Throwback Thursday: The Shining stands as a true classic


The iconic “come play with us Danny” scene from “The Shining.”

Nikol Slatinska

Halloween is approaching, and nothing is more fitting for the occasion than catching up on the classics known for making our blood run cold — even if it is boots and sweater season. And what’s more classic than Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 The Shining, based on the novel by Stephen King? It’s the perfect horror flick to watch when snuggling under the covers with popcorn, or rather, candy corn.
The film follows the Torrance family on their move to Colorado, where Jack Torrance— portrayed by Jack Nicholson, has a job position at the Overlook Hotel. Jack hopes to work on his writing during the hotel’s off season, and he and his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), are excited for a new start after Jack accidently hurt their son Danny’s arm following an alcoholic binge.
The family arrives at the beautiful inn, designed with Native American influences— a homage to the burial ground the hotel was built on top of. The Torrances seem undeterred by this, or by the fact that the previous warden killed himself and his family as a result of cabin fever. Danny seems to be the only one with apprehension after envisioning blood pouring out of an elevator and telepathically communicating with the kitchen chef, who calls the psychic ability “shining” and tells Danny to stay out of room 237.
During the first month, Wendy and Danny have fun exploring the hotel’s vast quarters, including the appearingly endless hedge maze outside, while Jack sits at his typewriter having trouble coming up with anything to write. As time goes on, Jack’s hopeful mood diminishes and is replaced by a foreign, angry personality, causing him to act violently around Wendy.
What makes The Shining interesting are the multiple elements of eeriness. The heinous past of the previous caretaker’s family coupled with the current ordeal of the Torrances causes multiple plots to emerge. The film cuts between scenes of Jack interacting strangely with both his family and former Overlook guests, to Danny being taunted by some unwelcome ghosts and his demonic imaginary friend, Tony.
Although the encounters aren’t particularly likely to make you close your eyes, there is certainly never a dull moment. The setting definitely helps add character to the film, so if you somehow find certain parts dragging on for too long, you can always admire the iridescent scenery instead. Wide, echoey hallways link the limitless arrays of rooms, and Kubrick’s signature backdrops provide intense bursts of colors in the different sectors of the hotel. The dim lighting gives an overall chilling touch to the atmosphere, almost like a lightbulb has gone out in every room.
The cast also helps make the movie compelling, particularly Duvall, who gives her character a strong, motherly yet innocent quality. She and Danny make it feel as if you’re experiencing everything through their eyes, specifically the last few minutes of the film as they struggle to escape the now completely possessed Jack. Overall, the entire movie builds up through slowly distressing, tension-filled moments leading to a final explosion as severe as Jack’s consistent outbursts. You’ll feel like you were holding your breath throughout the entire movie, because The Shining never ceases to create apprehension, which has helped it remain a standard for all horror movies since its 1980 release.[vc_separator border_width=”2″]First in a series of Throwback Halloween Movie Reviews