Movies That Everyone Should See: “The Shining”

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“The Shining” is a brilliant movie.

It’s extremely entertaining, technically innovative, loaded with symbolism and meaning, and more than all else… scary as hell.

The movie utilizes and borrows from an enormous number of horror scenarios. It prominently features the frightening elements inherent in abusive relationships, and works in the dangers of alcholism. Many horror films feature the descent into insanity, but none do it as well as it’s done here. The slasher film is represented, as a killer chases victims with a weapon. Clairvoyant and/or psyhcic phenomena. Racism. Sexual deviance. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde. The Faustian bargain.

But primarily, the shining is a ghost story. A haunted house on a grand scale. Terrifying things have occured at the Overlook over the years, and the horrors are permanently echoing through its enormous halls. Between the phantom, evil hotel staff, the twisted spirits having bizarre sexual encounters, the ghostly, rotting guests, the little girls chopped to pieces in the halls, and the elevators which pour rivers of blood… the Overlook hotel is a hell on earth, harboring deviants, victims, the wicked. A wide variety of frightening, ghostly apparitions and trapped spirits.

Into this maelstrom enter the Torrrances.

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The Torrances are a troubled family from the outset. There’s a history of drinking issues, anger problems… and the boy has developed an “imaginary friend”. What his parents don’t realize is that his talking finger isn’t just the psychological offspring of trauma, but the result of burgeoning psychic power. Danny can… see things.

And what he sees ahead is nightmarish. The Overlook Hotel.

Jack Torrance, aspiring writer and former schoolteacher, has taken on a job for the winter as the caretaker of the enormous Overlook Hotel. He can move his family in and have all winter in solitude to write in peace. That’s the plan. And so, the three of them move in. Jack begins to write, Wendy feeds the family, and Danny makes new friends.

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Well, you know, Doc, when something happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind. Say like, if someone burns toast. Well, maybe things that happen leave other kinds of traces behind. Not things that anyone can notice, but things that people who “shine” can see. Just like they can see things that haven’t happened yet. Well, sometimes they can see things that happened a long time ago. I think a lot of things happened right here in this particular hotel over the years. And not all of ‘em was good.

Of course not all of Danny’s new friends are as helpful and kind as Dick Hallorann. He’s haunted by the visions of the two Grady girls… young victims of their father’s homicidal mental breakdown. Danny is at risk just as they were. They want him to come and play.

Danny’s visions of what occurred, and what may occur, gradually overcome him. They eventually force him into temporarily catatonic states and the emergence of “Tony” as the sole vocal presence within. Frightened, confused, powerless… the young boy with the special gift is reduced to scrawling on a door in order to express himself.

REDRUM.

It’s through Danny’s visions that we see the Overlook’s nature. But it’s through Jack’s change in demeanor that we witness its power.

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This was a defining role for Jack Nicholson. It wasn’t a “star making turn”… Nicholson was already an enormous star with an Oscar and four other nominations to his credit. But I think that it was after this role that Nicholson got his onscreen reputation as a psycho. In spite of his prior efforts (including Randall McMurphy in “Cuckoo’s Nest”), I’ll always be convinced that “The Shining” is where he cemented his image as a psychopath that made him such a no-brainer for his future roles as the Devil and the Joker.

“The Shining” may not have been his greatest acting challenge, but Jack Torrence is undeniably one of his greatest characters, and it’s the perfect pairing of actor and material. Is there anyone you’d rather see fly off the deep end than Jack? It’s spellbinding watching him rant and rave at Shelly Duvall. It’s delightful watching him revel in his own delirium. He mugs and scowls… Stares. He acts a total loon at points, and at other points a focused, purposeful maniac.

No one could have played this role except Jack Nicholson. It is a role I would never recast. I can never imagine another actor doing it as well.

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Just as I can’t imagine another actor in the lead role, I can’t imagine another director at the helm.

The craftsmanship of the film is impeccable. Stanley Kubrick didn’t become “Stanley Kubrick” by NOT being a genius. And in my opinion, “The Shining” is NOT one of his “lesser films”, but one of his best. In a genre not know for thematic and well produced films, Kubrick authored a masterpiece. Not only is it scary as hell from beginning to end and a thoroughly enjoyable film, but it’s technically innovative, and contains a wealth of themes to explore if one so chooses.

