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here’s johnny!

Elizabeth Moore, one of our new blog writers, reviews Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining, just in time for our Midnight Movie screening of the cult horror this Friday 30 October! We’re very scared…

Halloween is drawing close and what better way to spend it than to watch one of our all-time favourite scary movies at Roe Valley Arts Centre this Friday 30 October! Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this spine tingling psychological horror film, “The Shining” (1980) will certainly have you on the edge of your seat!

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Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd and Scratman Crothers, the plot revolves around the Overlook Hotel, one of the most iconic and most sinister fictional buildings of all time, in close competition with the Bates Motel. Built in 1907 in a location that gives off a tremendous sense of isolation, the fictitious Overlook Hotel was once home to a horrific tragedy which occurred in the winter of 1920. This tragedy involved Charles Grady, a former caretaker who suffered a mental breakdown or rather, “cabin fever reaction” and eventually murdered his wife and twin daughters with an axe. 

Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a former teacher turned writer and recovering alcoholic who takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the secluded hotel. As the resort closes in winter due to snow conditions, Jack brings his wife and son to dwell for five months while everyone else leaves for home. As the hotel owner warns him of its past, we can’t help but feel a sense of dread and impending doom when Jack replies with his cheeky grin, “It’s not gonna happen to me.”

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As the family arrive on closing day and are given a tour, everything seems perfect within the hotel, with its luxurious golden ballroom including the cosy and homey aura that Jack appears to pick up on. However, everything is not as it seems.

His young son Danny possesses psychic abilities and is able to see visions from the past and future including the ghosts who inhabit the hotel. One particularly disturbing scene involves a creepy naked lady in a bath tub who tries to strangle him! And if you think that sounds bad, Danny even manages to talk to an imaginary friend throughout the entire film, allowing the sweet little boy to inherit the sinister pitch of Tony.

Nicholson steals the show with his permanently arched brows, evil cackle and creepy smile. His best and most iconic performance takes place some time after the family is trapped in the hotel by a snowstorm. Jack gradually becomes influenced by a supernatural presence, descends into madness, and ultimately attempts to murder his wife and son, replaying similar associations with the crime which occurred from previous years. When he famously screams, “Here’s Johnny!” whilst holding an axe peeping through the broken door, you can’t help but have stomach flips anticipating his next move!

Duvall does a great job of playing the screaming and terrified victim particularly in this scene and bafflingly, she always seems to be holding a cigarette every time we see her!

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on set of The Shining

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on set of The Shining

For me, the film has very few downfalls. However, if you’re looking for a shock a minute, jump off your seat ‘slasher’, then this isn’t for you. It’s a frightening and unsettling horror which creeps under your skin.  Also, the film is quite long at 2 hrs 23mins so be prepared for a lengthy sit! However, despite these minor flaws, the anticipated jumpy scenes have been replaced with a chilling sense of approaching disaster which is helped with the screeching “violin-type” horror music throughout the film. At times it becomes so loud, you can almost feel it go right through your body, almost as if we are becoming possessed with the same spirit that inhabits Jack! This is certainly what makes the film an engaging and special one.

So, if you have never seen this movie or even considered it, or want to see this classic cult horror on the big screen into the wee small hours of Halloween, do come along and give it a watch! It will definitely be one you won’t forget, although I can’t guarantee you won’t have any nightmares!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This entry was posted on October 28th, 2015 at 10:20 am by Desima

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