Don’t “Overlook” the Film “Doctor Sleep” – The Overlook is Already Provided.

Ewan McGregor stars as Dan Torrance, a.k.a Doctor Sleep, which is also the title of the film that is up for review. “Doctor Sleep” is Dan’s nickname, given to him by patients at a hospice ward on account of the way he uses his psychic abilities to help dying patients “crossover” with peace and dignity. As much as he is loved at this ward, his talents are needed elsewhere. Dan Torrance will go on one hell of a psychic adventure.

In order to better understand what this is all about, a trip down memory lane is in order.

(Here be me pretending you don’t realize this a sequel to The Shining. Just go with it. Be all wowed and shit!)

The Book – The Shining


Once upon a time there was a man named Stephen King. In 1977,  He went ahead and wrote a book that was called The Shining. This is my favorite book from this horror author icon and it helped to develop my love for haunted house stories. One of the main characters of the story is a little boy named Danny Torrance who possesses a sixth sense that is called “The Shining”. People who “shine” have the talent to read minds, see the future, talk with ghosts, and/or engage in many other psychic abilities, many of which plague the “shiner” with horrifying visions. Danny’s mean ol’ father, Jack,  brought little “Shining Danny” to The Overlook, a hotel in the mountains that also has “The Shining” (places can shine too). This hotel just loves to conjure ghosts from its past and replay the most bloody scenes that have ever happened on its premises. The Overlook uses little Danny as a battery in order to bring its own Shining abilities to full charge. A fully charged Overlook hotel drives Jack mad and turns him into a homicidal maniac. Jack tries to kill his family, even his dear little boy Danny.  In the end, Danny and his mother escape and The Overlook is blown to pieces. Jack perishes in the explosion.

The Book – Doctor Sleep



Again upon a time, this man named Stephen King wrote a sequel to his groundbreaking novel The Shining. The time was 2013. The novel is called Doctor Sleep.  Danny Torrance is all grown up. He works as an orderly at a hospice center where he uses his “shining” abilities to help dying patients pass over peacefully to the other side. He meets a little girl named Abra who reaches out to him telepathically. She too has “The Shining” and she is in danger. Abra is being pursued by a deadly gang of psychic vampires known as The True Knot. These folks have been living an unnaturally long life by killing children who “shine” and feeding off of their essence, which leaves their victims’ bodies  in the form of steam. By inhaling this steam, they can cheat death.. The True Knot. seeks to have the feast of a lifetime on Abra, for she is the “shiniest” of all and her essence will sustain these vampires for who knows how long. Dan Torrance comes to her aid, and there is a showdown on the grounds where the Overlook once stood. Dan and Abra vs Rose the Hat, the leader of the True Knot,. Even though the building is gone, its “shine” of remains. Will the residual vitality of the spirit of The Overlook somehow lend its strength to Dan and Abra? Or will it work to their disadvantage?

Wait a minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Overlook is no more, and yet I am including Doctor Sleep in my reviews of haunted house films.  Oh why would I go and do such a thing? Because, silly, that brief synopsis outlined in the preceding paragraph describes the book, but  I am reviewing the movie. Things are different with each medium. Think of it this way – The book Doctor Sleep is the sequel to the book The Shining. On the flip-side, The movie Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the film (not the book.) The Shining. To keep with the continuity of mood, the film is shot in the style of Stanley Kubrick, the late famed director that directed the film The Shining and gave it is signature eerie style. So you could say that the film Doctor Sleep, directed by Michael Flanagan, is very .  “Kubric-esque”, and this style is very much welcomed in my opinion. In Kubrick’s film, The Overlook remains standing at the end of the film, unlike in King’s book.. Does this mean that this creepy mansion up there in the snowy mountains of Colorado will once again open its doors to movie viewers? 

(Hypothetical Reader: Oh please let it be so! Please? Pretty please? Please tell me I will get to visit The Overlook again! Please? Oh why won’t you just say “yes?”)

(Me: Okay! YES!)

(Hypothetical Reader: Yay!!!!!!!!!! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!)


