MovieChat Forums > The Shining (1980) Discussion > Stephen King is an idiot

Stephen King is an idiot


He was apparently initially really excited for Kubrick to adapt his book, but he then later complained that the movie had "no heart". Even in 1980 you had to know that Kubrick films are not exactly known for their touchy-feely, warm-hearted human interest. It's like expecting Terence Malick to do a film that is really fast-paced with hyper-kinetic editing. It's like having Picasso do your portrait and expecting it to be photographic realism.

What always annoyed me is the tales he told out of school of the set he was undoubtedly barred from. For instance, the claim that Kubrick and Jack Nicholson were bullying and making fun of Shelley Duvall. If there is any truth to this at all, it could have simply been a method acting thing. But that is something for Shelley Duvall to complain about and I don't think she ever has.

It has also doesn't help that he and Mick Garris did that vastly inferior version in 1997. What works in a novel doesn't always work in cinema. And King isn't even nearly as good of WRITER as Kubric is a filmmaker. If he were a filmmaker, King would be somewhere between James Cameron and Michael Bay, whereas if he were a writer, Kubric would be up there with James Joyce, Dostoyevsky, or Nabokov.

"Let be be finale of seem/ The only emperor is the Emperor of Ice Cream"

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I agree.

King surely must have known that Kubrick was going to do his own thing. I mean, Kubrick was and is known as a guy who wanted to do things his way.



I'm just on my way up to Clavius.

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Agree with the OP.

And the fact that King can't even see that THE SHINING film was scary says a great deal about his own perspectives on horror. Kubrick wanted to disturb people, and he certainly did. I can almost imagine Kubrick purposely changing details with the intent to piss off the general public. The entire premise is completely based on surrealism, and the paranormal. So why are so many people offended at one director's interpretation of fantastic events?

And why - this film?
(Because it is King's personal vendetta. He slams repeatedly how wrong certain actors/behaviors were, but COMPLETELY lost the surrealism and evil overpowering center of The Overlook Hotel, with his own attempt.)

The visionary master director discards a screenplay from the "master of horror," and hires another gothic novelist instead. A King you aren't.

If you really want to see how "good" King's rejected screenplay was, then watch the miniseries.

You might just need that same alcohol that Jack couldn't have, though - just to get through it.
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Kubrick's film - will always be the definitive version of The Shining.

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...don't forget to dump that pesky boiler, and, by God, take your medicine! 

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I think The Shining was just a very personal story to Stephen King about his own struggles with alcoholism and his family life and he (???) that Kubrick didn't focus on that aspect of it. The novel and miniseries are rather optimistic (as Stephen King's stories are frequently), while the film is a very pessimistic and cerebral film. I prefer the film to the miniseries (which I also enjoy) and the film is one of my top ten horror films, but I understand why Stephen King hated it.

No, I totally understand why King thinks he hated THE SHINING, but that doesn't excuse King's opinion as being the last word on a film adaptation. Writers always think their work is far too precious to be condensed into any screenplay. He's had so many different complaints over the decades about the film that everyone now seems to be sick of hearing him complain about it.

Except for his fanatical Stephen King worshipers.

I would think that many writers would gladly agree, regardless - to have their writings made into a film by a director as famous as Kubrick was, and still is. Whatever anyone thinks about the perceived flaws of the film it's guaranteed to be talked about for many decades to come. You can't say that about every film, or director.

A writer of pulp horror like Stephen King should eventually realize that.
But I doubt he ever will.
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Kubrick's film - will always be the definitive version of The Shining.

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I'd argue that you are a fanatical Kubrick worshipper.

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If the story was that personal for King, no wonder he's pissed.

The central reason that the film is terrifying is because the parents are so awful, little Danny is trapped with a monstrous father and a mother who can't it won't protect him. What on Earth is more frightening than being an unprotected child being attacked by a parent who ought to love him? But if King sees Jack as a version himself, of course it'd rankle that "he" was turned into a monster that made the supernatural elements at the Overlook seem tame (or lame). And of course he'd be complaining about it years later, even if Kubrick improved on his original story.

Cone to think of it, maybe the last point was what really got under his skin.

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So why are so many people offended at one director's interpretation of fantastic events?

Because he took something great and made it *beep*


Star Wars is like pizza, even when it's bad it's still pretty good.

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Because Kubrick took something that was *beep* and made a film much more complex and deep than the average fan of the author will appreciate.

