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Stephen King Says Wendy In Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "One Of The Most Misogynistic Characters Ever Put On Film"

by Kevin Jagernauth
September 19, 2013 1:22 PM
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The Shining

Ever since its release in 1980, Stephen King has shared his displeasure about Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of "The Shining," and even went so far as to executive produce and write a 1997 TV mini-series version of his story. Anyway, 36 years later after his novel was first published, King is delivering the sequel "Doctor Sleep," which hits stores next week, centering on a grown up Danny Torrance. And out doing the press rounds, the author is again sharing why he didn't take to Kubrick's movie.

"[It's] cold, I'm not a cold guy," King told BBC arts editor Will Gompertz. "I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there's a reaching out and saying to the reader, 'I want you to be a part of this.' With Kubrick's 'The Shining' I felt that it was very cold, very 'We're looking at these people, but they're like ants in an anthill, aren't they doing interesting things, these little insects.' "

And when it came to Jack Nicholson's signature turn as Jack Torrance, King felt there wasn't enough mystery behind whether or not he was losing his mind. "Jack Torrance in the movie, seems crazy from the jump. Jack Nicholson, I'd seen all his biker pictures in the '50s and '60s and I thought, he's just channeling 'The Wild Angels' here," he said. Actually, that movie doesn't have Nicholson, but Peter Fonda, but we suppose King was thinking of "Hells Angels On Wheels," so easy mistake.

However, King saves his greatest criticism of "The Shining" for its portrayal of Wendy, the beleaguered wife of Jack. "Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she's basically just there to scream and be stupid and that's not the woman that I wrote about," the writer stated.

Noting that he only met Kubrick once, and that he seemed "compulsive" even to him then, it seems time hasn't healed the feelings King has toward the horror classic. But what do you think? Are King's concerns legit? Let us know below. And oh yeah, and if you need more "The Shining" in your life, with King's blessing, it's being turned into an opera.... 

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  • Clifford H. | August 9, 2014 11:46 PMReply

    Not sure if anyone has made this point yet or not, but what it all comes down to is that Kubrick wasn't making King's book. He was taking the 'premise' of the story and making his own work of art-- a work of art that had very different themes than the original King novel. So they are different. This discussion of how the characters aren't portrayed 'exactly' how they were in the book is useless because they are different works of art. Kubrick took King's frame of 'an abusive author who brings his family to a hotel and begins to lose his mind' and turned it into a story that is about man's inability to learn from the past-- and specifically the manner in which the past is repeated. The 'coldness' you feel from the movie is, frankly, your inability to comprehend Kubrick's imagery, and the TONE that he is using. Out of lack of a better example, the 'coldness' you feel is the same 'coldness' you might feel when asked a riddle and being completely dumbfounded of the answer. Just because its over your head doesn't make it meaningless. This is the same reason we still ponder the meaning of the Mona Lisa's smile to this day, and if you think that I'm trying to compare Kubrick to DaVinci or "The Shining" to "The Mona Lisa" than you have missed the point.

  • Chris Elser | June 29, 2014 4:32 PMReply

    Jack Nicholsons performance is still part of the American lexicon with several lines still uttered to this day. I saw both Kings and Kubricks versions and thought Kubricks was far better.I think Shelley Duvall played her part good as well.She was watching her husband slowly deteriorate and considering her surroundings her horror for both her sons and her own safety.Nicholson is one of if not the greatest actor of his generation and this was one of dozens of great performances.

  • Brooke | June 22, 2014 8:00 PMReply

    I don't know why he's making a big deal!!! I thought the movie was great!!!! I thought Jack Nicholson was magnificent in this, we played his role really and I think Shelly did really good herself!!!!! This was one of the best movie there is!!!! I mean he doesn't need to get that upset, he should be prod of how good this was, I mean he should be proud of jack of how he played this role!!!! Jack is one of the greatest actors alive!!!!! Se the shining was excellent, I have nothing bad to say about this movie!!!!!

  • marianina | July 24, 2014 10:29 AM

    i think he's making a big deal because the movie and the book are nothing alike whatsoever.

  • Some Guy | June 27, 2014 3:42 PM

    Jack may be one the greatest actors alive, but you Brooke are the greatest wielder of punctuation in history. The depth of your feelings are magnified by the brilliant use of those exclamation points.

  • Nik | June 13, 2014 8:30 PMReply

    I understand why he feels so personal about his project. This wasn't his project tho, it was a take on it.....I've seen this masterpiece a whole bunch, it's fantastic on every level of pop.

