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King vs Kubrick - A Comparison
ARTaylor10 December 2006
Let me say this right off the bat, the Kubrick version is the superior movie while the King/ Garris version is the superior adaptation.

What's wrong with the Kubrick version?

His misses out on certain very important plot elements. Jack seems to be crazy from the beginning. Jack's alcoholism is not as known as it should be. The Overlook only seems to be haunted in one or two scenes, the rest could be cabin fever. The breakdown of the family is not so clear, Jack and Danny don't seem to really love each other as much as they should. Differs greatly from the book.

What's right with Kubrick's version?

Superior directing. A very definitive style. Classic scenes ("Here's Johnny!"). Excellent acting. Danny seems to really be his age. Wendy really seems to be scared. Jack really does seem crazy when he's supposed to be. A very good horror movie in general. The hotel is much more imposing. Foreboding music helps to set mood. Differs greatly from the book (I'll explain why it's in both later).

What's wrong with the King/Garris version?

It suffers from many TV-Movie problems. The actors aren't quite as good. They use CGI when puppets, wires, or trick camera shooting could be equally effective. CGI looks out of place. Danny talks like a twenty-year old, although the same problem was in the book. Jack is fine when it comes to being Mr. Every Dad but he doesn't seem to be crazy when he's supposed to be. Jack's transformation doesn't seem so gradual as it should, Wendy says "You're old drinking habits have all come back" when the book shows each one pop up. It's the book, very little is changed so if you've read the book you pretty much know exactly what happens.

What's right with King/Garris' version?

It's not a remake of Kubrick's movie, it's a movie version's of King's book. It's the book, if you loved the book and are a die hard fan you'll love this. Very little is changed. Minor subplots are changed but movie works well without them. You get pretty much everything the Kubrick version left out.

Which one?

It depends. If you loved the book and are a die hard Stephan King fan then watch the Garris TV miniseries. If you are a regular movie fan or a Kubrick fan then watch the Kubrick version. Garris' is for the book fans. Kubrick's is for the non book fans.

Final Thoughts.

It's not really fair to compare the two movies. Each one has their own pros and cons. Kubrick's is more of a movie using the basic premise of the haunted hotel and the father who goes crazy. It's meant to be a movie that's not just a page by page adaptation of the book. Which you got to admire Kubrick for doing that. He did something that even those who memorized the book would be surprised and scared. But Garris did something that the die hard Stephan King fans can love. It depends on who you are. It is definitely not fair to compare the two since they are both very different from each other. Both are good in their own separate ways.
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"The Shining"---A Tale of Yin and Yang
MovieMarauder30 September 2003
I'm shocked at how vehemently opposed everyone seems to be to whichever version of Stephen King's classic tale they deem less worthy of viewing. The fact is, both interpretations are excellent, but comparing the two seems totally fruitless to me, because as cinematic works, they represent two completely different stylistic and dramatic approaches.

"The Shining" (1980) -------------------- Of course this is a classic, and the cinematography and direction are unmatched. Jack Nicholson defined this role, which is why they had trouble casting someone with the audacity to play the haunted Jack Torrance after Nicholson had stamped such an indellible signature on the character. The music, the lighting, and the general atmosphere all amount to a haunting and marvelously executed movie. But what I felt this version lacked was a coherent storyline. Some of the dialogue and character interactions seem poorly executed at best, and no real background is given to the characters. I can't feel for these characters, they're wooden and two-dimensional. And the character of Danny, integral to the impact of the story, was nothing more than a plot device here. He is totally over the top, and doesn't seem to exhude a true gamut of emotions in a very demanding role.. This doesn't feel like a loving family with real issues, whose henpecked patriarch is battling dark forces to maintain his sanity. I feel like there was no real character development at all, because Jack Torrance seemed almost criminally insane from the beginning. But what Nicholson's portrayal lacked in subtlety and depth, it made up for in intensity and screen presence, albeit a bit hammy at times.

Stephen King's "The Shining" (1997) ----------------------------------- As the title proclaims, this is Stephen King's film. His true vision of a snowbound family at odds with demonic spirits, and eachother. Competently directed, although not as visually breath-taking as the original. As mentioned before, there is some usage of the old hackneyed horror film stand-bys and "shock" devices, but while not as flamboyant as the original, the acting, character development, and narrative structure are far superior. Here is where we finally get depth and dimension. Courtland Mead makes the character of Danny come brilliantly to life. This kid isn't just plodding over stale lines by rote and playing with an imaginary finger-puppet, 70's Bee Gee-esque mullet and all. This little guy is acting! He's actually doing a competent job of performing this role! And as for the role of the ill-fated Jack Torrance, the greatest part that nobody wanted, a richly-textured, complex, and pleasantly surprising piece of work by sitcom actor Steven Weber. An interpretation of the character that matches King's original vision immaculately. We can actually sympathize with his character now. He isn't a psychotic rage-aholic who just grows more psychotic every day, he's a loving father battling his addiction to booze, whose descent into madness is slow, intense, brutally frightening, and completely believable. By the end of part three, he has become the most horrifying appirition one can behold on ABC. And while the picture as a whole could have probably been executed with more pathos on HBO, the dramatic content contained in these 4 1/2 hours far outweighs the obvious censorship and budgetary limitations placed on the show.

