Monday, September 21, 2009

The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick directs this "masterpiece of modern horror".

Jack Nicholson plays a writer, husband, and father.  Jack and his family take a job as caretakers of the Overlook Hotel during its off season.  Once Jack, his wife, and son are alone in the hotel, strange things start happening.  Spirits are materializing and they are trying to control Jack, forcing him to kill his family.  Jack's son, Danny, has a special ability where he can see spirits, the future, and read people's minds.  His ability is referred to as shining.  

"The Shining" is a great horror film.  Jack Nicholson is amazing in his role as Jack Torrence.  He is genuinely crazy and you really believe that he has it in him to kill another human being.  Stephen King, the writer of "The Shining", did not want Nicholson to play Torrence.  King wanted a straight actor who really transforms into an insane murderer.  I see where King is coming from.  It would have been much more effective that way, but no one can do crazy like Nicholson.  I think ultimately they made the best choice with Jack.  

All of the ghost scenes are incredibly scary.  The scariest has to be the bathroom scene.  Jack's son, Danny, has been attacked by a ghost of a woman.  Jack goes to check out the room where Danny was attacked and he finds a beautiful nude woman in the bathtub.  She walks toward Jack and they kiss.  It is then when the woman turns into an elderly, decaying, old woman.  As Jack runs away, she follows him with maniacal laughter.  It was really scary.  The other scene that I think is really scary is when Jack's wife sees ghosts of a man (dressed in a bear suit) giving a blow job to another man.  It was very random and incredibly eerie. 

Stanley Kubrick really gets the best out of his cast and crew.  Jack Nicholson is as good as he has ever been.  Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers really give outstanding performances as well.  "The Shining" also has one of the best musical scores of a horror film.  It really adds a good amount of terror to the story.  The other thing that really stands out is the cinematography.  The way each scene is framed is a work of art.

"The Shining" is known as one of the scariest films ever made and I couldn't agree more.  They don't make horror movies this involved anymore.  "The Shining" is a slow moving film, but it adds to the eerie atmosphere.  It really sets a foreboding mood.  Horror films do not accomplish this anymore.  Most of today's horror films are just too fast paced and they do not set the mood needed to really scare someone.

A-  I recommend it.

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