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Does anybody like the Film better than the Book?

Discussion in 'The Shining (1980)' started by TheKaijuProphet89, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. Don't hurt me, please! I realize, considering where I am, I already know the responses I will be getting but I think wanted to ask the question anyway. ;-D

    The famous controversy over this film is fascinating. King feels heartbroken over it, a lot of fans hate it for not understanding the themes of the novel. And honestly, I totally agree with that aspect. It really isn't a good adaptation as far as theme and tone is concerned. The book is more intimate and human. The film is stark, cold and clinical. So on that front, I totally understand the hatred.

    Now, I did see the film first. I was a horror and movie buff before I was a bookworm, but I don't believe I let my love of the film hinder my enjoyment of the novel. I knew of the controversy. I knew the book would read and feel totally different. I knew to expect something different. I wanted to experience something different, but after two reading of the book, I just can't help but feel it's Kings most overrated.

    Again, please don't hurt me!

    I want to LOVE The Shining novel. It is arguably Kings most famous book for the general audience and critics seem to give it a lot more respect than some of his other novels, but at the end of the day something about it just doesn't click with me. I do not think it is a bad book at all. Everything that has to do with Jack is fascinating and his descent into madness is awesomely harrowing to read, but where the book falls flat to me, is ironically, the scares. WHAT!!!??? I know, I know....but let me explain.

    Yea, Room 217 is memorable and probably the only scary part of the book to me. Well, that and the part with Danny in the tube on the playground is pretty spooky, but everything else falls flat. The topiary animals just come off as goofy to me. The first part with them is mildly effective, but they kind of become the defacto villains of the book outside of Jack and it just doesn't work for me. They are used too much and are not scary at all. And the whole segment with Danny and the fire-hose actually makes me laugh in a bad way. I get Kings intent with that scene, but I just find the execution of it a rare misfire from King because it great at giving ordinary things a freaky other side. Reading it I just find myself yelling: "It's just a damn hose!!!" And I lost it when Jack has a similar encounter with it.

    Again, it's not a bad book. It is written with enthusiasm and vibrancy and the human aspect is just as compelling as any of his other work, but the aspect that it is most remembered for (being his SCARIEST BOOK) ironically does zilch for me.

    Kubrick is a master just like King. The man was singularly obsessive over every movie he ever made and while most of the prominent themes of the book were dropped in favor of Kubricks vision, I feel he get right what King sadly missed for me...the horror.
    mal, blunthead, AchtungBaby and 5 others like this.
  2. kingricefan

    kingricefan All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.

    I truly believe that your opinion would be different if you had read the novel before you saw Kubrick's film. I was very upset when I saw the film when it was released in theaters as it strays so far off course from what the book is about. I came out of the theater upset and told my friends that it was NOTHING like the book. But, after re-viewing it later and taking it as Kubrick's vision, it is a truly scary film that is wonderfully shot. Masterpiece? No. Great? Yes. I recommend seeing it on blu-ray- it really brings out the creepiness factor.
    mal, not_nadine, DemPugs and 8 others like this.
  3. mstay

    mstay Older than most, not as old as some.

    I also like the movie as a horror movie. It's one of my favorites. But it definitely leaves out some of the most important things in SK's story.

    I think King wasn't necessarily aiming for pure horror in The Shining. As with all of his stories the characters are the main point. And the fact that the Overlook itself was one of the characters is what brought the horror into the story.

    We wouldn't hurt you. :biggrin2: Welcome to the SKMB!
    mal, blunthead, morgan and 6 others like this.
  4. Eeeehhhhh, maybe. But I don't think so. I saw many King adaptations before reading the books: Shawshank, Green Mile, Misery, Carrie, Cujo, Firestarter, Christine....and I find all of the books better (sans Cujo) than the films and I ADORE the films. All are probably in my top 100 (sans Cujo and Firestarter lol).

