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Stephen King - The Shining


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I read this book a few months ago, and although it's meant to be one of the scariest books ever written (or someting like that) I didn't find so much so....

 

Has anyone else read this book, because I really enjoyed it.

 

The film too, was quite good, but the special effects were more funny than anything else. The "Here's Johnny" bit was scary, but as Harriet would put it;

"Johnny's here!" (To anyone else this probably sounds stupid, but at the time it was vair vair funny. ;P)

 

Sorry, this should go in Horror, but I'm not sure how to move it.... :confused: Good lord... sorry!

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I read this book a few months ago, and although it's meant to be one of the scariest books ever written (or someting like that) I didn't find so much so....

 

Has anyone else read this book, because I really enjoyed it.

 

The film too, was quite good, but the special effects were more funny than anything else. The "Here's Johnny" bit was scary, but as Harriet would put it;

"Johnny's here!" (To anyone else this probably sounds stupid, but at the time it was vair vair funny. ;P)

 

Sorry, this should go in Horror, but I'm not sure how to move it.... :confused: Good lord... sorry!

 

I haven't read this one by King but I've read The Tommyknockers and Pet Semetary and they've both stayed with me because apart from the horror, King has a good theme. In Tommyknockers is was about the use of technology - we use it but we don't know how it works so we don't know what harm we may be doing. In Pet Semetary it was "even if we could, should we bring the dead back to life?" What was The Shining about? I hate horror, it frightens me and I can't shake it off.

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I haven't read any of the books, but I've seen The Shining and Pet Semetary, both of them were un-scary. There were a couple of scary moments but they haven't stayed with me in any way. I don't think the stories are psycological in any way, they're just all about gore, which I don't find particulary scary.

 

*Massive spoilers below*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shining is about this author, his wife and his little son who go to be caretakers at this giant hotel in the mountains somewhere in USA when it closes for the snow season. The boy's about 5 or 6 (correct me if I'm wrong) and he's got this 'talent' called the Shining. And basically he can tell the future, past and see things that other people can't. He can also communicate telepathically. But 'cos he's only little he can't control it properly. So the family arrive at the hotel and the cook shows them around. The cook's also got the Shining, and he communticates with the boy telepathically and explains about the Shining. So then all the staff leave and it's just this little family in the giant hotel, and the manager person told them they can have any room, just don't go in 236 (I think that's the number). The dad's using the quietness to try and write, which is why he took on the job. So the little boy's left to his own devices, and he's just going around the hotel on his little tricycle and he starts seeing things, these twin girls who tell im stuff and he sees their dead bodies. And then one day he decides to go in room 236. And the next thing you see is the mum and dad talking in the room where the guy's trying to write, so he's having a go at the mum for disturbing the quiet. Then the boy walks in, and he's got all these marks on his neck and the mum goes crazy and goes in the room and then she sees someone in there and runs down to tell the dad, who at this point is being possessed by something. The mum thinks that the dad tried to strangle their son when he doesn't believe that there's someone in the hotel with them, and he goes mad and starts trying to kill her. There's a LOAD more stuff, but basically the dad goes mad, tries to kill his wife and son, the boy uses his Shining to contact the chef, and in the book the chef saves them all. But in the films the chef gets killed and they just escape in his little snow mobile thing.

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Never, ever judge a book by the film - especially Stephen King books. "It" and "Tommyknockers" were excellent books, but neither stood a hope of successful translation to big or small screen.

 

"It" was 2 stories in one, about childhood and adulthood, as well as being a "horror" story. I may have said this on another thread, but King's writing has moved on from horror in recent years. He writes about childhood, relationships, hopes and fears, disappointment, humankind's imagination, love, loss, sci-fi, fantasy - and so much more. Above all, he does it so damned well! I've been reading his books on and off for about 20 years, but in the last couple of years he has become one of my favourite authors - mainly because of the sheer variety of his stories and his understanding of human beings.

 

Don't be put off his work by the "horror" label (which does apply correctly to a lot of his early work such as "Carrie" and "'Salem's Lot"). His recent work is far removed from that.

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MFJ, have you read any Dean Koontz?

 

He's pretty prolific as well and covers similar themes. I have read "Strangers", "From The Corner of His Eye" and "The Face" in the last year and they have all been superb. And BIG!

 

Again, not horror, not sci-fi exactly, close enough to reality to make you believe, and definitely an SK type imagination.

 

There is something a little predictable about the style of his story-telling, but being only 3 books in, I haven't tired yet.

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Stephen King is my all time favourite novelist. I agree with My Friend Jack, some of his work does not translate well to either small or large screen. SK is very skilful in building a relationship between the reader and his characters, this is not carried over into film. I am missing his annual 'new' novel and hope that he will come out ot retirement and give us more than the ending to The Dark Tower fantasy series.

