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The Shining defined a generation of scary movies

Updated on October 13, 2011

Stephen King is a master of horror. Stanley Kubrick is a master of atmosphere. Put them together and you have The Shining.

Now it does get a little weird. After it's all over, you kinda have to sit and think about just what that last shot meant. But when the rest of the movie is so tense and scary, that weirdness doesn't really hurt it that much.

The story follows a man and his family (Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd) who spend a winter holed up in a remote hotel. The hotel closes down for the winter but they need a caretaker to stay there and maintain the place. However, that much time cooped up in one building can take its toll. Or is it more? There's evidence that something supernatural and sinister (left-handed?) is happening at the hotel.

Anyway, I'm sure you all know that Jack Nicholson's character slowly goes crazy and tries to kill his family. I don't know why nobody on the movie saw this coming. The guy looks like freakin' Jack Nicholson! How can he not go crazy and kill his family?

Visually, there's a lot here that has entered into the cinema zeitgeist. The blood coming from the elevator. The creepy twins. (Is that a redundancy?) The chase through the hedge maze. Or crazy Jack Nicholson hacking through the bathroom door with an axe.

So much of this movie has been referenced and alluded to in other movies. And who can blame them? The movie's an icon. And so effective at what it does.

After it's over, as with a lot of other scary movies, I'm actually left still feeling a little icky. There is a relief at the end, but the atmosphere is so intense that it kinda lingers with you.

so, that icky feeling--as well as a somewhat laborious pacing at times--kinda pulls my rating down a little, but it still earns a good 7 / 10.

The Shining is rated R for language, violence, disturbing imagery, nudity, disturbing nudity, Jack Nicholson and disturbing Jack Nicholson.


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