Both films have their peaks and valleys, and I'd advise everybody who watches the remake to not go in expecting something like the Kubrick film, but a completely different animal. With an open mind, you may find you love them both.
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Kubrick's version of "The Shinning" may not have followed the book as well, but was a better movie.
Aaron137514 July 2009
The problem with this movie like all other Stephen King television movie adaptations is that it is a watered down and neutered version of the book. You have the basic plot intact, however all the best bloody scenes, all the cussing, the nudity, and all the other stuff present in the novel is taken from the movie and you are left yawning because somehow the edge is gone and so are all the scares. I will be the first to say Kubrick's version was almost an entirely different entity than the novel, but he probably knew some of the stuff in the book just would not fly or look very good. The hedge animals for instance, they look terrible here and you know they would have looked even worse then. These things could work in say a 100 million dollar movie made for the summer, but not a television movie. Jack Nicholson is another thing. Sure he was a bit to crazy early in the movie in the original, but he was perfect near the end. The overlook was much more sinister and you really had the feeling it was isolated, this one not so much. The plot is just like the original version though as a family moves into a house to take care of it in the winter. The cast just does not measure up to the first though, I will say Rebecca De Morney looks more like the gal described in the book then Shelly what's here last name. However, Shelly was much better at showing fear. True in the book Jack did swing around a type of croquette mallet, but I think an ax is far more scary and threatening. Then there is the ending, way to happy and sentimental for my tastes. In the end this movie is just a weak version of the book as far as being sinister and creepy, but it does get more of the basics down as far as the plot and the Kubrick does not even try to follow the book all that often, but it does offer scares so my pick is the Kubrick.
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When it's Kubrick vs. King...
kilgres_bloodmoon6 July 2000
A single statement: No film will be done justice if produced for a network. The censorship laws will simply not allow it. This is why I'm so perplexed as to why Stephen King has done two of his most prolific novels ("The Stand" and "The Shining") through network miniseries format. There's also one other reality our dear Mr. King is going to have to realize: While cornering the market on the written word, King's ideas fall as flat as two-day old soda on the big screen. The horrific adaptation of "Pet Sematary" and the cornball delivery of "The Stand" are just testaments that SK's books should remain locked in the binding. "The Green Mile" is the ONLY true-to-book adaptation of a King novel, and that's just because the director and studio deemed it necessary. I have heard an exorbitant amount of comparison between the miniseries "The Shining" and the Kubrick film, or the lack thereof, to be more precise. King has often said that he didn't like the 1980 film, and it should be used as an example of how not to make a horror film. King should realize that Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining", while deviating from aspects of the author's story and changing the end, is still better than his own vision of the adaptation. As a King fan, one becomes aware of a certain mystique that makes his books addictive. However, seeing his films make one realize that King has quite a different opinion on the delivery of his work, as opposed to the darker opinions of his readers. In 1980, Stanley Kubrick presented the world with the first epic horror film. The fact that he changed the story and ending are dismissable, simply because Kubrick removed the useless flab from a mass of back story and (forgive me) somewhat cheesy happenings in the Overlook. The Kubrick film is better for two reasons: 1) It's a dark, moody descent into madness. The cinematography in Kubrick's film is revolutionary. King's own brainchild is lumbering and standard fare. 2) The ending of Kubrick's film is simply better. It's incredibly distrubing, whereas King's thoughts on the end of Jack Torrance's odyssey are somewhat... more redeeming. One gets the idea from Kubrick that the Overlook's evil is insurmountable and, indeed, necessary. King's conclusion is the common end of good overcoming evil, etc. End result -- When it's Kubrick vs. King, good ol' Stanley (R.I.P.) comes out on top. Regardless of whether King originated the story, Kubrick delivered it to glory, and made it an instant classic. King merely proved he could make a version of the film himself, and make the effort seem completely unnecessary in the process.
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A decent into madness? No, just a waste of 6 hours.
otis von zipper23 July 2002
Claiming the TV mini-series of The Shining is better than the 1980 Kubrick film because it's more like the book is like saying the 1976 version of King Kong is better than the 1933 film because the special effects are better. Yes, the mini-series is more like the book, but that doesn't mean it is good.

I loved the book, and was surprised at some of the changes in the 1980 film. But I still loved the movie. Movies are a visual medium , so not every concept from a book will work. Best example is the topiary hedge scene. In King's book, the idea of attacking hedge animals was frightening. Kubrick didn't use the idea and inserted a hedge maze. The hedge animals show up in the mini-series and the scene is laughable. Visually, hedges aren't scary. I'm guessing Kubrick understood this.

Worst of all, the mini-series tries too hard to be a drama. The Shining is a scary story, why not concentrate on that fact? So much time is spent on exposition and character background, that the result is just frustration waiting for something to occur. Basically, the problem is pacing. Usually, people complain that Kubrick's film are long and drawn out, but his Shining is a crack of the whip compared to this adaptation. While the acting and look of the film is decent, I'd have to say that King's adaptation fails mostly because of the fact that it is just like the book. Books work cause they're in your head. Movies show you those images. Kubrick's version worked because he concentrated on the aspects of the story that worked best visually. That scene where Jack is in the empty bar which suddenly is fully stocked with an eager bartender is great stuff, and those moments tell us all we need to know about Jack's drinking problem and the effect the Overlook was having on him.
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Boring, Redundant, and Long
JLRoberson28 June 2003
Proof once again that Stephen King has a tin eye for film and has no idea how to effectively adapt his own work. This version has no mystery, no scares, and explains far, far too much at every twist and turn for fear even one person in the TV audience might be confused. This Danny is butt-faced and far too precocious, in fact making you wonder--given this Wendy(who, unlike the underrated Shelley Duvall version, one cannot see staying with Jack even a moment after he broke their child's arm) believes in Danny's powers--why they ended up going to the Overlook in the first place. The digital effects are laughably cheesy: a fire-hose with fangs that looks like something out of a razor commercial, and the hedge animals; speaking of which, how hard can it be to get the effect of beasts that only move when you're not looking? These look terrible, like blobs of green mercury sliding across the landscape. The ghosts all have blue skin and terrified me about as much as a cloudless sky. And Tony is shown here, and looks like John Denver. OOO, CREEPY! Add to this a diabetes-inducing ending that isn't in the book even, and you have a waste of 6 hrs. you could be doing something more useful, like drinking yourself to death.

It's accurate to the book--except the tunnel scene--but now we see that an accurate adaptation simply doesn't work in this case as a movie. Kubrick's is a masterpiece. This is prosaic, shallow and dumb. Don't see it.
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Who ordered this?
cdimdb28 July 2008
As one with more than a grudging admiration for Stephen King's work, this thing shocked me. What extraordinary hubris could have prompted King to make this film? Did he really dream it would actually be an improvement? If the rumours are to be believed, he truly felt Kubrick had dropped the ball - had 'failed to understand the horror genre'. King can be granted some license, I suppose, for the fact that Kubrick's version was very different - but here again: had Stephen never seen a Kubrick film? Because this is the Way of Stan, and no author who feels his words are somehow sacred should ever let Kubrick near them: he'll rip your book's beating heart out, take a nice big bite and then build his own new body around it. And it will be *better than yours!* Arthur Clarke couldn't handle it, apparently: his novel 2001 bears only passing resemblance to Kubrick's magnificent film. Had it been Clarke's movie, it would have been just like that wretched, misshapen thing called '2010', and no more important a work than 'Demon Seed'.

Anthony Burgess wisely shut up about Kubrick's leaving out of his wet-noodle of a final chapter, in which Alex decides to become a good citizen. He, at least, could see the improvement Stan had made And so Mr. King decided to rise up in righteous anger and show Kubrick how proper horror movies are made. Is it possible that he learned a lesson from the experience? I had considered King's versions of Von Trier's 'Kingdom' as an honest attempt to bring a remarkable work to a wider audience. Now I'm not sure that it wasn't the same conceit at work - this time showing Trier how horror films are made.

The results are the same in both cases: drawn-out Fisher-Price versions of the original; boring runts that need never have been created. And the characters! OK, look - I'm biased: I loathe chill-dren. Can't stand 'em. I have to admit that the kid carries out his acting tasks remarkably well - he seems entirely accurate in his portrayal of what would be a strenuous role for someone three times his age.

It's just that the character he plays in so accomplished a fashion repels me. I mean, what's with that top lip? It looks as though he's been breastfeeding constantly, 24/7, since he was born. That's not normal, surely? Is it conceivable that some people find it cute? I guess there's something wrong with me: near the end I was seriously hoping the little berk would get a croquet mallet in the face.

Is there anything this version does better than Kubrick's? When I read the novel, I experienced a genuine chill when the topiary beasts first start stalking one of the Torrances. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't appear in Kubrick's film, but with hindsight it's obvious they would be too overt.

And of course King had to put them in. And sure enough, they look tacky.

From the DVD, a quote from the director of this mess, on why he thought Kubrick hadn't done King's book justice: "To me, the book was about parental responsibility, and the guilt of feeling violent feelings about your family; and it's about alcoholism; and it's about that monster within us, and it's been building up and building up, ready to explode." Yeah, right. Whereas Kubrick's film is merely one of the best horror movies ever made.
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Are you going to hurt me, daddy?
Bored_Dragon11 April 2019
While Kubrick's "The Shining" is just based on the famous King's novel, the 1997 adaptation is much more faithful to the source material, as King himself adapted the story for television. Kubrick's version is an objectively better film, but essentially these two movies are not quite comparable, because their approach to the story, techniques and intentions are pretty much different. While Kubrick's film is more a psychological horror drama, mini-series directed by Mick Garris is a typical supernatural horror with an atmosphere distinctive of these two legends of the genre.

Although no one can feign madness as Jack Nicholson (if he fakes it at all), and the fear of Shelley Duvall creeps chills to the bone, the cast is okay for such a TV movie, and it is composed of recognizable and dear faces who gave quite decent performances. Rebecca De Mornay is a sight for sore eyes, Steven Weber is not nearly as intimidating as Nicholson, but his madness is convincing enough, and although it took me some time to get used to the unusual appearance of little Courtland Mead, his performance in some scenes is really striking.

The mini-series consists of three parts for a total of four and a half hours. The first part is a bit slow, which is typical for King, who likes to introduce us to the characters and their backgrounds, and to wait for us to develop a closeness to them, before he leisurely leads us into the main story. In the second part, tension gradually increases and what seemed to be a family drama slowly transforms into supernatural horror, with jump-scares and... visual effects. And I think that is exactly where the biggest drawback of this film lies. What had the potential to be a great psychological horror drama, by decently done (except for the scenes with topiaries, which are an unforgivable failure) but totally unnecessary effects, has been transformed into something similar to the B horrors of the eighties, and for that genre, which is more often ridiculous than terrifying, over four hours is definitely too much, the tension is lost and the whole thing becomes quite unconvincing and even boring. The third part is probably the best done, both visually and story-wise, but it is spoiled by inappropriate and somewhat pathetic ending, that is better suited to melodrama than horror. Not to be perceived as a nag, I just want to praise really extraordinary sound and music.

Although I preferred this version of the story itself over Kubrick's, the movie is terribly over-stretched and the atmosphere is, although I admit that it kept me on the edge of the chair on several occasions, too frivolous to leave an impression that could compete with the Kubrick's masterpiece.

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dans_junk1020 January 2002
Most criticisms from people on here about Stanley Kubrick's original film seem to lie with the fact that he deviates from the book. I'm reading the book at the moment and whilst I'm enjoying it, there's a lot of potential American-style schmaltz. Secondly the book is too long and condensing it was really the only option to make it into a mainstream film.

What annoys me more though is people insist the mini-series is better as it's "like the book" - to me this shows absolutely no imagination. If you've read the book you'll know exactly what happens and it really is directing by numbers. All events in the series take place, chronologically as they do in the book. All the director had to do was shoot everything and throw it all together, without any question of how to approach a scene as he obviously just lifted all the ideas straight out of the book.

The idea about a man on the brink of insanity is really the core of the Shining, both in the book and the 1980 film. The whole question of whether supernatural forces are at work is somewhat questionable in the film, but in the mini-series the viewer is given no choice, as the supernatural is signposted at every opportunity. In the movie just one look from Jack Nicholson can send chills down the spine - the mini-series insists on make-up and CGI to say "look, scary movie".

