So, we know that Jack Nicholson brought his skinny wife and psychic son to a hotel filled with ghost socialites, creepy twins, elevators filled with blood, and inconvenient hedge mazes. But what happened before all that? Los Angeles Times reports that Warner Bros. is interested in exploring this idea, and has suggested that it will be looking into the creation of a prequel to The Shining.
Written and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based off Stephen King’s classic novel, the 1980 horror movie has been a genre staple thanks to its bizarre plot points, chilling twists, quotable lines, and unforgettable performances by Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and young Danny Lloyd. And even though King himself has set to work on a sequel to his book, the idea of an expansion of the film’s universe breeds apprehension.
The movie is notoriously nebulous. There’s no true explanation for the events going on in the hotel, no real elucidation behind that ending, and no logical reason for that kid’s haircut. But that’s what has made The Shining a lasting power. The mysterious nature of the movie even spawned a whole other movie: Room 237, a documentary project about various film experts dissecting the hidden meanings of The Shining. As such, a prequel that “clears everything up” would probably not be met with much appreciation. One that expands on the mystery, on the other hand, would have to do so with extreme precision.
Due to the very unclear nature of the ending of The Shining, a true prequel would be hard to identify to begin with. Couldn’t you argue that a prequel to The Shining could just actually be the events of The Shining, as per the photograph of Jack Torrance at the hotel circa 1921 (sixty years before his actual visit)? Would a prequel take a look at the origins of the shining power, maybe from the point of view of a younger Hallorann and his gifted grandmother? Or maybe we’re in for another route: a wacky romp through the Undead Bartender Academy with Lloyd, or a heartwarming family film about the pre-Shining Torrance clan. Come to think of it, this universe has a whole lot of fertile ground.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]