“The Shining” by Stephen King was first publish in 1977. It was only three years later that the film adaption came out. Both the book and movie are wildly popular in the horror genre, still to this day.
When I was young, there were few movies that my mother wouldn’t let me watch. The Shining was one of those movies. I remember distinctly the first time I watched it, huddled under the blanket with my best friend, eyes squeezed shut.
It wasn’t until a year or two later that I became interested in reading the novel. The Shining was the first King novel that I read, and given his reputation in the horror genre, I had high expectations. The book is always better than the movie adaption, so the novel should have been amazing, right?
It was 659 pages of detailed, irrelevant histories of the characters and the hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I love character building. But King didn’t build a character, he gave a meticulous biography. Quite frankly, there were many long paragraphs I wound up skipping over.
King has mastered thinking up interesting plot points but pacing and revising isn’t his strong skill. Nothing too interesting happened until half way through the novel. When it picked up, King lived up to his horror reputation and I was pleased with how he didn’t hold back.
The Shining (book and movie) has undeniably made an impact on the world. It was this novel, alongside Carrie, that propelled King into a renown author. The movie impacted the way horror films were made; there is even a documentary on the psychology behind the film.
If I had to pick between the novel or the movie, I would chose the movie without a doubt. Although King delivered the horror well in his novel, the movie was concise and psychologically pleasing. I believe that if anyone else beside Kubrick directed the film, I’d pick the novel over the movie though.