Reportedly he shot over 1.3 Million feet of film for this movie over 200 days of shooting. It also made the Guinness Book of World Records for Most takes on one scene. (125, Wendy climbing backwards up the stairs). Reportedly he worked and reworked the script so hard that Nicholson would throw away any revisions he was sent, knowing he would only be sent another. It’s been reported that Duvall’s hair began to fall out due to stress prior to the end of production.

The primary technical innovation of “The Shining” was the improvement and widespread utilization of the “Steadicam”. The Steadicam is a camera mount which steadies the camera for film which is shot whilst the camera itself is in motion. It was a new technology at the time, and “The Shining” was one of the first major motion pictures to utilize it extensively. Kubrick’s vision also forced innovation. For the scenes where the movie closely follows Danny on his tricycle, an inverted steadicam mount had to be developed.

Thus, in “The Shining”, Kubrik was able to present audiences with something they’d never seen before.

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Kubrick uses every trick in the book to disturb and unsettle the viewer. Aside from the overt imagery – the bloodied corpses of the girls, the rotting old woman in the tub, the costumed sexual inference – he uses a variety of techniques to keep the viewer unsettled and confused.

Doors are opened with one hand, in one direction, but when the film cuts to the interior shot, things are mirror imaged. Jack takes a sheet of paper out of the typewriter and crumples it in anger, yet he resumes typing when she leaves without reinserting a new sheet. The typewriter changes color at points during the film. The hedge maze map is in one shot of the entrance, but not another. The butler’s name is given as Charles Grady and Delbert Grady at different points in the film.

These are not continuity errors.

They are intentional discontinuity.

There’s a great deal of debate over whether or not Kubrick should be credited with these incongruities. Detractors would say that such things happen all the time in film. Directors aren’t concerned with getting every single detail correct to the level where it will withstand analysis of the minutiae… But Kubrick – a legendary obsessive – would not have missed such details. especially not so many of them. No. I mean, in every film, you may get one or two anachronisms or editing glitches… two dots which don’t connect here or there. But not this many. And not in a Kubrick film.

Instead, I’m convinced that what he was doing was strewing subtle defects amongst the film’s imagery. You won’t even notice them. Consciously, at least. But at some level, your mind knows. “Hey, something’s not right here. That’s… wrong.” Kubrick is unsettling the audience by playing games with our heads.

It’s never more apparent then in the design of the hotel itself.

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The theme of the labyrinth runs through the film like its lifeblood. From the opening helicopter shots winding mountain roads, to the actual labyrinth (the hedge maze), to the hotel itself. The hotel is a maze of hallways and doors, stairs and rooms. It’s a non-sequitur of a set design… The floor map of the hotel cannot be accurately recreated. Like an MC Escher painting, people have tried to map the twists and turns but come out in places where they shouldn’t. Hallways and doorways lead to nowhere and there are windows in places where the back of the room is shown to have a solid wall.

Check out this fascinating deconstruction of the Overlook’s floor plan.

Part of this is certainly incidental – there was a serious fire which destroyed a portion of the set during production. But it’s far more interesting to me that the meticulous Kubrick had the set intentionally designed to be subconsciously unsettling.

He also repetitiously uses wide angle lens shots that capture the enormity of the Overlook sets, in turn dwarfing the actors in scale. The people seem tiny. Lost in perspective… reinforcing the feeling and tone of the film.

It’s my belief that the Labyrinth theme is more than simply a way to further unsettle and frighten the viewer. Yes, being trapped and lost is very frightening. But it’s been my take for years that Jack Torrence’s bestial devolution is central to the film… more than just horrifying, it’s thematically important.

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To me, Kubrick eschewed King’s exploration of alcoholism in favor of an examination of isolation. From the opening scene, from the job interview itself, Jack is being warned of the dangers of isolation, of cabin fever. Throughout the film, the enormous, echoing hotel and other labyrinthian elements reinforce the isolation. But it’s not the insanity inducing solitude I want to draw your attention to, but the absence of others. The lack of societal connections and constraints.

