(1980, Dir. by Stanley Kubrick.)
Why It's Here:
Stanley Kubrick's adaptation - in the loosest sense of the word - of Stephen King's novel is one of the most unforgettable horror experiences ever filmed. With a great performance from Jack Nicholson leading the way, Kubrick's film is methodical and patient as it lets the strange events occur in the abandoned Overlook Hotel. Innocent events - like a boy riding around the halls on a trike or a writer pecking away at his typewriter - take on new meaning, and the few big scares that follow pack a mammoth punch.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
There are countless shocking moments in Kubrick's film, but the reveal in Room 237 is probably the most unsettling. Partially because no one wants to see rotted old nudity, but also because the build up to what Jack Torrance sees is handled so beautifully. This is a perfect representation of the control Kubrick had over a film.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
A more linear horror from the same time period with plenty of chills, Peter Medak's The Changeling lets another Oscar winning actor - Patton's George C. Scott - explore a creepy house and deal with surprising reveals. These two films have strong differences in plot, but there's something I can't put my finger on that draws them together for me. If you want to watch another meticulous horror tale, The Changeling should be right up your alley.
What It Means To Me:
I'm not exactly sure how my sister and I got ahold of a copy of The Shining when we were about 11-12 years old. There's a part of me that thinks my parents actually approved of this, but it's also possible that we just got it out of the poorly guarded VHS cabinet and popped it in the VCR. No matter the why, this movie became our first serious on-screen nightmare - an unhinged portrait of evil that provided something more real than the likes of Clownhouse or Nightmare on Elm Street sequels. It makes no sense sometimes - but what nightmare does? The Shining still manages to fascinate me on every view, and its reputation as one of the most beloved horror films out there is well earned.