Stephen King Talks ‘The Shining’ Sequel, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ‘Hunger Games’ & More

Published 2 years ago by

Stephen King on the set of Under the Dome Stephen King Talks The Shining Sequel, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games & More

Stephen King is a name that crops up fairly frequently on Screen Rant, thanks to his long history as a writer of movies and of books that get turned into movies. A TV adaptation of his book Under the Dome just finished its first season on CBS, and another adaptation of his first novel Carrie will be in theaters next month. King is, however, primarily a fiction writer and his latest labor of love is a sequel to perhaps one of his most famous books of all time: The Shining.

“Doctor Sleep” finds an adult Danny Torrance being haunted by the memory of his father, with Wendy Torrance now also dead and unable to help him climb out of windows to escape. Like Jack, Danny has become an alcoholic and is working at a hospice where he uses his psychic abilities to make the patients’ deaths more peaceful. When he is contacted telepathically by a child called Abra, Danny finds himself back fighting the forces of evil once more – which this time take the form of some very old serial killers disguised as innocent pensioners.

The novel will take King back to the subject of alcoholism that he tackled in The Shining, which was strongly influenced by his own life as an addict. In an interview with The Guardian, King was careful to explain that he likes to keep his own experiences separate from the books that he writes, but he can’t deny that his years as an alcoholic gave him intimate knowledge that comes through in the books:

“The only thing is to write the truth. To write what you know about any particular situation. And I never say to anybody, ‘This is all from my experience in AA,’ because you don’t say that.

“What’s inside your head grows. And you don’t have any sense of proportion until you see how other people react to it. Take Dan Torrance, who is the child of an alcoholic, child of a dysfunctional family, abusive father, and he says, as people do, ‘I’m never going to be like my father; I’m never going to be like my mother.’ And then you grow up and find yourself with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and maybe you’re walking the kiddies around. And I wanted to see what would happen with that.”

Danny Torrance in The Shining Stephen King Talks The Shining Sequel, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games & More

During the interview, King was also pressed on the subject of the current Twilight craze and the wide swathe of “dark romance” films that have been given the green light since Edward and Bella rolled into town with a trail of excited teenagers behind them. Sharing a niche (whether they want to be there or not) with Twilight are book series like The Hunger GamesThe Mortal InstrumentsBeautiful Creatures and, for the grown-ups, the lucrative erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey, all of which have either already had movie adaptations out on theaters, or will be getting them soon.

Never one to be behind the times when it comes to the latest books in vogue, King said that he has read The Hunger Games, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. When asked whether or not the popularity of books about werewolves and vampires was an indication of a high point for horror fiction, though, King didn’t sound convinced:

 “I agree with Abra’s teacher friend [in ‘Doctor Sleep’] who calls ‘Twilight’ and books like it tweenager porn. They’re really not about vampires and werewolves. They’re about how the love of a girl can turn a bad boy good.

“I read ‘Twilight’ and didn’t feel any urge to go on with her. I read ‘The Hunger Games’ and didn’t feel an urge to go on. It’s not unlike ‘The Running Man’, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching: a satire on reality TV.

“I read ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it’s not really mommy porn. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn’t say it is. I can’t think of any books right now that would be comparable to ‘The Exorcist’.”

It seems that King will never get as far as Mockingjay, Fifty Shades Freed or Breaking Dawn, but he at least deserves some credit for reading the first books in each of the series. It’s not too much a slur on any of the aforementioned books that a 66 year-old man had trouble getting into them, since King probably isn’t a part of their prime target audience.

twilight2 Stephen King Talks The Shining Sequel, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games & More

King said that he is currently reading J.K. Rowling’s novel The Casual Vacancy, which is currently being adapted into a TV series by the BBC, and the horror author was very enthusiastic about it:

“It’s f**king nasty. And I love it. The centre of the book is a dinner party from hell and you say to yourself, ‘These little people in the town of Pagford are a microcosm not just of British society, but western society as a whole, of a certain class.’ The fact that she set it around this little election that nobody cares about in a shit little town is fabulous. She’s a wonderful storyteller and the writing is better than in any of the ‘Harry Potter’ books, because it’s sharper.”

“Doctor Sleep” might spoil any hopes people might have had for Danny Torrance going on to live a normal, happy life free of the demons that haunted his father, but it could also be an interesting continuation of The Shining that offers further insight into the Torrance family, even those who have passed away.

Are you planning to buy “Doctor Sleep” when it hits shelves next week? Do you think that it will get a movie adaptation like The Shining did, or would a sequel be better left on the page?


Doctor Sleep is now on sale. You can order it HERE.

Source: The Guardian

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. Hunger Games is still a hammy teenage soap opera with cheesy forced romances, no matter how much it’s better than Twilight. But like Twilight, it appeals to a mass audience.

    • Plus the fact it’s a Western version of Battle Royale but written for 13 year old girls instead of being the satirical look at societal bloodlust that Battle Royale was.

      I remember reading a King quote about EL James being utter trash as a writer and agreeing with him.

    • It really is more than that, but if you’re just going to go off of what old codgers who’ve never read the books say, I can’t help you. TWILIGHT was indeed hammy and sappy (and imo silly). HUNGER GAMES covers much more mature subject matter: war, sacrifice, the nature of heroism, national identity, governmental reach.

      It’s not perfect by any stretch but IS worthwhile reading.

      • I agree with what Will said and I was told the same things he said by people my age (29) and younger who HAVE read the books and thought they were terrible.

        • You’re allowed…but HG is nothing like the “sparkly vamps” OR their oversexed, soft-porn, fan-fic counterparts. Your opinion (by definition) cannot be wrong…that’s fine. Your “understanding” of what HG entails, however, is absolutely wrong.