I am very happy to report that the film Doctor Sleep not only includes a fully intact and supernaturally functional Overlook Hotel but that its inclusion comes naturally and serves as a climactic plot device. The title of the article probably already gave this away, but I’m glad you are still giddy with relief. The film begins at The Overlook and comes full circle to finish at the hotel. And I like the film all the more for its inclusion. For this I am so grateful.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do like the way King ended The Shining with the hotel going “Kaplooie!!!!!” due to Jack Torrance’s negligence at keeping checks on the boiler. This ending was foreshadowed in the beginning of the book when Jack is trained on the boiler upkeep and is told to watch out, for “it creeps”, meaning that pressure builds and therefore the settings must be adjusted daily. Likewise, Jack himself fails to keep checks on his own boiler, meaning his temper and sanity. He too “blows” at the end. Brilliant symbolism!

Here’s how I breakdown my preferences. I do like the book The Shining better than the film, but the film is great and it comes in at a close second. I love the film. However, I do like the film Doctor Sleep better than the book. Flanagan’s vision triumphs over King’s, even though it is King’s story. Sorry Stephen, that’s just the way the Overlook crumbles. And it’s not just the presence of The Overlook that makes the film superior to the book. Other factors contribute to its superiority as well. Let’s take a look at some of those factors in the next section.

Doctor Sleep – Book Versus Movie

For the record, I did read Doctor Sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the finer details of the story. In preparation for this article, I made an attempt to refresh my memory by searching my Kindle library, hoping to find the book and do some on-the-spot skim reading. Alas, it was not in my Kindle library. I must have downloaded it from Barnes and Noble on my Nook, which I don’t have anymore. And there was no way I was going to purchase it again. I did like the book, but I didn’t love it, certainly not enough to buy it again.

One of the problems I had with the book has to do with the way King portrays the True Knot. They are senior citizens travelling around in Winnebegos, wearing polyester clothing and straw sun hats. When they extract the psychic steam from their victims, which is  used to prolong their already lengthy lives (like vampires, their true ages are much greater than what their appearances suggest), what they don’t absorb there on the spot they store in canisters. Old people with canisters of vapor – to me this seems like a play on oxygen tanks, a device that many of our elderly are forced to possess. No, I’m not taking offense to any unintentional mockery of the plight of the elderly, I just think the whole set up is hokey. They just don’t strike me as a fearsome bunch, even though they do the unmentionable, i.e. killing and feeding off children.

In the movie, most of the True Knot have younger bodies. They appear to be in their thirties, forties and fifties. This would make sense, wouldn’t it? If they enjoy their prolonged lives so much, wouldn’t it make sense to do so in younger bodies? I seem to remember, in King’s defense, that yes, they would love to have less aged bodies, but they were running low on “steam” and disease and aging are catching up to them, much to their dismay. But their style of dress, i.e. polyester, and the way they present themselves, like escapees from a retirement home, all this just made me chuckle. In the movie, they dress in leather, have tattoos, wear hippie-like clothing. They come off as more of a threat. Yeah, yeah, the whole “retirement community dress-style and culture” serve the book characters well by making them the least suspect in regards to reports of missing children, but this setup didn’t serve me well as a reader ready to be horrified by a band of ruthless monsters. The elderly Satan worshipers of Rosemary’s Baby they are not. That clan of seniors worked for me. These did not.

The True Knot of the film; they held my respect as fearsome folks. They did a good job of making me hate them for their selfish and murderous acts. They are bad, bad people – and when the “good guys” get the upper hand, finally, there is relief. I nearly applauded during a scene when Dan Torrance and his friend are able to kill some of them – and I was in the theater without a companion! 

The canisters of steam are included in the film. But for some reason, they seem less hokey.  I don’t know why I have such “a steam” issue; maybe I should practice more self love. (get it? “a steam” vs. “esteem”? You don’t get it. Fine! Moving on). I just can’t help but question “do we all release steam on death or only people who “shine?” If only people who shine release such steam, then is it this “steam” that gives them their psychic abilities? To me it’s sort of like the midi-clorians of Star Wars, Lucas’s poorly received concept of micro organisms that grant the powers of The Force to its host. But anyway, scenes where the gang of “True Knotters” hover over a dying victim and inhale the steam bring to mind a pack of dogs fighting over a corpse’s bones. These scenes epitomize quintessential horror quite well,  so I won’t belabor the point any longer.  

While I don’t remember all the details of the book’s final showdown, I do remember that it was a bit drawn out. While it was not quite as bad as the grueling car chase in King’s Dreamcatcher, it still was a “page turner” in a different kind of sense – I kept turning the pages hoping for it to end.

