S1: Right now. Charlotte great. Babe. I. Am.
S2: What’s in the box. Yo.
S3: Yo yo yo yo.
S4: Hello and welcome to another slate Spoiler Special. I’m Sam Adams the senior editor at Slate and I am joined today via Skype by Matthew DSM Slate’s nights and we can browbeat editor. Matthew hello. Hello. This week we are spoiling Doctor Sleep which is a sequel to The Shining. Both the Stephen King novel and the Stanley Kubrick movie which are not entirely congruent. That is something we will be talking about quite a lot. It picks up for the most part in the present day. I mean about 40 years after the events that the original movie and we’re still following. Danny Torrance the kid from that movie now known as Dan who is an alcoholic kind of still struggling with his demons literal and metaphoric. But before we get into the movie there’s another slate show that we want to tell you about. It’s called the authority exploring the world of His Dark Materials joins Slate’s very own Laura Miller and Dan Kois as they deep dive inside the world of HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Subscribe to the authority now where you get your podcasts. Let’s just start things off in the traditional way and just talk about whether or not we would recommend this movie or not. Mr. DSM what say you.
S5: I would say that if you were an enormous fan of The Shining it’s fun but it comes from these two sources that don’t really match. I don’t know it’s like there’s two hours of a pretty good vampire movie and then 30 minutes of shining so if that’s your thing go for it who’s who thing is that not really.
S6: Yeah yeah I mean I think if you’re a huge fan of the original Shining Kubrick movie in this case this will probably interest you you may also hate it for that reason. So it’s a weird kind of camera in that respect as well. I know people have a real kind of evangelical Stanley Kubrick fans who are just like horribly offended at the existence of this movie and particularly the fact that it restage as some of the kind of iconic scenes from the original. I thought that was kind of interesting. I think the adapter director writer director of this Mike Flanagan is kind of an interesting figure. He kind of came out of the more straight horror world through movies like Oculus and sinister too. It has gotten some more kind of mainstream exposure recently mostly on Netflix he did an adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game and then did the Haunting of Hill House which is kind of an adaptation of Shirley Jackson as the series last year. And so now he’s doing this. I think he’s cutting like an interesting figure. I think there are good aspects to this I also think the movie like doesn’t work. I think it is basically not very scary which is a bit of a problem in this movie may have something to do with Warner Brothers releasing a horror movie in the first week of November which is kind of an insane time to release it and the kind of lousy box office returns sort of indicate that it is not like a movie I regret having seen it is not one that I can’t exactly recommend either so hopefully even if you don’t intend to see it you will stick with us through this exploration of it and we’ll tell you everything that happened that it has. You might expect from a Spoiler Special. So we start off in 1980 and we are shortly going to pick up with Danny Torrance and his mother Wendy. But before that we are introduced to the most significant character in this sequel to The Shining who is a woman so to speak named Rose the hat. Rebecca Ferguson as kind of an Irish woman. And so I. Very hard for me to not just call her Rose the hat like every time but I know I will do my best not to although it just was literally kind of walking around my house the day after it just going off. ROSE The hot like over and over. But I apologize for any of our Irish listeners for my mangling of your lovely dialect when I was that we find Rose the hat kind of by a lake in Florida somewhere which is where Danny and his mother have relocated after the events of The Shining. The movie getting as far away from that kind of frigid locale as possible. ROSE The hat is kind of lingering by this lake seems like a very kind of nice kind you know woman ask this little girl to come over and talk to her.
S4: And then while she is doing that these figures kind of appear out of the woods and close in on a little girl. And then we cut away because we are spoiling this we’ll tell you that those people we will eventually find out are a group of kind of quasi immortal beings. I don’t know exactly what to call them monsters sort of vampires called the true not to track down people who have the first movie called The Shining the kind of psychic abilities that Danny has and more basically than they particularly prefer children and like to murder them in as horrible fashion as possible and then kind of suck this steam what they call out of them and they will feed off that so we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them from this point on. And let me catch up briefly with Danny and his mother and this is where you get a real sense of what this movie is doing. You know this is a few months after the shining ends these roles have been recast. You have Roger Dale Floyd playing the young Danny and an actress named Alex Esso playing Wendy Torrance the role made famous by Shelley Duvall. They get the physicality of them just right and it was a little kind of disarming for me because I didn’t I didn’t know the film is going to do that in the first place. I’m an Alex S.O. I found really kind of nailed. I mean Shelley developed performance in that movie in the original live is very kind of like high key and theatrical and a lot of people find it extremely annoying friend they’ll get beery just what a great defensive it for vulture but she is kind of outcasts those kind of getting the essence of that Shelley Duvall performance which is not an easy thing to get without. But she’s not doing a caricature of it as in kind of a really interesting space. What do you what did you think of that moment.
S7: I think the first time that I thought well this is sort of the shining but not the very first shot is of the overlooks carpet and then there’s a sort of recreation of that Steadicam shot down the hallway right. Like that’s the title shot right that big wheel and Sharma follows.
S8: Little Danny on that yeah and the big wheel around the hallways and then he looks up at room is it two three seven and this is in the movie. Yeah it’s like those shots and they’re almost like in the film but not quite like the camera moves differently and the hair’s like not quite right. I knew what they were doing with that. So when Wendy Shu showed up I already was like yeah they’re gonna use you know actors actors doing it there.
