Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Creepy Little Girls

I'm filling in for Laura today, to talk about my favorite thing that goes bump in the night. That would have to be those nutrient-deficient twins from The Shining.

So why do these charming children loom so large for me? For one thing, Stephen King's story of a man holed up in an isolated place with only the darkest recesses of his imagination to keep him company is every writer's nightmare.

But mainly I've always loved those twins because by using two kids in frilly dresses as the embodiment of evil, King/Kubrick have truly upended the reader/viewer's expectations. They're not even that scary looking—aside from the dark circles. Yet every time they appear you want to cover your eyes and scream, "NOOO! NOT THOSE LITTLE FREAKS AGAIN!"

Of course, the context doesn't help matters—what with the blood spilling out of the elevators, the long-angle shots of interminable carpeted hallways, the pizzicato violins and the crashing cymbal soundtrack. You're totally set up, by the time that they appear, for the bad shiz that's about to go down.

And sure, lots of horror movies and books have used little kids in all sorts of demonic and disturbing ways, but The Shining twins do it best. It's an indelible image, one that still gives me major willies decades after I saw this movie for the first time. Totally spooky and totally genius.

My debut young adult novel PRETTY CROOKED (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins) will be released in March 2012. Even though I had to extensively research pickpocketing techniques to write it, I remain a law-abiding citizen. I live in Philadelphia with my husband Jesse and cat Beau a.k.a. Bread. When I'm not writing for teens, I'm cooking and/or writing about food for The Philadelphia Inquirer and other publications. I'm a proud member of The Apocalypsies.


  1. Oh, The Shining!! I STILL peek behind the shower curtain to make sure that lady's not in my tub! But you are absolutely right ... it's the way Stephen King can turn something so sweet into something so sinister *shivers*

  2. Oh, that creepy tub lady! And the bizarre animal masks in the bedroom. And the tidal wave of blood. And Danny riding the Big Wheel down those hallways. And "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." And the bartender who says, "I corrected them" about the wife and children he killed. AND, those twins! An all around brilliant if terrifying horror movie!

  3. I loved that movie - though I think the book actually scared me more than the movie! And who doesn't hear "REDRUM! REDRUM!" in a raspy voice and not get freaked out? Thanks for filling in for me too, BTW!