I seem to remember that Stephen King was never a big fan of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, stating that Kubrick missed the point of the story and shifted its emphasis from the inherent evil of the hotel to a mere human drama (he even went as far as supervising a supposedly more accurate TV-adaptation in the 90s).

So I was rather suprised to read him reference that very movie in the 2nd book of the Dark Tower series The Drawing of the Three, where Eddie is reminded of it by looking through Odetta's door:

He was staring into the doorway, hypnotized, as an aisle of Macy’s rushed forward—he was reminded again of The Shining, where you saw what the little boy was seeing as he rode his trike through the hallways of that haunted hotel. He remembered the little boy had seen this creepy pair of dead twins in one of those hallways. The end of this aisle was much more mundane: a white door.

Now this is surely just a short throwaway reference. But not only is he referencing a film adaptation of one of his very own works (which, given the broader work-spanning universe supposedly established in the Dark Tower series, might lead to interesting continuity problems if concepts from The Shining would ever find their way into that shared universe). He references one he is known for not holding in a particularly high regard.

So is there anything known about the nature of this reference and how it came about or what its wider implications about The Shining's place in the Dark Tower series and especially King's opinion about Kubrick's film are, if any? Can we draw more conclusions from the text (or any future books in the series) or any other of King's statements about the Kubrick film that make more of this very odd choice of reference, or is it supposed to be just that and nothing more?

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    A man can't like bits of a film?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 0:13
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    Like the film or not, it IS very well known, and the image is somewhat iconic. King may dislike the film, but he's honest enough to recognize it for something people know, and would reference. That particular scene is interesting and unusual (for the time - they ended up with a Steadicam on a wheelchair to do that long, close up tracking scene) in a cinematographic sense, and is something people remember from it. And, then, the two creepy girls STILL bug people to this day :)
    – K-H-W
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 2:30
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    For anyone who doesn't know the scene, here it is on Youtube. For the time it was filmed, it was fairly impressive, including how the sound of the bigwheel changes at it goes over carpet or hardwood, without us hearing the camera and sound guys chasing him.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 2:34
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    King also dislikes J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as well but references it heavily through out the Dark Tower series.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 19:35

2 Answers 2


While Stephen King despises how Kubrick managed the story, he appreciates the beautiful filming.

I think ‘The Shining’ is a beautiful film and it looks terrific and as I’ve said before, it’s like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it.

Interview with Deadline

The quote you provide evokes an image that King probably regards as visually striking.


Interesting that you mention continuity issues - Eddie mentions "The Shining" as a movie in Drawing of the Three, but later in Song of Susannah/Wolves of the Calla he and Jake don't recognize Stephen King as an author, because they don't live in the Keyworld.

Maybe Eddie's version of the "The Shining" movie was written by someone else in that world? Seems like a small plot inconsistency rather than anything intentional, but Eddie definitely shouldn't have known about The Shining or seen the movie if King didn't exist in his "when" or "where".

Alternatively, maybe in Eddie's original Earth The Shining was written by Richard Bachman, King's pseudonym. That makes a nice headcanon, I think I'll go with that.

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    Hello and welcome to SFF. Your answer is mostly supposition and your own headcanon, which is more fitting for a comment, since what we're looking for here are answers based on proofs. In this case, that would be comments made by the author, for example.
    – Sava
    Commented Oct 21, 2019 at 7:56

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