S6: What are your feelings about the original shining. I mean you’re a person who kind of holds it sacrosanct and I love it.
S9: I also liked the book.
S10: I mean the thing about it is like when I said if you’re a fan of the shining you like this I guess the question is which shining you’re a fan of because I can see also why Stephen King would not love me. But seriously he’s terrified.
S4: I mean I would say that was the one thing that I thought was as you said before was if this isn’t a very frightening movie and the Shining Ones Yeah this movie has a very kind of interesting and somewhat impossible task which it is based on Doctor Sleep which is a novel by Stephen King which is the sequel to Stephen King’s novel The Shining. It is also kind of a Warner Brothers product and an extension of one of their more treasured pieces of intellectual property which is Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining. Stephen King famously hates Stanley Kubrick’s movie of The Shining to the extent that he kind of engineered to have a pretty terrible and entirely forgotten mini series remake of it done in the late 1990s and King’s novel which ends with. There’s a whole instead of hedge maze thing there is a whole thing where the overlooks topiary comes to life and then Jack Torrance ends up in the boiler room of the Overlook which then kind of explodes and is destroyed and destroys him along with it. So Mike Flannigan has to kind of create a sequel that works create a sequel that works as a sequel to both of those things which are fundamentally incompatible and under the guidance of an author who hates the original movie version of his book The servant of at least two masters and possibly more. Yeah
S5: that was I mean I thought that was much more interesting as a work of like how would you do this impossible adaptation than it is.
S9: It’s just like a vampire movie era or a horror film using actors sort of imitating his performances or doing riffs on those performances was an interesting way to do it.
S10: I mean it’s of course it’s how you would have done it at any point in the past until you know 10 years ago or whatever. I mean we’re now in the age of reused the footage or all the CGI you know fake version of Jack Nicholson at the time of the shining.
S7: And I don’t know if there were any other concerns rights wise or active participation wise that prevented them from doing that.
S4: But I thought was interesting to see can do it just completely analog like right you know sort of significantly later in the film we will of course eventually return to the overlook recreation of it and return to the character of Jack Torrance who’s going to be played in this movie eventually. By Henry Thomas and not by a digitally D aged Jack Nicholson but we are introduced soon after this to another one of the Chinese characters who shows up in this movie and that is the character of Dick Halloran played of course by Scott Mann Crothers and then killed by Jack Nicholson in the original and he reappears here in the form of Carl Lumley as their kind of guide to the afterlife or you know still kind of a tutor for Danny in the ways of managing his shining Dick Dick informs Doc as he still calls him that you know the overlook is more or less contained but because of his shining Danny is always going to be a target for the kinds of ghosts who visited him there that in fact we see one of them. Can a naked old woman in the bathtub reappear in Danny’s bathtub. Dick teaches them how to kind of create these boxes in his mind which appear in the middle of the overlooks hedge maze from the movie and those are a way of kind of trapping those trapped those goes in there so he uses his power he’s learned to use his power to kind of keep them at bay and and contain them. But we get the sense also that he’s going to be perpetually haunted by them. We see that construe shortly after because then the movie jumps forward. I’m briefly into 2011 and then into the present day into 2019 where Dan Torrance as he’s now called is first just a full on alcoholic and eventually a recovering alcoholic he’s been using a drink to kind of suppress his shining to not have to see these horrible things he bottoms out in 2011 and camps for smalltown New Hampshire which is where he resettles and that’s where the bulk of the story picks up. And we should mention at this point that the Dan Torrance as he will be known for this movie is played by Ewan McGregor in this who is evidently with this and returning to Obi Wan Kenobi in this sword. He’s in his retirement and that retirement nest egg phase of his career yet accumulating houses.
S6: Yes I mean so what did what do you think of the kind of grown up version of Dan Torrance and you. Have you read. You read Doctor Sleep too is that right. Yeah.
S7: I reread recently both of these books and it’s it’s interesting because again it’s in the novel The Shining what Stephen King is interested in is Jack towards his struggle with alcoholism and so writing a sequel to The Shining what he’s interested in is you know Danny Chance’s struggle with the trauma of the first novel and alcoholism. I mean it’s I think that works given the Priors I mean given that that’s that’s what what Keynes is interested in and is trying to write about if you’ve never read either book and you were making a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining you might land on abuse but I don’t think you would land on drinking because it’s not Kubrick was not as interesting. The writing was right but that is a major issue.
S10: So I think it works here. But I think it only works if you accept the fact that this is Stephen King writing about what Stephen King cares about from that story not necessarily what you care about.
S4: And this ties in with a lot of the stuff that Mike Flanagan is interested as in a director too is a huge aspect of the haunting of Hill House which he turned into. I guess I would say faith less. Shirley Jackson adaptation for. For Netflix it has its it has its charms but it is not Shirley Jackson’s wheelhouse by any stretch of the imagination. That series works in a kind of dual time frame you have the kind of the action of the book which is where these kids in this house are haunted by these ghost who have been there and then you know most of the series can increase and more of it is concerned with what happens to these kids as adults. And one of them grows up and becomes as sort of author and writes a book called The Haunting of Hill House and becomes a success. Several of the others become you know addicts or of one kind or another one of them ends up killing herself which is the kind of the event that kind of precipitates the whole series running theme in that adaptation is you know horror movies are often offers to focus on children they’re about kind of being afraid of the dark about these things that scare you and then at the end the kids kind of escape and everything seems to be fine. But you know the whole house and Doctor Sleep are really about like OK like you’re out of immediate danger but like you’re fucked up for life if that happens to you as a kid like your dad doesn’t try to kill you with an ax when you’re five and then everything’s fine. So picking up the story after 30 40 years is kind of a way to really look at the lasting trauma of these kinds of things which is an interesting you know the return of the repressed is such kind of a big element in horror and it really really comes to the fore in a story like this.
