Whenever one of Stephen King’s novels hits the shelves, one can expect a movie adaptation right around the corner. With over 70 books, The King of Horror has had his fair share of novels transformed to the big screen. And while he usually doesn’t have much of an opinion on the adaptations, there’s a handful that he has a passionate stance on. Some of these stances derive from hatred (cough cough The Shining,) while others stem from adoration. With that being said, what is King’s favorite movie adaptation of one of his novels?
Stephen King isn’t a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’
King isn’t afraid to voice his opinion when it comes to the adaptations he can’t stand. And although many people regard Kubrick’s retelling as a masterpiece, King can’t understand the cultish following of the film. While he can admit that Kubrick’s The Shining is visually stunning, he argues that there is zero depth when it comes to the characters.
The author is firmly under the impression that you need to care about the characters first, in order to be scared. And because he considers Jack and Wendy to be one dimensional in the film, he believes it’s harder to care whether or not they get axed.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he says that he always makes sure to add a layer of warmth to his protagonists. In The Shining, there is no warmth shared between the characters. Nicholson’s character is crazy and angry right off the bat, (pun intended), which destroys his entire character arc.
As King shares in Rolling Stone,
“The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire and the movie in ice. In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little, he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene.”
“I had to keep my mouth shut at the time. It was a screening, and Nicholson was there. But I’m thinking to myself the minute he’s on the screen, ‘Oh, I know this guy. I’ve seen him in five motorcycle movies, where Jack Nicholson played the same part.’ And it’s so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that’s just me, that’s the way I am.”
Stephen King’s favorite movie adaptation from his novels
King tells Rolling Stone that his favorite movie adaptation to one of his works is Stand By Me. He feels as though Rob Reiner’s movie perfectly captures the essence of his novella, The Body. Both the book and film tell the story of a group of kids who are about twelve years old. They decide to go on an adventure one weekend instead of doing the same old thing (which is playing cards in the treehouse while talking about girls and race cars.)
Their experience involves finding the dead body of one of the local kids who died on the train tracks. And although this King story has no killer clowns or bloody-mallet swinging villains, it is rich with heart and nostalgia. King has even stated that the group of boys in this story are some of his favorite characters out of anything he’s ever written.
Stephen King also loves the ‘IT’ remakes
King also gives the IT remakes a big thumbs up. He loves that these movies put the characters first, honing in on the emotional arc between the members of The Losers’ Club. He says, “It’s something audiences can relate to. And they’re going to like the characters. Because to me, it’s all about characters. If you like the characters, you care, and then the scares generally work.”
King adds, “One of the things that I wanted to do in the novel, and all of my novels, is to create characters who are fundamentally decent. That way, you don’t want them to be spam in a cabin. You want them to live, and you want them to win. I think that translates to the film, and that’s one of the reasons I really like this movie.”