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Stephen King still not a fan of Kubrick's The Shining

09.20.2013by: Kevin Woods
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Stephen King was never one to keep his thoughts on Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of King's THE SHINING to himself, with his distaste for the now classic film well-documented throughout the years. Now the Master of Horror has gone on to explain further issues he has with the film in an interview with BBC while promoting his upcoming novel and THE SHINING sequel "Doctor Sleep" (which you can pre-order in hardcover HERE or grab for your Kindle HERE).

As to why King didn't take to Kubrick's take on THE SHINING, King had this to say...

[It's] cold, I’m not a cold guy. I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there’s a reaching out and saying to the reader, ‘I want you to be a part of this.’ With Kubrick’s The Shining I felt that it was very cold, very ‘We’re looking at these people, but they’re like ants in an anthill, aren’t they doing interesting things, these little insects.’

Getting more specific, he complained that Jack Nicholson‘s performance made Jack Torrance’s madness too obvious from the get-go.

Jack Torrance in the movie, seems crazy from the jump. Jack Nicholson, I’d seen all his biker pictures in the ’50s and ’60s and I thought, he’s just channeling The Wild Angels here.

King was even less impressed with Kubrick’s depiction of Jack’s wife Wendy, as played by Shelley Duvall, saving his greatest criticism of the film for that character, stating...

Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she’s basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.

While I think that King certainly has a point, I just can't seem to wrap my head around why, of all the adaptations of his work, he seems to hate THE SHINING the most. Let's just be honest here: there have been some truly horrible films made from King's work, and in the opinion of many THE SHINING is not one of them. And sorry, King, but methinks Kubrick's take on the story was much more entertaining than the 1997 mini-series that, while closer in tone with the book, just wasn't very good. Just my opinion. Spit back with yours below.

Extra Tidbit: Do you think King has a point?
Source: BBC

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8:06PM on 09/21/2013
I'm neutral because although I think King's comments are about as stupid as most of the adaptations to his books are I agree with your opinion on this completely!
I'm neutral because although I think King's comments are about as stupid as most of the adaptations to his books are I agree with your opinion on this completely!
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12:54PM on 09/20/2013

I'm with King

I was not a fan of the classic film when I was ten, not a fan of it when I was 18, and at 27 I'm still not a fan after having recently revisited it on the big screen. I think Kubrick is a deserved legend of cinema. I think some of his visuals in the film are striking of course, but I am not a fan of the film. I agree with King's assessment of Nicholson and Duvall. I detest Nicholson's performance, as he is crazy from the get-go, which isn't what the character should be. So I am definitely with
I was not a fan of the classic film when I was ten, not a fan of it when I was 18, and at 27 I'm still not a fan after having recently revisited it on the big screen. I think Kubrick is a deserved legend of cinema. I think some of his visuals in the film are striking of course, but I am not a fan of the film. I agree with King's assessment of Nicholson and Duvall. I detest Nicholson's performance, as he is crazy from the get-go, which isn't what the character should be. So I am definitely with King. That's not to say I think it's the worst or even one of the worst adaptations of King's work as there are countless misfires made from his stories, but The Shining is far down on my list below Darabont's filmography, Rob Reiner's pair of classics, Cronenberg's THE DEAD ZONE, PET SEMATARY, Carpenter's CHRISTINE and number of others.

It should also be noted that I say this as a die hard King fan, but not so much a fan of King's novel, so it's not really me being one of those slaves to the source material. I reread it earlier this year in preparation for Doctor Sleep and was not so impressed with the book. I did love the characters in the novel though and felt they fit much better within the original concept than did Kubrick's renditions. Perhaps years from now I'll warm up to the film eventually, but my stance on it has been pretty consistent for the past seventeen years.
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