In readiness for the publication of DOCTOR SLEEP (2013), the follow-up to Stephen King's THE SHINING (1977), I thought I go back to where it all began and re-read one of the true classics of isolated horror.
Much like the first time I read THE SHINING (around 10yrs ago give or take) the chapters still had the same bite, chilling me to the bone by virtue of evocative and tension building horror drip fed through clever plotting and subtle overtones of the otherworldly.
Jack, a former teacher and promising author with an anger management problem is accompanied by his wife, Wendy, and young son Danny (aka Doc) to manage the Overlook during closing season. Unbeknown the to family is the dark and grisly history of the hotel which has seen mob hits, hauntings, unlawful dealings, and murder soil its reputation and stain the carpeted rooms with blood and brain matter from owner to owner.
Before long, Danny - gifted with 'the shining' sees death in bathtubs, inanimate objects seemingly coming to life and people stalking the hallways where none should be. Jack and Wendy eventually fall victim to the Overlooks power themselves as the snow piles and escape becomes little more than a redundant thought.
Wendy tries to hold firm for the sake of her family while Jack's already damaged mind is corrupted with the vindictive dead of the Overlook. Though possessed to do their murderous bidding, King keeps a little of Jack's own twisted persona as a willing element in league with the Hotels agenda. The result is a mixed bag of horror as the plot reveals Jack's checkered and violent past and the equally violent history of the Overlook - the two merging as one for this latest round of caretaker bloodletting.
Given the time between THE SHINING and DOCTOR SLEEP being published, I recommend a re-read of the highly atmospheric and creepy first installment prior to picking up DOCTOR SLEEP anew.