All novel and no film makes Stephen a dull boy.
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THE SHiNiNG

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Because Kubrick took a deep, complex story about human beings and made it into a slasher film, redeemed only by the subliminal imagery. Works both ways. Not that you'd care.

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"deep, complex story about human beings"

in a trash novel sort of way...

"slasher film"

now i've heard everything.

"Not that you'd care."

i love how you try to act like this film is some philistine bastardization of a great novel aimed toward low brow people.

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Could people stop calling the movie a slasher film?! It couldn't be less of one. Stephen King's novel is closer to a slasher.

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King surely must have known that Kubrick was going to do his own thing.


Actually, for what it is worth, King was still young and naive and did not know that once the film rights were sold, Kubrick basically could do whatever he wanted with the story. King has since admitted that he was unaware of how things worked in Hollywood and that he would never have sold the rights to Kubrick had he known.

So the miniseries King later did with Mick Garris would probably have ended up the definitive film version of the novel.




Oh God. There's nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold!

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So the miniseries King later did with Mick Garris would probably have ended up the definitive film version of the novel.


Can't...breathe...from...laughing...
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THE SHiNiNG

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Thank God for King's naiveté.
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THE SHiNiNG

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Can't...breathe...from...laughing...


I'm the one who can't breathe; I thought Kubrick's film SUCKED. And so did the rest of the audience in that New York City theater that laughed their collective asses off when Nicholson said "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE'S JOHNNY!!!"







Oh God. There's nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold!

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"And so did the rest of the audience in that New York City theater that laughed their collective asses off when Nicholson said "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE'S JOHNNY!!!"


Oh you mean you told them about the miniseries as well. I can see why they were laughing then.

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"Can't...breathe...from...laughing... "

I thought this was a joke as well. After I found out he was serious about the miniseries comment. Then the laughing started.

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"Can't...breathe...from...laughing... "

I thought this was a joke as well. After I found out he was serious about the miniseries comment. Then the laughing started.

It's weird how they all want to persuade us to hate a film that is now finally recognized as a classic horror film. As if they didn't get the memo that no one really gives a fvcke what King thinks.

I don't go to all of the King book forums and post negative critiques of the novel. But they ALWAYS come to IMDb to tell us it's a bad film.

More of that weird King-entitlement horseschidt.
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THE SHiNiNG

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"I don't go to all of the King book forums and post negative critiques of the novel. But they ALWAYS come to IMDb to tell us it's a bad film."

Completely agreed.

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As if they didn't get the memo that no one really gives a fvcke what King thinks.


YOU don't give a *** what King thinks. Respect the fact that others do.


It's weird how they all want to persuade us to hate a film that is now finally recognized as a classic horror film.


It's weird how you're taking the opinions of others as a personal attack on yourself.

I don't go to all of the King book forums and post negative critiques of the novel. But they ALWAYS come to IMDb to tell us it's a bad film.


Do you own this forum? No? Then stop whining like a Kubrick fanboy.

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"So the miniseries King later did with Mick Garris would probably have ended up the definitive film version of the novel."


Thankfully that did not happen. What a waste of film the miniseries is. Basically a afterschool Special.

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King actually is a filmmaker. Check out his directorial work. I think you'd re think who he would fall between. Not Bay and Cameron ha ha.

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Oh look here you are again the big Kubrick/Shinning fan chatting out of your arse.

Stephen King fan boy, go the fk away, and write about Deck The Halls. That seems to be your level, Shlep.

The Caretaker

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Well that seems a little rude. Why so angry pumpkin?

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I think The Shining was just a very personal story to Stephen King about his own struggles with alcoholism and his family life and he that Kubrick didn't focus on that aspect of it. The novel and miniseries are rather optimistic (as Stephen King's stories are frequently), while the film is a very pessimistic and cerebral film. I prefer the film to the miniseries (which I also enjoy) and the film is one of my top ten horror films, but I understand why Stephen King hated it.

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I think The Shining was just a very personal story to Stephen King about his own struggles with alcoholism and his family life and he that Kubrick didn't focus on that aspect of it.


Oh, I think it was just the opposite. I think Kubrick focused solely on that aspect. To the point where it made King feel extremely uncomfortable.

We have to remember during pre-production, Kubrick called King at all hours of the night just to get his opinion on different subjects as pertaining to the novel. I'm sure Kubrick was using the time differences of England vs the US to catch King off guard. I wonder how many of those times, King was caught out drunk by Kubrick.

I wonder what was in those conversations that ended up on screen.

