The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King may be several decades old, but the scares are just as effective as any current work . . . only better. The book was written by the “king” of page turners. This master of horror has a remarkable talent for sharing life’s harsh realities using other worldly elements.

In this supernatural story, the main character is psychic. He’s a young boy named Danny Torrance who’s not only dealing with the horrors of preternatural evil, he’s dealing with the horrors of living with an alcoholic father. While the movie covered the same aspects, details are lost in the film that only the book can reach.

It’s not just the deeper insights into the human condition that makes the book better than the movie. There are several other factors that make a pretty strong case for giving the novel a read even if you’ve seen the picture.


Here are six reasons the book The Shining by Stephen King is better than the movie:

  1. In the book, the ending is better. This is subjective of course, but for those who prefer a happy ending, the book’s ending is more resolved than the movie. (No spoiler here, just in case you’ve not seen it). The ending is a fairly minor issue, though.
  2. Shelley Duvall enjoys some delightful roles in her other films, but in The Shining movie, her acting skills seem to be lacking. The “book Wendy” was similarly docile and demure, but she’s more intelligent and sexier. She’s a more real person in the book.
  3. Admittedly, Jack Nicholson helps to make the movie memorable. In fact, he pretty much carries the film and his performance is legendary. But there’s another character who adds dimension to the story and that’s the cook named Halloran. Sure he’s in the movie, but in the book, we get to know him better and he stays with us longer.  This middle-aged gentleman is a likable character who befriends Danny and attempts to save the family from the haunted Overlook Hotel. Like Danny, he also has the gift of second sight and helps Danny understand and cope with his power.
  4. The book is scarier. Yes, the movie is scary, too, and if you haven’t seen it, you’ll want to. But there are parts in the book that are positively unnerving. They’re the kinds of things that’ll have you turning all the lights on.
  5. The movie leaves out some of the scariest creatures in the whole story! This is part of what makes the book scarier than the movie. The missing creatures make a big difference.
  6. Perhaps the biggest reason is this: the book is Stephen King, the master of horror. The movie is Stanley Kubrick, a master of film. They’re both superb, but if it’s horror you’re after, you may be more satisfied with the read.

It’s your choice to see which version you like better. You can find the movie online and you can order The Shining by Stephen King via Kindle or through your local library. Either way you go, you will enjoy this scary story.


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