In 1977, Stephen King published his third book, The Shining. In 1980, Stanley Kubrick brought the book to life on the big screen. How I think the two lined up together…
Most Stephen King fans are aware of his distaste for the movie adaptation of his novel The Shining. If you are not, then watch this interview with him. This video is one of many interviews where he explains his feelings toward the movie and why. I watched the movie years ago and it frightened me as it was meant to do. Everyone seems quite in love with this horror movie, except for Stephen King. The Shining has been touted as a classic and it has its redeeming qualities.
Moving forward, King has a massive amount of books and best sellers. He has written so many it took me a while to get around to reading The Shining. I just read it recently. The book is fantastic! It is a must-read in the Stephen King universe!
Now, I am watching the movie and wondering if I am going to be able to finish it. I keep shaking my head at the inconsistencies, big things and small things alike. For example, did you know it is supposed to be Room 217?! It seems like such a small thing to change and it irritates me. I will not get started on the inconsistencies with the interactions in the room.
Plus, Wendy is supposed to be blonde! In fact, King describes her as a beauty turning the guests’ heads walking into the hotel. A different Wendy is given to us on the big screen. I was quite discouraged by the entire movie character of Wendy. In the movie, she is mousy and kind of ditzy in the typical “dumb horror movie chick” way. In the literature, she actually puts up quite a fight against the insanity.
Furthermore, in the movie, there is no discussion about the boiler and its antiquity. I am sure the absence is due to the difference in the ending of the book. To nitpick a small difference, Jack Torrance is not working on a new writing project, he is finishing a play he has been working on for years.
REDRUM plays a larger part in the novel. It is not merely a creepy thing “Tony” forces Danny to repeat. In fact, REDRUM is the only clue Tony gives Danny as to what will happen in the hotel. Danny pushes himself to read to understand what Tony says to him. For a five-year-old boy, Danny shows strength and knowledge beyond his years. He is not just a creepy little boy riding his tricycle around the hotel unaware of the forces around him. Also, Tony also does NOT live in Danny’s mouth!
To slightly reign in my criticism, the scene where Halorann meets Danny is actually close to the book version. The movie uses some quotes from the book. Also, some of the haunting scenes in the movie, though not accurate to actual book occurrences, are possible additions. For example, the infamous “Twins” are in actuality two years apart in age and never appear as ghosts in the book. The bleeding elevator is also an entertaining movie addition.
Sincerely, I could talk all day about the differences between the two pieces of media. Anything further would be spoiling the book and movie, so I will conclude. I still need to find a copy of the TV mini-series to compare. Stay tuned for future updates.
Overall, as two separate entities, the book and movie are fantastic. The novel frightened me, made my heart race, and kept me awake throughout the night. The movie is a horror classic and beautifully put together. When you compare them to the genre of true book adaptations, Kubrick missed the boat. There are fundamental changes in the theme that should not occur in true book adaptations. This adaptation goes into my list of Movies to Watch Before Reading the Book.