  • Celeste | May 20, 2014 6:08 PMReply

    I don't understand why he feels that way about Wendy! Shelley Duvall did an excellent job with her- you know how horrified you felt? It's because of HER acting. She did an excellent job as the normal, sane-minded person in the mix of characters- she was the perspective of the audience. I actually really liked her character- she was just a woman who knew her circumstances and had learned to accept them, because it was the best she could do. She loved her family and husband so very much that she would do anything for them, and didn't want to hurt them, even when she had to. She was trying to be the best mother and wife she could possibly be, even at risk of her own life, and I don't find anything misogynistic or offensive about that at all... the only thing I do find in her performance is a quality that many women do not have today (in the name of "equal rights") being the best you can be not for yourself, but for the love of those you care for.

  • Holden | June 7, 2014 8:05 PM

    Stephen King is not criticizing Shelley Duvall's acting. He is criticizing the way that the character of Wendy was changed by Kubrick for the movie. It was Kubrick who wanted Wendy to be as seen as pathetic, hysterical and beaten-down. Shelley Duvall portrayed the character the way Kubrick wanted. In fact Kubrick supposedly bullied her to create the hysteria that she displayed in the movie.

  • David | May 3, 2014 10:07 AMReply

    Stephen King by now should realize that Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining was actually an avenue for Kubrick to relive his own trauma. Kubrick was actually the combined characters of Danny and Jack Torence. And there is great symbolism within the movie that supports Kubrick's involvement in creating Apollo moon footage. The Shinning Code and Kubrick's Odyssey. When you look at things this way, Kubrick was very artistic.

  • James | July 23, 2014 12:23 PM

    I watched Room 237 out of curosity and while entertaining, it's absolutely ludicrous. Kubrick was certainly an artist but people have over analyzed his work. The Apollo moon landing connection is almost comical. Many artists, Kubrick included, do things to create mood and make people think, yet often there is no specific message. Much of the things pointed out in Room 237 is making connections where aren't any. In the end, The Shining, 2001,etc are largely what you make of it. There are ideas but in the end, Kubrick wants the audience to fill in the gaps as they choose. That's what great art does.

  • Jenna | April 28, 2014 2:33 PMReply

    I love both the novel and the movie but they are two different entities. King's version tells the tale of conflicted humans put into an extraordinary situation with unfortunate results, but there was LOVE underneath it all. Kubrick's version shows two miserable people and the unlucky gifted product of their coupling who were going to do this to each other no matter where they ended up living. In the book, The Overlook was the catalyst. In the movie, The Overlook was just there to cheer him on in his murderous rage.

    If you watch the making of the movie, you may be able to forgive Duvall's portrayal of Wendy. Kubrick was BRUTAL to her because he WANTED her to be BROKEN and PATHETIC.

  • lisha Naidoo | April 8, 2014 3:26 PMReply

    dr.marnish killed my lover!

  • Bradley | March 19, 2014 6:52 PMReply

    I agree, actually.
    Don't get me wrong: There are things I like about THE SHINING, but it's inconsistent. The scariest scene for me, when I was 12 in 1980 and read the book because I wasn't allowed to see the movie, was when Danny was "Inside Room 217." And the dead-woman-in-the-bathtub scene is the scariest scene in the movie for me, too.

    Although Shelly Duval was razzed for her dismal performance in the film, I blame Kubrick for writing her role in the ugly tradition of grade C drive-in grindhouse slasher flicks, rather than in the way King wrote the part. It's true, she barely does more than scream and act hysterical throughout the movie. King wrote a dynamic, three-dimensional, human character in the book, and Kubrick, despite his reputation and attention to minutiae, didn't bother to differentiate her from the female characters of shlock.

  • Justin | March 11, 2014 6:52 PMReply

    I agree with King, the actress who played Wendy in the original was absolutely horrible, really ruined the movie for me, although it wasn't the only thing. The remake was a million times better.

  • Tony | January 30, 2014 2:42 PMReply

    Stephen King is a great writer, but he knows nothing about what makes a good movie.