S10: And King of course like. I mean if you look at if you look at the whole house of the Shirley Jackson adaptation it’s not going to be happy but if you look at it as an audition for a Stephen King movie with all that generational trauma and in fact a character becomes a Stephen King like author it’s a masterpiece. But yeah exactly.
S5: That’s also that’s also the theme of it which is the other sort of rehab I was just going to say I was just going to say it is. The other big thing where this is analysis.
S4: All right. So we. So we pick up with with Dan in in 2011 and in 2019 and he’s kind of trying to settle down in this New Hampshire town make a kind of steady life for himself it’s menial jobs he runs like a kind of toy locomotive for kids that drives around this town square and there’s this whole thing there I wanted to ask you there’s this whole they make a big deal about this town having this kind of small scale replica of itself in the middle it’s called Tiny Town and then like nothing happens with that in the movie is that like is that a whole thing in the book or isn’t that just as simple as it was in either.
S10: I mean I think it’s as simple as that. You would think given that the Kubrick film I mean maybe it’s a joke about the hedge maze model but in Kubrick’s movie but it doesn’t have any plot significance.
S4: Yeah I mean I could I could make something up about that being about kind of you know replicating the past. But I’d like it just doesn’t it just seems like a very big like obvious symbol. That’s not quite of anything planted in the middle of the story and then they don’t do anything with it which is we are and in addition to running this locomotive. He is also I guess I guess a nurse. I mean I don’t think they exactly specify but he has some sort of health aide in a hospice nurse. Yeah. He’s like a hospice nurse. And the title comes from the fact that he is he is primarily kind of using his shining now to identify when people are near death and to kind of guide them into the afterlife because he can talk to dead people more or less he can see kind of the other side coming for them and he is able to comfort them even go kind of go into their mind and soothe them telepathically and so that he is given the name Doctor Sleep and that is where that comes from since we are also introduced around this time to one of these other major characters. I think the last one we have to mention which is Abra Stone played by Kylie Curran. She is a young girl in 2011 and a teenager in 2019 who’s also has you know like Dan Torrance a very strong version of The Shining and we see her in this kind of early scene using her powers to make on her family’s cutlery float up near the ceiling. And by the time she’s a teenager she has kind of gotten more creative with it but doesn’t really seem to realize exactly what she has and more importantly she does not know that having these abilities and particularly using them is going to make her a target for Rose the hot and the true not OK. So we you know we’ve been given the idea that that rose the hat and her band of psychic vampires I remember calling them have been operating this whole time. But by the time you catch up with them in 2019 they’ve kind of fallen on hard times. This steam that they live on that they have been torturing and killing particularly children in order to harvest this from them has grown less powerful less pure. They don’t really know why one of them says it might have something to do with cell phones. Thankfully they leave it at that because they really don’t want to hear any more of that theory. And of course obviously yes. But we are we are made aware that they are still kind of active and up to their bad ways because they track down a young man in in Iowa literally practice who turns out to be I have to admit I didn’t even notice this in the film and had to see it in the credits but is played by Jacob Tremblay which is sort of yeah that was a surprise to me too. Yes but he they so they they you know offer him a lift after baseball practice as he’s walking down these sort of cornrows which might make you think of another Stephen King Lear 7. So they offer him a lift. He says no. Unbeknownst to him one of the members of this true not as what they call a kind of a pusher. She has a she has the ability to kind of you know just tell people what to do and get them to do it so she says you know get in. He gets in. After that they take him off to this kind of abandoned chemical factory or something pin him down to the ground and then there is like a fairly I guess not graphic but fairly kind of prolonged sequence where it is very clear that they are you know torturing him with a knife and kind of cutting into him because Rose explains to him that that fear and pain purify the steam and kind of basically get them a better high. You know you do see he got a blood spattering up on his teenage boy face and stuff like that which is pretty messed up I guess. What did you think of that sequence.
S10: Yeah it’s it’s it’s hard to watch. It’s less chilling there than it was in the book in the book. There’s a point where the kid actually begs rose they had to kill him and she sort of like smiles at him it’s like soon. And then the next sentence is.
S7: But it was so bad anyway you look at it but it is a pretty pretty lengthy child torture sequence so if that’s not your thing and I hope it’s not a launch please please please let’s do another podcast if that’s your thing.
S4: There are many to choose from. Yeah. No it isn’t. I think if you read I mean I used to read Stephen King books a lot I’ve not read one in quite some time. You know I read them at you know as a child and a teenager and I certainly remember he was someone who has no compunction about doing horrible shit to kids in his book which as a kid I think was very compelling to me because I guess you feel like people are trying to do horrible shit to you all the time. So when a support Jacob Tremblay gets killed that is all she wrote for Jacob Tremblay but then. Then Rosa Hatton and co. kind of move on too. They realize Amber Stone is out there and that her steam is very powerful and pure and they can’t quite figure out where she is but they know she’s kind of on the east coast somewhere. So they start heading that way. And meanwhile Dan Torrance and Abra have been building up this kind of sort of anonymous psychic communication. Dan has this kind of attic apartment and his New Hampshire town there’s some line of exposition about how the previous inhabitant was a math teacher or something and so he painted a wall with blackboard paint. And then one day he just starts realizing that he can communicate with this other person not knowing who it is but through kind of drawing messages on there and then messages from her will appear there so he neighbor kind of aware of each other’s existence but not not actually in contact.
S7: I’ve got to say this is the one part and both the movie and book. What I didn’t entirely ring true to me because if you’re Dan Torrance and as a kid you went to the Overlook Hotel and met all of these ghastly creatures.
S10: It seems to me that your response to like an unexplained psychic phenomenon would not necessarily be curiosity and excite his seems to be the first message you get from her as he wakes up one morning and on his blackboard someone has written hello with a smiley face after it which maybe that’s a good sign but I don’t know that I think any chance would assume that you maybe have to kind of read.
S4: You know that he shines. You know something about that I guess that he kind of is in but it but it is. I mean it certainly did it. Yeah I mean it but yeah it is. When you I mean I watch the trailer for this movie and I remember seeing that and they made their shot seem quite creepy in the trailer and you know a kind of Blackboard crudely drawn smiley face and horror movie can very much go either way. That is often not a sign of something someone actually tried to smile and say hi to you but this entrance makes friends. So yeah you know he’s in recovery he’s doing good. He’s able to reach out to other people so there’s a scene there’s a scene in here that you’re not kind of eventually get there get a sense of where Abra is and Rose. Rose the hat decides to she can astral project herself as it turns out. I think this is one of the cooler sequences in the movie she kind of flies through the air vaguely Superman’s but somehow different images and kind of have her arms like second it’s almost like she’s kind of standing still in the world is moving around her or something and that’s just like a very cool kind of visually distinctive sequence so she flies through the air you know zooms in our neighbor’s house walks in through her window upside down and finds a room full of file cabinets which is an idea that the movie just kind of mumbles a couple words about I assume is a bigger thing in the book.
S5: It’s the way that Abra is visualizing or and also grows the inside of someone else’s mind. So it seems like the person who owns the mind has some say in how it’s decorated or whatever but it’s essentially she’s going through. ROSE That’s memories is the idea that they’re actually the filing cabinet scene where an adverse mind Rose that is trying to go through his memories.
S4: Yeah. So Rosa how does going through ABBA’s memories she she’s going through these file cabinets she turns around and sees Abra sitting there she’s wearing a wig and that her face is blurry she’s kind of disguised her appearance and at that point this metal file cabinet basically kind of starts trying to eat. Rose the hats hand slam shut on her that she can’t get herself free at that point Abra manages to go into Rose the hats mind which is sort of kind of like a library but more like a kind of you know Harry Potter like library of Alexandria kind of deal like with you know like a big cathedral with lots of little filing cabinets now she’s rifling through rows I had the memories and learning about her. GROSS The hat is trying to pull her hand free and it basically is kind of coming out of the drawer in pieces that reminded me a lot of a lot of Gerald’s Game particularly just reading the novel and getting to the word dig loving and experiencing like a full body shiver. So yeah so this is this is yeah her hand is kind of being pulled out of this thing like one layer of flesh at a time it’s completely disgusting. Maybe the glorious thing in the movie which maybe tells you a little bit about the movie too but that’s when she rose realizes that Abra is sort of like a foe that she hasn’t really encountered before. I mean they’ve been after they’ve gone after a lot of psychics before but not she just has a level of powers that they have not gotten to previously and I don’t mean is that explained at all in the book or is that just she just kind of is that way for some reason.
S10: It’s like X-Men have different powers some people have this right and Danny is like that in the original two.
S4: I mean Dick Halloran kind of explains to him like there are a lot of people have like a little bit of the shining and they kind of just you know they get a feeling when it’s time to play the lottery or something like that or you know not to get on on a certain plane. But Danny is special like he has this been a superlative version of and that’s what makes him so vulnerable to the ghosts at the overlook and eventually kind of like a beacon to the true not as well. I want to ask about the turnout as well I don’t know how they’re portrayed in the novel in this movie there several of them. Some of them you really have to look in the credits to even know they’re there several of them in the movie they have names like Grandpa flick bury the chunk of silence very short Eddie apron any several those you’d have to look in the credits to even know what the character’s names are they’re really just people who were in the background of a lot of scenes but they do seem to have taken some trouble to kind of make them you know slightly kind of you know multi-ethnic and different ages and stuff like that and Rosa had herself looks a little bit like she got a little bit like a sort of 1978 like Stevie Nicks vibe going on she’s got like you know she’s got her hat she’s got kind of turquoise jewelry and beads in her hair and stuff like that but it does feel to me like this is basically a group of people that Stephen King kind of wrote as like like you know traveling like kind of a Roma clan of like breath stealers and I was like oh wait shit that’s racist. Now like I have to do something else. So what if I made them like one’s Irish and one’s native american and then the others are right like they signify that way to you because that just felt very like yeah.