By isolating one man, Kubrick can illustrate the “nature of man” in a vacuum. And by slowly regressing Jack into a limping, bestial, axe carrying, murderous maze monster, I could never shake the image of the Minotaur. In Greek mythology, the Minotaur is a half man, half beast – an abomination resulting from a God’s curse. This is the picture of man’s nature that Kubrick paints for us, if you strip society from the equation. As much as we’d like to imagine ourselves as elevated beings – and perhaps our future IS to “shine” – we’re still, at our most basic, not far removed from beasts. Driven by desires, murderous.

And yet, in spite of our need for connections, the societal constructs we make are financial and functional as opposed to fulfilling. Jack has his wife and his child – his very special, gifted child – with him. He considers them distractions though, obsessing instead on his “responsibilities”, “accomplishments”, and “employers”. All work and no play makes Jack a crazy $&#%. Our evolution has off tracked… Instead of learning to shine, we’ve gotten lost in a maze, erecting walls and halls and rooms. Caretaking. We’ve always been the caretakers, because we’ve never risen above it. We’re not far removed from our bestial nature, and those amongst us who shine are still rare.

We’re lost.

As long as we’re content to spill rivers of blood in order to build walls, we’ll always be the caretakers… and the true crime is that we could be so much more.

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As always, interpretations will vary.

In a lesser filmmaker’s hands, none of this would be up for discussion. But this IS the work of the man who brought us “2001: A Space Odyssey”. It’s undeniable that Jack is under the pressures of responsibility and isolation, he is most certainly lost in a maze, and he responds with anger at the expense of a gifted child.

I typically close these with the accolades (if any) that the film has received. In this case, they’re not there. In fact, “The Shining” was nominated for two Razzies, Worst Actress and Worst Director. The film has made a few of AFI’s ancillary lists (29th on 100 Years… 100 Thrills, 25th on 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains , and 68 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes) but its absence on either version of the official 100 Movies list irritates me.

So instead, I’ll just say how much I love the film. I’m sure you’re well aware by now. But it’s worth saying… I’ve always been a huge fan of this movie, and this “assignment” has only deepened my appreciation of it. It features one of the greatest performances by one of the greatest movie stars ever. The image of Jack poking his head through the split door is as iconic as it gets. It’s an extraordinarily well made movie, and has a nearly inexhaustible supply of clues and hints and leads to analyze for meaning.

My time with it this month has led me to promote it to my favorite horror movie of all time (previously #2 to “The Exorcist”).

It is definitely a “Movie That Everyone Should See”.

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80 thoughts on “Movies That Everyone Should See: “The Shining”

  1. Great movie. And I think I’d have to call it my favorite horror film as well. It’s one of a few to be genuinely spine-tingling… there is just something unsettling about every minute of this film. And I would say this is one case where the Razzies were seriously off base — not only did Kubrick do a great job, but Duvall does as well. You only have to look at her to see that this is a woman who is constantly walking on eggshells even before Jack’s swan dive into the crazy pool.

    Fun tidbit: Apparently Nicholson was a volunteer firefighter and utterly obliterated the prop door they used in the first take. They wound up using a real solid door instead.

    • Yeah. He ad libbed “Heeeere’s Johnny” too. Amazing stuff.

      SO much I didn’t get to put in. The bouncing the tennis ball scene was reportedly ad-libbed. But there’s speculation out ther ethat Kubrick left it in because it mirrors the door busting scene. Wind up… thud… wind up… thud LOL

      • Just the fact that Nicholson was allowed to ad-lib stuff and Kubrick — kind of notorious for “my way or the highway” directing — left it in is kind of a testament to Nicholson’s own grasp of the character.

  2. Masterpiece. This film is definitely not a dull boy lol. Everything just coalesces into pure horror film heaven. I haven’t thought what my favorite horror film is, maybe The Thing, but this is definitely close to the top. Oh also, I know what a Steadicam is, thank you very much. ;) LOL About a year after The Shining, Garrett Brown shot one of my favorite opening scenes to one of my favorite films ever. The opening of De Palma’s Blow Out. Oh, and Stanley Kubrick is a genius and Jack Nicholson’s performance is godly. Nuff’ said. :D

    • “Oh also, I know what a Steadicam is, thank you very much. ;)

      Well… LOL. I know a LOT of people will, but I get a lot of visitors and TRY to appeal to visitors who might not know things like that, too.

      Yeah, “The Thing” is top ten for me, too. Think I did my horror top ten last Halloween on my podcast but now I’ve forgotten what they were. Hope I wrote them down!