    His favorite director is Mick Garris, who only sometimes reaches the mediocre level and is a hack the rest of the time. This, while King has criticized virtually every other (good) director who adapted his work, like Brian DePalma, Stanley Kubrick, Tobe Hooper, David Cronenberg etc, ALL of whom have made far better adaptations than his personal favorite Mick Garris has.
    Furthermore, he likes his adaptations made for TV, obviously not knowing or caring just how bland and milquetoast his gruesome work tends to be on the small screen.
    Furthermore, he actually had a chance to direct a movie himself (Maximum Overdrive) and it was a disaster. He doesn't know movies but he does know books. Maybe he should just stick to what he knows.

  • Shawn | April 22, 2014 12:43 PM

    I disagree, Maximum Overdrive was a great movie, and, Mick Garris has his downs, he is a great director

  • Kerry | January 29, 2014 6:02 PMReply

    King has it right. I like the movie but Wendy makes it as irritating as it is scary. I love Jack Nicholson but he does seem nutty from the beginning and that cheapens the hotels influence.

  • Mrwe | July 24, 2014 11:24 AM

    " Maximum Overdrive was a great movie"


    No. Really!


  • Ty | January 25, 2014 8:30 AMReply

    Kubrick's film "The Shining" has literally NOTHING to do with King's novel, except for the fact that he publicly hijacked it to tell the story he wanted to tell... an act which in and of itself informs us about the film's ambitious purpose. To compare the two does both a great disservice, especially Kubrick's work (which will be standing tall long after King's book has been forgotten). In hundreds of different ways, Kubrick tells the audience that this is no longer King's novel. King fans should simply accept that Kubrick's Shining is NOT based on King's novel and save everyone this pointless discussion in the future.

  • maddy | January 14, 2014 10:45 AMReply

    I thought the movie was good but there just wasn't enough character development. In the novel jack wasn't some nutcase from the beginning. He was a man who had a drinking problem and yes a very bad temper but the movie failed to show how much he loved his son and how much he tried to make the family right. As for Wendy, she drove me crazy in the movie and even if she did save Danny, I found her very bland and frankly, kind of dim witted.

  • Debra Parmer | January 11, 2014 5:05 PMReply

    Watched this again the other night and I just can't get past WENDY, these casing directors get paid big bucks and several people have to approve what the hell where they thinking. I MEAN I REALLY, REALLY REALLY CAN'T GET PAST IT!!!!!!!!

  • Jnight | January 10, 2014 10:13 PMReply

    For all of the "intellectuals" discussing the fact that books and movies are different forms of media and then denegrating the tv miniseries based on the movie, wouldn't film and television be different as well? How can any of the three truly be compared?

  • Joe faubert | January 10, 2014 9:19 PMReply

    I love Stephen King, but like the rest of us, I think he is just no where near Kubrick's level intellectually. Stephen King is a genius in his own right, which is probably why he is so bitter about this movie, Kubrick is simply a much greater genius. Kubrick's The Shining has so many layers of meaning, its sad that King can't recognize that. Wendy is a misogynistic character because we live in a misogynistic culture, which Kubrick was criticizing. The supernatural silliness is really all just metaphor for the real horror of living with an abusive man in a patriarchal society.
    PS Dr. Sleep is a ok read, but it is very shallow and has no deeper meaning than an episode of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

  • Tony | January 30, 2014 1:31 PM

    @ Bree
    Your comment is slanderous.
    A director cannot STEAL a story. He must buy the rights and the author gets to decide the terms. Stephen King obviously allowed Kubrick to adapt his novel anyway he saw fit, and that's what Kubrick did. King should stop whining about it already. Almost ALL novels that are adapted are changed for the big screen.

  • Tony | January 30, 2014 1:28 PM

    @ Kerry
    If you think Kubrick "made a name for himself" with The Shining then you are truly ignorant.
    Never heard of Dr. Strangelove? Spartacus? Paths of Glory? Clockwork Orange?
    All of these films are much more beloved by people over the world than his version of the Shining. He was a master director long before The Shining, and The Shining was just a footnote in his directorial career.
    To even imagine that Kubrick needed a Stephen King novel to make a name for himself is laughable.
    And i hate to break it to you, but you don't actually have to watch "Keeping up with the Kardashians" to know that it has no "deep meaning". At least, most of us don't.
    And finally, if King > Kubrick, then why did Kubrick toss out most of the story anyway if he "used it to make a name for himself"? How can he even make a name for himself if his movie sucks so much compared to the story, as you critics claim?
    P.S. I think both the book and the Kubrick film are great; the mini-series, like everything else directed by King's buddy Mick Garris, is mediocre TV fare at best.

  • Kerry | January 29, 2014 6:08 PM

    You actually watch Keeping up with the Kardashians? King > Kubrick. King wrote the story that Kubrick used to make a name for himself.

