Title: The Shining
Dir.: Stanley Kubrick
Producer(s): Stanley Kubrick
Writer(s): Stephen King (novel), Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson
Company: Warner Bros.
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd
I haven’t seen The Shining in a long time. I couldn’t tell you a complete scene without cheating thanks to Google.
However, visually, I remember everything.
The hotel setting. The winding trail of trees and bushes. I remember Jack going completely crazy, giving the so called “Kubrick stare”, charging at his wife and child. The twin sisters appearing before Danny only to ask to play with him before they are found covered in blood, completely slaughtered.
I would categorize this film, like Suspiria, Creepshow and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (and maybe It Follows) so far, as a movie that is visually stimulating.
I won’t get into the huge changes in the film from the novel. Or how Stephen King didn’t like the final product. Or how Kubrick basically mentally and emotionally fucked up Duvall throughout the filming process… is that the price you gotta pay in order to have a perfect end result? Giving a great performance of literally being terrified?
Yes, this movie has become one of the greatest horror films made. Yes, this film has iconic scenes and lines that are easily quoted that any average movie goer probably knows. It is a cult film. It appeals to a bigger audience outside of just horror. It has influenced other films. You might like it because you’re a Kubrick fan. You might dislike it because of how different it is compared to the novel by King, which is also a valid argument.
But what you cannot take away from the film is its impact.
And by impact, I mean, visually.
It is a beautiful shot film. The use of patterns, color, enhancing the environment to make it feel like you are all alone, surrounded by nature and the unknown with the viewer. You are enraptured by everything happening and it’s memorable.
Like I said before, I can remember the film on a visual level than actual script.
What I want to say is that would the film be just as a stronger impact if it wasn’t for the visuals? If you strip it of seeing the woman in the bathtub surrounded in green or the patterned carpet that Danny plays on or even the large wave of blood gushing out of the elevator, what would that film resemble? Could it still a visual masterpiece?
It’s an interesting question to mull over.
And the answer I came to was simply… no. I think the cinematography goes hand in hand with a film like this, especially as an “adaptation” from Stephen King. You need the visuals and the colors and the sets to become extra characters to further progress the film. Nicholson, Duvall and Lloyd do their job, so does Crothers as well. But the environment is what carries the film up to the epic climax and eventual conclusion.
But what do you guys think? What would be your answer?
Also, with the recent reboots/remakes of King’s works, could there be a “reboot/remake” of The Shining as a full length film? Yes, there was the mini series on television but we’re talking a film released in theaters? Would that work? Would there be backlash? Pet Sematary, It, Carrie… I wonder if The Shining was ever brought up on the table for a new look.
And if so, it has BIG shoes to fill.