Here’s Johnny! (The Shining)

This Thanksgiving break I decided to sit down and watch the not so-wholesome family film, The Shining(1980), directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring one of my favorite actors Jack Nicholson. While I had seen the film before ages ago, I wanted to re-watch the film to see if I would have a greater appreciation for the film and not be afflicted with nightmares from the eerie setting of the infamous haunted hotel that is of course built on top of none other than Native American burial ground.

The Shining was Kubrick’s only real dive into the horror genre, but of course like all of Kubrick films, there is strong psychological component to the film. Even more so when the film is considered to be in the “psychological horror” genre. In the film, what in my opinion adds to the suspense and intensity of the film, is the slow paced nature of the film and subtle corruption of the characters. Especially Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) as he resorts back to his old habits of drinking and becomes influenced by the supernatural entities of the hotel.

The filming techniques used in the film, such as when the camera is at the same height level as Danny, Jack’s son, and when we see what Danny is seeing through via his telepathic hallucinations. These scenes truly immerse the viewer into the events unfolding in the hotel. One scene in particular, the famous “Hallway Scene” managed to instill a strong sense of claustrophobia and sensation of entrapment as I watched Danny riding through the halls of the hotel on his tricycle as he encounters visions of the past.

Hallway Scene

Jack Nicholson of doesn’t fail to deliver an excellent performance of a truly horrifying psychotic husband. As the film progresses and Jack falls deeper and deeper into the clutches of insanity, his outbursts to his wife Wendy escalate from irritation and annoyance when he  is interrupted by her when he is writing, to violent outbursts with clear murderous intent, such as the iconic baseball bat scene on the stairs, and of course, when Jack breaks down the bathroom door with an axe.

Jack Writing Outburst

“I’m not going to hurt you.”

Overall if you haven’t seen The Shining I highly recommend it. Watching the film is quite an experience and is by far one of my favorite psychological horror films. By the end though, you will be left that familiar feeling of having just gotten off a mental roller coaster, that you  get after having watched a Kubrick film.

 

The Shining

“Heeere’s Johnny!” 

            This was one of the most terrifying movies I have ever seen, which came as a surprise to me. Although I had heard about how scary it was, I had a pre-assumed opinion that since it was made in 1980, it wouldn’t compare to the horror techniques of the 21st century. I was very wrong. Stanley Kubrick, who is a master of the moving camera and traveling shot definitely delivers on this film by not using your typical “slasher flick” characteristics or thumping soundtrack in order to frighten the audience. Kubrick adds such a creepy and eerie feel by using traveling camera shot as well as choppy cuts of montages such as in the scene with Danny and the twins in the hallway.

The film starts off by introducing us to the Torrance family consisting of Jack, Wendy and their troubled son Danny. They arrive at the Overlook Hotel, where Jack has taken a job to be caretaker of the hotel when it closes for the winter. Wendy seems unsure but Jack convinces her that they need the money and he will be able to work on his new book. Meanwhile Danny seems to have some schizophrenic tendencies claiming that a man named “Tony,” talks to him; Tony is not a good guy. They meet with the hotel’s manager, Halloran who takes an interest in Danny claiming he has a ”shine.”

As the staff leaves, the Torrance family settles into their new home. Danny begins to have strange encounters with unfriendly and horrifying spirits and Jack starts to slip into insanity while Wendy feels alone and helpless. When Wendy starts to realize that the hotel possesses some demonic force and that Jack is beginning to go insane. She then realizes that she must save herself and Danny.

Although this movie was terrifying, the directing and acting was incredible. I would really recommend this movie to anyone who can handle it. I must warn that I found myself covering my eyes and jumping at some parts, those who frighten easily should not watch this. Kubrick is an absolute genius and the directing is really well done. I think it holds up to time and is relatable to now because Jack Nicholson is still on the movie scene and since it wasn’t made in the slasher film way where the blood looks fake and the villians look fake, it still proves to be scary in today’s time.

“The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Being Scared!”

I absolutely love horror movies. And with Halloween next week there’s no better time to indulge in them. So as I was scrolling through my Netflix I figured I would try to find a movie that kills two birds with one stone: watch a classic horror film, and watch an 80’s movie I’ve never seen before. That’s when I came across Creepshow (1982).

Godfather of Zombies George A. Romero (Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead) and Stephen King (It, The Shining, Carrie, Cujo) combine their efforts on this anthology film consisting of five separate stories, four of them coming from King’s own imagination. Truthfully, the stories are not very scary, but it also doesn’t really seem like the film is trying to scare its audience. Bookended by the story of a father throwing out his son’s comic book, the tales are meant to be ripped out of the book; the transitions/narration are literally panels from a comic book, so it’s as if the viewer is watching a live action comic.

The Creep is seen only briefly, and does not speak, but he is our guide into the world of Creepshow.

The comic vibe may not be for everyone, but as a recovering comic book addict I loved it. It made the film more fun and distanced it from traditional horror films. For instance people’s screams were backed up by a colorful background of lightning, far from what was being seen in other 80’s horror films like Friday the 13th and the Halloween franchise.

The cartoonish background comes out almost every time a character screams, just like a comic.

I would say that it also took away from the fear factor, but as I’ve already said the stories aren’t all that scary to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, some were good (Ted Danson and Leslie Nielsen rocked their story, and Hal Holbrook’s story was probably the best of the five), and others were just damn dumb (Stephen King showed us why he writes instead of acts), but scary is not a word I would use for any of them. But neither is goofy. It’s as if a perfect median was found between the two ideas.

Seriously, I felt like I was a kid reading a comic book again.

A few big names of the 80’s stood out among the B-List movie.

So, while it may not have been anything like the scary movies I fell in love with growing up, or even anything like the other Stephen King flicks I’ve seen, I would still definitely recommend Creepshow. It was fun without taking away from the horror aspect of it, unlike the Scary Movie franchise that took the idea of horror and completely replaced it with comedy. No, Creepshow proved that horror and humor can coexist without totally butchering each other.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_6vtAmFnkA