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Obviously the public has spoken. Kubrick's version is now a classic while Stephen King's made for TV version was an overlong, boring mess.


Blind dissent is as foolish as blind patriotism.

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But the book is still well regarded...

Conquer your fear, and I promise you, you will conquer death.

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Calling King an idiot is pretty hyperbolic. He's a genius in his own right. Sure, he has flaws: he's battled drug abuse and alcoholism, he's written some *beep* books over the years, he occasionally has odd opinions about beloved film adaptations of his work.

The guy still wrote this *beep* story. Have a little respect.

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King writes the books, so he gets a mental picture of a movie when he is writing it. I think Kubrick did great but I think King just had something else in his head that didn't jive with Kubricks vision. King is also a little strange obviously so you probably are not going to get any straight rational thoughts from him when someone doesn't make a movie as he invisioned it.

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The guy still wrote this *beep* story. Have a little respect.

The same could be said for the director who created the very different film we are still discussing in 2016.

What King has said about the film can hardly be described as "odd opinions." He continually trashes one of the best horror films ever made on a regular basis, because he cannot even begin to see it as "horror."

And all because Kubrick decided to cast two actors that King couldn't even begin to imagine as his glorified Jack and Wendy archetypes. An actor who could convincingly become even more psychotic, and one who really looked like she was in danger, and could not possibly survive.

Did I ever really feel like De Mornay was mortally threatened by a giant whack-a-mole mallet? Of course not. But King still thinks his gooey rubber masks, green spot lighting(?), and "missin' kissin'" was REAL horror.

And that is the true horror of THE SHINING.
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THE SHiNiNG

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What a stupid thing to say. Without the genius of Stephen King there'd be no The Shining, no The Shawshank Redemption, no The Green Mile, no Stand By Me, no Misery, no The Mist, no Carrie, no It, no The Dead Zone. And so on.
I really like Kubrick's vision of The Shining, the atmosphere is fantastic. But Stephen King is entitled to his opinion he's the AUTHOR for goodness sake.

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And many authors in the past have had their famous literary works changed for the film version. What is written does not always work on film.

Most of the iconic images or sequences in THE SHINING were invented by Kubrick/Johnson. Or Jack Nicholson. Or even Garrett Brown with the Steadicam.

What is truly stupid is to suggest that Kubrick merely filmed King's original plot elements verbatim from the novel. Kubrick improved upon many things, especially when compared to that widely-disavowed abomination called the miniseries. And that later disaster lies squarely at King's feet.

Some of Kubrick's numerous changes were:

1) Using an existing hotel on a mountaintop to reinforce the isolation and treacherous winter road conditions.
2) Not relying on the Stanley Hotel's actual interiors, and creating conflicting interiors solely for the film that are much more vast and ominous.
3) Ullman is now extremely friendly and even compliments Jack in his interview.
4) The elevator door with a torrent of blood forcing its way out.
5) The Grady daughter ghosts who were described as being at different ages are now changed by Kubrick into the identical Burns twin sisters who mirror each other. And the memorable encounter in the hallway with Danny.
6) No furniture, doors, or objects moving by themselves in a supernatural fashion as described in the novel. Kubrick went even farther with the concept and changed how actual freezer door hinges open and close, where the hedge maze entrance is, and created doors, windows, and possibilities that appear real, but cannot even logically exist in the layout of The Overlook.
7) Jack Nicholson invented the violent throwing of the tennis ball against the walls, and the sacred sand painting.
8) Jack's typewriter attack on Wendy, invented by Nicholson who was already a famous writer and used his own experiences with writer's block.
9) Jack is shown having the ghostly encounter in Room 237's bathroom, not Danny.
10) Wendy was cast as being a much more realistic and ordinary wife of a violent alcoholic, who makes excuses for her husband to others, and stays out of his way when threatened. It's one of the key differences that seems to piss everyone off. But we do feel like Wendy's life is in danger, and an axe is much more deadly than a roque mallet. As Hallorann discovered with a single blow.
11) "Heeeeeerrrreees Johnny!" - invented by Nicholson, and almost left on the cutting room floor by Kubrick.
12) Kubrick actually showed Wendy interrupting the "possible" reward that bearsuit Roger receives from Horace Derwent. King only hints at this possibility in his novel, but it never actually occurs once. It's an extraordinary way to show Wendy instantly that she has been overlooking distateful events in her marriage for years. And that her husband is now the willing servant himself - on his knees now "servicing" The Overlook Hotel in any way it asks of him. Including the murder of his wife and son. No film before this had ever shown two male ghosts having sex. It was implied with Quint and Jessel offscreen in THE INNOCENTS, but never filmed in the way Kubrick did. And one of the most discussed sequences of the entire film.

