I have never seen nor read The Shining before now. The movie came before my time and somehow I missed it in the horror movie section. Even after moving to Oregon and visiting the Timberline Lodge where the movie’s exteriors were filmed, I never managed to come across or intentional watch the movie version of the Stephen King novel. So I came at this book with a fresh set of eyes reading it 30+ years after its original printing and the movie’s release.
I have to say that Stephen King is a terrifying genius. The way he intermingles a child’s foresight and stories of a father’s abuse, all to make Jack Torrance’s fall almost inevitable. We are hoping that Jack won’t succumb to The Overlook Hotel’s evil wishes, but from the beginning, with the foresight of 5 year old Danny, we think we know what will happen. The story of the Torrance family is not about what will happen, but about how Jack slowly loses his ability to think clearly about the needs of his wife and child. He is being haunted by the hotel’s past all while he believes he is standing strong and writing his great novel. Wendy is trying to fight her gut instincts about staying the winter abandoned at the Overlook so that she can believe she forgave Jack about his late nights, drinking escapades and the horrible night with a broken arm. She needs to believe in her husband so that she doesn’t relive her mother’s life. And poor Danny is haunted by the hotel like neither of his parents. His specialness is drawing out all the past spirits of the hotel.
The relationships of the 3 characters drives this novel. The horrors and the hauntings are background to the psychological thriller about how the 3 can withstand the loneliness of the Overlook Hotel for months without any outside stimulation or relief. Would you ever want to spend 3 months locked away with your family?
The movie was very different from the book and doesn’t delve into the family dynamics of the Torrance family. Its still a great horror movie and should be watched. But it is not the film version of the book. Stanley Kubrick added remarkable scenes to intensify the horror of the hotel. And for the movie it worked. Its just not in the book.
Highly recommend both the book and the movie! Both had me on the edge of my seat! The endings of the chapters were too frightening for me to end on them for the night. I always had to start the next chapter and read a couple of pages. King just kept building the suspense making it a little hard to sleep at night.
Read/Watched October 2013