The Shining title

Tag line : He Came As The Caretaker, But This Hotel Had Its Own Guardians - Who'd Been There A Long Time

The ShiningOne of the more memorable Stephen King adaptations, even if only for the line "H-e-e-e-res Johnny!!!!!", this film stars Jack Nicholson as troubled author Jack Torrence (what is it with Stephen King stories featuring troubled authors now?), who takes a winter caretaking job at a remote hotel up in the Colorado mountains.

The hotel is closed for the season, as its going to be effectively snowed in till the spring. So all he has to do is make sure the heating works and carry out any minor repairs that need doing. Taking his wife Wendy (Shelly DuVall) and kid along with him, he hopes the location's peace, quiet and isolation will help him get over his writers block and allow him to finish his new novel.

As the weather draws in, cutting off the only road out of there, they settle down for the long winter. But then things in the hotel start to go a bit awry. Their young son (who for some reason has strange telepathic abilities) starts seeing weird nightmarish visions. Not only this, but then Jack starts becoming extremely unbalanced, and the more time they spend in isolation there, the more psychotic he becomes.

With the strange nightmarish visions, now visible to all, appearing all over the hotel. Wendy and the young son are forced to go on the run from Jack, who's finally tipped over the edge and gone on the rampage with an axe. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea building the hotel on top of an Indian burial ground after all (that's a thought, what is it with Stephen King novels and Indian burial grounds too)?

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this is one of those horror films that relies heavily on mood and atmosphere, as opposed to blood and gore, to scare the audience. Whilst the film does create a genuinely scary atmosphere, the only negative comment I will make is that with a run time clocking in at around 2hrs 20min you might find this one a bit overly long. Never the less, this one comes highly recommended to all fans of Jack Nicholson, director Stanley Kubrick and author Stephen King.

In any case, you really need to see this to get many of those jokes in "The Simpsons", not to mention god knows how many other films and shows.

Overall Marks : 6/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The exteriors of the Outlook Hotel were filmed at The Timberline Lodge on Mount hood, in Oregon. However all the interiors were filmed on a specially built set at Elstree studios in England.

  • The films budget was $22million.

  • Kubrick was said to have initially considered Robert DeNiro for the role of Jack, but after watching "Taxi Driver" decided he wasn't psychotic enough. Comedy actor Robin Williams was also said to be considered, but Kubrick didn't cast him after watching "Mork and Mindy" on TV and decided he was too psychotic for the role.

  • The classic line "Here's Johnny" was apparently ad-libbed by Nicholson. This was a reference to the US chat show "The Tonight Show" which was hosted by Johnny Carson.

  • The role of the Bartender was originally offered to Harry Dean Stanton but was unable to accept as he was busy working on "Alien".

  • Some of the unused intro footage showing the panoramic views of the approach to the Overlook Hotel were used by Ridley Scott for the ending of Blade Runner.

  • The original novel had the hedge animals coming alive at the end, but this proved unworkable due to the limits of special effects in those days, so instead they had a hedge maze.

  • Stephen King reportedly didn't like Stanley Kubrick's choice of Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall and tried to talk him into recasting them. Wanting someone more normal looking for Jack, so that his descent into madness would be more shocking, and a blonde haired cheerleader type for Wendy, as someone who'd never had to face any adversity and so the problems at the hotel would be more terrifying.

  • The old photo at the end of the film, in which Nicholson's character appears in, was not staged for the film, but was actually an old photo from the early 1920s taken at some ball for government employees (several people in the photo have been identified as being members of the Federal Reserve Board during President Wilson's tenure). Nicholson's face was simply airbrushed over one of the people in the photo.

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