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Prepare to enter a ghostly time warp of madness and murder in The Shining. This thriller tells the story of Jack Torrance, a writer and unemployed teacher who signs on as winter caretaker at an isolated Colorado hotel. Hoping that the arrangement will cure his writer's block and help repair his family life, Jack settles in with his wife and son, who is soon tormented by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and his son’s visions become more and more disturbing, the man begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac bent on scaring his family to death.
Stephen King got the idea for the original story during a family vacation at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
Jack Nicholson ad-libbed the infamous movie line, “Heeere’s Johnny!”
Six-year-old Danny Lloyd was so protected during filming that he didn’t realize he was making a horror movie. He didn’t see the uncut version of the film until 11 years after it was made.
The snowy maze at the end of the film was made using 900 tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam.
The Shining was one of the first movies to be filmed using the Steadicam (a camera stabilizer invented by Garrett Brown).
A Modern Masterpiece of Terror
- Based on the novel by horror master Stephen King
- Directed by the visionary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick
- 142 minutes of nail-biting, eye-covering suspense
- Digitally restored and remastered
- Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Meet the Cast
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson)
A caretaker at an old hotel, Jack is slowly but surely possessed by a supernatural force that drives him to destroy the ones he loves most.
Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall)
As she watches her husband become more and more deranged, Wendy is determined to do whatever it takes to save herself and her son from the madness.
Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd)
The Torrances only child, Danny has been gifted with telepathic abilities and can sense supernatural forces. Can he use “the shining” to escape the evil?
Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers)
Hallorann is the head chef at the Overlook Hotel. When he first meets Danny, the man recognizes the boy’s psychic powers, because he is equally gifted.
Writer and former teacher Jack Torrance signs on as caretaker for a hotel with a long, violent past -- a past that puts everyone in the hotel in a precarious situation. As Jack slowly grows more violent and angry about his life, his son Danny tries to use a special talent called the shining to warn people outside about what's happening at the hotel. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd star in this classic horror movie written by Stephen King and directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Ostensibly a haunted house story, it manages to traverse a complex world of incipient madness, spectral murder and supernatural visions ... and also makes you jump. --Empire, Ian Nathan
But there is no way, within the film, to be sure with any confidence exactly what happens, or precisely how, or really why. Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease. --Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
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On a side note...my favorite thing about this purchase: I have been a fan of the movie for many many years, but had never read the book. After reading the book I got obsessed with wanting to see the movie on blu-ray. The last version I purchased was in standard format on DVD. After killing a Saturday afternoon trying to locate one around Tulsa, I gave up and ordered a copy on Amazon. I was happy because of the price, but felt defeated because I had had my heart set on watching it that night. But within minutes I got an email from Amazon letting me know that I could watch the HD version online instantly for no additional cost! Needless to say, I was stoked. It's the little things...
It is a masterpiece. Kubrick is one of the greatest film makers of all time with such classics as 2001, Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange under his belt. The Shining is probably his most accessible movie for a general audience. I first saw this film when I was 13, and even then I was aware it was something special. That and I always wondered just what the movie playing during the drive in scene from Twister was. What Kubrick does is rather than simply adapt King's novel verbatim, he tweaks it to make it something uniquely his own, only using King's novel as inspiration for his original take on the story. This will understandably upset a great deal many people. I am a King fan myself, and have enjoyed many of his books and film adaptations. But tweaking a story can improve it in certain ways. The film alterations of The Shawshank Redemption have since become signature parts of the story, and that film is universally loved. The Shining should receive a similar reception.
Jack Nicholson delivers one of his signature performances in this film as the slowly unhinging Jack Torrance, an oddly sympathetic but thoroughly frightening villain. Ol Jack always was a trooper with acting, creating a variety of colorful characters from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Five Easy Pieces. Here, he delivers one of his more crazy performances and it is a treat to watch. The rest of the cast, Duvall, Crothers and Lloyd, do very nicely. Lloyd especially delivers a turnout performance as Jack's frightened son in probably the best performance by a child in a horror film.
One of the most interesting parts about the story (book and film) is the setting. Isolating the characters was always effective in horror stories such as Alien and The Thing. Like the latter, this film uses the cold and snow to cut off the characters from just walking out the door. It really makes the hotel become not a beautiful mansion, but a spooky maze from which there is no escape. The choice of hotel for both the interior and exterior was just fabulous, and allows for many great images to be created on the movie. And it is just perfect for building atmosphere.
The film varies in just how it creates fear. First, it is fear by suggestion, with creepy images and dark shadows that slowly build a sense of dream. One of the creepiest moments in the film is when the young Danny is lured into room 237 whilst playing in the halls of the hotel. This scene boasts a minimalist score, some oddly symmetrical images that are somehow very unsettling, and it draws out the scene to the point that it is almost torture. Not until the final third does Jack become the mad axe man, and the film dispenses with its sense of dread and opens the floodgates into total terror. It is this section of the film that most people remember, and it is not hard to see why as it is very well executed. However, the two thirds before that are also something to see. Who knew a kid looking down a hallway could look so damn creepy?
The two disc DVD delivers the good with a host of features, including the classic trailer for the film and the original documentary from its original release date. Not a lot of new material, and that is kind of sad, but still great stuff.
If you are a Stephen King fan, just remember this. This is not a Stephen King movie. It is a Stanley Kubrick movie. Don't put it in with the book, and view it on its own merits. If you are able to do that, you are in for one of the best horror films ever made.
If you have not seen it shame on you. If you have seen it...watching it on Blue Ray is a nice experience.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...