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Horror Movie of the Week #1: THE SHINING
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 5:19 pm    Post subject: Horror Movie of the Week #1: THE SHINING Reply with quote

THE SHINING (1980) Dir: Stanley Kubrick



"I'm not gonna hurt you. Wendy, darling, light of my life, I'm not gonna hurt you. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt you. I'm just gonna bash your brains in."



In The Shining, right from the beginning, as we contemplate the car going to the hotel from those stunning aerial shots, deeply inside us we know that something in the film, somehow, sometime is going to go wrong. As we obtain that severe warning, an almost inaudible voice gently whispers to us ?sit tight?, a sense of unexpectedness invades us all, and it is that very same feeling that makes our hair stand on end throughout out the entire movie.

The truth is, I can?t praise this film enough. The Shining is not just one of Stanley Kubrick?s undisputed masterpieces - it?s also a true classic in horror cinema. It is a film that, over the course of the years, has managed to scare the living hell out of its audiences with great ease (and, of course, still does). The film is an adaptation of Stephen King?s original novel, written in the late ?70s, and although the film is not very loyal to the book, it still stands as a magnificent achievement on its own. It strays from its source material; it only takes it basic premise and develops a couple of changes along the way, completely forgetting about other things, and altering the ending, too. While some people probably won?t like this, I, who have read the book, didn?t find the film to succumb into the realms of crapiness just because it wasn?t exactly like the book ? one has to bear in mind that the film is an adaptation of the novel, not a word-for-word movie version. Some may find it frustrating because of its seemingly lack of coherence (?what?s that guy in a bear suit doing to that old man, and why?? You might ask yourself). But, then again, the beauty of it all is partly due to the ambiguity in which the film is surrounded.

The plot is simple: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in up in the secluded mountains of Colorado. Jack, being a family man, takes his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd) to the hotel to keep him company throughout the long, isolated nights. During their stay, strange things occur when Jack's son Danny sees gruesome images powered by a force called 'the shining' and Jack is heavily affected by this. Along with writer's block and the demons of the hotel haunting him, Jack has a complete mental breakdown and the situation takes a sinister turn for the worse.

One has to ask themselves, what is brilliance? Many will think, ?Brilliance is Welles, Tarkovsky, Hitchcock, Truffaut, Kurosawa?. Others, however, will immediately jump and say, ?Kubrick!? For me, Kubrick doesn?t just define brilliance with perfect clarity ? he is it, he is brilliance. And this film doesn?t just show you that, it hits your head with a bat (no pun intended) so many times that it makes it impossible to forget.

The problem with horror movies of this day and age is that they?re predictable, and not only that. They?re unoriginal, monotonous, uninteresting and, above all (this is the greatest problem) not suspenseful whatsoever. Audiences have got used to seeing a killer on the loose, bloody knife in hand, chasing a bunch of horny teenagers with tight tops. They have seen that so many times that the sheer enjoyment of it all is not just slight ? it?s completely evaporated. The film, unlike many horror-oriented films nowadays, doesn?t only rely on stomach-churning and gory images (which it does contain, anyhow) but on the incredibly tense music based on the works of B?la Bart?k and on the excellent cinematography (the Steadicam is superbly used, giving us a sense of ever-following evil), as well. The concept of the haunted house is turned completely inside out, and Kubrick does it all with his usual magic. The terrifying mood and atmosphere of the film is carefully and masterfully woven by him, who clearly knows how to really make a horror movie. The film is cold, impassive and somehow detached from the outside world, and the viewer finds himself just like the characters in the story, who are trapped inside by a snowstorm ? he feels as though he were in a cage and could not get out. The film confirms Kubrick as one of the most versatile directors in the history of cinema (he?s done science fiction, drama, epic, satires, comedies, etc, there?s no denying that he was immensely talented).

Jack Nicholson?s powerful performance as the mad father and husband is as over the top as it is brilliant. Every gesture of his, every expression, however delicate or apprehensive, every word he utters, simply everything he does is fantastic. From the very first scene in which he appears we know that there?s something wrong about him; the diabolical stare, the arched eyebrows (again, this is yet another alteration of the book as Jack flies off the handle a bit too abruptly rather than gradually sinking into psychotic behavior as he did in the book). Shelley Duvall, who plays the worrying wife who tries to help her son, is also a stand out; she shows a kind of trembling fear in many scenes and is able to display weakness and vulnerability in such a convincing way that you cannot help but admire her work.

Undoubtedly, The Shining is full of memorable moments (the elevator scene or the ?Heeeeeere?s Johnny? one-liner for instance, are unforgettable and have been ripped-off or homaged many times). Simply put, it?s flawlessly brilliant.

Stanley Kubrick?s direction is pure excellence, giving the whole film a bitter and atmospheric look, thus creating an unbearable sense of paranoia and terror. Sometimes the film becomes so unnerving because the horror is so close that it gets a bit hard to watch ? honestly. What makes the film so immortally creepy is the way Kubrick gradually builds up the tension, thus reaching a point in which it gets excruciating. It overwhelms. By the second hour, all hell breaks loose and the finale (oh, what an ending) is pure terror.

