The Losers’ Club is an excellent podcast for Stephen King fans. It is an award-winning weekly series that chronologically digs through the work of Stephen King with humor and a critical eye. The hosts thoroughly analyze King’s books and provide insight about King as he was writing a particular book. They also talk about the movie versions of his books. The deep dive into the Stephen King universe and the sense of humor of the hosts makes this an entertaining podcast.
Being that The Shining is one of my favorite books by King, I listened to the episode about it. King received the inspiration to write the book at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. While staying there, he had a nightmare about a fire hose chasing his son down a hallway, which in the book is recreated with Danny Torrance. The terror that he felt gave him the idea to write about a haunted hotel. By the time he left the hotel, he had the entire novel mapped out. His experience of staying at a hotel while it was closing for the season created the plot for the book.
An aspect of The Shining that the hosts praise King for is his description of the gradual isolation of the main characters at the Overlook Hotel. When the Torrance family arrives at it, the staff are gradually packing up their belongings and leaving the hotel because it will be closed during the winter. As they are given a tour of the hotel by the manager, the hotel slowly becomes empty. The Torrances watch despairingly as the manager drives away from the hotel and they become isolated from the outside world. This is an asute observation by the hosts and they highlight one of King’s strengths in this book.
The hosts spend a lot of time analyzing the main characters of The Shining, which is mostly the Torrance family: Jack, Wendy, and Danny. They talk a lot about Jack Torrance who they describe as being an alcoholic and suffering from depression. King’s personal experiences as an alcoholic shaped this character. They also talk about how Jack’s descension into madness as being more complex than it is in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which is one of King’s criticisms of the movie.
The hosts talk about how the horror in The Shining as being more cerebral than it is in other King books. While there is violence in the book, Jack’s mental decline and the fear of the unknown make it a unique horror book. This is seen with passages about Jack’s thinking and it gradually becoming violent. The mysterious occurrences at The Overlook, such as the ghost in Room 217, are examples of the sinister supernatural forces at the hotel.
At the end of the episode, the hosts give their rating for The Shining, which I feel is low. Still, The Loser’s Club is a great podcast for Stephen King fans. They will appreciate the in-depth conversations about his books and about him personally.
You can listen to The Loser’s Club online or on apps such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Michael Walsh is an Adult Service Librarian at the Will Library. He is currently reading Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer.