King’s Halloween: The Shining (1997)

Tonight: The Shining (1997)

This mini-series came out when I was a kid.  For some reason, I didn’t watch it, though in school, my teacher at the time used the popularity of this mini-series to discuss foreshadowing.  I was confused when my teacher kept talking about a hose when I was familiar with blood coming out of an elevator (thanks to the Simpson’s parody of the movie).

This is the one remake this week that I have actually seen the original version.  I watched the Stanley Kubrick version of The Shining a couple years ago when I first started getting into King.  I was really interested in seeing Jack Nicholson’s performance and I hadn’t put a hold on watching all Stephen King movies yet.

I also haven’t had a chance to read the book yet.  I’m only about 3 short chapters in.

So in comparing the two films, this version generally makes more sense and builds over time.  Unlike the Kubrick film which had to fit everything into an feature length run time, this series has four and half hours to build up the crippling psyche of Jack Torrence.  In this movie, it makes sense that the Torrences are a family.  In the original, Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall didn’t seem to have any business being a couple, let alone having a child.

Jack Nicholson going crazy and trying to kill his family seemed like the thing for him to do.  Steven Webber on the other hand goes back and forth from being angry and frustrated to being a caring father.  Hell, in the middle of yelling for Danny to come downstairs so he can beat him with a croquet mallet, as soon as he sees a bruised and traumatized Danny, he immediately breaks and becomes concerned.

I did a little research and so far as I can tell, this follows a lot closer to the book. I’m honestly surprised that Kubrick even bothered keeping the names of everything the same. Cause he seems to change everything else.

In Kubrick’s movie the Overlook has a hedge maze instead of a Rocque court. The haunted room is 237 instead of 217. Jack tries killing people with an Ax instead of a Rocque mallet. Jack dies from freezing to death instead of making the self sacrifice play by allowing the boiler to explode and taking all the ghosts with him.

Honestly, the biggest thing about this that makes me enjoy it over the original is the ending. I loved that Jack decided to take the hotel down with him. Then we see Jack’s ghost at Danny’s High School Graduation. It is a really touching scene.

Yes, the original movie is a classic and you can’t top Jack Nicholson’s manic ax wielding glee, but this movie feels closer to what the story should be.

The movie is the abridged version that was made by someone who didn’t quite understand the original story and just wanted to make things “scarier.” This version is unabridged made by someone trying to get the real story across.

I will concede that I would have liked to see this version except not made for TV. You can tell they had to dig in on “suspense” because they couldn’t go for gore.

Tomorrow: Speaking of TV remakes that can’t go for gore, we will end Remake Week with probably the worst offender. . .

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