The two film genres I do not like: musicals and horror. It makes me uncomfortable to look into somebody’s eyes as they sing, and it’s a waste of time to spend half a film with my hands covering my eyes.
I’ve read Stephen King’s The Shining. I was also very aware, before watching Kubrick’s adaptation, of the differences. The book is incredible – a complex look at isolation and personal demons. The film is incredible too, but it is a completely different beast.
“A fancy car without an engine,” Stephen King considers The Shining. He’s not wrong – Kubrick’s adaptation almost entirely eliminates the substance of the source novel, electing to aim for a more stylish approach. Except, shut up King, because God forbid there are any differences between the two mediums. I too was disappointed with the omission of some of the Torrances’ brilliant backstories, but for a film that builds tension from the very opening (the only relief from which is when something scary actually happens), backstory would slow it down – especially illustrated in film.
Forget the novel. The Shining was like film porn. And I hate to do the clichéd thing and overlook Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall’s masterful, gruelling performances, Kubrick’s shooting style creates characters from the things that other directors don’t. There were a number of scenes, so perfect in their execution (the way the camera moves with the axe as Jack cuts his way to Wendy, perhaps my favourite moment), that the Overlook Hotel is quite obviously Kubrick’s favourite cast member.