Stephen King Claims Doctor Sleep Corrects What He Hated About Kubrick's The Shining

Many audiences consider Stanley Kubrick's The Shining to be one of the greatest horror films of all time, though author Stephen King has regularly professed his displeasure with the adaptation, yet the author claims that all of the issues he had with that film have since been alleviated with the new adaptation of the sequel novel Doctor Sleep. Director Mike Flanagan had the difficult task of adapting the source material authentically while also honoring the cinematic language used by Kubrick, a feat that he seemingly succeeded at, according to King. Doctor Sleep is set to lands in theaters this Friday.

“I read the script to this one very, very carefully,” King revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “Because obviously I wanted to do a good job with the sequel, because people knew the book The Shining, and I thought, I don’t want to screw this up. Mike Flanagan, I’ve enjoyed all his movies, and I’ve worked with him before on Gerald’s Game. So, I read the script very, very carefully and I said to myself, ‘Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of The Shining is redeemed for me here.'”

In The Shining novel, readers witness a much longer depiction of Jack Torrance's descent into madness as he stays at the Overlook Hotel, while the film offers a more expedited transition from a wholesome father to a murderous maniac. Jack Nicholson's performance of the patriarch has been lauded for decades, yet King famously felt as though the performer brought such a manic energy to the film that audiences immediately knew the journey wouldn't end well for the family.

Another problem posed by The Shining adaptation and changes it made from the book is that, in the novel, the Overlook Hotel is destroyed, which is a narrative thread continued in the Doctor Sleep novel. In the 1980 film, however, the Overlook remains intact, though King's comments imply that Flanagan successfully navigated a number of conflicting plot details.

“I don’t want to get into a big argument about how great the Shining film is that Kubrick did or my feelings about it,” King pointed out. “All I can say is, Mike took my material, he created a terrific story, people who have seen this movie flip for it, and I flipped for it, too. Because he managed to take my novel of Doctor Sleep, the sequel, and somehow weld it seamlessly to the Kubrick version of The Shining, the movie. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.”

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Doctor Sleep lands in theaters this Friday.

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