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8. The Shining (1980)

Based on: The Shining, by Stephen King (1977)

No author wants to hear that a movie translation of their own hard, written work is the superior incarnation; Stephen King, however, would undoubtedly flip his lid at the inclusion of his haunted hotel opus The Shining here. But, unless you're the author himself, it's tough to argue against the merits of Stanley Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece of cynical, unpleasant horror. Even on the fifth or sixth time you watch it, Kubrick's The Shining is liable to scare the viewer's pants off, after the urine stains settle.

In King's novel, the scares are vast and the scope is wide, yet there's an underlying sense of optimism—he wants Jack Torrance and his family to overcome the hotel's nightmarish powers. One can't say the same for Kubrick, though; his film is an exercise in chilling pessimism, draining out of all of King's book's hope and amplifying the downbeat terror. And it's incredibly unsettling, especially thanks to Jack Nicholson's unlikeable yet fascinating work as the sanity-losing Torrance.

An example of Kubrick's madcap approach: As the proverbial shit hits the fan, and the ghosts all come out to play, one apparition, wearing a bear suit, goes down on an elder, tuxedo-clad gentleman. Why? Who the hell knows, but it's that degree of lunacy that sets the two versions apart.