Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep CoverAs a college-aged chick who hasn’t started school and quit her job at the call center she was working at, I don’t have much money to play around with. Which is why I was grateful when a dear friend bought me no book other than the new Stephen King novel I had been salivating over, Doctor Sleep. It’s the sequel to The Shining, focusing on Danny Torrance as an adult. And it is wonderful. The fabulous Mr. King has done it again. It took a lot of willpower just to put it down for a few hours.

The book opens not long after the incidents at the Overlook, and we find Danny is still being haunted by some of its citizens. Dick Hallorann to the rescue, telling Danny one day he would be teaching someone, himself.

Grown-up Dan Torrance is not a pretty picture. A drunk who’s run his life into the ground, can’t hold a job for long, and is constantly drifting from town to town. Why drink? It shuts up the shining. But eventually it got to the point where I could stop whining in sympathetic misery, because he got to a town where he was employed by a former alcoholic himself, who became his sponsor, and got him into AA.

The villains, the True Knot, are basically Shining Vampires (not sparkly ones, because this is Stephen King we’re talking about, and we would never muck his image with such filth). They trek around the country, finding children who shine, and torturing them to death so they can suck up their essence (they call it steam)–their vitae (Amnesia: The Dark Descent called it that). It makes them younger, so they can live forever.

Abra Stone, the girl destined to be Dan’s student, is the shiningest shining kid who ever shone. She telepathically contacted him when she was a baby, at which age she also knew about 9/11 before it happened. So, of course, the True Knot wants her. And she and Dan have to stop them (play dramatic chords).

Not very many writers I’ve seen can go back to a standalone novel after a few years and churn out a sequel without ruining everything. But King did it well. As a fan of the first book, which I read in middle school, I don’t think it disappoints, keeping up all the delightful chills. It hurt to see Danny (or Dan, now that he’s All Grown Up) had become an alcoholic, but it was good to see him not following in Jack’s footsteps.

Also, there are plenty of references to the original. Those little things tend to make me happy. Little quotes repeated in that way King has that puts me in absolute awe of his style.

Basically, if you’re a fan of The Shining (here meaning the book), Doctor Sleep is a fantastic must-read.


My Love Affair with Horror

Horror. Horror! Oh, the horror!

Scary stuff. Fear. Things that go bump in the night. Something under the bed or in the closet. The monsters of reality and our imaginations. Of course, here, the Kingdom of Under The Covers isn’t safe.


Moving past that.

I’m a horror junkie. I love seeing if I can be scared, and I love scaring other people. Acting in a haunted house was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

For me, subjecting myself to horror movies is challenging myself not to be scared. Seeing how fearless I am. Moving forward when others shrink away.

When someone is afraid of you, you have power over them. They’re the prey, and you’re joined in a complex dance. And it’s a wonderful, addictive feeling. Why do you think so many people have fed off of it? When someone is afraid of you, you can control them. Make them do what you want. If you know a person’s fears, you can manipulate them. And being able to do that is quite the thrill.

For instance, think of how often men are manipulated because of their male ego. A fear of not being masculine.Now, I may not be a good person, but let me straighten this out—I’m not a horrible person, either. I promise, I’ve never killed anyone, and I’m a relatively good little Mormon girl. I’m just pointing this stuff out because it’s interesting to me.

I think my love of horror stemmed from wanting to prove what a little badass (forgive the language) I was. Step away from the whiny, sensitive crybaby image. I read Dracula when I was ten, and I watched Stephen King’s Rose Red the same year. Both terrified me, of course. Particularly Rose Red, which is still near the top of my favorite horror movies.

At eleven, me and my dad started going to see horror movies together. Like Darkness and White Noise, both of which also gave me nightmares. I tried reading  Dean Koontz’s Hideaway that year and The Voice of The Night the next. Both were too adult for me at the time. And then, of course, my sister read Koontz’s Lightning, and warned me off his books, saying he was “a sex maniac.” Well, she was only thirteen or fourteen.

So, staying away from Koontz, I read The Shining in eighth grade, Bag of Bones that summer. Carrie and ‘Salem’s Lot during freshman year, I believe. Sometime around there, my dad decided to show me Night of the Living Dead, which I couldn’t watch all the way through because my mother had made greasy, flavorless chicken for dinner, and that combined with watching zombies eating intestines made me sick.

Sophomore year I went to my first drama club meeting, where they were requesting actors for the local haunted house. I decided to try it. And that, let me tell you, is where my true love of horror came from. My inability to scare easily. I worked in a haunted house that was really haunted. How much scarier could you get?

So, after that season, I started expanding my horizons with Silence of the Lambs and Resident Evil. I picked up another Koontz book, and found myself hooked. I started watching most of the horror movies I could get my hands on, though I avoided most of the classics and the slashers, because they looked stupid.

And after four more years of working in that haunted house before retiring, as it were, I think I know my horror pretty well.

My Top Ten Horror Movies:

  1. Insidious—Made me jump, even in the height of my cocky horror-movies-don’t-scare-me phase, and wasn’t in the least what I was expecting.
  2. Dead Silence—Scared me so badly I had to go sit outside in the sun, and I still didn’t feel safe!
  3. The Rite—A good possession movie for those who don’t watch R-rated movies, but still want quality. Can’t get better than the great Anthony Hopkins!
  4. Rose Red—One of my classic favorites, terrified me for days on end the first time I saw it. The best in haunted house movies.
  5. Devil—Some good jumps, but the story is the best part.
  6. Stay Alive—Atmosphere, baby! Horror game that’s for reals? Erzebet Bathory? Heck yeah!
  7. The Woman in Black—Saw this with my sister and my best friend on my birthday. Sister doesn’t do the horror thing. Her reaction was the best part, but it’s a good, creepy story with some satisfying jumps.
  8. 1408—I like this one mostly for the story and the concept, although it has a few good jumps and some fun twists.
  9. White Noise—A favorite from my younger days. Still has the power to make me jump, besides being a good concept.
  10. The Devil Inside—That woman is seriously disturbing. That’s some quality acting, right there!

I’d add a list of books, too, but it’s so incredibly rare for a book to scare me. They very rarely have the same power over me as movies.