king's the shining
Rebecca De Mornay (Wendy Torrance)
Steven Weber (Jack Torrance)
Courtland Mead (Danny Torrance)
Wil Horneff (Tony)
Melvin Van Peebles (Dick Hallorann)
Elliott Gould (Stuart Ullman)
John Durbin (Harry Derwent)
Stanley Anderson (Delbert Grady)
Pat Hingle (Pete Watson)
Cynthia Garris (Lady in Room 217)
mpaa rating: None
release: April 27-28,
May 1, 1997
availability: VHS -
Stephen King never cared for
Stanley Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of his novel, so he decided
to write his own adaptation 17 years later.
version is more faithful to the book, right?
Hell, yes. Six hours
(with commercials) of faithfulness.
Shit, wasn't The Stand eight hours? And that book was,
like, three times as long as The Shining. How could they
get three nights' worth of story out of an average-length novel?
They couldn't; the damn thing
dawdles like Scatman Crothers coming to the rescue in the Kubrick
ABC give carte blanche to King?
Because The Stand had
been a ratings bonanza. That's also why that miniseries' director,
Mick Garris, was asked back for this one.
the Garris version compare with the Kubrick version?
You mean aside from being pretty
well unmemorable and bereft of fright? Well, Steven Weber makes
a more naturalistic, likable, and human Jack Torrance
than Jack Nicholson did, and Rebecca De Mornay turns in a much
stronger and warmer Wendy than Shelley Duvall was allowed to
contribute. The scenes in the book wherein we're supposed to
sense love between the Torrances -- the better to mourn that
love when it's challenged later -- are enacted far better here
than they ever were under Kubrick, who had other things on his
saying the guy from Wings gives a better performance than
I'm saying Weber's Jack Torrance
is closer to the novel's Jack Torrance. Given this to work with,
Weber makes us care; and therefore, when Jack begins to lose
his shit, Weber is able to dig into a disturbing and saddening
downward spiral. Nicholson's performance, highly entertaining
and iconic on its own, was stylized from the get-go and offered
little or no contrast between Sane Jack and Axe-Swinging Jack.
anything in the Garris version to top the peerlessly bone-chilling
"Come and play with us, Danny" bit in the Kubrick film?
No. Doesn't even come close;
hardly even tries. It simply lacks the chilly strangeness
of Kubrick. The maestro may not have understood the genre very
well -- or overintellectualized it -- but he birthed a creepy,
ornery beast in a class all by itself. Garris, as he did in The
Stand, merely delivers a dutiful, subservient-to-the-material
job of work. Nothing in it truly fucks with you the way Kubrick's
to-hell-with-the-book, I'm-in-charge-now film did. There are
a few cameos to tickle horror fans, though: directors Sam Raimi
and Frank Darabont, writers David J. Schow and Richard Christian
Matheson, and the Tall Man from Maine himself. Listen for Miguel
Ferrer's voice as Jack's abusive dad.
Courtland Mead, who plays Danny
this time, is more outgoing and verbal than Kubrick's Danny,
and is also borderline annoying. I prefer Danny Lloyd's grave,
near-catatonic performance in the original.
Van Peebles as Halloran make us forget Scatman Crothers?
Nope. Crothers had a genuine,
unforced warmth that the one-time director of Sweet Sweetback's
Baad Asssss Song can't duplicate.
was ABC's reward for springing for this miniseries?
Relatively low ratings, plus
a gag order on King preventing him from dissing the Kubrick film
in promotional interviews for the miniseries. It's believed that
Kubrick (and by extension, I presume, the Kubrick estate) did
not care for the idea of The Shining being done again,
and that this may be why the miniseries took almost six years
to emerge on American home video.
tape it when ABC aired it?
I have the tapes around here
somewhere. It's not like I'm ever going to watch the whole
damn thing again, so they're collecting dust alongside my Golden
Can I buy
them off you?