“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in!”
With the release of Doctor Sleep right around the corner, a continuation of Stephen King’s, The Shining, it’s only fitting that we sit down to review Stanley Kubrick’s epic horror. The Shining tells the story of the Torrance family, who move, after the patriarch, Jack, gets a job as caretaker of an isolated hotel during the harshest winter months. But as the seclusion, and the hotel’s sinister powers begin to take over, the family falls victim to the evil spirits that reside there. The Shining is, no doubt, one of King’s best novel. And although Kubrick takes more than a few liberties in his directing, it remains one of finest horror films.
There’s not much more I can really say about The Shining. But my ongoing admiration for this film continues to grow every time I watch it. It goes without saying that Jack Nicholson is one of the greatest actors of our time. So it’s no surprise here that Nicholson is anything but absolutely terrifying. He embraces the character, and brilliantly exemplifies Jack’s downward spiral. Throughout the film, Kubrick is able to have his actors translate emotions without a single word being said, and Nicholson does just that. There are moments where Nicholson, and the other main characters, stare at the screen with boiling anger, or fear, behind their eyes. Danny Lloyd, who plays Jack’s son Danny, does this the best. Lloyd, for being such a young boy holds a good portion of the film on his shoulders, and holds his own next to great talents. As for Shelley Duvall, King made the remark that she was nothing but a “scream machine.” I have to agree with King, as Duvall’s performance made for a negative element of the film.
Kubrick’s adaptation of the novel caused more than a few ruffled feathers between him and King. But allegedly, Kubrick didn’t care how true to the novel he remained. Let’s just say King wasn’t too thrilled about this, and marks Kubrick’s interpretation as a “disappointment.” Though the film may not be as good as the book, it’s tough to say that Kubrick’s version of The Shining is mediocre. Furthermore, Kubrick’s own ideas for the film have led people to believe that it’s an outlet for Kubrick to reveal that the moon landing was a hoax. So in that regard, audience members continue to dissect the film down to the pieces clothing the characters are wearing. Thus, looking for answers in the smallest details. The Shining, no matter how untrue to the book it may have been, marks another masterpiece by the great Kubrick.
It’s true, The Shining has been re-done over and over again with made for TV movies, or miniseries, and I think it will continue to be remade in one shape or another. However, though there may be more adaptations in the future, Kubrick’s version of The Shining will always remain the best.
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers