So, that brings me down between Stephen King’s The Shining or Doctor Sleep – which one is my favourite? Hmmmm…. I’m gonna say “The Shining!!!”
(Image Source: The Guardian)
Doctor Sleep was great but nothing beats the original. Seriously. The Shining was simply the best! I mean, it is one of those unique novels that burns its images into your brain – Dan’s friend Tony, Room 237, Redrum, the moving animal hedges, the Grady sisters… And watching the movie-adaptation and its sequel, Doctor Sleep, just brought me back to the beginning and reinforced that relationship I had have with the Torrance family (and friends). The novel is about ghosts, but also about fathers and sons. They came from a dysfunctional family with a father that trying so hard to put his life together, a distrusting overprotective mother, and a boy who’s seen and death with so much for his age. Put that into a haunted hotel. Boom! The perfect ingredients for the best horror story of all time!
(Photo credit: Bonvon)
In addition, King did a really awesome job in bringing about the character of the hotel. Who would have imagined a hotel being so vibrant and alive – in such a haunted way? Apparently King imagined and transcribed the whole novel in his head in the very Colorado hotel where the story takes place. This quick composition probably provided the powerful writing flow that sweeps readers off their feet and kept them engrossed in the book. It sure did the trick for me!
Honestly, it’s a pity that the film kind of overshadowed the book because it was nowhere near as good as the book. There so much nuance and details that weren’t captured and are best left for your imagination to conjure. Maybe the movie technology wasn’t as good back then coz the first season of American Horror Story kind of had the same idea and did well in terms of cinematography. The novel, on the other hand, is a much deeper and scarier experience. It brings across the magic of putting the correct words together in order to evoke gore, fear, emotional attachment, and horror. King had a superb story telling skill that presented a superior and sophisticated horror material that kept us turning the pages. Plus, that low rhythmic undertone “Redrum. Redrum. Redrum.” was just genius!
Honestly, I dunno how to explain how this is just one of the best book (in the series) ever! You’ll just have to read it for yourself.
In the meantime, I’d like to share some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“This inhuman place makes human monsters.”
“Here in the Overlook all times were one. There was an endless night in August of 1945, with laughter and drinks and a chosen shining few going up and coming down in the elevator, drinking champagne and popping party-favors in each other’s faces. It was a not-yet-light morning in June some years later and the organisation hitters ruthlessly pumped shotgun shells into the torn and bleeding bodies of three men who went through their agony endlessly. In a room on the second floor a woman lolled in her tub and waited for visitors.”
“and if it played its cards right they could end up flitting through the Overlook’s halls like insubstantial shades in a Shirley Jackson novel, whatever walked in Hill House walked alone, but you wouldn’t be alone in the Overlook, oh no, there would be plenty of company here.”
“He rolled in his bed, twisting the sheets, grappling with a problem years too big for him, awake in the night like a single sentinel on picket. And sometime after midnight, he slept, too, and then only the wind was awake, prying at the hotel and hooting in its gables under the bright gimlet gaze of the stars.”
“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”
“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us, and sometimes they win.”