    I pride myself on separating a movie from it's novel adaptation. It's a point of pride that I firmly stand by as I feel a film should be assessed on it's own independent merits first and foremost, adaptation or not. But I totally understand being letdown by various adaptations. I can safely say without hindsight or hyperbole that the film really wasn't on my mind at all while reading the book both times. I tend to compartmentalize stuff like that: Here is the MOVIE as it's own thing. Here is the BOOK as it's own thing. Assess both on independent merit and then compare and contrast for fun. That's my method when it comes to this stuff.
    mal, n1ceguypaul, blunthead and 7 others like this.
  5. xkittyx

    xkittyx Unfound

    It's ok to not have the book as a favorite. It's not one of my favorites of his either, others completely blow it out of the water for me ;-D
    I'm another one who likes the movie. Sure, it's not a great adaptation of the book, but it's an entertaining movie. I'm pretty sure I watched it before I ever read the book.
    mal, blunthead, morgan and 6 others like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...the movie, without being compared to the novel-is a good piece of film-making-however, I would never ever feel it was superior to the novel, even if I weren't a SK fan....there is no way to translate to film, the utter blackness of Jack's soul as the Hotel takes over....or his struggles throughout the novel....
    Steffen, mal, not_nadine and 8 others like this.
  7. Spideyman

    Spideyman Uber Member

    King has a way to go deep into a character's being/ soul. The book did just that. The movie, to me, was simply dressing up actors to play a part.
    mal, blunthead, not_nadine and 5 others like this.
  8. AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie Well-Known Member

    Who says King is a horror writer? I've never completely agreed with that.

    King's "horror" tends much more to psychological horror, and the book definitely provides that. It's not about a fire hose being scary....it's about being scared of a fire hose.

    Psychological horror does not transfer well to film. It can be done, but rarely is it done well. It's much easier to go for regular horror.

    Personally, I love the book and I love Kubrik's movie. (I do not like the other movie at all.). But I do not consider Kubrik's movie a close adaption of the book.
    mal, not_nadine, blunthead and 7 others like this.
  9. I don't consider it a close adaptation either. My point is, on as much of an objective level as I can manage, the movie offers up a more compelling overall scary experience. I do think Kubrick managed to relay the psychological aspect of the book well with the overall presence of the Overlook perfectly though. In the book, the atmosphere and the isolation feels chokingly oppressive. And in the film, Kubrick conveys that with the skill of a master. I don't consider the movie as totally divorced from the novel as others do.

    And honestly, without trying to sound snooty, I've always considered King a horror writer....because largely....he writes horror themed novels. Yes, his books are about more than just the bump in the night, or the creepy thing lurking in the shadows....but that doesn't negate the overtly horror oriented bent of most of his work.

    This following statement isn't directed at your post just so you know, but a trend I see in general. It seems with some people "horror" is a bad word for films, books, tv, just about any popular media. If a horror film gets good critical reception it is somehow not a horror any more, but a "psychological thriller" or a "supernatural thriller". Granted not everyone does this. For every 100 people that call horror films/books whatever just that, there are 10 or so that say "well, no. um it's more like a PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, if you ask me...."
    To me, these come off as loaded buff words to make the entertainment in question seem more intellectually legitimate. like, they want to sound justified in liking a lowly horror story so they dress up with prettier words. Horror is like any other genre. It has it's high's, it's lows and it can incorporate other genres within it. King himself even shy's away from calling himself a horror writer, which has always irked me about him. "Horror" isn't a bad word and labeling something horror doesn't take away from it's merits as a piece.
    mal, blunthead, AchtungBaby and 4 others like this.
  10. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I like both, but when taken seperately. For years I didn't do that. When Kings dissapointment and reasons were pointed out, they made perfect sense. So, I love the book and the movie still scares the bejesus out of me.
    mal, blunthead, AchtungBaby and 5 others like this.
  11. AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie Well-Known Member

    To me, there is a difference between "horror" and "psychological thriller".

    A horror doesn't need a story as much as it needs blood and gore and things going bump in the night. A psychological thriller delves more into the minds of the characters, and actually requires character development and plot. I mean, a plot beyond there is a monster and it eats people.

    I don't consider calling something "horror" to be insulting it. I just don't think it's accurate to refer to King as a "horror writer" because so many times the main monster is the one within.

    Of course, some books and movies are both.

