Stephen King Thinks Doctor Sleep Redeems His Dislike Of The Shining

Ewan McGregor in Doctor Sleep

Stephen King's novel The Shining is considered to be one of the author's greatest works. Stanley Kubrick's movie, The Shining is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of horror cinema ever made. And yet, the author of the novel famously hates the movie based on his work. Doctor Sleep is the new film that attempts to act as sequel to both book and movie, and Stephen King thinks its so good, it redeems The Shining movie in his eyes.

Stephen King has made no secret of his feelings of Stanley Kubrick's movie. While most people consider it a masterpiece, King believes the movie largely misses the point of the book that he wrote. However, that's apparently not the case with Doctor Sleep. King says the new movie is so good, it actually redeems the Kubrick movie in his eyes. The author says...

I read the script to this one very, very carefully,. Because obviously I wanted to do a good job with the sequel, because people knew the book The Shining, and I thought, I don’t want to screw this up. Mike Flanagan, I’ve enjoyed all his movies, and I’ve worked with him before on Gerald’s Game. So, I read the script very, very carefully and I said to myself, ‘Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of The Shining is redeemed for me here.

There may be no better compliment possible for director Mike Flanagan than this. Doctor Sleep actually makes Stephen King like Stanley Kubrick's The Shining more than he did before.

Stephen King's book is about a child with special abilities and his relationship with his father, who is struggling with addiction and eventually loses his battle. Stanley Kubrick's movie is about a crazy man who tires to murder his family. Both are good, even great, but they are very different stories.

Mike Flanagan tells EW that his goal in making Doctor Sleep into a movie was to attempt to reconcile these two stories. Both the book and movie are iconic. It's difficult, if not impossible, to read of the Overlook Hotel without seeing Kubrick's version of it. Based on Stephen King's comments, Flanagan succeeded in his herculean task.

I don’t want to get into a big argument about how great the Shining film is that Kubrick did or my feelings about it. All I can say is, Mike took my material, he created a terrific story, people who have seen this movie flip for it, and I flipped for it, too. Because he managed to take my novel of Doctor Sleep, the sequel, and somehow weld it seamlessly to the Kubrick version of The Shining, the movie. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.

If Stephen King, liked it, then it stands to reason that people who already loved either his book, Stanley Kubrick's movie, or both, will love the film adaptation of sequel Doctor Sleep. The film hits theaters Friday.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.