Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
is less an adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel than a complete re-imagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's film is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook Hotel mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demand s for take after take after take.) The Shining
is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV mini-series (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining
gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com
Opening with spectacular aerial shots of a beautiful, mountainous landscape, Stanley Kubrick's horror classic The Shining
, based on Stephen King's best-selling novel, sucks the viewer into his frightening tale with quiet, relaxing visuals - but the ominous soundtrack warns that all is not right at the gorgeous Overlook Hotel. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson at his eyebrow-raising best), a Vermont schoolteacher, accepts a job as the winter caretaker of the glorious early-20th-century resort that operates only in warm weather because the snowy roads deny access in the colder months. Jack brings his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), with him, as well as his young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd)--who brings with him a little boy named Tony who lives in his mouth. As the Torrances settle in for the long, lonely months ahead, strange, unexplainable things start occurring in the hotel--and in every scene Jack seems to be growing a little more evil and dangerous...