The Three Words I Hate Most This Week: ‘The Shining’ Prequel.

Word of a prequel to the awesomely horrifying THE SHINING started spreading big time over the last few days.  It appears Warner Bros. is ready to move forward with the idea.

As a devoted Stephen King fan with a deep affinity for Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the book, I must say- this is the worst movie news I’ve heard since Michael Bay announced he’d be re-imagining TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

“A prequel? You’re shittin’ me, right?”

King is putting the finishing touches on a sequel to his legendary classic tale, which will catch us up on the not-so-little-anymore Danny Torrance and how the shining affects him as a 40-year old orderly at a hospice. The book is slated to be released in 2013 and is titled DR. SLEEP.  King himself has proclaimed the project “a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror”.  Count me in.

This prequel idea, however?  No thanks.  Sure, there are some intriguing names already linked to the potential project.  Laeta Kalogridis, a fantastic writer who most recently penned SHUTTER ISLAND, along with two of her writing partners,  will reportedly be scribbling this script.

“Oh, you’re going to tell the backstory to THE SHINING? Hmm… I thought Stephen King did enough of that IN THE BOOK…”

But why the hell is a prequel needed?

Oh, you want to tell the story of the family that was butchered the last time a father went mad in the dead of winter while watching over The Overlook Hotel?  File that under premake.  No doubt a ton of modern teenagers would love to see how those little girls came to be creepy ghosts in the movie their parents keep watching on AMC during Halloween week.

Dick Hallorann as a major character?!  Sure, there are some possibilities here- but exactly how far can you go telling the story of a hotel cook who was born with the special gift?  Again, you are treading thin ice on your way to Premake Island with that premise.

The 1997 television mini-series starring Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay had its moments, and King himself wrote the teleplay.  It’s no secret that King had some issues with Kubrick’s adaptation, so the ’97 re-telling was acceptable.

Part of what’s truly terrifying about the movie, and even more so the book, is the mystery surrounding Room 237.  We are given just enough of an idea of what’s behind the closed door to the tormented room to warrant us sleeping with the lights on and looking over our shoulder in the shower for a few weeks.  The only thing a prequel would achieve is bashing that door in and giving a new generation reason to sleep with the light off and never thinking about that horrible naked woman that could be hiding in their tub.

The logical option is simple.



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