Tag Archives: Doctor Sleep

Fright Club: Hats in Horror

Hats! They tell you a lot about a villain. Norma’s lightning bolt hat in Carrie tells us that she lacks fashion sense. Leprechaun’s golden buckled hat tell us that he’s sassy. Art the Clown’s tiny little hat lets us know that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. The Wicked Witch of the West wore the greatest, most iconic villain hat of all time, but The Wizard of Oz is not horror, so she didn’t make this list.

Who did make our list of best use of hats in a horror movie? Let us share with you.

5. The Grabber, The Black Phone (2021)

Ethan Hawke’s look for Scott Derrickson’s adaptation of the Joe Hill short story is epic. The constantly evolving, endlessly sinister mask is the push over the cliff, but it all starts with that hat. A black top hat not unlike the one that brought Frosty to life, this hat means magic.

He is a part time magician, after all! And in 1973, I guess people did not se magicians or clowns as scary. But they should have.

4. Mr. Dark, Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Another dark top hat, Mr. Dark’s headwear of choice also conjures the image of magic. But somehow, even in Green Town, Illinois, Mr. Dark doesn’t look out of place with so formal a look. Sure, every other Joe wears something less fancy, but on Mr. Dark, the hat seems perfectly in place.

That’s all part of his charm.

3. Alex, A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The bowler – headwear of choice for Alex and his Droogies. You have to look sharp when on the prowl for a bit of the old in and out.

The iconic costuming in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece adaptation of Anthony Burgress’s novel creates the mood for the piece. Somehow retro and futuristic, elegant and brutal, punk rock and Ludwig Van all come together in this one ensemble: white trousers, white shirt, white cod piece, and suspenders, black boots, one set of black lashes and that spiffy bowler. Welly, welly, welly, welly well.

2. The Babadook, The Babadook (2014)

If it’s in a word, or if it’s in a book
you can’t get rid of the Babadook.
He wears a hat
he’s tall and black
but that’s how they describe him in his book.
A rumbling sound, than three sharp knocks
you better run, or he’ll hold you in his locks.
Your closet opens
and your honestly hopin’
that he won’t hear a sound
but that’s when you know that he’s around.
The book close
you have an itch under your nose
and that’s just how the story goes.
So close your eyes and count to ten
better hope you don’t wake up again.
‘Cause if it’s in a word, or if it’s in a book
you can’t get rid of the Babadook
…. you’ll see him if you look

1. Rose the Hat, Doctor Sleep (2018)

Possibly the hottest villain since Salma Hayak wrapped a yellow python around her neck, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) will swallow your soul.

Ferguson’s performance is eerily, hauntingly believable in Mike Flanagan’s courageous take on Stephen King’s The Shining sequel. Of his many successes with this film, his villain ranks highest. Rose the Hat is savvy, strong, and more than anything, merciless.

I Don’t Want to Go Out—Week of February 3

A lot of horror available this week, plus one indie drama that will leave you broken in side and one horrible Christmas movie – does that count?

Let us help you through the decision process. Click the film title to link to the full review.

Doctor Sleep


Last Christmas

The Nightingale (DVD)

The House that Jack Built (DVD)

What’s Up, Doc?

Doctor Sleep

by Hope Madden and George Wolf

The Shining was always going to be a hard act to follow, even for Stephen King.

But as soon as King revisited the horror with Doctor Sleep, the bigger challenge instantly fell to whomever was tasked with bringing it to the screen.

That would be writer/director Mike Flanagan, who’s trying on two pairs of pretty big shoes. His vision will not only be judged next to one of the most iconic horror films of all time, but also by the source author who famously doesn’t like that film.

While Doctor Sleep does often feel as if Flanagan is trying to serve two (or more) masters, it ultimately finds enough common ground to become an effective, if only mildly frightening return trip.

After surviving the attempted redrum, adult Dan Torrence (Ewan McGregor) is struggling to stay clean and sober. He’s quietly earning his chips, and is even enjoying a long distance “shine” relationship with the teenaged Abra (Kyliegh Curran).

But Abra and her unusually advanced gifts have also attracted the attention of Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson, sweetly menacing) and her cult of undead travelers. Similarly gifted, Rose and her band seek out young shiners, feeding on their powers to remain immortal.

Flanagan breaks the spooky spell to dive into terror in a truly unnerving sequence between Ferguson’s gang and a shiny little baseball player (Jacob Tremblay). Effectively gritty and hard to shake, it is the one moment the film fully embraces its horror lineage.

Reportedly, Flanagan had to convince King that it is Kubrick’s version of The Shining that reigns in popular culture (as it should), and that their new film should reflect that. Smart move, as is the choice to hit you early with lookalike actors in those famous roles from 1980.

Is it jarring seeing new faces as young Danny, Wendy, Dick Halloran and more? Yes it is, but as the film unfolds you see Flanagan had little choice but to go that route, and better to get comfy with it by the time Dan is back among the ghosts of the Overlook hotel.

King has made it clear he needed more emotional connection to his characters than Kubrick’s film provided. McGregor helps bridge that gap, finding a childlike quality beneath the ugly, protective layers that have kept Danny Torrence from dealing with a horrific past.

Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, Before I Wake, Gerald’s Game) stumbles most when he relies on awkward (and in some cases, needless) exposition to clarify and articulate answers. Kubrick was stingy in that regard, which was one of The Shining‘s great strengths. Questions are scary, answers seldom are.

Whatever the film’s setbacks and faults, it is good fun getting back to the Overlook and catching the many Shining callbacks (including a cameo from Danny Lloyd, the original Danny Torrence). Flanagan’s vision does suffer by comparison, but how could it not? Give him credit for ignoring that fact and diving in, leaving no question that he’s as eager to see what’s around each corner as we are.

Doctor Sleep can’t match the claustrophobic nature or the vision of cold, creeping dread Kubrick developed. This film often tries too hard to please—not a phrase you’d associate with the 1980 film. The result is a movie that never seems to truly find its own voice.

It’s no masterpiece, but check in and you’ll find a satisfying, generally spooky time.