S5: That’s exactly it. I mean they’re that they’re a modern version of that. Yeah. Roma myth plus the vampire myth. I mean the thing that we haven’t mentioned is that there’s another thing about the true knot which is that people who have some amount of psychic power who have a little shrine or however you want to put it like vampires they can turn you into a member of the church not if you have that power.
S8: And we can do that too but woman at some point early in the thing it seems like a really painful process. But so in the book The idea is just basically that for hundreds and hundreds of years they’ve been going travelling around the world and every 50 years or so maybe somebody joins the group.
S4: So right we see this this turning seeing to to end with it with a character into being known as a snake by Andy who’s a 15 year old girl who has the thing about she is she’s the pusher the one who had to get people to do what she says and she is the thing about kind of luring pedophiles into her orbit and then basically using her powers to force them to harm themselves kind of getting in what would be a compromising position with them and then getting them to like mutilate their own faces and stuff like that and does that obviously thinks this would be a pretty powerful tool to have in her arsenal so she has to sneak by in any kind of come with me you know do you want to live almost forever you know live long Eat Well I think is the slogan they open what’s kind of this like magical thermos of death that they used to collect the steam. You know she snorts it kind of says later like that I felt like I died and growth that’s as well. You did kill her without telling her they’re going to kill her. But then she is reborn as one of these you know true not people and then just not seem to have any regrets about her career choices after that. So return to the plot by now. Rose the hat and her group know that Abra exists. They know that she has this very powerful very tasty psychic who’s whose steam they want to feast on. So they’re not trying to track her down and at the same time Abra and Dan by now have kind of joined forces. They want to find them as well on the side that the way to do this is to Abbott needs to get a hold of an item that belong to the dead boy Jacob Tremblay the baseball player because one of the members of the true not held it for a while and so she can pick up emanations from that. So Dan Torrance and his AA sponsor is played by Cliff Curtis then have to go out to Iowa and dig up this baseball glove and they leave Abra at home with their family while they go out and do that. They bring the glove back to her and she is able to kind of make this psychic connection and see where they see that they’re true not are on the way at that point. And then they decide they’re going to set a trap for them and that leads to this kind of confrontation in the woods where most of the true knot is is wiped out. It turns out that despite being kind of quasi immortal vampires all you need to do is like shoot them with a rifle and they will dissolve. So Ewan McGregor and Cliff Curtis dispense with most of them but unfortunately have not. They realize that one of the group is is still missing played by Zane MacLaren and you may know from West’s world. And so he while has kidnapped Abra killed her father and is taking her back to Rose the hat. Do you want to talk about what happens next.
S7: Crowe Daddy is which is the name of this member of the tree not who is kidnapped Abra is keeping her drugged in a way that prevents her from using any of her powers and driving her back and actually sort of have a conversation. She’s she’s relatively amiable since he believes he’s won although he’s angry about everyone else being killed.
S5: And what Dan Torrance manages to do is sort of travel into Abbott’s mind. Dan Torrance possesses Abra and then uses her to although she doesn’t have any psychic powers Cody is not particularly worried and is not wearing a seat belt so she she just grabs the steering wheel and drives him into the car into a tree at which point he goes through a windshield and dies. She does not psychic vampire is also very bad at wearing they’re wearing their seat belts. Yes they are there it’s very strange because they seem to have I mean this is not a movie.
S10: If you’re somebody who likes horror movies for like learning the rules of their universe this is not the movie for you because the psychic powers that people have are whatever psychic power is narratively necessary that at that moment. And the vampires too it’s not they seem pretty mortal. They just don’t age. But they also don’t seem particular worried about being killed which I would think you would be if you were torturing children and could be killed with a bullet anyway he goes through the windshield and that’s the end of that.
S5: At which point for daddy we barely. Yeah you know I know a short. A short long life sort of short on screen and long in years but the death of Crowe Daddy who is also the lover of Rose the hat in right whatever that means in this context.
S7: Exactly. She’s enraged by his death and by the death of the rest of them and at that point she is hell bent on tracking down Abra.
S4: Yeah. So she goes on this big steam Bender she kind of takes all these canisters that she’s been saving for the group and because there is no more she just like SNORTS All of them becomes you know super powerful and very dangerous and Dan can realizes get some sense this is going on and realizes that for reasons that don’t make sense except that you know that we’re going to get to the fireworks factory decides that the only place that he can finally defeat is the hat and make his final stand is surprise surprise the Overlook Hotel.
S10: So Dan and Abra go on a road trip to Colorado and the first thing that you see that is recreated from Kubrick’s movie after the opening credits there is sort of helicopter shots over the same lakes that are used for the opening shots of the shining and they arrive at the hotel which are still standing but has been condemned at some point after Jack towards his death.
S4: Right. And as you explained like that sort of an odd and slightly inexplicable move given that you know the history of the Overlook is like former horrible things have happened there then like a man attempting to kill his wife and child and freezing to death like people have actually been murdered in significant numbers in this hotel and it was fine. But I guess they had a breaking point at some point and shut it down.
S10: So the Overlook Hotel is now also a haunted house which is a bit like trying to sing after Hill house and it really does look like if you were going to design like the Haunted House version of that hotel what what it would look like in the book the reason that they go to the overlook is a lot more prosaic and it’s because there is the harp is there because they’ve bought the ground where the thing once stood true not has put in a mobile home saint like the Roma they’re migratory but they travel around lavish Arby’s. So there’s a reason besides shining nostalgia for them to do.
