By Raymond Knowby


Say what you will about book to film comparisons, but Stan Kubrick loaded this movie with enough of its own pizzaz to still make it a great horror flick on its own. It shares enough in common with the novel to be a definite screen adapation, but the changes, some of which are better and some of which aren’t as good, play nicely in the medium.

Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson, of course), a struggling writer, moves his family into the massively evil Overlook Hotel in Colorado to caretake it for the offseason winter. His son, Danny (Danny Lloyd–everyone’s just using their real names here) has the ability to “shine”–see things before they happen. Mostly bad things. And the hotel, as it happens, is loaded to the brim with very bad things.

Slowly paced, but definitely built with terror. The gorgeous production design and isolation will hook you until the film unravels into a psychotic, legendary breakdown from Nicholson. As the hotel possesses and consumes him, his wife, Wendy (Shelly DuVall) fends for her son and herself, fleeing from her crazed husband through the haunted corridors. Seriously, there’s chilling as hell imagery here, and an amazing set (Kubrick actually had a massive interior built for the hotel to shoot in, the obsessive weirdo) with superb photography by John Alcott. Scatman Crothers is also of worthy recommendation, playing the very likeable Dick Halloran, an ex-cook who also “shines” and comes to the boy’s rescue when he feels the horror that’s befalling in the secluded mountains.

Great score, and two hideously eerie little girls also account for some genuine fear. This is one of the rare exceptions that scared me watching it alone late at night, even as a mid teenager.

REDRUM is afoot is Stan Kubrick's THE SHINING.