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October 5, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #11 - The Shining

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula  Number 23 - The Wicker Man  Number 22 - Suspiria  Number 21 - The Omen  Number 20 - Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told  Number 19 - Rosemary's Baby  Number 18 - The Devil Rides Out  Number 17 - The Blob  Number 16 - Gremlins  Number 15 - Targets  Number 14 - Fright Night   Number 13 - Frankenstein  Number 12 - Alien
The Shining
(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.

1 comment:

Enbrethiliel said...


I first saw this when I was about your age, too. It says a lot when even preteens can tell something is a cinematic masterpiece, aye?

If I had to pick a double feature to go with this, I'd choose Amityville. A friend and I have this theory that there are some movies that come out in the same year or within a year of each other that are actually twins. (Armageddon and Deep Impact, for instance.) So I'm always on the lookout for "fraternal" pairs. And I daresay that The Shining and Amityville are indeed brother and sister of a sort! Point-by-point checklist available upon request! ;-)