Days of Terror: “The Shining”


For the most part throughout this challenge, I’m trying to watch movies I’ve never seen before, but I couldn’t resist including “The Shining.” Not only one of my favorite horror movies ever made, but one of my favorite movies in general, “The Shining” is a complete masterpiece.

Where I watched: DVD

Length: 144 minutes

Prior knowledge of the film: I’ve seen the movie countless times, read the book and even visited The Stanley Hotel (where Stephen King based the novel on) and reenacted scenes over the summer.

We are all Jack Torrance

Maybe it’s because it’s midterms week, but instead of being scared by Jack Torrance’s psychotic breakdown, I really related to it. I mean, I can’t relate to wanting to murder my family, but the scenes in which he couldn’t be more stressed out, yelling at his wife and son, staring off into the distance with glazed eyes, I felt for the man.

We’ve all been there, we have all been Jack Torrance – just maybe not to the extent of Jack Torrance (stay away from old women in bathtubs, mazes and axes). But the displaced anger, constant procrastination even the way Torrance does his anger talk (when people want to scream at another person, but in an attempt to keep it together they do a weird, slow whisper talk) is so relatable. Who doesn’t use that voice while getting pelted with stupid questions while trying to work on something else? My favorite line in the film is after Danny asks his father why he doesn’t sleep and Jack answers “I have too much to do.” I feel you, Jack, I really do.

Was it actually scary?

God yes, on so many levels. Of course, ghosts are always scary. The old woman in the bathtub is disgusting and will forever haunt me whenever I take a bath. The twins kind of make me terrified of all twins. But it’s also scary on an entirely different level. While it’s a ghost story, it’s also a story of a sane man completely losing it. “The Shining” is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, because anyone could lose it like this. Sure, Jack is in very strange circumstances coupled with isolation and a hatred for his family that was probably always there, but at the same time, anyone can snap. This movie is so terrifying on a psychological level, and that’s the worst way to be scared.

Overall consensus

Everything about this film is perfect. The fact that it doesn’t have a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes is the biggest crime in American history, because this is a flawless film. The cinematography in the film could not be more beautiful, especially in the introduction of the film when the Torrance family is driving through the mountains to the hotel. The sets are beautifully designed, and the vastness of them help to reflect the complete isolation that the Torrance family is dealing with. The bathroom scene with Mr. Grady is so perfectly scripted, and highlights Jack’s psychotic breakdown so well. I wish I could watch “The Shining” every day of this challenge, because it’s the greatest film so far on this list (I know, it’s only day 4), and I know a wide majority of the horror genre is not half this good.

[box]Read more in the 30 day horror movie challenge, Days of Terror[/box]