Excellent essay by Laura Miller from Salon.com detailing why King is right to dislike the Stanley Kubrick version of the Shining movie.
But while everything in Kubrick’s “The Shining” — especially Nicholson’s suppressed energy — pushes eagerly toward the spectacular release of Jack’s rampage, in King’s novel the man’s disintegration is a tragedy. A key difference between the two versions is the prominence of alcohol, which is more or less incidental in the film. In King’s novel, booze is the key that unlocks the monster inside a regular guy, and the beast’s first victim is the regular guy himself. The most significant thing about any character in King’s fiction is how he or she responds to such monsters, whether they come from within or without. That’s surely the chief reason why he detests Kubrick’s portrayal of Wendy as a gibbering victim; King’s Wendy chooses to be a heroine.
King is, essentially, a novelist of morality. The decisions his characters make — whether it’s to confront a pack of vampires or to break 10 years of sobriety — are what matter to him. But in Kubrick’s “The Shining,” the characters are largely in the grip of forces beyond their control. It’s a film in which domestic violence occurs, while King’s novel is about domestic violence as a choice certain men make when they refuse to abandon a delusional, defensive entitlement. As King sees it, Kubrick treats his characters like “insects” because the director doesn’t really consider them capable of shaping their own fates. Everything they do is subordinate to an overweening, irresistible force, which is Kubrick’s highly developed aesthetic; they are its slaves. In King’s “The Shining,” the monster is Jack. In Kubrick’s, the monster is Kubrick.