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Horror - Ghosts

The Shining (1980)

Duration2h 26m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, most countries: 16 
Source of storyLoosley based on a novel of the same name by Stephen King.
DirectorStanley Kubrick
Writers/ScriptStanley Kubrick, Diane johnson
StarringJack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Phillip Stone, Joe Turkel, Lia Beldam,  
RatingsIMDb: 8.4 by 871,203 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 84% by 93 critics.

Elevator Pitch: Jack Torrance, a would be writer and recovering alcoholic, takes a job as caretaker in the Overlook Hotel in the Colorado mountains for its winter shutdown, so he and his wife and small son are shut up there while blizzards rage outside. He has been told that a former caretaker years earlier had chopped up his family with an axe and then shot himself, and sure enough his young son who seems to have some ESP capability, begins to see two young girls in the corridors. Jack also begins to see things and becomes increasingly unhinged. When Danny, the son, is bruised his mother accuses Jack and from then things can only get worse.

Content: There is no sex, but a curious event in Room 237 when Jack is confronted by a completely naked young woman who he embraces, only to find that she is an old hag. The hotel is explored, Danny, the son, riding about on a tricycle through the endless corridors, and he and his mother exploring the maze outside. All the family have visions, but Jack is often seen in at the bar where he is served with bourbon by Lloyd the barman. He has a telling conversations with a waiter who has the same surname as the caretaker who chopped up his family, and eventually he’s out there wielding the axe. 

A View: It is many years since I first saw this film, and in the intervening period I have become a fan of Art Deco which the sets have in spades. Room 237 is amazing. But back to reality. This film is No 62 on the IMDb Top Film list, and was rated by over 800,000 people, but on the other hand it was nominated for two Razzies including Kubrick as Worst  Director. I think for us to enjoy a movie we have to understand its logic, but there is not much in this case, so would suggest that you watch it without trying to interpret too much, just go with it.

Additional Info: The whole hotel inside and out was built on the sound stages at Elstree, and since the director wanted to film in sequence they all had to be ready for the duration – a year.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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