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Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ Is “One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film”

Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film"

Ever since its release in 1980, Stephen King has shared his displeasure about Stanley Kubrick‘s adaptation of “The Shining,” and even went so far as to executive produce and write a 1997 TV mini-series version of his story. Anyway, 36 years later after his novel was first published, King is delivering the sequel “Doctor Sleep,” which hits stores next week, centering on a grown up Danny Torrance. And out doing the press rounds, the author is again sharing why he didn’t take to Kubrick’s movie.

“[It’s] cold, I’m not a cold guy,” King told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz. “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.’ ”

And when it came to Jack Nicholson‘s signature turn as Jack Torrance, King felt there wasn’t enough mystery behind whether or not he was losing his mind. “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,” he said. Actually, that movie doesn’t have Nicholson, but Peter Fonda, but we suppose King was thinking of “Hells Angels On Wheels,” so easy mistake.

However, King saves his greatest criticism of “The Shining” for its portrayal of Wendy, the beleaguered wife of Jack. “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,” the writer stated.

Noting that he only met Kubrick once, and that he seemed “compulsive” even to him then, it seems time hasn’t healed the feelings King has toward the horror classic. But what do you think? Are King’s concerns legit? Let us know below. And oh yeah, and if you need more “The Shining” in your life, with King’s blessing, it’s being turned into an opera…. 

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Comments

Kimmy

I think the acting was really bad like Shelley Duvall annoyed me so much in this movie and the bit where she was swinging that like what the hell there was just no realism in my opinion. This is one of the worst films that I have seen based on a Steven king

AM

I read King’s book and then recently saw the entire movie for the first time, and I have to say that I agree with King’s criticisms entirely. The movie lacks the depth and substance that King’s writing is known for. Shelley Duvall’s character is much different, much weaker and less smart, than the Wendy from King’s novel. Plus many of the elements from King’s book are left out completely, those elements give the reader a much fuller, much more detailed picture.

Kay

Can’t believe I watched this movie! One of the worst, senseless movie I have ever seen. Haven’t read the book but this film killed me. Can’t believe IMDb hads 8.4 rating for this, reall??

Daniel

I think Shelley Duvall gives a great performance as a wife who has been emotionally abused by her husband to the point where she comes off as weak and cowering.

Adam

I’ve never read the book but I agree about Shelley Duvall. I couldn’t stand her in the film. Thought the rest of the movie was good but it could’ve been great without her. So stupid acting

whatever

Okay, yeah, the movie was great. What King was saying is that the characters were played wrong. Sure, the novel the Shining isn’t as scary as most have said it to be, but that’s because we’ve seen scarier things on film and in books nowadays. Reading deeper into the Shining, it’s not about the scary moving hedge animals or the hose that seemed to move, it’s the fact people can change. For the better or for the worst. And that itself can be scary. Like Jack Torrance, even though we know that it’s not technically his fault. Now I’m sure the book itself has deeper meaning than that, but I agree with King. Wendy Torrance in the book was smarter. She had personality. She protected her son from her husband who was no longer her husband. All of you stfu

Ted Tanson

I agree with the other poster. Stephen King wrote an awful story. Kubrick made an absolute gem of a film. Seems like King has an inferiority complex.

Ant

The amount of trolls in this comment section is just silly, like ha ha silly. The movie sucked….

Duder NME

"And out doing the press rounds, the author is again sharing why he didn’t take to Kubrick’s movie."

Translation: a blogger needed clickbait for an article, and trotted out that stale nugget of an "issue" yet again. Also, this is what King gets for selling his book rights for $1 each.

RBH

The TV Mini series was TERRIBLE! The book was OK. The Shining the movie is EXCELLENT! My favorite horror film ever!

Sherry

There are no best elements of this film. Krubrik always takes someone else’s masterpiece and screws it up.