Whether you dislike the 1980 shining because it deviated from the book is largely irrelevant. The fact remains, this mini-series is very badly produced. Steven Weber is far too nicey, nicey to be at all convincing as the film's villain. DeMornay is fine but can't convery Shelley Duval's sense of desperation. Melvin Van Peebles is also okay as Hallorann but cannot hope to achieve what is a beautiful and wistful performance from Scatman Crothers. However what really spoils the film for me is Courtland Meade's performance as Danny. I felt absolutely no sympathy for him and actually found myself rooting for Jack to get hold of him in the end. The kid sound like he has a permananent cold and for some reason seems unable to close his mouth. I lost count the amount of times Danny went off into a trance and his parents asked "Danny are you okay" - wake up lady, staring into the distance with a despaired look on his face is ALL Danny does! I also thought some of Danny's dialogue in the book sounded too advanced for a five year old and hearing it uttered aloud on screen reveals it's true ridiculousness. Danny Lloyd's performance in the movie was beautiful - a kid who clearly wasn't stupid but was fairly confused as to what was going on around him. What a shame we never saw this fine actor again.

Add to the inferior casting are a number of poor production values. The hotel, rather than the imposing, dark Timberline lodge used for the movie, is a rather jaunty looking place which is all too quaint. In the movie, just the sight of the hotel is scary - in the series, the reaction is more of an "oh is that it". Another truly awful thing is the use of moving objects whenever characters leave a room. Oh look the Torrances aren't in the room anymore, lets make the door close by itself, swing swing by itself etc..... Lastly the score is terrible - all jaunty one minute when it is totally inappropriate and should be dark and brooding and at other times clearly trying to copy the original to dreadful effect.

Fair enough, dislike Stanley Kubrick's original for it being too different from the book. I personally prefer the film and it's themes myself. However, don't for once think this is a good mini-series just because "it's like the book". Any old director can take a book and translate it directly to screen. It takes someone like Kubrick to take a source material and develop into something completely his own.

Finally my perception is many people preferred the mini-series as there was little need to think as everything was so clearly spelled out. In Kubrick's film a lot was left open to the viewer to interpret themselves, which in my opinion makes it a much more personal movie. However looking at another comment on here that said "Kubrick's was okay but it wasn't scary - the mini-series had things jumping out at you and stuff" I am beginning to realise that the age of dumbing down is upon us.
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The Fall of a Masterpiece; The Death of a God
Elswet27 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
.: Major Spoilers :.

The "Authorized" Version of The Shining :. Was a "Made-For-TV" movie done in 1997 to appease Stephen King's wounded ego over Stanley Kubrick's "unauthorized" movie version of his book, also entitled, "The Shining."

While faithful to the book, the remake was puerile and under-dramatized. It lacked... everything. Compared to Kubrick's adaptation, this remake had about as many "scare you" and "edge of the seat" moments as an episode of "Welcome Back Kotter." Don't get me wrong. I have been an ardent Stephen King fan most of my life. I was the 9-year old with the t-shirt that read, "Stephen King Rules." But that fact does not redeem this movie as the WORST piece of drivel ever made!!!

Other than to have an "official, authorized" version of his work, I cannot see any reason whatsoever for remaking this movie. It was a tremendous waste of time and resources, if you ask me.

Ah, the movie review. Where do I begin?

Let's start with the casting. Although Rebecca DeMornay was a believable Wendy, her portrayal was as anorexic as the bare bones skeltal remains of Queen Nefertiti. But in all fairness, that's in comparison to Shelly Duvall's brilliant performance in the Kubrick adaptation.

Steve Webber. Steve Webber vs. Jack Nicholson. Steve Webber?! I don't think I need to go here. I mean...have you seen "Wings?" He's NOT my idea of an even...competent screen presence in a movie like...well, in ANY movie. His acting ... "talents ... ?" are much better geared for the "small screen" where he can enjoy the juvenile humor and poor emotional control; be given short, easily remembered lines, with two weeks to film a 24-minute/4-segment sit-com episode.

Danny Lloyd (now a mid-western school teacher without the slightest of aspirations towards an acting career *what a loss to the movie industry!*) was so very good in the role of Danny Torrence that I don't know who they could have hired to take his place and stand in his little shoes.

However, Courtland Mead (- "Young and the Restless, The" (1973) TV Series .... Phillip Chancellor IV (1993-1995) -) CERTAINLY wasn't it. This child is a capable actor who probably followed the direction he was given, but his performance was sadly lacking. His character was hollow and as whiny as was Ms. DeMornay's but on a much more annoying scale. We'll blame that on the director.

Who was the director? Mick Garris. The same Mick Garris who also directed Stephen King's The Stand, Sleepwalkers, Tales From the Crypt and Amazing Stories, among others. So now that we know he CAN do good work, we have to stop and ask, "What happened here?"

Sorry Stephen King fans everywhere, but that leads us to Mr. King's teleplay. It was faithful to his original work and sanctioned by Mr. King, himself; therefore was dubbed the "Authorized" version. There now. I do hope you feel better, Mr. King. I, as a fan, do not.

We had the book. We read the book. We knew the book, and loved Kubrick's adaptation anyway.

The Setting and the Scenes: A Comparison of the Authorized

Version Against The Kubrick Adaptation...

Kubrick's version: the motel was an impressive piece of architecture and staging. It lent to the atmosphere, by having atmosphere itself. The furnishings and furniture was all period, and while the Torrences were becoming acquainted on that first day, they were told the motel was on an ancient Indian burial ground.

The Authorized Version: the motel was a modernized prefabricated-looking piece of crap. The front lawn was small-ish and not very scenic. Also, there is no mention of a burial ground.

There is mention -at great length- of a form of croquet which was developed by the man who built the hotel. Who CARES? It had NOTHING to do with the story and nothing whatSOever to do with the plot. It was best left out, as in the Kubrick Adaptation.

K: The maze was a magnificent touch, reminiscent of the Labyrinth in which the Minotaur of Crete was Guardian. When Jack Nicholson stands at the scaled model of the maze and stares into the center, seeing Wendy and Danny entering, it's a magickal moment; one that tells you right away, there are heavy energies i that house; there's something seriously wrong, already starting.

A: Instead of the magickal maze, we got topiary beasties who wouldn't (couldn't?) move if you were looking at them. This was NOT scary, either. The only feeling of "wrongness" achieved from these scenes, was in the writing of them.

K: The several pan scans of the hotel itself, with the mountains looming behind, the cold air swirling about, mist coming up from the warm roof of the hotel, all adds so MUCH to the atmosphere of the movie.

