Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Throwback Movie: The Shining

Horror movies are not my thing. I have watched a reasonable amount of them, but I watched them only because the rest of my family are fans of the genre. I am more the type of person who watches these movies only when I watch with family, I would never watch this genre of my own volition. I will only watch it if someone asks me to watch it with them, which is not often since people close to me know that I am not a fan. It is not that these movies scare me, but that I do not enjoy watching these types of films in general.

Image by Frank Reppold from Pixabay

That does not mean, however, that I have a limited list of horror movies that I have seen. Through the years I think I have still seen a reasonable amount of them. In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast, I was able to share the horror movies that made a mark on me (episode embedded at the end of this post). In that episode, I mentioned one of those movies that I cannot forget to this day: The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

The Shining is based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Classified as a psychological horror film, the movie is about a man named Jack Torrance, who moves his family (his wife and young son) to the Overlook Hotel, where he is the off-season caretaker while the hotel closes during the winter season. During the movie, the reveal is that supernatural beings live in the hotel, which Jack’s son sees because he has what they called “the shining.” Combined with the influence of these supernatural beings and his mental instability due to being an alcoholic, Jack goes into a murderous rage and goes after his own family.

This movie is something that I had first watched as a child and watching the film had become an annual tradition between me and my cousins whenever they visited our home in our younger years. It is one of those movies that we used to expect to see whenever we were all together.

While not a fan of this genre, I did appreciate that this movie is something that is not just about jump scares or blood and gore. Growing up watching the film through the years I have come to realize that this movie’s appeal for me was that it was something that made you think. It scared you more by playing with your mind rather than by killing people and showing violent scenes. Now that I look back on it, Jack only kills one person in the film, and even then, the actual killing is not in the way that modern horror movies do where it can be as gruesome as possible. Even the ending where they show Jack in photos of the hotel’s parties in the past makes you think and wonder about the supernatural power the hotel has over the people in it.

I have not seen the movie in years, but I still clearly remember images and scenes from the film. Jack Nicholson breaks down a door with an ax as Shelly Duvall screams in terror. The young boy on his bike riding along the carpeted hotel hallway. The same boy saying “Redrum.” The scary twins in matching dresses. The hedge maze with Jack Nicholson freezing to death while holding a scary look on his face.

Watching The Shining may be the reason that I prefer horror movies that mess with your mind more than slasher films. I still would not watch these movies on my own because I am not a fan of the genre, but if I had to choose, I would pick movies like The Shining. I heard that there is a sequel to this one called Doctor Sleep, but I have not had the chance to see that yet. Reviews do not seem to be that good, so I think I will pass on it because it might spoil what I liked about The Shining.

The Shining is available on YouTube for rent. If anyone out there knows if it is on any other streaming service, please leave a message on this post and let everyone else know about it!


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