This was not so with the movie. Not at all! Enter The Overlook!

The Showdown. Look, it’s The Overlook!


Dan Torrance and Abra lure that last remaining member of The True Knot, Rose the Hat, to The Overlook. It still stands but it is shut down permanently. Dan Torrance knows how dangerous this place is for people who shine. He doesn’t want to return but he must, in the hopes that the Hotel will put an end to Rose’s reign of terror even if he has to die in the process.

Though I went to the theater alone, I clapped when I watched Michael Flanagan recreations of the wide angle tracking shots of The Overlook’s neighboring lake and mountains. It was late afternoon on a weekday, and I was one of five people in the theater. But I didn’t care, I was excited. The same eerie music made me feel right at home as well. I was a happy man and I knew I was in for a treat.

When he’s finally standing outside the deadly hotel, Dan knows that he needs to “wake the place up”.  He does so with his very presence. He enters the foreboding building and he slowly strolls the halls and relives some of the less finer moments of his childhood.  The axe holes in the walls are still there, holes carved out by his mad father once upon a time. 

During one of his hall strolling scenes, darkened ceiling lamps crackle to life when Dan passes under them. The feeling I got watching this was that I was back inside Flanagan’s’ vision of Hill House from his Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. Creepy, luring and patient. I loved that series and I was giddy with anticipation watching a similar vision come to light inside The Overlook. There are plenty of Easter eggs – references and recreations of The Shining’s ghosts and deadly scenes. Here in this deadly arena “a Shining” battle will take place as heroes and villains turn their powers against each other. 

 Bringing it All Home – finishing the film in the style of King’s “The Shining”

Doctor Sleep the film ends in a similar way as The Shining the book. The first thing Dan Torrance does upon revisiting The Overlook is to re-calibrate the boilers so that they will blow the whole place to smithereens. A place like The Overlook is simply too dangerous to be left standing.  

Like his father before him, Dan will suffer a similar fate. The hotel possesses him. He runs around with an axe and tries to kill Abra, the girl he sets out to save. Just as he’s about to slam the axe inside her head, he temporarily comes to his senses. A similar situation happens in the book The Shining but not the movie. In the book, Dan breaks free from his trance for just a few moments, enough time to warn his son Danny to run. And run Danny does.  Likewise in the film Doctor Sleep with the grown up Danny and young Abra. At the end of Doctor Sleep the film, the hotel will go up in flames, just as it does in The Shining novel. I thought the film’s ending was a fitting tribute to King’s resolution.


By the time you read this piece, movie theaters will probably no longer be showing Doctor Sleep. When I saw it, there were only a few theaters left in the Chicago area showing this film. After seeing it, I began writing this review, then all of a sudden Thanksgiving weekend through me off course. But here it is, finally, and you might have to wait to stream or rent it. Oh but see it you must, by whatever means. Don’t Overlook Doctor Sleep!

Review of The Shining (Novel, Movie, Mini-series)

The time “to shine” has arrived! I’ve been promising this review for quite a while now. Finally it has come. …Heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!


** Warning: there are spoilers lurking about! They are hiding everywhere. You may encounter a seemingly innocent sentence and then suddenly, out of nowhere – BOO! One will grab you. You have been warned. **


ShiningnovelThe Book

Let me begin was a story refresher. The Shining is about a five year old boy named Danny Torrance that has special powers which the book calls “The Shining”. He has precognition and extra sensory perception to name a few. His father, Jack Torrance, is an unemployed writer. Formerly a school teacher, he lost his teaching when he pummeled one of his students for taking a knife to his car tires. Jack has anger issues. He is an alcoholic as well. After a heavy night of drinking, he witnesses Danny making a mess out of his papers on his desk. He breaks his arm when pulling him away from the desk. Many of Jack’s issues stem from the abuse he had suffered from his father. Nevertheless, his wife Wendy stays by his side, on the condition that gives up the booze and cleans up his act. Jack complies. Not only does he give up drinking, but he lands himself a job as a caretaker for the swanky yet empty Overlook Hotel for the winter when the Hotel shuts down.. It is up high in the Colorado Mountains. He and his family move in. Soon they will be snowbound. The Overlook Hotel is haunted. It too shines, just like Danny. Jack and Danny will unintentionally awaken the Hotel’s ghosts. Danny does so on account of his ability to shine and Jack on account of his unstable personality; ghosts just love to munch down on disturbed psyches.

