Halloween Marathon Finale: The Shining (1980)

A little delayed with the Halloween marathon but its FINALLY here. 🙂

The final movie in my Halloween Marathon was The Shining and one that my boyfriend has been wanting for us to sit down and check since I announced the Halloween marathon.  Seeing as this is a classic, I decided to put it as the finale to give it a special spotlight 🙂 Unfortunate was that I needed to finish this over Saturday and Sunday because I was so exhausted from my huge deadline that I couldn’t keep my eyes open to finish the movie.

Lets check this out!

the shiningDirector: Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is hired to look after the deserted and secluded yet prestigious Overlook Hotel during the closed season. A perfect opportunity for him where he can focus on his writing while having his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd) with him.  Before he takes on the job, the hotel manager informs him of peculiar instance of a previous caretaker that murdered his family there.  When a snow storm brews outside, having them on lockdown, Jack grows restless and more and more unstable in his personality.

Everyone knows the story, right? Well, I actually didn’t until I saw the movie.  The only thing I knew was that “Here’s Johnny” line that goes with the poster image on the side.  As I was watching this, I was wondering what makes The Shining scary and at the same time, hoping that I’ll like it because no disrespect to Stanley Kubrick as a director, but I’ve had a hard time enjoying his movies.  Its not really my style, I guess.  I’ve only seen a fraction of his movies so I do hope to find one that’ll pull me right in.

The Shining is a slow, gradually building story.  There’s a lot to love about it.  The premise of it all, especially set in an incredibly huge closed space (mostly) is pretty genius.  Is it evil lurking around? Is it what people thought was cabin fever? What is The Shining exactly?  Because thats something that Danny apparently has, from what the cook says.  There are questions that build up as bizarre things happen to everyone.  Jack Torrence mostly experiences mood changes until when he starts getting a lot of alone time and for Danny, he sees more physically than everyone else.  I’m still a little confused with what actually went on but there is one particular highlight of The Shining.

Jack Nicholson’s take of Jack TorranceTHE SHINING

the shining jack

THE SHINING

So, I know nothing about the source material of The Shining but I was reading that it was supposed to be descent into madness for Jack Torrance.  I never have movies being carbon copies or not with movies. I think that for movies to work, they sometimes need to approach things differently than the book because of the description and whatnot.  Jack Torrance already seemed like a questionably sane man when the movie started.  He had creepy and awkward reactions and expressions and as the movie progressed, his character got more chilling in a very entertaining way.  Does that make me crazy that I wasn’t scared by the movie? I do think it was really entertaining to watch because if anything, the final act was really where it was completely crazy and that was when it shot from good build up to great development.  (Sorry Tyson, 10/10 maybe not for me but I’d give this one 9/10 if I had to rate it).

Another really nice thing about the movie was the camera angles.

the shining

Like not just the straight lines and the elongated hallways and all that but just how its structured: the colors and contrast and the patterns.  There’s so much detail to every scene and thats pretty impressive.  It makes it feel a bit like the movie is set in an illusion.  There’s something unreal about the whole Overlook Hotel scene.  And then don’t even get me started how I really liked the whole labyrinth set-up.

Add on the violin music (which I think bothered my boyfriend a little) to add on the intensity and mood of the scene. By the way, violin music eternally remind me of that horror movie directed by James Wan. I think its Insidious.  I have horrible memory with horror movies just because sometimes, I hide behind my blanket to watch some of them and can’t remember exact scenes.  But this one, didn’t bother me so much and was pretty awesome.

the shining

The entertaining part was watching Shelley Duvall act as Wendy.  She was really fun to watch because she panicks A LOT.  Thats part of the movie and the plot and it matches to the context.  Everyone in The Shining borders on extreme in everything.  She’s a pretty awkward character as well.  Who isn’t in this Torrance family anyways? They all have something to learn about them.  What I like about her character is that there is a big development because she’s literally oblivious to everything around her because whatever’s happening, her son can see it so he’s scared and her husband is just being affected and going nuts, she just gets thrown into this craziness and then freaks out because it makes sense to. That scene with the bat: stellar performance and my favorite scene in the whole thing.

The Shining had 3 stars and since I’ve already mentioned the Torrance parents, I have to talk a little about Danny, played by Danny Lloyd. I have my issues with child actors but Danny is different.  Somehow he is the key in all this because he has The Shining.  I’m still trying to figure out what that is exactly. Is it communicating with others and foreseeing thing? I have to rewatch it or read the book, either/or. The kid has the best scared and shocked faces ever.  He has some pretty nicely shot scenes too.  Like the whole rolling down the hallways in high speed.  Love it! That goes back to my camera angles compliment.  Plus, he’s smart, like in that last scene, just in case you haven’t seen it (and I’m not judging because I only saw this the first time), I’m going to keep it at just that.

I expected a lot from The Shining.  There’s a lot of great aspects about it: camera, characters, story (although confused a little with the ending).  I’m looking at this solely as a movie and nothing related to source material because I haven’t check it out.  I’m not even familiar with any of Stephen King’s writing except for some of them adapted on the big screen or TV.  It was entertaining, Jack Nicholson gave a chilling performance and the setting was great.  Nothing build atmosphere like seclusion and shifting human behavior (aka crazy) and evilness all around.  I don’t think its perfect but then its pretty close to it 🙂 I still have a few issues to work out and it’ll probably require a second viewing but I’ll gladly do it.

Thoughts on The Shining? Have you read the source material? Enlighten me on how it differs!

9 thoughts on “Halloween Marathon Finale: The Shining (1980)

  1. At least you like it more than Stephen King does! I’ve read the book and whilst it was a long time ago I remember it has a few differences but I actually prefer the film. Currently reading Dr Sleep which is the sequel. I imagine that will be a film one day soon 🙂

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    • I’m just curious if there’s more meaning shown in the book and probably more gradual character development. I read a little on Stephen King’s perspective of it. So its intrigued me to check out what he intended this to be like 🙂
      How is Dr. Sleep? Are you enjoying it?

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  2. I have a chance to see this one on the big screen soon – should be interesting to see if is scarier that way. I know Friday the 13th was. I have read the book, and I remember going back to watch this one after reading the book and I couldn’t finish the movie. It just angered me because of the changes. I know books have to change when made into movies, but I remember thinking that this one didn’t need to change this much. It was like the director only liked the idea and he just skipped the source material and made his own movie from that idea. The ending was also not in the book. Jack in the book (memory is a bit foggy) I think turned out to have more of a heroes conclusion – sort of came back to the guy he was before he came to the Overlook to save his family. I don’t think the maze was anywhere it that conclusion. The mini series which was on TV a few years back is closer to the book. You should search that one out as well. I am hoping seeing it soon and years removed from reading the book that I will enjoy this movie this time. We will see.

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    • *high-five* Glad you agree. 🙂
      I haven’t exactly appreciated what I’ve seen from Kubrick so I’m guessing it might work better for those who actually enjoy his style?
      What you said about detachment from the screen, I’ll have to keep that in mind when I check out his movies.

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