The miniseries was terrible! The Kubrick film remains one of the only movies that actually scared and disturbed me, while the miniseries did nothing at all. I even laughed at the pickled troll TV version of the woman in room 237, whereas the movie version of that scene kept me out of hotel room bathrooms between the ages of 15 and 20.
Also, Steven Weber was such a forgettable nothing of a Jack Torrance. No charisma, no humor, just some bland TV commercial dad. Sure, you know Jack N. is a little off even in the beginning of the movie, but that only adds to the suspense. During the drive through the mountains, you're thinking, Oh, God, this woman and kid are going to be snowed in all winter with this guy!?!
I liked the kid who played Danny better in the TV show, but only because he looked quite a bit like I did in my pre-school years.
Rebecca DeMornay was certainly easier on the eyes than Shelley Duvall, but even that was a negative. Some polished gorgeous woman is married to a failed writer/alcoholic schoolteacher? No. I don't buy it. Duvall with her odd Olive Oyl from Popeye looks and twitchy performance added a lot to the feeling of desperation and failure surrounding Jack Torrance. She was a much better match with the sloppy, balding Nicholson than the scrubbed and polished couple in the TV show. Nicholson and Duvall were perfect. They really captured a family caught in mid-plummet from middle to lower class.
King's 'official' miniseries just did not cut it and has been largely forgotten for good reason.
The only King adaptions that have really worked for me were the original 1976 Carrie, Kubrick's The Shining, Christine, the original '70s Salem's Lot miniseries and the late '80s miniseries of It. The 1994 series of The Stand was not bad, but could have been much better.
I am going to "slaughter a few sacred cows" here but keep in mind that these are MY OPINIONS.
I am not a Stanley Kubrick fan.
I didn't find the Shining all that "scary"
I DID like the cast choices he made. I DID like his location choice for the movie, even though it was really "too nice" to fit the story line as it was written.
I didnt really originally understand the choice of Shelley Duvall, but I later understood the strength that the character had to stand to to her husband who was going insane. We saw a vulnerability but a strength as well.
In Kings miniseries one of the worst casting choices was Courtland Mead as Danny. I know you liked the choice. For me it was awful.
I used to have a book about the making of The Shining. An interesting note is that Danny Lloyd who played Danny was chosen over 5000 other kids who were originally considered for the part. For a young child he handled the horror PERFECTLY. My two favorite very YOUNG kids in horror movies are Danny Lloyd and Alex vincent of Childs Play (original and part 2)
I liked the fact that King kept the Topiary hedge animals to life in his miniseries.
The hedge maze in Kubricks version was convenient for HIS ending but not faithful to the book.
The BEST adaptation of Steven Kings work was not even a horror film,
STAND BY ME!
Overall I like most or the adaptations of Kings books.
Leaving King to his own work we come up with Maximum Overdrive (a very strange oddity) and The Shining miniseries.
The original "IT" had its good points as well as its limitations.
The movie version has its good points and its bad points. CGI is a great tool but overuse becomes stupid. THIS however is another discussion.
Anyway these are just MY thoughts.
BTW I think King liked Cujo
I had actually forgotten 'Stand By Me'. You're right, that IS his best adaption by far.
Wow, I cannot understand how anyone could not be terrified by Kubrick's version. I don't really like his cold, sterile style all that much, but here it certainly worked for me.
Interesting that we found Duvall effective for opposing reasons. To me, she seemed like the only kind of woman who would put up with a loser like Torrance for any length of time; insecure, clingy, far from conventionally attractive, etc. while you focused on her strength. I sound quite cynical and negative!
I was hoping to see the topiary animals in the Kubrick film when I first saw it. I read the book immediately before seeing the film and was quite disappointed in their absence. I had actually hoped for some Harryhausen-style stop motion effects. As a 15 year old Sinbad movie junkie that would have been awesome!
The only reason I liked Courtland Mead is that he looked very much like I did as a small boy. (As an adult, there is little resemblance) I admit Danny Lloyd was a much more effective actor. Too bad he never pursued more roles, but probably a much healthier choice for him.
"Interesting that we found Duvall effective for opposing reasons. To me, she seemed like the only kind of woman who would put up with a loser like Torrance for any length of time; insecure, clingy, far from conventionally attractive, etc. while you focused on her strength."
That's what makes Duvall so great in the part. From the beginning she seems like such a doormat, so obviously grateful to be married to a man she considers to be out of her league, that when the shit hits the fan, you expect her to cave and leave the child completely unprotected. The later scenes of the film wouldn't be nearly as suspenseful if you assume Wendy is capable of standing up to her husband!
IMHO Kubrick was right and King was wrong. There's nothing more terrifying than being a child who is completely dependent on their parents, yet also completely afraid of them. That's much, much scarier than any supernatural threat, and
"IMHO Kubrick was right and King was wrong. There's nothing more terrifying than being a child who is completely dependent on their parents, yet also completely afraid of them. That's much, much scarier than any supernatural threat, and"
I agree wholeheartedly and that, I think is the key to why I found this movie so frightening, having had some concerns in that regard during my own childhood.
< I admit Danny Lloyd was a much more effective actor. Too bad he never pursued more roles, but probably a much healthier choice for him >
Danny actually DID pursue more roles but with no success. Maybe others were less impressed with his performance than I was. I dont know.
Anyway, he dropped out of the acting filed at the age of 13.
Today he is a teacher. He doesn't regret anything. he actually thought it was a fun experience.
A side note; he really enjoyed riding the Hot wheels bike indoors. They promised to send it to him after the filming was done. They never sent it.
That was pretty crappy if you ask me.
It would be a nice collectable if it were around today.
"I liked the fact that King kept the Topiary hedge animals to life in his miniseries."
That was the worst of it for me. The CGI was awful. It also completely missed the point of the novel. In the book, Jack doesn't actually see them move... they move closer and change posture whenever he looks away from them. Kind of like that game you played as a kid.
That's what made it completely creepy. Jack wasn't sure if it was happening for real or just his mind playing tricks on him. By explicitly showing this, the series took all the punch out of that scene. (There was a great Night Gallery? Twilight Zone? ep with Bill Bixby about a statue that creeps up to him only when the lights are out so that he doesn't ever see it move.)
Stand By Me... great movie yup. But you didn't remember The Shawshank Redemption?!
Shawshank Redemption is probably the best in retrospect. Like many, we tend to forget the movies that are not horror related and that was the case here.
Stand By Me seemed like a piece of Steven Kings life, (Gordy being a writer) and of course much of it was fictional but the bonds of friendship makes it so memorable to me.
Today they would probably completely overdo the CGI of the topiary animals and it could well end up really stupid. This was a problem i had with the recent "IT" part 2.
"Just WISH he Pennywise monster down to a smaller size so we can defeat him.
Thanks for reminding me of Shawshank.