Jack Torrance in the door in the shining and Danny Torrance looking through that door in Doctor Sleep

The Perfect Halloween Double Feature Is One That Spans 40 Years

The iconic horror masterpiece The Shining was released in 1980 and has since been a favorite of fans during the Halloween season. Whether you’re a fan of Stephen King’s novel or Stanley Kubrick, the film brings to life the haunted world of the Overlook Hotel. The Shining tells the tale of a clairvoyant child named Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd), his father Jack (Jack Nicholson), and his mother Wendy (Shelley Duvall). Wendy is trying her best with an abusive husband and a child she doesn’t quite understand. While the movie isn’t kind to her, what really works with The Shining is that it makes you sit with all these characters. With a nearly two-and-a-half-hour run time, the movie focuses on the Torrance family and the ghosts coming to haunt them during their stay at the Overlook.

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Jack Torrance’s journey from a man trying to get his life back together once he got sober for his wife and son (not really of his own choice) to a man lost to his own deranged acts of violence is frightening. There are hints throughout the movie of what is to come with Jack. His nightmare of murdering Danny and Wendy meant to clue us into his violent headspace. He chats with Lloyd, the ghost bartender, and drinks despite being recently sober, to spite his family. All of this highlights the villainous turn of Jack Torrance and makes the third act of The Shining one of the best in horror history.

So what movie could possibly be a brilliant sequel to this horror classic? Well, Doctor Sleep, of course. The film is based on the novel, which is a sequel to The Shining. It’s a perfect double feature.

Prepare for a perfect double-feature

Watching The Shining and Doctor Sleep back to back is a perfect Halloween double feature because you’re watching the ramifications of the Overlook Hotel stay in Danny Torrance’s life in real time. Young Danny Torrance goes on to live with his mother Wendy in Florida, and while he locks the ghosts from the Overlook away thanks to the help of Dick (Carl Lumbly), he still doesn’t know how to use his shine for the better.

The movie is all about Danny (Ewan McGregor) learning how he’s not his father. While Jack Torrance’s journey in The Shining shows how he was destined to succumb to his demons, Danny’s journey in Doctor Sleep is all about his fears of becoming his father. There are other elements of Doctor Sleep that are fascinating, like Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her crew. Still, we get to see Danny and Abra (Kyliegh Curran) working together and Danny coming to terms with what his shining means to him. It’s a satisfying full-circle moment to watch Danny heal the wounds of his past and to pick up on all The Shining Easter eggs present in Mike Flanagan’s film.

It makes both The Shining and Doctor Sleep a great double feature if you dare to book a room at the Overlook Hotel.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.