Tag: roald dahl

Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch in The Witches

6 Times the Book and Movie Had COMPLETELY Different Endings

Some (especially me!) would say that the ending is the most important part of the story. It is the last chance for the author to effect the audience, to really say something. It is the moment when everything comes together, the moment that everything builds to. Here, the intentions behind the story become clear.

Which is why it’s really frustrating, blood-boiling even, when the movie changes the ending! Here are six movie adaptations that completely changed the book’s ending. Some of them make for a better story, but not all of them. Especially not that film.

Oh yeah, spoilers. But these books and films are like —*mental math sounds* —old.


6. The Witches


According to Syfy, the 1990 film The Witches is the most iconic Roald Dahl adaptation. It’s both terrifying and awe-inspiring. The witches have, as described in the book, bald heads, eyes that change color, and toeless feet. Heck, just look at the Grant High Witch (Anjelica Huston) in all her glory:


Image result for witches, grand high witch


Just kidding. That’s just her unmasking. This is what she REALLY looks like:


Image result for witches, grand high witch


Most 90s kids will agree that image sent shivers up their spine and is burnt into their consciousness. The story follows a little boy named Luke Eveshim who unwittingly stumbles upon the annual meeting of witches, taking place in the hotel where he is staying with his grandmother. The witches are planning to turn children into mice, and Luke is one of their first victims.

The film follows the 1983 child’s book of the same name rather closely. That is, until the ending. In the book, Luke remains a mouse, however this is not portrayed as a sad ending, as his lifespan as a mouse will be about equal to the amount of time his grandmother has left alive, and thus they will live out the remainder of their lives together.

In the film, HOWEVER, one of the witches doesn’t like how the Grand High Witch is treating her so she bails, and tracks down Luke (who is still a mouse), reversing the spell and turning him back into a little boy.

BBC News reported that Roald Dahl, dismissed this film’s ending as “utterly appalling”. Personally, I think after seeing their interpretation of the Grand High Witch,  I’d cut the film some slack for its happy ending.


5. The Shining


We’ve all absorbed the story through the cultural zeitgeist—through either reading the Stephen King novel, seeing the Stanley Kubrick film, or just seeing enough stills and hearing enough quotes from the film to consider ourselves fairly familiar with one of the most iconic thrillers of the modern age. So, as you probably know, The Shining follows Jack Torrence (portrayed by Jack Nicholson), a man struggling with both with writer’s block and alcoholism, who brings his family to a remote hotel he can finally complete his play.




Unfortunately, the two creators – King and Kubrick – were fundamentally at odds with each other. According to The Guardian, King received one call from the infamous director which went something like this:

Kubrick: “I think stories of the supernatural are fundamentally optimistic, don’t you? If there are ghosts then that means we survive death.”

King: “What’s that mean?”

(A long pause)

Kubrick: “I don’t believe in hell.”

So the two creators didn’t see eye to eye. What more is that the films diverge far before the ending. According to Steven King, “in the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he’s crazy. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene.”

Knowing this, it’s hard to explain why these two approaches reach vastly different endings. In the novel, Jack Torrence regains his senses and sacrifices himself – giving his son Danny and wife Wendy time to escape with Dick Hallorann.

In the Kubrick film, Danny runs from a crazy Jack through a hedge maze ( the book features topiary animals that come to life, but no giant hedge maze) and eventually evades Jack. Exhausted, Jack collapses to the ground while the others escape – without Dick Hallorann as he is killed in the film version – and Jack freezes to death.


Image result for kubrick frozen jack

As Steven King said, “…the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice.”

That sums it up pretty well.


4. Fight Club


Here’s a case in which the author actually preferred the film adaptation to their own book.

Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club ends with with Jack/Tyler Durdan in a mental hospital. Yeah, that was inevitable.


Image result for fight club

But the David Fincher film gets revolutionary. Jack holds hands with Marla while Project Mayhem goes off without a hitch, and the city’s buildings crumble to the ground. Brief shot of a penis (see the movie, read the book to get it) before we cut to credits.


