stephen king fucked up: the 1997 remake of the shining is a piece of shit and everyone who says otherwise is a delusional idiot

dana and i just finished watching stephen king’s 1997 remake of the shining. i say with absolutely no irony or exaggeration that it was a foul fucking piece of shit in every way possible.

what were we thinking? we were curious, mainly. we knew it would probably be pretty bad, like most film adaptations of king’s books, but we wanted to see exactly what king had envisioned, what he wanted to do differently from kubrick and his classic 1980 version film, what king thought he could do better.

nothing was better. everything was worse. it was so laughably cheap and terrible, from the start to the finish…4 and 1/2 hours later. yep, king’s piece of crap is an epic piece of crap.

here’s what was so fucking awful i had to blog about it.

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that mouth. yuck.

  • all the actors sucked. the guy from wings, the kid with the gross and horribly distracting weirdly-shaped mouth, the black guy, the hotel ghosts…all d-grade performances. rebecca de mornay was the only decent one.
  • weird, super bright colours. everything in the film had this strange look, like it was fake, because all the colours were so bright. sort of like when you could turn the contrast up so far on old tv’s that the colours would start to bleed into each other and distort. they were almost that bright, and it looked stupid.
  • CHEAP special effects. the CGI was god awful but what was even worse was the non-CGI stuff, like when jack is being stalked by the hedge animals. it just goes back and forth between shots of jack panicking and still-shots of hedge animals with some bear and lion growls added in. no joke. my pal rid saw this on tv when he was like 10 and said he thought it was stupid even back then.
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yikes. the scariest things here are the production values.

  • the evil ghosts are inept. at the end of the movie, both jack AND the ghosts have forgotten to release the pressure on the boiler. give me a break. oh no, that means the ghost’s precious home is about to be blown up! so the ghosts get upset and start squabbling and try to open the pressure relief valve themselves, but they can’t! because they’re ghosts and their hands go right through the valve handle!! what a fucking joke. bumbling ghosts aren’t scary.
  • a croquet mallet instead of an axe? jack’s weapon of choice throughout the movie is a croquet mallet, not an axe like in the kubrick film. i haven’t read the book (i tried years ago but quit because it came off like it was written for 12-yr old kids) but the croquet mallet is certainly a lot less menacing. it’s even comical, stupid-looking.
  • “pup.” again, i don’t know if this was in the book or if it was changed for the sake of making a PG tv miniseries but it doesn’t really matter because no matter what, when the wings guy is supposed to be really fired up and angry at his son and shouts half-heartedly that he’s a “young pup,” it just sounds stupid. maybe a real actor could pull off a convincing delivery of that line but this guy didn’t.
  • shitty ‘scary’ lighting. everything that is supposed to be scary in this piece of crap automatically gets a green light bulb placed over it. it reminds me of shitty haunted houses where they make you put your hand in bowls of spaghetti noodles and peeled grapes and say, “these are brains, and these are eyeballs.” fuck off. only 5-yr olds might think green lights are creepy. you can see an example of the scary green light in the pic above.
  • super, super corny happy ending. i hate super happy endings, especially in movies that are scary or disturbing since it totally ruins the bad feelings you’ve been building up for the last hour and a half, but it’s sort of fitting here — the childishly scary show gets a childishly happy ending. and the whole “kissin’, kissin’, that’s what i’ve been missin'” recurring line is fucking gross and annoying. what a perfectly dreadful way to end a perfectly dreadful 4.5 hr slog of a film.

for those reasons, i think the miniseries version of the shining is straight up garbage. but what makes all of this even worse is that stephen king not only likes it, but thinks it’s infinitely superior to kubrick’s version.

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king is an idiot.

king doesn’t think kubrick focused enough on jack’s alcoholism and the disintegration of the family’s relationship. he thinks shelley duvall “just screamed and acted stupid” in kubrick’s version. he thinks kubrick downplayed the supernatural elements of the story and played up the psychological ones. he thinks that because kubrick himself was an atheist, he couldn’t make a film about about ghosts that was scary or believable.

