Stephen King is wrong about Kubrick’s take on The Shining

Veteran horror scribe Stephen King may not have liked Stanley Kubrick’s take on The Shining, but he’s wrong to say that classic horror has no history.

While Stephen King may have hated Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of the brilliant, the author was wrong to claim that the film did not do the source novel justice. In the years since Stanley Kubrick adapted Stephen King’s novel the brilliant, the iconic horror author has softened his take on the movies and TV shows that bring his work to life on screen. Perhaps because his work has been adapted so many times across so many mediums, King’s comments on projects like Welcome to Derry’s pennywise backstory are now generally limited to enthusiasm, interest or mild criticism.


However, earlier in his career, King wasn’t as eager to pull off his shots. The author was infamous for his hatred of Kubrick the brilliant adaptation after the film’s release to mixed reviews, saying the darkly comedic horror badly missed the mark of its acclaimed novel. Like Kubrick’s enigmatic interpretation of the brilliant became more popular with critics and horror fans alike over the coming decades and became a formative text in the genre, King toned down his review a bit by admitting the film had some aesthetic appeal, but it’s remained adamant that Kubrick tossed the story out of his novel and made a movie that was effectively unrelated to the book.

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While King belongs mini-series adaptation of the brilliant was less successful than its cinematic counterpart, it didn’t change the author’s opinion of Kubrick’s film, and time did little to soften King’s view of the years-old version. 1980’s the brilliant. In a sadly harsh comment to The Paris reviewKing claimed he doubted Kubrick had ever read the brilliant. In this regard, King is mistaken about the director’s view of the material. Kubrick’s version of the brilliant It may not be the movie King wanted, but it’s still a valid and bold take on King’s deeply personal romance.

What King Said About Kubrick’s The Shining

Long before by director Mike Flanagan the brilliant after Doctor Sleep attempted to follow both Kubrick’s film and King’s novel into one story, King clarified his thoughts on the 1980 adaptation in an interview. By The Paris reviewKing said in 2001 that:

[I]It’s certainly beautiful to look at: beautiful sets, all those Steadicam shots. I used to call it a Cadillac without a motor. You can’t do anything with it except admire it as a sculpture. You removed its primary purpose, which is to tell a story. The fundamental difference that tells you all you need to know is the ending. Near the end of the novel, Jack Torrance tells his son he loves him, then he blows up with the hotel. It’s a very passionate climax. In Kubrick’s film, he freezes to death.”

King is not wrong to note that Kubrick’s version of the story is cool, unbiased, and clinical, whereas the original novel is more emotionally involved. However, King’s criticisms of Kubrick don’t understand why the director made this change. According to the king, the brilliantThe inability to mimic the atmosphere of the source novel means that the 1980 adaptation does not tell a story. In reality, the main difference between King’s novel and Kubrick’s film is a vital shift in perspective, as King’s version of the brilliant centers entirely on Jack Torrance while Kubrick’s film is more concerned with his wife Wendy.

Why Kubrick Changed The Story Of The Shining

Joe Turkel as Lloyd the bartender in The Shining

Kubrick turned the brilliant from the story of a man’s descent into madness from his point of view to the story of a husband’s descent into madness from his wife’s point of view. From the shrill screams of Shelley Duvall to the endless Steadicam shots to the eerie emptiness of the hotel, viewers are made accomplices in Jack’s eventual harm, but it’s his wife who ends up saving the day. Part of the reason so many follow-up to the brilliant keep failing is that Kubrick’s film has no clear hero or villain. Ghosts of the Overlook are fairly traditional horror movie monsters, but they may not exist at all. Danny does his best to protect himself, but he’s a helpless little kid.

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Wendy is portrayed as a nagging presence at times and a loving, supportive wife at others, just as Jack Nicholson’s version of Jack is already unhinged, mean-spirited, and callous even before he took the job at the Overlook. . Where King’s novel is a tragedy about a man trying to overcome his demons (and ultimately succeeding, albeit at the cost of his life), Kubrick’s adaptation is a darker, more ambiguous story of the addiction of a family with each other falling apart in the face of chaos. the original end dropped from Kubrick the brilliant adaptation made this even clearer, as the final scene proved that the owner of the Overlook was aware of his power and intended to let the cursed place kill again.

Why Kubrick’s The Shining Is Valid Reading

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All the qualities that Jack displays in Kubrick’s adaptation of the brilliant are present in the source novel, but in a milder form. He is still a misogynist, a violent man, a mean drunkard, a drug addict and an abuser, and still a flawed father. The difference is that Kubrick’s point of view the brilliant focuses on the danger this behavior poses to his wife more than Jack’s internal struggle, which is a perfectly valid choice for a horror movie to make. A little like ThisThe cut adaptation some shocking scenes To make the film more accessible than King’s novel, Kubrick’s decision to cast Jack as a selfish, mean-spirited character before his Overlook tenure has viewers wondering if they should root for the character. Even Jack frozen to death, the decision King so opposed, serves to illustrate that not everyone who faces internal struggles will beat them in the end, which again is a fair mark for that a scary horror movie ends.

King’s Kubrick hate is still understandable

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The king’s choice to redeem Jack in Doctor Sleep makes it clear that he likes the character more than Kubrick, making his frustration with the brilliant‘s comprehensible film adaptation. Jack’s poignant wave to Danny (who is notably cut from Doctor Sleepthe darkest film adaptation of, to the film’s detriment) is a sad reminder that he loved his son and did everything he could to redeem himself in death. Kubrick took the same basic characters and story and used them to stage a version of the brilliant in which Jack heroically fails to save the day, cannot overcome his demons, and is ultimately unredeemed in the story’s final moments. To King, this might well have felt like a betrayal of the novel’s story. However, the brilliantThe 1980 film adaptation remains an original and thoughtful take on the source material, whether or not author Stephen King sees it as such.

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