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The Shining
Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance
Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance
Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance
Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann
Barry Nelson as Stuart Ullman
Philip Stone as Delbert Grady
Joe Turkel as Lloyd the Bartender
Anne Jackson as Doctor
Tony Burton as Larry Durkin
Lia Beldam as Old Woman in Bath
Billie Gibson as Old Woman in Bath
Barry Dennen as Bill Watson
David Baxt as Forest Ranger #1
Manning Redwood as Forest Ranger #2
Storyline: Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the "Shining", to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
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The Mind Plays Us Nasty Games
Jack Nicholson seems like he was born for roles like these. His face will immediately tell you that the character is mad, but he is mad as well. It explains us so convincingly the performance. He is quite mad to play so good as such, said Martin Landau.

Besides Jack Nicholson riveting, unworldly acting that transposes madness slowly in the most subtle, cleverly professional way I've ever seen, the movie is the Grandfather of suspense films. Technically, it innovates on the standard of the "backwards camera" that makes you feel that you are actually in the scene, following the characters in their solitude like we were omnipotent watchers. But we are just witnesses in the upcoming Odyssey.

The setting is a vast, isolated hotel that is settled on the snowed valley of Colorado. We can almost feel our skin wrinkle, our hair freeze. The atmosphere is cold, giving a great sense of loneliness. The snow will act as a curtain of natural power that will cover the scene from others and seclude them from the outer world.

The movie's pace is fantastic, while you long for some heart braking scary moments, you will find that the movie will twist your mind not ultimately with the supernatural but with the deviation of the Human psyche on the film. It's men who you have to fear, mostly.

Did I feel the change on Jack Torrance's mind. The transformation is bitching, moving us restless while introducing us in the most hideous basement of the human Mind.

"The Shining" will not disappoint you, Im sure. It's tricky all over, and will manipulate you with fear, suspense and at the same time, will hold you tight to the chair sensing that in any moment you will get a heart attack. But trust me, your heart won't get an attack. Your brain will.
"Here's Johnny!!"
Steven Kings "The Shining" is an excellent example of solitary madness. After watching the film I thought to myself that was one hell of a ride, I haven't read the novel, yet, but I will eventually.

A man, his wife, and young son spend five months in a hotel that has been closed down for the winter months. Part of the mans job is to look out for the place, but I feel this was his biggest mistake. The Hotel has a sketchy past, murders have taken place in it, weird and strange things as well. On top of that the hotel was built on top of a Native American burial ground. As time passes on strange things happen, the hotel it seems is coming alive, and along with that the husband basically loses his mind. Do to the convincing of a past murderous ghost, the man thinks all of his problems are caused by his wife and son, this totally drives him mad and he is convinced that he needs to kill them.

The son has a unique but disturbing gift of seeing things from the past and future, which is also know as "The Shining".

As the film roles on, you get the feeling something ain't right here. And is clearly seen through the husbands attitude. It just shows what solitary confinement in a hunted hotel can do to you. Tension just builds throughout the film, and explodes towards the climax when the husband finally loses it. My ultimate favorite line of the film (As I am sure is everybody's) is when Jack Nicklesons character Jack Torrance breaks down the bathroom door and peaks his head in and says "Here's Johnny!!" bringing with it humorous effect along with his madness. That line by the way was added in by Jack Nickleson. The director liked it so much that he kept it in. I'm glad he did.

"The Shining" is not for the feint of heart, it's a thriller that keeps building tension until the very end. But you wouldn't expect less from the Master of Horror.

10/10 for Steven Kings "The Shining"
A Stunning Kubrickian Horror.
He should have made more of them.

Nearly 40 years since it's release The Shining, irregardless of Stephen King's opinion, remains one of the most effective and most atmospheric horror films of all-time. Starring Jack Nicholson in the role of the snowbound (and psychotic) Jack Torrance, who along with his wife Wendy and their young son Danny, are all in for an extended and most eventful stay, at the secluded Overlook Hotel.

