WARNER BROTHERS / PRODUCER’S CIRCLE / HAWK FILMS 1980
TREVORTHE CHARACTERSJACK TORRANCE: JACK NICHOLSON
Failed writer, drunkard, abusive husband and uncaring parent who incredibly is allowed to be the caretaker of a posh hotel where he would not normally be permitted to wash cars at. All work and no play make him a dumb ass boy. Begins to see things, horrible things as winter closes in and then he sees something else even more horrible: his ass.WENDY TORRANCE: SHELLEY DUVALL
The wife of the above: A true insult to her gender as she is a weak and weak-willed recipient of spousal abuse who allows the abuse to continue even after she lightly taps her abusive husband on the head with a baseball bat and cuts him with a butcher knife.DANNY TORRANCE: DANNY LLOYD
The very unfortunate offspring of the two morons above: a child with second sight who foresees the horror about to happen through the friend who makes use of his mouth as a home and a crooked finger. Uses that finger to show his abusive father the finger leaving him to freeze to death in a maze.DICK HALLORAN: SCATMAN CROTHERS
The chef at the Overlook Hotel who can communicate with Danny through their minds and warns him about the room where some scary old lady drowned in the residue bath. Axed to death by Jack.STUART ULLMANN: BARRY NELSON
The manager of the Overlook: a charming reminder of the abrupt changes that transferring a book to the screen make as the Stuart Ullmann in the book was a prissy, anal simperer and the one in the film is a genial Southern gentleman. LLOYD THE BARTENDER: JOE TURKEL
The ghostly barkeep of the Overlook Hotel: his question of “What will it be, sir?” is answered by Jack Torrance as “More drinks, [expletive deleted].”DELBERT GRADY: PHILLIP STONE
The serenely and un-apologetically racist chief waiter of the Overlook who spills his drinks tray over Jack Torrance and then gives him advice on how to ‘correct’ his wife and son. He is so serenely racist that he makes Hendrik Verwoerd seem like a humanitarian. LESSONS LEARNED
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Disturbing a MILF in the bath can lead to you snogging a rotting GILF.
Talking about cannibalism in front of your kids is OK as they’ve seen it on TV.
Mouths can harbor squatters.
Enforced isolation can play hell with your mind, as pantry shelving can with your skull.
A crooked finger calls forth an invisible friend.
Playing darts will bring forth the ghosts in a place.
Falling off the wagon will let you freeze to death.
Events at a costume party can be unbearable and can hound you.
An invitation to play can be an invitation to murder.
Filling up elevators with red wine is not always a good idea.
Even if your skull is split down the middle, you can still enjoy a party.QUOTES
Danny: "Is there something bad here?"
Jack Torrance: "Wendy, I have let you [expletive deleted] up my life so far but I am not going to let you [expletive deleted] this up."
Twins: "Hello, Danny. Come and play with us, Danny. Forever and ever and ever….."
Dick: "Nyahh… Wassup, doc?"
Jack Torrance: "Here’s Johnny!"
Wendy: "Wasn’t it around here that the Donner Party got snowed in?"
Jack Torrance: "Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in. Stop swinging the bat. Put the bat down, Wendy. Wendy? Give me the bat..."
Dick Halloran: "Some places are like people: some shine and some don't."
Delbert Grady: "I feel you will have to deal with this matter in the harshest possible way, Mr. Torrance."
Jack Torrance: "There's nothing I look forward to with greater pleasure, Mr. Grady."
Jack Torrance: "Mr. Grady, You were the caretaker here."
Delbert Grady: "I'm sorry to differ with you sir, but you are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker. I should know sir - I've always been here."
Injured Guest [with broken head] "Great party, isn't it?"
Lloyd: "What will you be drinking, sir?"
Jack Torrance: "Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd."
