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The Shining: 11/07/09

The Shining was my first introduction to Stephen King. It was the film, actually just the scene of chase through the maze, that I saw first. The clip was part of a group math project in high school.

Anyone who has read the book knows that the hedge maze isn't in the book. Instead, the garden is filled with topiaries that work much like the angels in the "Blink" episode of Doctor Who. But that hedge maze was a foot in the door which lead me to watch the film in its entirety with my grandmother. It would be another eight years or so though before I got around to reading the book

I was newly wed and Ian and I would spend our free time together discussing movies and books. I was taking a horror genre film class at UCLA and The Shining wasn't part of the course. Being though in the mind set to think of horror novels and film adaptations, I decided to finally read King's novel

Stephen King's novel goes deeper into Jack's history and his own abilities. Danny isn't the only one with "the Shining." For Jack, the ability to see the dead combined with an abusive childhood has lead him alcoholism

Like most of my favorite horror stories, The Shining is grounded in a physical location. Here it is the Overlook Hotel, a remotely located hotel that was once popular with the rich and famous and is now in its last days. To add to the feeling of dread the family is sent in winter to serve as caretakers while it is closed for the season. Left alone in the harsh winter storms, Jack and Danny start seeing things as the hotel begins to reveal its secrets

Like the manor in The Thirteenth Tale, the Overlook Hotel is a central character. All those years of excesses have piled up to give life to a very angry structure. Who is the greater threat to the Torrance family, the ghosts or the hotel? That's what Danny and his mother must figure out if they are to survive

The Shining remains one of my favorite Stephen King novels. I love a good ghost story.

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