8. The Shining (Novel)
Original publication date: 1977
OK, sorry, King die-hards, but we’ve got to come clean here: In our eyes, director Stanley Kubrick’s bleaker, meaner, and colder 1980 film version of The Shining is the superior incarnation. Yes, we’re aware that King hates Kubrick’s flick, specifically because the legendary filmmaker’s erased all of the book’s optimism and turned the motion picture into a straightforwardly gloomy and emotionally brutal creepshow. By doing so, Kubrick crafted one of cinema’s all-time scariest movies, but, to this day, King isn’t pleased.
And, if you’ve ever read The Shining, it’s easy to see why he’d be so against the movie. The haunted house jolts and frights are plentiful in King’s novel; about a recovering alcoholic writer who goes insane while living inside a massive hotel with his wife and young son. But the book’s strongest component is actually its hopefulness, which King conveys in the final chapters, where the family’s bond materializes from beyond the grave.