If Kubrick himself rejected King's earlier screenplay and created his own with Diane Johnson then THE SHINING film becomes a very different vehicle, indeed. And one that King never sat in.

What makes the film so great is precisely how Kubrick reinvented King's ideas, and jettisoned the "tragic Jack" saccharine martyrdom themes. For a film that represents denial throughout history, The Overlook Hotel is a perfect concept for Kubrick's philosophies of what The Uncanny represents in a mainstream horror film.
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THE SHiNiNG

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Love Kubrick's movies, he is a true genius. I never suggested he transcribe King's words to the visual medium verbatim, only that without King the film wouldn't exist in the first place, along with a lot of superb movies.
Frank Darabont's movies The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are extremely close to the novels, and The Mist is also very similar except the movie ending packed a much bigger punch that the original story.
I just must protest at calling Stephen King stupid, because he doesn't like the film version of The Shining, then comparing him to the likes of Michael Bay for goodness sake. Bit harsh.

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Kubrick was a true genius that should say, having problems editing on my phone. Can't go into IMDb on work PC or I'll be sacked.

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And all I'm saying is that IF the miniseries was how this author actually sees his novel - then I read a different novel.

Nothing in the miniseries felt correct to me. It was embarrassing. Kubrick nailed the surrealism, the fear, the paranoia, the blue snowbound hotel, and the ghosts that look like actual people standing in front of you.
Everything.

So maybe Stephen invented it, but Stanley was the visionary director who really saw it.
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THE SHiNiNG

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Never saw the TV series but hardly any director ever comes even close to the likes of Stanley Kubrick, who is a legend. In a similar way Blade Runner only vaguely resembles Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, yet it's an extraordinary movie.

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Exactly my point. King may have written some classics, but his miniseries almost seems like a parody, or a Monty Python skit. And they never stop talking. They just keep on blathering for ever, and ever, and ever...
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THE SHiNiNG

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And they never stop talking. They just keep on blathering for ever, and ever, and ever...


And you just keep on letting it get to you, again and again and again. Say, remind me again who is the one making a big deal about all this.

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What a stupid thing to say. Without the genius of Stephen King there'd be no The Shining


LOL, The Shining was a complete rip off of the book, Burnt Offerings. All he did was change which parent goes crazy, make the remaining family members survive in the end and change the setting from a small summer house to a huge hotel. Go watch the movie adaptation of Burnt Offerings, then come back and say how ingenious King was.

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But that is something for Shelley Duvall to complain about and I don't think she ever has.


Actually, for what it's worth, Shelley Duvall was livid over her treatment by Kubrick (not so sure about Nicholson) and she made her feelings about him known in no uncertain terms.



Oh God. There's nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold!

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No, she wasn't livid. But she was up front about the fact that he was hard on her.

He spent the majority of his time coaching her performance and he wanted her to be perfect. Why?

Because Duvall is the STAR of this movie. She is, and many people are coming around to this fact now. She is the backbone why this movie works. She is the only actress that Kubrick ever bothered to really work with, push to expand her range and showcase on film in many emotional states. And she will remain the one and only Kubrick Actress.

He specifically sought her out because he wanted her for this film.

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No, she wasn't livid. But she was up front about the fact that he was hard on her.


It's kind of hard to recall details after thirty-six years, but I do have a memory, albeit vague, of reading a movie magazine about the making of the film and Shelley Duvall was so outspoken in her criticism of Kubrick that even I thought she was taking it too far.


Oh God. There's nothing more inconvenient than an old queen with a head cold!

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It's kind of hard to recall details after thirty-six years, but I do have a memory, albeit vague, of reading a movie magazine about the making of the film and Shelley Duvall was so outspoken in her criticism of Kubrick that even I thought she was taking it too far.

Don't bet on it.
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THE SHiNiNG

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Don't bet on it.


Whatsamatter? Triggered again?

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In her interview in the retrospective documentary on the DVD/blu-ray she said it was an awful experience she wouldn't want to go through again, but that she understands that Kubrick was doing what he felt needed to be done to get her into the state of mind to give the performance he wanted from her, and has no hard feelings.

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<< She is the only actress that Kubrick ever bothered to really work with, push to expand her range and showcase on film in many emotional states. >>

Wow. Did he really hate women that much? Or did he just not understand them?
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