31 Days of Halloween! #4. The Shining

I’m counting down my favorite 31 Horror Movies of all time. Every day this month I’ll feature one movie from my list – starting on Oct 1st with #31 and ending  on the Oct 31st, Halloween, with my #1 favorite scary movie.

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THE TOP 31 HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME

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#4. The Shining (1980)

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall,Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Plot: A novelist – Jack Torrance take a job interview as winter caretaker of the isolated, old, huge and beautiful Overlook Hotel. In the interview, Jack is told by the manager himself, that the previous caretaker – Grady, chopped his family and later killed himself with a shotgun. Ignoring the story, Jack brings his wife – Wendy and his son Danny. It happens that Danny, has a mysterious power known as “The Shining” that shows him things from the past and future. Some of the visions come from Tony – “the little boy who lives in Danny’s mouth”. Danny meets Hallorann – the hotel cook in their first day arriving at the Overlook, who also has this “Shining” and he warns him about the hotel and the sinister Room 237. As the days go by, Danny has visions of previous guests and employees who died at the hotel years before, meanwhile Jack starts driving into insanity, turning more and more aggressive, at the point that Danny and Wendy gets convinced that Jack might try to do the same thing, Grady did.

My Thoughts

I’ve written about The Shining about a billion times, the most recent being when this 1980 classic made my Top 50 Movies of All Time List at #30 (Check out what I said HERE). So, forgive if this blurb strays a bit. Everyone knows The Shining is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name, but the funny thing is, if you read the novel it is almost a completely different story. Kubrick only takes a few beats from King’s novel and goes from there to make his own version of The Shining. And honestly, I sorta like Kubrick’s vision a little bit better. Here, in the movie, the sense of utter dread begins right from the opening shot. There is no, “oh Jack Torrance is a nice guy and gets corrupted by the evil of the Overlook Hotel.” as it happens in King’s story. Not in the movie though, Jack is already on the edge when we first meet him, and to me, this enhances the horror 10 fold. We know this dude is a hair away from snapping and the tension is incredibly thick because of this – almost too tense to watch. The film builds and builds and builds on this tension until Jack comes bursting thru the bathroom door looking for Wendy and Danny so he can split their heads open. It is a moment that has gone down in film history not only because of Nicholson’s ad libed line “Here’s Johnny!” but because we as the audience over the course of the two hours have looked for someone to relate to – to latch onto as our link to something good and pure – and Wendy Torrance has become that person. We ARE Wendy by the time she is facing off with her husband. And when she is screaming in that bathroom, crying for Jack to stop, we feel her terror. Jack is coming for us.

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3 responses to “31 Days of Halloween! #4. The Shining

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