Even Stephen King Thought Doctor Sleep Was Too Gruesome

Doctor Sleep

You know you’ve gone overboard on the horror when Stephen King thinks your movie is too gruesome. That’s the realization director Mike Flanagan came to during a screening of his adaptation of Doctor Sleep in the author’s home town of Bangor, Maine.

Speaking to The Kingcast, the filmmaker explained how he got to watch his Shining sequel at a local theatre alongside the legendary horror writer himself, and King’s reaction was surprising, to say the least. There are few horror extremes that the wordsmith won’t go to, but apparently, he found the original cut of Doctor Sleep too much, specifically the sequence where Jacob Tremblay’s character is killed by the True Knot.

Flanagan went on to say that he toned the scene down based on King’s advice. After all, when the master of horror offers you guidance on this sort of thing, it’s probably a good idea to take it.

“It was one of the only times he leaned over to me during the movie was when Tremblay got killed. He leaned over and he was like ‘That’s a little brutal isn’t it?’ I was like ‘S*** I gotta go back, I gotta go back and edit this. I gotta pull stuff out.’ And we did, we changed it. We backed off…He said to me after as we talked about that, that was his only note for the movie really was, ‘That one’s gonna hurt… You need that, you’re right, but I would have a hard time showing this to my wife so you should think about pulling it back.’ And he was right.”

Released last year, Doctor Sleep is set years on from the events of The Shining and follows Ewan McGregor’s Dan Torrance as he continues to struggle with the childhood trauma he suffered at the Overlook Hotel. As the story progresses, he crosses paths with a young girl who has similar psychic powers to his and must protect her from a sinister cult, the aforementioned True Knot.

It’s easily one of the better King adaptations of recent years, debuting to mostly positive reviews from fans and critics. However, the movie didn’t exactly make a killing at the box office, though that hasn’t stopped Flanagan from pressing ahead with another King adaptation, Revival, based on the writer’s 2014 novel of the same name. A release date for that one is yet to be confirmed, but we’ll let you know as soon as it’s announced.