Pop Junk’s 31 Days of Halloween: #10: The Shinning.

Here we are, the 10 Best Horror Movies (According to us here at Pop Junk) and let’s just jump in right away to a film that is hard to dispute is the best “haunted house” movie of all time; Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation of Steven King’s “The Shinning”

The Shinning is the story of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson)  who takes a job as the winter caretaker at the opulently ominous, mountain-locked Overlook Hotel so that he can write in peace.  With  his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd) in tow Jack and his family move into the hotel for the Winter but Before the Overlook is vacated for the Torrances, the manager (Barry Nelson) informs Jack that a previous caretaker went crazy and slaughtered his family; Jack thinks it’s no problem, but Danny’s “shining” hints otherwise.  As predicted things begin to destruct for the family very quickly as Danny is plagued by blood-soaked visions of the ghosts of the past and a writer’s blocked Jack starts visiting the hotel bar for a few visions of his own. Frightened by her husband’s behavior and Danny’s visit to the forbidding Room 237, Wendy soon discovers what Jack has really been doing in his study all day, and what the hotel has done to Jack.  This is followed by Jack going on a murderous rampage much like the last caretaker of said Hotel.

The plot is only half the story here, the other half is really deconstructing what Kubrick’s end game was with this flick.  He plays with a vareity of themes such as man’s ability to cope with failure, alcoholism, domestic violence,  isolation and the overwhelming madness that can over take the human mind and drive us to do some really messed up things.  Kubrick plays with these themes seamlessly and subjectively while still giving us a horrific haunted house movie.

What most people take from this movie is Jack Nicholson’s performance and how he portrays a man slowly driven insane by the spirits that inhabit this hotel.  At the end when he goes on a kill crazy rampage his performance shines through along with co-star Shelly Duvall as his scared witless Wife.  It really is a treat for the viewer watching as he smashes around the Hotel with an Axe chasing his family all the way to the final shocking and head stretching shot.  This might not be Kubrick’s best movie but it’s his addition to the horror genre and he does an excellent job juggling all these different ideas while still maintaining a creepy tone throughout and a kick ass conclusion thanks to Jack Nicholson’s axe-welding craziness.


~ by ATOM on October 22, 2011.

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