      • That’s ridiculous! This website was made just for me. LMAO! I would like to know what that top ten was btw. Since you have very good taste in films. :D

      • Thanks buddy!

        Off the top of my head (since where it SHOULD be saved it isnt, LOL)… unranked for the most part right now.

        The Shining, The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw, The Thing, The Night of the Living Dead (original), Hellraiser, The Blair Witch Project, Psycho, Saw, The Fly, Friday the 13th, Halloween… that may or may not be more than 10 LOL

    • And since you opened the door to Top 10 lists:

      1. Psycho
      2. Silence of the Lambs
      3. Jaws
      4. The Shining
      5. Alien
      6. The Exorcist
      7. The Birds
      8. Misery
      9. Evil Dead II
      10. Poltergeist

      • Not sure if you listen to the podcasts, but I know I ranted on this on there, too.

        Jaws and Silence are both all time top ten for me – not just horror.

        But I – I just dont classify them as horror movies in my head. I dont know WHERE Jaws should go… “Adventure” movie? It’s frightening, but I just dont… I dont know.

        “Silence” is a “thriller”. That one’s easy.

        Ironically though, I have no trouble with Aliens. You’d THINK I’d argue it was Science Fiction. But nah. Horror for sure. It’s a genre mash up. Love that one too. I recognize I’m philosophically inconsistent. :D

        Not everyone has my issues.

        Hey! I got a spot on the “Aliens Franchise” lambcast… so I’m going to get to revisit the whole series, talk ‘em up, etc. I know we had been talking about them all.

      • Oh, we’ve debated the Silence of the Lambs genre thing before.

        I define Horror as a movie with exaggerated rising action that examines boundaries of the human psyche brought on by abnormal existential stress. So Jaws definitely meets my criteria. What I debate is a movie like Rear Window, which sort of meets the criteria as well, but not as neatly. I left it off my list, but it would come in after Silence and before Jaws.

      • Ah yes. I do recall now. So when I was thinking “I know people disagree with me” I really should have been thinking “I know Tanski and K2 disagree with me”.

        No on “Rear Window” though. That’s the reason they created the “Thriller” genre. Because calling them horror movies is just not right. RW is definitely NOT a horror movie IMO.

      • Eh, I don’t really think of “Thriller” as a genre. Movies can usually fit into Drama, Action/Adventure, or Horror.

        I agree Rear Window is not a Horror, but it’s close in the course of the rising action. But I put it in drama because the existential threat to Jimmy Stewart isn’t so much Raymond Burr (though they do have a GREAT confrontation), but about how far Stewart will go. It’s a drama, with some horror elements.

  3. Very interesting post. I never really knew about the discontinuities in terms of setting and other details which was fascinating. And don’t get too worked up about the list thing, lists are ridiculously subjective. I only use them as a suggestion on what film I ought to see next. As for The Shining I’ve seen it now about six or seven times I’d say, always great

    • Well, thanks Absurdia!

      Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen it a bunch of times myself. Including 305 times these past two weeks. LOL. Let’s just say I love it, but after this post settles, we’re going to have a nice vacation from each other. :D

      Meanwhile, there’s no other conclusion for me to draw than Kubrick was f’ing with people’s heads. Some of the things are easy to write off as oversights, and then others you look at and say… no way. That had to be on purpose. But then you add up ALL the things that would be “oversights” and you’re like, well, this would be kind of sloppy then if those were mistakes…

      And the man was anything BUT sloppy.

      Hey thanks for posting up!

      • Well I think it works the way you said in your post, it does register with the viewer, because unlike in many other films you’re never sure what exactly is around the corner in the Overlook Hotel. Everything is always a little off and that adds to the labyrinthine feeling of the hotel.

        What it does I suppose is make you feel uncomfortable, because continuity encourages familiarity but when there’s no familiarity you feel displaced and disturbed. That’s why he did it I’d say, for the visceral reaction.

  4. Great movie. This has always been one of my favorites. I’ve seen it about a million times. I thought I knew everything about it, but I hadn’t known the typewriter changes colors. Crazy. I suppose there are probably even more subtle things in it waiting to be found. Nice review. I, too, always felt it deserved more recognition than it got.

