Stanley Kubrick is one of the most meticulous and greatest directors in the history of cinema, so it wasn’t surprising that when he turned his hand to horror, The Shining almost instantly gained a reputation as one of the finest efforts the genre has ever seen. The filmmaker was typically punishing, with the cast enduring a torrid time as he demanded nothing less than perfection, but you can’t argue with his results no matter how harsh his methods were.
Kubrick’s The Shining is an undisputed classic, but one person who definitely doesn’t hold it in high regard is Stephen King. The author wrote the source novel in 1977 but has never been shy in voicing his displeasure with the big screen adaptation, which he believed strayed too far from the plot and themes that were so integral to making the story work on the printed page.
In a recent retrospective where he reflects on the mountain of feature film and television projects based on his work, King admitted that he preferred the three-episode miniseries which aired on ABC in 1997 to Kubrick’s take on The Shining, and even goes so far as to say that Steven Weber delivers a better performance than Jack Nicholson did in his iconic turn as Jack Torrance, explaining:
“He knew what he was supposed to be doing. He was supposed to express love for his family, and that the hotel just gradually overwhelms his moral sense and his love for his family.”
Not to sound too cynical, but having been cut out of the creative loop on the first stab at The Shining, it’s no surprise the prolific author holds the small screen version in a higher regard. After all, Stephen King produced the miniseries and wrote the scripts, so he certainly had a level of control that he was never afforded when infamous micromanager Kubrick was at the helm.