A: We got very little feel for the actual hotel itself from Garris's version. It appears as though he tried to not show the full hotel. Did they even HAVE an actual building? or just a series of set-built rooms? It felt as though the whole episodic monstrosity was filmed in a row of badly positioned office cubicles.

K: The ghosts of the two butchered daughters of Delbert Grady were icons with which Danny could identify, and at the same time, be afraid of. They were hauntingly beautiful, and showed Danny how they were killed, in a rather graphic and material way.

A: There were no little girls.

K: The visions Danny had concerning the house gave you a feeling for what he was feeling and the things that had happened previously there.

A: Danny's visions weren't enough to scare us. They didn't give us the history of the place. They didn't give us ... anything.

K: Tony was an attendant spirit, like a spirit guide which he acquired as a result of his arm nearly being wrenched off his body by his own father. He was..."the little boy who lives in my mouth."

He would manifest in the end of Danny's finger and physically spoke through Danny in order to speak TO Danny.

A: Tony, Tony, Tony. Wow. To go from being an attendant spirit that Danny could not see, to a rather sloppy form of CGI, imposed over the landscape; from "little boy" to teenaged-almost-man-boy...what a metamorphosis! A disappointing one. While loyal to the book, in that King's Tony was the projection of an older Danny, sent back in a vain attempt to save his father, the idea of Danny going back in time to his younger self wasn't...scary. Instead, it seemed a bulimic attempt to bestow the tale with a haunting new-agey quality. It didn't work.

K: The "Woman in the Shower" scene. It was dramatic, and frightening. Disgusting and scary. This is the pivotal moment when Jack...cracks. When Nicholson looks into the mirror and sees her decomposing flesh beneath his hands; the look of sheer terror on his face was so complete and REAL!

A: The "Woman in the Shower" scene...didn't exist. That, too, was Kubrick's genius at work.

K: When Wendy find's Jack's "screenplay" is nothing more than page after page of the same line typed over and over...when he asks from the shadows, "How do you like it?" and Wendy whirls and screams, the baseball bat in her so poignant. It's the point where she realizes how messed up the whole situation messed up Jack is. It's very scary, dramatic and delivers a strong presence. That coupled with Danny's visions of the hotel lobby filling with blood, imposed over the scene between Jack and Wendy make that the strongest and most telling scene in Kubrick's version.

A: Webber's Jack Torrence talked about a screenplay, but never wrote a word.

K: The "REDRUM" scene. Wow. What do I say? What mother would not be totally freaked to awaken finding their young, troubled son standing over them with a huge knife, talking in that freaky little voice, saying REDRUM over and over? It was something everyone could and has remembered.

A: The REDRUM scene. What REDRUM scene? There wasn't one. There wasn't even a sorry REPLACEMENT scene for it, and if there was, it was SO sorry that I missed it. Wait! Could it POSSIBLY Have been that lame scene where Danny was attacked by the "dead" wasps? Not possible. No WAY! Talk about creative impairment!

K: Speaking of memorable scenes... Nicholson's final assault on his family with an axe was perhaps one of the scariest scenes of movie history. His ad-libbed line, "Heeeeere's Johnny!" was a stroke of brilliance and is one of the most memorable scenes in the history of horror.

A: Webber's final assault was confused, weak and NOT SCARY!

The weapon Webber uses (a CROQUET MALLET?!?) was NOT scary! I wasn't scared. *l* It IS however a memorable scene. I'll always remember it as the lamest climaxial scene in horror history.

K: The ending.. The ending..? Kubrick's ending was perfection. I felt it ended beautifully. No smarm, no platitudinous whining, no tearfully idiotic ending for THIS movie. Just epitomized perfection.

That's all I'll say on the subject of the ending.

A: The ending was just as lame as the rest of the movie. It doesn't even deserve being commented upon, further, so I won't.

I have two questions, Mr. King. Did you completely fail to notice that the TV version was NOT scary? Do you fail to realize it is the most puerile piece of garbage I've seen on film! "Howard the Duck" was "Casablanca" compared to this movie!

The Kubrick version, while unauthorized, was and IS about the scariest thing ever put on film, in the name of King and yet, because it wasn't YOUR version, you bastardized one of he greatest masterpieces of horror on film to date!! Was it worth disappointing your millions of fans just to uplift your own ego?

Frankly, had I the money to invest, I would back a multi-million-dollar budgeted Dean Koontz film. Perhaps "Dark Rivers of the Heart," "Night Chills," or "Darkfall." But NOT a toned-down weak-ass version of one of the greatest movies ever made. Remakes are supposed to BETTER the attempt, not lessen it.

This movie rates a -0- from the Fiend because it is the most grotesque, atrocious, despicable piece of garbage EVER MADE!! :.
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Craptacular (SPOILERS!)
zardoz1226 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
What made Kubrick's film work was that the menace was undefined. Until the end we don't know if the man and the boy are just hallucinating, or if the hotel is truly evil. Here it is established from the outset that ghosts are running wild in the place, and that the boy has "awakened" them with his psychic powers. Kubrick's hotel was vast and creepy thanks to interesting camera angles and shots; here it is a managable size and boring. All the vagueness that made the 1980 film work has been stripped away in the name of "being true to the novel." In a ghost story, being vague is a key virtue; ghosts are usually seen out of the corner of one's eye and vanish if you look at them directly. Ghosts are more feeling than appearence; haunted houses have to be threatening or eerie to complement the vibe. Seeing them is a no-no and making them fully-formed characters works against the terror, because we fear what is unknown. And it is for this reason that CBS' mini-series fails.
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If dull "Shining" is "Just like the book" skip both
Whythorne11 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I hesitated to write a review of this "mini-series" but felt prompted by the inexplicable number of favorable reviews.

I note that these reviews basically have one thing in common: they all agree that this version is more faithful to the book by Stephen King than Stanley Kubrick's film was.

If that is the case, then I must conclude that Mr. King must have written one heck of a stinko novel! Further, if being true to a book is the sole factor that makes a movie great, then why not a faithful adaptation of Webster's Dictionary or the Encyclopedia Britannica? Actually, either one would be more tense (and probably a lot shorter) than this horror movie wannabe.

