Well. That's another scariest-movie-of-all-time over and done with.


And, alas, like Night of the Living Dead, The Shining was a disappointment.

Look: heckuva lotta Filmmaking going on here. No question about that. And no doubt it stressed me out. But it was just too much. Which may seem like a funny thing to say, me being a wild Wes Anderson fan, but you don't want a silly scariest-movie-of-all-time, do you? No. Of course you don't. Then it wouldn't be the scariest-movie-of-all-time, would it?

Does that music get you scared? Sure. I guess. It's better than most Halloween sound-effect tapes, for sure.

Does that almost-symmetrical-but-not-quite framing keep you off guard? Yep. Sure does.

How about Danny riding his bike around and around and around?

How about the All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. manuscript?

How about the lady in the tub?

How about the running through the hedge?

The use of mirrors?

Yes, yes, yes. All very well done. The sudden cuts made me jump almost every time (although the last one to the iconic image of frozen Jack just made me snort), but aren't you wasting tension, making me jump just to tell me it's Tuesday?


I can see where the influence of this film has shown up in everyone from my boy Wes to Twin Peaks, but come on. The slow build of terror was so slow it finally fell apart and collapsed. The sudden death of Dick provided no payoff or release. Having Mom see ghosts got in the way of the true source of the terror. The room of skeletons just made me laugh out loud. And that photograph at the end? Oh yeah. Very artsy. Whoopdefreakindo. That does nothing for me, Kubrick. Stop patting yourself on the back.

Some great acting from the leads, though! Even though the direction included lots of needless pauses. Jack Nicholson was born for this role. I'm glad other people like it....

I know I'm grumpy. Sorry. But really. For all it's merits, when you add them all up, the film kind of sucked.

There it is.


  1. Okay, trying again to comment. The film is absolutely flawed, for all the reasons you mention. Despite those issues, I find some scenes truly horrifying and memorable enough to outweigh a lot of my problems with the film as a whole. I love the book, but I regard the book and the film as two very different stories.

    Jack is fab, but so over the top that he overshadows the story; to me, his performance is a monument to ego. I loathe the cartoonish Shelley Duvall and share Jack's desire to hack her to bits. Couldn't agree more with all of the silliness you mention--and the slow build is a characteristic of many horror movies of that era.

    But the music. Yeesh. The opening shot of the ant-like car with W. Carlos's bizarre synthesizer shrieks and wails. And the trick shots--all the subtleties that add to the feeling of displacement and confusion. And the manuscript. I think there's a lot to love, even though the movie is far from perfect.

    I'm planning on seeing El Orfanato soon.

  2. Oh, and for more on the trick shots, watch the insightful (yet ultimately somewhat unsatisfying) documentary Room 237. http://www.room237movie.com/

  3. .

    Now MY comment didn't show up.

    Gee whiz.

    I did not know that doc was online. I hear some of the theories are craazy, but I'll definitely check it out.

    Incidentally, I dreamed Shining dreams all night long. (All of them involved Jack trying to kill his family with an ax and them being freaked out about it and me not being that impressed.) My favorite was when the Overlook was in downtown Salt Lake and the hotel opened back up just as Mom and Child were fleeing him. So Jack had to act nonchalant and slip by as they told their tale to reception.

    Anyway, they flee into a church where a ward activity's going on. Luckily, one of the greeters is a divorce lawyer, so she gets a divorce before joining the festivities (where, natch, Jack has already snuck); thus he has no power over them.

  4. Interesting thoughts Th. I think I've only watched this all the way through once, when I was 7 or 8 years old. I remembering wanting to see the blood in the hall, because that's all my older brother was talking about. The thing that scared me the most was the woman in the tub - which still gives me the chills. As an adult I think I find the tone and music much more creepy, but don't find it all that scary, thought I've only watched it in parts since my childhood. Having just read the book last year, I found it compelling, but didn't frighten me in the least. - Dallas

  5. Yes, some theories are way wack, but some stuff is very cool. Spoiler: I wish there were way more of the guy who mapped out Danny's cycling routes through the hotel. THAT was awesome.

  6. .

    Arrrgh! My comment from two days ago is missing!!!!! I really do need to move to Wordpress.....