Linda

I agree with SK on this completely. I saw the movie first and dismissed Wendy as a character because of Shelley Duvall’s portrayal. So one dimensional. Then I read the book and it was so much scarier and Wendy was a real person not a "screaming dishrag" to quote Mr. King. If you want a better experience with Dr. Sleep, read The Shining first.

lisa Gilbert

I saw the film first and i liked it but the book out ranks it by every possible measure! I can see what he means about wendy she is so strong in the book and a quivering mess in the film how people can compare them is beyond me

AT

The book was far more in – depth and emotionally involved with the characters than the movie was. The character played by Jack was terrifying in the movie. That is all. In the book, he had many other facets, and terrifying only came later.

eli

Nolan, you are nuts if you think the movie "surpassed anything that King has ever done". Stephen King is a legend in his own right in the literary world. Many famous movies now are from his books, and his books are themselves a legend. Just because you disagree with his opinion on the movie doesn’t mean his works aren’t a success.

Janet Cahoone

Hmmm, this may explain why I just read Revival, which basically was and is the first SK book I’ve read that has pretty much sucked. Thinking the "Ants" analogy works. I have read and own every damned SK book ever written. I have never been so disappointed until this disaster. Yes, he finally published his friggin’ grocery list.

janis

I could not believe they picked this actress to play Windy, she was not the right person, she was terrible ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Laura

I agree about Wendy’s character. She was annoying and hysterical most of the time. I happen to love Stanley Kubrick stories and characters for the reason he hates them; the cold creepiness. His movies leave a lasting impression.

aball63

I never liked the movie from the get go. Having read the book first I was so dissppointed in the movie. The movie seemed more like a mockery

Jamie

Nolan is a sad bitter old prick by the sounds of things. The shining movie was absolute shit and bored me to sleep. Kings books beat the shit out of Kubricks movies

Al

The movie is literally nothing compared to the book. Stephan King gave his characters motive and feelings, backgrounds that were interesting. He made you like Jack but in the movie you’re not even feeling pity towards Jack. And the actress who played Wendy was absolutely terrible. She was supposed to have more lines but bc she sucked at giving the director what he wanted they cut out most of her lines. Not to mention that Danny’s characterization in the movie is botched too. He’s supposed to be intelligent and creative but all we see is a regular five year old riding a bike. Then the things that never happened. Like the ending or how Danny and Tony communicate or how Hollarann died in the movie. It’s a mess of a movie and to anyone saying it’s good you need to read the book.

A

I hated Shelly Duval in the shining, she made me not like movie as much, I hate the way she looks, the way she sounds, and the way she acts, so annoying and stupid, her only purpose was to cower, scream and be stupid, just because youre a woman and youre scared doesn’t mean you have to be so damn pathetic, I even hated the way she held knife, all limp and light, barely hanging onto it like she’s gonna drop it, this isn’t some huge, unstoppable, invincible monster, it’s just anot her human, god I hated her so much

Mike

If you read most of kings early stories, the first half of his books are character stories, getting the reader engrossed in the characters. This is why in a one hour thirty movie you can’t get the full value from a Stephen king novel. The shining is a typical example. The star of the film was jack Nicholson but his character wasn’t the important part of the book. The hotel wanted the child because of his gift and manipulated the fathers weekness to get this. The subtlety of kings horror which is firmly planted in childhood fears struggles to be represented in movies. Take IT which is a perfect example. The book is a brilliant representation of childhood hopes and fears but the TV movie is just about a clown with sharp teeth. Take the Stand most of the book is about getting the reader involved with the characters so when anything happens to them the reader is emotionally effected. This cannot be represented in a movie. I have enjoyed Kings early novels for his character studies ie Salems Lot, The Shining and IT, however all the movies Ive watched based on his novels have greatly disappointed me because an hour and a half just can’t make me believe in his characters like the books do.

Jerry

"King is probably still just uncomfortable that Kubrick took something of his, made his own, and it surpassed anything that King has ever done." ….Dumbest thing I’ve read this year.

