Connect with us


David Cronenberg Randomly Slams Stanley Kubrick and ‘The Shining’…

A bizarre quote has begun circulating out of the Toronto Star, who caught up with David Cronenberg, pictured below, at the opening of the “David Cronenberg: Evolutions” exhibit at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Hiding within the feature there’s a hard jab at Stanley Kubrick and his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, which came out of news that Kubrick will get his own TIFF exhibit next year.

I think I’m a more intimate and personal filmmaker than Kubrick ever was,” Cronenberg said before throwing a huge blow.

That’s why I find The Shining not to be a great film. I don’t think he understood the (horror) genre. I don’t think he understood what he was doing. There were some striking images in the book and he got that, but I don’t think he really felt it.

In a weird way, although he’s revered as a high-level cinematic artist, I think he was much more commercial-minded and was looking for stuff that would click and that he could get financed. I think he was very obsessed with that, to an extent that I’m not. Or that Bergman or Fellini were.

BRUTAL. Especially considering Kubriuck isn’t around to respond – it’s kind of a dick move in my opinion.



  • Golic

    ‘The Shining’ was BRILLIANT!

    • Mortimrex

      Agreed “The Shining” is a masterpeice. It just shouldn’t be called “The Shining.” Except for places and names and a very few incidents, it was nothing like King’s novel.

      • Golic

        I love it for the liberties that Kubrick took; made for a better film than a straight on word for word adaptation would’ve been.

  • bozodeathgod

    Sure all I know of Cronenberg comes from interviews and commentaries (really entertaining and insightful commentaries)but I disagree that Cronenberg expressing his (arguably negative) opinion of Kubrick is a “dick-move”. While thoroughly enjoying Kubrick’s The Shining I still agree with both Cronenberg and Stephen King’s assessment of Kubrick’s film.

  • thebard

    Sounds like someone is looking for some attention…

    • wehoaks

      yeah, it’s

      This is such non news and blown out of proportion.

      • Ravinus

        Totally agree.

  • billybob85

    He is especially pompous to consider himself up there with Fellini and Bergman.

    The Shining > The Fly +Videodrome + Shivers

    He is part of that bullshit director group, including Mick Garris, who bash directors who don’t follow King material likes it’s the holy gospel

    • divisionbell

      While it was definitely a dick move Cronenburg isn’t a bullshit director. The Fly was excellent as was Spider. He’s not on level of Kubrick (who was amazing) but he shouldn’t be compared to the awful Mick Garris.

      • billybob85

        Agreed that The Fly was great. But he is closer to Mick Garris than he is to Fellini or Bergman

    • Mortimrex

      That movie didn’t even try to follow King’s novel. It is a great movie in it’s own right. Just shouldn’t have been title “The Shining. I wonder if Kubrick even read the book.

    • porcupinetheater

      He never said he was as good as Bergman or Fellini, he simply said that he favored their style. And I’d hardly consider this a dick move, he’s speaking his opinion. It isn’t as if he’s going around calling Kubrick the biggest hack on the face of the planet and equating the Shining to a pile of dog turds, which would be an obvious exaggeration. I wouldn’t even really call it a slam so much as a criticism, which he is totally justified. If you look at most filmmakers, you can find that they dislike a director who is generally revered.

      And it isn’t as if Cronenberg and King are the only people to say something along these lines. French new waves director Jacques Rivette: “Kubrick is a machine, a mutant, a Martian. He has no human feeling whatsoever.”

      I love both Kubrick and The Shining. That being said, David Cronenberg is merely expressing a differing opinion, which is completely justified. What works for one person won’t for another, even if the thing in question has become considered a “classic.”

  • Macready411

    So damn tired of all Shining hate from the likes of King, Cronenberg, etc. Shut up and make better movies, maybe people will consider your films as masterpieces like Kubrick’s Shining as well as almost everything else he directed. Their jealousy is so apparent its nauseating.

