When I was recently asked what my favorite horror movie was, there was no question. Hands down, with no doubt in my mind, I knew that The Shining is my favorite horror film. Why? Read on and find out!
I will start by saying two things: King and Kubrick. Legendary composers on their own, these two men ended up making an amazing symphony together and I love every last note. I can make all the normal campy references to the film but we have heard them all and have our own spin. They are great, though. I would rather write about the impact the movie had on me throughout my adolescence and adulthood.
We have all found ourselves alone with our thoughts, probably more often than not, and don’t really appreciate what a precious thing the human psyche is. The portrayal of the human mind in this story, to me, is staggering. Everybody always thinks, “But, what if?” Stephen King took that thought and turned it into a full-blown horror story. He turned his own fears of paranoia and mental instability into a meticulously written novel, which Stanley Kubrick then used as a starting off point to create his own psychologically twisted, bending epiphany of just what people are capable of. Add to that the paranormal aspect and what you have is a terrifying, surreal story that not only invoked nightmares but also inspired generations of horror filmmakers to push their own limits.
We’ve all dabbled in the spirit world, experiencing silly contrived adaptations of what we think is or is not there. Now reflect for a moment on the bathtub scene. Would that make you crack? Or could you have just turned around and walked away, secure that what you were seeing wasn’t real? Images of isolation, freezing temperatures, the Donner Party, loops of repetitive noise, cinematography and sheer unadulterated fear consume this film. I didn’t sleep for weeks after the first viewing of The Shining.
King trusted Kubrick with his baby any he taught that baby how to walk.
Armed with a perfectly selected cast, a beautiful hotel, cinematography that has yet to be rivaled and a one-way ticket inside all of our minds, those two men made sure we were never the same after just one viewing of The Shining. We all look at twins differently. We all feel leery around big wheels. We all automatically spell murder backward. Nobody keeps axes handy. We never go play in frozen mazes. We try to understand people gifted – or cursed – with the shining (always from afar) and one solid truth will remain. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.