In the “spirit” of the book (and the film) (and the television mini-series), I think it’s time to call forth some ghosts as well. These will be the ghosts of reviews past.

Several months ago, I wrote about house divided, brother against sister, and family tensions with the end result being the physical destruction of their house. This occurs in The Fall of The House of Usher.   A few weeks later, I presented a house that preys on the psychic abilities of a fragile young woman. You can learn more about this story by visiting Hill House at The Haunting of Hill House/The Haunting: Book Vs. Movie. Months later I introduced a family that rented a big old house for the summer. The wife/mother fell in love with it, so much so that longed to be a part of it. And the house was more than willing to possess her! This is what happens in Burnt Offerings. Then, only about a week or two ago, I informed you of a certain masquerade party. But this party was not all fun and games, was it? In fact it was quite deadly. You can revisit The Masque of Red Death anytime you wish.

Now, how was that trip down the haunting memory lane? It is a nice collection of “ghosts” if I do say so myself. But why resuscitate them at this time? Just for the hell of it? No. I called upon them for a reason. And the reason is: all of these stories influenced Stephen King when it came to writing The Shining.  From Wikipedia:

The Shining was also heavily influenced by Shirley Jackson‘s The Haunting of Hill House,[15]Edgar Allan Poe‘s The Masque of the Red Death and The Fall of the House of Usher,[13] and Robert Marasco‘s Burnt Offerings.[10] The story has been often compared to Guy de Maupassant‘s story “The Inn”.[16]

(I have not yet read “The Inn” Maybe it’s time to do so.)

I do believe the descriptions as I have written them point to the themes that King borrowed. Just like with The Fall of the House of Usher, The Shining is an account of a dysfunctional family that resides in a building that meets its destruction at the story’s end. As with The Haunting of Hill House, The Overlook Hotel feeds off of the psychic abilities of one of its inhabitants. In the first story, Hill House claims a vulnerable young woman named Elenaor Vance. Not only does the story hint that the house comes into power on account of her special abilities, but the house takes advantage of her emotional instability as well. In The Shining, the Overlook Hotel uses five-year-old Danny Torrance as a battery; siphoning power from his psychic nature in order to bring on a haunting. However, the unstable one of the family is his father, Jack Torrance. As an alcoholic with anger issues, the Hotel takes advantage of his personal demons as it slowly possesses him. Jack ends up being a willing servant of the Hotel; a Hotel that conjures up alcohol, gets him drunk and pressures him to kill his family – all under the guise of caring for The Hotel. Likewise with The_Shining_by_Stephen_King_Covermother in Burnt Offerings that looks after the house obsessively; a mother who gives in to the possessive demands of the house. Finally, the ghosts of The Overlook reenact a hedonistic masquerade party that took place on the property decades beforehand. At midnight on the night of their ghostly appearance, tragedy will be waiting in the same way that Death ready to pounce in The Masque of Red Death.

Yes, Stephen King borrowed from many sources. But this is not a criticism. The final product which he assembled from the various themes was indeed a masterpiece. He is like a chef that uses only the finest ingredients to concoct his stew. One does not bitch that the chef stole from the line cooks that prepped the meat, potatoes and carrots. Rather, one enjoys all the makings of this tasty treat.

I must confess. I like The Shining more than the books that influenced it. But don’t get me wrong – I love all of the preceding works. It’s just that King’s work has that extra “shine” that lures me to his story over the others. It might be the depth of the characters. Maybe it’s because all the story elements fall perfectly into place. Perhaps it’s the trip itself; the scenic drive across the story arc that makes for the best reading experience. Or maybe I just happen to have a special gene that predisposes my taste buds for the flavor of “The King!” I don’t know.

In addition to the aforementioned haunted house literature, there were other factors that influenced King’s “shining” ideas. Real life experience was one such factor. The story goes that King and his family were staying at mountain top hotel. They were the only guests! The hotel was going to shut down for the winter the very next day. It was an empty, spooky experience to be the only occupants in such a grand sized place. At night, he was plagued with nightmares. He dreamed of the corridor’s firehouse. It turned into a snake and chased his three year old son. Drawing on this experience, King began to formulate the ideas that would eventually become The Shining.

