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Drama, Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
Stanley Kubrick
Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance
Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance
Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance
Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann
Barry Nelson as Stuart Ullman
Philip Stone as Delbert Grady
Joe Turkel as Lloyd the Bartender
Anne Jackson as Doctor
Tony Burton as Larry Durkin
Lia Beldam as Old Woman in Bath
Billie Gibson as Old Woman in Bath
Barry Dennen as Bill Watson
David Baxt as Forest Ranger #1
Manning Redwood as Forest Ranger #2
Storyline: Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the "Shining", to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
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Kubrick+Nicholson= A successful horror movie!
Though Stephen King is proclaim the Master of Horror in literature, Stanley Kubrick uses everything to make his last movies from sexual fantasies, racial slurs, sadistic madmen and realistic behavior to mess with the human mind. Though "Eyes Wide Shut" and "Full Metal Jacket" were two of his last films, the third of his last movies "The Shining" is a masterful movie of drama and straight execution of psychology to make you have nightmares.

Jack Nicholson is Jack Torrance, a writer, teacher and a recovering alcoholic who has an arrangement to meet with managers at a hotel plantation in Colorado where for the next couple of days of his life, he's going to be the caretaker of the estate while starting up a novel. He takes his family, wife Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall) on the brink of insanity while smoking cigarettes and their little boy Danny (Danny Lloyd) who can read things with his mind and see things before they happen and shows expressions as if being abused. After packing and leaving to the resort they meet with the managers and cook Dick Halloran (Scatman Crothers) before the workers leave. Dick finds out that Danny can read minds where they both talk to each other afterwards and not to say anything about this to their parents.

Days go by as Jack tries to write his novel but is distracted by everything from his wife's generosity of food to his son's interruption where things aren't what they seem as they live in the hotel longer. Strange things start occurring where Jack starts seeing people that didn't think existed or left the building. Noises are being heard across the hallways. Visions are toying with their minds. And Jack Nicholson starts to lose his mind.

"The Shining" is a great accomplishment in horror movies where not since "Dawn of the Dead" and "Halloween" has a scary movie takes its time to show characteristics rather than cut through the action. Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece is not going to leave anytime in our DVD collection or our minds.
timeless terror
Even though The Shining is over a quarter of a century old, I challenge anyone to not get freaked out by Jack Nicholson's descent into madness. This is a rare example of something so unique that no one has been able to rip it off; instead it has been referenced time and again in pop culture. The twins, the elevator of blood, RedRum, the crazy nonsense "writing"... this should be seen, if for nothing else, to understand all the allusions to it in daily life. The film is simultaneously scary, suspenseful, beautiful, and psychologically intriguing. It has the classic mystery of Hitchcock and the terror of a modern thriller. And it has what horror movies usually lack: a great script.
All play and no work makes Jack (Nicholson) a VERY dull boy. . .
It's certainly not a new complaint in relation to this film, but I must register it anyway: Jack Nicholson's acting here is all wrong for the material. Instead of a slow buildup from banality to insanity - which, given the movie's otherwise brilliant creepiness of tone and style - could have been truly horrific to watch, we get Jack Torrance as the nutjob Big Bad Wolf right from the very beginning. It's weird: it's as if Kubrick is indeed making the ultimate horror film, and Nicholson is sabotaging it every step of the way by enacting the ultimate horror film *parody*. Each on its own terms is immensely enjoyable, but they effectively cancel each other out. I've never seen the styles of director and star diverge so emphatically (A minor comparison would be the first "Fletch" movie, where Michael Ritchie's taut direction is appropriate to a gritty crime thriller, but where star Chevy Chase waltzes through the vehicle glibly throwing darts into every dramatic setup).

