Famous Film Adaptions of Novels: Part I

“And it is folly to try to craft a novel for the screen, to write a novel with a screen contract in mind.” – Thomas Keneally

I have never seen The Shining, American Psycho, or 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think I can safely assume that the majority of 2012’s pop culture consumers who have watched these films have either never read the novels, or have at least read the novels after watching the film adaptions. I plan on reading the novels first and then watching these films with a fresh perspective. It’s impossible to deny the influence these iconic films have already had on my imagination, since I will inevitably picture Christian Bale’s disturbing visage as I read American Psycho and will constantly wonder how Stanley Kubrick has reinterpreted each scene on the page in both The Shining and A Space Odyssey.

1. The Shining by Stephen King

I know it takes place in a hotel and that Jack Nicholson stars as the main character in the novel, and that’s basically the end of my knowledge. I recently read my first Stephen King novel called 11/22/63, which dramatically departed from his typical horror genre and mixed historical and science fiction as a time-traveling English teacher goes back to stop the assassination of JFK. There was one scene in the novel where King’s inner demons burst through, as a woman’s stalker ex-husband breaks into her home (circa 1962) with a knife. King’s ability to craft suspense and a man’s eerie leanings towards evil were revealed in this short scene in 11/22/63, and without a doubt The Shining will give me sleepless nights.

2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

A famous banned book, American Psycho is still sold in shrink wrap and to people 18 and older in some countries (and simply not available in other countries). Before Christian Bale became known as our generation’s Dark Knight he was the anti-hero serial killer in this 2000 film adaption. From what I’ve gathered over the years, the main character is an investment banker or some other Manhattan elite business man by day and murderer by night.

3. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

From the little exposure I’ve had to the film, I’ve grasped that the 1968 Stanley Kubrick piece 2001: A Space Odyssey was a milestone in special effects.  I know the novel has something to do with a species of apes on an alien planet (or perhaps it is Earth?), but beyond that my knowledge of the plot is guesswork.

I invite any readers who haven’t seen these films or read these novels to join me!

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