Tuesday, 6 December 2016

“The Shining” (1980)

Fig. 1 "The Shining" Poster
“The Shining” is a psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1980. The plot of this film is based on Stephen Kings's novel by the same title. However, because of many differences between the original story and Kubrick’s movie, the very first ratings of the film weren’t that pleasant. Although, the first run of this film was not the greatest, “The Shining” became iconic movie and is appreciated till this present day.
Fig. 2 Red Beetle car in car crash
The film welcomes the viewer to experience horrifying experience of isolation and madness. Even though the film does not follow the plot of the book, but some elements are slightly changed or even taken away. For example, the beetle car in the beginning of the film is yellow, but originally in the novel is red beetle. Nevertheless, Stanley Kubrick put red beetle in another scene when it appears in a car accident.(Fig. 2) As Roger Ebert explains, “Kubrick dumped many plot elements and adapted the rest to his uses” (Ebert, 2006) This might leave the viewer guessing that director of the movie wanted to show that this film is in his domain and that we will change however he wants.

Fig. 3 The Overlook Hotel

The viewer is taken, though dramatically horrifying story, as the Torrance family arrives at the Overlook Hotel.(Fig.3) At first sight looking around the environment, it might be breathtaking, as the hotel is built in the mountains. Nevertheless, hearing the story of the Overlook hotel might leave other impression, as the hotel is built on the side of a native American burial ground. The main character, Jack, is warned about the last caretaker of this hotel, who developed cabin fever and killer his whole family and himself. Jack without any doubt accepts the job to be caretaker of this place and brings his whole family to stay with him. However, this story wasn’t meant to have a good ending as the main protagonist goes insane. It is believable that Overlook Hotel exclusively awakened the inner madness of Jack as he got isolated in this solitary location. As Nathan explains this in his review: "The evil may have always been there in Jack, The Overlook merely awakened it." (Nathan, 2012). “The Shining” shows more than a madman character chasing his family. This film touches aspects of family and relationship in marriage. The main character is the “head” of the family and everyone has to obey his needs and rules. The scene when Jacks yells at his wife for interrupting his work, shows that the Torrance family has crippling relationship. Jack can’t control his anger that’s why he releases it at his wife. Being frustrated in enclosed place makes it worse. Also, not being able to communicate with other people, Jack gets bored of this surrounding and start hallucinating his non-existent barman friend, Lloyd.(Fig.4) This scene shows how Jack enjoys manly company and tells everything to him about his relationship between him and his wife, Wendy. It demonstrated how typical man loosens up from stress in a pub and complains about his problems. Nevertheless, there is another scene where Jack sees a beautiful young woman taking a bath. As she gets out of the bath Jack inability resisting kisses her, also this explains how man being in unhappy relationship would gladly cheat on his wife without any hesitation.(Fig.5)
Fig.4 Barman Lloyd
Nevertheless, what makes this film great is Steadicam.(Fig.6) Steadicam is a camera stabilizing system which mechanically isolates the operator’s movement over any surface, allowing for a smooth shot. The Steadicam was invented in 1975, so Kubrick couldn’t miss this opportunity to use this new technique in his “The Shining” film, that’s why this production had perfectly steady scenes. Also, the director, has focused specifically on one-point perspectives which draws the viewer's eyes towards the centre of the scene.(Fig.7) The combination of Steadicam and one perspective really lets the viewer become one with the act/scene in the film. As David Konnow explains in his review: “The Shining took it even further, smoothly gliding the viewer through the halls and the treacherous hedge maze of the Overlook Hotel.” (Konnow, 2013)

Fig.6 Filming with Steadicam

Moreover, the movie creates a heavy sensation with the perfect use of music. From the very beginning the audience are presented with loud, uneasy, non-diegetic music that creates terrifying and intense feeling. This music theme is kept up throughout the film not letting the viewer to relax for a moment.
Fig.7 One perspective view

In conclusion, “The Shining” is a stunning, iconic horror film that has secrets riddled within itself, which will leave you puzzled and intrigued by the end of the film. “The Shining” definitely earned to be one of the iconic productions, which left a huge impact in a new generation of horror films.


Ebert, R. (2006) "The Shining"  review. At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-shining-1980 (Accessed on 05/12/2016) 

 Konow, D. (2013)  "The Shining and The Steadicam" At: http://www.tested.com/art/movies/457145-shining-and-steadicam/  (Accessed on 05/12/2016)

Nathan, I. (2012) " The Shining Review" At: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/shining-2/review/ (Accessed on 05/12/2016)
Illustration List:
Fig. 1  "The Shining" [Poster] At: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51b3dc8ee4b051b96ceb10de/t/53b03aa8e4b020e943b3961d/1404058287520/tumblr_n7rwwgc1tJ1qg8i80o2_1280.jpg
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
Fig. 2  Red Beetle car in car crash. From: The Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Film still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0ochJJ6ByIs/VqlPbcWK3KI/AAAAAAAAKf8/Wkiv3QuhVG8/s1600/The%2BShining%2B13.jpg
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
Fig. 3 The Overlook Hotel. From: The Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Film still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/stephenking/images/a/a7/The_Overlook_Hotel.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20131105045429
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
Fig. 4 Barman Lloyd. From: The Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Film still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FpSOlyzi-hg/VnxkftzNhII/AAAAAAAAeEM/lR5Meh6_FXU/s1600/Lloyd.png
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
Fig.5 From: The Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Film still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At: http://listverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/picture-1-15.png
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
 Fig.6 Filming with Steadicam. he Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At:http://d2rormqr1qwzpz.cloudfront.net/photos/2013/08/16/52189-shining.jpg
(Accessed on 05/12/2016)
 Fig. 7 One perspective view. From: The Shining. Directed by: Kubrick, S. [Film still] United States-United Kingdom: Warner Bros. At: http://www.doorsixteen.com/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/kubrick.jpg (Accessed on 05/12/2016)