The novel featured a father (Jack Torrance) who was fighting his addiction to alcohol and he eventual succumbs to the haunted hotel’s evil, although in a brief moment, he manages to fight back and spare his family. In fact in the novel Jack never kills anyone.
The film on the other hand has Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) pretty much unhinged from the get go. He seems irritated at his family and it doesn’t take long before he goes crazy. The ghosts in the film seem to be downplayed. That said though, Kubrick did managed to make one memorable film.
The plot has Jack Nicholson, his wife Shelley Duvall and their young son Danny, taking a job at the Overlook hotel, an isolated hotel in the mountains. They have stay there the entire winter, making sure the hotel is fine, the boiler works and such. There are no other people with them during their stay. Danny has ESP and talks to his imaginary friend Tony, a little boy who lives in his mouth. Danny has visions of something horrible happening in the hotel. Also the previous caretaker went crazy and murdered his family. Jack is a writer and he is trying to finish his novel but he has writer’s block and he sure could use a drink.
After watching the movie several times it grows on me with each viewing. I once believed it was an excellent film if you only watched it in two viewings, stopping it somewhere in the middle. I don’t think that now but I seem to watch it compulsively. It’s probably my most watched Kubrick film, with 2001: A Space Odyssey close behind.