Located in Estes Park, Colorado, the name of the Hotel that inspired King’s story is named The Stanley Hotel attracts visitors to this day. Writing workshops are held there annually. (See also my blog post about Scott Nicholson’s Creative Spirit. It is a horror story about a artistic retreat and I refer to The Stanly Hotel. Supposedly, the Hotel has a haunted history in real life. They sponsor ghost tours. However, I cannot find any stories of such hauntings that take place before The Shining was published. Are these tours merely publicity stunts? I wouldn’t know.


The_Shining-movie_poster-03The Movie

Now, what about the movie starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall? Stephen King is not a fan. Not one bit. In a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he complains that the portrayal of Wendy Torrance (played by Shelley Duvall) was nothing short than an exercise in misogyny.

“Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag”

On Jack Torrance (played by Nicholson), he notes that the character was sort of crazy from the onset, contrary to the Jack Torrance of the book.

“In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene.”

To these ends I agree. Shelley Duvall is annoying in her fragility. Jack Nicholson does seem crazy from the very beginning. One of the first scenes shows Jack interviewing for the position of the Hotel caretaker. During the interview, he smiles and laughs in a way that only Jack Nicholson can. It’s what he does. He’s creepy no matter what. To quote Mad Magazine, “Jack Nicholson doesn’t mean to make horror films. His romantic comedies just turn out that way.” Nevertheless, if I were the Interviewer (Mr. Ullman), I would steer clear of this man.

In general, Stephen King finds fault with the overall lack of character development. mentions a quote he gave to BBC.

“We’re looking at the people, but they’re like ants on an anthill, aren’t they doing interesting things, these little insects”

I too have the same impression. But I must say, this “ants on an anthill” perspective is both the weakness as well as the strength of the film. Yes you read that right. Let me explain. What viewers lose in terms of character development they gain in atmosphere.   The film has fostered an air of detachment. Quite often, viewers are far away from the happenings, only to slowly zoom in with the camera as it creeps upon scene after scene.   This helps to create a larger-than-life environment; The Overlook Hotel is so much larger than life that it includes death in its equation as well. The brilliance of Stanley Kubrick is evident in the jagged angles of his aerial shots of the mountain road that lead to the hotel. From a corridor on the other side of the room, we see the characters walk the length of a corridor further away in the eye the camera; another trick of atmospheric cinematography to create a feeling that is the opposite of intimacy. It is one of remoteness; of being led into a situation that is beyond anyone’s control. One of the film’s famous scenes is of little Danny Torrance riding his big wheel through the lounges and down the corridors. When he rides across the tile floor, the rumbling of his plastic tires is heard echoing against the corners of these chambers, wherever they might be. Every now and then he rides across carpeting. The noise stops – for a few seconds. These are somewhat unsettling seconds, for we know the echoing rumbling will return. And it does. The vastness of the Hotel is juxtaposed with one if the “ants” that resides on its premises – one if its little toys on wheels.

Let me be clear, the book is definitely better than the film. If I was Stephen King and some filmmaker changed key parts to my story, or flattened out my characters, I might be upset at the final result as well. But since this is not my book, I can enjoy Kurbick’s vision of King’s novel, and enjoy it I do. Of course I’m not alone. It seems to make every top ten list of haunted house films (For example, Time and MovieWeb).Kubrick does not fully explore the depth of the characters. It is obvious that his favorite character is the Overlook Hotel itself. But he certainly raises the hotel to frightening heights.


Book Vs. The Movie

Here is a list of some of the differences between the film and the book.

Jack Torrance

  •  Book – A writer and school teach who struggles with alcoholism and anger issues. His shamed history includes beating up a student, breaking his son’s arm and almost getting into a deadly car accident with his friend at the wheel. Takes job at the overlook to build up his resume and write a play. His character constantly struggles to curb his anger and do the right thing.
  •  Film – Jack’s history is downplayed. He seems quite unbalanced from the very beginning



  • Book – Little Danny’s imaginary friend. Tony is the one who “reveals things” to the boy, i.e. the past, the future, the thoughts of his parents. Turns out that Tony is a product of the boy’s deepest caverns of the subconscious
  •  Film – Mostly the same, except toward the end, Tony seems to take possession of Danny. This doesn’t happen in the book.