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I think 'retired' in the sense of just completing The Dark Tower Series (Dark Tower VII being the last), and not publishing a new novel annually. Just had a look on http://www.stephenking.com and there is a new book co-written with Stewart O'nan called 'Faithful', Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle of their historic 2004 season. Probably very interesting if you understand baseball!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with MFJ - just read his early books and avoid the filmed versions at all costs. It wasn't until they started filming his later 'non-horror' stories that they received any acclaim. I suspect that 'Stand By Me' was the first film that was any good. Since then, they've been pretty good: Misery, Shawshank, Green Mile to name some.

 

Incidentally, if anyone is bemused by SK's recent output (I was), try reading Bag of Bones which is a semi-fictional account of an author who gets hit by a truck. Then when you've finished that, read 'SK - On Writing' (I think that's what it's called). That gives the true account of an author that gets hit by a truck.

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The only part of The Shining that I found truely scarey was when the young boy is cycling through the hotel corridor and is confronted by two freaky twin girls :eek:

 

I've never really considered King to be horror for the most part, but that's mainly due to me comparing him with the likes of Shaun Hutson and James Herbert who I think of as real blood and guts horror writers!

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When I read "The Shining" I was expecting to be scared senseless from all the hype around it, and I was mildly scared, but nowhere near as much as I was told I would be. I think it's a bit of a victim of it's own hype, but the book is better than the film. In the film, the twin girls are creepy, but Jack Nicholson just seems too psychopathic, too early in the film for my liking.

 

I have to disagree on adaptions of the book "It" though, I thought the one with Tim Curry as the clown was scarier than the book.

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Mmm, I wasn't talking about which was scarier, I meant which was better. "It" the book works on so many levels that the film doesn't. I thought (at the time I read it) that it was one of the best stories about childhood that I'd ever read. The film "Stand By Me" achieves the same feeling - and is also based on a King story. In fact, it's one of the consistent themes of his writing - respect for and love of childhood.

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There was a thread elsewhere that some scientists and statastians had compiled a list of things that make a film scary......suspence,terror,fear,horror ect......and The Shining came out on top as officially the scariest film ever.....which proves that the great man knew exactly what he was doing...

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I love Stephen king. I have all his books and have read them hundreds of times. Though I have to say, my fave is Needful Things. Not really a blood and guts horror, which has it's place in literature, but more a psychological horror. Shawshank Redemption is another favourite. Stephen King writes in so many genres, and his last few books have not been particularly horrific in the scary film sense. Though he always manages to find a little bit of horror in whatever he writes. He is so good at understanding his character's motivations and personalities, making them so real to the reader that the realistic horror is brought out.

 

Maximum Overdrive the film with Emilio Estevez in it (based on a short story called Trucks) always frightened me because it was made at a time when electrical appliances were becoming ore and more popular. I always check to make sure that all appliances are switched off about 5 times now, before I am happy to leave them....The problem is that in the story, they didn't need to even be plugged in to attack you!

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Mmm, I wasn't talking about which was scarier, I meant which was better. "It" the book works on so many levels that the film doesn't. I thought (at the time I read it) that it was one of the best stories about childhood that I'd ever read. The film "Stand By Me" achieves the same feeling - and is also based on a King story. In fact, it's one of the consistent themes of his writing - respect for and love of childhood.

 

I agree! His dialog, and realism are spot-on!! Have admired his ability to put that down on paper in such a believable way...

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I really like King. I think he is a better writer than many have given him credit for being. I used to read all his books. Couldn't hardly wait for the next one! But I think I started getting choosy about them when Cujo came out. I didn't want to read a book about a possessed dog. I don't seem to mind children in danger but animals I don't know why - it bothers me.

 

One of the things I have always admired about his writing is that through the characters and the action you are usually "INTO" the story and caught in the flow in the first few pages of his books. You do not have to read 50 or 100 pages to finally get to where the story starts to pick up and engage you. He engages you in the plot almost immediately. I would love to discuss how he does this with others who admire King's writing.

 

Loved The Shinning - read it in one night, could not put it down until I knew that kid was okay! The Stand used to be my favorite but I really like IT and Talisman with Peter Straub. I liked the Dead Zone, Salem's Lot, Firestarter, Tommyknockers, The Green Mile, and the children's book about the Dragon, (was it Dragon Eye?) Needful Things,

 

Did not like Dream Catcher very much, haven't read the Gunslinger series

 

I don't like to think of King books as "Horror" to me it's just good ole spooky weird stuff - a type of fantasy.

 

I grew up on Rod Sterling, Alfred Hitchcock, Shirley Jackson and King just fits right in!

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