I know, I know. It’s nearly Xmas, and scary movies are more of a Halloween thing. But, you know, horror movies are fascinating any time of year. This one, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, based on a Stephen King novel, has fascinated a lot of people, since its release, in 1980. It wasn’t all shiny, and pastel, with those plastic bangles and oversized sweatshirts we all loved to hate either, no, it was roll up your sleeves, like a Miami Vice hero, if you wanted to survive this one without psychological trauma. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a super-gory festival of blood, like some of the zombie movies around; it was subtler than that, and the blood was withheld, for suspense, until…………….well, you probably know yourself.
There were all sorts of ambiguities, too. It was a very layered movie. I never read the book, to fill in gaps between my mental elevator doors, because I loved those. I mean, what had Jack told his missis about the book he said he was going to write, before they go to the job as winter Overseer at the hotel? And what the hell is that piece of paper in his hand in the hotel lobby photo, never mind how he even got into it?
Kubrick leaves so much of this stuff in, that our own minds struggle to put it together, and it haunts us, like the best movies should do. We then may become obsessed, as Jack did, with what’s going on (not to mention slightly hypnotised by the groovy carpets and decor, which are an utter delight, and far from wishy-washy pastel boring. This is a psychological horror, which pulls you into a complicated maze of meaning. Let’s hope you make it out again. Enjoy, it’s horrible, but terrific.