The Shining - More Than Just A Regular Horror Story
People who watch The Shining rarely think of it as being anything but the classic psychological horror film that grabbed viewer's attention when it was released in 1980. Loosely adapted from the novel of the same name written by the master of horror tales, Stephen King, this movie was directed with great finesse and expertise by Stanley Kubrick.
One of the best things about this film was the masterful performance by Jack Nicholson who plays the role of a writer, Jack Torrance, who is goaded into madness and violence by an evil disembodied presence in the hotel he is staying in for the winter.
Shelley Duvall played the role of his wife Wendy Torrance and Danny Lloyd played their 5 year old son Danny Torrance who gets premonitions of impending doom and violence thanks to his psychic abilities.
Jack is a writer, and a former alcoholic, who is unable to find inspiration for his next story. He has a history of violence towards others, including his son. He takes a job as the winter caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel, moving there with his wife and son.
The manager of the property tells him that the previous caretaker had brutally slain his own family the last winter. The little boy has blood-stained visions that are completely at odds with his peaceful existence in the hotel, playing in the seemingly empty corridors. His family has no idea that he is aware of the ghosts who haunt the hotel.
The Shining was King's third novel and it was published in 1977. King, a very prolific writer, has written many more after this one. However, this story still retains its appeal with readers of all ages for the subtle and interesting manner in which he describes the relationship between father and son, in spite of the evil supernatural presence that prods Jack to insanity and violence. King himself retains a special fondness for this particular novel, calling it his "breakthrough novel".
The movie deviates from the novel in many important ways. As a matter of fact, Kubrick used this story to talk about the gory past of the American nation. At various times in the movie he alludes to the horribly violent way in which America was stolen from the Native peoples, something that many people feel has not been talked about enough in the media or popular consciousness. However, King collaborated with Kubrick when it came to creating the screenplay for the movie.
Whether you watch the movie or read the book, The Shining is basically a meditation on life, love and conflict filled family relationships, especially those between fathers and sons.
The way that Jack is able to momentarily shake off the demonic influence of the house in order to tell his son to flee for his life is of particular significance. Abuse, and its effect on the way people perceive themselves, has also been given a great deal of importance in this story. The Shining firmly entrenched Stephen King's reputation as a master raconteur of horror tales.
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