Monday, August 23, 2010

#63 - The Shining - 1980 *LIVE BLOG*

In this my 7th and final movie of "even more Horror" week and my 63rd movie overall I am doing something a little different. I am writing this blog as a "live blog". Basically what that means is that I am typing this blog at the same time I am watching the film. This is the 1st time I have done this and I actually enjoy it and may do this a couple more times within this movie marathon. It keeps scenes and specific parts in the movie fresh in my mind and I like that. Below is my detailed review.

Another older movie and another one done in 1980, 30 years ago so this week definitely had some oldies in it. The beginning of this film starts out with some very scenic views of Jack Torrance driving his car up to the mountains to the Overlook Hotel. This hotel is set in the mountainous range in Colorado and is quite secluded. Jack Torrance is played obviously by Jack Nicholson and his wife Wendy is played by Shelly Duvall. Their son Danny is played by Danny Lloyd and he has a psychic ability to see the future and has an imaginary friend named Tony who lives in his mouth, yes I just said that.

The first sequence of the film it titled: Interview. This scene is pretty cool because it shows a slim Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance but we will just refer to him as Jack throughout interviewing for a job as a caretaker for the off season. I love the interview process and it is so cordial and businesslike that is until the interviewer shares disturbing information about the tragedy that took place in the winter of 1970. A man named Charles Grady who was the caretaker then went crazy and killed his family before blowing his brains out. Jack's response to this was interesting as he said simply, "I'm intrigued" prior to hearing the information and afterwards said "my wife will be too she is a ghost story and horror film fanatic". Ahhh good ol Stephen King at work! At home Danny has a vision which includes the very familiar and iconic blood flowing out of the walls and the elevator running down the halls while two twin girls in blue dresses stand side by side. Creepy I know!

The next sequence is called Closing Day and the family is driving up to the hotel so more scenic views are in full effect. Very pretty and I'm wondering if they really filmed it in the state of Colorado. I thought it was weird that the son Danny knew what cannibalism was when Jack and Wendy were speaking about the Donner Party. After arriving at the hotel Jack and Wendy get a tour of the grounds and their apartment. In another creepy scene while playing darts Danny has a vision of the twin girls. Their apartment is "cozy" as Jack says but really actually quite small. Got love when Jack says it is "homey" with smirk of his. I love the look of the hotel inside and out. Very rustic on the outside and elegant on the inside. Wendy and Danny's tour of the kitchen was incredible and the amount of food stored was mind boggling.
Next scene we see the chef and Danny sitting at a table while Danny enjoys some chocolate ice cream. It is here where we learn that the chef also has the ability to see the future and has the "shining" as well. Things get a little more intense while their conversation continues and Danny asks what is in room 237. The chef vehemently says to stay out of that room and it is quite clear something evil lurks in that room.

As the film moves along we go to the next sequence which is titled A Month Later. I cant help but be jealous of the amount of space Danny has to ride his toy tricycle bike around. As Jack is eating bacon in bed there are two things going through my mind. Breakfast for Dinner sounds yummy and man Jack Nicholson when he was younger looked like my Dad when he was younger. Uncanny in some scenes. Wendy and Danny take stroll in the Hedge Maze and the music immediately speaks danger to me, I love it! Nothing major happens until the music abruptly and very loudly stops and the screen reads Tuesday and we are entered into our next sequence of film.

Danny is back on his tricycle bike driving thru the halls but this type stops at room 237. Again you gotta love the music leading up to him walking to the door. This scene reminds me of how integral music and scores are to a films flow and intensity. The door is locked and he again sees a vision of the twins but then carries on and drives away. As Jack is typing at easily the largest typing desk around we first see signs that he is about to lose it when he goes off on his wife Wendy claiming she is breaking his concentration when she interrupts him even though she just wanted to see how he was doing. Next sequence up is Thursday and we see a happy and joyful Wendy and Danny out playing in the snow. I wish it snowed here and this scene makes me think of winter time. I cant wait but first up is Halloween, ok ok I am getting ahead of myself. Back to the film. As Wendy and Danny are playing in the snow outside we see a very creepy and scary looking Jack looking out at them in what was a very deep and intense stare. We realize more and more that something is about to snap with him.

Next up is Saturday. Winter is in full effect and we see a hardworking Jack at the typewriter banging on the keys while a huge fire burns in the fireplace. Once again the setting and backgrounds for these scenes are amazing inside this huge desolate hotel. Danny heads on another bike ride this team riding thru green walled rooms and eventually arriving around what looks to be a hall where hotel rooms are located. At the end of the hall the twins are visible to Danny at the end of the hall this time speaking to him asking him to come and play with them forever and ever and ever. It is after that when he sees a horrific vision of those same twins in that same hall strewn across the floor butchered to death with blood all of the place and a huge axe right in front of one of the bodies. Easily the most shocking scene of the movie to this point. Fast forward to Monday. We see a more unstable Jack tell his son he would never do anything to hurt him but I cant help but feeling this isn't quite true. Great acting by Jack Nicholson again in this scene but then again that is throughout the whole movie for him so its nothing new. Still stellar to see.