Image result for palahniuk chuck

Mr. Palahniuk himself said in an interview “…when I sat down…[to]…record a commentary track for the DVD, I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make”.

So the film is Palahniuk approved.


3. A Clockwork Orange (1971)


Oh, Kubrick. I love you – you made greats films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – but sometimes, you were too smart for your own good.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah: in 1962 Anthony Burgess published A Clockwork Orange and 1971 saw the release of the Kubrick’s film. While Anthony Burgess made it clear he didn’t want to be remembered by this novel, his fate was fixed when Kubrick had a young Malcolm McDowell stare into a camera lens, his glassy eyes gazing right through the audience.


Image result for a clockwork orange kubrick

Both stories follow the character of Alex before and after his imprisonment. While the plot of the novel and the film are largely the same (except for character swaps here and there) the endings differ.

In the film Alex is de-conditioned during his recuperation in a hospital, during which time, he meets with government office and makes a deal with them: Alex will tell everyone the government isn’t at fault and they are friends (even though the government in this dystopian setting are to blame for Alex being literally unable to defend himself). After this deal, Alex looks at the camera and goes, “I was cured alright,” as Beethoven’s 9th blare out. Alex’s fantasies are back in full wind and he faces no more consequences for his actions.



The novel, on the other hand, includes an extra chapter. In Chapter Twenty-One, Alex finds an old friend, Pete, who is now married and settled down. Alex begins imagining that kind of life for himself, signifying his change into adulthood. Consequence of Sound quotes Anthony Burgess as saying, “My young hoodlum comes to the revelation of the need to get something done in life.”


2. First Blood


The iconic 1982 movie is based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel First Blood, in which Rambo dies!

Yes, the iconic character dies. Also, his name is Rambo in the book. Just Rambo. The film takes extensive liberties such as giving Rambo a first name (John).


Book cover for First Blood by David Morrell


In the film, Rambo goes after Sheriff Teastle and, as he prepares to kill him, his commanding officer Trautman arrives to stop Rambo. Rambo ceases fighting and surrenders to Trautman in order to be taken into custody.

However, in the novel, Rambo puts a stick of dynamite against his chest when he goes after Sheriff Teastle. But Sheriff Teastle doesn’t fire back and that Rambo is too weak to light the dynamite. Alas, he is then shot in the head. No sequel for Rambo. Trautman has put him out of his misery and Teasle feels a moment of affection for Rambo before he dies.


First Blood movie poster feature Stallone

Both mediums are about Vietnam veterans, but the novel, released during the Vietnam War, depicts a character unable to stop fighting while the film, released seven years after the war officially ended, shows a character who is willing to surrender for the greater good.


1. I Am Legend

This totally isn’t that film that I was talking about in the beginning. Calm down.

So Richard Matheson’s book and the 2007 film starring Will Smith have the same premise: a man walks alone in a post-apocalyptic city filled with plague monsters. In the book, they’re vampires. In the film, they’re zombies. Oh well. I can live with that. So far, so good.


I Am Legend book cover by Richard Matheson featuring hoard of vampires

The movie ends with Will Smith’s Dr. Robert Neville in an all-out brawl with the infected zombies, eventually sacrificing himself to save other survivors while they escape with a cure.

Movie poster for I Am Legend featuring Will Smith

The book ends with Robert Neville attacking in an all-out brawl with the infected zombies, eventually realizing that he has become a monster. The world is no longer meant for humans – and the monsters fear him the way he fears them. He understands that their desire to kill him is not something he can condemn and thus resigns from life, leaving the earth to the monsters.

Get a load of this kicker: the filmmakers actually had the book’s original ending in the script. Heck, they even filmed that ending. But it didn’t do well with test audiences, so it was given a Hollywood ending. Even the film’s director, Francis Lawrence, told Screen Rant, “I agree [the book has] the better ending.”

Dear children, I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.



