I was going to write a few in the same post, however I think I will just post this one separately as I haven’t given myself much time but I haven’t posted in a while, I will do a few more tonight.
The Shining (1980)
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Stanley Kubrick (Adapted from the novel by Stephen King)
‘The Shining’, or ‘Shinging’ as I keep writing, is a perfect example of how this era of ‘scary movies’ is quite clearly, the best. I may be a little biased as although I’d very much like to, I don’t find new horror films particularly scary due to the fact that they often leave little to the imagination – I don’t want things jumping out at me, they’re always predictable and rarely make me jump. And that’s a pretty big feat considering I’m a fucking pussy. I prefer films that don’t show too much, I often find that the things we think are there are often scarier than the monsters we see on screen, which makes sense, remember all the times you’ve been home alone at night? You get one thought about a ghost or a murderer and you start getting scared, really scared, but there’s nothing there. Or is that just me? I am a fucking pussy after all.
Saying that, The Shining does break away from my idea of a perfect horror film in a lot of ways, you do see a lot of the creepiness. However, it does well in making the audience empathize with the characters, particularly Danny (Danny Lloyd), allowing your imagination to become a little pussy-flap at the idea of a big empty hotel and Danny’s imagination, or ‘Shining’ to create something really creepy. And because it’s an older film, there’s no restless night afterwards! After all, the effects are terrible, but creative – another thing modern, generic horror films lack.
Since this is such a big film, I was going to write about the three main characters separately..but I really wanted the above graphic in there somewhere. So apologies for this random image, clearly depicting a man’s idea of a woman’s period. Don’t worry guys, it’s not always this bad, this only happens when you wind us up and then say we’re only wound up because we’re ‘probably on our period.’
Okay, so I’m going to start with Mama Torrance, otherwise known as ‘Wendy’ (Shelley Duvall). The reason I’m starting with her is because my opinon is EXTREMELY controversial, depending on how mentally ill you are. Everytime this film is discussed, everyone agrees on one thing, “The wife was pathetic!” and maybe even “That actress was shit.” Well, I disagree. WHAAAAAAT?! I fucking know right! Listen, calm your tits, I shall explain…
Wendy, or ‘Wendgy’ as I just wrote, is a meek character, like a little adorable mouse, but I’m sorry – when she has to fight Jack (Jack Nicholson) off to protect Danny, she is anything but pathetic, and a really good actress. Have you ever been in a situation where you need to be strong but you’re so fucking scared and shocked that you completely forget how to people? You go all weak and wobbly, and Wendy portrayed that perfectly. I completely emphasized with her when she was swinging that axe in front of her and crying like a twat. Yeah, she has annoying mannerisms but she protected Danny just fine, she got stronger when she had to get Danny out of the house and when she finally caught Jack.
I know the above image doesn’t help my cause, but her face is funny so I included it. Soz mate.
Now Danny, the best thing about Danny in this whole film, had to have been this:
HOW FUCKING ADORABLE IS THIS JUMPER!? MY SON WILL OWN THIS JUMPER, AND HIS SON AFTER HIM AND SO ON!
Anyway, Danny is an adorable little brat with magic powers ooooooo – ‘The Shining’, which he shares with a hotel worker named Dick (Scatman Crothers – yes), and he is clearly the best character in the entire film. Danny’s gift is obviously very unsettling for his parents, as they believe he has behavioural problems/psychological issues. Danny’s shining creates many of the most infamous scenes in the film, including ‘redrum’. Danny has an imaginary friend, Tony, however due to the nature of this film, you’re never too sure what is real and what is just a symbol of Jack and Danny’s deteriorating mental state.
Last, and definintely not least – come on guys, he’s the main character and the best actor in the world (both in my opinion, and actual fact), Jack Nicholson!
I know as far as narrative has gone, I’ve gone for a really random order, however I don’t tend to like posting spoliers, regardless of how old the film is, obviously big films like this it’s fair for me to assume that if you haven’t seen it you at least know the story – especially if you’re a fan of film and have searched for film related blogs, but this is a really good film and I don’t want to risk ruining anything and on the other hand, if I assume people know then it’s a waste of time dwelling on it. So I will be brief when introducing this character, basically he’s a writer that is looking after a hotel for the winter with his family and the previous guy that did this went batshit crazy and killed his family. This begins to happen to Jack and the audience is left to decide if the ‘Shining’ is real, and none of this is Jack’s fault, but a mystical power forcing it to happen, or if he is just batshit crazy!
Jack is a recovering alcoholic, with a dodgy past when it comes to how he treats his wife and son. However initially he does not come across as a bad person, however Kubrick likes to toy with the idea that human beings have an inherently evil dimension, which surely develops in Torrance’s character, regardless of the power over the hotel. Over the film it is revealed that Jack has hurt his family, emotionally and even physically, most likely due to his alcoholism.
Of course, Jack Nicholson was perfect for the part – he seems to have no fear in front of the camera to completely let it go, making him an ideal candidate when picking an actor to play the part of a loose cannon.
He can be incredibly creepy, he’s not afraid to put everything into a part, regardless of how it makes him appear. Jack’s character was by far, the creepiest element in the whole film. Even more so than those twins and that woman that was all sexy and stuff then became hella old.
As well as the characters, Kubricks perfect use of mise-en-scene gave the whole film a bleak undertone which was a very strong setting. The location was eerie, spacious but realistic and the long winding corridors is enough to give anyone the willies.
However, although I love this film and I have high praises for its use of creativity, especially when it comes to graphics, this image will always be fucking ridiculous: