Comparison of 5 Horror Movie Adaptations


Laylah Reyes

Horror Movies

Laylah Reyes, Staff Writer

Spooky Season is upon us, meaning Halloween candy, costumes, and, most of all, horror films!

These are five horror movie/book adaptations and I’ve included the minor and major differences between the movies and the books.

***Beware! Spoilers ahead.***

  1. Birdbox: Written by Susanne Bier and adapted/directed by Josh Malerman. The book was released on March 27, 2014, and the movie was released on December 14, 2018 (USA), and runs for 2 hours and 4 minutes. The book and movie are set in an alternate reality with the outbreak of an unknown force wiping out civilization. The main character, Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock, is an expecting mother to be when this strange thing starts killing people or rather convincing them to commit suicide. Throughout the book, compared to the movie, there are some very stark differences, including some of the character’s actions/creation of characters and more particularly the ending of the movie being more benevolent than the book ending. 
  2. It: Written by Stephen King and adapted/directed by Andres Musechietti. The book was released on September 15, 1986, and the movie was released on September 5, 2017 (USA), and runs for 2 hours and 26 minutes. The basis of both the book and the movie starts off with Georgie, Bill’s brother, going missing and Bill becoming obsessed with finding him. Right off the bat, the book and movie have some very major differences starting with the time period in which the book is set (in the ’50s) while the movie is set in the ’80s. Other differences or parts left out of the movie are the turtle that lets them know how to defeat Pennywise, the loss of feminine power by Beverly and the depth King goes through when describing the bully’s evil actions. 
  3. The Shining: Written by Stephen King and adapted/directed by Stanley Kubrick. The book was released on January 28, 1977, and the movie was released on May 23, 1980 (USA), and runs for 2 hours and 26 minutes. The book and movie start off with Jack, played by Jack Nicholson, and his family being assigned as the new caretakers of the Overlook Hotel during the winter months when it is closed. A note to be added is that King hated the movie and despises it with his every being. Setting aside the fact that the author hates this movie, there are some key details that were changed or left out like the iconic ax in the movie was supposed to be a mallet, leading me to the next difference which is of the cook’s death. In the movie he is straight-up killed once he walks in pretty much; in the book he is beaten to a pulp but not enough to where he can’t help the mom and son escape. Other differences I won’t go into detail with are the hedge maze, Jack’s characterization as an alcoholic, and his death. 
  4. Interview With a Vampire: Written by Anne Rice and adapted/directed by Neil Jordan. The book was released on May 5, 1976, and the movie was released on November 11, 1994 (USA), and runs for 2 hours and 3 minutes. It saddens and angers me that it took almost twenty years to get an adaptation of this book and they changed absolutely every aspect of it. The book starts off with Louis, played by Brad Pitt, who is mourning the loss of his brother, whereas in the movie he is mourning the loss of his wife and child. That is just the first of many differences the director made in making this movie. Others include the physical appearance of Claudia, played by Kirsten Dunst, which is more understandable than Daniel, played by Christian Slater, which is changed a bit much, but the appearance of Armand, played by Antonio Banderas, is entirely replaced in the movie. Some of the key plot elements in the book, such as the homosexuality of Louis, Lestat, played by Tom Cruise, Armand, and Daniel are all changed in the movie and made for a more heterosexual crowd. Lastly, the ending is a key difference because when Lestat changes Daniel and drives off, but the actually written ending is Daniel finding Armand instead. 
  5. Jaws: Written by Peter Benchley and adapted/directed by Steven Spielberg. The book was released in February 1974, and the movie was released on June 20, 1975 (USA), and runs for 2 hours and 10 minutes. There are smaller changes that Spielberg made and about two-three major changes. The smaller ones include the number of people killed by the shark attack at the beach; the smack in the face by Mrs. Kitner is actually a third-degree rant in the book, the mayor being involved with the mob and a jerk rather than just being a jerk in the movie, and it taking place off the coast of New England rather than in Long Island. The major one that was all cut out was the affair between Ellen, played by Lorraine Gary, who has an affair with Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, that goes on for about 60 pages and is not hinted at or shown once in the movie. The others are the fact that Hooper Dies in the book and not in the movie and the shark dying by an explosion in the movie rather than exhaustion in the books.