      • the subjects covered in Hunger Games also set it quite distinctly apart from Battle Royale. As similar as the topics of the two stories might appear at first blush, they are diametrically opposed. BR is about street gangs, about youth out of control, about a society in chaos trying to deal with an epidemic of youth violence. None of this is present in Hunger Games. It drives me batty when I read people repeat the same nonsense that Hunger Games is just a rip-off of Battle Royale.

        • Gotta admit, it’s a little odd that the author of The Hunger Games has consistently claimed she’d never heard of Battle Royale when asked repeatedly by journalists when they point out the similarities between the two.

        • THANK you, Mikey…Exactly.

      • I think King was commenting on how Hunger Games is unoriginal. The format has been done before and it has been done better; as evidenced by The Running Man (the book, not the movie). Whether or not you appreciate his writing or his comments (or his age for that matter), he makes a valid point. FYI, you may be too young to know this, but he has written some of the greatest horror stories of all time– Salem’s Lot, Cujo, The Shinning, Christine, Misery, and the list goes on and on and on.

  2. Screen Rant, please get a better spam tracking system.

    I want to say “please give us a spam reporting feature”, but I’m sure that would be abused with the flame wars that go back and forth.

    • We try to update our spam blockers often. Problem is: the Spammers are always one update ahead. 😛

      Sorry for the inconvenience.

  3. If someone could politely and eloquently state that Twilight, hunger games, and fiddy shades of grey blew at levels that make orgy porn stars blush, it’s Stephen King.
    I imagine that they had to cut out the part of that interview where when asked what he thought of newer horror and Twilight as if they were synonymous, his jovial laugh went on to create levels of awkward silence.

    • Well like I hinted, I’ve read an interview where King’s asked about 50 Shades and his response is expletive laden and he pretty much trashes the books and insults the writer as a talentless hack.

      He did the same for the Twilight author too.

      • Please dazz, gimme the link to that.

        • If I can find it, I read it last summer and can’t remember where.

          Starting my search now though.

  4. It’s a rare treat to get a sequel to a story 36 years later. We’ve all grown together – King as a writer and person, his readers, and Dan from a 5 year old to a 40 year old.

    It’s a singular moment that provides so many different avenues of reflection that may never occur again.

    Wouldn’t miss reading this for the world!!!

  5. I’m not trying to defend “Twilight” or “The Hunger Games”, but Stephen king sure does spend a lot of time criticizing other people’s work.

    • just because he is STEPHEN M*(&^F(*&^ KING!!!

    • I feel like if it was any other author they would be trashed to kingdom come. But for those who defend 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, just remember ? How many books have they written ? EL James: 3 books, Suzanne Collins: 10 books Stephanie Meyer: 4 books. And Stephen King you might ask ? 74 books. So if you think he is criticizing writers so harshly. Just remember who is the pro and who is amateur.

  6. I’ve read all of King’s books, first hucked Salem’s Lot from my Mom’s book of the month club box in the 70s. 11/22/63 was really, really good. CBS’ ‘Under the Dome’, though – Uncle Steve, I hope the dog wasn’t crushed by the dumptruck full of money they backed up to your house. Putting your name on that strains credible, incisive insight as to ‘quality’. I do not want to go on with CBS’ ‘Dome’. Unless it’s a drinking game.
    I’ll just keep telling myself Unc needed the money, so ‘Dome’.

  7. I also loved The Casual Vacancy–it definitely doesn’t get enough credit!

  8. They all bow to Harry Potter. Who would win The Hunger Games? Harry Potter. Who would blow sparkley Edward into shards of shiny glass? Harry Potter. Fifty Shades of different colored s***…came from HARRY POTTERS crap…that is all. Harry Potter wins…

  9. Are people still making the whole “Hunger Games is a Battle Royale ripoff” argument, NO ITS NOT. Its quite possible that Suzanne Collins might not have heard of a relatively obscure Japanese novel that was turned into a movie that wasn’t released in the US until a couple of years ago. Its not more of a ripoff of BR then BR was a ripoff of The Running Man, or Lord of the Flies, or The Long Walk, or Roman Gladiators. Its a concept that’s as old as time.

    • More like a decade or more ago. Not a couple years ago. Very possible she did know about Battle Royale.

  10. Huh? Stephen King originally endorsed The Hunger Games book. On the front cover there’s an excerpt saying ‘Constant suspense…I Couldn’t stop reading’

  11. REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM… Its a pity Kubrick is no longer around to put his spin on the sequel… With Jack appearing as a ghost there must be hope that Old Jack Nicolson himself might appear in the film of the sequel too.

  12. If only Kubrick were still alive…

    • Are you kidding? After The Shining, King would have it written in a contract never to let him direct any of his work ever again.

      The Shining is a great film, but it’s not King’s book.

      • *Never to let Kubrick direct any of his work ever again.

  13. The Hunger Games series is tasteless and unoriginal and it has been done before so is Twilight. I agree with King about another thing about these books is they involve constant romance and relationship that goes into sex making reader fantasize such a relationship in their own mind because they cannot have it in their own reality because they are insecure and un-creative.Another thing I would like to add is the readers of these books cannot take gory violence or stories dealing with gory bloody mad war with very descriptive detail, and they do not understand the freedom of taste and what passion is. They only see their mere reality instead of the whole worlds and is their solution to dealing with their rebellious idiotic nature. It is popular because look at the people who read it they are mostly teenagers or people in their 20′s who were born in the generation where they have the internet and more connection to the celebrity reality and all over the world so they feel truly creative or unique when creating or reading garbage like this.

    Best Regards,
    Andiroglu S. D. Oren
    Software engineer
    Electric engineer
    Horror/Suspenseful/Thriller writer