Coloring book with flower theme 3

king’s preferred version of the shining

that’s all asinine horseshit. i think kubrick did a fantastic job of balancing jack’s alcoholism, the disintegration of the family, and both the psychological and supernatural elements in the film. king’s problem is that he’s a ham-fisted dunce who likes his films to be like kids’ colouring books with really thick, clear lines so that even fucking dummies can understand exactly what king intended. he wants to beat you over the head with each theme. he has no understanding of subtlety, tastefulness, balance, etc.

as for duvall’s performance, i guess it was very different from what king had written in his book (if rebecca de mornay’s version of wendy is any indication) but i certainly don’t think she portrays wendy as simply a screaming, stupid woman. i think her character is complex and believable — she’s a loving mother and partner, submissive, terribly nervous of rocking jack’s boat (and rightfully so considering his history of alcoholism and physical abuse), but ultimately unable to allow him to destroy her and danny. i think that’s probably pretty accurate for a lot of people who are partners with abusive alcoholics. in fact, i find that more believable than du mornay’s version of wendy, letting jack act like a psycho and toss her around without ever telling him, “you’re a violent freak, danny and i are leaving.” that response would be much more consistent with du mornay’s strong, reasonable character. but king is a dummy so he missed that inconsistency.

king’s criticism that kubrick couldn’t make a scary supernatural film because he didn’t believe in scary supernatural stuff is an interesting one. it’s a neat idea and somewhat intellectual, but it’s still complete bullshit. there is TONS of scary — legitimately scary, not ‘green lightbulb’ scary — supernatural stuff in kubrick’s version of the shining: the elevators releasing torrents of blood, the weird ghost twins, the woman in room 237, the unexplained men in the bedroom (one in an animal costume)…once again, king seems discontent with kubrick’s version of scary and would prefer more goofy shit like people wearing sheets jumping out and shouting BOO. king wants stupid simple scares, and plenty of em, and loathes anything remotely cerebral or legitimately scary.

ture-film-freudiantrip-shining-bloodyelevators-620

anyone who claims this scene wasn’t scary is a liar

you know, maybe the reason king claims kubrick’s version stinks and isn’t scary is actually because king finds it terrifying. maybe his pride can’t bear to admit that kubrick made something infinitely darker and more sinister than king could have, and rather than say “well done sir, you took my crappy book and made it into a fantastic film. i owe you a beer,” he prefers to act too cool and say, “nah it’s not scary. it’s not true to my original vision. he totally changed stuff. mine was better.” i honestly can’t see any other way that someone could claim the tv miniseries version is better than kubrick’s. it’s that ridiculous to me.

FURTHERMORE, some of the positive reviews for the miniseries version are absolutely jam-packed full of shit. entertainment weekly said

“There’s a deep, rich creepiness suffusing Stephen King’s The Shining that makes this miniseries the most frightening TV movie ever made.”

and variety said

“At six hours, its slowness is carefully calculated; the edge-of-your-seat creepiness unfolds with a languid believability that will rope in viewers early and hold them. This mini earns its massive length, using every minute to paint a picture of surprising emotional complexity and depth.”

FUCK YOUUUUUUUUU

these dick-sucking, uber positive reviews of something that is clearly garbage only further my belief that many professional critics are actually just writers being paid by the companies behind the film to pump it up. there is no way that anyone on earth actually feels like that about such a wretched diarrhea shit of a tv miniseries.

oh, and it got a bunch of awards too, for best makeup, best miniseries, blah blah blah. but i’ve already bitched about how awards shows are the same kind of dick-sucking industry blowhard bullshit as the above reviews.

go fuck yourself, hollywood. and stephen king. you’re all disastrous lunatics. the miniseries version of the shining eats my shit, and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

the-shining-1997-poster

i sacrificed 4.5 hrs of my life so that others wouldn’t have to.

