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June 13, 2019 11:01 AM   Subscribe

 
Pleased to hear that extremely middling horror director Mike Flanagan, fresh from his disinterment of The Haunting of Hill House, is now ready to do an “Ecce Homo” on The Shining. Excellent news!

Hopefully he can continue to make tedious, sappy and not very scary remakes of horror classics containing a studio-mandated number of nods to the source material from now until the end of time.

That’s unless the vengeful spirits of Stanley Kubrick and Shirley Jackson don’t team up to do something frightening and awful to him first! Let’s hope not!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:07 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


I ask this in seriousness and not snark, was the sequel/book King wrote a few years ago good or enjoyable? I know King isn't for everybody but even on a Stephen King scale, some of his stuff is better and some of his stuff is just absolute crap, where does that actual book fall? Would love to hear what some people thought of it, if it's not too much of a derail.
posted by Fizz at 11:16 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I did not enjoy the book much Fizz though I do enjoy most of King's work and have read A LOT. Some multiple times! I generally love most of his work. I would put it at the lower end because IIRC it just bored me. I think I had it on audiobook. I wish instead they'd made Revival if you want modern Stephen King novel adaptation. His short stories tend to be his best IMO.

I have enjoyed Mike Flanagan's work especially Gerald's Game, Hush and Oculus. The trailer looks interesting to me.

I guess on the book front I should add that I remember very little of it whereas I remember all of Revival in GREAT detail, and also much of his other works even years later. So that's my review. It floated away.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:19 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I ask this in seriousness and not snark, was the sequel/book King wrote a few years ago good or enjoyable?

I read the book.....it was sort of uneven. There were some very satisfying parts to it, but some of the plot and especially the ending came off to me as a bit forced and deus ex machina. Some of the kind of cornball King stuff was cringey. I don't want to criticize it in more detail, for fear of upsetting people with spoilers.
posted by thelonius at 11:20 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I wish instead they'd made Revival if you want modern Stephen King novel adaptation.

Apparently that's in the pipe-line (though it seems to be stalled), so keep your eyes/ears peeled. Revival is probably one of his strongest books in the last 15 years.
posted by Fizz at 11:24 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed Flanagan's adaptation of Gerald's Game, which really surprised me! (My enjoyment, I mean.) I thought it was well-adapted, well-handled, certainly well-acted.

And Fizz, I wish I could lay my hands on the email conversation I had with a friend when I first read the novel Doctor Sleep. But the short version is, it felt like the seed of a really good novel spackled over and lost in a lot of unnecessary junk. The premise of grown-up Danny working at a hospice, able to ease dying people so kindly across the threshold, that feels like a potentially really great and moving book. So much to chew on about death and dying, about age and mortality, about the toll his power and his past have taken on his life, and whatnot.

But instead that power is not...really the premise after all? Instead the story becomes about a traveling crew of Redneck Energy Vampires? Which was unnecessary, irrelevant, and disappointing.
posted by theatro at 11:32 AM on June 13 [11 favorites]


I love Stephen King and didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I think my main objection was that I felt almost no tension or worry about the characters - there was never a moment where I worried the bad guys might triumph.
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:33 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I'd edit that last part out theatro, no need to spoil anything. It isn't quite clear what's up in the trailer. I did not like the ending of the book, I remember that much!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:33 AM on June 13


I ask this in seriousness and not snark, was the sequel/book King wrote a few years ago good or enjoyable?

I found it enjoyable, a little ham-fisted near the end, but standard Steven King overall - however, I typically don't ask alot of my fiction (I read for sheer pleasure and do not try to analyze too much), and I burn through books rather quickly -and have a bad memory, so re-reading happens as well, so... YMMV.
posted by jkaczor at 11:45 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


... And, well, other than the Dark Tower, the last few years have been good with Steven King related movie (IT, Pet Cemetery) and TV (Castle Rock) adaptations, so I have some hope for this movie... (Argh, not the Haunting of Hill House guy... that was such a letdown... well, fingers are still crossed)...
posted by jkaczor at 11:47 AM on June 13


Ah, sorry, missed the edit window. Though, while I see what you're saying, in the end I don't think that phrase is a spoiler. The trailer clearly shows a group of hungry baddies with an RV, that seems much the same. In the book, that plot comes along pretty early and is basically the book's real premise.

