Since I started watching The Shining, I have heard enough about how the Kubrick version deviates from the book. Last week, I decided it was time to look at the source material. Yes, there are differences but there are also some items that were kept in the Kubrick version, albeit in a different form. Most of the differences can be found on Wikipedia, some of which I’ll discuss here, but I’ve found some more that are, well, overlooked.
First, Jack Torrance has a reason for his behavior. In the book, King has taken the time to give Jack a backstory, flaws, and a relatable personality. Reading it, I felt sorry for the poor man, something I couldn’t do with the screen adaptation. The book allowed us to live with the family and go through the trials of the Overlook. The movie is more of a cinematic microscope as we see things happen without any personal connection.
I believe the wasp nest, while not in the film, is referenced in the infamous trailer. If you listen to it, you can hear a buzzing sound not unlike angry wasps.
Of course, there’s the whole room number change from 217 to 237. I just accept the fact the change happened and leave it at that.
The alternate narrative theories (e.g. the Native American genocide, the Holocaust) are not just film-only. Brief statements are made in the book but are more for a comparison to the current situation. The “implied meaning” is up to the viewer for the movie and can be pursued or acknowledged.
The ending is vastly different for both sources. The movie had a different ending but was removed early in the release. The book allows for a satisfactory closure that allows for the possibility of a sequel which has happened.
Looking back, reading the book has lead me to reconsider the movie’s treatment of the story as a whole. I would say that even though I consider it to be a favorite, I do not think the story translated well to screen. Not everything could be shown in the adaptation due to running time but completely changing a character’s personality seems a bit much.
There was a story earlier this year that this movie would get a prequel and would feature the hotel’s backstory. I’m not sure where I stand on that yet.