    Kubrik turned it more into a horror. And as such, it was a great movie.
  12. See, but you're pigeonholing horror stories as only something that can has blood and gore. Not to be a meany, but you say calling something horror isn't insulting but proclaiming horror is just blood and guts without depth is insulting to the genre, it's fans and what can be accomplished within the genre. Many horror films are virtually bloodless: All of the old Universal Monster movies, Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, Rosemary's Baby, The Ring, The Others, Paranormal Activity, Village of the Damned, The Grudge, Blair Witch Project, Insidious, The Conjuring....the list goes on. All of these films have literally no blood, or very, very little blood and all are expressly horror films.
    mal, blunthead, AchtungBaby and 3 others like this.
  13. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    Your perception of the book was tainted (dare I say "sullied"?) by seeing the movie first. By the way, I did enjoy "The Shining" as a movie but I read the book first when I was much younger (was it the 70s?) Oy vey - now I feel pretty old!
    mal, blunthead, morgan and 2 others like this.
  14. AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie Well-Known Member

    They do go bump in the night though. ;)

    As I haven't seen all of those I do not have a valid opinion on all. And it would only be fair to compare movie to movie or book to book. How many of them are books as well?

    I think a book or a movie can be both a horror and something else.
    mal, blunthead, AchtungBaby and 3 others like this.
  15. kingricefan

    kingricefan All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.

    Ooooo, you said the 's' word! :lol::clap:
    mal, blunthead, morgan and 3 others like this.
  16. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    Yeah - I missed using that word. It's nice to be back on a computer again. (We forgot our laptops! - he thought I packed mine and I thought he packed his) - we really need to work on the communication skills, even at our advanced ages).
    mal, blunthead, morgan and 3 others like this.
  17. I don't think you meant anything by this, but it comes across as very patronizing. It's like you're saying nobody in their right mind would find the movie better if they read the book first. The implication just feels pretty condescending to me. Again, I don't think you meant anything by it, it's just how it comes across.

    As an overall experience I like the film more. Objectively. I'm pretty confident I know how my mind works on these matters. I can appreciate a film and a novel equally if they both achieve excellence in their respective mediums. Lord of the Rings, The Princess Bride, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Clockwork Orange, Jurassic Park, Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather and even Kings own work like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist, Stand By Me, and Misery are all works were I love and appreciate the novels and the films equally. When I watch Jurassic Park or Princess Bride or whatever I'm not comparing them to the book, and when I read the book I'm not comparing them to the films. I am appreciating them as their own piece of entertainment. Wit the Shining, it just so happens I enjoy Kubricks version of the story more.
    mal, blunthead, Neesy and 2 others like this.
  18. RandallFlagg19

    RandallFlagg19 Well-Known Member

    I think Stanley Hubricks movie “The Shining” ,based off the Stephen King novel, is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Even if the novel The Shining didn’t exist for comparison, I would still think Hubricks movie "The Shining" is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

    I know some people are preferential to liking what they first see; but I don’t base my like for something on what I see first.

    I like Cujo the movie, I thought Cujo the book was boring; I read Cujo the novel before I watched Cujo the movie.

    I don’t like Hubricks “The Shining” and I watched it before I read the book. I like the 1997 Mini Series tv show of “The Shining” based off the Stephen King novel (seen before I read The Shining), but I like the book a lot better than the show.
    mal, Waylander, blunthead and 3 others like this.
  19. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    I am just seeing your post now. No - it was not meant as patronizing.
    mal, blunthead, kingricefan and 2 others like this.
  20. Neil W

    Neil W Well-Known Member

    It took me many, many years to get past the fact that Kubrick took the warm, loving heart of the book (Jack's love for his family), discarded it, and substituted something cold, hostile and negative instead (Jack's hate for his family). I don't see how anyone familiar with both can see them as essentially the same, the core of each being the polar opposite of the other.

    Taken on its own merits, I have come to appreciate the Kubrick film as being a decent horror movie, albeit one which is a bit too aware of its own importance, and fatally flawed by Nicholson playing nutjob from the first frame onwards.

    But, hey, preferences are personal, aren't they?

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