It is quite the spectacle as the audience sees first-hand the slow spiralling into madness of a man, as Nicholson bares his most intimidating grin and the most menacing pair of raised eyebrows ever committed to film.
The tale unfolds as Torrance, his wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) begin on an exciting family adventure to the secluded hotel where it is too be maintained until it reopens for business following the harsh winter weather. To keep himself sane (oh dear!) Jack tries his hand at writing a novel. Needless to say, this is severely distracted upon discovering he has a most extreme case of writer’s block. In the meantime, young Danny is subject to a series of haunting visions of the hotel’s dark past, as well as prophetic images of what is yet to come in the form of his ability to ‘shine’.
As the narrative continues, Jack begins to lose his grip on reality and his journey into the aforementioned madness begins.
The performances from the three primary cast members are a perfect mix and the viewer can’t help but feel anxious when this is coupled with Kubrick’s masterful direction – the air of claustrophobia in an otherwise huge hotel setting, and the constant sense of menace and dread is clearly apparent in the amazing camerawork.
As is the case with some of the titles mentioned in the opening paragraph – there are genre defining set-pieces within this film, as well as a similarly momentous eerie score, which all melts into the perfect execution of the traditional ‘haunted house’ narrative.
Despite the well-documented difference of visions for this film between director Kubrick and author of The Shining, Stephen King, this still remains a prime example of genre excellence that is expected to stand the test of time for many more years to come.
The Shining is available to buy now on Warner Bros. BluRay and DVD.
Why We Heart: The Shining
By Andreas Charalambous - 2nd November 2015
The film that your mind wanders to when you’re checking-in to a sinister-looking hotel – much like your mind wanders to Psycho after you’ve settled into your room for the night and are about to take a relaxing shower, or even Jaws when you’re going for a swim at the beach – Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is still an absolute masterpiece today, as it was on its release in 1980.
In fact, with the recent news that the Stanley Hotel in Colorado – believed to be the inspiration for the setting of the Overlook Hotel – being renovated into a horror museum in tribute to Kubrick’s masterpiece, and the start of the latest series of American Horror Story: Hotel (which is unsurprisingly heavily influenced by The Shining), it is quite clear that this is a timeless genre classic that is as relevant today as it has ever been.
Jack Nicholson plays the unhinged Jack Torrance – caretaker of the Overlook Hotel – who is charged with sitting it out with his young family in the isolated hotel during the hospitality industry’s barren winter months.