The Shining is a grand expose of lurid atmosphere and chilling suspense, topped-off with a bit of telepathic interplay and an all-encompassing sense of complete and utter isolation, all of which will eventually cause the Torrance's much misery. Their torments, both real and imagined, run the gamut from unsettling feelings doubt, to Jack's full-blown fits of ax-wielding, psychopathic homicidal mania. The Overlook Hotel is a character in itself and it's perversely haunted halls provide a steady stream of spectral incursions, in the form of various ghostly apparitions, such as, murder victims of the past, nubile shape-shifters, "lewd spirits" reliving past acts of fornication and an affable bar-tender named Loyd. These haunting's eventually culminate in the form of a grand ball, with many elegant ghostly guests in attendance, all clad in stylish fashions from the 1920's. If all that doesn't quite quench your thirst for spirits OR turn you off completely to The Overlook Hotel, there are still it's "instant blood-baths" to drink in, which inexplicably keep recurring time and again (which is unquestionably one of the movies signature visuals). Beware it's halls of blood! And as unwholesome as it is, The Overlook Hotel provides Us, it's audience, with a great variety of off-color entertainment and sickly situations of pure perversity - and this all happens under one roof!

It would seem that Kubricks main goal with this film was, undoubtedly, to create and sustain a certain type atmosphere, which he slowly builds up, starting with the ever-present sense of isolation that's naturally created by the deep seclusion of The Overlook, that combined with the near constant howling of the cold merciless wind. But that's just the beginning, when things are going well, in time this desolate sense of isolation begins to impinge upon the minds of those within, which causes a pervasive sense of unease and uncertainty. It must be said that Jack Torrance suffers the worst of it and the film essentially turns into a study of a sick man, whose loosing his grip on reality, as his mind slowly begins to unravel and neurosis creeps in. In other words Jack's sick and getting sicker by the day, "out to sea", adrift in a malaise of dire despondency and despair. And it's then that he begins to separate himself from the rest of the world, starting with his family. But Jack's plight only gets worse. Now with his sanity waning by hour, his psychosis begins to take over and his inner-demons begin to stir, which first manifest themselves in the form of murder-filled nightmares, which prompt screams and pangs of terror (and a string of drool). To which he correctly diagnoses the situation AND HIMSELF by saying >>>I must be losing my mind<<<.

Finding himself in an ever-deepening downward spiral of delusion, Jack begins to see things that aren't, physically, there (as does his mentally gifted son, who exhibits a heightened level of sensory perception, making him predisposed to the spiritual presence that haunts the Overlook Hotel), he finds temporary reprieve in the form of few glasses of imaginary Jack Daniels on the rocks. However his moment of serenity is all too brief, as Jack's party is broken up by his wives shrill peels of hysteria, "There's a crazy lady living in the hotel with us!", which soon gives way to one of best haunting's in the movie. Just what IS in room 237. Then if things weren't already bad enough, there's the sinister influence of one Mr. Delbert Grady (and it's here that Jack finds himself - talking to a total stranger - in a public bathroom.....) who ultimately proves to be the decisive encounter, the tipping-point; his slick tongue, bated with sick suggestion, easily overpowers Jack's fragile psyche, which ultimately sets him on a course for which there is no return. Now, the horror of the film is no longer limited to the netherworld AND AN AX violently crashes into reality, which erupts into an electrifying scene of unhinged homicidal mania! But as a rule of this film, most of the perversity which occurs in this elegant masterpiece of horror are implied, rather then manifested.

Once it's all said and done The Shining is a most unusual entry in the horror film genre and it's status is of a distinctly one-of-a-kind nature and it remains a monument to Kubrick's genius and adaptability of working within multiple genres. Yes, it is a bit of slow starter, but the films entrancing and multi-faceted nature will soon capture your imagination, as it plunges you headlong into it's sinister web of despair and ever-present frigid biting cold. This is a movie you'll remember, as it tends to leave behind a sickly ethereal residue, that lingers on your subconscious long afterwards. From a musical stand-point The Shining is a richly rewarding aural experience, one that oozes of atmospheric intrigue and other-worldly atonality's, that roils in a sea of churning discordance and waves of percussive fury - in essence the soundtrack of this film is a veritable dark well of musical malevolence. What I appreciate the most however, is how Kubrick was able to create such a richly immersive and foreboding realm of nightmares, within the labyrinthine corridors of the Overlook Hotel. This film -will captivate- those who give it a chance, as it is a singularly unique collection of sights and sounds... which has it's own way of creeping underneath your skin and needling your nerves, but in the most pleasurable of ways - I promise.

Conclusion: Almost perfect.
Arguably The Most Aesthetic, Artistic & Accomplished Of All Horror Films!
Arguably the most aesthetic, artistic & accomplished of all horror films, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is another masterwork of precision craftsmanship that presents the gifted filmmaker at his prime as he smoothly blends the elements of supernatural & psychological horror into one methodically structured & meticulously layered story whose underlying themes & narrative complexity has spawned numerous interpretations over the years and remains a subject of discussion amongst film buffs even today.

