Okay Juicers, so I am doing this 30 day Film Challenge that should really give my thoughts and emotions an interesting time during the next month of quarantine. For Day 11 the challenge was to pick a movie you like that is from your least favorite genre. My least favorite genre definitely is horror movies, and not just because of the scary nature, more because there are just so many bad horror movies. However, how can you not worship Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining?
*It’s 40 years old sorry people
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.
Redrum, Redrum, Redrum
The Shining of course is one of the most talked about pieces of work in the history of cinema, and for good reason. It is an incredible and thought provoking masterpiece from a true genius filmmaker. Stanley Kubrick only made 13 features over a 46 year career, which sounds like a small amount, and it is. However, when you consider that those 13 are all so unique and yes brilliant it makes it even more special than someone who puts out a ton of volume to not much success.
The Shining was his turn at the horror genre because as I said above he like to change it up movie to movie. Adapted from the Stephen King novel this is a story that actually is relevant to the quarantine life we are living. It is about a man in isolation who rapidly descends into madness because of a haunted hotel and takes his wife and son along for the ride with him. That man, Jack Torrance, only could be played by probably one man in film history and that is of course, Jack Nicholson.
Nicholson is absolutely at the peak of the acting profession with this performance. When they teach acting in schools they show them scenes from this movie. From the way he reads his lines, to the way he walks, all the way to how he contorts his face constantly throughout the story, he is just as committed as you can be. And as his wife Shelley Duvall made it seem like she was ready to get chopped up at any moment and you honestly feel bad for he as an actress by the end of this (especially knowing the stories about Kubrick on set).
A big talking point around this movie as well is if Kubrick tried to place some imagery throughout this. There’s a big theory that this is all just a movie about Native American history, and another theory that Kubrick is trying to put clues that he filmed the moon landing. Now I do not get into all that I just see this as an incredible piece of artwork. That artwork stemming from a major breakthrough use of the steadicam. Only a couple movies, including Rocky, had used it before this movie, but it brings so much to the story. From the sideways walking shots in the kitchen, to the iconic behind Danny’s big wheel shots through the hallways. The steadicam is a massive part of this.
*A couple other tidbits
- The Pounding score of course is another iconic feature of this movie and just sticks in your brain long after.
- Scatman Cruthers is amazing with Danny explaining all about The Shining, but his death scene is BRUTAL.
- Jack Nicholson ate Cheese Sandwiches, which he hates, for three weeks straight to get in the right mood.
The Shining is a great Horror movie because it does not rely on Jump scares and gross creatures to scare you. It is about tension, and mood and that is done by the music and the camera work. The story is simple but the end product of this movie is an all time masterpiece.
*You can find my Stanley Kubrick rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.