The Shining. Originally published in 1977, The Shining is truly a shining example of vintage Stephen King. We all remember, of course, (or, I would think you would remember) the amazing Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, father of Danny, husband of Wendy. (Heeeerrrrrees Johnny!) If you haven’t watched it, check it out on Amazon. If you like truly well done horror movies, this is a true joy to watch. And of course, The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park does an incredible job in it’s role as The Overlook Hotel, that most viciously haunted of Colorado Hotels, and the setting for the story. Click the link above for the real “haunted history” of the Stanley Hotel on their website! The Stanley may not be as haunted as the Overlook, but it still has its stories . . .
There are reviews upon reviews of the book, of course, so I won’t say a lot about the story of the actions within the Overlook Hotel. However, having read it several times over the years I have to say this ‘listen’ drew my attention to something quite different. What truly caused Jack?
Yes, there are the monsters that live in the hotel, that is a given. But really, what caused them to be so easily able to control a “mild mannered professor” like Jack Torrance. Well . . . maybe the fact that he wasn’t really so “mild mannered” after all?
Jack Torrance is a monster, this is true. But, what made him that way? The history of Jack – but also of Wendy, is something I never really groked to (Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land) when I originally read the book (all the times I originally read the book, that is).
Generations. Generations of the history of the hotel. Generations of families, sick and twisted families, passing down their sickness to their own children. Passing on pain and brutality, alcoholism and drug use, obsessions and hatreds. Easy-peasy, massively skeezy. It certainly made me think even more than it ever has. King has a tight grasp on the horrors of child abuse, and how it flows, crushing and destroying the lives of each generation.
The horror of King shines – but even more deeply, the ‘real life’ horror is devastating, drawing me in even more deeply to the story than with any previous reading. Isn’t that odd? I have read it at least a half dozen times over the years. . . but for some reason, it just struck me this time. And I am glad it did.