Next up is Wednesday. We see Danny go up to an opened door which reads 237. Things start to go awry from here. Wendy while in a boiler room hears screams and moans and finds Jack absolutely freaking out while having nightmare and he reveals that he was dreaming that he killed her and Danny. Then we see Danny slowly walking toward them and Wendy sees horrible red marks on Danny's neck while his sweater is ripped. A confused Jack sits there after being accused by Wendy of doing that to Danny and then amongst a screeching sound walks aimlessly through the halls into the Gold Room and heads to the bar. Jack continues to lose his mind and speaks to Lloyd the imaginary bartender. Nicholson is especially brilliant in this scene and immensely creepy. A screaming Wendy obviously wakes him from his imaginary state and she states they are not alone at the hotel. The next scene jumps to the chef laying in his bed alone watching the news while naked pictures of women hang around the walls of his room. Odd decor I might add. He has some sort of vision at the same time as Danny as it is evident something terrible is about to happen. We see visions of the interior of room of 237 and all of a sudden Jack appears out of nowhere and is standing in front of a naked women in a bathtub. In a scene that I am assuming was risque at the time the woman gets out of the tub completely naked full frontal and all and the two make out. Jack notices in the mirror that the women is an old woman with burn marks and rotting marks on her body and it one eerie moment the women goes after him with arms wide open and he bolts out of room 237. One very twisted scene but probably not that over the top for Mr. Kubrick.

As the film moves along Jack starts to get angrier and angrier and starts throwing around dishes and plates and then all of a sudden he comes to the hall that leads to the Gold Room and outside of the Gold Room there are balloons laying around and music can be heard from inside the Gold Room. Jack enters the room and there is a party going on that dates back in time, a burlesque time in history from what it seems. After getting a drink spilled on him by Mr. Grady Jack and Mr. Grady clean his jacket off in a restroom that is surrounded by blood red walls, never a good sign for horror films or films at all. After a creepy conversation with Grady which included the controversial n-word the scene jumps to Danny yelling out Redrum in which he proclaims that Danny is no longer there and cannot wake up. This was a chilling scene and acted out extremely well by Duvall and Lloyd. As the movie moves along the chef feverishly flies out to Denver and seeks assistance in an attempt to get up to the Hotel to see what is going on. He fears the worst and does whatever he can to get there. Meanwhile a bat wielding Wendy takes off looking for Jack and notices on his typewriter the infamous line typed out over and over and over. "All work an no play makes Jack a dull boy". While she looks through all the work he has done all she sees are endless papers of the same thing written over and over, page fulls by page fulls of that same line. The suspense builds in this scene incredibly with the help of a wonderful score and sound editing and before she knows it Jack is behind her. The next 5 minutes Jack Nicholson gives a remarkably terrifying performance of a pure psycho who would rival Norman Bates. A truly wonderful wonderful scene to watch. After Wendy knocks him down the staircase with a bat she places him in the food storage room. Jack continues to give an incredible acting performance as a truly psychotic mentally disturbed individual. It is actually quite freaky how well he played this role.

The next sequence states 4pm and Jack has a knock on his door and has a conversation through the door with Mr. Grady. Jack gives his word that he will deal with this matter in the harshest possible way. The door suddenly is unlocked and the scene jumps to the chef plowing through the snow trying to make it to the hotel. As things turn for the worse Danny is seeing standing over his Mom with a large butcher knife in his hand repeating the word redrum over and over before writing it on a door in red lipstick. As his pitch gets louder and louder she Wendy awakens and through the mirror behind him sees that it states Murder. No sooner does she see this that we are treated with one of the scariest and most memorable horror scenes of all time as Jack is axing his way through the door to the apartment. He states "Wendy I'm Home" prior to entering the front door. The classic scene is moments later when Wendy is left stuck in the bathroom as Jack peeks his head through and states that oh so famous line, "here's Johnny"! As the film nears it conclusion they hear the snowplow come barreling up the front of the Hotel as the Chef has made it there. Danny however went back inside and hid in one of the cabinets near the kitchen area as Jack continued to roam the hotel with the axe in hand. Jack eventually jumps out and brutally kills the chef and hunts for Danny.

Danny leads Jack out to the Hedge Maze which is visually stunning. I mean a maze covered in snow at night, it cant get much better than that, can it? Ill get past the film flub that 20 somewhat feet of snow is built up around the Hotel but the maze is covered in only a foot or two at best during a chase scene where Jack goes after Danny. Inside the Hotel Wendy is seeing visions of just about everything including the dead chef, skeletal dead people, blood flowing hallways, etc. Things are getting crazier by the second and the music build up in these final scenes are amazing. Awesome awesome score for this film and without it these scenes wouldn't have been half as suspenseful or nerve racking. After Wendy and Danny get away in the snowplow we see a frozen Jack sitting in the daytime out in the maze frozen to death. The final scene takes us back inside the Hotel with a picture on a wall. As we get closer and closer to the picture we see that there is a young looking Jack Torrance in the front of a large room of people and below it reads, "Overlook Hotel, July 4th Ball 1921! Yeah WOW! What a twist ending to a wonderful scary and suspenseful film. I could dwell more and more about this film but considering this might be my longest blog to date and is my first live blog Ill end it here with a sentence or two. Acting - BRILLIANT! Setting - AMAZING! Story - MINDBOGGLING! Overall - a true masterpiece in the Horror Genre. Easily an A+!

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