  • Bree | January 12, 2014 3:09 AM

    To say that King's intellect isn't on the level of Kubrick's and that Kubrick's The Shining has more meaning is retarded.... KING WROTE THE BOOK THAT KUBRICK STOLE THE IDEA FROM. Just saying... so he has every right to say that things weren't portrayed correctly... Now, granted, the movie is one of my favorite scary movies, but still.... you can't bash King when Kubrick isn't even the one who came up with the idea.

  • Devon | January 2, 2014 12:44 AMReply

    Wendy is meant to symbolize Kubrick's wife, who went through a real-life awaking similar to Duval's character, as she began to learn of Kubrick's involvement with the Freemason shadow government and the military industrial complex. Every one of Kubrick's films is his attempt to reveal to the public the things he had learned from being "on the inside." Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket, Dr Strangelove, 2001, are all allegories depicting the evil and control of the real power Elite in the government. Unless you understand this, his films won't make sense.

  • Micha Odenheimer | November 9, 2013 5:42 PMReply

    The book is great, but the movie really is a chilling masterpiece, and, to my mind, fully worthy of the book.

  • Jesus Cerda | November 7, 2013 5:59 PMReply

    What is art?? Art is what you want it to be and Kubrick maybe felt that that's what king was trying to say and he just made a movie on what he read and felt to do it he did not need his permission. And king not liking the film well it's obvious because it's not his interpretation is someone's else. I think they are both great, the book and the movie and they are both artist and they wanted it to be that way that's why Is called art.

  • Chinchilla | November 7, 2013 1:55 AMReply

    Frankly Kubrick's Wendy is less sexist than King's, who, like a lot of the women in King's earlier fiction, is a bland, predictably beautiful ex-cheerleader type. (The notable exception is Carrie, of course). If Kubrick's Wendy is high strung and snivelly at times, well, this is what happens to be people who have been pushed around and terrorized for a long time--abuse doesn't necessarily make people more dignified. She was still determined and resourceful enough to save her herself and her son from her psycho husband and a hotel full of malevolent ghosts.

  • Patt | December 12, 2013 7:48 AM

    I totally agree!

  • Walter | November 7, 2013 2:31 AM

    Couldn't have said it better.

  • Matt | November 5, 2013 2:58 PMReply

    One hundred percent of books made into movies by Kubrick are better than the book. Even Clockwork Orange.

  • touchstone | October 22, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    If there's one thing worse than a woman spouting feminist clichés, it's a man spouting feminist clichés.

  • Marcos | November 6, 2013 4:50 AM

    If I roll my eyes any more they'll fall out of their sockets. You are the biggest cliche here.

  • Jewel Nelson | October 9, 2013 5:12 PMReply

    I liked the movie when I was younger--then I finally read the book. I prefer the book. Shelley Duvall just didn't fit. Wendy in the book was pretty resourceful, and Dick Halloran was always in touch with Danny. The movie was like a weird documentary.

  • Rachel | April 28, 2014 1:46 PM

    I totally agree - after rewatching 'The Shining' from a critical point of view instead of from an entertainment side I feel like the movie didn't highlight the same points that were really important in the book that explained the influence of the hotel.
    The movie portrayed Jack as being a not totally stable guy on the drive to the hotel & Wendy seemed a little 'slow' in the opening scenes. The lack of Dick's influence with Danny in the film totally hindered the audiences understanding of what The Shining is and how it works. I still love the movie but there are a lot of holes.

    You should check out the documentary written about Kubrick's film adaptation called 'Room 237' it's on Netflix & it really gives some deeper insight into what Kubrick was trying to do & it really wasn't focused on telling King's story. After watching the documentary I have more of an appreciation for what he was doing while using King's story as the ground work.

  • Debra | January 11, 2014 5:09 PM

    Finally an honest non artsyfarty comment

  • Mike Cornelison | October 7, 2013 1:38 PMReply

    Kubrick's Shining may not have been the treatment King desired, but it's one of the greatest horror films ever made. I love Stephen King as a writer and I can understand his disappointment if he felt the film was not true to the book, but it's ridiculous how completely unscary his Shining miniseries was compared to Kubrick's film.

  • don bronkema | October 2, 2013 6:58 AMReply

    ...because the supernatural, benign or malign, is ludicrous per must believe in Satan to fear him...Colonia Martialis will forbid the undemonstrable.

