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The Shining
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The Shining (1980)

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Plot Summary:
"Jack Torrance becomes winter caretaker at an isolated Colarado hotel, which he regards a an opportunity to develop his writing ambition. Jack spends his winter in the hotel along with wife Wendy and son Danny. But Dannys psychic perceptions (shining) gives him horrible visions of the hotel. Unfortunately Jack is becoming unstable and the isolation is beginning to take effect. And the hotels history comes back to haunt the family."

Reviewer: David Ellis @horrorasylum
Location:Kentucky, USA
Review Date: 06 April 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation to Stephen King’s master horror novel The Shining is a one in a million masterpiece. This film truly shows the genius of Stephen King’s mind. If by some chance you haven’t heard of The Shining , let me give you the background of this fantastic story, this story takes place in the mountains of Colorado at the Overlook Hotel.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicolson) becomes the caretaker of the Overlook for the off season. He, along with his wife Wendy, and his son Danny all go to the hotel together, all is good until Danny starts to ‘see’ what has happened in the past at the Overlook. Jack also starts to experience some happenings himself at the Overlook, but in a more negative experience. Jack is then told by one of the deceased guests that he needs to fix his family.

Danny Lloyd sets the mood with his role as the physic child, a believable confused child, not quite sure with the gift he has been given. Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance plays the perfect role as the terrified wife in fear of her child’s safety. However, a lot of the credit must go to Jack Nicolson as he plays an absolutely magnificent role as the psychopathic caretaker. Most believing as he paints the stage with his witty, yet psychotic ways, that makes the viewer jump out of their seat with his famous line “Here’s Johnny!!”

When it’s all said and done I must say that The Shining is in my top ten favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen this great film before please take my word for it and give it a chance I promise you, you will not regret it. The chilling feeling this movie gives off will make you want more. So my answer is yes this movie is a shining star.

Reviewer: John Dedeke @horrorasylum
Review Date: 31 October 2001 My Rating: out of 5

The majority of people who see The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's film adaption of Stephen King's third novel, tend to either love or hate the film. Horror movie fans often call The Shining one of the best modern horror films in existence, while others (many of the fans of the book who reject director Kubrick's alterations to the story) absolutely hate it. Though a huge fan of the book (in my opinion possibly King's scariest work), I happen to belong to the first group, and consider The Shining to be one of the finest examples of a horror film there is, and I feel that what Kubrick brings to this tale of ghostly psychological terror helps it rather than hinders.

The Shining is all-around a solid collection of a perfect setting, perfect direction, and an excellent cast. It is also full of some wonderfully horrifying visuals; scenes that few who have seen the film are likely to ever forget. Elevator shafts overflow with blood; empty rooms suddenly populate with corpses, and are empty again, etc. But mostly what drives is the truly amazing work of Jack Nicholson. Nicholson gives what ranks as the most recognizable performance of his career as Jack Torrance, a man seduced by the evil of the Overlook Hotel. In Nicholson, the utterly terrifying concept of a man violently and sadistically attacking his own family comes to life.

Many of the film's detractors point to Nicholson's portrayal of Torrance as their reason for disliking the film; claiming that Nicholson is far too over-the-top from the opening moments of the movie to really convey Torrance's slow descent into madness. This claim might hold validity if The Shining were meant to be viewed as a direct translation of novel to film. Instead, Kubrick's film is actually a reinterpretation of King's book; one man's story as seen through another man's eyes. Kubricks' vision of Jack Torrance lends itself to Nicholson's portrayal of the character, and vice versa. Purists paying too close attention to how different the story might be, or how differently the character of Torrance is shown, fail to appreciate what Kubrick accomplishes in terms of outright visceral horror.

At the time The Shining was made, Kubrick's extensive use of the Steadicam and his long, slow, brooding takes were fairly groundbreaking, but even today they manage to appear fresh and frightening, scary and stylish. The tweaks and small additions he made to the story don't really bring much to the film, but his visual style is quite distinct and remarkably effective. This was Kubrick's first attempt at making a horror film, and despite not being very familiar with the genre's conventions and trappings, he still manages to do an incredible job of making The Shining both convincingly realistic and impressively terrifying.

To this day The Shining carries on a legacy of being a truly scary horror film, one of the best from an era full of excellent horror movies. It is as scary today as it was in , and probably scarier than anything that has come since. Despite a more 'official' adaptation of the novel made for television in the late s, Kubrick's version of The Shining remains the definitive film interpretation of this now-classic story of modern horror.

Strict fans of the novel upon which it is based may be put off by Stanley Kubrick's tinkering, but those who can see past the alterations are in for a treat. One of the best horror films of the modern age, The Shining remains a truly terrifying classic that is still just as scary today as it was twenty years ago.

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