Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Shining (1980) Classic Movie Review

The Shining (1980) PosterStanley Kubrick's one and only Horror film, is a showcase for a descent into madness. Based on a Novel by Stephen King, Jack Nicholson (in of his many famous film roles) plays an author, who takes his family away to a Hotel, in the off-season, where they have to act as caretaker's to said Hotel. All should be well, there is peace and quiet for Jack to get knuckled down and do his writing. Unfortunately Danny, his son, starts to see shocking images of the hotel's past using a telepathic gift, known as "The Shining". Jack starts to go mad after a while, which is probably brought on by "Cabin Fever" and he starts to see the ghosts of past inhabitants of the Hotel. This leads to him talking to a ghost of an old Butler whom tells him he has to cleanse the Hotel of his family. What follows is one of the greatest portrayals of a family man going into madness it is pure brilliance.

If Alfred Hitchcock is credited with creating the "Slasher" Horror genre of film with Psycho (1960) surely the credit for "Psychological" Horror goes to Stanley Kubrick. In my mind if it was not for this film we would nto have modern classics like Black Swan(2010) (my review here). This was one of the first Horror films I ever watched (along with The Exorcist), it is one of them films that stays with you, you always remember watching it for the first time. Jack Nicholson's performance is just brilliantly insane, the look he has in his eyes just looks wild and savage like, he really looks like something has clicked in his head and has drove him over the sanity barrier. I have to mention little Danny Lloyd as Jacks son also called Danny. This little actor is amazing, he does this other possessed like voice which is so damn eerie and scary, the fear he shows with the images he sees is just brilliant, some older professional actors could probably not act as good as him. Shelley Duvall as the wife/mother of said two characters, is for me missing in action, shes really not doing much, its like she is there just to discover her husband has gone mad and then be his target... brilliant.. not. The scenes of Jack in the Hotel bar are just great these scenes are we start to see the character change and his madness begin.

In typical Kubrick style its all in the camera work and music, there is no way this is spoiler because everyone must know it, the scene where Jack breaks down the bathroom door with an axe and declare that "Here's Johnny!!" is just one of the greatest moments in cinema history, the look in his eyes, the sound effects, the switching of camera angles and yes even Shelley just standing there screaming it all works beautifully well. There blood river coming from the lift/elevator (no spoiler its in the trailer) is just another beautiful Kubrick style scene, the use of that bold red as it gushes down washing away everything in its path is just shocking to watch and with the eerie soundtrack just does what Kubrick, for me always set out to do, I have said it before I will say it again "Movies for your eyes and ears". He knows how to use the medium of cinema he was a great Director, if you like Horror cinema or enjoy typical Kubrick you must see this film.

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