The Shining(1980)

The Shining


GB, 119 min, Color

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Producer: Stanley Kubrick

Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson, from a novel by Stephen King

Photography: John Alcott

Music: Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers

Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is the quintessential example of time healing all wounds. Upon its initial release it was critically panned.  Stephen King famously said “Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It.” Kubrick and Diane Johnson definitely changed the story, making it less a haunted house story and more about the madness of man.  While this isn’t what King intended, it worked great for this film.  Over time, though, critics began to see this and “The Shining” has grown in stature to be, nearly universally, lauded as one of the greatest horror films to be made.

The story of Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic, and writer, takes his wife and son to be the winter caretaker of a massive hotel in the Colorado Mountains.  While there we see one mans descent into madness, the struggle of the wife to maintain order, and a son who just wants his father back.

Jack Nicholson gives a powerful performance as Jack Torrance, and Scatman Crothers is equally fun as Hallorann.  The movie loses me with the casting of Shelley Duvall as Wendy, she just gets lost next to Nicholson.  Duvall does come across as the abused wife that struggles to leave a bad relationship, but she just doesn’t have the chops to command the screen the way Nicholson and Crothers can.  Danny Lloyd also comes up short, for me, but he does well as the scared child.

This is, for me, one of the most re-watchable horror movies of all time.  The direction and story that Kubrick chooses to follow, one of madness, is one that only improves and deepens upon multiple viewings.  If you haven’t seen this, or it has been many years give it a go.  Room 237, the twins, the elevator all work and give depth to this story.

For those who love the book, I do recommend the mini-series from 1997.

7.5/10 Very Scary.

The Shining is currently streaming on Netflix.

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