    • Ravinus

      I’m assuming you don’t realize how idiotic you seem.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    it’s hard to judge if he was being a dick or not given the fact we don’t know what question he was asked so his comments might be taken out of context. i read somewhere that king was unhappy the way kubrick portrayed jack torrence because he had a sinister mystique about him from the beginning and i gotta agree on that. i never read the book and i really like the movie but i think jack’s character would’ve been better had he been more normal in the beginning.

  • anthonyd1

    Cronenberg your a douche bag. The Shining is a horror classic and Kubrick did a better job than anyone could have ever done with that film. Disgusting attempt to try to get attention

    • Mortimrex

      Uh, sorry. as far as it being based on the novel, it was no where near it. The Shining IS a horror classic that should not have been called The Shining. Part of me thinks Kubrick and all involved just wanted King’s name involved and nothing more. A better version was the TV Mini-Series, which kept good adhereance to the novel.

      • anthonyd1

        I am just saying in general the movie is a horror classic. Not even comparing it to the book or anything. Kurbrick created his own vision and I admire him for that


    I’m sorry but I have to agree with Cronenberg. The Shining wasn’t really all that great. I don’t hate Kubrick. He’s just hit and miss with me.

  • Patrick-Cooper

    “I think he was much more commercial-minded and was looking for stuff that would click…”



    Let me preface this by saying that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I will respectfully hear anyone out one their opinions on The Shining, which happens to be my all-time favorite film by a wide margin. (Also: minor spoilers for book and film)

    That being said – and I acknowledge that Mr. Cronenberg’s response might be taken somewhat out of context here; I wasn’t present when he said it – I think Cronenberg, like so many detractors of Kubrick’s adaptation before him, is missing the point completely. I believe Kubrick took the framework of King’s book – which, by the way, is a terrific work in its own right, albeit a very different story than what Kubrick was trying to tell – and attempted to make a new kind of horror film. King’s story is present only on the very surface of Kubrick’s The Shining; everything beneath is a uniquely structured film, which, like the maze in the movie (itself a change Kubrick made from the novel) captures viewers’ imaginations and makes it more and more difficult to escape from upon repeat viewings. There are an infinite number of sub-surface narratives in this film, as evidences last year with “Room 237.” Some of them are wacky, but some have some real substance to them. But beyond all of that is the feeling of claustrophobia that Kubrick creates with the shifting continuity of his sets. His Overlook is an impossible location, supernatural in its own right simply because of how spatially inconsistent it is. It’s disorienting. That feeling of discomfort underlines the psychologically disturbing surface narrative of the film. It makes the viewer feel as uncomfortable as the characters, even if it’s a completely subconscious feeling (it took me years to even acknowledge why the film was always so affecting in a way that no other horror film was to me.)

    King’s The Shining was a straightforward story about a recovering alcoholic father, backed against the wall financially, whose vulnerability is taken advantage of by the spirits of the explicitly supernatural Overlook Hotel. It’s a tragedy, because the novel’s Jack Torrance is redeemable. This is what King disliked about the casting of Jack Nicholson; he seems unhinged from the outset. But in the film, there are no easy answers as to what’s really happening at The Overlook. Are there ghosts? Or is it the result of a man already on the edge being pushed over by isolation and cabin fever? Are they all hallucinations? (Most of the times characters see ghosts in the film, they are looking into a mirror. Jack sees the old lady in Room 237 by looking over her shoulder into the mirror, and also sees Lloyd the bartender when he sits in front of the bar’s mirror-backed wall of liquor. He also speaks to Grady in the background while facing the mirror.) Does the film even take place in linear time? There are intertitles that indicate a linear passage of time, but none of them are specific enough to pinpoint a real sense of place and time. The photo at the end further complicates the notion of time.

    In the end, Kubrick made an incredibly disorienting – and therefore, disturbing – film, and while it might not have been the film King or even Cronenberg expected based on the novel, it’s a masterpiece nonetheless.

  • Evil_Flip

    meh, I kinda agree with Cronenberg. And it’s not a blow against Kubrick, he’s just stating his opinion in a more European way (you know where people aren’t offended by every little thing). and the whole ‘Kubrick not able to defend himself’ is kinda bull, I mean do we all need to stop having an (negative) opinion about someone when they’re dead?

