“The Shining” is both a great book and movie

Hunter Taylor, Reporter

(Caution: contains spoilers for movie and book; stop reading now if you don’t want the story ruined for you)

Since it is coming upon the winter months I figured I would pick a movie to review that involves snow as well as horror.

I think “The Shining” is perfect.

I read the book before I watched the movie completely. A couple years before I read the book, I saw bits and pieces of the movie before I found out it was a book. So when I finally read it, I wanted to see the full movie. The story is about a man named Jack Torrance. After being fired from being an English teacher, he got a job opportunity to be a caretaker of The Overlook Hotel for the off season (winter). Jack was married to Wendy, the mother of his son Danny. Danny has a gift. He has “The Shining.” which enables him to read minds and experience premonitions as well as clairvoyance. His powers unlock the hotel’s power. The hotel wants Danny’s power to make its own more powerful. So the hotel possesses Jack to try and kill Wendy and Danny.

In the movie Jack Nicholson played Jack Torrance, Shelley Duvall played Wendy Torrance, and Danny Lloyd played Danny Torrance. When Stephen King watched this movie, he disliked it because of the casting. He thought that Jack Nicholson’s portrayal was not what he wanted Jack Torrance to be defined by. In his opinion, he wanted to see a loving father go crazy to the point of attacking his family. In the movie King saw a crazy man get a little bit crazier. And with Shelley Duvall he said, “It’s so misogynistic, I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag.”

He wanted Wendy’s character to be strong. She tried to protect Danny and fight Jack. Of course she was scared out of her wits, but she was still brave to stand up to Jack. In the movie she is more afraid than anything. She does face Jack, but she wasn’t brave. She was too afraid to be brave.

But for what it was worth as a horror movie alone, it did very well, and a lot of people liked it. And even to this day people love it. I liked the book better than the movie, and that is how many people feel. Like King, I didn’t like how Jack Nicholson’s character was crazy from the start. In the movie, Scatman Crothers’s character Dick Hallorann dies. In the book, however, if it wasn’t for Hallorann, Danny and Wendy would not have survived. In the movie Jack uses an ax rather than a mallet like the book. And I didn’t like the ending. Sure, I get where they were coming from by making a hedge maze. In the book, Jack chases Danny through the hotel’s hallways – which since it was a big hotel – could have seemed like a maze to Danny. But in the book, Jack tried to be a hero at the end. In the book Danny’s imaginary friend “Tony” told him “He will remember what his father forgot.” This refers to the hotel’s prehistoric boiler, which needed the pressure released. Jack ran to the basement to try and stop the hotel from blasting sky high and died a hero. Danny and Wendy survived with the help of Dick Hallorann, but in the movie Jack chases Danny through the maze, but Danny escapes.

If I had to rate this movie I would give it  4 out of 5 stars because it was a good film. The reason I didn’t like the changes from the book to the movie is because the movie didn’t line up with “The Shining” sequel, “Doctor Sleep.” That being said, in 2019’s movie for “Doctor Sleep,” they pulled it off. The filmmakers made little corrections to make the movies connect. And in the end, when “Doctor Sleep” came out last year, Stephen King said: “I read the script to this one very, very carefully, because obviously I wanted to do a good job with the sequel, because people knew the book ‘The Shining,’ and I thought, I don’t want to screw this up. Mike Flanagan, I’ve enjoyed all his movies, and I’ve worked with him before on ‘Gerald’s Game.’ So, I read the script very, very carefully and I said to myself, ‘Everything that I ever disliked about the Kubrick version of The Shining is redeemed for me here.”

And I believe he was right. So if I were you, I would read and watch* “The Shining” and “Doctor Sleep.” Prepare to be amazed.

*Disclaimer: “The Shining”  and “Doctor Sleep” are rated R and recommended for mature viewers.