    I also love King’s novel. Personally, I prefer the novel to the movie. However, I consider them to be two completely separate entities (as they don’t have all that much in common), so I can enjoy them both.

    • Thanks Brik. I’ve actually never read the novel… I love the movie so much, I never want to deal with comparisons. I know, shame on me…

      Quite a lot has been written about the differences, I just didn’t feel it right to speak to it if I didn’t know about it.

      There’s just a shitload of minute details that people have pored over out there. If you’re a big fan and you want to spend even more time, Brik? In my research, the best stuff I found was from the guy who’s video I linked to. THAT GUY is an obsessive. LOL. He’s just a freaking nut with how much he’s broken this flick down. LOL. But his youtube videos are pretty awesome. He uses the movie clips to illustrate his points.

      Highly recommended for the hardcore fans of the movie…

  5. This is such a well-written review. I admire your attention to detail and all the research you put into it. I watched The Shining back when it was first in theaters after having read the book, and watched the DVD decades later. It isn’t “like the book”, which doesn’t matter since films and books aren’t the same and shouldn’t be valued by similarity. However, for all its fine qualities, the film tries to substitute irritation and off-centeredness for actual tension. It takes WAY, way too long for things to happen onscreen, and to me that’s indulgence, no matter how grandly it is photographed. From 2001 on, with the exception of Clockwork Orange, Kubrick went farther and farther into this kind of OCD, energy-robbing style. Sometimes it works better than others. For horror? Never. It’s a violates too many basic craft tenets and demands too much tolerance of an audience.

    In the theater, the audience actually cheered Shelly’s demise. Hell, we were all as sick of her whining by then as Jack. One person called out “Enough already with the Big Wheel!”. Perhaps it is easier to extract hidden qualities at home with your own monitor and a remote for pausing to pee, but in a group setting, the crowd rendered a clear verdict. (Similar audience revolts were also my experience at The Blair Witch Project, btw. One might assume local culture has an effect, but I saw Shining in Iowa, and Blair Witch in El Lay.)

    • Well, thanks Mikey! Nice of you to say.

      NOTE TO FUTURE FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Starting your comment off with “This is such a well written review” = instant “approve comment” LOL

      That said… obviously we disagree.

      Although not on the Shelly Duvall element. I’ve often said that as annoying as she is, her casting was brilliant. 1) She plays frightened VERY well. Very believable that she’s scared out of her mind. 2) Yeah, you do wind up rooting for Jack. Maybe not at first, but if there was an alternate ending where Danny got away and Wendy didn’t? I would advocate that as the definitive version kind of like I do with Blade Runner: The Final Cut. :D I hear you, I hear you… perhaps we shouldnt be rooting for the villain if the movie is truly doing its job, but… hey. We do in other horror movies.

      Overall, audiences at the time DIDN’T dig it, there’s no arguing. But somehow its morphed since then into a classic. I love it, I think its awesome on many levels… INCLUDING as a horror film, I STILL think its scary as hell.

      I’d advocate a rewatch, but it sounds as if you’ve seen it more than once and dont have interest in re-evaluating. So perhaps on this one we just agree to disagree and I’m sure there’ll be others we see eye to eye on down the road!!

  6. Professor Fogs you have taught me things about the Shining that I would have never known. Like most horror movie enthusiasts we love to be walked through a story of visually interesting scenes which build on emotion. This movie is unsettling from the start without being conspicuous. I agree with you that it is due, not only to the story and acting, but also the subtle subconscious inaccuracies. This is a great write-up on a great movie.

    BTW, as I scrolled down below REDRUM, the picture of Jack gave me chills. Also I love your Hook Us Up banner. Great job!

    • Oooh. Ixnay on the rofessorpay!

      LOL.

      Aside from that though, thanks, man! Glad someone noticed the “Hook Us Up” banner this time. It may be my favorite one yet, even though newbies may have NO idea wtf it is! :D

      And youre right – unsettling may just be the best adjective for this movie!

  7. Touche for this scary choice. I think it is the greatest example ever laid to film of the ‘scare the shit out of you’ smile. No one does it like Jack and he out did himself in this one to set the standard!

    • LOL… you got that right.

      He’s just… delighting in it!! The scene at the door, with the “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff!!” LOL… it cracks me up man!

