Much like the Overlook Hotel itself, it seems that The Shining is a little hard to escape. In a move that is sure to have fans of the original film crying for red rum, Warner Brothers is exploring the possibility of a new Shining movie, set before the events of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic. The film, which does not yet have a writer attached, reportedly would tell the story of Jack Torrance before that fateful visit. The story of Jack Torrance, spousal abuser, doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but perhaps what is meant is the story of the Hotel’s previous caretaker, and whatever started the whole “elevators full of blood” haunting.
Either way, though, it’s a little hard to believe that Warner Brothers is looking to make a prequel to a movie that’s more than twenty years old, with none of the principal people involved. Kubrick’s dead, and Jack Nicholson is far too old to play a younger Jack Torrance. And Stephen King was reportedly unhappy with Kubrick’s film, so he’s unlikely to lend a hand. But then, King has his own ideas for expanding the decades-old story of The Shining.
Stephen King has reportedly just finished writing Doctor Sleep, a story which features a grown Danny Torrance coming to the aid of another shining child, who has been targeted by a group of murderous paranormal beings who live off the suffering of children who shine. Danny is aided by a prescient cat. Doctor Sleep is due for release in January 2013; it has not yet been optioned for a film adaptation, and considering the disdain King reportedly has for Kubrick’s film, it’s up in the air as to whether Warner Brothers would want to adapt it, and whether King would want them to.
So on the one hand, we have a movie studio that wants to make a prequel to a film that came out in 1980, without the involvement of the director, star, or the author who wrote the original story. On the other hand, we have an author who wants to make a sequel to the same story, which was primarily made famous through a film which he has disavowed. Either way, it sounds like there’s a lot of potential for King and Kubrick fans to be grinning not in joy, but in the grip of madness. Best to hide the axes, I think. I don’t see either of these turning out particularly well.