Stephen King Goes off on Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING Again
It's no secret that Stephen King isn't a big fan of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining. He has voiced his opinion in the past, and after all these years he continues to talk about how much he doesn't like the classic horror film. King is my favorite author and The Shining is one of my favorite books. Kubrick's adaptation is also one of my favorite horror films. I appreciate each of them for what they are. King just can't stand it, and he sat down with Rolling Stone for an interview recently where they started discussing the 1980 classic. King made his hatred for Kubrick's Shining very clear, saying,
"I don't get it. But there are a lot of things that I don't get. But obviously people absolutely love it, and they don't understand why I don't. The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice. In the book, there's an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he's crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene. I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I'm thinking to myself the minute he's on the screen, 'Oh, I know this guy. I've seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part.' And it's so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that's just me, that's the way I am."
Damn. That last statement about the character Wendy is similar to a previous statement he made saying, "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." I can see his point there.
Then when asked asked if he could recognize that even though the movie wasn't the best adaptation of his book, but a good film regardless, he replied,
No. I never saw it that way at all. And I never see any of the movies that way. The movies have never been a big deal to me. The movies are the movies. They just make them. If they're good, that's terrific. If they're not, they're not. But I see them as a lesser medium than fiction, than literature, and a more ephemeral medium."
I enjoy books and movies all the same, but I probably don't read as much as I should these days. As for what his favorite film adaptation of one of his books is, he says,
"Probably Stand by Me. I thought it was true to the book, and because it had the emotional gradient of the story. It was moving. I think I scared the shit out of Rob Reiner. He showed it to me in the screening room at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I was out there for something else, and he said, 'Can I come over and show you this movie?' And you have to remember that the movie was made on a shoestring. It was supposed to be one of those things that opened in six theaters and then maybe disappeared. And instead it went viral. When the movie was over, I hugged him because I was moved to tears, because it was so autobiographical."
I don't think anyone will ever be able to convince King that The Shining is good movie. But at least he's a fan of another classic that we all love.