“The Shining” was directed and co-written by Stanley Kubrick and is based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley DuValle, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd. This would be the second film to be based on King’s novel following 1976’s, “Carrie”. Despite a major shift in tone from the novel, “The Shining” is still regarded as one of the best films in history.
When writer, Jack Torrence (Nicholson) takes a job as caretaker for the Overlook Hotel up in the Rocky Mountains for winter, he brings his wife Wendy (Duvall) and their son Danny (Lloyd). Jack is warned of the hotel being built over an ancient Indian Burial ground and tales of paranormal activity have occurred here. As Jack walks with the owner and investors, Wendy and Danny are giving a tour of hotel by the head chef, Dick Hallorann (Crothers). Unaware to his own parents, Danny has telekinetic powers and can hear peoples thoughts, but he is blindsided when he learns that Hallorann has the same power and thus they communicate without actually speaking to another. When Wendy joins Jack, Hallorann warns Danny that a dark presence is here and under no circumstances is anyone to go inside room 237. As Winter approaches, the family begins witness the paranormal. While Wendy fears for their safety, Jack’s mental state is slowly deteriorates and begins lashing out. Danny, overcome with curiosity, enters room 237 and is attacked by the ghost of woman. Now, with Jack losing his mind, Wendy experiencing unexplainable things, Danny contacts Hallorann with his power. Hallorann must race over the hotel before these dark and powerful entities make the Torrence family victims of their twisted party.
“The Shining” has always been one of my favorite horror movies and even though it does deviate from the novel, its still a damn good movie. Jack Nicholson alone brings both the sense of dread and hopelessness. Something is very wrong and yet he doesn’t seem bothered by it until the iconic typewriter scene. Not only do we see that he’s going crazy but how long he’s been going crazy. Shelley Duvall is also great, giving a good performance. She starts off very similar to Jack but when the shit hits the fan, she is overcome with fear and its well played performance. Visually, this was stunning and made the hotel a character in of itself. The scene where Danny is riding his tricycle through the hotel is both innocent and ominous. The sound design is also very good. Without any major sound effects or musical cues, you knew that once the sound was cut out something is definitely wrong.
After this film, Jack Nicholson went on to have a phenomenal career with more iconic roles in movies like “Terms of Endearment”, “Batman”, “A Few Good Men”, “Hoffa”, “About Schmidt” and “The Departed”. Stanley Kubrick who was already a established director continued his career with 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange”. His last film was 1999’s “Eyes Wide Shut” starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Unfortunately, Kubrick would pass away before the film’s release in 1999. Stephen King would as executive producer for a slew of films that were based on his novels following “The Shining”. Films included, “Cujo”, “It”, “Christine”, “Pet’s Cemetery”, “Stand By Me”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Dreamcatcher” “The Running Man” and “1408” were all based on King’s novel and short stories. In 2019, a sequel was released. “Doctor Sleep” starring Ewen McGregor came out and was based on King’s 2013 novel of the same name which is also a sequel to the 1977 novel.