      Great great flick. So enjoyable. Glad you agree!

  8. Great review. I definitely think that in most other contexts Nicholson’s performance here could be construed as over-the-top, distractingly hammy; but given the nature of the material and his character’s descent into madness, the performance is chillingly effective.

    • Thanks on the compliment Dave.

      Yeah, maybe someone with a little less charisma might not have been able to pull it off. But he goes over the top and we enjoy seeing it. I know I do. I thought he was great. Love watching him do his thing here. Just a total kick.

  9. Great post on a great film. As for as Kubrick goes, I would probably rank this third, with A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove being first and second, respectively. The Shining really is awesome too though. Love Jack Nicholson, I mean, wow. No one could have done better. And the way Kubrick and DP John Alcott shoot everything is mesmerizing.

    I also think this is one of the best examples of a movie everyone should see. A lot of the other entries (Blade Runner) only appeal to film buffs to an extent. But The Shining, as weird as it is, is a fairly accessible movie.

    Anyway, awesome job Fogs.

    • Thanks bud. I disagree with you on Blade Runner, but I definitely see what you’re saying.

      2001 is probably a better example… for me. It’s just… insanely brilliant, I mean, that movie is just on an entire ‘nother plane of existence. Yet its totally inaccessible. Most average movie viewers would watch it and be like WTF was THAT? LOL

      I probably have this first, 2001 next, then Orange and Strange. Although I’ve rewatched the first two as a blogger, with the intention of studying them… the other two I havent yet, so we’ll see. That process has been known to increase appreciation!! :D

      • Idk man, I’d like to think more people would be willing to accept Blade Runner, but it can be a very unappealing film on a lot of ways. I’m not saying it’s bad, or questioning you giving it the “Movie Everyone Should See” treatment, it truly is a great film. But to the average Joe Blow, I don’t think they’d really appreciate it.

        Lol, in my experience, nobody loves 2001 at first, myself included. But it lingers on in your brain. I need to see it again mind you, but I think a second viewing will boost my enthusiasm for it considerably.

        I ranked Kubrick films I had seen a while back and came up with this:

        1. A Clockwork Orange
        2. Dr. Strangelove
        3. The Shining
        4. Paths of Glory
        5. 2001
        6. Spartacus

        Though I really enjoy all these films.

      • Havent seen Paths of Glory yet.

        Or Barry Lyndon for that matter.

        See folks? (to all the people who are admitting to not having seen the Shining) We all have that stuff going on… you know how it is.

      • And I do hear what youre saying on BR man, honest. I know. I guess its one of those movies where I refuse to acknowledge it. I’d rather NOT live in a world where audiences can’t appreciate Blade Runner, so I create a fantasy construct where they do… LOL

      • I haven’t seen Lyndon either. I should probably mention that since that list, I’ve seen Full Metal Jacket, which I’d probably put right ahead of Paths of Glory.

  10. Quality article Fogs!

    I have to say though, that as much as I like this film, I actually don’t find the story very scary. Atmospheric sure, and unforgettable visuals too, but the acting and execution don’t quite do it for me. Jack is too way over the top from the start and for me there is no surprise to his character, because I don’t think his descent into madness is convincingly established. To scare me, a film has to make me feel or believe this could happen to me, and this doesn’t. But it still is wildly entertaining and many of the masterfully crafted images will stay with me forever.

    • Thanks BT. Nice of you to say…

      No worries, sounds like you still like the film.

      To me, that “Atmosphere” is just freaky as shit. LOL. You know? Its like even though I’ve watched it a 100 times, on any given rewatch, I can step right back to “Oh wow, that is CREEPY”. I like movies that get under your skin you know? Rather than startle you…

      And there was some discussion as to Jack’s descent into madness on the lambcast. Dylan agress with you. I dont. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to really hash things out satisfactorily due to technical difficulties. I still have to see how it turned out, should be up soon…

  11. Master’s thesis Daniel! A+. Kubrick’s work has always been the epitome of and surrogate for whatever genre he’s in. Antiwar(“Paths of Glory”, “Dr. Strangelove”), sex(“Eyes Wide Shut”), Space travel, or dare I say SciFi itself(“2001″). The importance and influence of the “Shining” goes far beyond the steady cam and is felt to this day! To the Naysayers with ADD who were bored, I say, never go to an Art Museum! Your booing when Picasso switches to “Cubism” will get you ejected! If its cheap thrills you’re after see “Elm Street” or such. If its cinema you desire(as in Art of) see the “Shining”!

