You all remember crazy Jack Nicholson…uttering horror’s most iconic line:
On this 27th day of “Shocktober”, let’s look at one of the most influential horror films of all time, from one of the world’s greatest filmmakers – need proof?
Legendary Director Stanley Kubrick had already blown our minds with “Dr. Strangelove”, “Lolita”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and the futuristic horror of “A Clockwork Orange”…now he wanted us to spend a little time with his friend Jack Nicholson…he chose one of Stephen King’s greatest novels to do just that…
“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”
The plot of “The Shining” 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, little 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…as the horrific images continue…and there is no one to confide in…
The father, played with intense glee by Jack Nicholson, is working on a writing project when he slowly slips into insanity as a result of cabin fever – oh, and the advice he gets from former Hotel guests. After being convinced by a waiter’s ghost to “correct” the family, Jack goes completely insane.
To announce “The Shining”, Warner Brothers released a teaser trailer that had just one shot – a wide shot of an elevator in a hotel lobby – but what happened next shocked the world:
Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. That said, 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…and the more time she spends with her husband, the less sure she is of him:
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!” 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…
Imagine film buffs who are so obsessed with “The Shining” that they have created a number of amazing theories about what Kubrick was doing in the film! Here is the trailer for this documentary:
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!
Among the “clues” that Kubrick has put in the film are that he helped fake the moon-landing!
Now 36 years old, “The Shining” continues to entertain audiences, and last year, Warner Brothers held an amazing reunion for the film!
Click here to see who turned up for this event!
Also on my list of the greatest horror films of all time is John Carpenter’s classic film:
“The Thing” is full of creepy dread and shocking special effects – see my story about this classic horror film here:
“The Thing” is one of the greatest horror films ever made – but the entire month is full of classic Halloween gems – like this one:
“Let’s Scare Jessica To Death” is a neglected horror gem – see the trailer – plus a bunch of other great horror films, by clicking here:
Loving this Shocktober countdown!
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