We all know Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick's famous take on Steven King's ‘The Shining’. Widely known as one of the best horror films’ and novels’ of all time? Yeah, that one. 


We're also quite aware that King was unhappy with Kubrick's take on his bestselling tale - going onto slate Shelley's portrayal of Wendy as, in his own words "one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film."  So, not the happiest punter. 


Stanley apparently ridiculed Shelley, making her re-do takes hundreds of times (127 to be exact in the bat swinging scene near the end) intentionally creating a hostile atmosphere. It's said he did this to extract the honesty of Wendy's character - the fear, anxiety and stress. Bringing out the raw emotion and insanity from poor Shelley, she even began to lose chunks of hair. Ouch.


The film has gone down in history as a cult classic, and the book, time-honoured. Both however are so incredibly different we just had to write an article. This is IMPORTANT stuff.




1) The Name - We all know the name Jack Torrance from the film, well, it's John Daniel Torrance in the book. 


2) Family Relationships - The relationship between Wendy, Danny and Jack is a far closer one in the novel. A caring father and husband, even speaking up about his thoughts of leaving the hotel to Wendy while they went for an intimate walk. 


3) He CRAZY - The book stretches out John's decent into insanity far more than the film, in which Jack is obviously a little crazy from the start. 


4) Music - There were many references to Credence Clearwater Revival in the book. The music from the film was perfect for suspense and really added a mysterious ambiance.

If they had stuck to the original plot, Credence would have been a fantastic addition. So, they did effectively miss out on a chance to have a best-selling soundtrack. Do a Tarantino, now that's a man with good taste in music. 


5) Redemption - The novel focuses on atonement. A broken man, who is sadly twisted, isolated and turned into a psychopath in a long, stretched out and painful tale with an obvious nod to the fact that John's slowly becomes insane. Whereas Jack, well, he's just crazy, goes a bit crazier, kills and dies. Bam. 




6) The Hotel is Alive - The hotel changed Jack and wants Danny's powers, in the film the hotel appears to just be, well, a hotel. The focus is directed on supernatural ghosts and beings rather than the subtle presences. E.g. At one point in the book hedge animals stalk Danny and Jack. And let's not forget the hosepipe and the elevator coming to life. 


7) Wendy - In the novel she's a gorgeous blonde, but they chose to cast the rather odd looking, brunette Shelley Duvall. In terms of character too, she's far more submissive and quite in the film, the novel shows her to be a confident, independent and a strong woman, even challenging John a number of times. 


8) Danny - He's more confused than anything else in the movie, his visions not making sense to him and Tony appears to be a pal of his. In the book, he communicates directly with Tony, knowing exactly what he is. Seeing things far more clearly even having specific visions of future events. In the film he only sees the bloody elevator and twins. 


9) Jack - He's a struggling alcoholic which is played on slightly in the movie, with him going to the bar twice, though he has been sober for 4 months in the film. The novel he's not sober in the slightest, just battling the addiction. Other details about John were hidden in the silver screen such as: his father beating him as a child, losing his previous job due to alcohol abuse (another difference from the book is that he goes to an interview. In the book he already has the job) and it's hinted that he was involved in a hit and run. 


10) The Death - In the movie he dies in an insane rampage to kill his son, stumbling through a freezing maze. In the book he dies a hero, sort of. Sacrificing himself so Danny and Wendy can escape the overlook hotel. 




11) The Shining - It's far less explained in the film. Danny has the shining as many others do around the world. But, Danny's shining is the most powerful of all. Insanely powerful. In the movie the scene in which Danny tries to communicate with Dick, he shows that it's not a pleasant experience to talk to Danny via Shining. But, is perfectly fine as far as we know. In the novel, he almost kills him, unaware how incredibly powerful his shining really is.


12) All Work No Play - The famous discovering of Jack's work is never shown in the book. 


13) Change of Room - The bad room in the book is 217 where Danny sees his old double in the mirror and the old lady. In the film the bad room is 237, Danny is not shown going in, only Jack, who proceeds to make out with a hot, young thing that turns into a not-so-hot decomposing old lady. 


14) The Hotel Explodes - Yeah, so the hotel explodes in the book. 


15) Grady's murdered family - The film tells us that Grady's chopped up family was found in the hotel, but in the novel they are found in a forest. 




16) Dick's arrival - When Dick makes it into the hotel he notices spirits leaving 


17) Wielding what?  - In the film adaptation, John's weapon of choice is a mallet rather than Jack's famous axe in the book. 


18) "Here's Johnny" - Jack's famous line in the film 'Here's Johnny' was improvised. Though, to anyone who has read the book? It makes more sense, seeing as Jack was originally called Johnny... 


19) John loves Danny - John recovers his mind briefly towards the end, giving him time to tell Danny to run. He also tells him that he loves him. This is what we mean by the differences in character. John is an unfortunate tale of a good man turned into a monster. But Jack is seen as crazy from the start and just rapidly becomes crazier. Numb of all feelings. Even when expressing that he loves his son in the film, it’s done in such a creepy, sarcastic tone, it’s hard to believe him.


20) Picture VS Painting - The famous mind boggling black and white photo we see at the end of Kubrick's Shining shows an old photograph of Jack as a party guest. In the book, it's a painting, but it is never shown. All we're told is John knew he was doomed the moment he saw it. 




In a nutshell: 


The film- One of the greatest horror movies of all time. With shocking scenes of craziness and insanity from the incredible Nicholson, complete with a chilling soundtrack. 


The Book- A heart-breaking horror tale of a struggling alcoholic, loving father and devout husbands' decent into madness.