The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance, a former teacher who takes the caretaker's job at the Overlook Hotel which tends to stay closed during the winter season. Arriving at the remote location with his wife & son, Jack intends to use the solitude of the hotel to pursue his passion for writing but once the family settle into the hotel, his condition worsens as he begins to act strangely, suffers from writer's block, becomes prone to violent outbursts & is constantly haunted by the supernatural entity that reside there.

Co-written, produced & directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is his first stint with horror and yet he exhibits a far better understanding of this genre than most established directors of horror cinema. From the opening moments, the film is able to establish an ominous mood thanks to the eerie score that accompanies its title sequence and the aerial photography that finds its camera hovering over those rocky mountains, lush landscapes & narrow roads leading to the Overlook Hotel, thus already foreshadowing the isolation that awaits the Torrance family

The technical aspects in almost every Kubrick film is carried out with precision care and The Shining is no exception. Production design team deserves kudos for the meticulously designed set pieces for it provides the hotel an identity of its own. Cinematography makes very inventive use of its camera & follows our characters like a silent observer at all times while the fluid movements, clever angles, steady zooms, perfect lighting & aptly chosen colour tones greatly amplify the whole look & feel of the picture. The real highlight however is how the Steadicam is utilised.

Kubrick here pushes the Steadicam to its extreme to achieve a smoothness & stability that hasn't been replicated ever since. The flexibility & sleek flow provided by this new technique didn't just allow the director to stage some of modern cinema's most iconic shots but also brings the viewers into the story by placing them behind the characters as the plot unfolds. Editing is a strong highlight too for almost every scene ends up playing a relevant role in the story. And the background score is in perfect sync with each & every moment and elevates the whole experience by encapsulating the entire film with a highly unsettling mood.

With Jack Nicholson in the lead role, Jack Torrance already looks like someone who's just waiting for a little push to descend into total madness which doesn't come off as a surprise when it eventually happens. The stressful experience Shelley Duvall underwent during its production is well-documented but the effect of it all can be felt in her rendition of a broken Wendy, as the entire ordeal only helped her performance. And Danny Lloyd plays their psychic kid and just like every kid in almost every horror film, he's annoying to an extent. All three actors are over-the-top at times but this added exaggeration somehow works in the film's favour.

On an overall scale, The Shining is a thought-provoking meditation on madness, isolation & paranoia that defies everything that was usually a norm in the genre of horror back then yet puts on screen a cinema that is now regarded as a definitive example of atmospheric horror. Immortal for its contribution to horror, a staple of pop culture, and a classic amalgamation of superb direction, deft writing, innovative camera-work, skillful editing, menacing score & devoted performances, The Shining remains one of the greatest achievements of its genre that's only getting better with time and is definitely amongst Stanley Kubrick's finest works. Highly recommended. Multiple viewings advised.
A Horror Classic
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father (Jack Nicholson) into violence, while his psychic son (Danny Lloyd) sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

What is most interesting is that this film has gone from bad to good. When it first came out, the reviews were not so positive, and there were even some Golden Raspberry nominations (but no wins). Today, this is not only considered a top horror film but one of the top 100 films of any genre... what a turnaround.

Then we have King's disappointment, and I think he raises serious concerns: he did not like the casting of Nicholson, and he did not think Kubrick made the film as horror-focused as it could have been. On the first point, it is true that the lead should have had a greater transition. Nicholson just looks crazy from the first scene. I would love to have seen Michael Moriarty...

As for the Kubrick criticism, it is true... he bent over backwards to make an artsy, stylish film, but maybe not a horror film. It is a great film, but maybe not a great horror film. If you want a good haunting film, for example, "The Changeling" has this one beat...
A classic of the genre, very recommended!
Although it doesn't take after the book literally, this movie is one of the best adaptations I have ever seen. Based on the novel "The Shining" by Stephen King, the story takes place at the Overlook hotel, where Jack Torrance and his family (his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who "shines") spend the winter, Jack having gotten the caretaker's job there. Being completely isolated from the world due to snowstorms and witnessing manifestations of evil supernatural forces, the Torrances are forced to defend themselves...at all costs.

The concept of "shining" can be explained as telepathy. That is why Danny can talk to Dick Hallorann without having to open their mouths like in a normal conversation.

Stanley Kubrick made a very inspired choice by choosing Jack Nicholson to play Jack Torrance. With his kind of "Damn you!" grin and his ability to fake madness, he scared me more than anything in this movie. Because this movie definitely wouldn't be half as good as it is if it didn't have Nicholson in it. This movie practically "belongs" to him and I wouldn't see anyone else in his role.

