Novels · Reviews · The Stephen King Project

The Stephen King Project: The Shining

Hello friends! Happy Friday! I know it’s been a little while since the last instalment in the Stephen King Project, but we are back with the third book in his repertoire, The Shining.

I (re)read this from June 2, 2019 – December 15 2019. (6 months)

The Book (1977)

The Shining (The Shining, #1)

  • This novel has some really good set up. We get to meet all main characters and get a hint of what the future is going to hold, yet also giving a hint to the backstory of these characters which leaves the reader curious where the plot is going to go.
  • We’re gaining background into Danny’s perspective and at this point in time is scarier than any of the adults. Reading from the mind of a 4-year-old just gives off this creepy vibe because he doesn’t completely understand what’s going on around him
  • We’re diving into Wendy’s tortured past and the reader can tell, now that we know more of our main characters pasts, that nothing is going to be alright. The backstories are interesting and seem fitting, definitely helping to set the tone.
  • Just entering part two and the hotel where our first encounter with REDRUM happens and it’s definitely spooky, but leaves more to be desired.
  • We’ve now entered the main location for the story and it’s setting up nicely. Meeting Mr. Hallorann was a great foreshadowing for the whole novel and the connection he has with Danny is spooky, but really well introduced. It was subtle and a little creepy, but leaves an impression on the reader.
  • The character relationship between Danny and Hallorann is set up so well; it’s the father figure that Danny needs and the reader hopes he gets. As for plot progression, things have been quite slow, but it feels good to take time to build up to the climax of the story.
  • The beginning of part three starts with a lot of exposition on Jack’s life, him as a child up to the present and this leaves the reader with a painted picture of what could possibly come in the future. Definitely some good foreshadowing.
  • The first of bad things has set upon the Torrance family and it’s a slow build to what’s to come. This wasn’t quite terrifying, but it was scary and Jack’s outbursts really solidify the fear factor.
  • The whole psychoanalysis into Danny’s subconscious was a thrill to read. It really looks like some research was put in and made for really good character development. Then we turn right into a deep dive on the hotel. It makes sense to give the reader a history of it so that it plays into the main story arc and the thrill of the novel but the longer it got, the more disconnected it felt to the story.
  • Being inside Danny’s head is definitely an experience that King writes exceptionally well.
    We learn that Jack is planning on writing a book about the hotel, but his temper gets the best of him. This could lead to some interesting plot developments.
  • King writes Jack in such a way that the reader just absolutely hates and loathes him. Wendy is this scared willowy character that doesn’t really do much for the story and Danny is something else, totally freaky and knows way more than his 6year old mind should.
    Wendy asks Danny if they shouldn’t spend the winter at the Overlook & Danny freaks out so she tells him they’ll stay, that everything will be just fine.
  • Wow- this was a gut-churning 13 pages. Seeing how the snow has fallen & the outside world is starting to be cut off gives off this unsettling feeling. To add to it, Jack is having hallucinations which tips the reader slightly over the edge.
    We’re in for a ride.
  • Danny meets what is inside room 217 and it is horror inducing. The way King writes in Danny’s POV is terrifying because a kid’s imagination is wild.
    As we enter part 4, we learn a lot about Jack’s past & how abusive he was, which really plays into the type of person Jack is now.
  • The tone is starting to change. If you thought Jack was wacko and scary before, he’s starting to really show his true colours, even when he’s asleep.
    When Danny starts talking in his sleep the tables turn & Jack begins to think Wendy did something to him. There are so many unfinished sentences that frustrate the reader.
  • We get a lot of exposition, but it’s good because now all the characters are sitting down & actually having a conversation to work things out… progress.
    Jack has to see for himself what Danny saw. When at first he doesn’t believe, it’s only after spending a mere 5 minutes in the room that begins to change… chilling.
  • Jack and Wendy are now planning their escape out of the hotel as they’ve realized there is something in the hotel that wants their son.
    The hotel plays on fears and King is really good at playing up fears & making them scarier than they are.
  • We get a chapter in the mind of jack which is just a torrent of incoherent thoughts all jumbled together, which lets the reader know that Jack is not all there.
    That is followed up with a chapter in Danny’s POV where the hedges come to life because the hotel is dead set on getting rid of Danny. The question is, will they get out alive?
  • Wendy and Jack are trying to find out what happened to Danny, and Jack is trying to interrogate him to show him the difference between real & not real… but is Jack the right person for that job?
    The elevator starts acting up, so they all go out to investigate. Wendy and Danny are slowly starting to turn on Jack and it’s all so eerie.
  • The plot has taken a frantic turn, the pacing has become frantic and it’s just enough to get the reader’s heart racing.
    The fifth part takes place in Hallorann’s POV and it’s a lot of exposition on the strange things that we already know happen in the hotel. It felt a little repetitive, but feeling the urgency of Danny calling him is chilling. Things are starting to really pick up.
  • Danny is giving up; he knows that terrible things are about to happen and yet Wendy doesn’t want to believe it. Just the way this plot mentally happens is creepy.
    We get Jack’s POV and he is looking for a drink and so it looks, the main event is about to take place.
  • Danny tries with all his might to call Dick for help, but the hotel won’t let him. That last line in the chapter truly sent a tingle down the reader’s spine. Knowing they’re alone is really spooky.
    Hallorann is trying his hardest to get to the Overlook, but things keep getting in his way; are they supernatural forces at work, or just mere coincidences?
    The set up is really heart pounding and well done.
  • Jack has entered the crazy world and King is just getting started as the reader can tell it’s only going to get worse, but we’re moving at such a slow pace.
    Slowly, very slowly, the plot is starting to spiral out of control, but nothing too terrorizing has happened yet.
  • So we flip back to Hallorann’s POV which gives the reader this sense of urgency as he’s rushing to get to the hotel. King’s pacing between chapters is uniquely interesting, one minute it’s slow on the uptake, then charging like a bull.
    And speaking of, we start to get into the thick of it and wow, gripping and terrifying all at the same time.
  • We get 3 pages in Danny’s POV where he’s scared for his life, which inevitably ramps up the fear factor in the reader.
    King is using repetition to instill fear in his reader, although it feels more like he’s beating the reader over the head with the information. We know Jack is crazy, move on.
    Again, this pacing is slow, waiting for the right moment to pounce.
  • We’re back in Hallorann’s POV and the anticipation for what’s about to come is laid on real thick. As the reader nears the end of the chapter it becomes a nail-biter.
    The overuse of unnecessary similes was a little annoying.
    Back at the hotel, Jack is out and set on revenge, while Wendy goes looking for danger. It’s like a shark attack, slow yet fast. The anger from Jack is truly terrifying.
  • The back and forth point of views keep the story going, and keep the pace fast. Hallorann is desperate to get to the Overlook, but obviously the hotel is not happy to see him.
    The fight between Jack and Wendy is still in hot pursuit and every time the reader thinks Wendy has got Jack, Jack revived himself somehow. It’s mighty terrifying.
  • Hallorann has arrived at the hotel, but the high suspense of ‘where’s Danny’ is so strongly built up that the reader is on edge trying to figure out if he’s still alive… or if Hallorann will make it out alive.
    We learn that Danny is still alive, and hiding for dear life from his father. The chapter was slow going until the very end when it picked up pace to heighten the terror.
  • The back and forth POV throughout the final chapters makes for a fast-paced ending. The way Danny is knows that it isn’t his father who’s trying to kill him is haunting. And just when they think they’re safe… they’re not.
    Seeing how the hotel ‘dies’ was very satisfying and gave some real closure to this story.
  • Final thoughts: Overall, this was a thrilling and heart pounding novel that really gets to the reader. As much as this novel’s pacing was a bit sporadic, in the end it played out well. The characters are definitely memorable and leave a lasting impression on the reader.The last two chapters were written well, some of it wasn’t really needed, but the epilogue was a really nice touch.

