Stephen King Movie Review- The Shining (1980)

Wow has it been a long time since I did one of these reviews. I actually watched the Shining movies back when I did the book review but have been so busy that I did not have time to review them on this blog. Well as I said I am going to try to write in the blog more along with my other projects I have going on. So with that in mind here we go.

Why oh why did I read the original book and then see this movie? Growing up this movie was an awesome freaky movie that I enjoyed. It had some good scares in it and what I thought was a great Stephen King movie. However, I can see why Stephen King was a little upset and it is now known by a lot of fans as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

The basic premise is there. A troubled recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (played by the amazing Jack Nicholson) gets a job as a caretaker of an old hotel in Colorado with a dark history. Like the book he brings his family along, his wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), to the hotel to stay with him during the winter. Again like the book Danny has a special power called the shining and he also meets the cook Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) who also has this power and explains to Danny. The hotel’s dark history is there also as in the book and in turn causes Jack to lose his mind to want to murder his family.

With the basic premise there it follows the book in that manner; however that is where it stops. While it has great atmosphere and an amazing performance by Jack Nicholson it is very different from the book. For starters Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic but from the onset you already think this guy is not right in the head. He already seems crazy (probably because Jack Nicholson is crazy) and it does not see like a big jump he lost his mind completely. He already seems to hate his family as expressed in the drive up to the hotel and seems annoyed of them also. The addiction story is there but it does not seem like the major driving force as it is just the ghosts and the supernatural turning him more. Then [SPOILER] at the end of the movie there is no redeeming factor to the character or redemption as there was in the book, he is just on his rampage. The ending was changed totally from the book and left with a strange image of him in the painting [End SPOILER].

The character of Wendy played by Shelley Duvall was a letdown. She does not even portray Wendy as she was in the book. She was weaker and quite frankly a little annoying. It was just hard after reading the book to see the character of Wendy portrayed like that. Danny did not seem like he had much character development. You get a little here and there but not like the book. Plus his shining powers are not much displayed and of course it was not revealed as it was in the book where he was getting his messages from.

The beacon of evil is still there in the form of the hotel. You could say that the evil is stronger in this movie as it was more of a ghost story then of addiction and such. It further shows that a place can be a place of evil.

It is very hard on me to bash this movie but I can see why Stephen King and his fans do not like this movie a lot. There was just too much deviation from the story and major things were changed by the director. Do not get me wrong this movie still has a special place in my heart but I will only have to give it two stars because of the divergence from the book. However, not taking the book into account I would give it four stars because it is a pretty good horror movie with great atmosphere. So what did you think of the movie? Have you read the book and compared it to this movie? What is your favorite part of the movie? Is there a beacon of evil in your life? Please leave comments and discuss below I want to hear from you. Next movie is the TV Miniseries of the Shining so be sure to look out for that. Also yes I know there is a new Carrie movie coming out and I will see that and review it on here also. Here is a trailer for The Shining.


Like I said in the past I will have a tracker of the final ratings of each book or movie I reviewed to show what I liked or didn’t like. It is a rating based out of five stars. For previous reviews if you missed it you can click on the title and it will link to that review for you to read.

Books Reviewed:
Carrie ***
Salem’s Lot ***1/2

The Shining *** 

 Movies Reviewed:
Carrie (1976) ****
The Rage: Carrie 2 ***
Carrie (2002) ½* (Yes a half of a star out of five) 
Salem’s Lot (1979) **
A Return to Salem’s Lot *
Salem’s Lot (2004) ***1/2
The Shining (1980) **

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