Featured Image Via Potentash

Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum as Willy Wonka and Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

4 Authors-Turned-Screen Writers Who Hated Their Film Adaptations

Sometimes famous authors try to adapt their own books to the big screen because if you want it done right, then you got to do it yourself. But film is a collaborative effort, and the shift from a one-person medium to a multi-person medium can be quite the shock, and often the creatives working on these collaborative projects don’t see eye to eye.

As a result, despite being involved in the production, there are many instances of authors detesting the adaptation of their work. Here are four top examples:



4. Roald Dahl, WIlly Wonka & the Chocolate Factory


The beloved film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, is based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. In the credits for the film, Roald Dahl is credited as a screenwriter along with David Seltzer. At first glance you might think that Roald Dahl gave his seal of approval to this beloved children’s classic, however actually, Dahl entirely disowned the film.


Image result for roald dahlImage Via Animation Magazine

According to Yahoo Movies, Dahl “signed a poor deal which gave almost total control over the property to Warner Bros in perpetuity,” which allowed Warner Bros, the production company financing the film, to make whatever changes they pleased. As a result, Dahl’s script was partially rewritten by David Seltzer, who gave the film a ‘villain’ in the form of Slugworth (a minor character only briefly mentioned in the film’s book counterpart) and broke Dahl’s golden rule: he gave songs to characters other than the Oompa Loompas. These songs were “The Candy Man,” sung in the opening by the cherry candy salesmen to the children while poor Charlie watches outside, and “Pure Imagination” sung by Willy Wonka when he and the children enter the chocolate factory.

Donald Sturrock, a friend of Dahl’s and the author of Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl, revealed that the now iconic “Pure Imagination” was, to Dahl, “…too sappy and sentimental.”


Image result for willy wonka gene

Image Via Huffington Post

Ironically, the creative genius behind the beloved children’s film hated the film itself.


3. Paul Rudnick, Sister Act


Image result for paul rudnick
Image Via Goodreads

Sister Act stars Whoopi Goldberg as a lounge singer on the run from a mobster who finds solace and safety with in a convent. The film was released in 1992, but was originally pitched in 1987 by Paul Rudnick. Between jobs as a playwright and novelist, Paul Rudnick, writer of the 1986 novel Social Disease, decided to try his hand at screenwriting. According to a 2009 article from The New Yorker, Paul Rudnick pitched Sister Act with Better Midler in mind for the lead role. In a stroke of luck, his script was bought by mega company Disney.


Whoopie Goldberg smiling and looking sideways at another nun in Sister Act
Image Via Slash Film

Unfortunately Better Midler turned down the role and the script was rewritten over and over. Credited as “Joseph Howard”, Paul Rudnick said that the 1993 movie is “no longer my work” and “I can’t vouch for the original film, for one reason. Sister Act may very well be just fine, but I’ve never been able to watch it.”


2. Bret Easton Ellis, The Informers


Bret Easton Ellis of American Psycho fame famously dismissed the famous adaptation starring Christian Bale, telling Indiewire that he doesn’t believe the book “really works as a film”. He moved on, writing a collection of short stories entitled The Informers.


Image result for bret easton ellis

Image Via The Creative Independent

Soon afterwards, Ellis was approached by young screenwriter Nicholas Jarecki to adapt The Informers into a film. This time Ellis was a co-screenwriter and the team spent three years prepping the movie, eventually accumulating a star-studded cast. Reuters describes the film as “seven stories taking course during a week in the life of movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters,” and was reported to include Brandon Routh, of Superman Returns, as a vampire.

However, Brandon Routh isn’t in the finished film. Neither is the character of the vampire. Despite Nicholas Jarecki being set to direct, he was replaced and the film was reworked. According to Fox News, Jarecki and Ellis’s script was cut from 150 to ninety-four pages and, as a result, Brandon Routh’s scenes were cut completely.


Movie poster for The Informers, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Chris Isaak, Amber Heard and Austin Nichols
Image Via Amazon

The cast famously did not do publicity for the film, a telltale sign they had little faith in what would become a critical and financial flop. Ellis concluded: “There were things I recognized, and a lot that I missed. But it’s the director’s version of the script, and that’s just how it is.”