A few deviations from the book are present, but are marvelously compensated by other made-up facts.

The movie has good structure and is worth viewing, not only for Jack Nicholson's great performance, but for the simple fact that it didn't need so many flashy special effects to stand up.
King + Kubrick + Nicholson = great horror
Today it is very hard to catch a good horror movie, so we all have to remember some true horror classics. "The Shining" is definitely a horror classic and also a King's classic. Stephen King wrote many excellent books and I think that this is maybe best translation of King's book on screen. "Misery", "The Shawshank Redemptione", "The Green Mile", "Carrie", "Secret Window" and others are also great but we have to consider that this is one of the first 'King' movies. Back in 1980. one very special director managed to make one very special movie. Of course I'm talking about Stanley Kubrick and "The Shining". Kubrick managed to create fear that book has (brilliant scenes when Danny is riding his bike through the empty hotel and that sound of wheels). He managed to make the atmosphere and he scared us all. His camera is great and this movie is a result of his genius. Music is creepy, Danny's imaginary voice is creepy (Tony), Overlook Hotel is creepy and Jack Nicholson is the king of creepiness. He is perfect for the role of Jack Torrance. With his crazy eyes, attitude and personality, he makes brilliant portrait of a man who gets insane as the time passes. I don't like Shelley Duvall but I have to admit she was good. She was very convincing and she behaved like every ordinary person, in her position, would behave. All my compliments goes to Danny Lloyd too, cause he was very young and yet he acted so well. To all you horror lovers and to all movie lovers. This one is for you. You don't need to watch most of todays crappy horrors. Just watch "The Shining" and prepare yourself for one twisted story.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy..
...So declares one of the most notorious scenes in The Shining, the definitive psychological horror film and arguably the movie that has spawned the most conspiracy theories of any genre. It's easy to see why this appeals to people; The Shining is almost confounding in all of its enigmas. Virtually all of the theories surrounding it will never be confirmed, and that might just be the point of why it's so unnerving. Nothing makes any true sense, and the end of the movie leaves us with more questions than answers. The ambiguity of this movie is part of what makes it so genius. It can be viewed as a psychoanalytic profile of a mentally ill man and his schizophrenic son, or if you're more of a classic horror fan, you can believe that malevolent ghosts caused a family to be torn apart. Kubrick excellently presents the implausible in a way to where we are forced to accept it. Initial reviews lamented the film for not being scary enough, and the Shining isn't so much pee-in-your-pants terrifying as subtly unnerving. In fact, the more gory interludes are the parts where the film rings false. The movie is most haunting when nothing really seems out of the ordinary; it triggers a subconscious, evolutionary type of fear that happens when you feel a breeze on the back of your neck while you're home alone. The perceived harm that could be enacted by the apparitions in the Overlook Hotel can only cause damage if you let them; Jack eagerly accepts this paranormal manifestation because it is immediate almost from the start that he seems to resent his family. He is verbally abusive to Wendy and we already know that he has harmed Danny. After giving up alcoholism, Jack resorts to stoking his maniacal fantasies, provoked by the Overlook, to turn to evil. The ability to make conscious decisions is uncertain, as a theme of unchangeable destiny is present with that chilling (no pun intended) ending and the mysterious origins of Grady and his assertive quote that Jack has "always been the caretaker". Has Jack's spirit always been with the hotel, or is he experiencing delusions brought upon by his dissatisfaction with his domestic life?

One interesting thing I realized is that The Shining avidly rejects the concept of a nuclear family. Jack is unhappy with Wendy, and it is heavily implied that their sex life is nonexistent, leading him to be seduced by the woman in the bathtub. He views Wendy as taking away his freedom, and he longs to be able to engage in hedonism and not fret about providing for his family ("all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"), prompting him to incite "taking care of them" like Grady says he did to his family. It presents an interesting cynicism of traditional family that is furthered by the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Wendy and Danny.

