The film world’s gone mad about The Shining* and Doctor Sleep (*with good reason)

The film world’s gone mad about The Shining* and Doctor Sleep (*with good reason)

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in a wood-splintered door or been frozen in a maze, you’ll have noticed that the heat is on for Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining and next week’s release of the sequel Doctor Sleep – just in time for Halloween. 

Shining ever brighter

Interest in psychological horror drama The Shining (based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name) has never been greater despite the film being four decades old. The 1980 classic has been endlessly referenced and parodied in film.

The Shining’s Overlook Hotel corridor

Increased enthusiasm for the film and its legacy was reflected in “The Axe” reaching nearly four times its estimate after an auction bidding war last month. This iconic axe was used in the scene where a deranged Jack Torrance hacks through the door of a bathroom, pokes his head through and proclaims “Heeere’s Johnny!”. With an estimate of £40,000 – £60,000 ($51,000 – $76,000) the awesome axe ended up reaching £170,000 ($217,000). Never has a humble wood cutting implement been so coveted.

"Heeeeere's Johnny" Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining
“Heeeeere’s Johnny!” Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining

You won’t find any Halloween orange pumpkins in The Overlook Hotel but you will find lots of orange hexagons: The Shining is one our favourite films due to the horror-filled Overlook Hotel featuring the most iconic carpet in film.

The Hicks Hexagon carpet in The Hotel’s corridor features prominently in several key scenes including young Danny’s first unnerving encounter with room 237 as he investigates on his tricycle.

We discuss why this carpet was chosen for The Shining in our feature “Checkmate! The story behind Kubrick’s carpet in The Shining revealed” and our research on this famous carpet resulted in us being able to offer the officially licensed carpet, rugs and runners for sale to the public.

‘The Shining carpet’ of bold hexagons has been parodied in Ready Player OneMinions and Toy Story.

The Hicks Hexagon carpet parodied in Ready Player One
The Hicks Hexagon carpet (officially licensed carpet available in our store) parodied in Ready Player One

The Shining was also the subject of one of Ctrl Shift Face’s most-watched Deepfake videos with Jim Carrey faceswapped with Jack Nicholson at his typewriter in The Overlook Hotel. If you haven’t seen it yet, be prepared to be amazed from the clip below.

And if you’ve never seen The Shining on the big screen – now is your chance! It is currently being shown in various cinemas across the UK and US and The Shining 4k Ultra HD version is now available on DVD and BluRay (this extended cut, which premiered at Cannes earlier this year has been remastered in 4K resolution from a new scan of the original 35mm camera negative).

The National Historic Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood in Oregon – the very hotel which was used as the exterior establishing shots of the wintry Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s film – is hosting a one-off special screening of The Shining later this year.

Stay awake for Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is set a few decades after Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) lost it in the isolated Overlook Hotel. Directed by The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 horror novel, the sequel to his acclaimed best-selling The Shining.

It has been much publicised that King did not approve of Stanley Kubrick’s film version of The Shining but it is already clear that Doctor Sleep makes many references to the 1980 classic horror film. Take a look at some of these references in our feature “6 references to The Shining in the Doctor Sleep trailer“.

It’s evident from the trailers that the now grown up Danny Torrance (played by Ewan McGregor) will revisit The Overlook Hotel. We will once again get to gaze on the big screen at the hexagonal carpet in all it’s glory, even if it does look like the colours and texture of the new carpet are not quite right – see below image comparison (this may of course simply be down to colour grading and we welcome any expert input on the matter).

Danny on his tricycle in the Overlook Hotel. Top: Doctor Sleep. Bottom: The Shining

The Stanley Hotel hosted a screening of Doctor Sleep earlier this week when they welcomed dozens of international journalists, influencers and film industry types. The Know reports that this particular screening was not Doctor Sleep‘s world premiere “or even its official press junket, but it has the potential to link the film to the Estes Park hotel, and bring more attention to Colorado’s attempts to develop its film industry. The hotel’s affiliation with the book and horror movie generates $2.7 million annually in tourism-related spending, according to [The Stanley Hotel owner] Cullen, including 200,000 tours a year of the property.”

Doctor Sleep poster
Doctor Sleep poster

The poster designs for Doctor Sleep pay big homage to The Shining. One design has McGregor peering through an axe hole exactly as Jack Nicholson did in The Shining, but in the same way that the Hicks Hexagon carpet colours and texture in Doctor Sleep are slightly off, so is the yellow that references the original Saul Bass poster design for The Shining.

The Shining poster design by Saul Bass
The Shining poster design by Saul Bass

Come on guys! This is the fastidious Kubrick and the great Saul Bass you are referencing!

We await Doctor Sleep was some trepidation. Will our blood be boiling this Halloween or will the sequel shine?

Doctor Sleep is released in UK cinemas on October 31 and US cinemas on November 8.

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