1. Gore Vidal, Caligula


Image Via The New York Times


Published in 1948, Gore Vidal’s City and the Pillar follows a young man coming to terms with his sexuality in what has been called an early champion of sexual liberation. In 1959 he enjoyed early success with an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer, but was largely unrecognized.

Then in 1979 his adaptation of Caligula was released. The film had major production problems, however. For instance the film’s producer, Bob Guccione, was unhappy with the homosexual content and demanded rewrites for wider audience appeal, according to a New York Times article. The screenplay, originally titled Gore Vidal’s Caligua, was renamed and put into production.


Image Via IMDB


After its release, Roger Ebert infamously gave the film zero stars, calling it “sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash” in a scathing review. Gore Vidal has since distanced himself from the film, calling the film’s director, Tinto Brass, a “megalomaniac.”



Featured Image Via Lisa Renee Jones

Violet becoming a blueberry: "what are you talking about?"

This Viral Post Proves Why Violet Beauregarde Deserved Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

We all remember Roald Dahl‘s classic children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factorythe whimsical tale of an entrepreneur passing on his life’s work as any eclectic genius might—to a random uneducated child, by means of an elaborate screening process rife with the risk of grievous bodily harm. (No, that’s not what it says on the back of the book.) Willy Wonka selects Charlie, a desperately poor yet kindhearted boy, to be his successor. Maybe Charlie is the clear pick—all one generally has to do in a children’s book to make it out okay is to be blandly good in the most general sense. But could Wonka, a man who runs his factory on unethical Oompa-Loompa labor, have chosen wrong? Look at this maniac.


Gene Wilder in 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory'

Image Via The Mary Sue


This viral post on this topic is so outrageously convincing, that I had to break it down.


Let’s take a look at what sins these dastardly children commit to get kicked out of the factory. Dahl presents Augustus Gloop as a seven-deadly-sins level glutton, cutting him out of the competition early. Gloop loses his shot at the title when he tries to drink from Wonka’s chocolate river, falling in and becoming lodged in a pipe. Wonka’s sweatshop labor then gathers around to sing a song about how this kid is wildly self-indulgent, not about how he’s a young child at risk of drowning and then being boiled. Mike Teevee watches too much television; laziness isn’t good for business. Fair. Veruca Salt is so spoiled she would never have gotten anything done, so spoiled that she didn’t even open the golden-ticket chocolate bar herself. Then we have Violet Beauregarde, who… chews too much gum?


Violet Beauregarde in the more recent 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' film

Image Via Daily Mail


When Violet infamously pops a mouthful of experimental chewing gum that ends up turning her into a blueberry, even the Oompa Loompas have little to say:


Gum chewing’s fine when it’s once in awhile
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it’s repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long


…is it, though?


Gif Via Giphy


It’s true that Violet specifically goes against Wonka’s wishes, as he specifically demands that she spit out the gum. But if breaking the rules is a good enough reason to throw Violet from the factory, why does Charlie get the goods? Let’s not forget that Charlie stole fizzy lifting drinks—a line Wonka actor Gene Wilder scared the hell out of us by yelling and an incontrovertible fact. Wonka is quick to point out that Oompa-Loompas had to waste valuable time by washing and sterilizing the walls and fan Charlie and Grandpa Joe rubbed their grubby hands all over. In comparison, Violet’s rebellion only impacted herself.


Let’s take it a step further—not only did Violet Beauregarde do nothing wrong, but she’s also the true heir to Wonka’s candy empire. Tumblr user evayna outlines Violet’s professional assets in this viral post summarized below. Let’s explore the credentials of our would-be female CEO:


1. Violet knows candy


"what's so funny?"

Image Via The Odyssey


Why would supposedly excessive gum chewing be a bad thing at a candy company whose profits come partially from gum? Viewers don’t get a look at all of Wonka’s products, but we know at least two are somewhat gum-related: the actual gum and the Everlasting Gobstopper. When the latter is so significant that corporate spies are willing to bribe children to steal it, wouldn’t any businessman want the help of an expert?


