The Shining (1980)★★★★☆


Here’s another Stephen King work I haven’t yet read. I should probably get around to it, because a sequel was released a couple years back that’s apparently pretty good. Speaking of which, I should probably also get around to reading the Dark Tower series, what with the film version being talked about now…

Anyhow, if Stephen King plus Stanley Kubrick seems like a win to you, you’re right. And I can’t imagine anyone better than Jack Nicholson to help them out. I mean, even if you’ve never seen this movie, you know Jack Nicholson’s face and his timelessly creepy “Here’s Johnny!” And Jack Nicholson isn’t the only cast member who delivers a stellar performance. Everyone in this movie is spectacular, including little Danny.

But I feel like most of the true horror of this film has been lost on me. Mostly this is because for years all I knew of The Shining came from that episode of The Simpsons. By the time I finally got around to watching The Shining, I think it was on network television, commercial breaks and dubbed over swears and everything. So I was never quite as terrified by this movie as I could have been.

Don’t get me wrong, though. There are some seriously creepy scenes in this movie. If you know nothing about it, or maybe if you just watch it, uninterrupted, alone in the dark some night…I can see how it could get intensely scary. Oh, and the background music is perfect. I guess that makes sense, since it looks like Kubrick just asked the composer from A Clockwork Orange to do the music for this one as well (and A Clockwork Orange also had awesome background music).

This is still a classic horror film, and the story is still great. King knows how to tell a story, and Kubrick knows how to bring it to life on film, and fans of both will appreciate this film for decades to come (I imagine).