Let me begin by repeating "I am not a reader". I wish I was, but it just doesn't hold my interest for long enough. It's a shame too, because horror literature is probably the last scarcity vestige for originality in the genre. One final note before I move on, I am always looking for an avid reading mega horror babe who would read scary stories to me. Applicants apply within!!!!!

So this comparison will be solely based on my interpretation of the original film and the recent television miniseries. It will no, in any way be limited by my lack of reading aptitude. But as to not to forget the novel, the Mistress of the Tomes will provide in glorious details her interpretation of this Stephen King masterpiece.   Check it out here!!!!!!

Here at our secret labs in the "House of Horrors", we were cooking as we tested and re-tested our findings. We spent many hours running hypothesis through our mega computer known as "Igor" (well that's not really his name, but he likes it). And when the final results were in, we burned them and decided to just re-watch the films and make our own decisions. The following comparison is in no way based on any scientific formula, rhythm or reason, but just good old-fashioned fear. The verdict is in, you be the judge.

 

The Overlook
Here is one of the few areas where the miniseries might have the edge over the film. I guess we seem to forget that this
is a "haunted house" or rather a "haunted
hotel" film. The Overlook is a main
character in the film, but more so in the mini -series, much to 

VERDICT: The Overlook
overlook.jpg (20779 bytes)


Jack Nicholson

Jack Torrance
Here's Johnny. Jack Nicholson was, is, and will always be "The Shining" to me.
His performance, which Stephen King   has described as "over-the-top", was the driving force in the success of this film and it's placement in The Vault. This is not to take away from Steven Weber's performance (which was pretty good), but he is no Jack Nicholson.

VERDICT: Jack all the way!!!!

Steven Weber


Danny Lloyd

Danny Torrance
To think, Danny Lloyd was only seven years old when he made "The Shining". I really liked the way he performed the voice of Tony as opposed to the use of an actor in the miniseries. Courtland Mead??

Can you say overacting.

VERDICT: Will the real Danny stand up?
dannyt.jpg (11803 bytes)
Courtland Mead


Shelly Duvall

Wendy Torrance
Wow! I think Rebecca De Mornay is so hot. But her characterization of Wendy was way too strong. She (as Wendy) would have never put up with all of Jack's bullshit. I prefer the timid Wendy of Shelley Duvall. The one with the weak baseball bat swing that sent Jack tumbling down.

VERDICT: Olive Oly


Rebecca De Mornay

Scatman Crothers
Dick Halloran
This is a tough one. Both actors had very minimal screen time. While Scatman dies
in the film, Melvin lives in the miniseries. I personally would have liked to see the Dick Halloran character used more in the story.


VERDICT: Draw


Melvin Van Peeples


The Maze

The Maze vs. The Hedge Animals
Everyone who was a fan of the book had  told me time and time again that the hedge animals would have been a great addition to the original film (Kubrick didn't use them for technical reasons). So I was really psyched to hear they would be used in the miniseries. Too bad they weren't that great. I love the use of the Maze (it was more animated than the hedge animals) in the ending of the film.


VERDICT: Get the hedge clippers out


The Hedge Animals


237

The Lady in Room....
What's lurkers up in Room.. ? The reason for the difference in room number between the series and the miniseries is that the Hotel used for the exterior shots in the film asked director Kubrick not to use 217, because guest might not want to stay there afterward. So he used a fictional 237. I found the old women (in the film) to be more scary and effective.


VERDICT: The Old Hag


217

 

Overall, there really is no comparison between "The Shining", the movie and the miniseries. The movie "The Shining" is classic horror. Remaking this film stings me in the same way as the proposed miniseries remake of "The Exorcist" and the upcoming "Psycho" remake.

So why did they remake "The Shining"? Two words...Stephen King. King was never really happy with what Kubrick did with the film. He said, "I'd admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectation for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result". King went on to say "Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vague supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn't believe it, he couldn't make the film believable to others..."

Although King does have the right not to be happy with Kubrick's end results, we as horror fan should be. I think one thing King fails to recognize is that a story as complicated as "The Shining", one that deals with the deterioration of reality, does take time to develop. Kubrick didn't have the 4 plus hours to complete King's vision that the director of the miniseries, Mick Garris had. So he took what he needed, threw in a lot of a crazed Jack Nicholson, mixed in some great visual effects and atmosphere, and IMHO established a solid, consistent story line. When all this is added up you get the classic that "The Shining" is today.

But then again, rarely have King's books been adapted into good feature films ("Misery", "Pet Sematary", "The Dead Zone"). If there was never a film...than maybe I would have liked the miniseries better, however my recommendation will always be the movie over the miniseries.

Back to The Shining       

 


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(1,2) "The Films of Stephen King", Ann Lloyd, p 19, 1993, St. Martin's Press.