Look at this!! ANOTHER Double Take!!! This time with the lovely and talented Zoe from The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger!!!! YAY!!!!! These don’t happen very often but when they do – they’re a lot of fun!!! In this series, I and a friend take on The Classics. If you ever want to participate in one of these, just let me know and, if you wanted to read some fantastic writing by people other than me, you could check out all of the others HERE. There’s some good shit right there!!! Let’s see what we’ve got….
GOD DAMN THIS MOVIE SCARED THE FUCK OUT ME.
I mean this. I do. I saw this when I was a kid and the image of those two twins and what happens to them were burned into my brain and I was so traumatized that I couldn’t sit down and watch it again until just a few weeks ago. For real. I’d like to thank Zoe for helping me get over that experience and watch this again now that I do what I do here because this movie is the real fucking deal and I can’t really call this place a horror site without this one here, right? Even at my age now – those tracking shots of Danny riding his Big Wheel eternally down those halls were sphincter tightening and then there’s that big payoff where he sees the girls all butchered and spread out all over the hallway. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGHHHHH I think I just ground down that sharp, broken part of my tooth I chipped the other day. OY!!! But you know what else scared me in this??
Fucking Shelley Duvall……! Whether she was happy or sad or screaming and crying and running around with a baseball bat – she AND her character freaked me the fuck out. “Danny??” She whispers giving me creepy goose bumps. “Jaaaaaack….?” she moans creeping me out. “Over.” She says into the CB irritating me. This character, combined with her looks, makes me think of the meekest, nicest child MURDERER EVER!!!! STAY AWAY FROM ME WENDY!!!! “Eeeeeeeeeerrriiiiccccc…..” she creeps, looking over my window sill, only her eyes and bangs visible. “Eeeeeeeeeeerrriiiiiccccccccccccc…….”
*hides in the coat closet*
I’m sure there’s no real reason for me to get into the plot here, I mean, who hasn’t seen or heard about this for the last 30 years?? I don’t really care about the conspiracy theories and who didn’t like what and this and that shit and all of that. This movie fucking scared me. Twice. And…. if you take nothing else from this movie and come back to tell me this isn’t scary and I’m a big puss – one thing to always remember: Scatman Crothers was a FUCKING PIMP!!!!! LONG LIVE HIS LEGACY!!!! I bow to you, sir. I bow. May your mighty testicles forever dangle over my rear-view mirror.
*turns to camera*
I just looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and called myself “Unclean” so let’s start to wrap this up before things get out of hand…oh shit… things are probably out of hand already… maybe I should just give it up?? Who knows!! Hey SCOTT!!, You should totally make us a THE SHINING poster – I bet that would be a hit!! But not like THIS ONE:
Just look at those boobs!! YUM!!! Gross!!! Maybe something more like this theme….! WHAT A PIMP!!!!
Oh well. That’s enough of my shit, this movie is fucking fantastic!! Let’s see what Zoe had to say!!!
The Shining is a great movie if you don’t compare it to Stephen King’s master novel. Both, in their own right, are absolutely excellent, there is no doubt about that, but should not be compared too much. That way you will disappoint yourself both ways. I usually compare books and their movies, and more often than not I am disappointed, but The Shining is different, and is worth the love it gets. Stanley Kubrick did something amazing, he made his rendition of The Shining a masterpiece, and everything about it just worked. The camera work was done incredibly well, and set the tone and mood. The intro to the movie was very good – it was slow, with panning shots of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) driving out to the Overlook Hotel, and it emphasised quite a lot how far out from things the hotel is and its total isolation. Also, the music that goes with it gives a premonition of dread, almost making you feel for a moment as though you, too, are “shining”.
Jack Torrance seems to be quite the prickly man. Not really too nice to his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall ) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), he packs them up and moves them with him to the Overlook Hotel for five months while all the occupants are out for the winter. It is his opportunity to get ahead in life. He is a writer, and being paid to write for five months while running routine checks on an empty hotel seem to be pretty good, although he is warned by Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) that a previous caretaker named Charles Grady got “cabin fever” and killed his wife and daughters and then popped himself. This makes no difference to Jack, who is taking the job anyway, and from here things start getting progressively dodgy. What should be an adventure for the Torrance family will not remain so for very long. On the closing day of the hotel, the day the Torrance family arrives; Danny learns that Tony, the “little friend who lives in my mouth”, is actually his gift of the “shining”. Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) tells him this, tells him it is special, but that it will allow him to see imprints from the past and the future as well as read minds. Now the whole concept of “shining” is very interesting, and the movie did a good job of explaining it, though nowhere nearly as thoroughly as it could have been done. You are given enough, though, to form a working understanding of what “shining” is. Scatman Crothers was well cast as Dick Hallorann, and successfully brought that wizened and smart man to the fore rather well. He was the character that was unwavering and the one you had the most faith in. You believed him, and he brought and presented a sense of calm, even though it was clear something wasn’t quite right at the Overlook Hotel.