Jack Torrance: "Wendy, let me explain something to you. Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me. And it will then take me time to get back to where I was. You understand? Now, we're going to make a new rule. When you come in here and you hear me typing or whether you DON'T hear me typing, or whatever the [expletive deleted] you hear me doing; when I'm in here, it means that I am working, that means don't come in. Now, do you think you can handle that?"STUFF TO LOOK OUT FOR:
00:26: The photography here is great but the music is going to make me hit a brown note.
1:26: Ahh... there’s that mysterious helicopter.
10:49: Cheapskate idiot: stop somewhere and buy your child something to eat!
13:30: Oh, hello there, young ladies – care for a game of darts?
17:07: Yikes, yikes, yikes!
19:54: If Danny’s mouth is where Tony lives, does he pay rent or is it not his PLAQUE to do so?
22:42: That howling was supplied by Stephen King as his book was thoroughly ruined.
24:53: I see Jack has turned into Steve McQueen from The Great Escape
31:20: What a total douche bag: your wife just wants someone to talk to!
35;46: Sure, come play with us and end up as bloodstained corpses!
42:81: Considering who that actor is, the answer to that question is “More alcohol, father!”
57:19: From Princess Diana to Camilla Parker Bowles in one fell swoop:
1:01:53: Too late, Jack – Stanley Kubrick messed it up already.
1:10:38: This guy is so serenely racist, he makes Hendrik Verwoerd seem like a nice guy.
1:22:13: If that was my mom wielding that bat, Jack would have been decapitated.1:36: 20: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A BATHROOM DOOR!
1:36:47: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST JACK NICHOLSON’S HAND!
1:40:46: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST SCATMAN CROTHERS!
1:42:04: And ummmm…. What are those two doing?
1:44:50: Bleurgh: WTF happened to his head?
1:50:23: I see Jack is suffering with overactingitis.
1:50:38: Heh. Cold enough for you, a***ole?
1:51:34: Strange - I didn’t know that Where’s Wally
was published in 1921.THE PLOT
Failed writer, failed teacher, failed father, failed human being and abusive alcoholic husband Jack Torrance has one last straw to grasp before drowning in the sewer of life: he has a job interview with the manager of a posh hotel in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Pursued by his demons, his haunted past, uncomfortable brown note music and the irritating helicopter tracking his every move, he gets the job and brings his weak wife Wendy and his son Danny to the hotel. They manage to cram a year’s worth of luggage into a Volkswagen Beetle and also bring their personal baggage along which, loaded down with spousal and paternal abuse, weighs more than their suitcases.
All the residents are moving out of the Overlook Hotel with the same mantra of lets-GTFO-of-here-before-winter-sets-in and some alky becomes the winter caretaker and kills his family like that other SOB did. Almost immediately, some weird stuff starts happening as Dick Halloran, chef of the hotel manages to offer the young Danny some ice cream via his mind. Recoiling from this, the young man discovers that what he has (and the chef has as well) is something called ‘shining’ which allows people to communicate via thoughts and Dick’s primary thought to the young one is to be careful of the hotel and all the uglies in it, especially in room 237.
Once this family is alone with the hotel closed for the winter, it is suddenly open to a bunch of non-paying but resident guests, including two creepy little girls who invite the go-cart pedaling Danny to come play with them and be covered in gobs of fake blood. The hotel also seems to have been made up as the contractors built it, windows, doors and other things not being where they should, wall paint changing color and the viewer being nauseated due to these inconsistencies.
Jack largely ignores his caretaker work and just goes ‘clackity-clack’ on his typewriter while his long suffering spouse just wants to go ‘yakkity-yak’ with him until he gently reminds her that he is not to be disturbed, even when the once empty bar starts filling up with rejects from Cheers
, the assorted barflies from Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh
and the ghostly barkeep starts serving him imaginary drinks and imaginary flatulence inducing peanuts.
Jack starts to see things in the hotel, things that shouldn’t be there, like humungous continuity errors in a Stanley Kubrick film, a serenely racist waiter named Grady who tells him to correct his wife and child and a gross old lady in the bath of that room.