Chelsea

I just watched The Shining for the first time, after reading the original novel and the sequel Doctor Sleep in quick succession. Have to say I agree with King. The film had little impact for me – it tries too hard and establishes no rapport for or between the characters. Nevermind Wendy – what is the point of Hallorann in the movie? To die leaving a snowmobile with the keys in the ignition? In Kubrick’s interpretation no motivation is established for Dick to get on that plane. And Danny’s ability to shine plays little part in his own salvation. In my view The Shining is not a haunted house novel – it is an account of the complex interactions in a family struggling with alcoholism, written by a man who at the time was a functioning alcoholic. Stripped of this, the film failed to make me care about the characters, and to be frank just failed to scare in any way.

Shannen

Sorry, but watch this movie again and tell me that Shelley Duvall adds anything to the movie other than a prop for Nicholson to bounce his crazy off. In the knife scene she does absolutely nothing with the knife but hold it limply as she watches him owlishly as he threatens to bash her head in. The 2D female lead and the fact that Jack Nicholson evoked no sympathy what so ever from the audience is the biggest let down of this movie, so much so, that Torrence’s sacrifice at the end when he finally regains a part of his mind means absolutely nothing. Nicholson has always been and will always be an overactor, and the fact that Kubrick didn’t notice that from the start and take him in a different direction proves that he was an overrated director.

Erza

I realize this is an old article…way old, but I can’t help but shake my head at the previous comments here.

What is all this nonsense that Kubrick is a genius but King is not? Forgive me but, without King there would be no The Shining film. It makes me think that all of you posting here haven’t even read the book, which goes way above and beyond whatever Kubrick did. It missed the point of the entire story, seriously. And yeah, I bet in the 80s it was a "scary" film, but compared to the book, it’s almost laughable. Just this week I watched The Shining on TV and re-read the book to refresh my memory. Kubrick left out over half of the story’s plot, main point and actually scary scenes ( for example, the scene where Jack pounds his own face with the mallet so his son won’t recognize him).

Also, Danny in the film is but a minor character whereas in the book, he is the one that pretty much makes the story flow. To me, The Shining is more about Danny than Jack (seeing as Danny is the one who "shines" and he’s the one the evil wants). I also agree that the Wendy in the film is nothing but a blubbering, useless wench whereas in the book, she is much more useful; even the evil acknowledges she is much more resourceful thank Jack).

It appears to me that all of you defending the film as "oh my gawd, the best movie ever by far such master piece haodhfoahflaekd!!!!" are just people from the 80s that feel nostalgic because the film caused waves… in the 80s. There is a reason why King earned his title as Master of Horror and still is to this day. Seriously, it’s fine to like the movie (Jack Nicholson was outstanding and certainly gives you the creeps) but to say that it is "far better than the book," to undermine King’s talent as an author, is to be completely brainless.

VH

The film is about a father going mad (with encouragement) and trying to kill the family. The book is about an evil hotel that uses the man against the family, in order to gain power over the son. In the book, the hotel is a character and not a device and jack is not just a loon, but a loving father desperately trying to do what’s right, but failing under the hotel’s power. It’s way more complex and interesting in the book. The movie is fine, but it’s just not the shining. I like them both equally as different stories.

Ryan Fisher

I have always found it fascinating that King wasn’t a fan of Kubricks film, he should be flattered that the legendary Kubrick wanted to turn one of his novels into a movie, King wasn’t quite huge at the time when Kubrick bought the rights to create a movie from Kings Book, I’m sure it did wonders to help promote Kings career, as well as book sales. Look I love Kubrick, King both, King is one of my favorite author’s ever, I get his points about Jack Torrance character not getting cuckoo from the onslaught but their all arguments go out the window, I enjoyed both the book,the movie,but the movie and book to me are both Masterpieces.

Richy

i think she sucked ass, i mean her voice sucked, her expressions even worse, she is one of the worst actors for that part.she was in papeye the sailor man for god sakes! she sucks! it was jack nicholson who made the movie and no one else, without him this movie would have been a dull shitty film.

B

I completely agree with King. One of the best things about the book is that it's grounded in real emotions. What I mean is that, in the book, if any character is just 5% more honest about what's happening inside their head then everything could be avoided. You see the decline. You also see how much Jack loves his son (something the ending of the book makes abundantly clear). Wendy of the book, meanwhile, is smart and caring and suspicious of Jack's past giant mistake. She's also jealous of the bond that her son and husband have, even after Jack's giant mistake.

