In the Cutting Room this week, we’re going to take a look at an upcoming film that might just shine.
The tragic events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when alcoholic caretaker Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy and his supernaturally gifted son Danny checked in for the winter are well known, but they weren’t the first people to be consumed by the place. Based on Stephen King’s original prologue to the novel (entitled Before The Play, but cut from the book at his publisher’s request to keep the cost down), the prequel to The Shining will take us back to the start of the Colorado resort’s dark and bloody past to tell us how it all began through the eyes of its first owner, Bob T Wilson.
Why we’re looking forward to this: If we’re being honest, not too many years ago the very idea of a prequel would have set our teeth on edge (Hannibal Rising, anyone? No, didn’t think so), but with the success and high quality of the likes of the Hannibal and Bates Motel properties we’re now of the mind that in the right hands prequels can work well. It also helps if there’s a rich vein of source material and mythology, and both The Shining and King’s aforementioned purged prologue provide a wealth of both.
Though King himself is reportedly less than enthused about Overlook Hotel, we’re curious to discover whether it will reveal the origins of some of the scenes made famous by his novel and Kubrick’s film. We know, for instance, that caretaker Delbert Grady went a little crazy and killed his wife and twin daughters, but what drove him to it? We’ve seen the aftermath, but we want to see exactly what happened. Likewise the woman in room 237 who we learn little about in the movie, but who is given a brief back story in the novel involving adultery, alcoholism and scandal.
Even if we don’t see the genesis of these stories, Before the Play offers tantalising glimpses of the early but no less horrific days of the Overlook Hotel. Whether revealing the truth about the hotel’s construction, the elaborate masquerade ball that we see the ghostly echoes of in the film, or a mob hit in the ballroom, Before the Play has plenty to offer up about the Colorado resort’s evil evolution.
Further hope for Overlook Hotel comes in the form of Glen Mazzara, the former showrunner for AMC’s superb The Walking Dead series who is writing the prequel and Mark Romanek, director of the underrated One Hour Photo who is helming the project. With a strong writing and directing presence, coupled with rich source material, Overlook Hotel might just end up shining brightly.
Overlook Hotel is in production now and due in theatres in 2015