The Shining

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Stanley Kubrick

REVIEWED: 11-09-98

It's tough deciding what's scarier here: Jack Nicholson or the lanky, toothy Shelley Duvall, whose winces, sneers of shock, and flails of terror are bound to curdle your blood as much as ol' Jackie's over-the-top madman semantics. Of course the real answer is that it is neither of them, but sweet, mop-headed Lloyd as Danny Torrance, the precognitic possessor of the "shining," whose twisted perception ushers in the most horrifying images from the film. Granted, Kubrick embellished a great deal, using King's haunted hotel story less as a narrative focusing on these characters and more as a launching pad for some shocking visual riffs of his own (leading an impressed but disappointed King to re-adapt the novel years later for a more faithful miniseries starring Wings' Steven Weber). Both Kubrick and King, however, revel in turning the seemingly sweet into mechanisms of evil -- and thus we see not only a beautiful vista like the Overlook turn into a hunting ground for the mentally deranged, but also the menacing sound of a Big Wheel bicycle down the hall, the creepy spectre of two young sisters in their Sunday best, and the deadly fall of a thick and beautiful snow. The funniest thing is that at heart, as King himself explained, it's just a little story about writer's block. A little warning to all of us out there, about the terrors of the gridlocked mind -- and all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, no?

--Sarah Hepola

Capsule Reviews
The Shining

Other Films by Stanley Kubrick
A Clockwork Orange
Dr. Strangelove
Eyes Wide Shut
Paths of Glory
The Killing

Film Vault Suggested Links
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
The Ghoul
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

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