Monday, April 8, 2013

The Shining

"The Shining" (1980) directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd and Scatman Crothers is one of my all time favorite horror movies.

Jack Torrance (Nicholson) is hired to be the Overlook Hotel's caretaker for the off season. The hotel is a large hotel in the mountains of Colorado and it is isolated from the rest of the world during the snow season. Wife, Wendy (Duvall) and son Danny (Lloyd) join him to live as the hotel's "only" occupants for the 6 months it is closed. The hotel has a violent history of one of the past caretakers succumbing to cabin fever and killing his family. It is also said to be built on Indian burial grounds.

When the family arrives on closing day, they are shown around the hotel and introduced to some of its staff that will be leaving that day. They meet Dick Hallorann (Crothers), the chef, who tells little Danny that they both have what his grandmother calls "the shining", the power to communicate without speaking and to see things that others can't. Danny's shining is often manifested through his imaginary friend Tony who lives in Danny's mouth and talks out of his finger and Tony has already shown him some disturbing visions of the Overlook hotel and room 237 which Dick tells Danny to stay out of.

The Torrance family settles in for the winter in to the enormous hotel. Jack tries to write his long anticipated novel, Wendy cares for the family and increasingly picks up the hotel chores that Jack was hired to do and Danny explores and plays in the hotel. Increasingly sinister things start to happen though. Danny encounters twin girls who stand and watch him before he suddenly sees them surrounded by blood. While driving his Big Wheel through the hotel's corridors, he stops in front of room 237 and is drawn by something inside. Jack, a recovering alcoholic, begins talking to a bartender that isn't really there in the hotel's Gold Room and meets the caretaker, Grady, who killed his family. Wendy feels more and more isolated as her husband becomes more remote and erratic and she is left to care for the family and the hotel.

The movie is one of the most visually stunning horror movies ever made. The picturesque hotel in the mountains turns sinister and cold once the snows envelop it. The interiors of the hotel are immense and add to the mystery of the place. The patterns Kubrick uses in the interior designs add to the puzzle that is the hotel. The film is shot at angles and in ways that add to the tension that builds throughout the movie. What could be more creepy than a family of three living in a huge hotel, isolated from the rest of the world and suddenly finding there are supernatural things happening in different rooms and in random corridors. The evolution of Jack's madness creeps up on the family and the viewer. Every time I watch "The Shining" I am thrilled by the claustrophobic world it creates and the scary feeling it invokes. This is a must see movie if you haven't seen it and a favorite to enjoy over and over again.

1 comment:

  1. Check out the interviews with a young Danny Lloyd on You Tube - they're great!