The Shining (1980) October horror #21

the shining
Jack Nicholson in the famous “Here’s Johnny” scene
Jack Nicholson in the famous “Here’s Johnny” scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Shining is a book and TV mini-series by Stephen King, but I’m going to talk about the 1980 film by Stanley Kubrick.

The Shining is often considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, and with good reason. Many people do not consider the Shining to be a horror film, I suppose it is more of a psychological thriller, but anything creepy can be covered on this month of reviews, and The Shining certainly fits that.

The Shining is a very slow movie. It’s slow in the sense that the original Halloween is slow. It takes time to set up. The whole movie is a man slowly going insane. This takes time to happen, and I actually know people who have fallen asleep during this movie, before all the creepy sh*t goes down.

If you’re someone who needs non-stop gore in your horror movie, then this may not be the perfect film for you, but I would say watch it anyway. It is a must see movie for any horror fan, or just plain film fan in general.

The movie starts slow and remains slow, but tightens up. The tension just builds and builds. There are lots of long shots without dialogue, and parallel to that there are some shots that are just bursting with dialogue. The scene at the bar is one of the most memorable scenes from any movie.

Jack Nicholson plays the lead, and he is freaking fantastic. It’s great to see him slowly go insane until he finally snaps. The man is a great actor and is perfect in crazy roles. I think this is probably his greatest performance, but it’s hard to pick. A lot of his dialogue, including some of his most memorable and quoted lines were improvised on the spot.

The main cast is rather small. the other two main characters are the wife played by Shelly Duvall, and the son played by Danny Lloyd. I find Shelly Duvall to be a little annoying. She does her job just fine, but I really think that they co

uld have found a better actress for the role. The son is good, for his age at least. He was better than most child actors. One of the most famous scenes from the movie is the “REDRUM” scene. Most people find his yelling in the scene horrifying. I just found him to be annoying.

Most people expect this movie to have a high body count, but there is really only one on screen death in the entire film. This is not a bad thing, in fact it is a very good thing. The movie really knows how to take it’s time a be subtle. The movie has this “Thing” about duality. Things are almost always parallel. At times you can fold the scene over and it will be a perfect match. There are pretty much two of everything. People have analyzed the hell out of this but I think it could be as simple as, Stanley Kubrick found perfect symmetry to be unnerving. Symmetry shows perfect balance, and this contrasts all the crazy stuff happening.

The only scene that I really have a problem with is that last scene in the maze. I find this scene to be very poorly edited. There is a chase between the father and the son. The problem is that there is no tension in this scene. It is impossible to tell how close the two people are, they never share a shot throughout the scene, and I feel that this scene lessens the impact of the end of the film.

And the frozen Jack Nicholson at the end always makes me laugh.

My noir Kubrick Kollection.

One of the greats, definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it, and if you have, it just might be time for a repeat viewing.

 

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