Lost in Adaptation: The Shining

The Dom orders a redrum and coke and tries to figure out if Steven King was right to be pissed off.

About The Dom

Reviewer of games, TV shows and movies. The Dom also likes to look at film adaptations of books and talk about what got lost transitioning from page to screen.

31 comments

  1. Wow, no wonder Stephen King was pissed! This review doesn’t even resemble The Shining, let alone the film adaptation! A rare miss, I’m afraid.

    No, but seriously, great (partial) review, The Dom. Despite the typos on the front page and in the url, I knew exactly what to expect and wasn’t disappointed.

    • Ok, so that joke post doesn’t make any sense now that I realize this IS his “The Shining” episode. It was the image that was wrong on the front page, but since I just watched his “The Watchmen” episode I assumed that was what got posted. Apologies all around, folks! Nothing to see here, just the ramblings of some ignorant bastard who can’t be bothered to click the video before commenting.

  2. Excellent review. I believe the changes they made to the movie were necessary due to all the things the book told you that couldn’t necessarily be shown on screen explained by the characters. At least most of the changes anyway.

  3. I’ve never seen the movie(s) or read the book. Nice video, nonetheless.

  4. 9:33 .. well that because it is not

    the shinning story is present in ambiguous way when it comes to the supernatural to have different interpretation

    one of this is that jack sexually abused Danny ..there are several scenes that point to this

  5. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    You probably will get a lot of angry comments from what you said about the jack character but I understand that the character is flawed in some ways(like kissing a dead women who came out of a bathtub that’s some messed up dogs*** if you ask me). I don’t understand why you take Steven kings side though(or it’s maybe it’s because I haven’t seen the movie idk).

    • I think it’s less that he’s taking King’s side and more that he agrees that the movie didn’t adapt the story very well, focusing more on making Kubrick’s movie than recreating the book’s world and story.

      • MidnightScreeningsman2014

        I think Kubrick didn’t adapt the book and went with his own way because he wanted Steven Spielberg(who he’s best friends with) to accept it or something like that?

    • I love the film, but still kind of agree with King that the Jack character probably wasn’t what he was going for. The biggest problem I have with the film is that it never quite felt like Jack Nicholson was sane to begin with. He felt off from the very beginning. I think a few minutes of sanity at the beginning would have better arced his character.

      Still, taking it as it is, it’s still an absolutely fantastic film.

  6. If I remember correctly, Tony as a finger came from the actor who play Danny during his initial audition, and the hotel in themovie wasn’t absorbing souls but rather the caretake (Jack) was the reincarnation of a man from the photograph in the final shot.

  7. So glad you’ve covered The Shining in this review, I love the book and the film.

  8. I’ve read the book, watched the movie many times (it’s a must every October) and watched the miniseries once. This is one case where I’ll say I preferred the movie. As much as I like Stephen King’s works as a whole, I think the Shining was better as a Stanley Kubrick movie than a Stephen King novel. I say this because Kubrick did a masterful job of generating suspense, no small part of that due to torturing the actors with multiple takes until they were worn out and stewing in tension. Except the actor playing Danny, he was gentle with him, and had him thinking that he was featured in a drama rather than a horror movie. That sense of pervasive unease combined with Kubrick’s style of shooting and underscored by the magnificent soundtrack (featuring Wendy Carlos!), it created a sinister atmosphere that takes on a life of its own.

    • Actually the actor who played Danny didn’t know he was in one of the greatest horror movies ever unit he was into his 20’s and someone showed him the movie. From what I read it was quite a shock for him, not in a bad way just that he had no idea that that was the type of movie it was.

  9. Well, now we know the many adaptations of The Shining, and I guess it’s safe to say the miniseries was the weakest one, even if it’s the most faithful adaptation.

  10. Carrie is a great movie. Also, I would say The Dark Half is good one.

  11. Not that it matters, but myself would probably not use one of the most prominent scenes in the movie to gag on, unless of course I used a lot of other non-prominent scenes to gag on throughout the review.