On the other hand, if your basis for judging which version is better utilizes the usual criteria for judging a movie, i.e. script, direction, acting, production, etc. then there is no question which version wins. Kubrick's easily outshines the made-for-TV version.

In a nutshell, this Stephen King "authorized" version is basically a family experiencing things going bump in the night and then getting up and trying it all over again the next day. ("How was your day, dear?" "Not bad. Only saw thirty ghosts and a moving swing set that nobody was on. How was yours?")

Compare to the set-up and build-up in the Kubrick version. In about four hours less time. Kubrick established characters (including the Overlook Hotel itself, which becomes an eerie member of the cast as critical as any of the actors), set up the story, built it up, had you guessing and wondering if truly creepy apparitions were real or imagined, all the while increasing the tension between the players in the story and you and the screen. There is a real climax to the movie and it doesn't let you down.

In this TV version, scary moments are few to none. In fact, the transparent ghost effects, doors closing by themselves and moving hedges occur with such ineffectual, low-impact monotony, you may beg for someone to hit YOU in the head with a croquet mallet and put you out of your tedium.

If there is any horror associated with this movie, it is in the notion that it can be considered good by anyone. Consider the scene when Wendy (Rebecca de Mornay: talk about a wasted use of an actress) smashes into slivers a bottle of Jack Daniels over Jack's (Steven Webber's) head. Now anybody who has ever hefted a bottle of JD knows that that is one heavy-duty, thick, glass bottle and if this happened for real it would have been Jack's skull that would have disintegrated. Instead Jack wobbles around for a little while and eventually falls over. Hilarious. It reminded me of all those old Hollywood westerns where the brawling cowboys in the saloon are busting bottles made of candy glass over each other.

Anyway, that's this cheesy version's idea of impact. Avoid it except for laughs.

Er, that is, unless you want to see something "just like the book."
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Slowest movie EVER
dotjames25 July 2002
I'm betting Stephen King will never again have his way with TV execs. This version of "The Shining" was tedious, boring, and way too long. Six hours for a story that should have been told in 2 max. The casting was terrible, too. Whoever told Steven Webber he could act? And where did they get the kid who played Doc? His haircut was unbelievable, and he was incapable of closing his mouth over his buck-teeth. Or was that supposed to be his idea of showing great emotion at times of stress?
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Collins6 December 1998
"The Shining" was supposed to be a great adaptation to the original book. I watched it in the hopes of seeing Stephen King (who wrote the script) do something new and fresh with the old concept. What I got was a mini-series full of "aw-shucks" dialogue and corny one-liners.

Steven Weber is wildly miscast as "Jack Torrence." Courtland Mead (who plays "Danny") isn't a bad actor but he's a little TOO cute for the role. Also, I liked the way Kubrick showed Tony (Danny's make-believe friend). It was slyly creepy. The guy who plays Tony in this movie is so corny he's funny.

The mini-series, as a whole, has a brand new feel but the music, visuals, dialogue, relationships, you name it, weren't as good as in the 1980 version of the story. If you like more light, mainstream stuff, you might enjoy this mini-series. Personally, I think you were right, Stanley. They SHOULD have left it alone.
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A solid mini-series with its ups and downs
TheLittleSongbird23 June 2011
When I first saw this mini-series I thought it, despite being more faithful than Kubrick's film, was pointless and nowhere near as atmospheric. Watching it again, I think I was being unfair. I do consider Kubrick's film the superior and more atmospheric film overall(I shall never forget the Here Comes Johnny and Woman in the Bathtub scenes), but aside from being much more faithful to the book, which is excellent by the way but as far as King's works go I prefer It and The Stand, there are improvements made here. Jack's transformation is much more subtle, and his and Wendy's relationship is explored much further here. Rebecca DeMornay also is a far better female lead in my opinion, and Steven Weber brings a more human touch while being quite frightening too. The mini-series does look good, the photography and production values are fine, the sound and music are atmospheric, the story is compelling and the dialogue is mostly good. My complaints however are the overlong length, some of the CGI effects which were sometimes unnecessary and the pace is occasionally a little dull. Overall, it is a solid mini-series and much better the second time of viewing. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Some pretty bad acting here...
broomulack23 May 2004
I liked the fact that the film was more faithful to the book - one of my all-time favorite books, incidentally.

However, that's about the only thing that was better. This version was long, boring and the acting was absolutely horrid. I've never seen a movie where EVERYONE overacted. Elliot Gould as Stuart Ullman was terrifying- Gould tried way too hard, and his performance was wooden.

In fact, it seemed as if all the actors were reading from cue cards the entire time. If someone without any cinematic skills like me can notice this, couldn't the people involved with the film have noticed too? There's no way they wanted people to act like this.

OH well. I didn't think anything could make me think the original Shining was a great movie once I read the book, but I have to say, I'll take the "unfaithful" version anytime.
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King goes to the Overlook and bombs!
Movie_KING8 March 2002
Stephen King has been called the "undisputed master of horror" for good reason. His novels are atmospheric, insightful to the human condition, funny and of course scary as Hell. The Shining has always been one of his best novels and I beleive should go down in history as one of the greatest American novels of all time.

Yes, Kings mastery of the written word is undisputed but his mastery of the motion picture is... spotty.

The adaptations of Kings movies have always been hit or miss. Firestarter, Cujo, Children of the Corn, Salems Lot. All dreck. Bought for the marquee value of Kings name alone and hacked to peices by first year film school dropouts. Oh yes it is very obvious why King wants more creative control over the movies with his name on them. They dont take away from the novels but they make King look like a no-talent sell-out. While no doubt King is a sell-out (he's the Krusty the Clown of the written word) as far as his movies and the books he's written in the last decade go, many fine directors with their own sense of vision have made excellent adaptations of his novels, among them; Rob Reiner (Stand by Me, Misery), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and of course Stanly Kubrick.

Kubrick was one of the last true filmmakers on Earth, his passing in 99 was a tragedy. Stanley was a visionary, he would look at the written word and figure out a way to make it compelling visually, to set a pace and a mood, this man knew how to make films.