Mr. Ullman

  • Book – The manager of the Overlook. He can’t stand Jack Torrance. He does not want him as the caretaker but his hands are tied. The board of directors (one of which is Jack’s friend) has guaranteed Jack the job. He treats Jack condescendingly. Later in the story, Jack unearths scandal on the hotel. As revenge, Jack phones Ullman and threatens to write a book on all the wrong doings that have occurred at the Overlook.
  •  Film – The manager takes a liking to Jack from the very start. Even with his rather unsettling posture in the interview. Go figure!


The History of The Overlook Hotel

  •  Book – There is a lot of history presented in the book. A former caretaker named Grady killed his family then himself. In room 217 (237 in the film), an older woman kills herself. Going back further in years, a mob execution takes place in the presidential suite. The hotel had changed hands often, operating as dummy corporations under the helm of the shady Horace M Derwent. He held a masquerade back in 1945 to celebrate a grand reopening of the hotel. Later in the story, the masquerade returns to life, with every occupant that has died on the premises over the years. The book goes on to describe the party as  “a long and nightmarish masquerade party went on here and had gone on for years”  and “The parties that were all one went on and on, populated by generations of guests”
  •  Film – Very little history. The Grady tragedy is mentioned. Also, the film has it that the Hotel was build over an Indian burial ground. This is not so in the book. Here’s something to note: the two twin daughters of Mr. Grady, their ghosts appear to Danny, inviting him to play in with them forever and ever. This doesn’t occur in the book.


The Boiler

  •  Book – One of Jack’s duties as the caretaker is to depressurize the boiler in the basement. “It creeps” is what the caretaker of the regular season tells Jack. This boiler is what ends up being Jack’s, and the Hotel’s undoing. The Overlooks blows up with Jack inside. His family escapes safely.
  •  Film – This plot is left out of the film. Jack meets his demise freezing to death in a ShiningMovieFrozenJackmaze of hedges. Too bad this was left out; it was also symbolic of Jack’s sanity.

Dick Halloran

  •  Book – Cook at the Hotel, meets with family before all employees vacate the premises for the winter. Shares the gift of “The Shining” with Danny. Tells Danny to call him telepathically if anything goes awry during their stay. In the end, Danny calls him and Dick comes and rescues them
  •  Film – Much the same. More description of his character in the book. However, in the film, he dies. Jack axes him to death. Halloran is played by Scatman Crothers  This is the second time Jack Nicholson bests poor Crothers. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nicholson gets him fired as the night watchman at the insane asylum. But I guess that’s better then dying.


  • Book – The hedges are cut so that they resemble animals; horses, tigers, lions. They come to life at various points. A lion ends up chasing Halloran’s snow mobile.
  •  Film – Instead of hedge animals, there is a maze of hedges. Jack chases Danny in there. Danny finds his way out ant escapes but Jack doesn’t.


Also of note, Jack does not write “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” over and over again obsessively in the book, nor does he say “Heeeere’s Johnny!” He does not chase his family with an axe. Rather, he uses a mallet. And those creepy twins – the little girl ghosts – they are not in the book.

ShiningMovieTwins             The_Shining_by_Stephen_King_Jack_Coming_up_the_Stairs











The Television Mini-series.


ShiningTV2I knew a guy, big Marvel comics fan, and whenever you asked him about a recent marvel superhero movie, he would say something to the tune of “I liked it! It stuck to the original story of the comics” or “I didn’t like it, it strayed from the original story”. To him, the quality of a film adapted from previous material seems to be solely based upon how well it regurgitates the plot of its predecessor. How well a story re-translates itself from book to film doesn’t seem to be an important factor in his analysis. I mean, if a film based on a book totally sucks, but it sticks to the original story, then by his standards the film isn’t allowed to suck.

Let’s apply his standards to The Shining movie and to The Shining television mini-series.The movie sucked because it strayed heavily from the original plot and the mini-series was fucking awesome because it, for the most part, told the story as per the book. Okay, let us be done with this application, shall we? Because it is this application that sucks. It is this guy’s standards that blows chunks.

The movie strays heavily from the original plot. It is not as good the book but it is still a good film. The television mini-series, on the other hand, closely resembles the book. Does this make it good? No, but it is not terrible either. Well not all of it is terrible.