Maybe in the adaptation, Flanagan et. al.'s focus will improve it for me. Adaptation, by virtue of needing to focus and drill down, can do wonders by cutting away the lumpiest parts of spackle. I'm already cheered up by seeing the sensitive approach to Dan's connection with Abra.
posted by theatro at 11:53 AM on June 13


'A traveling crew of Redneck Energy Vampires'

I'm so going to steal this for my Gamma World™ novella.
posted by clavdivs at 11:56 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


As is often true of King, Doctor Sleep was a great novella with two tons of Dude Needs An Editor dumped on top of it. It seems like a possibility that the limited scope of a film might let someone mine the novella out of it, but it looks like there's still plenty of...that other crap...from the trailer.

I'll watch it, but my expectations will be appropriately low, which seems to be best practice for King adaptations.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:57 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Everyone should read Revival.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:59 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I remember disliking the book a lot, although the plot has made no lasting impression on my memory at all.
posted by sarcasticah at 12:01 PM on June 13


Everyone should read Revival.
posted by OnTheLastCastle


Seconded. All in favor?
posted by Splunge at 12:21 PM on June 13


This looks godawful. But if there's anything the 'cinematic universe' is tailor-made for, it's S King and his many adapters. Not that it's ever been done well but: I can understand why studios keep licking their chops and biting.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:22 PM on June 13


What I really want to see is a faux-trailer cut like a horror movie about a group of scrappy young up and coming media drones acquiring the rights to an obscure Steven King property....only to find that it's haunted. Boo!
posted by es_de_bah at 12:25 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Seconded. All in favor?

Aye.

As is often true of King, Doctor Sleep was a great novella with two tons of Dude Needs An Editor dumped on top of it.

Aye.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:26 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


What I really want to see is a faux-trailer cut like a horror movie about a group of scrappy young up and coming media drones acquiring the rights to an obscure Steven King property....only to find that it's haunted. Boo!

“This couple is attacked by a......”
posted by Fizz at 12:27 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I finally got around to watching Trainspotting 2 fairly recently, so I can't help it if this popped into my head while watching the trailer...

Premise: "Like Doctor Sleep except Francis Begbie is involved."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:32 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I liked it quite a lot, although that may be in part because there's a fair amount of the book that has to do with Alcoholics Anonymous, which King has been a part of for thirty-odd years. I thought that the Redneck Energy Vampires weren't a bad choice for villains, either, as King's latest works have tended to have a great deal of social commentary implicit and explicit in them, and a group of older people who are willing to sacrifice any number of younger people for their own personal benefit has a certain amount of resonance to it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:35 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


This looks godawful. But if there's anything the 'cinematic universe' is tailor-made for, it's S King and his many adapters. Not that it's ever been done well but: I can understand why studios keep licking their chops and biting.

Well, you do remember IT, right? 123mil opening weekend. Here are the records it broke:

Biggest opening weekend in September (adjusted and unadjusted) — The previous record holder was Hotel Transylvania 2, which made $48.5 million in its debut in 2015

Biggest opening Fall weekend (adjusted and unadjusted) — Gravity last set this record in 2013, with a $55.8 million opening weekend, less than half of IT's debut weekend total

Biggest horror movie opening weekend — The previous largest debut for a horror film was 2011's Paranormal Activity 3, which made $52.6 million in its opening weekend in 2011

Biggest opening weekend for a Stephen King adaptation — Unadjusted for inflation, 1408 was the previous record opening for a King-adapted film. That 2007 film made just $20.6 million in its opening weekend

Second biggest opening weekend for an R-rated film — IT's debut weekend only trails Deadpool's record $132.4 million opening last year

from this IGN article
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:37 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I couldn't finish Doctor Sleep. I remember really wanting to like it, finding myself hooked by the depiction of what had become of Danny. But I really disliked Rose the Hat as a villain. She wasn't scary in and of herself; it was like the lady from the Four Non Blondes except evil and bisexual. I know it's a lot to ask of King to come up with a genuine horror icon for every villain, but when I couldn't get into the Redneck Energy Vampires, it started to lose me. Also, a lot of the book seemed to be about road-trip logistics near the middle. I know it's really hard to get characters across long distances within the bounds of plausibility, but I would trust you, Uncle Steve!

Still, I am always willing to see what a movie makes out of a book. It could be an absolute turnaround.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:49 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Wow. There were some good scenes there. The blood splashing down the hallway, the twins, the little kid on the Big Wheel outside Room 237.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:08 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Like others here, I wanted the book to be better than it ultimately was...or different anyway. The story he told wasn't the story I wanted to be told with the raw materials. I'm a huge, long term, and unashamed King fan, he's almost always reliably entertaining, and his really good stuff is truly excellent. This wasn't terrible, but it was a bit meh. I'll give it another try.

