King may not have approved of this version of his tale because of all the liberties Stanley Kubrick took with the source material, but there’s no denying that Kubrick’s movie works on its own terms. Indeed, it’s one of the scariest movies ever made.
Like Carrie, it could have actually worked without the supernatural element; as a story of Jack Nicholson’s recovering alcoholic character giving into his demons and turning his drink-fueled rage against his family, it might have been just as terrifying. Nicholson is his own special effect, whether it’s the way his eyes light up during the “Here’s Johnny!” sequence, or the way his jutting jaw and rolled-back eyes turn him into an abominable snowman during the final ice maze sequence.
But then you add little Danny’s (Danny Lloyd) psychic power and all of Kubrick’s chilly visions — those creepy twin girls, the decomposing old woman in the bath, the blood-filled elevator, and so many more. Here’s one time when Kubrick’s supposed misanthropy really pays off.
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