Kubrick wasn't interested in nuance. He made a classy horror film. It stands on its own. Even as a die hard fan of the book I enjoy the film (except for Wendy. My god, what a terrible thing they did to that great character) but it's not a careful adaptation. It's its own beast.

cash-e-o

I want to preface this comment with the admission that I am not a fan of Mr. King. That said, I am sure that King would like to think that he owns his characters. He doesn't give them to the world, only let's us borrow them. They are not open to interpretation but strictly defined by the author. But unlike Salinger who was very protective of his Caufield, King won't go away and shut up! He was probably mad at Kubrick because the director wouldn't let him stick his heavy-handed thumb into the production, pull out a plum and say "What a great writer am I!"
Oh, and I really buy Rebecca de Mornay as the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic, radiantly beautiful with perfect make-up and every blond lock in perfectly in place. I am afraid Mr. King has let his literary clout go to his head and refuses to believe that his written characters barely translate to the screen without the viewer's required suspension of belief on a massive scale. My friends and I discussed the 1980 film for hours on end. More than any of Mr. King's novels ever garnered.

Kathy Russell

I totally agree with King when it comes to Wendy. She ruined the movie for me. I just wanted to slap her.

Clifford H.

Not sure if anyone has made this point yet or not, but what it all comes down to is that Kubrick wasn't making King's book. He was taking the 'premise' of the story and making his own work of art– a work of art that had very different themes than the original King novel. So they are different. This discussion of how the characters aren't portrayed 'exactly' how they were in the book is useless because they are different works of art. Kubrick took King's frame of 'an abusive author who brings his family to a hotel and begins to lose his mind' and turned it into a story that is about man's inability to learn from the past– and specifically the manner in which the past is repeated. The 'coldness' you feel from the movie is, frankly, your inability to comprehend Kubrick's imagery, and the TONE that he is using. Out of lack of a better example, the 'coldness' you feel is the same 'coldness' you might feel when asked a riddle and being completely dumbfounded of the answer. Just because its over your head doesn't make it meaningless. This is the same reason we still ponder the meaning of the Mona Lisa's smile to this day, and if you think that I'm trying to compare Kubrick to DaVinci or "The Shining" to "The Mona Lisa" than you have missed the point.

Chris Elser

Jack Nicholsons performance is still part of the American lexicon with several lines still uttered to this day. I saw both Kings and Kubricks versions and thought Kubricks was far better.I think Shelley Duvall played her part good as well.She was watching her husband slowly deteriorate and considering her surroundings her horror for both her sons and her own safety.Nicholson is one of if not the greatest actor of his generation and this was one of dozens of great performances.

Brooke

I don't know why he's making a big deal!!! I thought the movie was great!!!! I thought Jack Nicholson was magnificent in this, we played his role really and I think Shelly did really good herself!!!!! This was one of the best movie there is!!!! I mean he doesn't need to get that upset, he should be prod of how good this was, I mean he should be proud of jack of how he played this role!!!! Jack is one of the greatest actors alive!!!!! Se the shining was excellent, I have nothing bad to say about this movie!!!!!

Nik

I understand why he feels so personal about his project. This wasn't his project tho, it was a take on it…..I've seen this masterpiece a whole bunch, it's fantastic on every level of pop.

Celeste

I don't understand why he feels that way about Wendy! Shelley Duvall did an excellent job with her- you know how horrified you felt? It's because of HER acting. She did an excellent job as the normal, sane-minded person in the mix of characters- she was the perspective of the audience. I actually really liked her character- she was just a woman who knew her circumstances and had learned to accept them, because it was the best she could do. She loved her family and husband so very much that she would do anything for them, and didn't want to hurt them, even when she had to. She was trying to be the best mother and wife she could possibly be, even at risk of her own life, and I don't find anything misogynistic or offensive about that at all… the only thing I do find in her performance is a quality that many women do not have today (in the name of "equal rights") being the best you can be not for yourself, but for the love of those you care for.

