Movie and Book Review: The Shining

In keeping with the Halloween theme of October, I thought I’d share one of my favorite scary movies with you – The Shining!

The Shining is a total classic horror movie, but surprisingly many people my age still haven’t seen it! Growing up, I remember seeing snippets of it on TV now and then. But I never sat down and watched it from beginning to end until recently.

Photo credit: IFC Center
Photo credit: IFC Center

True to form, Stanley Kubrick’s dark and twisted Overland Hotel fantasy scared the bejeezus out of me. The ghost twins, the woman in the bathtub, the wall of blood and the music – the music still haunts me to this day. The movie is not TOO scary, so if you’re a fraidy cat like me, you’ll be ok. Just don’t go to a hotel in the middle of nowhere and you’ll be ok?

the shining
Photo credit:

After falling in love with the movie, I decided to read the book! Thanks to the awesome huge screen of my Samsung Galaxy S4, I am able to purchase books on the Google Play bookstore and read them super-easily. I have horrible eyesight but the screen is so big, I feel like I’m reading on a tablet.

Well, the problem with having a book on your smartphone is that you literally take it wherever you go!! I couldn’t put this book down. The book differs from the movie in key ways.

Photo credit: Athena Cinemas
Photo credit: Athena Cinemas


  • While Stanley Kubrick weaves a psychological thriller of isolationism and the human psyche, Stephen King writes a ghost story. Ehh…been there done that.
  • In the movie, Jack starts to go crazy with the isolationism and bad vibes of the hotel. In the book, the Hotel is personified as a ghostly, evil force with some of the characters still ghosts. The hotel uses Jack to try to kill Danny, because Danny has the Shining and the hotel wants his powers. This story was a lot harder for me to believe.
  • We see a lot more into Jack’s past in the book. In the movie, there is only a hint that Jack is dangerous and controlling (breaking Danny’s arm in a drunken rage, the tension at his wife Wendy on the car ride up to the Overlook). But in the book, we see all the horrible, abusive things Jack has done, and you don’t feel sorry for him anymore.
  • Many of the most iconic scenes, like the ghost twin girls, the elevator wall of blood, running through the maze away from Jack, Dick Halloran’s death, and the epic typewriter scene (All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy) don’t even exist in the book! They are entire fabrications of Kubrick’s mind, not King’s.
Photo credit: French Toast Sunday
Photo credit: French Toast Sunday

All in all, I greatly enjoyed the movie over the book – I know, this is so rarely ever the case! You’ll get a much more original story in the movie, as well as haunting images, an epic score, great acting and a deeper sense of tension and unease. These are all things one looks for in a great horror film!

Did you read the book? Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!


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