I remember seeing Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining for the first time when I was probably around 13. It was my first foray into the Overlook Hotel and I was hooked, it would take more than a decade for me to finally pick up Stephen King’s Novel that inspired the film, and while I was expecting the usual cut corners, I wasn’t prepared for how different the narratives would be. Summary and review after the jump
Stephen King’s The Shining follows Danny, a young boy with an extraordinary gift, Wendy, his mother who loves Danny to death, and Jack, Danny’s father and Wendy’s husband. Jack having found himself in somewhat of a rut, is given the opportunity to become caretaker of the Overlook Hotel when it closes for the winter season. Jack sees this as a chance to get back to his writing, while Wendy sees it as a new start for the family, which had been presented with some hard times as of late. However, something sinister is brewing in the hotel, it has noticed Danny and his gift, and will stop at nothing to get its hands on the boy.
There is just something about an abandoned hotel that just screams creepy. King manages to up the ante by having the haunting alter not only the hotel, but the behavior of the Torrances, most notably Jack. Kubrick’s film, though good in its own right, focused too much on the family dynamic, almost forgetting that the hotel is one of, if not the main character of the whole story. The gruesome history Jack finds out about the Overlook in old newspaper clippings, is of extreme importance to what is happening to the Torrances, and I found myself hoping Jack would uncover as much of it as possible, all while knowing full well, the more he uncovered, the more of his own personality got lost. Jack’s decent into a drunken madness- especially considering there isn’t a drop of alcohol in the whole hotel- is just as terrifying, if not more so, as the rotting corpse Danny encounters in room 217, or the fire hose that tries to attack him. The truly scary things are the ones we can imagine actually happening, and King knows just when to put that it. The movie does not do the book justice at all, and I suggest you buy the book to get a better view of the Overlook and the Torrances. Last year with his book Doctor Sleep, King answered the question of what happened to Danny since the events of the overlook. I’ll be doing a review of that one soon.
You can buy The Shining here