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There has been some real garbage movies made from Stephen King books. (Dreamcatcher and Sleepwalkers come to mind.) But no matter how many years pass, the author behind Carrie, Christine and Pet Cemetery still loathes the best-regarded horror movie based on his works. King still can't stand Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
Recently, Stephen King sat down with Rolling Stone. When the topic turned to the 1980 classic, King made his hatred for Kubrick's Shining clear, saying:
"The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice. In the book, there's an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he's crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene. I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I'm thinking to myself the minute he's on the screen, 'Oh, I know this guy. I've seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part.' And it's so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that's just me, that's the way I am."
This is not the first time King's accused Stanley Kubrick's movie of being misogynistic. In September of 2013, King made a similar complaint about Kubrick's interpretation of Wendy Torrance, telling the BBC, "Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she's basically just there to scream and be stupid and that's not the woman that I wrote about."
Stephen King also noted to Rolling Stone that he doesn't understand the fandom that's grown around Kubrick's Shining. Asked if he could recognize that while it may not be a good translation of his book, but a good film nonetheless, King didn't hold back. He offered:
No. I never saw it that way at all. And I never see any of the movies that way. The movies have never been a big deal to me. The movies are the movies. They just make them. If they're good, that's terrific. If they're not, they're not. But I see them as a lesser medium than fiction, than literature, and a more ephemeral medium."
Baring in mind that King finds movies as inevitably less than books, he believes Rob Reiner's Stand By Me is the best movie adaptation of his work. "I thought it was true to the book, and because it had the emotional gradient of the story. It was moving," the master of horror said, before recalling hugging Reiner for moving him to tears. But when it comes to Kubrick, there's no love lost.
To see a glimpse of Stephen King's own attempt at filmmaking, click to page two for the trailer of Maximum Overdrive.