    • Jasonicus

      That’s the Liberal way of thinking. Offended by everything.

  • Evan3

    Agreed that its a dick move, and would say Shining is more overrated than it is a bad film. From the stories I have heard though, Cronenberg may be correct that Kubrick just didn’t quite understand the Shining.

  • Jasonicus

    The Shining is a pretty over-rated movie. He has valid points.

  • markajacoby

    Love Cronenberg and couldn’t agree with him more. Can’t stand Kubrik’s “The Shining” and have never understood the love affair with it. As far as I’m concerned it completely trashed the book and bores me to death

    • TheEmptyMask

      Absolutely. I don’t know how Kubrik ever convinced the world that he’s any good.

  • viking1983

    how is having an opinion a dick move? cronenberg has made some great films same as kubrick, not everyone is gonna like the stuff they put out, people read into things way too much

  • MovieGeek

    LOL some of you are fucking hilarious. It was a dick move. Stop sucking Cronenberg’s cock fanboys.

    • Mortimrex

      A very wise and thought out response. At least everyone else above has a point or opinion. You’re just non-sensical.

  • djblack1313

    it’s Cronenberg’s opinion. big deal. do i agree w/ him? no but i’m not going to say he’s wrong for having his opinion.

  • mav07

    There has been a lot of talk this year about The Shining with the release of Dr. Sleep and it seems to be the hip thing now-a-days to bash Kubricks Shining. To them I say, you’re all fucking morons!

  • mav07

    the biggest travesty to come out of Kubricks Shining was that god awful “Documentary” Room 237. What a turd of a concept and an even bigger turd of execution.


    Cronenberg literally repeated what Stephen King originally said… I’ve gotta throw in though that regardless of whether or not Kubrick “understood” horror (whatever the hell that means), The Shining alone is better than anything David Cronenberg has ever touched…

  • haguruma1984

    I have to say, I might have to agree with one point that Cronenberg is making, which is Kubrick being a lot more commercial than a lot of his fame and his fans are letting on.

    Most of his movies rely on famous names in one form or the other to get the ball rolling and The Shining is no exemption from this. While it is a really good horror film, I cannot help but wonder if it had gotten the fame it gathered without the name King attached to it (just like 2001 receives a lot of it’s credibility in the SF world from being co-written by one of the big three scifi writers of it’s time).

    When the movie came out King was one of the upcoming names in horror fiction and his fame as the “king of horror” didn’t stop rising until at least a decade later.
    So while I also think that The Shining is a well crafted movie, I also think that Kubrick was a lot more calculating than he let on. Especially considering that he gained rights to works about which he later admitted he didn’t even like that much.

  • oneofthosedeadfckers

    As much as I love Kubrick’s movies (especially 2001) I have to agree with Cronenberg. The Shining had some awesome shots but isn’t even in my top 10 horror list, it’s not nearly as creepy as the book. I actually think the Fly was a better horror movie.

  • Jimbus_Christ

    This breaks my heart in so many ways.

  • Krug09

    Well. As a huge Kubrick fan. I just rewatched full metal jacket. Great film. Kubrick was imo the best director of all time. His films are powerful masterpieces. Cronenberg is an overrated hack! I watched most of his films, they suck! Scanners was horrible. I havent seen the fly in many years but it wasnt bad. Kubrick was the opposite of commercial minded. he spent years picking out what he liked, worked on it and made it happen. This pretentious asshole spent all his time trying to make things “click” and mostly failed. The shining is a scary film. it has a lot great visuals and subtext. what does Dick Cronenberg have? Scanners, Videodrome? I watched them and was like “why is this so popular? because a guys head explodes?” Watch maniac for a better exploding head. lol.

  • CTHL

    One pretentious dick hipsterizing on another [dead] pretentious dick, is all I see here. Kubrick would’ve done the same (and did).

    Which is a better? Who cares? I personally like Cronenberg a little better (as a HORROR director)… half because he at least knew how to pace a movie, but then again he also has a lot more pure crap under his belt.

