The Book vs. The Big Screen: The Shining by Stephen King

“Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their young son Danny move into the Overlook Hotel, where Jack has been hired as the winter caretaker. Cut off from civilization for months, Jack hopes to battle alcoholism and uncontrolled rage while writing a play. Evil forces residing in the Overlook – which has a long and violent history – covet young Danny for his precognitive powers and exploit Jack’s weaknesses to try to claim the boy.”

We’ve all seen the movie. It’s somewhat iconic and even had a starring role in another hit movie where it played on the big screen as a large twister tore through town. We remember the spooky twins in the hallway and the metallic click of the typewriter keys along with many other never to be forgotten lines and moments. I’m talking about The Shining REDRUM…”All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Chances are you’ve seen it and probably more than once but the question is:

Have you read it?

Awhile back I came across an article about Stephen King’s inspiration for the novel The Shining. As it turns out the novel was inspired by King’s stay at the remote Stanley Hotel on the night before it was to be closed up for the winter much like the premise for the Overlook Hotel in the novel.  I am a big fan of the 1980 movie The Shining and I knew it was based on a Stephen King work but it had never occurred to me to actually read the book. However the article peaked my interest and boy am I glad that it did.

The Shining is a great book that truly stands on its own from the movie. While the movie runs true to the book in most instances, many of the scariest parts of the movie and the book are exclusive to each other which allows reading the book to be an entirely new experience in many ways. Also the book begins much earlier than the movie with additional side plots and details that deepen the background story of the Torrance family. Anyone who enjoys the movie will no doubt enjoy the added content contained in the novel. Will you be scared?  This probably depends upon the reader. I myself am usually not frightened by books. However there was one moment that really spooked me in the book but besides being eerily creepy..I didn’t lose any sleep.

The Verdict

In the end I think the book and the movie are a tie on this one. They stand alone so well it’s hard to make a decision as if they are the exact same story. They compliment one another more than anything. As for scary…the movie probably does it better. Suspense…probably the book which really keeps you going for long periods of time. The verdict…all in all…I say read the book and watch the movie. Both shouldn’t be missed.

Have you seen/read both? What do you think? What other book to movie combos are your favorite? What ones would you like to be featured on “The Book vs. The Big Screen”?



Filed under Adult Books, Books vs. The Big Screen, Movies, Paranormal

8 responses to “The Book vs. The Big Screen: The Shining by Stephen King

  1. debbie

    I love both- I think the movie really did justice to the book. Sometime, check out the 30 Seconds to Mars song The Kill. The video of it is a tribute to The Shining, and does a very good job with it. (I also happen to think Jared Leto would make an excellent Larry, in the movie that is being made of the Stand).

    • stilettostorytime

      Debbie- I think the movie did justice to the book too….which is hard to do since the book is so good. And like I said both are unique enough to compliment one another without spoiling anything. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. OMG, Yes, I was just going to mention “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars. But I’ve never really considered Leto a good actor. Consider him a better musician than actor.

    I absolutely LOVE “The Shining” – both the book and the movie. And I think it is one of the VERY few movies that actually does justice to the book. But in all honesty, the reason I like the book (just slightly) more is because I enjoy that suspense far more than eeriness or horror. But yes, both the movie and the book are CLASSICS! Thanks for this post…I think I’m gonna go watch “The Shining” now. I love Jack Nicholson!

  3. I don’t do well with horror, so I haven’t seen this or read it. If I had to do one, reading it would suit me better.

    • stilettostorytime

      I don’t do horror movies as a general rule…except the older classics and psychological thrillers…blood and guts don’t appeal to me either really whether on the screen or the page. This one is more psychological on the page and screen than most.

  4. I’m going to have to read it now. I’ve always loved the movie and I guess I just didn’t want to read the book and be disappointed. (Not that Mr. King disappoints very often anyway..)

    Thanks for the post and the prod to go get the book :),

  5. Maria

    I have just finished reading The Shining and I absolutely loved it. I haven’t seen the movie yet and reading the ‘Movie vs Book’ reviews, it seems I have done the right decision by reading the book first. The movie doesn’t seem to have the important aspects of the book in it, which i find disappointing, but I do understand that the book and the movie stand completely separate.

    I also would like to say that the best is to read the book first and then watch the movie, because you are going to see the visuals of the movie in your imagination and that takes all the fun out of it.


    • stilettostorytime

      I agree Maria…you are in for a treat with the movie! It’s one of my favorites…I watch it whenever it’s on TV on a lazy weekend. I am jealous…I love that first viewing of the classics! Glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did. Make sure you come back and let me know how you liked the movie compared to the book.

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