I like the look of this trailer though! Ewan McGregor is always watchable and revisiting the Overlook Hotel should be fun. I loved Gerald's Game, so this might be good.
posted by biscotti at 1:23 PM on June 13


I thought that the Redneck Energy Vampires weren't a bad choice for villains, either, as King's latest works have tended to have a great deal of social commentary implicit and explicit in them, and a group of older people who are willing to sacrifice any number of younger people for their own personal benefit has a certain amount of resonance to it.

came here to post essentially this
posted by entropicamericana at 1:50 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


The villain was the boomers all along! The Shine is unpaid internships!

The blood hallway is avocado toast.

I could make this work.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:39 PM on June 13 [8 favorites]


I despised this book.

It's typical King: a competent page-turner. But as a sequel or followup to The Shining? I prefer to pretend this book does not exist. It was never written. What was the topic here? I've lost my train of thought...
posted by SoberHighland at 3:24 PM on June 13


I didn't like Hill House over all, but did think that the first few episodes where it's mainly scares and less family drama were decent (it just doesn't land the family drama at all, IMO). I can see Flanagan's skills working better in the constrained format of a movie, with the caveat that I haven't seen Gerald's Game (so maybe this is already a given). I'm not super enthused for this, but I'll probably end up seeing it.

As an aside: there are almost no scare shots in the trailer that aren't from the original movie, which strikes me as a bit odd. Everything Flanagan has shot is presented as the backstory and scene setting with a few exceptions. It also made me remember how little scene setting there was in The Shining. Jack is pretty much already crazy-ish on the ride up, the family gets the briefest introduction along with Halloran, and then things start going awry. It's going to be weird seeing how the new story meshes with that.
posted by codacorolla at 3:35 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I haven't been here at Metafilter in a while. I'm honestly surprised by the general dislike of the Haunting of Hill House reboot. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It needed to be edited down a bit (though that's true of most movies and TV, IMO), but I found it extremely creative and gripping, and most of the performances were excellent.
posted by SoberHighland at 3:40 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Call me easy, but I enjoyed Dr.Sleep. Consistent page turner indeed, I read it all in one night, over a Christmas holiday if I recall - which may color my enjoyment of it. And those of you slagging on Mike, go watch Absentia and get back to me. That movie is perfect inevitable grief inflected horror.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 4:20 PM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Get this good movie out of your crappy movie!

(But srsly, isn’t King on the record as hating the Kubrick version? Why not use clips from the other version?)
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:18 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


It also made me remember how little scene setting there was in The Shining. Jack is pretty much already crazy-ish on the ride up, the family gets the briefest introduction along with Halloran, and then things start going awry. It's going to be weird seeing how the new story meshes with that.

This is the best review of The Shining that I’ve ever read, and I present it here in its entirety:
The Shining is such a good horror movie that the five second clip of it they show in Twister that I saw when I was nine gave me nightmares for two years. Sure it’s an especially potent five seconds but come on.

Stanley Kubrick’s great. I’m not gonna be the guy saying he’s not. That’s not me. But the man had an emotional blind-spot you could walk a parade through sideways. Nowhere (except maybe Dr. Strangelove? I’d hear you out if you made that case) does it work more to his advantage. The movie knows it has no human element beyond the lizard-brain sense of fear it evokes in you. And it never breaks character. That’s what’s so amazing about this movie. It never tells you when to be scared. There’s no sense of relief like “ah okay at least I’m SUPPOSED to be scared here.” The movie just stares you dead in the eye for its entire runtime. It’s a deadpan routine that never lets up. Buster Keaton is walking towards you slowly and you can see the knife in his hand the whole time.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:33 PM on June 13 [17 favorites]


It also made me remember how little scene setting there was in The Shining. Jack is pretty much already crazy-ish on the ride up, the family gets the briefest introduction along with Halloran, and then things start going awry. It's going to be weird seeing how the new story meshes with that.

This touches on the reason why King didn't like Kubrick's version of the story very much. A lot of it has to do with Nicholson's casting and portrayal of Jack Torrance; in King's original story, Torrance is struggling with his personal demons (alcoholism and an abusive father, whose abuse he's acting out toward his own son and one of his high school students), and he seems to be dealing with his personal issues until he and his family become winter caretakers of the Overlook and the hotel starts working on him. King felt that Kubrick's casting of Nicholson tipped his hand from the beginning. I also like the review that chappell, ambrose linked above; it's a brilliant movie in its own way (King said much the same in his book Danse Macabre), but it's not essentially the same story at its core.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:44 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


in King's original story, Torrance is struggling with his personal demons (alcoholism and an abusive father, whose abuse he's acting out toward his own son and one of his high school students), and he seems to be dealing with his personal issues until he and his family become winter caretakers of the Overlook and the hotel starts working on him.