There are moments of sheer brilliance and exquisite glory in this film; the horrifying maze chase is a perfect example. Every single shot is masterfully created and there are some genuinely scary scenes which will make you sit on the edge of your seat.

In my opinion, The Shining is a special landmark in horror cinema which will always be regarded as one of the scariest movies in film history.

Since I saw it last year I have rarely been able to have a bath in my bathtub.

Just in case, you know.

What else is there to say that hasn?t already been said? The Shining is an unforgettable, chilling, majestic and truly, profoundly scary film crafted by an eccentric genius who wants to show that the impossible can be done. Kubrick lovers surely will find it to be one of the director?s weakest but I think it?s one of his finest.

It?s a sublime, hauntingly intriguing and endlessly watchable film that shows Kubrick at his best. Not only that, it?s also the most effective (if not best) horror movie ever made. Likely to stir up more than just one conversation after first viewing. And watch out for the surprise ending.

*****/*****



So, rate, discuss, share your thoughts on the film and let's establish a nice and peaceful conversation, shall we?


Last edited by The Third M?n on 09.21.2003 4:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And while you're at it, list your favourite horror films of all time.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bet you can guess my favorite horror movie.
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's evident. And I absolutely love it, too. I decided that it will be Horror Movei of the Week #3. Seen The Shining, though?
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favorite horror films of all time include (no particular order):

The Exorcist

The Shining

Nightmare on Elm Street

Halloween

Alien

Psycho

The Omen

Jian Gui

The Others

Se7en

Mulholland Dr.

Ringu

The Thing (1982)

Repulsion

The Silence of the Lambs

The Sixth Sense

The Ring



Haven't seen: Suspiria, Rosemary's Baby, The Texas Chainsaw Masscare, Ju-On, Night of the Livign Dead, Tenebrae, The Evil Dead, The Vanishing, Horror, Carrie, etc...


Last edited by The Third M?n on 09.19.2003 10:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought everybody knew that Rosemary's Baby is the greatest horror picture of all time.

Eric
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still haven't seen that - been wanting to for ages. How would you compare The Shining to the rest of Kubrick's work and what would you rate it (how good d'you think it was?)
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I should admit that I haven't seen The Shining since I was 18 or 19, which means for about a decade. Since I've grown and changed considerably as a film viewer in those years, I can't assume that my response to it today would be the same as then. I can say that at the time I didn't think it ranked with his finest work--Paths of Glory, A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove--although it made a reasonable impact on me. Despite my admiration for those three films, I'm not particularly fond of Kubrick in general, so perhaps I'm not the most qualified to rank his work.

Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good review, Third M?n. As everybody probably knows, King once compared Kubrick's The Shining to a Rolls Royce with no engine: it's nice to look at, but it doesn't go anywhere. As much as I enjoy Kubrick's film, I'm inclined to agree. As you pointed out, TM, Jack Torrance, as portrayed by Nicholson, is obviously looney from the very first frame. This, to me, is the movie's single -- but deadly -- flaw, since there is simply no room for any character development once Jack is introduced.

That said, The Shining is easily one of the most atmospheric and dread-inducing horror movies ever made. Kubrick manages to create a palpable sense of otherness about the Overlook, and delivers a feeling of being watched, as I have never experienced in any other horror movie. As slow-paced as it is, the movie has a hypnotic quality. Even when it doesn't seem like anything is happening, you can't stop watching.

My favorite horror movies (I know I'm forgetting something):

