The Shining Book and Movie Comparison

Love it or hate it, there is no denying that Steven King’s The Shining is one of those movies that will always hold its well-earned place in ‘Top Ten’ articles, all over the internet. The movie was first released as far back as 1980; with the book proceeding it by a further three years. With the movie being the first thing that comes into most people’s minds on hearing the shared title; I feel the book has been progressively overshadowed by its visual counterpart. Furthermore, I also strongly feel that the book is infinitely better, despite my love for the movie.

The shining - book or movie

It may be down to Imagination….

The Shining was my gateway into horror when I was a young child. It was the movie I saw first as I was way too young to read anything other than comics. Having such a sentimental value to me, I still love the movie to this day. That being said, I feel the fundamental reason the book bests the movie is personal imagination; the ability to conjure up imagery from the deepest depths of your mind can often lead to a far more terror-inducing conclusion. Movies, as great as they are, force upon you their idea of what’s unfolding in front of you; how things look and how things sound. With the ability to delve into what’s literally limitless depths, it’s your personal horror that you visualize; what scares you. We conjure up the scariest possible depiction and, consequently, are treated to a deeper horror experience, in my opinion. The Shining is the perfect example.

…Or not Sticking to the Script

While the book and the movie share the same premise, there exist events in the book that aren’t to be seen in the movie. For instance, Danny Torrance is hounded by topiary throughout Steven King’s sole masterpiece; yes, topiary. The mansion’s grounds are home to a collection of topiary that attacks young Danny. The scenes of foliage folk are written in a way that really puts you right at the heart of the scene. It’s a real shame it didn’t make the final cut for the blockbuster movie.

 The Shining (1980)

Aside from the killer hedges, the movie ended with a far quieter bang than the book. I won’t go into too many details, just in case you are thinking of either reading or watching The Shining in the near future. Let’s just say, it’s very different. If you’ve seen the movie but not read the book then you are in for a real treat at the end (and, indeed, throughout).

The Movie’s One Redeeming Factor

The cast and director were what made The Shining such a phenomenal success. With Kubrick at the helm and the likes of Jack Nicholson taking the lead, the potent potion of talent worked wonders for an already thrilling story.

The Shining - book vs movie


As mentioned earlier, The Shining was one of the movies that introduced me to the genre that I have come to love today. It’s certainly one of those movies that every horror fan should enjoy at least once in their lives. Despite the exclusions and diversions from the original story, the movie was and still is, a true gem of horror.

However, if you’re a fellow bookworm and like to use your own reliable imagination to paint a picture, then this book is an ideal first step into the vast catalog of Steven King. Which did you prefer? Let us know below.

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