The justAtad Essentials: The Shining
Stanley Kubrick was a genius, and The Shining is his masterpiece. Yeah, I know, he made 2001 and Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange, but screw it, The Shining bests them all. It’s a piece of visceral filmmaking unlike anything ever made. Kubrick crafted a symphony of dark humour, horrific images and creeping madness that simply overcomes me every time I watch it.
I am very rarely frightened by a film. Sometimes I’ll jump at a loud noise. Every now and then there’s an image that sticks in my mind and makes me avoid dark basements. The Shining goes well beyond that and right into sheer terror. The first time I watched it I was scared out of my mind. The same has held true with every repeat viewing.
I think the reason for this is The Shining‘s unique mixture of the visceral with the cerebral. The amazing images and camera movements are amazingly visceral, but there’s always an underlying hint of a man going completely insane. It’s psychological horror of the best kind, and as the film wears on it only becomes more unhinged.
The build-up is all paid off in the incredibly intense finale set in a hedge maze. It’s a fitting spot for an ending, never knowing what lies around the corner. And that’s the ultimate fear that inhabits the film. It’s not knowing what’s waiting around the corner, whether its the corner of a maze, the corner of a hotel hallway, or even the darkest corners of the human mind. Truly terrifying stuff.