However, there's no point in blaming Nicholson for the mess - this was clearly the way Kubrick wanted the part to be played. Perfectionist and control freak that he was, you don't believe for a minute that any inch of a Kubrick film isn't exactly how he wanted it; he certainly wouldn't allow a mere *actor* to steamroll his well-laid plans, not even one as forceful and magnetic as Jack Nicholson. Still, this movie - together with Batman, and even One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - soured me on Jack for a long time; I found in him an actor far too willing to coast on his personality and to ham it up mercilessly, rather than bother to actually create a recognizable human being. Such a technique is fine, even commendable, for farceurs like Jim Carrey or Paul Reubens (either one of which would probably have been just as effective as Nicholson is here at being Jack Torrance) but we should expect more from our so-called Dramatic Actors. It wasn't until I saw some of his more restrained, nuanced work in such films as Ironweed, Wolf, The King of Marvin's Gardens, and even (amazingly) Easy Rider that I realized what a truly fine performer Nicholson can be when he is forced to, as it were, paint in between the lines (by the way, no complaints from me about his Oscar for As Good As It Gets - he's the only actor alive who could have made that part work the way it did). It's just too bad Kubrick didn't decide to use him this way; watching Jack Torrance go from a diffident, restrained man (watch the first part of Wolf to see how surprisingly well Nicholson can play such a character) to a rampaging lunatic would have been truly frightening (even with the extra bit of campiness Nicholson throws in - "Heeere's Johnny!", etc). It would have been as if the Overlook Hotel unleashed some primordial demon from the depths of an essentially decent man. The way it plays now, Jack's evil and insanity are loudly telegraphed from the very beginning (those dancing eyebrows of his NEVER stop!) - all that's left is to go through the motions.

Of course, there are some pretty startling motions to go through in this movie; Kubrick's technical brilliance and his ability to create an engrossing mise en scene ensure that the film can never be seen as a total failure. In fact, when Nicholson is offscreen, the goosebump factor here is actually pretty high. The long tracking shots of Danny riding his Big Wheel through the winding hotel corridors are justly famous, as is the very design of the Overlook's wide open - yet paradoxically oppressive - map room (where Jack does his "writing"): these sequences effectively make the Overlook into a character itself. The isolation of it, its stillness and quiet, and most importantly its labyrinthian hugeness serve to overwhelm the tiny family and break down whatever bond they may have (which, again, would have been so much more effective if we felt this family was ever bonded in the first place). Kubrick ingeniously avoids shock devices, for the most part, and creates his spooky atmosphere through an almost inhuman stillness and quiet - which effectively creates an undertow of dread and expectation in the viewer. Quite simply, there are images and flash-cuts in this movie that will get under your skin and that you will never be able to shake - they will haunt your subconscience forever (deliciously). None more so than the truly classic moment where Wendy, the wife, finally discovers what it is Jack has been "writing" all this time: I can think of few movie moments in history that are so gut-bustingly hilarious and at one and the same time so bone-chillingly frightening and perverse. For this one moment alone, the film demands a viewing.

It's simply too bad that Kubrick felt the need to invade the sanctity of his gothic cathedral like setting with the over the top rantings and ravings of the town lunatic. Not that that lunatic is not one devil of a fun guy to hiss and laugh at, it's just that he belongs in a different movie - the Evil Dead flicks, maybe, or one of Freddy Krueger's opuses. This conflict in styles between star and director ultimately make The Shining, for me at least, a frustrating experience: I keep wishing one of them would just get out of the other's way. The Shining could have been one of the hammiest and most enjoyable grand guignol horror experiences ever, or it could have been perhaps the most finely crafted and subtly shaded psychological thriller of all time. Alas, it cannot be both - and in trying to do so, it effectively undermines itself at every turn.
More tragedy than thriller
If you haven't seen it, don't bother. I have no trouble understanding why Stephen King hated this movie so much he had it remade (though I haven't seen his version, so I don't know if he actually did a better job than Kubrick).

Jack Nicholson does a fairly good job as Jack Torrance; although he seems incapable of acting normal when he's supposed to (mostly in the beginning), his character goes mad fairly early, and mad is Jack Nicholson's middle name. The best scenes are definitely those that show Torrance's gradual descent into madness; they almost (but not quite) manage to save the movie.

The rest of the cast varies from fair (Philip Stone as Delbert Grady) to passable (Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance) to indifferent (the hotel staff, the firemen) to bad (Scatman Crothers as the stereotypical genial black cook with the most annoying laugh you've ever heard) to abysmal (Shelley Duval as Wendy Torrance): Lloyd is so-so, with on one hand his laughable conversations with his imaginary friend Tony, and on the other the excellent "Redrum" scene, which is slightly reminiscent of The Exorcist, while Duval - well, let's just say you'll spend most of the movie hoping she gets brutally murdered at the end.

The plot is simple, predictable and uninspired, and is not without its fair share of holes, which is surprising (and disappointing) for a Kubrick movie. There is also a distressing number of continuity errors, though some of them can be explained if one assumes that more time passes between scenes than it seems - but either way, they're annoying.