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11 thoughts on “stephen king fucked up: the 1997 remake of the shining is a piece of shit and everyone who says otherwise is a delusional idiot

  1. Thank you! You’ve just read my thoughts and wrote it down. Do you have the shining?
    Excuse my Bad english. The 1997 Version is a piece of shit and I just can’t understand why, why Stephen King preffered it and why it is so fucking shitty when he was an executive producer. It makes me so so ngry! :-/

  2. Oh by the way if you still haven’t read the book than do it. It’s a really really good book and one of my favorites from Stephen King. That makes it even worse for me why he corrupted his own work with this fucking crap.

  3. Both of you are fucking idiots!! That was so much better than the original!!! Maybe you should watch it again and really pay attention to the story next time.

  4. Ok, so yeah, the miniseries sucked. No doubt. For all the reasons you named, and more that you didn’t.
    Most of King’s books (ok all of them) can’t really be expressed very well on screen. Great books; horrible movies.
    But!

    The book was really, really good and definitely not written for 12 year olds. I’ll admit King has his faults when writing but this was back when he was still decent and “the shining” is a pretty good novel. I suggest you do read it.

    the reason the miniseries sucks is because King’s novels don’t translate well to video. They just don’t. I’ve never seen a decent movie or series based on a King novel. They always suck.

    1. hi charlotte. thanks for your thoughts. i admit i didn’t give the book version of ‘the shining’ much of a chance so maybe i’ll revisit it one day.

      i have to disagree about the film versions though: i think a few of king’s books have been turned into decent flicks. kubrick’s ‘the shining’ is the most obvious one of course (even if it is a bit of a departure from the book, it’s still directly inspired by it), and ‘stand by me’ is another standout. there are also others that i think are not great films but are fun or entertaining enough that there is still some kind of value in them, like ‘salem’s lot’ and ‘pet sematary.’

      i’m biased though, as i have a lot of nostalgia tied up in those films. many a sleepover from my youth was spent watching various king flicks so i have a soft spot for them.

  5. The book is not written for twelve year old’s. If you do think that, you did not read past the first few pages. One could day: “Dickens was an arrogant asshat who wrote for intellectuals,” but that doesn’t stop people from watching the Christmas Carol.

    I think Jack Nicholson’s performance is amazing. I agree with you there. In the book, when he screams “Pup,” it is connected to Jack’s horrid father.

    In all truth, the Shining film would have done better if Jack was more sympathetic. However, I whole heartedly agree that the miniseries is dog shit.

  6. Listen, we can all agree the miniseries was garbage, but to trounce on the book is almost as ridiculous as this horribly written article. If you want to make a decent article that catches people’s attention and gets people on your side, I would suggest not making it in a fashion which sounds like it was “written for 12 year old kids”, as you put it. I understand you’re frustrated with the miniseries, as we all are. I understand you admire Kubrick’s work, as we all do. But good god man get a hold of yourself and think before you write such asinine stupidity. The croquet mallet was in the book, as was the “pup” comments (which originated from Jack’s father, which fit the time period he grew up in). The hedge animals, while translating poorly on film, did move and behave as depicted in the miniseries. As somebody stated before, King’s books don’t often translate to amazing films (nor do most film adaptations of best selling novels), so while the hedge scene was actually quite intense to read in the book, it came off as bland and completely stupid in the miniseries.

    To fully understand the miniseries you have to have read the book and understand Stephen King. Everything covered in the miniseries came out incredibly cheesy and stupid, including the actors, but it was all in the book (albeit written much better). I love Jack Nicholson in Kubrick’s superior film, but his descent into madness didn’t happen at all like that in the book. What Stephen King fails to grasp about making a movie is this little thing called editing. You can’t possibly show Jack’s descent to madness in any other way that would be good for a film in such a short period of time. Kubrick knew this, so he altered the story slightly. Kubrick couldn’t possibly have shown all the details that were in the book in just a couple of hours. This is why I agree it should’ve probably been made into a miniseries or a series of movies like they did/are doing with It. If King wants to be picky about his books being made into film, that’s simply the best way to do it, especially with some of his more beloved books such as The Shining.