  • don bronkema | October 2, 2013 6:48 AMReply

    King would put this insomniac to sleep in a Hallowe'en graveyard.

  • bleem | October 1, 2013 3:06 PMReply

    Wendy is an average, easy going mother, whose husband suddenly comes at her with an axe in an isolated hotel. She knocks him down a flight of stairs, and rescues her son from certain death. Mysoginist how?

  • Tony | January 30, 2014 1:35 PM

    It's funny that King says Shelley Duvall's Wendy is "misogynist" and Mark then proceeds to say she made him want to put an axe into her.
    What do you mean, misogynist?

  • walter | November 7, 2013 2:34 AM

    For MarK: This viewer wanted nothing of the sort to happen to Wendy in the film. That you may have had the reaction may speak to your own views on what women "should" be. But, like so many pseudo intellects you universalize your own reaction as the only correct one.

  • Mark | October 4, 2013 11:16 PM

    Because as written and played, she compels the viewer to want to put an ax in her.

  • Chuck Adler | September 28, 2013 11:04 AMReply

    The thing about comparing King and Kubrick and their respective versions of The Shining is that it’s like comparing apples and oranges (we may as well argue about Spielberg's film version of Jaws and Peter Benchley's original book version). Both Kubrick and King work in different media, and many in the Kubrick camp (myself included) evaluate his film in a manner that also takes into account (and that honors) his preeminent abilities and talents as a filmmaker. I think, too, that Diane Johnson’s influence on the screenplay (particularly its Gothic elements) is tangible and needs also to be taken into account.

    Although I don’t think there’s really any contest between Kubrick-as-filmmaker and King-as-writer (in fairness to King, very few, except the likes of Bergman, Fellini, and Argento (for example), stand up to Kubrick’s talent), I think deciding whether you prefer King’s book version or Kubrick’s film version of The Shining boils down to personal taste. It’s subjective, almost pointless to argue about it, and I don’t think the question can ever really be settled in a manner that is definitive for all (nor should it be). Having read the book, I'm looking forward to King's sequel, and, no matter where we stand on the King vs. Kubrick question, I think we can all be grateful for King’s having created this fascinating storyline in the first place. Let’s pay homage to him and celebrate the fact that he is still pumping out stories for his readers.

    On the issue of Kubrick not staying true to the book, I can empathize with King’s audience (though I still prefer Kubrick’s film interpretation over King’s original book). As someone who cherishes Shelley’s Frankenstein, I will never forgive Hollywood for what it did to her novel. What a disaster. The only thing worse are the even more disastrous Beowulf movies. On the issue of Duvall and Nicholson, I think it's pretty clear that Kubrick cast them as representatives of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. This ties in with the film’s use of children’s cartoons (especially Road Runner, which is often playing in the background) and its use (at times explicit, at times subtle) of fairy tale elements (including Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel – horror stories for children). I think it’s also pretty clear, to those who’ve watched Sofia Coppola’s documentary on the making of The Shining, that Kubrick was annoyed by Duvall and that he probably regretted working with her. She’s completely out-acted by Nicholson (who is a good fit for Kubrick’s interpretation of Jack Torrance, but obviously not a true representation of King’s version of him), but she does make a decent Road Runner (she certainly looks the part).

    Finally, I agree with LW: if you think you can write better than King, then why don't you?

    RIP Stanley Kubrick (and his genius)
    Rock on, Stephen King

  • Mike Cornelison | October 7, 2013 1:47 PM

    @ZEE - Stephen King got his wish and his 4 1/2 hour miniseries was impeccably faithful to the book. It also was a snooze fest. Kubrick's film was a masterpiece, brilliant in ever way and scary as hell. Like Chuck said, it's all subjective, but you'd be pretty hard pressed to find someone who thinks the miniseries was anywhere near as scary as the film.

  • Zee | October 2, 2013 4:01 AM

    Steven King's "The Shining" is about the fears we face as children, both rational and irrational. It's about how a scared child can turn the various harmless objects of the world into tormentors once the foundations of their world have been shaken up due to their first experience with real fear. With Danny this was brought on by physical abuse. It's about growing up and realizing your parents have their own demons that they must battle with, but at the end of the day, they still love. Steven King's The Shining is about growth and acceptance.

    Stanley Kubrick's movie is about Jack Nicholson being crazy, running around chasing people with an axe while a kid talks to his finger, a women screams, and oh yes, the black dude dies. Kubrick knows how to make a pretty frame, and that's about it.

