In 1980, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining released to tepid, if not disdainful, reviews. Stephen King publically stated his dislike for the adaptation of his novel. And yet, The Shining gradually gained a fan and critical following that has transformed it into one of the best-regarded horror films of all time.
Kubrick’s strange creation has seen a recent resurgence in interest due to King’s sequel novel, Doctor Sleep – as well as the documentary Room 237, a collection of film essays devoted to untangling what may or may not be the film’s labyrinthine symbolism. Perhaps wanting to capitalize on The Shining‘s current cultural cache, Warner Bros. has decided to move forward with the creation of a prequel to the original film, tentatively titled The Overlook Hotel.
Deadline reports that former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara has been signed to craft the script for a prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining. The Overlook Hotel will explore some of the horrors that led to the titular hotel eventually breaking the mind of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in the original film.
Mazzara has been a television writer and producer since the early 2000s, when he got his start on Nash Bridges. He has written scripts for The Shield, Hawthorne, and Crash. Tasked with taking over showrunner duties for The Walking Dead after Frank Darabont (coincidentally, a friend of and frequent collaborator with Stephen King) was dismissed from the show by AMC, Mazzara managed by all accounts to correct the momentum of a flagging series. He was himself asked to leave the show after creative disputes with the network and Walking Dead comics creator Robert Kirkman.
As evidenced by his writing for The Walking Dead, Mazzara is an interesting choice to script The Overlook Hotel. He certainly has a knack for writing ghosts of the psychological variety – he penned several scenes of damaged protagonist Rick Grimes seeing and talking to those he’s lost. Does he have the chops to create a script that matches the original Shining‘s creepy, surreal intensity?
A good deal of the power of Kubrick’s The Shining comes from its sense of impenetrable mystery. Do we really need to see that pierced, dissected, and explained in a supposedly canonical film? The moviegoing public has seen what happens when prequels simply check off the backstory boxes; the Star Wars prequels still engender considerable bile due to their rote, bloodless storytelling.
Of course, good-to-excellent prequel films do exist. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was better than almost anyone expected it to be. Indeed, prequels don’t have to involve a straight telling of an original film’s backstory – one need only to look to the all-time-great The Godfather Part II to see a fantastic blend of prequel and sequel. Even with Stanley Kubrick long gone, The Overlook Hotel may defy expectations and deliver a respectful expansion on his ideas and themes. We’ll be keeping a careful eye on what Glen Mazzara ends up creating.
The Overlook Hotel is still a long way off from seeing production. Screen Rant will keep you apprised as to when the elevator doors open and more information comes pouring out.