David

Stephen King by now should realize that Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining was actually an avenue for Kubrick to relive his own trauma. Kubrick was actually the combined characters of Danny and Jack Torence. And there is great symbolism within the movie that supports Kubrick's involvement in creating Apollo moon footage. The Shinning Code and Kubrick's Odyssey. When you look at things this way, Kubrick was very artistic.

Jenna

I love both the novel and the movie but they are two different entities. King's version tells the tale of conflicted humans put into an extraordinary situation with unfortunate results, but there was LOVE underneath it all. Kubrick's version shows two miserable people and the unlucky gifted product of their coupling who were going to do this to each other no matter where they ended up living. In the book, The Overlook was the catalyst. In the movie, The Overlook was just there to cheer him on in his murderous rage.

If you watch the making of the movie, you may be able to forgive Duvall's portrayal of Wendy. Kubrick was BRUTAL to her because he WANTED her to be BROKEN and PATHETIC.

lisha Naidoo

dr.marnish killed my lover!

Bradley

I agree, actually.
Don't get me wrong: There are things I like about THE SHINING, but it's inconsistent. The scariest scene for me, when I was 12 in 1980 and read the book because I wasn't allowed to see the movie, was when Danny was "Inside Room 217." And the dead-woman-in-the-bathtub scene is the scariest scene in the movie for me, too.

Although Shelly Duval was razzed for her dismal performance in the film, I blame Kubrick for writing her role in the ugly tradition of grade C drive-in grindhouse slasher flicks, rather than in the way King wrote the part. It's true, she barely does more than scream and act hysterical throughout the movie. King wrote a dynamic, three-dimensional, human character in the book, and Kubrick, despite his reputation and attention to minutiae, didn't bother to differentiate her from the female characters of shlock.

Justin

I agree with King, the actress who played Wendy in the original was absolutely horrible, really ruined the movie for me, although it wasn't the only thing. The remake was a million times better.

Tony

Stephen King is a great writer, but he knows nothing about what makes a good movie.

His favorite director is Mick Garris, who only sometimes reaches the mediocre level and is a hack the rest of the time. This, while King has criticized virtually every other (good) director who adapted his work, like Brian DePalma, Stanley Kubrick, Tobe Hooper, David Cronenberg etc, ALL of whom have made far better adaptations than his personal favorite Mick Garris has.
Furthermore, he likes his adaptations made for TV, obviously not knowing or caring just how bland and milquetoast his gruesome work tends to be on the small screen.
Furthermore, he actually had a chance to direct a movie himself (Maximum Overdrive) and it was a disaster. He doesn't know movies but he does know books. Maybe he should just stick to what he knows.

Kerry

King has it right. I like the movie but Wendy makes it as irritating as it is scary. I love Jack Nicholson but he does seem nutty from the beginning and that cheapens the hotels influence.

Ty

Kubrick's film "The Shining" has literally NOTHING to do with King's novel, except for the fact that he publicly hijacked it to tell the story he wanted to tell… an act which in and of itself informs us about the film's ambitious purpose. To compare the two does both a great disservice, especially Kubrick's work (which will be standing tall long after King's book has been forgotten). In hundreds of different ways, Kubrick tells the audience that this is no longer King's novel. King fans should simply accept that Kubrick's Shining is NOT based on King's novel and save everyone this pointless discussion in the future.

maddy

I thought the movie was good but there just wasn't enough character development. In the novel jack wasn't some nutcase from the beginning. He was a man who had a drinking problem and yes a very bad temper but the movie failed to show how much he loved his son and how much he tried to make the family right. As for Wendy, she drove me crazy in the movie and even if she did save Danny, I found her very bland and frankly, kind of dim witted.

Debra Parmer

Watched this again the other night and I just can't get past WENDY, these casing directors get paid big bucks and several people have to approve what the hell where they thinking. I MEAN I REALLY, REALLY REALLY CAN'T GET PAST IT!!!!!!!!