    Both are overrated, so I don’t really care who wins the popular vote.

  • MontagTheMagician

    Cronenberg was too good to The Shining. Kubrick’s version is a pile of shit. Not only one of the worst horror movies ever made but one of the worst movies ever made period. He gets almost everything wrong. It only has one good thing going for it and that is the incredible cinematography. Every actor is miscast especially Nicholson who just phones his role in. He starts the movie as a psychotic loony and goes no where with it. Making silly faces and cracking lame jokes doesn’t make for good acting. The music is abysmal. I saw the movie at the theater when it came out and couldn’t believe how bad it was. I should have listened to the critics who mostly all slammed it. I decided to then read the book and couldn’t believe that Kubrick tossed out a masterpiece of horror and made up his own lame movie just steeling the title, characters and location. In fact, the very few things from the book that are in the movie are the only interesting parts of the narrative. Ugh, anyway, way to go Cronenberg. You are a true pioneer of film with a unique vision.


    So, I’ve read through all the comments here, and I respect all of the opinions stated. I’m surprised at some of the hatred toward The Shining, but it doesn’t upset me in the least, as everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

    That being said, as The Shining is both one of my favorite novels and my absolute favorite film, I do feel strongly that it is a mistake to judge the film purely based on its faithfulness to its “source” material. Film is a different medium than books, and it’s very rare to see a literal adaptation, and often, I think the changes made to a novel to adapt it into film form are for the better. Some things that work on paper simply don’t work on screen. I’m not saying there are necessarily any examples of that with The Shining, I’m just making a broader point. But even King’s miniseries took some liberties with what was on the pages of his novel.

    I don’t think it was ever Kubrick’s intention to make a film based solely on King’s The Shining. I think he wanted to experiment with the horror genre, and I think The Shining’s basic structure offered him the framework with which to do that. The barebones remain the same: family of three with an alcoholic father spend the winter at The Overlook Hotel and are undone. What they are undone by, in my opinion is more ambiguous in Kubrick’s work than in King’s, and that is what I love so much about the film.

    Now, I can totally appreciate that people looking for an accurate adaptation of the novel might have been disappointed, but I don’t think The Shining should be viewed in that context. Kubrick’s take on it doesn’t mean that no other adaptations can be made. The mini-series was for the most part a faithful adaptation, and both the film and the mini-series have their own fans. I own the mini-series because of its faithfulness to the book, and I enjoy it. I also own Kubrick’s film because I think it is a masterpiece of modern horror in its own right, albeit a film that bears little in common with its namesake.

  • X

    To be honest… the only Kubrick movie I like is Full Metal Jacket. The rest of his work was just boring for me. Although Jack Torrance is one of Nicholson’s best roles! The documentary Room 437 about The Shinging was very interesting.

  • Darkness69

    I don’t think it was a dick move, since he didn’t really offend him, plus he made a valid point when it comes to Kubrick’s filmmaking. The Shining is too cold (I seem to remember a similar discussion on here before), and I simply prefer Cronenberg’s much more fruitful and original visions.

  • tomviolence

    Ugh…I don’t get it. You got my attention with the headline, but I don’t see any “dick move” here. Stop tricking me into visiting your site.Overall though, great work. Keep it up.

  • splatterhead4ever

    Krug 09, normally I don’t post or let comments get to me because everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, calling Cronenberg a hack is a bit extreme. Especially when you only mention two of his earlier works, Scanners and Videodrome. They were cutting edge at the time. Not sure how old you are but chances are, some of the movies you watched when you were younger, don’t hold up today as well as when you first watched them. I’ll bet you can still respect and appreciate something from most of them though. I suggest you check out eXistenZ, Dead Ringers, Crash, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Then tell me he’s a hack. Also, in MY opinion, his remake of the fly is VERY Kubrick like, because you have a unique, anti-establishment director trying to make a commercial movie while retaining his own identity. One last thing. Look at the money and time spent on Kubricks movies and then look at Cronenbergs. I personally love both directors and most of their movies but calling Cronenberg a hack on a horror site seems out of line.

