Stephen King hated THE SHINING. The big-screen adaptation from 1980 directed and largely written by Stanley Kubrick. He has over the years had a lot of unflattering things to say about it. It is the reason that he now insists on some degree of creative control over any film projects made based on his books. (This creative input has not saved some of those movies from blowing chunks, it must be noted.) He hated Kubrick’s movie so much that he remade THE SHINING as a television miniseries in 1997. So is King right to hate Kubrick’s movie? Note that I said “Kubrick’s movie.” The answer to my question lies therein.
AS the author of THE SHINING (the novel), King’s opinion regarding any adaptations cannot be questioned. And it is a fact that Stanley Kubrick’s movie is a lousy adaptation of the book. As a movie, though? It is perhaps the best screen adaptation of any of King’s work, from the point of view of an audience member. It is a great film. King’s miniseries cannot in any way compare to it. Kubrick’s movie is a masterpiece. But it is Kubrick’s, not King’s. King’s novel, it can be said, served as the inspiration for the movie, but the movie took on a life of its own, and stands on its own merits. It isn’t the film version of the book. So yes, Stephen King is right. And he is dead wrong.