The Shining

The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)


A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

I just finished the book, ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King, which was my first time reading the book, and I really enjoyed it.  I have to be honest, and explain that I am not the biggest Stephen King fan.  I think he is a little bit overrated.  He has great ideas, but the execution is not the best.  I especially am disappointed by the endings of his books.  That said, I have not read all of his books, and plan to read more, and hopefully amend my opinion!

I had no idea that Stanley Kubrick directed this movie!  I am a big Kubrick fan.  I love how gritty his movies are, especially ones such as ‘A clockwork orange’.

I was expecting a lot of differences between the book and the movie, but I did not expect for them to be totally different!

First off, Stuart Ullman is not a tremendous dick?!  I like when characters are right pricks, and especially for no reason.  Also, Tony, Danny’s little “friend”, talks to him through his finger.  That was not mentioned in the book.  There are a lot of other little differences.  The booze is gone because the insurance is less when they have none, in the book it is because they had a staff party and drank it all.

One big difference is that the room where that lady killed herself is 217 in the book, which seems like a creepier number than 237.  Also, in the book Danny gets the key and goes in, while the movie shows the door sitting open with the key in the doorknob.  While this is happening, Wendy is downstairs looking at the boiler, which she never did in the book.  It is never shown what happened to Danny in room 237.  Wendy blames Jack, who was clearly having a nightmare about killing her and Danny when that happened.  That chick is paranoid!  This episode sets of Jack’s super crazy.  And by super crazy I mean the most crazy ever.  He goes into the ballroom and gets Lloyd, the bartender to give him some bourbon from the fully stocked bar.  Yep, I said crazy.  In the book, the hotel seems to be alive. A lot of stuff happens every night, like the elevator moving and a party crowd yelling “unmask, unmask” at midnight.  Wendy eventually blames the marks on Danny’s neck on a dead woman who is in the hotel with them.  In the book she is gross, old, and very dead, while in the movie she is young and very naked.  Her and Jack have a kissing scene, which is ruined when he sees her in the mirror she turns into a gross, old, and very dead woman.  Chicks are always at it with the mind games!  Geez.

This movie is full of strange and haunting visuals.  The twins being one.  And no one can forget the blood splashing down the hallway.  Although, to me that looks like red wine.  A hallway full of delicious red wine.

Two of the most iconic parts of this movie, the type written pages full of “All work and no play make Jack something something”, and the “Here’s Johnny!” yelled through the axe made hole in the door, do not actually happen in the book.  He uses a roque mallet, which is similar to a croquet mallet to wound everyone and everything in the book.  An axe in the movie.

Okay, one thing I hate about this movie is Shelley Duvall.  She plays Jack Torrance’s wife, Wendy.  I hate the way she talks, her teeth!, her hair, her stupid eyes…. okay, I am not a fan.  I will be honest, there is something about her that makes me want to protect her.  She has a very pathetic quality about her.  I guess it does not help that she is playing a pretty pathetic character.  In the book, King makes a point to discuss how attractive Wendy is, especially the boob part.  Of course, they would cast Shelley Duvall.  What a looker!  Oh, and her clothing.  It is the worst.  I know this is the early 80’s, but come on!  Was everyone colourblind?!

Okay, one thing I love, Jack Nicholson, especially his eyebrows!  Jack plays Jack Torrance.  Those things could have their own movie.  So expressive.  They have more range than frigging Shelley Duvall.

The hotel is so cool!  It looks amazing!  I totally want to stay there, well, maybe not.  I do like the idea of being totally alone in a hotel for a winter.  As I typed that I got a chill.  Maybe not in the middle of nowhere like the ‘Overlook Hotel’.  Just kind of out of the way.  I am jealous of Danny’s ability to ride that trike around everywhere.  Seems like fun!

Dick Hallorann is played by Scatman Crothers, which just happens to be the most awesome name ever!!  He was in ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest’ and ‘The Aristocats’, in which he played “Scat Cat”.  I think he was cast perfectly for the role of the cook, who shares the same gift as little Danny, which is called ‘the shining’.  He has a very trusting face and manner.  Of course, once he gets to the hotel he is instantly killed by Jack.  In the book he saves the day by rescuing Danny and Wendy.

What is funny about the movie is that Jack seems crazy from the beginning, it could be because of Nicholson’s eyebrows, but even when they were driving up to the hotel he seemed like he wanted to kill everyone in the car.  The Jack character in the book is really conflicted.  He had spent a lot of time drinking, and definitely has some rage issues, but in the movie his character seems to be “off” somehow.  Though, I don’t blame him for wanting to kill his wife.  Just her presence would make me go “Overlook caretaker in the dead of winter” on her.  Although, if my husband talked to me the way that Jack does, I would be the one doing the murdering.  Rude much?

In the book, the Torrance’s do not have any contact with anyone, except in Sidewinder, the small town 25 miles from the hotel.  The cb radio is never actually used, and Jack smashes the shit out of it.  In the movie, Wendy uses the cb to get a hold of rangers to let them know that their phone is not working.  She sounds like she is reading from a script.  Her voice is too annoying.  What is weird is that they have no phone, but they have television?  Cable tv?  Although, the tv does not look like it is actually plugged into anything.  Maybe it is a ghost tv?

Those twins!  They are soooo freaky.  And their voices?  Are they British?  Why do people insist on dressing twins in exact outfits?  I have never understood that.  If I was a twin I would want to be totally different than my twin.  As creepy as the twins are, what the hell is up with the guy in the bear (?) costume, who seems to be doing dirty things to some guy?

What I don’t like about the movie is that it is never really explained why or how Jack loses his mind, as he is losing his mind.  In the book it is a slow progression.  A progression that Danny understands.  They briefly talk about the fact that Jack is maybe not doing too great, and that the hotel could be the problem, but not like in the book.  Danny asks Jack if he would hurt him and his mom, which helps to make Jack paranoid about what his bitch of a wife maybe saying to Danny.  Jack is definitely not convincing when he says he would not hurt Danny, I am guessing because of those eyebrows!  They tell a different story.  One of murder.

In the end of t

The movie is good, but like always, the book is better.  I think it is always important to enjoy books and their movies separately.  They both will have good and bad parts.  That being said, I think the movie left out a lot of the story line, that helped to describe why Jack lost his mind, and how much influence the hotel had on him.  The hotel is why everything bad happened.  It is evil!  In the book, the hotel is another character.  It is the bad guy.

The movie version of The Shining receives 4.5 crazy Nicholson eyebrows out of a possible 5.


Author: kristaskene

A movie, book, and music lover. I love to offer my, hopefully witty, and always sarcastic thoughts.

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