Here’s what is terrible – the acting. It was typical made-for-TV acting. The man and woman who play Jack and Wendy Torrance seem better suited for a shampoo commercial. The boy that plays Danny has too many lines. He talks way too much and actually makes me cry out for little Jake Lloyd from Star Wars The Phantom Menace.

Elliot Gould plays Ullman and he does so robotically. Seriously, listen to him when he speaks – he sounds like a low-toned Speak n Spell.

Nevertheless, the series has its enjoyable moments. It is scary and it does give viewers more background information than the film.   But I still prefer the film. In fact, sometimes ShiningTVthe series tries to imitate the film. When Jack smashes his way into the bathroom, in the book he says nothing. In the film he says “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” Which will the series choose to emulate, the book, which it had been kept true to all along, or the movie? For some reason, it chose the movie, but instead of the calling out to The Tonight Show host of the 60’s and 70s, Jack says “booo!” followed by “here come’s papa bear!” Corny! The series should have had him remain silent.


The Shining, as a whole, is a magnificent piece of work. Beginning with King to be retold by Kubrick, it is a story that invokes one of my favorites haunted house themes – a house that is an entity in and of itself – a house that is more than the sum of its ghosts. I love the Shining and may it shine on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and…..




What’s new – 2/2/2016

NewsHello ghosts! Yes that’s you – the readers of my haunted house pieces. That’s how I refer to the people of my haunted house Facebook page so I might as well extend the same courtesy to the readers of my blog.  I thought it might be nice to post a news piece every once in a while with updates on who’s haunting what house, which ghosts are floating around these days – things like that. In other words, it will be a piece on what’s coming around the bend in my world of haunted houses within film and literature.

That said, let’s get to it!


First of all, I have written a haunted house book that will soon be available for purchase. It’s called The House Sitter. Here’s a picture of the cover:

It’s a story about Brad Johnson, a writer who is tortured with a dark and demented mind. He envisions things that threaten his sanity. In order to dispel these visions, he haunts “things”. He writes horror stories centered on household objects. Although the terrible visions are then expunged from his mind, they end up clinging to the targeted objects and haunting them for real.

Brad Johnson agrees to house sit for a friend. While under his care, the house becomes haunted.

The story will be told from three different perspectives. First there’s the third person narrative which moves the overall action of the story. Second, there are the journals Brad keeps. There are written in the first person.Third, there are the stories that Brad writes. One is about a boy who falls down his grandparents’ laundry chute, only to discover a maze filled with monsters and demons. The second concerns a disturbed young man that rents an attic bedroom. He invites a woman to his room, only to murder her. He locks the body out on the balcony. But his date is not content with being dead. Her animated corpse tries to break in and return to the attic. Finally, there is a wicked old man with a house full of mysterious antiques. One such item is a music box that summons ghosts.

These perspectives often intertwine. What happens in the narrative effects what Brad write’s about in his journal. The sentiments expressed in his journal find their way into his stories. What happens in the stories can, from time to time, spill over into the objective reality of the third person narrative.

This book should be available in the next couple of weeks. I am currently giving updates on its status at my Facebook author page:


Still with me, ghosts? How’s it ‘Shining’? That cheesy pun is my way of calling attention to a project I am currently working on. I will be reviewing Stephen King’s groundbreaking novel The Shining along with Stanley Kubrick’s film version of the same story. The television mini-series will be included in the review as well. I have read Stephen King’s TheShiningnovel a couple of years ago but I am skimming through it once again. I own the Kubrick film and have seen it several times. But hey, what’s one more viewing? Once more in preparation for this review!   So far I have watched 2/3 of the series. I will certainly finish it up and get to work writing! The piece will include quotes from Stephen King and other interesting tidbits that are directly or indirectly related to the story.





I am currently reading two haunted house novels: Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon and Darcy Coates’s The Haunting of Gillespie House. I am really enjoying both books. Expect reviews in the near future!


Soon it will be my birthday! It’s about a month away. I am going to ask my loving wife to buy a special present – a leather bound illustrated haunted house novella by William Meikle – The House on the Moor


Check it out here!



Another author has joined my Facebook page. Welcome C.M Saunders! He has an impressive library of books for sale. His next book, due out March 1st, is a haunted house novel. Yay for that! It’s called Sker House and you can check it out here:




And here again is a link to my Facebook page:


Hope the year so far has been treating everyone well! Bye for now!


~ Daniel W Cheely