Alien Ridley Scott, 1997

Vampyr Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1932

PsychoAlfred Hitchcock, 1960

The Thing John Carpenter, 1982

The Fly David Cronenberg, 1986

Lost Highway David Lynch, 1988

Videodrome David Cronenberg,

The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme, 1991

Re-Animator Stuart Gordon, 1985

Near Dark Kathryn Bigelow, 1987

Creepshow George Romero, 1982

Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein James Whale, 1931/1935

The Shining Stanely Kubrick, 1980

The Hitcher Robert Harmon, 1986

The Haunting Robert Wise, 1963

Ring Hideo Nakata, 1998

Audition Takashi Miike, 2000

The Howling Joe Dante, 1981

Ginger Snaps John Fawcett, 2000

A Nightmare on Elm Street Wes Craven. 1984

The Evil Dead Sam Raimi, 1981

Halloween John Carpenter, 1978

The Brood David Cronenberg, 1982

The Night Flier Mark Pava, 1997

The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, 1963

Henry: Potrait of a Serial Killer John McNaughton, 1986

From Beyond Stuart Gordon, 1986

Dagon Stuart Gordon, 2001

Dawn of the Dead George Romero, 1987

Jaws Steven Spielberg, 1975

An American Werewolf in London John Landis, 1981

Hellraiser Clive Barker, 1987

Return of the Living Dead Dan O?Bannon, 1985

Brain Damage Frank Henenlotter, 1988

Night of the Living Dead George Romero, 1968

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Tobe Hooper, 1974

The Wicker Man Robin Hardy, 1973

Exorcist III William Peter Blatty, 1990

Quatermass and the Pit Roy Ward Baker, 1967

The Devil?s Backbone Guillermo del Toro, 2001

The Mummy Karl Freund,1932

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Philip Kaufman, 1978

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Don Seigel, 1956

Candyman Bernard Rose, 1992

Black Sabbath Mario Bava, 1969

Cure Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997

Night of the Demon Jacques Tourneur, 1958

Black Sunday Mario Bava, 1960

Nosferatu Werner Herzog, 1979

Se7en David Fincher, 1995

Planet of the Vampires Mario Bava, 1965

Lisa and the Devil Mario Bava, 1973

Basket Case Frank Henenlotter, 1982

The Innocents Jack Clayton, 1961

The Ninth Gate Roman Polanski, 1999

Cat People Jacques Tourneur, 1942

Uzumaki Higuchinsky, 2000

Rosemary?s Baby Roman Polanski, 1968

The Thing From Another World Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks, 1951

The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas Val Guest, 1957

Inferno Dario Argento, 1980

Phantasm Don Coscarelli. 1979

The Fog John Carpenter, 1980

Repulsion Roman Polanski, 1965

The Woman in Black Herbert Wise, 1989

Non-traditional horror movies:

Eraserhead David Lynch, 1977

Mulholland Drive David Lynch, 2002

Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola, 1979

Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese1976

Dead RingersDavid Cronenberg, 1988

Heavenly Creatures Peter Jackson, 1994

Don?t Toture a Duckling Lucio Fulci, 1972

The Tragedy of Macbeth Roman Polanski, 1971

Pi Darren Aronofsky, 1998

Manhunter Michael Mann, 1986
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Last edited by the night watchman on 09.22.2003 6:35 pm; edited 3 times in total
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The Third M?n
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the night watchman wrote:


Pi Darren Aronofsky, 1998



I also consider this film to be mainly horror. Probably due to the fact that it's extremely unsettling and highly disturbing.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kubrick's The Shining is the scariest film I've ever seen. I don't have much time to discuss it right now (lots of studying to do), but I'll drop a list of a few of my favorite horror films. The list is in alphabetical order, though Dawn of the Dead and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me would certainly top the list if I were to rank them.



  • Bride of Frankenstein (Whale, 1935)

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Weine, 1920)

  • Candyman (Rose, 1992)

  • Carnival of Souls (Harvey, 1962)

  • Carrie (De Palma, 1976)

  • Cutting Moments [short] (Buck, 1997)

  • Dawn of the Dead (Romero, 1978)

  • Ginger Snaps (Fawcett, 2001)

  • Halloween (Carpenter, 1978)

  • Hardcore Poisoned Eyes (Ciavarello, 2000)

  • Heavenly Creatures (Jackson, 1994)

  • Last House on the Left (Craven, 1972)

  • Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997)

  • Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001)

  • Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)

  • Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)

  • Repulsion (Polanski, 1965)

  • Requiem for a Dream (Aronofsky, 2000)

  • The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)

  • Suspiria (Argento, 1977)

  • Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)

  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (Lynch, 1992)

  • Wes Craven's New Nightmare (Craven, 1994)

  • Witchfinder General [aka Conqueror Worm] (Reeves, 1968)



I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't seen: Rosemary's Baby, The Birds, Wait Until Dark, The Innocents, The Thing (Carpenter remake), Freaks, Dead of Night, The Haunting (Wise original), Don't Look Now, and The Wicker Man. Did I just admit all that? Sheesh. I will remedy that soon, though, with the help of Netflix for most of them.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Random, disconnected thoughts:

I found Don't Look Now too cold underneath the surface for my tastes, but I really like The Wicker Man, and I'm curious about this new remake that has been bumping around in pre-production.

I'm not much of a Romero fan, but I agree about Dawn of the Dead--it's got a few things to say about America, I think.

Man, I haven't thought about Conqueror Worm for years! I don't really remember much about it...

I'm actually surprised by how much I like New Nightmare.

Good call on Taxi Driver, Night Watchman. I think that's one of the great American movies, period.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 09.19.2003 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Third M?n wrote:
Seen The Shining, though?


Who hasn't?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:


I'm ashamed to admit I still haven't seen Freaks


It's probably worth seeing, but frankly I think it's kinda eh, mainly because I don't care for Tod Browning's direction.

EDIT: By the way, I really want to see Hardcore Poison Eyes. Is it still available?
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 09.20.2003 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Good call on Taxi Driver, Night Watchman. I think that's one of the great American movies, period.



Thanks. I'm still surprised how effective it is; even after all these years, and after all the (cinematic) blood and guts I've watched, the violence of the climax remains utterly shocking.
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