S12: What do you think of these moments I mean we’ve we’ve gotten as you said you know really from the beginning of the movie like little peaks of the Overlook here and there you know it’s sort of brief recreations of some of those you know incredibly famous kind of indelible seems from Stanley Kubrick’s original. But this is where they really go whole hog on that and for you know to a certain extent like the last half hour of Dr. Sally kind of effectively takes place inside the shining. They have been a meticulously recreated. I think there are a couple shots that they actually just swiped like the shot of the blood kind of gushing out of the elevator but they’ve recreated a lot they’ve recreated a lot of the locations and hallways they’ve recreated you know shot for shot some of the some of those moments even just images that you immediately recognized like when Danny you know Dan goes up to a door and the overlook and you see you know when the panels has been busted out. I mean you know exactly what room you’re out you know what happened there. How did you react. It was kind of interesting or weird that feel kind of creatively sterile to you like.
S7: Well I mean I feel like the nostalgia you can get out of like here’s the shining again was pretty effectively mined and ready player one. And the first time that I realized that they recreate it look at that was more of a shock than just this one.
S5: I was impressed. I think the first thing that they recreate that’s just straight from the thing is that they stopped for gas at the same gas station.
S8: It’s literally like a gas station in the movie where Dick hour and rents of snowmobile or something that they had rebuilt. What I liked about it I guess is not that it was just oh they rebuilt the sets which you could do. I mean that just takes money but it was sort of like we’ve rebuilt what this place would look like if it had been sitting exposed to Colorado winters.
S4: I mean it is a very bizarre thing and I had a lot of mixed feelings about a lot of which I think are more complicated than the film itself. Like I started to think about there’s a scene where we kind of mention the introduction of a snake bite Andy before and there’s that scene at the beginning where she is she’s coaxes pedophile to meet with her so that she can kind of get her revenge on him and she does it in a movie theater.
S12: And you know as they’re walking away you see there’s the marquee underneath that is you know now playing Casablanca and it’s like oh you know what a wonderful emerged like a great you know old Hollywood movie but then you also kind of at least I realize that I’m sure you know this too. You know Casablanca like the shining like Doctor Sleep is you know owned lock stock and barrel by Warner Brothers and especially as all these Hollywood studios are kind of marshalling all their content and preparing to launch their Disney policies and their Apple TV ads and their HBO maxes where you will be able to no doubt watch the shining in Casablanca come early next year. There is that aspect of it I find you know kind of like troubling and the part of this movie that is just Warner Brothers exploiting it’s like pre-existing IP is like that just is like that’s kind of the horrifying part of it for me.
S4: When you get down to like recreating the sets of the shining and like redoing the shots and actually like taking Henry Thomas and giving him that sort of like you know that shaggy haircut and the kind of loose fitting cardigan that Jack Nicholson has and you know at the end of the shining then it becomes like this weird it kind of started to remind me like Gus Van Zandt like shot for shot remake of Psycho it becomes like this weird conceptual art project and not just this kind of this like sterile recreation of it like you know like rogue one or something like that. I don’t know how in touch with the weirdness of that.
S11: This movie is how much of it is just like kind of Kubrick fanboy ism but it’s you know it’s kind of set my brain.
S6: And part of this is just that at this point I was like not involved in the plot at all but it just set my brain firing and like these you know 12 different directions that I’m thinking about that stuff and also at the same time like not really caring what happens to Dan Torrance or so on that they definitely have some fun kind of playing around with the original text when they’re back there.
S7: Well I was just to say as a business decision that the Warner Brothers Studios has made filming a sequel to The Shining is not something I necessarily approve of but the attention to detail and the actual recreations of the room sitting there like legitimately impressive. You know the thing that I wonder most about it was how much of it was built and how much of it was just let’s build a digital shining green screen all right.
S4: I mean there’s a good question I mean I know Mike Flanagan is is kind of a practical effects guy when he can be there’s an episode of The Haunting of Hill House called two storms that’s kind of the midpoint of one of the series. And it’s it’s a lot of it is like set in kind of a funeral home where there are burying their sister now who dies at the beginning of the series but then it is also kind of going back to her house and recounting the things that happened there and it starts off with this. I think you know 26 minute single take Steadicam shot that not only follows him around this funeral home but actually goes from the funeral home like down a hallway and then transitions into the main hallway of Hale House itself and goes back in time and reveals some of the things that are happening there. And I just assumed because it’s you know as it passes through this hallway out of the funeral home into Hill house itself that there was some you know digital cut hiding there because it just clearly you wouldn’t like build these two enormous sets next to each other you know put out all the expensive logistical difficulty just for one shot so you could you know kind of physically travel between them and I was wrong. Those two sets were actually built next to each other for the sole purpose of this one shot in the middle of this you know 10 and a half hours of TV. So he is you know I think pretty obsessive about about that stuff. I’m sure there’s some you know digital involvement here you know like I said I mean there are definitely shots from the original shining that are intermixed here and there may be some kind of being a blending back and forth. But I think a lot of it is just construction and you know the aging that you were talking about this 40 years of Colorado Winters give them some leeway you know just have to be a perfect recreation. You just kind of need to you know get the dimensions right and make the numbers on the door of Room 237 look like the numbers on the door Room 237. Stuff like that. I was thinking Ready Player One which also was you know very bizarre to have this whole and again like a big change from the book they add of this whole shining sequence in in the movie because that’s a movie that Warner Brothers owns then they were making Ready Player One and there was like well maybe on the shining one you just use that you know and I have I have a lot of deeply ambivalent feelings about that movie as well but I did and I do end up feeling after seeing doctors say that it was at least a more sort of interesting you know thoughtful if not again not totally successful kind of reckoning with just what this era of kind of endless you know remakes and reboots and IP mining and extensions and everything else.