    Your criticism of the miniseries is well-placed, even if you do sound like an ironic idiot. This article is written in the same hilariously embarrassing fashion as the miniseries. I don’t agree that his books don’t always translate to good movies, as stated by another commentator. I wasn’t a fan of Salem’s Lot, but Pet Cemetery was phenomenal. The best adaptations have to go to The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, however. They were casted and shot brilliantly, with The Green Mile being the closest and best adaptation I’ve seen from a book thus far (as well as King’s personal favorite). In spite of that, the films still lack the depth and fortitude the books produce. That will always remain true for any writer and film adaptation.

    1. I kind of enjoy your comment because you’re clearly not totally stupid. I mean, you make some interesting points and write coherently, and I’m always flattered when anyone cares enough about something I’ve written — one way or another — to take the time to respond to it.

      But on the other hand, you said some stupid stuff. You’re coming in hot, giving me shit because my “article” isn’t a well-constructed thesis, but if you read the ‘welcome’ page you would understand this blog is not comprised of articles or careful arguments trying to sway anyone. I write for my own amusement and that’s it — I don’t advertise this thing anywhere at all and don’t care if no one reads it. All that matters to me is that when I read my own posts, I like them, and this one still checks that box. If you don’t like it, boo hoo.

      On top of that, you’re either a hypocrite or an ironic idiot yourself, because you insult the tone of my post but then copy its style for your comment on it.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve attempted to read The Shining a few times, once in the last few years, and quit both times because I thought it was so ham-handed. It sounds like you dig it, and that’s just dandy, but I still think it sucks.

  7. Stephen Kings books are crap hey…umm..whose the most famous writer him or you?… Who earns the most from writing him or you ?.
    No good movies from his books someone said..ahem..Carrie…IT..Stand by Me..The Shawshank Redemption…Mr Mercedes tv show…he’s so talented it’s overspilled into his son Joe Hill.
    I didn’t like Kubricks version Jack Nicholson playing a mad man? not really
    what was called for as Jack going mad is no tension builder we expect him to be crazy ..hell he looks crazy in real life..no a different actor with more sympathetic looks and quietitude to start with then watching him turn nuts would have been more explorative and sensitive..plus Olive Oyl as the mum I expected Blutos head to appear in the axe hole when she was screaming and waiting for Popeye to appear with his pipe burning open a can of Spinach to save the day…the only actor I liked was Scatman Crothers and then he too kept turning into Hong Kong Phooey in my imagination..the lifts leaking out the blood was not scary too my mind the water tank had burst full of rusty water and found the quickest way down via the lift shaft.
    No it was not a good movie. ..tho l loved Kubricks take on a Clockwork Orange l did not love his shining in fact far from shining it was rather dull.

  8. Kubrick’s version is my favourite film. Some King fans (as evidenced in the comments) might whine because Nicholson’s Jack is an obvious psycho and therefore it’s no surprise that he goes psycho… Yeah, and? You only need to listen to the score playing over the film’s opening credits to know that certain doom awaits the folks in that car . It’s not meant to come as a surprise. Nobody would want to be snowbound and isolated for a single day in the company of Jack Nicholson – but it’s fun to watch – especially as his wife and kid escape his clutches in the end.

    In my mind, better to have an outright villain than the stock browbeaten alcoholic character that King places as his avatar in most of his novels. The Shining is actually one of his better books. The sequel (Doctor Sleep) is really awful and reads like Harry Potter The Post-Butterbeer Years. It’s at least fifty percent AA meeting. Barely misery porn. Plus, overpowered female characters. Hate it.

    Your blog was an enjoyable read, though. Found it by accident having paused the mini-series after little over an hour in order to google: ‘kid in shining miniseries so annoying’.

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