Kubrick uses dichotomy as the main way to achieve uneasiness. The Overlook Hotel leaves the Torrance family isolated from the rest of the world, yet its cavernous size provides a horrifying maze where anything could be lurking around the corner. The most obvious duality is reality versus fantasy, and how to differentiate them. Fascinatingly enough, there's also a blurring of past and present. Jack proclaims that he had an overpowering sense of deja vu when he entered the Overlook, and we're led to believe by the ending that he was always at the Overlook...but the character Grady, while seemingly supporting this theory, does not go by Charles as the caretaker that went mad in the exposition of the movie did, but Delbert. This anomaly produces a new theory that the Overlook projects personas that are similar to their counterparts in the normal universe. These personas are similar enough that you feel companionship with them, but dissimilar enough to tempt you into joining them. This can be demonstrated with Tony, the medium through which Danny conjures up his shining. Tony seems like a completely different entity, but the strongest piece of evidence to indicate that he is a reflection of Tony is the fact that Danny's middle name is Anthony (despite only being mentioned in the novel). These dichotomies create an overpowering sense of unknowing and tension caused by the dread of uncertainty. The Shining utilizes this technique to create an eerie game of cat and mouse, that in my opinion, lasts throughout the entire movie. Kubrick's dedication to adhering to all of the aforementioned themes succeed in creating a deeply unsettling and horrifying experience that constitutes one of the greatest movies of all time. 10/10
Heeeeere's Rubbish!
Having just seen the doco about Kubrick, and then taken the plunge with Eyes Wide Shut after being warned against it by everyone I know, I expected wonderful things from this film. After all, Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest! This was gonna be amazing!


Quite simply one of the worst films I've ever seen. The editing alone was a travesty. What amateur crud! Could this be the same mind that gave us Easy Rider, Dr Strangelove and 2001? Clearly our Stanley had a rather nasty turn prior to making this film, that or it ran way over budget and the studio employed some lacky fresh out of 'make your own home movies in 24 hours'to whack it together overnight. Then there's the music, the Bartok was perfect, but all the original synth stuff was absolute rubbish. I really think I must be missing something critical here - or was he trying to make a statement about how pathetic horror movies are, cos that rang out loud and clear.

Well, look, if you want to see a plot that is full of holes, if you want to see the helicopter shadow in the overhead shots at the start and catch some awful, sad and pathetic acting from Shelly Duval and then be left wondering why Stan even bothered beating this dead horse of a C movie - sure, rush down to the movie store, I emplore you. Do it. Do it now.

Seriously, I love Stan when he puts his heart into it, but I teach editing and I have people who come in with no knowledge cutting up better narratives in their first day just by letting them play with MS Movie Maker. That just makes me sad.

I should also temper this with some context. 1. I can prove by simple logical argument that Stephen King is a hack, chiefly because he writes like a three year old. 2. I love being challenged and having something to think about. 3. Why oh why can't our Clairvoyant friend or his 'Shine' brother foresee his untimely and really badly played out, plot-killing, anitclimatic death?
One of the worst movies of all time!
I am dismayed at the overwhelming positive response to this garbage of a movie. The only explanation I can come up with is the responses are affected by what I can the "Genius Effect" and time. The Genius Effect (which I'm sure someone else probably has coined - but if not, I'll take credit!) would dictate that if the filmmaker is a genius, then the film is a work of genius and must be excellent. Since I don't consider Kubrick a genius, I don't think all he had done was great. Some of it was OK, probably the best was FULL METAL JACKET, but I digress. I do think this point has some merit because reviews of Eyes Wide Shut were very good and, very recently, it was revealed that Kubrick himself thought it was bad (see Guardian Unlimited Film, http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1888077,00.html).

The other effect, time, is more of what I remember people saying when the movie first came out. There were many comments that it shouldn't be considered a horror film but rather a comedy because audiences were laughing more than screaming (and not just at the funny moments, i.e. "Here's Johnny!"). It seems audiences are more kind as time goes by, or at least in this case anyway.

The "acting" in this film is absolutely atrocious, especially that of Shelley Duvall, which one IMDb user stated "is very naturalistic. It does not seem like acting at all." That's because it isn't. It is flat and unemotional (even when she tries to be emotional). Jack Nicholson doesn't become crazy due to isolation, he's nuts from the beginning. His character's dealing with his wooden family doesn't beg the question, "Why does he want to kill his family," but, "Why didn't he do so long before this?" Not saying I condone injury to the dull and irritating, but being locked up with those two would put anyone's nerves on edge. I can't believe they survived the car ride to the hotel.

Needless to say, I didn't find THE SHINING scary in any way, even when I saw it at age 11. By then, I had the wits scared out of me by a far worse movie IT'S ALIVE (gimme a break, I was 7). After that, I have yet to be scared by any other movie, and THE SHINING never even came close.

In all honesty, I have tried to give THE SHINING a reasonable chance. I've seen it more than five times, thinking "I must be missing something." Each time it gets worse.
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