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"The Shining" (film)


Rudy

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I don't know why I'm obsessed with this movie. Maybe I empathize too much with the main character; he's driven insane by his rage, alcoholism and the fact that the hotel he has to take care of is haunted. It's almost like he was set up for moral failure given his disposition and weaknesses to the extent that his violent rampage is more something that grew out of those faults. I could be wrong, but the movie seems to say that this could happen to any of us, under the right condition; that there is a Jack Torrence inside all of us that we keep in check. He just gave in where we didn't. Maybe that is what is fascinating about the movie and why it survives multiple viewings.

 

Wikipedia: "Speaking about the theme of the film, Kubrick stated that "there's something inherently wrong with the human personality. There's an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly"".

 

I've read lots of stuff online and watched lots of videos analyzing the layout of the overlook hotel and other details of the movie. It is surprising to me that these analyses fail to communicate the simple truth behind Jack's mental breakdown.

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Have you seen the documentary "Room 237?" Some of the theories expressed in it are waaaaayyyy out in left field, but I was really impressed with the window in the hotel office. If you follow the natural layout of the hotel, the window shouldn't be there.

I also enjoyed the subtle "fuck you" that Kubrick put in to King with the red Volkswagon crashed on the side of the road. The Volkswagon in the book was red, Kubrick had a yellow bug in the film. A lot of people seem really divided over the book or the film being the superior media, but both seem to hold their own pretty well.

Jack Torrence as a character is truly frightening. He is an everyman pulled apart by forces that are out of his control, and some supernatural forces as well.

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I read about room 237 but have not watched it but it is true the window in the general manager's office was not supposed to be there, but this is the result of the "real" overlook hotel consisting of several different sets in different buildings, not some symbolic or "sinister" sense of "mise en scène" or whatever. What is the real symbolism of the hotel is the long hallways, the large "colorado lounge" space, the cavernous kitchen and utilitiy areas, all of which overwhelm the three people left in the hotel for months. It is the idea of isolation in a large space that is the symbolic meaning of the nearly deserted hotel. Yes room 237 is impossible, overtaking the two neighboring rooms based on the doors placed in the hallway, and many doors open into the colorado lounge. This is as I said a function of the set design of the overlook, nothing more.

 

I didn't know about the red volkswagon, I'll have to look into that. What do you make of the fact that at the end of the movie Jack is in the 1920 party picture in the hotel? I think he became one of the ghosts and the hotel was trying to do the same thing to the rest of his family. That's why it tried to get him to kill them at the hotel, to make them into just another incident that happened there and left a "burnt toast" residue. Another important line is when Jack is told "You've always been the caretaker" suggesting this has happened before, and will happen again.

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I like the fact that the haunting is pretty obvious to Mr. Halloran and Danny. They can see it due to the fact that they possess the Shining. Wendy is oblivious to it and so is Jack. The haunting has to seduce Jack (literally) in order for him to take notice of it. The most chilling line in the movie is "I'd give my goddamned soul for just a glass of beer." The ghosts are more than happy to oblige. It doesn't really matter if the whiskey Jack drinks is real or not, (it's real to Jack) and that's when I think the ghosts have him. I'd like to think that Jack ends up in the ballroom, a purgatory of sorts, along with others that the hotel has devoured and tried to use to "repeat the tape" of horrible events that have happened there.

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It's very creepy whatever happens and part of the creepiness is that we're not really capable understanding what is really going on. That's what real life is like, things happen, but we don't really understand all the details or the reasons. This also is seen in another important Kubrick film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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