31 Days Of Horror: The Shining

I have mixed feelings about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. It strays away from Stephen King’s original novel and kind of changes the novel’s original intent.

The novel featured a father (Jack Torrance) who was fighting his addiction to alcohol and he eventual succumbs to the haunted hotel’s evil, although in a brief moment, he manages to fight back and spare his family. In fact in the novel Jack never kills anyone.

The film on the other hand has Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) pretty much unhinged from the get go. He seems irritated at his family and it doesn’t take long before he goes crazy. The ghosts in the film seem to be downplayed. That said though, Kubrick did managed to make one memorable film.

The plot has Jack Nicholson, his wife Shelley Duvall and their young son Danny, taking a job at the Overlook hotel, an isolated hotel in the mountains. They have stay there the entire winter, making sure the hotel is fine, the boiler works and such. There are no other people with them during their stay. Danny has ESP and talks to his imaginary friend Tony, a little boy who lives in his mouth. Danny has visions of something horrible happening in the hotel. Also the previous caretaker went crazy and murdered his family. Jack is a writer and he is trying to finish his novel but he has writer’s block and he sure could use a drink.

After watching the movie several times it grows on me with each viewing. I once believed it was an excellent film if you only watched it in two viewings, stopping it somewhere in the middle. I don’t think that now but I seem to watch it compulsively. It’s probably my most watched Kubrick film, with 2001: A Space Odyssey close behind.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

4 thoughts on “31 Days Of Horror: The Shining”

  1. As any writer can tell you, there are many different ways a story can be told. Some writers have returned to their work and revised it, often quite a bit: Henry James rewrote “Portrait of a Lady”, and Harlan Ellison has tinkered with a number of what his readers consider his classic short stories.
    There are screen adaptations of previously published material which actually improve on the original; 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Godfather” I & II, for example. Other adaptations have to be considered alternative versions of the originals, and perhaps “The Shining” falls into this group.

  2. #1 Harlan Ellison, I only remember his name vis “comic” books.

    thnx for his reference,..

    Yer right Barb, about the “writers / ghost wrighters”, embellishments …

    I could use a hit of ” the shining” again..
    I’ve never see the whole movie.

  3. One of the things I love about Harlan Ellison is that his introductions are as entertaining as the work they preface. He has also written for and about TV and is a sharp, insightful critic. He’s had more feuds with other writers, publishers, producers, etc. than Errol Flynn had sword fights, and has gleefully documented most of them. Read his short story collections, and also read the “Dangerous Visions” series he edited, if just for the introductions. He’s a formidable talent, and like Shirley Jackson, deserves to be better known.

  4. The Shining….always a classic.
    Never forget The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horrors “The Shinning”.

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