2. Violet has business sense


"Cut it out dad! For heaven's sake, this is my show!"

Gif Via Giphy


Violet’s father is a car salesman who’s pushy about representing his business—though the book and movie present this as an unsavory quality, his keen marketing sense leads him to use Violet’s fifteen minutes of fame in order to promote his car lot. With his example, Violet would be better equipped to make the strategic business decisions Wonka’s company needs.


3. Violet understands ethical labor

Violet explains the effects of the special gum

Gif Via Giphy


Violet’s downfall occurs after she eats Wonka’s experimental gum, which he claims isn’t yet ready for human consumption. How does he know it’s not ready? Obviously, he’s been testing it on the Oompa Loompas. (It’s not really a stretch, given that he’s willing to let a kid burn to death in a trash chute just because she kind of sucks.) Given that the gum is obviously dangerous—it does basically turn Violet’s organs into Juicy Juice—it’s blatantly cruel to force your employees to eat it. Evayna writes: “Violet is ready to put herself on the front line, instead of treating the Oompa Loompas as disposable, and would therefore be a better boss.” Is it a stretch to assume that a child would be a better employer than an unpredictable sociopath with a penny whistle? In this case, probably not.


4. There’s nothing wrong with chewing gum, oh my god


Violet chewing gum

Gif Via Tumblr


In addition to the points we already hit, Evayna adds:


She was able to switch [from gum] to candy bars for the sake of the contest… we already know she can stop if she wants. And yeah, she is defensive about the perceived impoliteness of her hobby, but the obsession with candy and neglect of social norms is EXACTLY what Wonka is all about. This is on brand.


5. Violet is brave while Charlie is passive and naive


Violet Beauregarde: "I'm a winner"

Gif Via Tumblr


What does Charlie do that’s more virtuous than any of the other children? In the movie, we see him tenderly return the Gobstopper to Wonka although corporate spies have offered him money to take it off his hands. Violet, conversely, sells it like the bad business bitch she truly is. (Also, can we actually blame her for disrespecting Willy Wonka after he turned her into a smoothie?) Charlie’s character description tells readers he is “unassuming,” someone who “has every reason to complain [but] never does.” Does that make him a good person? Sure. Does that make him a proficient businessman? Uh… no.


"So shines a good deed in a weary world"

Gif Via Imgur



So here’s the takeaway: Charlie Bucket definitely didn’t deserve his Dickensian latchkey childhood, but his suffering doesn’t make him Wonka’s best successor. Violet has the proverbial skills to pay the bills—and the only thing she did wrong was to try and prevent unethical product testing. Let’s just agree that nobody can consider Wonka’s common sense spot-on when he came up with this bizarre plot in the first place.



Featured Image Via Gfycat.com

the witches

There’s a New Adaptation of ‘The Witches’ in the Works so Here Are My Opinions

It was announced yesterday that Robert Zemeckis will direct a new adaptation of what is arguably Roald Dahl’s most frightening work, The Witches. This book instilled me with a lifelong suspicion of anyone wearing the telltale combination of pointed shoes, gloves and suspiciously shiny hair that could possibly be a wig. As a child, I would cling to my mother on the rare occasions I saw anyone decked out in such a fashion, sneaking glances at their face in an effort to ascertain if their pupils were changing color, or the little bubbles of spit in the corners of their mouth were tinged blue. Witches, I knew, were everywhere.



I was happy enough to believe this was the case because I loved the book so much. Like all Dahl’s children books, The Witches contained unthinkably, delightfully scary and irredeemably evil characters, led, in this case, by The Grand High Witch. The book has a reasonably happy, though it is extremely important to note, not entirely happy ending, which adds to the believability of the witches’ power and intent, and brilliantly ties up a novel which is not of happy endings, but of close calls, and of good and evil.