I used to kind of nod along with this take, until my most recent re-read of the novel a couple of years ago. Jack is already on a precipice, white-knuckling along, from the first moment--he's bursting with rage and contempt and self-pity, and can barely suppress it. A fantastic portrayal of what AA calls a "dry drunk"--technically not drinking, but otherwise not dealing or having dealt with his issues at all.

But I wasn't surprised that King would believe he wrote a novel about a guy who was dealing with it okay until the hotel got him--he was an active but self-unacknowledged alcoholic when he wrote it, and so as far as his own POV was concerned, he was dealing with it juuuust fine.

Nicholson's performance is a compressed/exaggerated version of Jack, yes, but it still feels fair to me--it's not so far from how Jack is from the outside, without the novel's self-explanatory (and self-exculpatory) interiority.
posted by theatro at 6:10 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


Get this good movie out of your crappy movie!

(But srsly, isn’t King on the record as hating the Kubrick version? Why not use clips from the other version?)
posted by computech_apolloniajames


Excellent use of the eponysterical.
Seriously, though, I don't know that anyone truly liked the miniseries of The Shining that King had made, and it definitely didn't have the iconic power of Kubrick's, for all the flaws that one had. When people think of The Shining, they don't even think of the book -- they think of that elevator, those twin girls, and that axe.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:32 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


King pretty much proved that Kubrick's instincts were correct when he made that TV remake of the Shining with the guy from Wings as Jack Torrance.
posted by octothorpe at 6:37 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Or what Countess Elena said.
posted by octothorpe at 6:51 PM on June 13


This book did not sound good to me. But I think Mike Flanagan is terrific. So I'll see it anyway.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:24 PM on June 13


Seriously, though, I don't know that anyone truly liked the miniseries of The Shining that King had made

I liked it. In fact, I love it. I've watched it several times. It is got a perfect tightening of the tension across its 3 episodes, which each episode having its own arc that builds toward the full arc of the series. By the time Jack is wielding the oversized croquet mallet for his weapon, the entire thing has me viscerally reacting every time a blow lands on someone. Six hours is a really long time to take to build toward a climax, and I think this particular piece earns its denouement.
posted by hippybear at 7:41 PM on June 13


The only scene borrowed from Kubrick was the elevator. Everything else was a re-creation!
posted by candyland at 7:56 PM on June 13


The only scene borrowed from Kubrick was the elevator. Everything else was a re-creation!

Huh, that's interesting. The idea of going back inside of the old movie could potentially be a cool way to approach the sequel.
posted by codacorolla at 8:53 PM on June 13


The only scene borrowed from Kubrick was the elevator. Everything else was a re-creation!

That's because that scene wasn't even special effects. It was footage of an elevator full of blood opening its doors, even sweeping away furniture with its force.
posted by hippybear at 9:17 PM on June 13


(okay, not blood blood. but they did fill an elevator full of red viscous liquid and film it. I do so miss brilliant in-camera stuff like that.)
posted by hippybear at 9:19 PM on June 13


It's pretty bad that the best stuff in the trailer are copies or actual footage from a forty year old movie. I'm going to predict that this new film will be mostly forgotten long before another forty years have passed.
posted by octothorpe at 7:23 AM on June 14


I guess I'm in the minority (on MetaFilter, anyway...) of people who enjoyed Doctor Sleep the book. It wasn't great literature, it wasn't even King at his best, but I enjoyed it and might even re-read it back-to-back with The Shining one of these days.

It's not where I expected the story of Danny Torrance to go, but he's the master storyteller and I'm not - and they're his characters, after all.

According to the Internets the story was partially inspired by a cat that lived in a hospice and could predict when people were going to pass. I wish he'd do a full story just about an oracle or harbinger cat, I'm here for stories that put cats front and center...
posted by jzb at 9:47 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Y'all are nuts, The Haunting of Hill House was excellent (and so was the book), and this trailer looks super cool. They are obv. playing a lot on the Shining vibe but that's all good and the idea of the Shining with a little more of the humanity Flanagan injected into Hill House makes me very excited indeed.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 12:44 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]


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