31 Days of Horror: A Compilation of My Favorite Horror Films. Day 26: The Shining

The Shining

The Shining (1980).

  • It’s a psychological horror loosely based on Stephen King’s novel, The Shining (1977).
  • It is about a man named Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson who takes a job as caretaker of an empty hotel during the off season. Despite being told about the hotel’s traumatic history, Jack takes the job and brings his wife Wendy and son Danny along. 
  • There are so many layers to this movie; so many nuances and subtle hints–which is why I love Kubrick’s work. Some conspiracy theorists believe that Stanley Kubrick who produced, directed and co-wrote the film used The Shining to give clues about the alleged faked Apollo Moon Landings. 
  • Shelley Duvall was cast as Wendy, Jack’s wife. She was a perfect actress to play opposite Jack Nicholson’s temperamental, mentally unstable, and narcissistic on-screen persona. In the movie she is meek, looks mousy, and appears to be a little mentally unhinged herself. 
  • The Overlook Hotel itself is very creepy and imposing. The interior designs really reflect that late 70’s/early 80’s era. 
  • Danny has keen psychic abilities and so does Dick Hallorann, the head chef at the Overlook Hotel. It is through Dick, played by Scatman Crothers that the audience learns about the meaning of the term “Shining”. 
  • Danny’s “imaginary” friend Tony who lives inside Danny’s mouth. When Tony speaks, Danny uses his index finger as an indicator that Tony has taken over. “Danny isn’t here, Mrs. Torrance” Tony says to Wendy after Danny being so traumatized by the omens he’s been receiving blacks out. Deep! 
  • Jack Nicholson does a killer job in the film as Jack Torrance. You hate him, but you are intrigued by him at the same time. You’re scared for Wendy and the little boy and maybe even for yourself. He gets an A++ in my book. 
  • There are so many excellent scenes in this film–too many to list but some of my favorite are: 
  • The scene where Danny first gets the psychic impression from Tony and there’s a tidal wave of blood that rushes through a hotel corridor. 
  • The scenes where Danny interacts with the apparition of the twin girls. 
  • The scene where Jack tears into Wendy because she interrupted him while he was “working”.
  • The scene where Wendy discovers what Jack has been typing all along. There’s no violence, gore or supernatural images in this particular scene. Instead, it is sheer psychological horror. 
  • The “Redrum” scene.
  • The scene where Wendy confronts Jack with the baseball bat and he says “Wendy, light of my life, I’m not gonna hurt you. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not going to hurt ya, I’m just going to bash your brains in”.
  • The “Heeeeere’s Johnny” scene which was actually an improvisation from Nicholson.
  • The scenes where Danny and Chef Hallorann go into altered states of consciousness after receiving psychic impressions or omens. Their reactions look eerily real and I wonder how they got the little boy to do such a good job on these parts. 
  • This movie can promote a great deal of discourse on subjects including the paranormal, psychopathy, isolation, and trauma-based mind control. 
  • I can watch this movie over and over again and never get tired of it. As a matter of fact I plan to watch it again on Halloween. 
  • The Shining is in my top 5 list of favorite films of any genre hands down. 

The Shining doc