As Mike Flanagan’s 2019 thriller, DOCTOR SLEEP, was an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel and a direct sequel to both King’s 1977 novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of THE SHINING, it was unsurprising that it recreated many of the aesthetics of Kubrick’s classic. But what was surprising was that even the former film’s protagonist, Jack Torrance, made an appearance during an overlong sequence set at the Overlook Hotel.

But Torrance wasn’t portrayed by a digitally de-aged Jack Nicholson, who originally played the part. It was Henry Thomas of E.T. fame who took on the legendary role.

That’s right, Thomas, seen below reprising his role as Elliot from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 sci-fi smash in a 2019 commercial for the Comcast Corporation Xfinity, was made up to look as much like Nicholson’s Torrance as possible for DOCTOR SLEEP, but few people took notice. Well, that’s probably because not many people went to see the film in theaters (it was one of 2019
’s biggest flops), and are only now catching up with it on home video. 

So there you go, your fun film fact for the day. 

More later…

That Time THE SHINING Trailer Blew My 10-Year Old Mind

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s classic adaptation of Stephen King’s THE SHINING.

But what I want to share in this post is something that happened the weekend after that films release when as a 10-year old I went to see BON VOYAGE, CHARLIE BROWN (AND DON’T COME BACK!). To the best of my memory, I went alone with my Mom dropping me off for the movie at the Ram Theatre (a truly wretched theater) in downtown Chapel Hill.

There I was sitting through the trailers munching on popcorn or candy (I can’t remember) when a shot of two elevator doors in a hotel lobby filled the screen. As creepy music plays, the title THE SHINING, and “A Stanley Kubrick Fim,” ascend from the bottom of the shot, followed by credits for Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, then the declaration that the film is based on “Stephen King’s Best-Selling Masterpiece of Modern Horror.” 

As the music gets louder and more ominous, the credits get repetitive – the title again goes upward and Kubrick’s name is re-stated. Moments later, gallons of blood begin to pour out of the sides of the elevator doors. The blood continues to flow in mass quantities enough to move about furniture in the lobby. The trailer ends with the camera lens being covered in blood, and with me scared out of my 10-year old mind.

This was the trailer before a Charlie Brown movie!

I was waiting to see the shenanigans of Snoopy and gang and got treated to an ocean of blood. Good grief. 

I remember being so shaken by the big screen bloodbath that it was hard to pay proper attention to the light-hearted animated matinee I came to see.

These days, the trailers are often programmed to match the genre of the movie that they supporting. So if you are going to an action movie, you’re likely to see trailers for other action movies proceeding the main feature. But back then it seems they just threw whatever they had up on the screen, not caring if they freaked out kids who just wanted some Peanuts™.

In the 40 years since, I’ve seen THE SHINING many times on the big and screen, and I’ve revisited the trailer a bunch of times which, of course, is so less frightening than I remember, but still packs a bloody punch.

I wonder if trailers for BON VOYAGE, CHARLIE BROWN ever played before showings of THE SHINING. That’s one thing I can think of that would even the score.

Another would be for me to watch a double feature of both movies. Maybe then I could finally make peace.


More later…