King does not.

Stephen Kings adaptations of his own work have always been atrocious and they violate almost every rule of great screenwriting in the book. He uses flashbacks and voice over and his dialogue is always on the nose. When King writes a screeplay he doesnt just make a point once and expect the audience to be intelligent enough to put two and two together, no he hits you over the head again and again with the same point until you dont care any more. As a novelist he's a master, as a screenwriter he's amauterish and obvious. Pet Semetary, The Stand, Storm of the Century, Rose Red, Maximum Overdrive all suffer from this crap. The adaptations King writes are no better than the hack jobs that other writers have made of his works.

Stanley Kubrick didnt adapt every irrelevant little incident in The Shining that may have been integral to understanding the characters on the written page because they would be irrelevant on the screen. The things King thinks you need to know can be played for subtext and the actors can carry the truth of the characters themselves. Kubrick made a movie about an isolated place that pushes a man to madness and murder. That was the spirit of the book and that was the spirit of Kubricks movie. It was terrifying and grand. A work worthy of a master of film.

Kings adaptation was simple, trite and never scary. He should be ashamed to be called "the undisputed master of horror" and have this peice of dung on his resumee.

Stephen King should leave filmmaking to filmmakers like Kubrick and not to two bit hacks like Mick Garris (Critters 2: The Main Course). But then King wanted a lapdog to direct an animated audio book and not a motion picture masterpeice. Luckily this film will be collecting dust in trashbins across America and Kubricks movie will be the one long remembered.
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Good Lord, you people must be kidding
jackthegiantkiller10 January 2002
This television series was so dreadful, so dull and cheesy, how could any intelligent person possibly endorse it? Sure it was a much more faithful adaptation of King, but, for Christ's sake, it was shot like an after-school special, suffered the WORST miscasting, had some of the most godawful CGI effects (the moving shrubs made our entire roomful of viewers crack up), and lacked any mild attempts at atmosphere or terror. How could anyone EVER be scared by Steven Weber? It's like watching Barney descend into madness. What Kubrick lacked in direct interpretation he so greatly compensated for with a beautiful, disturbing and personal film. Remember people...BASED on the book by Stephen King. There was a reason many things never made it into the original film...they would look absolutely stupid (ie the shrubs) in direct translation and would most certainly detract from the film. Earlier quote - "Kubrick was a bit of a bad director(have i made any one cry just then)" No, you just made me laugh at you!
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This mini-series further proves that Stanley Kubrick was a genius
beachhead13824 April 2003
Everyone always complained that Kubrick left soooo much stuff out of the movie that was in the book. This mini series was supposed to clear everything up. While it does offer more explanation of things it lacks one very important detail: IT ISN'T SCARY AT ALL. Die hard Stephen King fans will be pleased that everything from the book is handed to them on a plate in a rated PG, ABC mini-series manner but the Kubrick film has this outclassed on every level. The cast, art direction, acting, music, shots is far better in the original movie. Besides, what's up with showing Tony? He totally looked like a dork -once again NOT SCARY!!!
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Complete Waste!!!
buffalobills3 September 2003
This movie was utterly awful. I was waiting for something to happen and nothing did. 6 hours of my life wasted. This movie pales in comparison to Kubrick's version. Some of the special effects looks fake. It suppose to make you scared, but it fails to do that. Steven Webber's acting looks forced. His portrayal of a drunken mad man is pathetic. Jack Nicholson's performance in Kubric's version was infinitely better. It doesn't matter that this movie is closer to the way Stephen King's book is. I thought the ending would make up for the slow beginning, but it only disappointed me.
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Definatly worth a watch
Victory8418 May 2003
The 1997 version of The Shining is an excellent adaptation for fans of the book. For everyone else, it is entertaining but overshadowed by the uber-famous 1980 film (though to be honest, it's like comparing apples with Cadillacs). This film is best watched either three days in a row or all at once. Weber delivers a great performance as the haunted and tragic Jack Torrence and DeMornay surpasses Shelly Duvall in the role of Jack's patient but cautious wife, Wendy. Melvin Van Peebles is okay in the role of Hallorann but I found myself missing Scatman Crothers. Courtland Meade as Danny takes some getting used to, and I'll leave it at that. And even though it appeared on network television during sweeps, it contains a surprising amount of violence (especially during Jack's confrontation with Wendy in part three) and gore (especially in part two). Definatly worth a watch.
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This is total crud
hollymlewis14 December 2004
Kubrick took Stephen King's garbage novel and turned it into a haunting masterpiece. So what does he do? He turns his own overly descriptive garbage into a horribly 'unscary', uninteresting mini series.

King beats you over the head with the 'horrors of spousal abuse' (yeah, we got the point in Kubrick's version, only it didn't sound like a church sermon, Kubrick made us *feel* the horror.) And the actors are blonde Hollywood no-names that leave you with nothing. The male lead doesn't look like a typical alcoholic father, he looks like a glammy soap actor overacting as a sociopath. It's really laughable.

And really, Stephen King should have let Kubrick end his book, it was much more compelling than that ridiculous topiary animal silliness.

Not only would King be better off leaving his book in the cinematic hands of Kubrick, Kubrick probably would have done a better job of writing the book too.
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Lame, boring and a total waste.
Rueiro16 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I am not going to compare this piece of rubbish to Kubrick's film; too many viewers have already done that.

In my opinion, "The shining" is one of King's few novels worth reading. Some parts of it are slow-paced and boring, with the usual long descriptions of the characters' past and misfortunes in which King always likes to indulge himself for dozens of pages. That is the most irritating thing about his books. It is OK if you are writing "War and Peace" or "Gone with the Wind", but not for a horror flick. You should stick to the main story instead of creating sub-plot family melodramas.

Anyway, "The Shining" is not an easy book to adapt, and only a very competent screenwriter who knows his trade and a film-maker equally effective can deliver a good movie out of the book. Kubrick, who was both things, did it, and that was it. They could try and make a dozen remakes of the story in the next one hundred years and they wouldn't get it any better.

