Movies & TV

The Frightening Doctor Sleep Trailer Brings Back All the Terror of The Shining

'Haunting of Hill House' director Mike Flanagan's new film-which serves as a sequel to both Stephen King's novel and Stanley Kubrick's film-is already puzzling fans of the horror classic.
IMAGE Roadshow Films?
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Doctor Sleep has a heavy load to bear. The film is standing on the shoulders of two of the most significant artists of our time: Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King. The 1980 film, The Shining, is anadaptation of King's iconic horror novel from 1977, and has become one of the most recognizable horror movies of all time. It's still remembered as one of the scariest, as well.

Nearly 40 years after King's original book was published, he wrote a well-received–albeit little-known–sequel about an adult version of Danny Torrance. And now, we're seeing the first footage of the adaptation of that novel, this time directed by Haunting of Hill House director Mike Flanagan.

The trailer for Flanagan's Doctor Sleep has fans of both the novel and the Kubrick film shocked. It's no secret that Kubrick and King did not share the same vision for the story of the Torrance family and the Overlook Hotel. The novel and film may don the same title but they are vastly different in both tone and narrative structure, especially in their surprisingly opposing approach to the story's big finale (spoiler: the entire hotel blows up at the end of King's original book).

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While many fans expected the Doctor Sleep film to explicitly adapt the Doctor Sleepnovel–which fully ignores the efforts made by Kubrick in his more oblique version of the story–the trailer we're seeing here seems to confirm that both King and Kubrick are important sources of inspiration for Flanagan's Shining sequel. The trailer even goes so far as to show iconic callbacks from Kubrick's movie, showing the looming image of Room 237, which, fans of the novel know, should be labeled Room 217, according to King's writing.

Eagle-eyed horror fans will see that Flanagan has chosen to pay respect to Kubrick in this shot, rather than King–the famous hell-room is labeled 217 in the book.
Photo by Roadshow Films.
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Collider.com confirmed on Thursday afternoon that writer/director Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy are fully intending to reconcile the opposing forces of King and Kubrick and somehow make their Doctor Sleep film a sequel to both of the beloved works. Flanagan told Collider, "The answer to all of those questions for us has always been yes. It is an adaptation of the novel Doctor Sleep, which is Stephen King’s sequel to his novel, The Shining. But this also exists very much in the same cinematic universe that Kubrick established in his adaptation of The Shining.”

Photo by Roadhouse Films.
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How the creative team of the Doctor Sleep film intends to bridge these two vastly different visions is a mystery as of now. Flanagan has shown his ability in successfully rendering the words of Stephen King for the screen, after his satisfying adaptation of King's Gerald's Game from 2016. But the jury is out on whether the Haunting of Hill House director can find a way to pay tribute to the bonafide film God Stanley Kubrick, without making the Doctor Sleep movie feel like a fan film.

Doctor Sleep is set to release in November 2020. Until then, we'll be gazing vacantly into a mirror quietly muttering redrum...redrum...redrum...redrum...

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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