    I am glad to see that Steven King hates it.

  • Chuck Adler | September 28, 2013 11:09 AM

    *with* >:\

  • Chuck Adler | September 28, 2013 11:06 AM

    Not sure why my apostrophes look like As will circumflexes hovering over them.

  • jan lastovica | September 28, 2013 1:09 AMReply

    i HATED the casting..and the portrayals. i found nicholson menacing and too old from the start. and duvall just did not grab me. obviously these r tremendous actors..just miscast.

  • LW | September 25, 2013 11:42 PMReply

    A lot of you sit there at your computers and critique King as though you're experts. Put down his writing? Really? The movie of The Shining was a disappointment and changed so much of the book it was an entirely different work. You armchair critics seem to forget about The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile, both excellent films. And while even I have to agree that some of the short stories and books weren't of that caliber, I still have to ask all of you nay-sayers, how many millions have YOU made from short stories, books and movies?

  • Tony | January 30, 2014 1:40 PM

    How many millions have YOU made producing cars?
    And yet, when you buy one and the breaks don't work, you curse the hell out of it and badmouth the producer.
    How many millions has King made from making movies, and yet he badmouths a genius director like Kubrick. And yet i don't see you whining about that.
    Your argument is so tired and stupid and easy to dismiss, and yet people KEEP making it.

  • Muzozavr | September 22, 2013 11:46 AMReply

    I like both the book and the film equally, but for different reasons. They are very different in nature.

    Kubrick is better as a director than King is as a writer. Unfortunately, Kubrick also believes that he's a better writer and that just wasn't true. Wendy in the book was so much more likable and Jack's alcoholism was pretty much glossed over in the movie. But then I remember the intense use of music, the tennis ball, the girl twins, Jack chasing after Danny in the snowy maze with the CREEPIEST camera angle possible and I realize that yes, I like both.

    The film is very different from the book, "loosely based" is the best term. I've seen people who were calling the film a "strict" adaptation of the book, those people need to get their head checked.

    It's pretty obvious why King dislikes Kubrick's movie. King wanted to see "The Shining", not "Stanley Kubrick's Great Movie Based on Hotel Overlook". The film completely disregards most of the book's themes and makes up its own.

  • CK | September 20, 2013 4:28 PMReply

    As someone who has recently both read the book and seen the movie, I have to say I found King's original characterisation of Wendy problematic. She was an attractive blond (many mentions of her shapely legs and ass) wife and mother cowed by her abusive, alcoholic husband, contemplating divorce and afraid of becoming like her mother. Bear in mind that in the novel, Jack breaks Danny's arm in a drunken rage long before they ever arrived at the Overlook Hotel, so the whole 'he was corrupted to harm his family by the evil hotel' doesn't excuse his earlier violence, as unintentional as it was. Not to mention the 'magic negro' aspects of Dick's character...

  • John | September 20, 2013 10:31 PM

    Who was making those mentions in the novel? If I remember right, it was from Jack Torrance's narrative. HE views her in that light. King does not. As far as the corruption, the character was as much corrupted by alcohol as he was by the hotel's influences. He's an alright guy without the influence of alcohol (shown by his strong connection with his son). The influence of alcohol is very important in the novel (and is somewhat autobiographical).

    Much like Wendy's character was much more than her looks, Jack's character was much more than his violence and alcoholism. You're doing the same thing Kubrick does, reducing characters to one idea or archetype. When in King's novel they are vastly more complicated and hard to pin down.

    And Halloran's character doesn't fit the "magic negro" trope because he doesn't use his power to "save" white people. Plus danny has the power too and it's much stronger in him. Sure he helped and was a mentor for Danny, but it was ultimately Danny's influence on his dad that saved them. But the only time he saves anyone was in "IT" when he saved people in a blacks-only enlisted club. Including Mike Hanlon's father.

    The biggest complaint (especially from Spike Lee) when it comes to the "Magic Negro" is that he invariably winds up using it to save the main white characters of the movie, and not to further himself or black people. And that's clearly not the case with this character.

    The fact that he's "magic" and black doesn't make him a magic negro.

  • MBC | September 20, 2013 11:57 AMReply

    Another film of THE SHINING needs to be made with Stephen King consulting. If you agree, write back! Let others know!

