Retro Review: Love It or Hate It, THE SHINING Still Delivers Redrum After All These Years at the Plaza Theatre

Posted on: Dec 11th, 2011 By:

By Tiffany Jewell
Contributing Writer

Splatter Cinema Presents THE SHINING (1980); Dir: Stanley Kubrick; Based on the novel by Stephen King; Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd; Tues. Dec. 13 9:30 PM and encore Sat. Dec. 17, 9:30 p.m.; Plaza Theatre; Trailer here.

THE SHINING (1980) may be one of the most loved, hated, debated, torn-to-pieces-and-built-right-back-up-again movies around. Love it or not, everyone seems to have something to say about it. Love Stephen King but think Stanley Kubrick murdered the novel? Do you think that King did a mediocre job and Kubrick brought it to life? Or are you one of those who thinks they’re both revolutionaries and are together responsible for making a true classic? No matter your position, everyone has one. That’s what makes this film so bloody brilliant.

I fell in love with this film because of how dynamic it is. It is one of the few films that has thorough character development; you are able to see them grow, shift, change and become devoured by something dark and over powering. The visual imagery is absolutely stunning. Every time I sit down to re-watch it and see them taking their first tour of the hotel, I think, “Oh, that’s the staircase Jack goes ballistic on, that’s the hallway where Danny finds room 237, those elevators are going to flood that room with blood, that freezer is good for a whole lot more than 36 chickens, those hedges aren’t as cute as they look…” and THAT is what qualifies a film to be iconic. That alone is what makes a memorable, note-worthy, beautifully filmed piece. THE SHINING also brings something to the table that everyone can fear. Whether it’s the supernatural, creepy children, people losing their minds and wanting to destroy those they once held dear, being severely afraid of isolation, claustrophobia, or your classic go-to slasher chase, it’s got it all, in one little two-and-half-hour long package.

Lisa and Louise Burns play enigmatic ghost twins in THE SHINING (1980). Photo credit; Warner Bros Pictures.

The reason I hold this film to be a classic is because of how absolutely timeless it is. It’s still frightening. It is still able to get people to buy into the psychological terror both King & Kubrick were trying to achieve. As a writer, director, producer, actor or otherwise, your job is to create something your audience is able to find themselves lost in. If you succeed, that’s outstanding and you have a whole lot to be proud of. If you succeed, and people are able to feel the same way 21 years later, you’re a genius and you deserve your work to be forever considered a classic.

If you really want the end-all argument for why I cannot understand anyone disliking this film, it is what Jack Nicholson did for his character. From the second I see him on screen, my spine crawls. He is immensely creepy. No one could have done what Nicholson did for Jack Torrance. I personally believe that his was the performance of a lifetime—that he made this movie what it is, and that without his sarcastic remarks, shoddy glances, teeth-gritting grins, the constant tension he holds in his jaw, that brink of insanity look he holds ever constantly in his eyes—without his casting, this film would not be what it is.

Blood floods the Stanley Hotel in THE SHINING (1980). Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

THE SHINING is, without question, one of the most memorable films to grace the horror genre. This film is saturated with scenes that most people are able to describe in detail, as well as quotes that are used in novels, poetry, television, apparel slogans and advertisements. Even those who don’t particularly care for the film will tell you that you have to see it at least once. If you agree, I hope to see you Tues., Dec. 13 or Sat. Dec. 17 at The Plaza Theatre for Splatter Cinema presents THE SHINING, and if you disagree, I hope to see you there anyway. Perhaps we can have a lively debate. For the Tuesday screening, arrive at around 9 p.m. for a live reenactment and grab a seat early to indulge in a few retro trailers before the 9:30 showing of the rare 35 mm reel of THE SHINING. That’s amazing.

Category: Retro Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

© 2023 ATLRetro. All Rights Reserved. This blog is powered by Wordpress