Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Shining (1980)

I must confess, I'm not a big Staney Kubrick fan.  However, one cannot deny that The Shining is excellent filmmaking.  Adapted by Kubrick from the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Shining is the story of a family who are the winter caretakers of a hotel  that is located in the remote mountains of Colorado.  
Jack Nicholson is sheer perfection as Jack Torrence, a failed school teacher and writer who slowly looses his sanity over the course of the film.  It just doesn't get any better than Nichloson's performance!  Shelley Duvall [Popeye, Annie Hall] is Jack's wife Wendy.  Personally, she is about as useless as Judith O'Dea in Night of the Living Dead.  I really dislike her performance and consider it a bit one dimensional.  However, Nicholson is so phenomenal that you can overlook Duvall.  Rounding out the family is their son Danny, eerily played by six year old Danny Lloyd.  He is delightfully creepy as the kid with psychic powers who has visions of the past as well as the future.  He also has an "imaginary friend" named Tony but one is led to believe that Tony is anything but imaginary.
Kubrick captures something beautiful in every scene he films.  The choice of locations, the lighting and the framing of each scene is done with great care like Hitchcock before him.  My favorite image is the tidal wave of blood that flows across the elevator doors.  I also love the chase scene through the hedgerow maze that is shot at night.  It is stunning to watch as well as frightening.  This is a long film at 142 minutes.  However it doesn't really seem that long.  The length actually works it its advantage because it gives the audience the same feel of isolation and being trapped that the characters feel in the story.  [You want it to end but it just keeps relentlessly coming at you!]  Honestly, I don't know what you could have cut from this film to make it any shorter.  Every scene feels vital and important to the story.
There are many scholarly commentaries on this film you can look up online.  Just enjoy this powerful and visually stunning film.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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