One of the movie's few saving graces is the photography - ranging from good to excellent - which manages to convey the strangeness and isolation of the Overlook Hotel very well, and help set the mood in those scenes that actually have mood (which excludes most of the scenes featuring Duval, Lloyd or Crothers).
One of The Best Horror Films Ever
I was kinda surprised when I heard that Stanly Kubrick had made a horror film and that it was The Shinning was a big shock to me. Kubrick is one of my favorite film makers and after I saw 2001 and Clockwork Orange I had to see his other movies. I had heard a lot about this movie and kinda a lot of the scenes but I really didn't remember this movie that well. So I rent the movie and watch it as soon as I got home and loved it. This is one of my favorite movies even though I really do not like the horror movies. Jack Nicholson give his best performance(have not seen One Flow Over The Cuckoo's Nest).Sherry Duvall and Danny Loyd do better good but I didn't like their performances. The thing I didn't like about this movie is that the shinning in the story is wear the Danny can do a lot of telepathic things with his head, which I thought was kinda random. Even though that the things I didn't like about this movie really bug me I still love this movie. This is a great movie if like to see another Stanley Kubrick film or just want to watch the one of the best horror films out there.
How to confuse a shallow mind.
I believe the perfect way to describe The Shining is to describe Stanley Kubrick. He is a man with vision and original ideas, but he lacks a purpose. While The Shining aims to be a horror movie, and by the way, fails in that miserably, in my eyes, it takes the worst and most typical horror movie route. That's not necessarily bad, but.

There is always a mystery and the great unknown behind horror movies. This is what The Shining builds up in an impressive manner. The sole terminology and amount of mysteries and mystery elements leads the viewer to think all this build up will lead to an epic conclusion where the great reveal finally tells us what is going on, why is Jack getting insane, why does the boy see those things, who is Tony, what are these shining people and will the black man die first. Nope. Instead we are shown scenes where ghost sets Jack free from the stockroom because that's the only way for him to get out, okay? He needs to get out so he gets out. Of course that is never explained. And this leads to the biggest problem with the story. Nothing is ever explained. "Too many answers will just ruin it." Yeah? I see this as nothing but a terrible excuse for a lousy storytelling and lack of brains since there was hardly anything to get beyond what was told.

The loose ends, unanswered questions and all the other spooky stuff that was in the movie just to make it more spooky and mysterious are, in a one word; cheap. And with few more words; a waste of potential. I guess many of us have seen a meme picture of a dog sitting on an airplane, it looks like the dog is flying it and then there is a text "I have no idea what I am doing." When I imagine Stanley Kubrick directing this film, I recall that picture. I see him behind the camera, the cast, the hotel, the stairs and a text "I have no idea what I am doing" and that's what we call The Shining. Not that the story was even the biggest problem, nor that the ending scene makes no sense due this not being a movie about Jack, but the characters and the sounds too. From this point on, I will act like there are no loose ends, and the story telling and plot is flawless, and I will get into why this movie is bad solely because of it other merits.

In the beginning, I mentioned this failing miserably to be a horror film. The sounds will kill the theme quicker than Kubrick creates a loose end. (This is a joke, so I did not lie 2 sentences ago). I find it incredibly hard to get in the horror mood when the "music" can be described as wheezing. One thing they did miraculously well; they captured the feeling of tinnitus. Seriously, when you hear sounds like that, you go to the doctor and wish for the best. Then suddenly my bass is yelling, I hear the exact sound C-Class horror movies use when jump-scare scene is executed. What does this movie do with a sounds like that? They show us a black frame with a text "Thursday" in it. I ask myself, "Do these guys take this movie as a joke?" but I do not know the answer. I am not sure if these sounds are supposed to be spooky and scary, create atmosphere even, but one thing they do is remind you that you are sitting on your sofa and that you can always turn down the volume because it is just a ridiculously bad sound directing in a movie.

Now, let's get to my favorite part. The cast. Jack Nicholson, what a bastard, I love him. But I see The Shining as his worst acting, not even acting, a role. He looks insane in every single picture that was ever taken of him. How is a man who looks insane a suitable person to be character in a movie where the character changes from your average fellow to a completely insane psycho? Well, he is not. He was a bad pick. I can only say that this is not the story it was supposed to be. There is good acting too. Shelley Duvann does an amazing job acting out a dull retard. Then a question. Who likes dull retard characters? This movie is her story, her family goes insane, she is in the middle of it all, she experience the horror. Then a second question. Why should we give a damn about what happens to a retard like her?