Movie (1980):

  • Image result for the shining posterThere are so many jump cuts to set up the film and the plot that it makes the film go by  quickly, which is the complete opposite of the novel, but it’s done well.
  • The casting for this movie is alright, it probably could have been done better because the acting wasn’t the best and some actors just didn’t feel like they fit the role.
  • The ominous music throughout the film was effective but also kinda comical.
  • Even if the viewer didn’t know that Jack Nicholson didn’t like Shelley Duvall, it’s clearly evident in his acting, even in the scenes where they’re supposed to like each other, Nicholson has this reserved look to him, which sets a darker tone to Jack Torrance’s character.
  • Nicholson’s facial expressions don’t fail to express everything he’s feeling. He’s really good at it.
  • Was Duvall’s acting supposed to be bad in the scene with the bat? Because it was tedious to watch. Okay, no her acting was pretty bad throughout the whole second half of the movie.
  • It’s interesting to see what is decided to be kept in for the movie and what has been left out for cinematic purposes.
  • It’s understood that there are a lot of things from the novel that just couldn’t be adapted and therefore a new medium for this story was created, and it wasn’t bad. It still told the same story with a lot of changes to make it appealing to viewers.

Mini Series (1997)

Image result for the shining (miniseries)

  • Like every King adaptation that is made for TV, this has every element from the book. Now, it’s not bad, but it does make it very, very long.
  • Like it takes close to half way through to get to the more spookier parts of the story; meaning half the movie is set up… this is 273 minutes long… talk about beating the viewer over the head.
  • Which brings up, the exposition, you might as well be watching the audiobook… there is so much dialogue that it’s like they took everything in the book and made the actors say it.
  • The cast they have is really well done. The cast really represents the characters from the book. You can tell Wendy and Jack love each other, that their relationship has its strains, but they don’t totally despise each other.
  • The way they chose to show Tony was interesting; he was like this floating entity. They also decide to use the hedges from the book.
  • Jack just starts acting crazy, there is no transition into his craziness, which was a little off-putting.
  • Nothing is too scary, it feels like the pacing is too slow for the movie to be scary.
  • The way they chose to end this was interesting, Danny graduating high school and seeing his dead father, this wasn’t in the book, so it’s shocking to see that King was in favour for that ending.
  • The ending shot was spooky though because it’s a shot of the Overlook Hotel and gives off this vibe that it’ll be ready to strike again.
  • Overall, very in-depth recollection of the book, with good actors who played the roles really well, but the pacing was too slow.

Up next: The Stand

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