Jnight

For all of the "intellectuals" discussing the fact that books and movies are different forms of media and then denegrating the tv miniseries based on the movie, wouldn't film and television be different as well? How can any of the three truly be compared?

Joe faubert

I love Stephen King, but like the rest of us, I think he is just no where near Kubrick's level intellectually. Stephen King is a genius in his own right, which is probably why he is so bitter about this movie, Kubrick is simply a much greater genius. Kubrick's The Shining has so many layers of meaning, its sad that King can't recognize that. Wendy is a misogynistic character because we live in a misogynistic culture, which Kubrick was criticizing. The supernatural silliness is really all just metaphor for the real horror of living with an abusive man in a patriarchal society.
PS Dr. Sleep is a ok read, but it is very shallow and has no deeper meaning than an episode of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Devon

Wendy is meant to symbolize Kubrick's wife, who went through a real-life awaking similar to Duval's character, as she began to learn of Kubrick's involvement with the Freemason shadow government and the military industrial complex. Every one of Kubrick's films is his attempt to reveal to the public the things he had learned from being "on the inside." Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, Dr Strangelove, 2001, are all allegories depicting the evil and control of the real power Elite in the government. Unless you understand this, his films won't make sense.

Micha Odenheimer

The book is great, but the movie really is a chilling masterpiece, and, to my mind, fully worthy of the book.

Jesus Cerda

What is art?? Art is what you want it to be and Kubrick maybe felt that that's what king was trying to say and he just made a movie on what he read and felt to do it he did not need his permission. And king not liking the film well it's obvious because it's not his interpretation is someone's else. I think they are both great, the book and the movie and they are both artist and they wanted it to be that way that's why Is called art.

Chinchilla

Frankly Kubrick's Wendy is less sexist than King's, who, like a lot of the women in King's earlier fiction, is a bland, predictably beautiful ex-cheerleader type. (The notable exception is Carrie, of course). If Kubrick's Wendy is high strung and snivelly at times, well, this is what happens to be people who have been pushed around and terrorized for a long time–abuse doesn't necessarily make people more dignified. She was still determined and resourceful enough to save her herself and her son from her psycho husband and a hotel full of malevolent ghosts.

Matt

One hundred percent of books made into movies by Kubrick are better than the book. Even Clockwork Orange.

touchstone

If there's one thing worse than a woman spouting feminist clichés, it's a man spouting feminist clichés.

Jewel Nelson

I liked the movie when I was younger–then I finally read the book. I prefer the book. Shelley Duvall just didn't fit. Wendy in the book was pretty resourceful, and Dick Halloran was always in touch with Danny. The movie was like a weird documentary.

Mike Cornelison

Kubrick's Shining may not have been the treatment King desired, but it's one of the greatest horror films ever made. I love Stephen King as a writer and I can understand his disappointment if he felt the film was not true to the book, but it's ridiculous how completely unscary his Shining miniseries was compared to Kubrick's film.

don bronkema

…because the supernatural, benign or malign, is ludicrous per se…one must believe in Satan to fear him…Colonia Martialis will forbid the undemonstrable.

don bronkema

King would put this insomniac to sleep in a Hallowe'en graveyard.

bleem

Wendy is an average, easy going mother, whose husband suddenly comes at her with an axe in an isolated hotel. She knocks him down a flight of stairs, and rescues her son from certain death. Mysoginist how?

Chuck Adler

The thing about comparing King and Kubrick and their respective versions of The Shining is that it’s like comparing apples and oranges (we may as well argue about Spielberg's film version of Jaws and Peter Benchley's original book version). Both Kubrick and King work in different media, and many in the Kubrick camp (myself included) evaluate his film in a manner that also takes into account (and that honors) his preeminent abilities and talents as a filmmaker. I think, too, that Diane Johnson’s influence on the screenplay (particularly its Gothic elements) is tangible and needs also to be taken into account.

