“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.
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”?