Then let us talk about Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance. This was a stroke of genius for Kubrick seeing as this kid was simply fantastic. While approaching Room 237, he is hesitant, afraid and curious all at once, and his demeanour reflects that. His inquisitiveness about the room only increases, though at the same time it is fear that holds him back. He has been expressly warned to stay away from it. The things he can see in the hotel due to his ability to “shine” are incredible, and it is a wonder that as a child he was not more freaked out. My favourite scene is the first time Danny sees the blood gushing out from the elevators and down the halls. I mean this is a relatively old flick and that scene is just bloody perfect, and definitely sets the tone as to how the movie is going to go. Danny is the one that conveys much of how things are changing in the hotel, with his parents, with the hotel, and especially with his father, although how he feels about his father is a little bit skewed due to an alluded brutal incident years before. Jack has become rather distant and terribly snappy, and Wendy bears the brunt of this. The perfect family retreat they were supposed to have turns sour, soon. Wendy at least has Danny, but Jack is becoming progressively nastier and rude and unloving and cold. The hotel seems to have an effect on him, though his moods are not directly associated with it. Each of the characters seems to have a different emotion about the hotel, and each of them is affected by it to certain degrees, too.
Jack Nicholson brought crazy to the table from the off. He was a little nutty from the beginning and didn’t hide it. This is no deal breaker, but his constant shift to more and more extreme levels of insanity can already be measured from his first meeting with Ullman about the job. I think if he was maybe more normal, his slip into uncaring and cruel would have been a bit more of a shock and far more unnerving. I just feel that from the off it shows he is a little prickly and not really a family man, and that he is more in for things for himself than for the entire family. Never fear, you watch the man slip into his incessant need to create a novel, which slips way to being left alone, which gives way again to putting his family in order as he feels that they are undermining him and trying to sabotage his life. The hotel, naturally, seems to latch on to this and feed the madness, feed it and entice Jack to go over and beyond irritation. Delbert Grady (Philip Stone) turns up, and plants the idea slightly more firmly in Jack’s mind that he “corrected” his family because they wanted to take the hotel from him, and Jack is now in danger of his family attempting the same with him too. Jack loves the hotel and is not willing to leave it, it has a hold of him, and for that he is willing to go that extra length. His descent into insanity is entertaining and chilling to watch, and the scenes with Jack in the bar is crazy, giving you a little bit more insight as to why things have been going the way they were (such as Wendy’s certainty that Jack hurt Danny), and maybe why everyone treats him with a little bit of subservient fear.
Let’s talk about Shelley Duvall for a moment here. She is not a particularly grand actress at all, but she worked rather well for what she had to do in The Shining. She was the loving wife, yet a pushover, and the caring mother to Danny. The two seem rather close, and that is good. She is supportive of her husband’s desire to write his book, and willingly moved with him into a huge and deserted hotel so that he would have work and the peace and quiet needed to write the book. However, when Jack starts changing, she slowly but surely seems to start questioning what is going on, but is never too forward about it. When Danny appears with the bruising on his neck, it is understandable how she could so quickly turn on her husband, making this about him and their issues, a mother is protective. It doesn’t help that Jack has hurt Danny years before, too, after losing his cool. Later, when Jack is spiralling out of control even after she has acknowledged that he did not hurt Danny, she realises that there is danger. Her pathetic attempts at taking Jack out with the baseball bat when he finally snaps comes across as weak, but one can just imagine how she has witnessed him slip into a ghastly place and she is gripped with sheer and absolute terror. However, when she finally connects and lands a blow, it is as though she is bolstered, and gets smart and quick about it, knocking him on his ass and packing him into a store room, bolting him in. Then, however, she does something as mundane as going to sleep in the apartment with Danny. Me? I would have picked another room at the very least. Instead, she has made the obvious choices as to where Jack would go should he escape. Logically he should not be allowed or able to, but with all the cracked stuff going on, I would have assumed she would have thought further. She does, however, do her damn best to protect her son when Jack makes his escape and comes to make good on his promise of bashing her head in.
For the duration of this movie you are coaxed, either by the camera work, atmosphere, or music to feel like something bad is supposed to happen. That dread latches onto you in the beginning and you never manage to successfully shake it. You are kept on edge throughout the duration of the movie. While I am not scared by the movie (I don’t scare like most people do with horrors), psychologically you are always waiting for something bad to happen. This has to do with how the camera might pan or (in the case of Danny especially) follow a person. There are quick cuts to other scenes or rough drops to black and a weekday name on it. Then there is the music, perpetually leading you to believe something is supposed to happen (and many people take their emotional cues from the music presented in a movie) and you are left waiting for it to transpire. Sometimes you are rewarded, other times you are left with that even-clinging feeling of trepidation and wondering when it will come back and get you good.
This is a movie that I can discuss at length, and I am sure there are a lot of other people who could do the same. There is just so much going on all the time, seeing the hotel from different perspectives from different characters all the time also sets you on edge a little because someone’s account of what is going on must be real… someone must be telling the truth, surely? This is definitely a fantastic film in terms of direction, effects for its time, psychological chills and the insanity it explores. I would highly recommend you check out this movie, it is a brilliant piece of cinema and should be appreciated for what it is!