Imagine kissing someone as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana combined and then that vision turns into Camilla Parker Bowles as a dominatrix, then you will be about half the way there to seeing this horror that Jack sees.
All the time, his son is suffering, trying to contact the chef via brainwaves and his wife is being worn down by the stress of seeing her uncaring, useless husband unravel, seeing the hotel’s elevators disgorging a torrent of blood and two cast members from BJ And The Bear
going at it in a hotel room: all the SOB wants is a drink to dull the pain of failure and all Trevor wants is a bucket to vomit in.
Eventually, Jack falls off the wagon and unfortunately one of the wheels did not crush his head, so he attempts to ‘correct’ his family and winds up on the wrong end of a baseball bat and wakes up in a pantry where he gets his pantrys in a knot over being locked up in said place. He finds himself hacking down a toilet door to get at his wife and then hacks the hapless cook in the chest with the axe when the aforementioned intruder pitches up.
After hacking Dick to death, Jack also hacks into www.badmovies.org
to get at the writer of this review: all because his wife discovered his magnum opus consists of the words ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY over and over again.
His errant son leads his homicidal father on a merry goose chase through the hotel’s maze: it is amaze-ing to Jack that due to his son’s duplicity that the abusive SOB ends up being frozen to death in the maze while his wife and child escape. Sometime later, Jack’s picture appears in the July 4 1921 edition of “Where’s Wally?” and a bitterly disappointed thirteen year old leaves his hometown cinema in tears, having realized for the very first time that great literature can sometimes become cinematic manure.MY THOUGHTS
Imagine me, your humble correspondent – no, not Bill O’Reilly but your friendly neighborhood South African – having loved Stephen King’s The Shining
as a truly terrifying piece of literature about a recovering alcoholic and abusive father who nonetheless, despite his failings, receives the mercy and grace of another chance when he is offered the job of a winter caretaker at a hotel in Colorado – and then hearing that a film had been made from this novel.
Then, imagine me at the age of 13 in 1980, sitting down in the Embassy Cinema in Gweru, Zimbabwe – a bit under-age for the film but I was let in anyway - about to be thrilled by the work of people my Dad had told me about such as Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson: indeed, so thrilled, that I had my paperback copy of The Shining
with me that I had got as a birthday present – a special tie in novel with a horrified face on the cover. Imagine my joy as a film fan seeing a book I loved being turned into a movie by masters of the genre after hearing my Dad enthuse about films like Dr Strangelove, Lolita, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange, Easy Rider, Chinatown
and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Imagine then, if you will, my horror and dismay at seeing the s**t that unfolded in front of me that day…….
No, I did not like it in 1980 and although it is miles better than the crappy miniseries with Steven Weber, Melvin van Peebles and Rebecca DeMornay, I still loathe it today, despite its’ brilliant cinematography, eerie music and the number of supreme jump scares in it (the twins, the lady in the bath, the blood filled elevators, the violent axe murder and the truly WTF ending) it was a film with so many low points - the confusing narrative, the (intentional?) continuity errors, etc - and just being so untrue to its’ source material that I still loathe it now and I actually wonder why I am watching it and why I bought the DVD a few months ago. Another reason I hated it is the weak character of Wendy Torrance – as the son of a feminist, weak women who let their husbands abuse them with little or no retaliation against this abuse, gain no respect from me, either in real life or on film.
Almost thirty four years have gone by since then and while there are many films I hated as a child that I have revisited and liked (Milos Forman’s Amadeus
, for one) and remain a loather of (Charles Jarrott’s Lost Horizon
for another) this cinematic piece of manure remains as bad as it always was and always will be. In Stephen King’s book a line in a scrapbook reads They took his balls along with them
. By making this in the manner that he did, Stanley Kubrick not only took the balls of the book out but the heart and soul of it too.