  • MeganO | September 29, 2013 10:49 AM

    This was already done in a mini-series in 1997. It was crap. I'm a big King fan, but it's rare that his books translate well to movies. There are some notable exceptions, like the Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption. I very much enjoy Kubrick's "The Shining" in its own right. No, it's not a faithful adaptation, but it's a good movie. If I want to read the book, I read the book. Film is a different medium, and simply playing out the text of the book is rarely possible or advisable.

  • Eric | September 20, 2013 6:55 AMReply

    Kubrick's a genius; King less so

  • radicalrage | February 11, 2014 2:01 PM

    I am a HUGE King fan and I find this debate silly. But then again I also didn't find Kubrick's version of the Shining the least bit scary and I watched it as a kid. How can anyone even compare one person's genius to another's. In my personal opinion I have never been blown away by anything Kubrick directed but if others do then great.

    I do have to say King's books do not translate well into movies all of the time. Two of my favorite books by him, It and The Stand made horrible movies probably because they were just too long and too involved to be able to contain on any screen. They also had an greater reach into the King universe that can't be shown. I noticed that the movies that are great that are based on King's books stay faithful to the characters. Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist. These also are books that are shorter and are not integral into the King-verse as others such as It, The Stand and Hearts of Atlantis. In order to get the full impact of these story lines you would have to be a faithful King reader and obviously have read the Dark Tower series.

  • Elroy | October 10, 2013 2:58 AM

    I would think it the other way around as King creates and Stan refines (though not entirely in this case).. though they both are in genius in their own right.

  • Tim | September 20, 2013 4:45 AMReply

    You have to read Jay Weidner's analysis of the movie to fully understand it and the real genius of Kubrick. There were so many misunderstood points that now make sense.

  • Jill | September 20, 2013 3:45 AMReply

    I read the book before seeing the film, and I loved it. Before the terrifying aspects kicked in, it was first a story about a deep love between a father and son. I remember being stunned and disappointed when I saw the movie, because there was absolutely none of that love portrayed. The father seemed to be barely tolerating his wife and child right from the very first scene. Those were not the characters that I loved from that book. The book worked so well because of that drastic contrast between the dad at the beginning and the person he became over the course of the story. However, as a separate work, I think the movie is excellent--just very different in its essence from the book.

  • Corey | September 19, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    It's actually King's novel which is sexist, misogynistic and trite (and which forgives Jack Torrance no less). Kubrick's film is ABOUT sexism, racism and misogyny under patriarchy, and cleanly dileneates how it's perpetuated and overlooked, constantly. His Overlook Hotel embodies the very Imperialist tendencies of America. It is not sexist at all.

  • Shan | September 23, 2013 10:26 AM

    You think Kubrick's version is better for it's interpretation of race? Really? At least King didn't feel the need to bring back Dick *SPOILERS* Just to have Jack cleave him up.

  • Sully | September 19, 2013 9:35 PM

    And the German typewriter Jack uses is a symbol for the holocaust, right?

  • Brad | September 19, 2013 7:33 PMReply

    "The Shining" (regardles if it can be considered a good adaptation of the book or not) is not only the best movie ever made from a Stephen King book but one of the few that are good and one of the best (if not the best) horror films ever made. Most movies adapted from his stories are actually bad in top of the fact that as a writer he has been repeating himself for a while now so I think he should better get over that and accept the fact that Kubrick did nothing but make him look better.

  • wackojacko | September 19, 2013 7:03 PMReply

    To a certain extent, I think King's criticism is valid; but I find King's own characters annoying because he tries too hard to make them likeable. That, fortunately, was all but shorn away in Kubrick's version.

  • radicalrage | February 11, 2014 2:05 PM

    That is your opinion. I find Kubrick's The Shining to be in the bottom five of any film adaptation of King's work but then again I am a true King fan and watched it to see the book made into a movie, not a director's interpretation of the book.

  • Cloakey | September 19, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    This seems like some good old fashioned, George W Bush-style, revisionist-thinking, legacy cleaning. He's trying to blame Stanley Kubrick for paring down the Wendy character to her essence that SK himself created.

    I read once, long ago, that SK's writing was the "McDonald's of Horror". That would be true.

  • radicalrage | February 11, 2014 2:07 PM

    What are you talking about? The Wendy character is nothing like the one in the book.

  • John | September 20, 2013 10:13 PM

    What you're referring to with the McDonald's comment was something King said himself. He has no aspersions of grandeur. Her character in the book is NOTHING like what was put on screen.