S11: The kind of creative cul de sac that that is pushing us into. And it felt like doctors sleep is kind of doing that and but not necessarily thinking about it as much.
S10: Well yeah. I mean it’s kind of interesting actually because if you think about what King was doing when he wrote the novel Doctor Sleep it’s not it’s not intellectual property that would be particularly valuable to Warner Brothers except for the moon in the shining because it’s in a different world it’s not a sequel to their movie. So I’m sure. FLANAGAN Well actually the film didn’t do very well at the box office right. But if Flanagan found a way to get them to monetize the shining that they did not have before you would be a hero over there.
S6: Yeah well I mean it’s you know better a shining sequel than no shining sequel probably as far as Warner Brothers is concerned. I mean I think it was projected to make 25 million at the U.S. box office and made 14 or something like that so that’s a pretty I mean 25 million was not that big to begin with but that’s a pretty dramatic difference. And at you know it’s not going to go out from there. I think it’s it’s kind of you know box office dud at this point. I mean horror movies are notoriously steep drop offs. I mean they off they tend to have big opening weekends and then vanish. And this one did not even have a big opening weekend so it’s pretty much done.
S4: Someone who’s interested in Mike Flanagan I think it was interesting to see it like it’s interesting to me to see him get this big huge tool box and be able to do this you know to like you know build these huge sets that he can do these huge Steadicam shots down and the fact that he has to be rebuilding Stanley Kubrick sets in order to do that is partly just it’s like it’s just kind of the world we live in which is unfortunate but it is also this is you know it’s 2019. This is this is where we are.
S10: I mean if you have to meticulously recreate the work of an earlier filmmaker and that’s the only way you can make movies you could do worse than to do Stanley Kubrick split. But yeah I agree with you it’s sort of depressing that that’s that’s where the money goes.
S4: All right. So anyway so we are building now to this final confrontation between Dan Torrance and Rose the hat dentist you know decided that the overlook is the place to stage this is not really explained why it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. There’s some sort of connection between the true not and the ghosts in the overlook but they’re definitely not the same. I mean the you know the true not are corporeal figures who physically kill people they are not ghosts but they are both kind of a tune to the same psychic bandwidth or something. But anyway so you know Dan has lured rose the hat there ABBA’s there as well. She has been waiting outside but you know runs in time and throws the hat shows up and they built this confrontation we end up back in the same giant hall with Jack Torrance his typewriter still there on the table in the middle of it the one where he typed all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy as well as the hat is making her way towards the Overlook Hotel we have what is probably the the most direct reckoning of this movie with the legacy of the original which is you know Dan Torrance is kind of making his way around the hotel metaphorically revisiting old ghosts and then he literally revisits one because he steps into the ballroom pulls up to the bar to have a drink and behind the bar is a figure who we will eventually quickly come to realize is the ghost of his father Jack Torrance Jack has been as we know he has always been the caretaker he is still the caretaker he’s still tending bar there hasn’t any guests in a while but he offers Danny a drink and this is where this alcoholism theme they were talking before about Sam comes back in yeah.
S5: So they he’s at the bar in the gold lounge and they sort of recreate the alcoholism scene from the movie and look at the shining in which this figure of Lloyd the bartender commences Jack Torrance to have a drink which is what sets him on his way.
S10: In this case it’s not Lloyd although he says his name is Lloyd it’s clearly his father and he gives him a speech about alcohol being medicine that sort of you know it’s that takes the edge off speech she tries to talk him into having a drink which he doesn’t do and then does he just leave his stand at the bar and walk away. I don’t remember how it ends.
S11: He throws a the bartender slides the glass off. Yeah I think he just I think he just says no and then just leaves. Like I think that’s resist temptation. Yeah he looks at the drink. Yeah he doesn’t but he doesn’t take it.
S10: And at that point the ghost disappears and he’s back in the empty Golder. The last thing is where he really starts pulling from stuff from Stephen King’s novel The Shining. That that Kubrick didn’t use. So it sort of jumps from recreations of scenes that happened to Jack Torrance in the novels are happening here to his son.
S4: So now we’re at the final confrontation between rose the hat and Dan he has sent Abra off to protect herself. There’s a whole thing where he kind of lay a trap for her inside Dan’s mind involving you know the the overlooks hedge maze and then rose that realizes that she’s not an average mind she’s in Danny’s mind. She comes out and she just she starts pinning him down and pulling the steam out of him. And that’s when she you know she goes in his mind and sees all these boxes that he has been trapping the ghosts of the Overlook in for the last 30 40 years. Now she’s pulling the steam out of him she sees these boxes in his head they’re elaborately decorated. She thinks they must be very special. Dan says they’re not special. They’re starving and he opens up all the boxes and then all the Overlook ghosts come back the ones that dance entrancing around the hotel so that the twin girls and the originally the bartender and the old lady and all the other you know figures all the sort of get you know Halloween costume party people from the original movie sort of stick their hands not only around like put their hands not only on Rose they have a sort of inside her. They kind of stick their hands under the skin in her face somehow and just like pull her apart and she finishes it a puff of steam and that is the end of Rose that but it is not the end of the Overlook Hotel.
