I had a different film planned for this week, but some extenuating circumstances changed my mind, and a trip to Stephen King’s house in Bangor, Maine last weekend got me in the horror mood. Therefore: surprise! Today, I’ll be covering Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Here’s the Bitchin’ Bio:
Release Date: May 23, 1980
Synopsis: Volatile Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to stay at the secluded Overlook Hotel throughout the winter as its caretaker. His wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), accompany him. Johnny and Danny quickly begin to be affected by the hotel in different ways, but they both experience what seem to be hallucinations. Is it just cabin fever, or is there something supernatural and sinister at work in the hotel that is tuning into them?
How I Watched It: HBO Max
Degrees of Kevin Bacon: 1. Kevin Bacon and Jack Nicholson appear together in A Few Good Men (1992).
Come For: The context of all the film’s constantly quoted and parodied scenes.
Stay For: I know that everyone loves Jack Nicholson’s performance in this movie, and he is definitely great in it, but my favorite parts involved Shelley Duvall’s character. Where we know from the very beginning that there is something amiss with Jack, Duvall’s performance as Wendy consistently reveals new aspects of her character and her relationship with her husband, who abuses her and her son. Her sweetness and strength as she works to protect her son made me really feel for Wendy. Watching the movie, I just wanted to be her friend!
Had I Seen It? I had not.
Did I Like It? I did! I always want to get more into horror movies, but I’m afraid I’ll be too afraid. Then, I watch them and love them and wonder why I don’t watch more. This was one of those instances. I was uncomfortable for a lot of the movie, and giddy at some scary parts but not scared scared. Now, I can’t stop doing impressions of the mysterious “Tony,” who Danny characterizes as “a little boy that lives in my mouth.” Fun, right? You’re lucky if you don’t live with me — but it makes my sister and me laugh.
Stephen King hates this adaptation because of how far it strays from his book. I’m sure that there is a lot of merit to his feelings, but seeing as I have not read the book, my opinion of the film mostly stands apart from the novel (though I do think it’s possible the novel’s ending would actually be more satisfying to me than the film’s). There were a few aspects of the film that I would have happily lived without, but for the most part, I greatly enjoyed The Shining. I would definitely watch it again.