  • I love david cronenberg very much i love him in nightbreed and he contributes alot to the horror genre but i love the shining aswell i think it is people’s own preferences i can’t stand slasher movies as they are to predictable in their context but each to their own i say.

  • Milk

    I love The Shining but I don’t really consider it a horror movie. That may be just me but it was never really that scary. It gets a bit eerie at points but that’s about it for me.

  • miami

    Cronenberg is an over-rated jealous old man who never made a good movie. And that’s my opinion.

  • Dave Brown

    ….Yeah, but why is Cronenberg wrong? He’s dead on. He as a filmmaker is way more fringe than Kubrick ever was! And why is that a bad thing for either one of them? And Kubrick films are cold and very technical and point or theme driven. Rarely are they truly character driven or deeply emotional. I’ve watched many Kubrick film many times and I really admire him, but the facts of his work speak for themselves.
    Cronenberg is more of an intimate filmmaker. His films always have strong characters and the things that happen in his films are always character based. Kubrick is not. These are facts.
    Kubrick did not know how to make a horror movie. And it’s a known fact that he only made The Shining because at that particular time horror was big. He wanted to make the biggest and best horror movie of all time. His words. He failed.
    And by the way, dick or not, Cronenberg would’ve said the same thing had he been reminded of Kubrick at a museum if Kurbrick was still alive. Calling him a dick for what he said, which was honest and his opinion, is ridiculous and a desperate attempt at portraying one self as a ‘real film lover’. Bah! Cronenberg has always led and not followed and thankfully he still does to this day.
    I’m with him. The Kubrick adaption of the excellent novel of The Shining is the most overrated horror movie, maybe ever.

    • Gotham

      Yeah sure, and saying Kubrick was a commercial filmmaker is so true.

      • Dave Brown

        He was. Nothing wrong with that either, lets just call a spade a spade. Major studio productions and giant budgets with of the day movie stars. Not quite an independent.

        • Gotham

          Because 2001, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut were so dedicated to please the audiences.

          • Dave Brown

            I would imagine. Hence why they were made, financed and put out there with big marketing and major movie stars. He didn’t raise the money for them on his own. He sure as shit didn’t use his own money. Don’t think that just because the director has a phony mystique around him that he’s not a commercial director. Hal Hartley is a non -commercial director, Kubrick was a Warner Bros. Studios director(for about thirty years!). Trust me. I am a real cinenphile, not a cultist of Kubrick, as much as I admire him as a director and as much as I like most of his movies(except The Shining obviously). One only need to read interviews with people who worked on The Shining and people who knew him when he decided to make it. He made it to be a hit, especially after the last two flicks he made were not financial successful(Clockwork and Shining both became hits way after their release-Clockwork, I get, The Shining, I don not).
            Why does it seem like I know more about your Jesus than you do?

          • Chris Wake

            shut the fuck up

          • Gotham

            I disagree. While Stanley finacial support were big movie producing companies, he is one of a few breed of directors that put his vision over the company’s goal. I don’t swallow Cronenberg words, I believe he is did this to get attention.

            “Kubrick was a Warner Bros. Studios director(for about thirty years!).”

            So?, Alfred Hithcock considered by many one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and a suspense pioneer worked for RKO, Universal, United artists. Orson Welles did too, Milos forman, prime Francis ford coppola, Martin Scorsese, Howard Hawkes and the list goes on and on I get the innuendo to try to discredit his career because he worked for Warner Bros but he doesn’t realized he never pandered to the easy story without a deep analysis, he was a master of composition Cronenberg is a great filmmaker but he went full retarded with these declarations.

            “Why does it seem like I know more about your Jesus than you do?”

            Don’t be an idiot.

    • Chris Wake

      You’re a fucking idiot. End of story.

      • Dave Brown

        Snappy. I like that. I’d rather be that than a slack-jawed fanboy trying to mentally fuck and defend a dead guy who’s movies you liked. Does your mom know you’re out of your cage? Maybe you could retort, with detail, about what in my statement is wrong or idiotic?

More in Movies