Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan sneaks an Easter egg for Stephen King’s The Shining into The Haunting of Bly Manor episode 1.
Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan sneaks an Easter egg for Stephen King’s The Shining into The Haunting of Bly Manor episode 1 – one that highlights a notable change made in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation, and is also a nod to arguably the scariest ghost of the Overlook Hotel.
Before the huge success of The Haunting of Hill House in 2018, Flanagan had been steadily building up his horror credentials with a filmography of well-received genre movies, including an adaptation of King’s thriller Gerald’s Game. Doctor Sleep, which is based on King’s sequel to The Shining, was released in 2019 and follows a grown-up Dan Torrance as he tries to protect another child who has the ability to “shine,” and is being targeted by a malevolent group of vampires. Doctor Sleep recreated in painstaking detail the version of the Overlook Hotel seen in Kubrick’s film (Henry Thomas, who plays Lord Henry Wingrave in The Haunting of Bly Manor, played the Bartender/Jack Torrance in Flanagan’s sequel). However, Bly Manor‘s Shining Easter egg is a specific nod to King’s novel.
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In episode 1, “The Great Good Place,” Dani is staying in a cheap hostel in London while searching for work. The number of the room that she’s staying in is 217 – which was the number of the especially haunted hotel room in the Overlook Hotel, where Jack and Danny Torrance both encounter the ghost of a woman in a bathtub. In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining the number of the haunted room had to be changed to 237, per the request of the real hotel that was used for exteriors in the film. As the Timberline Lodge’s website explains:
“Kubrick was asked not to depict Room 217 (featured in the book) in The Shining, because future guests at the Lodge might be afraid to stay there. So a nonexistent room, Room 237, was substituted in the film. Curiously, and somewhat ironically, Room 217 is requested more often than any other room at Timberline.”
Stephen King notoriously hated Kubrick’s version of The Shining, but loved Flanagan’s adaptation of Doctor Sleep despite it being so closely tied to Kubrick’s film. The author told Entertainment Weekly:
“I don’t want to get into a big argument about how great the Shining film is that Kubrick did or my feelings about it. All I can say is, Mike took my material, he created a terrific story, people who have seen this movie flip for it, and I flipped for it, too. Because he managed to take my novel of Doctor Sleep, the sequel, and somehow weld it seamlessly to the Kubrick version of The Shining, the movie. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.”
Given the room number, it should come as no surprise that Dani sees a ghost in the mirror before she leaves, though it’s a ghost that’s specific to her rather than to Room 217. Her first name could also be interpreted as a nod to Danny Torrance, especially since her last name (Clayton) is another Easter egg, referring to The Innocents director Jack Clayton. And in its exploration of how both people and places can be haunted, The Haunting of Bly Manor has some strong thematic connections to The Shining – though its most dangerous ghost prefers lakes over bathtubs.
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