The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

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The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:50 pm

What genre is this movie? What characteristics and genre conventions have you found during the screening? Please post pictures or clips to support your comments, if available.


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Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Post by Achidlow95 on Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:31 pm

To any viewer, whether they be a film expert or your standard couch potato, The Shining is a film over flowing with classic horror film qualities, there are also a number of phycological themes in the film. One of the first things that becomes apparent in this film is its isolated location. This is shown by a series of helicopter shots which track a car driving down desolated roads. This is accompanied by some very unsettling music which almost becomes unlistenable as it gradually gets more unusual and sinister. The isolated location also creates a sense of being alone or not being able to escape. This makes the audience feel disconcerted or even disturbed before the films story has even begun to unfold.

The Character of Jack, played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson, is a key ingredient to this film’s success as a horror/psychological film. He is the first and last character we see and by far the most important. The representation of his character, including his image, personality and attitude, gradually deteriorates throughout the film. It becomes very apparent who the “baddy” in the film is. This unsettling transformation of his character is what reveals certain psychological themes in the film. The fact he is seeing things that aren’t there (talking to the bar man and the women in the bathroom) are an insight to the gradual decline in his mental stability. It also causes the audience to question the reality of the film. Do we know what’s real? Or who is real?

Stanley Kubrick’s visual style in The Shining is very effective when it comes to foreshadowing the events at the end of the film.  He uses the colour red in a number of ways, through costume, props and in parts of the setting to instil a sense of danger and warning to the audience. Most horror films, if not all, will make a great use of the colour red, especially violent films through the use of fake blood etc. However this film, although it has its moments, isn’t necessarily a gory/gruesome film. It almost torments the viewer as we see this rage gradually growing inside jack yet we still don't know what he might be capable of. This use of the red props and surroundings reflects the anger growing inside jack alongside his crazed facial expressions and erratic behaviour through the stylized acting of Jack Nicholson.
All in all The Shining is a film that has a very powerful effect on its audience. It raises questions, instils fear, misdirects and brings you to the edge of your seat, everything a good horror/psychological film should do. All this being achieved by the use of classic horror/psychological film attributes alongside Stanley Kubrick’s unique auteur style.


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Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Post by mcn on Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:00 pm

The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's only attempt at the horror genre, is adapted from the famous Stephen King novel of the same name and focuses around a family who inherit the responsibility of the grand yet isolated Overlook Hotel over a harsh winter period. 

Despite being a horror film The Shining has an unconventional style thanks to the direction of Kubrick - All sources of danger in the movie appear in well lit and open spaces. Also, the deterioration of Jack Torrance's mental health, which is portrayed expertly by Jack Nicholson, edges the film towards being a psychological horror as he becomes a threat to his wife Wendy and son Danny.

The film opens with a number of aerial shots taken from a helicopter that captures the expansive setting - the camera soars through a valley in-between mountains and above forests, following Jack in his small yellow car driving towards the hotel on an empty road. Generally, in most horror films, scenes will take place in dimly lit claustrophobic settings however in these opening shots and throughout the rest of the film that trope is flipped on its head. The only thing suggesting that the film is of the horror genre is the music - a solitary horn instrument is played slowly in a dramatic tune that becomes even more sinister though the introduction of discordant sounds that sound more like screams than an instrument.

In many horror films a character will receive a warning, that if taken into account, would dispel future danger. In The Shining Jack is warned of a maniacal father that murdered his twin daughters in the hotel but the idea that the girls could remain haunting the hotel is laughed off by Jack. I feel the shot above is important as it fades from Jack to Danny - his ignorance of the warning ultimately leads to Jack attempting to kill both Danny and Wendy.

Throughout The Shining there are tracking shots that make use of steadicam. The most memorable are of when Danny is riding his tricycle through the halls of the hotel - the camera drops to his height so the impact of the sudden reveal of the twins is enhanced by how the audience looks upwards at the girls along with Danny, they appear more imposing. The jump scare this scene provides is one of the more stereotypical horror tropes contained within the film.


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Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

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