FILMS… The Shining (1980)



All work and no play makes Jack a frightening boy…


Jack Torrance’s small son can see the horrifying, murderous, events surrounding the hotel where his father has just got the job as caretaker.


The Shining – Official Trailer [1980] HD, Stanley Kubrick


I can happily reveal the 2 Reel Quirky Cats poll winning Horror movie is – thanks to all those Twitter votes – The Shining (1980). With this Jack Nicholson eighties horror beating all the others hands down. This is one of those films I’ve enjoyed and not just because it’s Nicholson in this one of his more terrifying roles. With this, the final horror review is aptly shared with you on Halloween. Here’s just another reason to be afraid… very afraid…


About the poll…

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About the plot…

Writer, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes on a job as a caretaker in a hotel over the winter. His wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his wee son Danny accompany him. However, Danny has the Shining, this is the ability to see the frightening events surrounding the hotel in previous years.

The hotel cook shares this shining ability and can communicate with the child telepathically. As the past reveals the former caretaker became unwell with mental problems killing his family with an axe. Jack’s mental health deteriorates…


About the trailer…

The trailer starts showing an aerial view of a car travelling through the woods and an isolated hotel seems harmless enough. On this opening, it could even be a National Lampoon trip with Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold and his family.

However, this along with the ominous voice of the owner tells of the hotel’s part in those tragic events of winter 1970 accompanying this scene that gets your attention. Grady, a previous caretaker murdered his family at the hotel after he became unwell with mental health problems over that winter.

Our first view of Nicholson’s Torrance of a composed writer, at work also seems placid and non-frightening scene. Yet immediately after this, we see a contrasting side to his personality which could merely be put down to a rant over writer’s block.

But we see Jack looking menacing with an axe, which may be a bit extreme if we continued this writer’s block theory. All these scenes kinda replaying the accompanying narrator’s words but acted out with the Torrance family. With the axe being thrust into a door just as the word axe mentioned. This along with the music increases your fear…

But hell, as Jack says in the next scene – it’s not going to happen to him. The word “not” echoed in our ears. Which we know it inevitably will, with the opening of the trailer now seen in a new light. And it will be a wonderfully hammed up Nicholson horror performance. And it will surpass that scene with those cherries, and where those witches upset him in The Witches of Eastwick (1987).

It’s a role that you couldn’t see anyone but Nicholson pulling off. Especially with other actors considered including Robin Williams and Harrison Ford. As to the remake with Steven Weber in the role of Jack Torrance. Not seen it but it does seem Wendy could be more foreboding with the star who creeped me out in her role in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992) playing Wendy, Rebecca De Mornay.

Returning to the trailer’s scenes again emphasises the physical isolation of the hotel, and introduces Jack Torrance’s wee family. There’s his young son, Danny – with his cool wee tricycle – and wife Wendy played by Shelley Duvall. And that ultra funky conspiracy-laden carpet. Duvall always reminds me of a doe trapped in the headlights, and she does here in every scene. Even in a scene I know is where Jack hasn’t become unwell or is on a rampage with an axe. Cue wee happy family shots of the mother, father and son.

However, the isolation again is not mentioned – possibly for those who didn’t pick up those all-important clues. Cue super creepy Jack, more creepier Jack, the creepiest Jack. With music and camera effects.  Cue more snow than Finland, as the music increases in eerieness…  Danny asks if something went bad in the hotel (and he’s not talking about the food). And this wee chat is with the cook Dick Hallorann (Nicholson’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest co-star Scatman Crothers).

This then led to lots of horror shots with both Danny’s parents looking armed and dangerous. So if you don’t know this story you could misunderstand that Duvall’s character Wendy is just as frightening. Especially, if you are one who works from home.

These are punctuated with scenes and the chilling music hammering in the fear. More scenes from the Torrance family with Jack looking more than a bit pissed off. I’m in fear for his wee family as tbh Jack is scaring the crap out of me too. But then so is Wendy. Maybe he’s more than a bit pissed off as little writing is being done. And when it happens it’s dully repetitive.  And as for the ending of the trailer, Jack has the last laugh… as not just the curtain falls.

So what an end to our horror previews, now I can safely say the next of our themes is a lot less scary, or maybe it is dependent on your point of view…. but what is scary is that someone in a moment of madness used some of that aerial opening panorama to the hotel as one of the many endings to Blade Runner (1982).  And that’s not a Blade Runner version I’d take a shining to…


Screenshot at 2017-05-18 21:39:06

CLICK HERE to read what the other Quirky Cat thought at Thoughts All Sorts.    




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