When books are adapted into movies there are typically some differences. I saw the movie version of The Shining well before I read the book and they are completely different. Its no wonder why Stephen King hates the movie, the movie version really only has a few things in common with the book. The characters names are the same, the hotel is the same, the basic premise is the same, and that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
For those of you who don’t know The Shining is about a family who goes to stay at a hotel in Colorado for the winter while the hotel is shut down to take care of it. As the months go along the patriarch of the family, Jack Torrance, starts to going crazy. Also, the son, Danny, has precognitive powers that is referred to as “shining”
The movie version of this happens to be one of my favorite movies; my wife and I saw were able to see it in theaters last year, which was super cool. So, reading the book I was expecting it to play out more or less the same way. Which to be fair, it mostly does — Jack still goes crazy, Danny still has the shining and uses it to help him and his mother escape, but what was so great about the book the movie completely left out. In the book, the hotel seizes control over Jack because it wants to get to Danny seemingly because of the powers he possesses.
Another big difference is during the big climax at the end (spoilers ahead); Jack is chasing Danny to kill him. When all of a sudden the real Jack comes to the surface to protect his son from what the hotel has turned Jack into. I really liked that because it showed that even though Jack was already too far gone, the love that he had for his child still was powerful enough for him to save his life.
Now, like I said, I can see why Stephen King does not like the movie adaptation, but it personally doesn’t change my mind on the two. The book is very much a haunted house story where the movie is a man starts to go crazy because of cabin fever. I am able to separate the two fairly well. That being said, this wasn’t my favorite book. I liked it a lot, but there were a few parts that I thought were a bit slow. It’s still scary as hell and well written though.
Length : 447 pages
Favorite Quotes: “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”
Niles’ rankings of Stephen King books:
- ‘Salem’s Lot
- The Shining
- End of Watch
- Finders Keepers