Thursday, October 03, 2013

King V.S. Kubrick

A writer at "The New Statesman" takes umbrage at the idea that Stephen King didn't care for Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of THE SHINING.  Internet flames ensue!

Me, I find the article's stance puzzling and irritating. In an effort to defend Kubrick's vision no matter what, the writer seems to forget that King was the creator of THE SHINING and has every right not only to be unhappy with the adaptation, but to have that opinion respected.  I take particular exception with this section of the article:

Despite these criticisms flying in the face of popular opinion, King is not being deliberately contrary. In fact, his assertions prove that his connection with these particular characters have rendered him incapable of appreciating a terrific piece of cinema.

Really?  Condescend much, pal?  The guy who wrote the novel and created the characters has been rendered "incapable" of critical thought because he doesn't agree with you?

But then the truth is, I agree with Stephen King on this one.  I consider Kubrick one of the few true geniuses of film, but everybody has a misfire from time to time and for me, THE SHINING was one.  I was riveted by the book and still remember going to the theater gleefully anticipating the first real no-bullshit Stanley Kubrick horror film.  But King's right -- THE SHINING is cold and withdrawn.  Where's the amazing moment from the book where Torrance rampages through the hotel, slamming a bloody axe against the walls as he descends into total homicidal madness?  How did that become a literally ice-cold chase scene through a frozen hedge maze?

Look, even average Kubrick is better than 99% of the stuff out there, so there is much to admire and enjoy about the movie version of THE SHINING.  But accusing King of just not getting it is taking Kubrick veneration a step too far.  (Which is also the long way of saying I'm looking forward to the next film adaptation of the book!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, that made me feel that I had known him. I am sorry for your loss.

7:08 PM  
Blogger John Goins said...

It may not be your cup of tea, but it seems that most people love Kubrick's 'The Shining'.

Most movies are different from the books they are based on. And you can't expect someone with Kubrick's talent and ego to spend years of his life simply re-creating King's novel. Kubrick took the characters and plot and made his own story. It's apples and oranges.

Also, King did the script for a TV version of 'The Shining'. He could have settled the debate by making a scarier, better film, but it is really bad. Unwatchable.

12:09 PM  

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