequel after The Shining that was 100% about a family of beavers that went to the circus? I still would have given Stephen King credit for doing amazing things. But he didn’t. Instead he gave us a really unbelievably good novel about addiction, overcoming those addictions, and surviving the terrors that come with it. And for that the world is better for both books. And the movies? Obviously The Shining is one of the greatest movies ever crafted. But Dr. Sleep does a fine job of it as well. Mike Flanagan is no slouch (It’s not his best performance – maybe for that go see The Haunting of Hill House or The House of Usher? Or heck, Midnight Mass even.) and should always be respected when he makes a movie. But It was a bit of a tepid affair in my humble opinion anyway. Obi-wan didn’t mentally unravel. We didn’t have any clowns in the sewers. It was just serviceable all the way around.