    • You’re too funny man.

      I hope this didnt read like a thesis. I’d like people to come back! LOL.

      Meanwhile you make a bunch of excellent points. It does seem when Kubrick decided to try his hand at a genre, he raised the bar. I would say though that – and not that you’re saying this, but – at least on “The Shining”, it’s not toally just cinema as art. I think its so great because yeah, it works as a piece of film art… but its also just a really great %#$&ing movie. You know?

      But you right you right.

      Thanks for the supporting words ;)

  12. This was the first book I read (that I can remember) that actually scared me! My mum had it beside her bed, and it was the edition with the blue face red eyes on the cover

    http://www.stephenkingshop.com/covers/TheShining.htm

    It freaked me out, I was possibly 13/14 at the time, and I was hooked, and like many, read a whole swathe of King novels, Pet Cemetary, Carrie, It, Cujo, Christine, Salem’s Lot, Skeleton Key… It was some years before I saw The Shining on Tv, but like many Kubrick films, you appreciate them more as you get older, I haven’t seen it for several years, and infact the DVD has sat on the shelf for 4 years waiting for the right time to watch it! ( admittedly, I have a toddler who takes over the dvd player with his own movies) so, it may be some time before I subject myself to the eerie, unsettling stillness of The Shining, especially as we have snow outside at the moment!

    • Yeah, just saw your comment on the movies to watch again and again. LOL. So, you dont watch the Shining with your child? What? LOL

      It’s totally the funniest thing, I mean I was young at King’s zenith and read TONS of his books too. I think even then I just wanted to stay away from any conflicts with this one. Fair or not, to me, The Shining is Kubrick’s now. You know?

      Hey, hope you do get a chance to rewatch this soon, and if you do, hope some of these points will add a little something for you.

  13. You know a movie is powerfully influential when there are so many references to it that people know without ever seeing it.

    don’t judge me: but i haven’t seen this…and you’re right: I SHOULD.

    but speaking of references: I know that “REDRUM”, “All work and no play…” and “Here’s Johnny” all point to this film, without ever watching it.

    so, I will be watching it soon. Kubrick, Nicholson, etc…all solid points. Thanks for reminding me that I still have much catching up to do!

    • Happens to all of us.

      But yeah, on this one? Make the time at some point. I love it. It may not sit with you right at first… a lot of people here can attest to that.

      But then again. it might. This was a fave of mine ever since I saw it as a tween.

  14. Would it surprise you to know that the first time I saw Kubrick’s The Shining I absolutely hated it? truth. I had read the book first and loved it (one of King’s best in fact) and of course the 2 most heroic characters in the book, Danny and Dick Halloran are completely marginalized in the movie. Even worse is the off hand and cavalier way in which Dick Halloran is disposed of. Talk about your pointless deaths! (spoilerz, sorry)

    So it is no exaggeration to say that when I came out of the theater I was raving about how awful it was, how it completely without merit or value … yada yada yada.

    Of course after repeated viewing I’ve come to accept it as a separate entity from Stephen King’s Shining and a decent* film in it’s own right, but only if one can divorce it completely from its source material.

    * [Ed Grimley]Mighty decent, I must say[/Ed Grimley voice]

    • Not a shocker at all. Apparently the entire world felt that way. LOL – Well, about the movie, their feelings may have had nothing to do with the book. I dont blame you for cross wiring, thats why I avoid this book… seriously.

      I completely disagree that Danny and Dick are “Marginalized” in the movie. Danny is a huge part of the movie. And Hallorann’s part is the right size. As to his death being “Pointless”, well, most horror movie deaths are. But in this movie – at least as part of the movie, it needed to happen. Not that Dick needed to die, but Jack needed to kill.

      I’m glad you’ve re-evaluated it’s marits and now at least consider it decent*.

      * [Moe Howard]Decent?! Why You…[/Moe Howard]

  15. Hey Man great in-depth review! I don’t even like horror movies cause I hate being scared but this is by far my favorite. Thanks for sharing the link that deconstructs the labyrinth I’ve been searching for it for some time. Keep up the great work

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