At tonight's Mink Movie Night, Rocks Off presents what is arguably the greatest psychological horror film ever made, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
The film opens our month of Halloween-inflected movies, with the next two selections in the series being The Exorcist
and the original Jamie Lee Curtis slasher vehicle Halloween
Kubrick's film is only loosely based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, and only really includes the barest similarities with the King horror tome. Many fans of King don't care for the film and Kubrick's drastically different vision of the Torrance family's saga at the fictional Overlook Hotel. In 1997, King himself finally got the version he wanted of his work filmed for an ABC mini-series starring Steven Weber and Rebecca de Mornay as Jack and Wendy Torrance.
Many people have tried to explain the plot of the film, but the way it twists and strays from the very realms of sanity makes it extremely hard to convey. The film is rife with now iconic imagery, most notably Jack Nicholson's crazed face peering through the splintered doorway screaming "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" Nicholson used every single facial tick in his physical repertoire to create his character Jack Torrance, the struggling ex-alcoholic novelist.
Houston native Shelley Duvall plays Nicholson's wife Wendy in the film, and she herself is a powerhouse of emotion and terror. Danny Lloyd plays their son who has the power alluded to in the title, a sort of ESP that allows him to sense oncoming danger. He uses this to communicate with head cook Dick Hallorann, who always has "the shining" while Hallorann is away from the hotel.
The soundtrack was supposed to be entirely composed of work by Wendy Carlos, who you may remember had a sex change to become a female and went by Walter in her previous male life. Her work has always been heavy on the Moog synthesizer, and her Switched On Bach
(1968) helped bring the nascent electronic music genre to the forefront of pop music.
At the last moments of post-production, Carlos' score was scrapped in lieu of classical selections that Kubrick found elsewhere, though a brief electronic selection from Carlos can still be heard in the film.