One of the greatest horror films of all time is now the subject of a wacky, engrossing documentary!
You all remember crazy Jack Nicholson…uttering horror’s most iconic line:
EVERYONE knows this line….how can you top that? Well, in this corner you have this shocker….
“Your Mother sucks &@%$ *#&@^ *$&^!”
Another iconic movie line, and beyond little Regan’s filthy mouth, you have this image: little Regan with her head TURNED COMPLETELY AROUND!
This is the most iconic image of modern horror ever captured on film…in a movie that is unrelenting in its depiction of evil – and without a doubt one of the greatest movies ever made…
Both films are full of stories about what it took to make them, how controversial the filming of each one was for the actors and crew – and each is full of great behind-the-scenes videos and commentaries, thanks to DVD and blu-ray!
These are great ways to delve into the stories surrounding the films – as well as see new footage and never-before-revealed secrets of the film!
You can argue all you want to about the order, but in my mind, these are the two greatest horror films ever made, and now one of them has an acclaimed documentary all about it!
“Room 237” is a unique documentary now ondemand – which delves into all of the conspiracy theories around the classic horror film “The Shining!” More on that in a moment, but first, let’s remember the original classic:
“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”
Legendary Director Stanley Kubrick had already blown our minds with “Dr. Strangelove”, “Lolita” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”, chilled us to core with the futuristic horror of “A Clockwork Orange”, and dazzled us with the lyrical beauty of “Barry Lyndon”…now he wanted us to spend a little time with his friend Jack Nicholson…
Based on a Stephen King novel, the plot is simple: A man, his son and wife become the winter caretakers of an isolated hotel. Six months of quiet desolation, a place for Danny to explore…
Unfortunately, Danny sees disturbing visions of the hotel’s past using a telepathic gift known as “The Shining”. Example? How about the twins he sees in the hallway…
And then of course, Danny sees more…
And there is no one for Danny to share this with…as the horrific images continue…
The father, played with intense glee by Jack Nicholson, is underway in a writing project when he slowly slips into insanity as a result of cabin fever and former guests of the hotel’s ghosts. After being convinced by a waiter’s ghost to “correct” the family, Jack goes completely insane.
To announce this film, Warner Brothers released a teaser trailer that had just this one shot:
Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. This would be remarkable if it weren’t for the fact that the shot took nine days to set up; every time the doors opened and the blood poured out, Kubrick would say, “It doesn’t look like blood.”
Shelley Duvall stars as Jack’s wife, who wants nothing more than to protect their child from evil…
Wendy Torrance: [crying] Stay away from me.
Jack Torrance: Why?
Wendy Torrance: I just wanna go back to my room!
Jack Torrance: Why?
Wendy Torrance: Well, I’m very confused, and I just need time to think things over!
Jack Torrance: You’ve had your whole FUCKING LIFE to think things over, what good’s a few minutes more gonna do you now?
Wendy Torrance: Please! Don’t hurt me!
Jack Torrance: I’m not gonna hurt you.
Wendy Torrance: Stay away from me!
Jack Torrance: Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.
Jack Torrance: Gonna bash ’em right the fuck in! ha ha ha
Wendy Torrance: Stay away from me! Don’t hurt me!
Jack Torrance: [sarcastically] I’m not gonna hurt ya…
Wendy Torrance: Stay away! Stop it!
Jack Torrance: Stop swingin’ the bat. Put the bat down, Wendy. Wendy? Give me the bat…
Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist, and according to IMDB, there is a great deal of confusion regarding the number of retakes of certain scenes. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the scene where Wendy is backing up the stairs swinging the baseball bat was shot 127 times, which is a record for the most takes of a single scene. However, both Steadicam operator Garrett Brown and assistant editor Gordon Stainforth say this is inaccurate – the scene was shot about 35-45 times. Brown does say however that the scene where Hallorann explains to Danny what shining is was shot 148 times, which is a world record.
Of course, when Jack finally snaps, he grabs a handy and ax and heads for the bathroom….
This scene culminates in the classic movie line “Here’s Johnny!”
“Here’s Johnny!” was voted 36th best line of all time by Premiere in 2007.
“The Shining” is a masterpiece, and a great scary movie…and has birthed a new documentary that delves into the film in a very unusual way…
I CANNOT wait to see this! Here is the trailer…
So what exactly is “Room 237”?
Here is how IMDB describes it: “A subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining. The film may be over 30 years old but it continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery.
Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments. Together they’ll draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out.”
Rodney Ascher’s debut in the field of documentary was originally intended as a short film but he was overwhelmed by the breadth of crackpot theories which center on the horror classic.
The participants have tried to understand this work by film’s ultimate perfectionist by trusting that if it is on-screen then Kubrick intended it to be seen and read closely.
The film itself mixes scenes from a number of other works by Kubrick, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut, with close studies of particular scenes from The Shining.
It becomes immediately evident from Room 237 that there are a large number of people who have devoted considerable chunks of their lives to watching and re-watching The Shining. Dots have been joined which may amount to Kubrick faking the moon-landing, a commentary on the Holocaust and/or the genocide of Native Americans. Individually, each theory is fascinating.
I cannot wait to see this movie, which clearly shows the passion that some people bring to the films they love….which leads to what I think is the scariest film ever made…and without a doubt the greatest horror film of all.
The Exorcist. Directed by William Friedkin
OK, we all know about the shocking sequences in the film – the buildup of dread that begins when young Regan starts to become – well, POSSESSED…
Director William Friedkin made this two years after he won the Oscar for Best Picture for “The French Connection”…
“The Exorcist” was also nominated for Best Picture of 1973 – one of the smartest decisions was casting acclaimed Actress Ellen Burstyn as Regan’s Mom:
And Linda Blair was perfect as the young, angelic Regan – which makes what happens in the film all the more shocking:
Equally smart was the decision to hire legendary Actor Max Von Sydow as Father Karras – who happens to know how to performs exorcisms…
Regan MacNeil: “My bed was shaking. I can’t get to sleep.”
A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. It leads to the ultimate confrontation between a frail, elderly priest and an old demonic enemy.
Demon: What an excellent day for an exorcism.
Father Damien Karras: You would like that?
Father Damien Karras: But wouldn’t that drive you out of Regan?
Demon: It would bring us together.
Father Damien Karras: You and Regan?
Demon: You and us.
The refrigerated bedroom set was cooled with four air conditioners and temperatures would plunge to around 30 to 40 below zero. It was so cold that perspiration would freeze on some of the cast and crew. On one occasion the air was saturated with moisture resulting in a thin layer of snow falling on the set before the crew arrived for filming.
Oh, and then it gets REALLY SCARY, as the demon begins to taunt Karras:
Demon: “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell, Karras, you faithless slime!”
Oh yeah, and then there is the “head turn” sequence! This film is so intense and scary that the original teaser trailer, which consisted of nothing but images of the white-faced demon quickly flashing in and out of darkness, was banned in many theaters, as it was deemed “too frightening”.
And then of course, there is the projectile vomiting scene!
The substance that the possessed Regan (Linda Blair) hurls at Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is thick pea soup. Specifically, it’s Andersen’s brand pea soup. The crew tried Campbell’s but didn’t like the “effect.”
Tons of great stories and commentaries on the special edition blu-ray….check it out and relive a classic!
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