The Shining

“Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Danny. Forever... and ever... and ever.”

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Year: 1980
Country: USA
Running time: 119 mins
Censor Rating: R16 - violence, offensive language, horror

Producer: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson. Based on the novel by Stephen King
Photography: John Alcott
Editor: Ray Lovejoy
Production designer: Roy Walker
Art director: Les Tomkins
Costume designer: Milena Canonero
Music: Wendy Carlos, Rachel Elkind

With: Jack Nicholson (Jack Torrance), Shelley Duvall (Wendy Torrance), Danny Lloyd (Danny Torrance), Scatman Crothers (Dick Hallorann), Barry Nelson (Stuart Ullman), Philip Stone (Delbert Grady), Joe Turkel (Lloyd the bartender), Anne Jackson (doctor), Tony Burton (Larry Durkin), Liz Beldam (young woman in bath), Billie Gibson (old woman in bath)

Heeeere’s Johnny!! Struggling writer Jack Nicholson thinks isolation as the winter caretaker of the vast Overlook Hotel – with wife Shelley Duvall and psychic son in tow – will crack that writer’s block, but as his horrific visions of the hotel’s past proliferate and the elevator fills with blood, it’s time for Duvall to get out the baseball bat. Stanley Kubrick’s radical adaptation of an early Stephen King novel (famously denounced by King as “a piece of machinery with neither heart nor soul”) returns to the giant screen in merciless high definition DCP.

“Kubrick (with co-screenwriter Diane Johnson) filleted the novel, ditching its more formulaic horror elements in favour of a study in madness and ambiguous evil – that, of course, of father, drunk, caretaker, and wannabe novelist Jack Torrance (a defining role for Jack Nicholson). Kubrick, akin to his trippy treatment of the sci-fi genre, was elevating horror to a different plane, removing its camp wiggeries and bogeymen to infuriate and bedazzle with sinewy suggestion and sumptuous, awe-inspiring technique. Technically, there is no better film in the genre. Its chills are less direct (that is until Torrance finally throws off the shackles of sanity), rather something that creeps under the skin to unsettle and disturb…

Alive with portent and symbolism, every frame of the film brims with Kubrick’s genius for implying psychological purpose in setting: the hotel's tight, sinister labyrinth of corridors; its cold, sterile bathrooms; the lavish, illusionary ballroom. This was horror of the mind transposed to place (or, indeed, vice versa).” — Ian Nathan, Empire

NZIFF STAFF PICK: Michael McDonnell