This leads us to final and one of the biggest elements I am going to analyze. The kid. He is shining, he hears Tony, he can contact other shining, he is the reason why Jack does anything, he sees the horror, glimpses of past, future and future past, he is everything this movie is about. He drives the story towards the truth behind the hotel and towards everything this movie is. But what is he exactly? He is called a plot element. This is not a bad thing in my eyes, I think it is great. What is bad is what he wasn't. Imagine with me. He makes Jack shining, he makes Tony talk to Johnny, he resolves Jack's humanity, he is the one who experiences the horror while being the horror itself. After this the movie ends the same way, but now it has changed to a story about Jack who was inflicted by the horror of the kid and Tony. Instead we get an ending where Kubrick is basically saying, "Since we don't know how to end this movie, let's insert bunch of stuff which makes it look deep." Cop-out. That's how you confuse a shallow mind.
The Shining'' arouses feelings: after him, you will want to seek an ax and go around chopping off heads or get anxious, afraid that something happens like you. This time, believe the propaganda of the cover of the video. (Zombie) Just a curiosity: A week before The Shining open in theaters, Kubrick changed the end of the movie and took an entire sequence: After you see the pictures on the hotel wall, the scene would dissolve and would be taken to a hospital. Wendy is resting on a bed and Danny is playing in the waiting room. Stuart Ullman appears and tells her that the body of her husband was not found. When Ullman is leaving, he gives a ball to Danny - the same ball that mysteriously rolls down the aisle before the boy being attacked in room 237. Ullman then chuckles and walks away while Danny looks at the Overlook Hotel
The greatest horror movie of all time.
Okay, okay, maybe not THE greatest. I mean, The Exorcist and Psycho and a few others are hard to pass up, but The Shining is way up there. It is, however, by far the best Stephen King story that has been made into a movie. It's better than The Stand, better than Pet Sematary (if not quite as scary), better than Cujo, better than The Green Mile, better the Dolores Claiborne, better than Stand By Me (just barely, though), and yes, it's better than The Shawshank Redemption (shut up, it's better), I don't care WHAT the IMDb Top 250 says.

I read that, a couple of decades ago, Stanley Kubrick was sorting through novels at his home trying to find one that might make a good movie, and from the other room, his wife would hear a pounding noise every half hour or so as he threw books against the wall in frustration. Finally, she didn't hear any noise for almost two hours, and when she went to check and see if he had died in his chair or something (I tell this with all due respect, of course), she found him concentrating on a book that he had in his hand, and the book was The Shining. And thank God, too, because he went on to convert that book into one of the best horror films ever.

Stephen King can be thanked for the complexity of the story, about a man who takes his wife and son up to a remote hotel to oversee it during the extremely isolated winter as he works on his writing. Jack Nicholson can be thanked for his dead-on performance as Jack Torrance (how many movies has Jack been in where he plays a character named Jack?), as well as his flawless delivery of several now-famous lines (`Heeeeeere's Johnny!!'). Shelley Duvall can be thanked for giving a performance that allows the audience to relate to Jack's desires to kill her. Stanley Kubrick can be thanked for giving this excellent story his very recognizable touch, and whoever the casting director was can be thanked for scrounging up the creepiest twins on the planet to play the part of the murdered girls.

One of the most significant aspects of this movie, necessary for the story as a whole to have its most significant effect, is the isolation, and it's presents flawlessly. The film starts off with a lengthy scene following Jack as he drives up to the old hotel for his interview for the job of the caretaker for the winter. This is soon followed by the same thing following Jack and his family as they drive up the windy mountain road to the hotel. This time the scene is intermixed with shots of Jack, Wendy, and Danny talking in the car, in which Kubrick managed to sneak in a quick suggestion about the evils of TV, as Wendy voices her concern about talking about cannibalism in front of Danny, who says that it's okay because he's already seen it on TV (`See? It's okay, he saw it on the television.').

The hotel itself is the perfect setting for a story like this to take place, and it's bloody past is made much more frightening by the huge, echoing rooms and the long hallways. These rooms with their echoes constantly emphasize the emptiness of the hotel, but it is the hallways that really created most of the scariness of this movie, and Kubrick's traditional tracking shots give the hallways a creepy three-dimensional feel. Early in the film, there is a famous tracking shot that follows Danny in a large circle as he rides around the halls on his Big Wheel (is that what those are called?), and his relative speed (as well as the clunking made by the wheels as he goes back and forth from the hardwood floors to the throw rugs) gives the feeling of not knowing what is around the corner. And being a Stephen King story, you EXPECT something to jump out at you. I think that the best scene in the halls (as well as one of the scariest in the film) is when Danny is playing on the floor, and a ball rolls slowly up to him. He looks up and sees the long empty hallway, and because the ball is something of a child's toy, you expect that it must have been those horrendously creepy twins that rolled it to him. Anyway, you get the point. The Shining is a damn scary movie.

Besides having the rare quality of being a horror film that doesn't suck, The Shining has a very in depth story that really keeps you guessing and leaves you with a feeling that there was something that you missed. HAD Jack always been there, like Mr. Grady told him in the men's room? Was he really at that ball in 1921, or is that just someone who looks exactly like him? If he has always been the caretaker, as Mr. Grady also said, does that mean that it was HIM that went crazy and killed his wife and twin daughters, and not Mr. Grady, after all? It's one thing for a film to leave loose ends that should have been tied, that's just mediocre filmmaking. For example, The Amityville Horror, which obviously copied much of The Shining as far as its subject matter, did this. But it is entirely different when a film is presented in a way that really makes you think (as mostly all of Kubrick's movies are). One more thing that we can all thank Stanley Kubrick for, and we SHOULD thank him for, is for not throwing this book against the wall. That one toss would have been cinematic tragedy.
One of the scariest movies ever---8/10
I was never a big fan of horror movies. They usually try cheap tricks to scare their audiences like loud noises and creepy children. They usually lack originality and contain overacting galore. The only horror movie i like was Stir of Echoes with Kevin Bacon. It was well-acted, and had a great story. But it has been joined and maybe even surpassed by Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, quite possibly the scariest movie ever.

The movie follows a writer (Jack Nicholson) and his family who agree to watch over a hotel while it is closed for the winter. There were rumors of the place being haunted and the last resident went crazy and murdered his family. But Jack is convinced it will be OK and he can use the quiet to overcome his writer's block. After months of solitude and silence however, Jack becomes a grumpy and later violent. Is it cabin fever or is there something in the hotel that is driving him mad?

One of the creepiest parts about the movie is the feeling of isolation that Kubrick makes. The hotel is very silent, and the rooms are huge, yet always empty. It is also eerily calm when Jack's son is riding his bike through the barren hallways. Jack Nicholson's performance is also one of his very best, scaring the hell out of me and making me sure to get out once in awhile. My favorite scene is when he is talking to a ghost from inside a walk-in refrigerator.

The Shining is tops for horror movies in my opinion, beating the snot out of crap like the Ring and The Blair Witch Project. It may be a oldie, but is definitely a goodie. 8/10
No one must say anything bad about this film.....why?
Here we have Stanley Kubricks horror "gem" and it seems like a tradition that everyone has to bow down in front of their televisions when its on!

Mr stanley 150 takes for a scene Kubrick really made one or two bad choices here.

Jack Nicholson hams it up and over does things to a dodgy perfection....why cast him? there is no surprise when he goes mad in fact it was more like when he goes mad not if!

Shelley Duvall is just in a constant state of hysteria and panic not much more to say about her character as thats all she gives us to judge.

The boy Danny played by Danny Lloyd does a fine job and puts the other two herberts i have just mentioned to shame.

Now let's move on to Phillip Stone and Joe Turkel as Grady and Lloyd the bartender. Their performances although small were top notch and chilling, the looks they give and way they deliver their lines really makes you believe they are evil.

Not much to say about Scatman Crothers,his character sets the scene a bit, then after a epic trek back to the hotel is killed the moment he walks in....hmmm did't see that coming.

Over blown and a over weight film which considering how long it had in the making still has the same amount of continuity gaffs as any other film. Last time i watched in the first five minutes i spotted the shadow of the helicopter,Danny eats through nearly all his sandwich in a second and the massive hedge maze that can not be seen from the air.

Much better films to be had out there that where made on a lot less.
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