I re-read the novel very recently, and then I watched King's only approved and much blessed official adaptation in order to see how true to its title is. I felt pity.

It is more faithful to the book than Kubrick's, I gave it that, but still it is not as faithful as the title and all the publicity initially promise, and that is cheating the spectator. All right, it shows Jack's alcoholic past in flashbacks, but was that really necessary in order to understand what happens later at the hotel? Also it shows Tony, and what for? In the book Danny only sees him once or twice and always from very far away, a blurred shadow. Why turning him into a character that is popping up in the screen every half an hour? He can't help Danny at all but only keeps telling him he shouldn't have come to the hotel, so what's the point? It is bloody irritating, and the actor looks silly!

Then, there is the topiary. I laughed at the ignorance and ingenuity of many viewers who rave about this remake and put Kubrick's film down only because it doesn't show the hedge animals... Dear cultured critics: back in 1980 CGI was still sci-fi fantasy, and the only way to have shot that sequence would have been by combining live action with animation (go and check "Mary Poppins" to see what I'm talking about if you don't follow me). So Kubrick did very well by leaving the episode out instead of making a silly thing that would have looked laughable in what is supposed to be a a horror chiller. And that is precisely one of the biggest follies this adaptation has, and even the CGI is cheap and badly done and brings more laughs than shivers because the animals look like bird droppings on the snow!

Then the cast is terrible. Someone mentioned that a monkey with a telephone book would have done a better casting, and he is right. The actors seem like they never bothered to read the book in order to understand what the story is about and get to know their characters. The kid was just that, so we can't blame him. But Rebecca de Mornay and the fellow who plays Jack (who is he, by the way?) are as plain as cardboard cut-outs, and the same goes for the guy doing Grady, who instead of looking menacing he is a total duck. And Van Peebles looks like he just popped out of a Busby Berkeley musical, I was expecting him to burst singing and tap-dancing any second. The only one of whom it can be said gives a decent performance is Elliott Gould, who plays Ullmann as the cynical, sarcastic, tight-fist snob who thinks of "his" hotel as the greatest thing on earth, just as described in the book. And as for Stephen King's surprise cameo as the orchestra conductor, I didn't know whether to laugh or to be angry because he looks like a Loony Tunes caricature of Xavier Cugat.

And then, the director of this mess seems to have thought himself to be a new Stanley Kubrick and tried to imitate the master's trademark of slow tracking shots that precede key events. Didn't he have any self- respect?

And the ending... so happy-ever-after that is laughable, and so overloaded with syrup that it could kill a diabetic just from looking at it.

This multi-million dollar egotistic heap made only to satisfy King's ego is just a waste of time, money and celluloid.
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Horrible TV-crap!!
krycek197 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
It is closer to the book than Kubricks masterpiece. Not counting the over sentimental added ending, that was completely unnecessary.

But this is horrible. From the low budget, to the terrible acting to the censorship of TV, that doesn't allow for any f-words or any graphic violence.

Steven Webber is no Jack Nicholson. But he does a decent job as the only one in the small cast. But he's still just a TV-actor confined to TV-censor-ship.

Everyone else is just terrible. The kid playing Danny and the guy playing Hallorann are the worst. Because compared to fantastic Danny Lloyd and Scatman Crothers in the feature film, they are terrible. They are the ones with the ability to shine and they need to be powerful characters. In this TV-crap Danny is an annoying brat with way to many lines and Hallorann is just a pathetic old man.

Rebecca De Mornay does her best, but she never seems truly scared like Shelly Duvall in the feature film.

5 and a half hours is how long the miniseries last. And until Danny finally enters room 217 and find the lady in the bathtub it drags on and on with nothing happening.

This is especially a problem with The Torrances making several trips to Sidewinder and meet people there. This ruins the sense of isolation and being alone in the hotel. Because they can leave anytime they want to until the snow comes.

And explaining everything in detail to us very apparently dumb viewers doesn't help either.

The special effects are horrible. From the crappy looking cgi hedge animals, to the model of a snow-cat, to the hotel blowing up in the end, it all looks terrible.

The ghosts of the hotel, apart from the well made rotting lady in room 217, looks like ordinary people wearing Halloween makeup to look like ghosts.

The hotel itself seems too small, compared to the one in the feature film to ever be scary. In the feature film the enormous hotel itself, is a character. Here it's just a ordinary looking hotel that looks mostly like it's shot on sound-stages, which makes it that less believable.

I don't even think a graphic profanity filled version with a big budget on a pay per view channel could have made this any better. No matter what it would have still paled to Kubricks version.

The hotel in the feature film seemed very real and very scary.

I think Stephen King should have pulled his head out his ass and considered it an honor that Stanley Kubrick took his mediocre novel, not suitable for a movie adaptation at all, and turned it in to one of the best horror movies ever out of it. And that one of the greatest actors of that time Jack Nicholson played the lead.

I can only agree with King on one thing here. In Kubricks version Jack Torrance got mad too fast. But there was not enough time to show his decent into madness. As far as the alcoholism goes it is also shown in Kubricks version, but in a much better way.

Everything is just better in Kubricks version.

I can only warn people not to watch this.
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More of a Reinterpretation than a Remake
Maeve7227 October 2002
I have loved Kubrik's interpretation of The Shining since the first time it scared me. But that's what it really is, an interpretation. It's well known how Kubrik did his work and the limited amount of input that King had in the original movie. This new interpretation stays closer to the book and you genuinely get the idea that it's the hotel that is evil, while I've always felt that Kubrik's design made it feel more like the Jack went mad. The final scene of Kubrik's version, where he pans over the photos and you see Jack in all of them, has always felt like an homage to what the true meaning was supposed to be. This new version filled me with chills and goosebumps the whole way through. In one scene, when all the chairs in the dining area slide from their tables to the floor, not only was I shivering but I actually jumped. I've read the book; I knew it was coming but it was so perfectly executed that the creepiness was sustained throughout the entire show. That kind of horror/suspense is so rare nowadays, especially for a television mini-series! I truly feel that both versions stand on their own and applaud King for showing the chutzpah to go back and show us another view of The Overlook.
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