    Why has no one ever brought up Fight Club with consideration to the Shining Novel?

    • Hehe. The movie of Fight Club was so good that the author liked it better than his own book! I personally think it’s the closest to a “perfect movie” I’ve seen because it uses its medium to its full potential while distilling the essence of its source material.

  12. Even though I have read the book, I was unaware the “Blood from the lift” scene wasn’t in the original story (given the overall “weirdness at the Overlook” stuff in the story, it fits in quite well). Where Steven King DOES have a valid complaint is the way Jack Nicholson plays (or Kubrick directed him to play) Jack – he seems not so much to be a man losing his mind (and worse, AWARE he’s losing his mind) as batfrack crazy from the beginning. Of course SK is entitled to think what he likes about adaptions of his books, but if he gets so upset about changing them maybe he should stop allowing people to adapt his books (it’s not like he needs the money any more)!

    • If I remember correctly, Stephen King insisted in being involved in all of his movie adaptations after “The Shining” because of how much he disliked Kubrick’s version.

  13. Hmm, maybe there was more that Kubrick could have taken from the book that would have been positive inclusions, but a lot of the stuff not in the movie seems partly down to the transition from book to film, like the lack of exposition relating to backstory, and some elements being ambiguous.

    As we saw from Stevie’s personal version, slavish adherence to the book resulted in an inferior story, so perhaps something a tiny bit closer to the middle ground would have been in some ways improved Kubrick’s classic… but the version we got from Kubrick is still pretty tough to beat.

    • The only change i would have would be showing Jack being both sane and loving toward his family at the beginning. Otherwise, you can’t beat Kubrick.

  14. Oh yeah, this is the review I’ve been waiting for. I read the book first, then saw the 9 hour mini-series, THEN saw Kubricks film.

    Excellent review. This is worth patreoning.

  15. Great review. I read THe Shining and then bought to movie to compare to it for a class I took in college. And I came to some of these same conclusions. I don’t like how the movie took away all the character development. Also, I think the Hedge animals were removed because it would have been too expensive an effect; the maze was cheaper.

  16. Where do I begin?

  17. There’s a headcanon about the film that there aren’t actually any ghosts in the hotel (and they probably don’t even exist at all in the film’s universe). Instead, all three main protagonists have the supernatural ability that Halloran calls “shining”; it’s just that Jack and Wendy aren’t aware of it (as Halloran says that many people aren’t). This power allows them to (mostly inadvertently) see flashbacks of the past and to move objects telekinetically. Those flashbacks are so powerful that they are outright full-on hallucinations. Jack gets crazy due to cabin fever (rather than any “ghosts” affecting him), which is when shit hits the fan.

  18. Victoria Heckman

    I’ll admit, the first time I saw the Kubrick film it was after I read the book, almost ten years ago, and I didn’t like the film. It didn’t have the family relationship that I thought made the novel an interesting read.
    However I re-watched the Kubrick film recently and I like it a lot more now. Kubrick really made it his own, and like Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” the experience of watching it is a real descent into madness.
    Not to mention it’s got details and layers to it that are all so much fun to analyze. I used to not like Shelley Duvall in this film because she was screaming and crying all the time, but now I find her as Wendy to be the most interesting character considering how she puts up with Jack snapping at her and defends him when she’s telling others about when he broke Danny’s arm.
    I think the film is an interesting and disturbing look into how scary it is to be in a horrible relationship and when there’s no one there to help you.

  19. Victoria Heckman

    Also, I think Kubrick’s film would be a hell of an experience to see in 3D because it’s got an excellent sense of visual depth. It probably wouldn’t sell well because it’s not an “awesome” action flick, but at the very least I’d love to experience it in a movie theater setting.

  20. Dom!!! Just made an account here to post:

    Do LiA about JAWS!!!! You’d kill it!! And asap, for summer. 😉

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