This is the reason why I’ve stayed away from reading Stephen King’s “The Shining”. Since I’d only gotten to half of “Pet Sematary” because the images were too horrifying for me to remain in memory, my brother, the source of all my King reading, suggested that I don’t read “The Shining,” because the terror I would experience would be a lot worse than “Pet Sematary.”
So I stayed away for almost eight years.
Then, last week, while I was in my brother’s room, I glanced at the shelf which contained his King collection, and focused on the bogeyman that has been on my back all these years, and decided to take the plunge and conquer this fear I’ve had of the book for so long.
I resolved to read the book during the daytime, to minimize the possible aftereffects. So, during my students’ study time, my proctoring consisted of reading through the book. I wound up finishing “The Shining” yesterday, while most of my colleagues were rushing to finish their grades (I finished mine last week).
Maybe it’s just me, and that my brother has a different sense of horror than I do. Maybe it’s because the book has been parodied in one of the Simpsons’ Halloween specials (“The Shinning”). Maybe my playing of VTES has inured me to horror to some extent. But, “The Shining” didn’t evoke the same level of fear that some of King’s other works did.
Oh, the terror is still there, definitely. I don’t think I’d like to be alone in a room for a while.
Still, the story, about an evil sentient hotel, is gripping and classic Stephen King. Each chapter is told from the point of view one of the principal characters, giving us a holistic view of what is happening in the Overlook Hotel.
There were still the gruesome images that King is good at illustrating. But “Pet Sematary” was a lot scarier. Maybe “Sematary” hit closer to home, dealing with the loss of a loved one. While “The Shining” focuses on a family as well, the loss is easier to take because the father’s downward spiral into madness as the hotel exerts its influence on him is clearly seen. In “Sematary”, the horror is that a loved one comes back from the dead, but not quite, because something else came back as well. Something malicious.
Or, it’s just that I braced myself for “The Shining”, and was thus protected from being terrified out of my wits.
Oh, well. Maybe I’ll take up “Sematary” next, and see whether I can stand not sleeping for the next few weeks.