  • Boone | September 19, 2013 6:47 PMReply

    Perhaps this is really just self-reflection on Steve's part: he's admitting his own writing flaws as an author, admitting that Wendy was his own troubled creation, a projection of his opinion of women (and, in particular, his wife.)


    Or perhaps Steve's just an old fool who has unwittingly revealed through his body of work that the only topics he finds truly scary are women, minorities, and alzheimer's.

  • radicalrage | February 11, 2014 2:08 PM

    What are you talking about?

  • John | September 20, 2013 10:17 PM

    not sure where you're getting this from. Women are rarely "scary" in his works and are often protagonists (Carrie, Gerald's Game, Lisey's Story, Dolores Claiborne). Also I can't even think of an instance where minorities are "scary" in his works. Sure he rarely portrays them...but he writes from experience, and Maine is pretty much only white. But when he does write minorities, they are just as complex and strong of characters as white ones.

    Just look at Susannah in the DT series.

  • Sam | September 19, 2013 8:37 PM

    That's pretty huge leap given that the character of Wendy in the book is an entirely different person from the character of the film.

  • lenlenlen1 | September 19, 2013 5:47 PMReply

    Too bad that he doesnt like the movie. Its his right to have a dissenting opinion. His book is a masterpiece, and Kubricks movie is a masterpiece. And both are FAR better than the TV Shining remake, so...

  • AW | September 19, 2013 5:36 PMReply

    You guys need to shut up and quit complaining. Whether you like it or not, The Shining is Stephen King's story, and a damn good one at that. If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have Jack Nicholson brilliant performance and Duvall's hammy but entertainimg performance. He has every right to judge, it's HIS character, HIS story, end of. Yes, "The Shining" is a brilliant horror movie, but as an adaption of the book, it's awful. Wendy in the book did a lot more than scream, cower in corners and swing baseball bats.

  • Ray | September 19, 2013 4:58 PMReply

    Misogynistic? Nope sorry don't see any misogyny in a woman being scared to death by a guy like Jack Nicholson.

    What is misogynistic is having a girl willingly allow herself to be gangbanged for no reason in the novel "It".

  • radicalrage | February 11, 2014 2:09 PM

    There was a reason....or did you not read the book?

  • Mark Cleary | October 4, 2013 11:22 PM

    The gangbang has a reason. For those of us who read the book.

  • Ben | September 19, 2013 4:48 PMReply

    Says the guy that has six different 10 year old males all have sex with a ten year old girl to prove their dedication to killing an alien in twenty years. I wonder if he is aware at what a joke he has become.

  • CR | September 19, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    Shelley Duvall is amazing in the film - it's her huge eyes, her trembling, her inability to speak from terrror - that makes the film moving and scary.

    And she is proactive - defending herself with a knife; sending her son through a window to protect him when she can't fit through herself.

  • JJ | September 19, 2013 2:03 PMReply

    I saw the film before I read the book, so I was very surprised to learn that King's story is really nothing but an extremely corny haunted house story. Plus, all the best elements from the film are not even in the book.

  • Chris | September 19, 2013 1:51 PMReply

    Ive always said half of The Shining is just people chasing each other around.

  • Nolan | September 19, 2013 1:42 PMReply

    King is probably still just uncomfortable that Kubrick took something of his, made his own, and it surpassed anything that King has ever done.

  • Chuck Adler | September 28, 2013 12:40 PM

    To M.S.: Actually, Kubrick had originally planned to use the animal topiaries, but doing so (and making them come to life on film) was apparently more aggravation than it was worth in those pre-CGI days. The result was his own use of the hedge maze, which adds to the labyrinthine qualities of the film. Bring back the days of imagination over CGI.

  • Walter | September 19, 2013 8:39 PM

    If that was the case King would have said as much. He's been on record that the film Carrie was better than the book for example.

  • Pierre | September 19, 2013 4:49 PM

    That's a little apples to oranges, dude. They operate in different artistic realms.

  • Michael | September 19, 2013 2:53 PM

    Very true.
    Kubrick's the "The Shining" is a completely different animal than the book, and to complain about differences is totally irrelevant. It's a shame that Stephen King can't look past that and see the movie for the masterpiece it is.

  • PLUSONE | September 19, 2013 2:02 PM


  • M.S. | September 19, 2013 1:54 PM

    Stephen King's books are always about 60 percent good and 40 percent shitty. Which part does he wish Kubrick would have kept? The part where the hedge animals come to life and start attacking people? Yeah, that would have been much better.

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