Ok, I read this book during finals, which meant less time to read, which meant mostly reading before bed, which meant reading for about three seconds before the elevator starts moving on its own, or corpses pop up in the bathtub, or the Red Death holds sway over all, and me putting the book away and have horrid linguistics-and-blood-filled dreams.
The Shining – Stephen King
But you know how usually you’ll read a book and then go to watch the movie, and WTF they’ve cut out whole raging chunks of it? I saw this movie a few years ago because it was on tv in the middle of the day when I figured it wouldn’t freak me out (it didn’t, and side note: is not Shelley Duval the oddest looking person? She’s all eyes, and not in the way that slow lorises are, but in the way that aliens are), and, ok. I seem to remember creepy twin girls. I seem to remember a hedge maze. I seem to remember blood in the elevator.
None of these things are in the book, people!!! There has been some severe reverse-editing! But for all that, The Shining is awesome and freaky and an icon of scarityness. Struggling writer Jack Torrence moves his family to The Overlook Hotel to be cut off from all society over the winter and keep the hotel’s boiler from a-sploding. Jack has a temper and some unresolved issues with authority figures AND a drinking problem, his son Danny has ‘the shining’ (he can read minds) and his wife has…Danny. And later, a kitchen knife.
No tv and no beer make Jack something something (go crazy? Except that part isn’t in the book either! ALL of the bits that The Simpsons spoofed in that one Halloween episode are from the movie, not the book) and he tries to kill his family. Meanwhile, Danny is discovering the ghosts of all the people who have died in the Overlook (of which there are many). Everyone gets stabbed a few times and only some of them live. Spoiler, none of them are Jack.
This was SK in his heyday, before he got quite so horribly gory and had gobbets of brain on every third page. I mean, there’s blood and nastiness, but in my mind his later books are so much worse and that’s why I stopped reading them (I have a sensitive stomach. Also, nightmares). I think it was sort of ruined for me by its place in western iconography, because I knew how everything would pan out before it did. Either that, or I have the shining.
Regardless, a classic tale of insanity and sentient topiaries.