S7: Yes. Dan Torrance is not doing great. And the hotel. These ghosts having taken care for us to possess him and send him after Abra is a valuable target for the hotel just as he wants for us to have and they recreate in the original book of the shining. There’s no hedge maze Jack chases Danny around through the hotel with an ax which is a shark with a rock mount in the novel in this case it’s an axe.
S10: It’s an axe in the movies but they recreate those sequences the way that the original book ended this time with our hero Ewan McGregor chasing after the main character around like that and they sort of recreate the end of the novel which is that Jack Torrance is in the novel is supposed to maintain the overlooked boiler room when he’s possessed. He forgets about it. When and that’s what happens here we see in a flashback that as they arrived at the Overlook Dan went to the basement turned on the still functioning boiler and set it to blow up and then having been attacked by the had and possessed by the hotel has forgotten all about that.
S7: But as in the novel The Shining Dan Torrance in this case not Jack runs down to the basement in an attempt to save the hotel and save the boiler and does not succeed in that endeavor. Boiler explodes killing again as it killed Jack in the original level.
S4: Right. And as I mentioned before I mean the original shining ends with the boiler and blowing up the overlook though this is kind of a Stephen King sequel to The Shining with the ending from Stephen King’s book The Shining tacked onto the end of it. And I think I mean if you read the book you know the second he goes into the boiler room like you know what’s going to happen. So it was like a weird little easter egg for four people who have actually read the book. There’s also this scene where you know it takes us in the boiler room Danny is dying he’s got this one his leg this ghost coming after him he’s not going to make it out he’s you know he sends Abbott out kind of recovers himself long enough to free himself from the literal ghost of his father who is just sitting there in the boiler room basically waiting for this place to blow. And there is. We get kind of he’s revisited by another ghost and this time it is the ghost of his mother Wendy you know who he is finally sort of brought together with his ability to see people close to death. He initially visualized that as like flies landing on their bodies so when his mother started dying her face was just covered with flies and he couldn’t even look at her and he couldn’t couldn’t see her face so he wasn’t there when she died. So then we get the shot of his his mother Wendy Alex also coming back and we get to see her face this time and it’s kind of this reconciliation between the two of them this moment of peace that Danny has finally found by going back and confronting this whole thing before the hotel blows up and he dies.
S12: I mean this reminded me also like a little bit of the ending of The Haunting of Hill House which kind of had a sort of similar kind of ghost reconciliation thing to it that played on a certain emotional level but also made no sense with like the nine hours of stuff that just like this doesn’t like this kind of evil ghost that has been like orchestrating all this stuff just turns out to be like kind of like maybe good and this doesn’t really exist Yeah. That there’s no like what’s the moral here like if you survive a childhood trauma. And it bothered you your whole life. You should just like blow up a building with yourself in it and you’ll be at peace. Like I don’t really know don’t my takeaway is here. I guess anyone who knows the answer to that can’t tell us.
S7: It’s two movies. It’s this vampire story and then it’s tour of the haunted overlook hotel for half an hour. And I think I mean it’s sort of sweet there is in the original shining also there’s a moment where Jack Torrance briefly overcomes his possession and tells Danny to run and you know whatever comes back to him so it’s not like dramatically wrong for this one to end with reconciliation the way it was I think dramatically wrong for Hill House to do that but it’s strange it’s a strange thing like that moment in in the basement of the boiler room is not does not seem like where you would want to put a big moment of reconciliation.
S10: But that’s the end of the movie so that’s where it goes.
S4: Yeah that’s gone that’s the end of Dan Torrance pretty much. And we do get a little tag after that you know as we mentioned I think you know ABBA’s father was was killed by a crow daddy. So we get a little tag. You know it’s I think six months later than that and we see Abra at home with her mom and she basically does kind of the bumblebee pendant scene from The Sixth Sense where she basically tells her mom look hey you know I can talk to Dad and Dad’s fine and everything’s okay. It doesn’t matter it doesn’t. He’s not upset that could cause a immortal demon being stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife everything’s cool you know dead people are fine with that gnats. And then we see the final callback as we see once again the rotting ghost woman who Dan I guess let out to to kill rose the and has not been successfully somehow. Even at the Overlook blew up is still around and now is hunting Abra. And the last thing we see is her preparing to put the old lady back in a box and scene.
S5: I think it’s it’s it’s a really interesting movie if you think about it as just sort of like how on earth would you reconcile these stories that don’t end in the same place aren’t really about the same thing. But it’s that you’re looking for a movie that is like terrifying this isn’t it or quote unquote makes sense.
S4: Also true also true. All right.
S6: Well thank you all for listening. Thank you Matthew Jasim for joining me today. Thank you so much for having me. And a great time. Please subscribe to the slate spoiler special podcast feed and if you like the show please read and review it in the Apple podcast store or wherever you got your podcast. If you have suggestions for movies or TV shows we should spoil or if you have any other feedback you’d like to share. Please send it to spoilers at Slate. That comes our audio engineer is Merrit Jacob our producer is Rosemarie Benson for Matthew desolate. I’m Sam Adams. Thanks for listening.