The Shining: Book to Film Comparison

An excellent analysis.

I’m a huge Stephen King fan – but to my taste, the best adaptations of his books are:

The Dead Zone, Stand By Me (adapted from Stephen King’s novella “The Body”) and The Shawshank Redemption (adapted from his novella “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) – both included in the collection Different Seasons.

I love all of King’s stuff (well, maybe not Rose Madder) – but I think there are problems adapting his more terrifying stuff to the screen. The book It is one of my favorite books of all time – literally, ever – and I couldn’t bear to watch the mini-series. I was too scared that it would LIMIT the book (a sensation that Jonathan covers in his post). How could the monster “It” ever be more frightening than what I saw in my own mind? The book lives in my memory banks in such vivid completeness that I didn’t want to muck with it by seeing a director’s interpretation of it – and the special effects just couldn’t measure up to what lived, horrifyingly, in my mind. Same with The Stand, another masterpiece.

Anyway: go check out Jonathan’s great post!

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6 Responses to The Shining: Book to Film Comparison

  1. Sheila, with IT (the miniseries)the “monster” at the end completely ruins everything that came before it. You were wise to avoid it.

    As for THE STAND I wasn’t as disappointed with the mini-series as I would’ve thought. I thought King did a very good job adapting his story with only minor, superficial changes (Harold Lauder is small and nebbish instead of large and slob-like) and I thought Jamey Sheridan was downright fantastic as Randall Flagg even though I never would have pictured him in the part after reading the book.

    As for the adaptations you mentioned I thought they were all excellent as well. I especially like Walken’s turn as Johnny in THE DEAD ZONE. It’s probably my favorite of all Stephen King movies.

  2. annie says:

    great piece–thanks for linking. i agree re: adaptations. i also love carrie.

  3. red says:

    Annie – Wow, I forgot all about Carrie. yes!! Amazing movie. I think the adaptations I like best are the ones that are more psychological in nature. Yes, Carrie is telekinetic – but it’s more of a psychological horror story, than a monster story. Wonderful movie. The term ‘dirty pillows’ is still enough to make me shiver. How amazing is it that that was his first book.

  4. Jackie says:

    I did not like the movie adaptation of The Shining at all. My favorite King movies are Stand by Me and Salem’s Lot. I also like and think were well done, Delores Claiborne, Christine, Pet Sematary, Misery, Night Shift and Carrie. Cujo was good but they screwed up the ending. I was disapointed with Thinner.
    I did not know Shawshank was a King novella!! OMG!

  5. red says:

    Dolores Claiborne was great – you’re right. Misery, for me, (the movie, I mean) just didn’t hold up to the book. The book, with all of the excerpts of the Misery books – was terrifying in a way that the movie wasn’t. Not sure why. Maybe again that the character Kathy Bates played was just so much more scary in my mind. Not sure what the issue was.

    And yes about Shawshank!!! Oh Jackie, if you’re a King fan (which, er, it seems like you are – hahaha Just guessing!) – you have to read it!!! It’s in his collection called Different Seasons. So so good – and they really changed very little in the adaptation. The ending is a bit changed … but not really.

    I also liked his story Apt Pupil (it’s in the same collection) – which was also made into a movie, but I didn’t see it. It’s very very creepy – about a kid who becomes obsessed with the Holocaust, and becomes convinced that his next door neighbor is a Nazi warmonger in hiding. Didn’t see that movie, though.

  6. red says:

    And if I’m not mistaken – good old Lance Kerwin, of James at 15 fame, was in Salem’s Lot. I liked that movie, too – I saw it when I was way too young – mainly because I was deeply in love with Mr. Kerwin.

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