The Shining Available now on Blu-ray Directed by Stanley Kubrick Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers Warner Brothers Not Rated | 146 Minutes Original Release Date: June 13th, 1980 Fathom Events Screening: October 23, 2016
October is horror movie month. If you ask horror fans to rank the scariest movies of all time, one movie guaranteed to make almost every list is Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Controversial in his “loose” adaptation of Stephen King’s source material, Kubrick’s film was under-appreciated at the time of its 1980 release, actually procuring two Razzie Award nominations, including one for Kubrick himself. Over time though, The Shining has found its rightful place in horror’s pantheon of greats. This month, Fathom Events, Warner Brothers, and Turner Classic Movies came together to bring The Shining back to movie screens near you for one more day only, Wednesday, October 26th, as part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics series. The first of two days showcasing The Shining was Sunday.
Introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, The Shining tells the story of the Torrance family. Father Jack (a classic performance from Jack Nicholson) is a former school teacher, turned writer who takes a job as winter caretaker of the massive Overlook Hotel, a Colorado resort that closes in wintertime due to snow closing the roads. Jack, his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) get the grand tour of the estate as we find out it was built on an ancient Indian burial ground, and that one of the former caretakers murdered his wife and two daughters with an axe, before blowing his brains out. Danny befriends the head chef, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), and soon we see them talking to each other with their thoughts; an ability Hallorann calls “shining.”
Once alone, it does not take long for Jack to go insane. The hotel, meanwhile, is as much a star as multiple Oscar winner Nicholson. Danny rides his big wheel all around before encountering all sorts of horrors, like the terrifying Room 237, or the little girls who want him to “play with them… forever and ever and ever.” There are elevator doors that rain blood, ghostly bartenders, and a little boy named Tony that lives in Danny’s mouth.
Kubrick toys with the viewer in almost every frame. You’re always waiting for something lurking around the corner. He turns a massive hotel into the most claustrophobic place on Earth. And at its core we watch a family devolve to total madness and horror. From a purely horror movie standpoint, you’re looking at an all time classic. As a 34-year old who’s seen The Shining countless times, it was still unnerving to sit and watch it in a theater. Especially when one is named Danny… those damn sisters!
The Shining is routinely ranked in the top 5 of greatest horror movies ever. Rolling Stone ranked it #2 right behind The Exorcist (1973). Taken a different way, one can enjoy The Shining for all its hidden meanings. Kubrick was notorious for hiding meaning in every shot. A 2012 documentary, Room 237, discussed all the interpretations of The Shining, and claimed the film to be Kubrick’s apology for America’s treatment of Native Americans, or even my personal favorite, his way of admitting he helped the U.S. fake the moon landing. However you choose the enjoy it, the classic nature of the film cannot be denied. Jack Nicholson delivers one of the all-time greatest performances in horror, and the score and cinematography make for one of the most genuinely unsettling movie experiences ever.
Thanks to Fathom Events you have one day left to catch Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on the big screen, Wednesday, October 26th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Check out Fathom Events for theaters near you.
Here’s Johnny! – The Shining (7/7) Movie CLIP (1980)