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.”
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 Games, The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful 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.
“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