Stephen King on Stanley Kubrick: Ghosts Vs. Hell In ‘The Shining’ [Video]

Stephen King on Stanley Kubrick: Ghosts Vs. Hell In 'The Shining' [Video]

Stephen King has long expressed his disdain for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of his classic novel, The Shining. But there are details as to why that have never really been understood.

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With all that has been said and reported on various news outlets, there is a video now that shows there is more to the story than people previously knew about Stanley Kubrick’s vision of The Shining and how it differs from Stephen King’s vision.

First of all, before Stanley Kubrick made The Shining, he had some conversations with Stephen King over the phone. One of those conversations was specifically about what ghosts truly represent if they existed in the real world.

On one of the phone calls, Stephen King recalls a point in their conversation when he took the call from Kubrick and the famed director posed an interesting question.

“Stephen, Stanley Kubrick here. Don’t you agree that all stories of ghosts are fundamentally optimistic?” Stephen King said that Stanley Kubrick had asked him.

Stanley Kubrick then explained what he meant by telling Stephen King that if ghosts exist, then that means that people “survive death.” So as a basis for his theory, he postulated that all ghost stories, no matter how they are told, are fundamentally optimistic that there is life after death.

But Stephen King had a completely different view on the concept of ghosts, and it is one that not to aspire for.

“Well, Mr. Kubrick… what about hell?” Stephen King quoted himself as saying in response to Stanley Kubrick.

Kubrick responded to that by saying he does not believe in hell, but Stephen King said that he did believe in hell and that there are other people out who do. So King postulated that surviving death as a ghost may indeed be hell itself, and that is how he wrote the novel to envision the ghosts as being in hell.

“Atmospheric and Creepy”

So Stephen King sums it up by saying that he had a fundamental difference in the way he saw the characters of The Shining. King saw them as warm characters being infested by cold spirits. Whereas King said that Kubrick saw the characters as cold, especially Jack Torrance, who did not need to be turned, but rather nudged to give in to their desires.

Watch the video below of Stephen King speaking about all these differences between himself and Stanley Kubrick on The Shining.

[Featured Image by Warner Bros.]

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About Nick Younker 161 Articles
Nick Younker has spent over fifteen years working in the local and national media. After transitioning from television to online journalism, he honed in on his lifelong love of horror entertainment and blended it with his unique abilities as a writer. He is the father of two gifted children and has spent most of his life in southern Indiana, excluding 3 years in Atlanta while working with Turner Entertainment. You can catch up with him on Twitter at @NYounker, or on his website,, where he publishes his daily news articles about updates in the horror, sci-fi and entertainment industry.

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