Via Giphy

Anjelica Huston as The Grand High Witch, attempting to murder an infant / Via Giphy



The 1990 movie starring Anjelica Huston was, overall, a fantastically scary film and a pretty loyal adaptation, except for the ending, which is altered in order to give the film a perfectly happy ending. This is, of course, annoying, but the rest of the movie does not shy away from its unnerving source material and does such a good job of scaring the living daylights out of whoever is watching it (me, to this day) that I can more or less forgive the sickly sweetness of the Hollywood ending. And because the original adaptation did such a stand-up job, and was so enjoyable and thrillingly scary, and because it scares the absolute crap out of me, I have mixed feelings about the upcoming reboot. Here they are. 



Feeling the first: I worry that they will do to the witches what Spielberg did to the giants in his recent botched attempt at adapting The BFG. The giants in Dahl’s book are, again, extremely dangerous, ominous characters. They have shiver-inducing names like Bloodbottler and Flesh Lump Eater. In the film, however, they are modeled on Celtic warriors in appearance (controversial) and are lumbering, comical morons, who stumble around bumping into one another. One of the first lines spoken by any giant in the film is an announcement of a sore finger: “I has a booboo.” Even when they are bullying the BFG (played by Mark Rylance and by far the best thing about the film), you never feel as if the BFG is in any real danger. They simply seem too stupid to inflict any significant damage on anyone.



My fear is that the witches will be dumbed down, made comical- the grandmother’s chilling stories about children taken by witches made light-hearted and silly. I absolutely could not stand for such an atrocity to be committed against children’s literature. I could go on a whole other rant about how in dumbing down villainous characters in a rather condescending attempt to shield children from anything remotely frightening, we do them a great disservice, as children are more than capable of inventing monsters ten times more terrifying than anything an adult could conceive of. 



Image Via YouTube

Great big idiots / Image Via YouTube



Feeling the second: I’m scared that if they don’t dumb down the witches they will use the technology that was unavailable in 1990 to make these witches even more terrifying and I’m not sure I’m personally ready for that, even though it would be better than having them be unthreatening. I’m not generally too phased by horror films- they make me jump in the cinema, but they don’t haunt me or bother me for long after I’ve seen them. But The Witches, a children’s film, to this day gives me chills. The scene in which the witch appears while Luke  is in his treehouse and tries to lure him down with a snake HAUNTS ME. 





Feeling the third: I know both the first and second feelings listed here are fairly pessimistic, but I am genuinely excited for the new adaptation. It’s a brilliant story, which has already yielded one excellent film and may well produce another. The characters are clear-cut and excellently wrought, the story jogs along at an excellent pace, in the marvelous setting of a seaside hotel, and is packed with humor. There’s no real reason to suspect that a new adaptation would be so much worse, when it has the original to work off. Still, I worry…



I’m just a nervous wreck over the whole thing and honestly feel that they should just hire me, someone who has thought about this LONG AND HARD FOR MANY YEARS, to consult on the film so it is just the right amount of scary but not so scary that I never sleep again. Even though I will probably never sleep again anyway, given how much of a nervous wreck I am over the whole thing. 



Featured Image Via Consequence of Sound

the witches

Robert Zemeckis to Direct New Roald Dahl ‘The Witches’ Adaptation

Variety reports that Robert Zemeckis is in final negotiations with Warner Brothers to write and direct a new film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel The Witches. At earlier points in the process, Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and then Guillermo Del Torro (The Shape of Water) were each expected to direct, but at this juncture, the two are poised to produce the film instead.


Zemeckis has previously written the screenplay for the first Back to the Future film and directed all three. He also directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit?The Polar Express, and Forrest Gump.


The Witches 1990 movie poster

Image Via IMDB


Warner Brothers first adapted the novel in 1990, directed by Nicolas Roeg, written by Allan Scott, and starring Anjelica Huston as the spectacularly creepy ‘Grand High Witch’. The new adaptation will reportedly stick more closely to the source material.


Feature Image Via ComicBook.com