Although I don’t think there’s really any contest between Kubrick-as-filmmaker and King-as-writer (in fairness to King, very few, except the likes of Bergman, Fellini, and Argento (for example), stand up to Kubrick’s talent), I think deciding whether you prefer King’s book version or Kubrick’s film version of The Shining boils down to personal taste. It’s subjective, almost pointless to argue about it, and I don’t think the question can ever really be settled in a manner that is definitive for all (nor should it be). Having read the book, I'm looking forward to King's sequel, and, no matter where we stand on the King vs. Kubrick question, I think we can all be grateful for King’s having created this fascinating storyline in the first place. Let’s pay homage to him and celebrate the fact that he is still pumping out stories for his readers.

On the issue of Kubrick not staying true to the book, I can empathize with King’s audience (though I still prefer Kubrick’s film interpretation over King’s original book). As someone who cherishes Shelley’s Frankenstein, I will never forgive Hollywood for what it did to her novel. What a disaster. The only thing worse are the even more disastrous Beowulf movies. On the issue of Duvall and Nicholson, I think it's pretty clear that Kubrick cast them as representatives of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. This ties in with the film’s use of children’s cartoons (especially Road Runner, which is often playing in the background) and its use (at times explicit, at times subtle) of fairy tale elements (including Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel – horror stories for children). I think it’s also pretty clear, to those who’ve watched Sofia Coppola’s documentary on the making of The Shining, that Kubrick was annoyed by Duvall and that he probably regretted working with her. She’s completely out-acted by Nicholson (who is a good fit for Kubrick’s interpretation of Jack Torrance, but obviously not a true representation of King’s version of him), but she does make a decent Road Runner (she certainly looks the part).

Finally, I agree with LW: if you think you can write better than King, then why don't you?

RIP Stanley Kubrick (and his genius)
Rock on, Stephen King

jan lastovica

i HATED the casting..and the portrayals. i found nicholson menacing and too old from the start. and duvall just did not grab me. obviously these r tremendous actors..just miscast.

LW

A lot of you sit there at your computers and critique King as though you're experts. Put down his writing? Really? The movie of The Shining was a disappointment and changed so much of the book it was an entirely different work. You armchair critics seem to forget about The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile, both excellent films. And while even I have to agree that some of the short stories and books weren't of that caliber, I still have to ask all of you nay-sayers, how many millions have YOU made from short stories, books and movies?

Muzozavr

I like both the book and the film equally, but for different reasons. They are very different in nature.

Kubrick is better as a director than King is as a writer. Unfortunately, Kubrick also believes that he's a better writer and that just wasn't true. Wendy in the book was so much more likable and Jack's alcoholism was pretty much glossed over in the movie. But then I remember the intense use of music, the tennis ball, the girl twins, Jack chasing after Danny in the snowy maze with the CREEPIEST camera angle possible and I realize that yes, I like both.

The film is very different from the book, "loosely based" is the best term. I've seen people who were calling the film a "strict" adaptation of the book, those people need to get their head checked.

It's pretty obvious why King dislikes Kubrick's movie. King wanted to see "The Shining", not "Stanley Kubrick's Great Movie Based on Hotel Overlook". The film completely disregards most of the book's themes and makes up its own.

CK

As someone who has recently both read the book and seen the movie, I have to say I found King's original characterisation of Wendy problematic. She was an attractive blond (many mentions of her shapely legs and ass) wife and mother cowed by her abusive, alcoholic husband, contemplating divorce and afraid of becoming like her mother. Bear in mind that in the novel, Jack breaks Danny's arm in a drunken rage long before they ever arrived at the Overlook Hotel, so the whole 'he was corrupted to harm his family by the evil hotel' doesn't excuse his earlier violence, as unintentional as it was. Not to mention the 'magic negro' aspects of Dick's character…

MBC

Another film of THE SHINING needs to be made with Stephen King consulting. If you agree, write back! Let others know!

Eric

Kubrick's a genius; King less so

Tim

You have to read Jay Weidner's analysis of the movie to fully understand it and the real genius of Kubrick. There were so many misunderstood points that now make sense. bibliotecapleyades.net/luna/luna_apollomissions10.htm

Jill

I read the book before seeing the film, and I loved it. Before the terrifying aspects kicked in, it was first a story about a deep love between a father and son. I remember being stunned and disappointed when I saw the movie, because there was absolutely none of that love portrayed. The father seemed to be barely tolerating his wife and child right from the very first scene. Those were not the characters that I loved from that book. The book worked so well because of that drastic contrast between the dad at the beginning and the person he became over the course of the story. However, as a separate work, I think the movie is excellent–just very different in its essence from the book.

Corey

It's actually King's novel which is sexist, misogynistic and trite (and which forgives Jack Torrance no less). Kubrick's film is ABOUT sexism, racism and misogyny under patriarchy, and cleanly dileneates how it's perpetuated and overlooked, constantly. His Overlook Hotel embodies the very Imperialist tendencies of America. It is not sexist at all.

    Rafaela

    Could you please kindly explain how that is? It just boggles my mind.

Brad

"The Shining" (regardles if it can be considered a good adaptation of the book or not) is not only the best movie ever made from a Stephen King book but one of the few that are good and one of the best (if not the best) horror films ever made. Most movies adapted from his stories are actually bad in top of the fact that as a writer he has been repeating himself for a while now so I think he should better get over that and accept the fact that Kubrick did nothing but make him look better.

wackojacko

To a certain extent, I think King's criticism is valid; but I find King's own characters annoying because he tries too hard to make them likeable. That, fortunately, was all but shorn away in Kubrick's version.

Cloakey

This seems like some good old fashioned, George W Bush-style, revisionist-thinking, legacy cleaning. He's trying to blame Stanley Kubrick for paring down the Wendy character to her essence that SK himself created.

I read once, long ago, that SK's writing was the "McDonald's of Horror". That would be true.

Boone

Perhaps this is really just self-reflection on Steve's part: he's admitting his own writing flaws as an author, admitting that Wendy was his own troubled creation, a projection of his opinion of women (and, in particular, his wife.)

Perhaps.

Or perhaps Steve's just an old fool who has unwittingly revealed through his body of work that the only topics he finds truly scary are women, minorities, and alzheimer's.

lenlenlen1

Too bad that he doesnt like the movie. Its his right to have a dissenting opinion. His book is a masterpiece, and Kubricks movie is a masterpiece. And both are FAR better than the TV Shining remake, so…

AW

You guys need to shut up and quit complaining. Whether you like it or not, The Shining is Stephen King's story, and a damn good one at that. If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have Jack Nicholson brilliant performance and Duvall's hammy but entertainimg performance. He has every right to judge, it's HIS character, HIS story, end of. Yes, "The Shining" is a brilliant horror movie, but as an adaption of the book, it's awful. Wendy in the book did a lot more than scream, cower in corners and swing baseball bats.

Ray

Misogynistic? Nope sorry don't see any misogyny in a woman being scared to death by a guy like Jack Nicholson.

What is misogynistic is having a girl willingly allow herself to be gangbanged for no reason in the novel "It".

Ben

Says the guy that has six different 10 year old males all have sex with a ten year old girl to prove their dedication to killing an alien in twenty years. I wonder if he is aware at what a joke he has become.

CR

Shelley Duvall is amazing in the film – it's her huge eyes, her trembling, her inability to speak from terrror – that makes the film moving and scary.

And she is proactive – defending herself with a knife; sending her son through a window to protect him when she can't fit through herself.

JJ

I saw the film before I read the book, so I was very surprised to learn that King's story is really nothing but an extremely corny haunted house story. Plus, all the best elements from the film are not even in the book.

Chris

Ive always said half of The Shining is just people chasing each other around.

Nolan

King is probably still just uncomfortable that Kubrick took something of his, made his own, and it surpassed anything that King has ever done.

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Brian

I have to agree 200% with King, I remember seeing the movie as a child and thought it was great. Though all I remember is Redrum. I am watching it as I type and only found this article because I searched Wendy from the shining is horrible. Every character in the movie with perhaps the exception of the cook annoyed me to no end.

Alex

A pretentious liberal who lives like a conservative while preaching we have to live the way he refuses to.

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