Tag Archives: The Shining

Fright Club: White Death

We’re buckling under blustery weather and offensive temperatures. We require more degrees! Why not just embrace the White Death? These films certainly do, so snuggle in with a big blanket and look at how much worse you could have it in this wintery weather.

5. Frozen (2010)

No, not the Disney film. In this skiing mishap, three friends hit the slopes one afternoon. They con their way onto the lift for one last run up the hill. But they didn’t really have a ticket to ride, you see, and the guy who let them take that last lift gets called away and asks a less reliable colleague to take over. That colleague has to pee. One thing leads to another. So, three college kids get left on a ski lift. It’s Sunday night, and the resort won’t reopen until Friday. Wolves come out at night. This is a brisk and usually believable flick. Sure, it’s Open Water at a ski resort, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

 

4. 30 Days of Night (2007)

If vampires can only come out at night, wouldn’t it make sense for them to head to the parts of the globe that remain under cover of darkness for weeks on end? Like the Arctic circle? The first potential downfall here is that Josh Hartnett plays our lead, the small town sheriff whose ‘burg goes haywire just after the last flight for a month leaves town. A drifter blows into town. Dogs die viciously. Vehicles are disabled. Power is disrupted. You know what that means…the hunt’s begun. Much of the film’s success is due to the always spectacular Danny Huston as the leader of the bloodsuckers. His whole gang takes a novel, unwholesome approach to the idea of vampire, and it works marvelously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xAJGjPQpOM

3. Dead Snow (2009)

You had us at “Nazi zombies.” A fun twist on cabin-in-the-woods horror, this film sees a handful of college kids heading into a remote mountain cabin for some winter sport fun and maybe a little lovin’. Dead Snow boasts some of the tongue-in-cheek referential comedy of the outstanding flick Cabin in the Woods, but with a great deal more actual horror. It’s grisly, bloody, hilarious fun. Its 2014 sequel Dead Snow 2: Red Versus Dead is also a very fun choice!

 

2. The Thing (1982)

For our money, this is John Carpenter’s best film – isolated, claustrophobic, beardtastic, and you can get frostbite just watching. A group of Arctic scientists take in a dog, but he’s not a dog at all. And soon, most of the scientists are not scientists, either, but which ones?! The FX still hold up and so does the chilly terror.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoAuJaN78Hk

 

1. The Shining (1980)

Because that’s what could happen if you wander outside right now. You might find yourself lost in a maze, icicles hanging from your eyebrows, your bloody axe frozen to your cold, dead hand. Not that anyone inside is much better off. Enjoy Stanly Kubrick’s masterpiece of family dysfunction, Gatsby-style partying, Big Wheel love and bad carpeting. It’s never a bad time to watch The Shining.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G7Ju035-8U

Listen to us cover this in more depth and goofiness on our Fright Club podcast!

Countdown: Movies that Know How to Embrace the White Death

We’re buckling under blustery weather and offensive temperatures. I require more degrees! Why not just embrace the White Death? These five films certainly do, so snuggle in with a big blanket and look at how much worse you could have it in this wintery weather.

6. Frozen

No, not the Disney film. In this skiing mishap, three friends hit the slopes one afternoon. They con their way onto the lift for one last run up the hill. But they didn’t really have a ticket to ride, you see, and the guy who let them take that last lift gets called away and asks a less reliable colleague to take over. That colleague has to pee. One thing leads to another. So, three college kids get left on a ski lift. It’s Sunday night, and the resort won’t reopen until Friday. Wolves come out at night. This is a brisk and usually believable flick. Sure, it’s Open Water at a ski resort, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

 

5. 30 Days of Night

If vampires can only come out at night, wouldn’t it make sense for them to head to the parts of the globe that remain under cover of darkness for weeks on end? Like the Arctic circle? The first potential downfall here is that Josh Hartnett plays our lead, the small town sheriff whose ‘burg goes haywire just after the last flight for a month leaves town. A drifter blows into town. Dogs die viciously. Vehicles are disabled. Power is disrupted. You know what that means…the hunt’s begun. Much of the film’s his success is due to the always spectacular Danny Huston as the leader of the bloodsuckers. His whole gang takes a novel, unwholesome approach to the idea of vampire, and it works marvelously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xAJGjPQpOM

 

4. Let the Right One In

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either the 2008 Swedish original or its 2010 American reboot Let Me In. We’re leaning toward the original here only because director Tomas Alfredson made such effective use of the Swedish winter. Young social misfit befriends the mysterious new girl in his apartment complex. A sweet yet bloody romance blossoms. Whether you choose the original or the remake, a brilliantly told, often genuinely scary vampire flick emerges.

 

3. Dead Snow

You had us at “Nazi zombies.” A fun twist on cabin-in-the-woods horror, this film sees a handful of college kids heading into a remote mountain cabin for some winter sport fun and maybe a little lovin’. Dead Snow boasts some of the tongue-in-cheek referential comedy of the outstanding flick Cabin in the Woods, but with a great deal more actual horror. It’s grisly, bloody, hilarious fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJkd5X2aG34

 

2. The Thing

For our money, this is John Carpenter’s best film – isolated, claustrophobic, beardtastic, and you can get frostbite just watching. A group of Arctic scientists take in a dog, but he’s not a dog at all. And soon, most of the scientists are not scientists, either, but which ones?! The FX still hold up and so does the chilly terror.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoAuJaN78Hk

 

1. The Shining

Because that’s what could happen if you wander outside right now. You might find yourself lost in a maze, icicles hanging from your eyebrows, your bloody axe frozen to your cold, dead hand. Not that anyone inside is much better off. Enjoy Stanly Kubrick’s masterpiece of family dysfunction, Gatsby-style partying, Big Wheel love and bad carpeting. It’s never a bad time to watch The Shining.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G7Ju035-8U

Scary-Movie-a-Day for October, Day 9: The Shining!

 

Day 9:  The Shining

 

It’s isolated, it’s haunted, you’re trapped, but somehow nothing feels derivative and you’re never able to predict what happens next. It’s Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece rendition of Stephen King’s The Shining.

Though critics were mixed at the time of the film’s release, and both Kubrick and co-star Shelley Duvall were nominated for Razzies, much of the world’s negative response had to do with a needless affection for the source material. Kubrick and co-scriptor Diane Johnson use King’s novel as little more than an outline, and the film is better for it.

A study in atmospheric tension, Kubrick’s vision of the Torrance family collapse at the Overlook Hotel is both visually and aurally meticulous. It opens with that stunning helicopter shot, following Jack Torrance’s little yellow Beetle up the mountainside, the ominous score announcing a foreboding that  the film never shakes.

The hypnotic, innocent sound of Danny Torrance’s Big Wheel against the weirdly phallic patterns of the hotel carpet tells so much – about the size of the place, about the monotony of the existence, about hidden perversity. The sound is so lulling that its abrupt ceasing becomes a signal of spookiness afoot.

Duvall terrifies in that she is so visibly terrified. She may be “somewhat more resourceful” than Mr. Grady and his cohorts imagined, but she is a bit of a simpleton. Her gangly, Joey Ramone looks – so boney and homely – are shot to elongate what’s already too long, making her seem like a vision of death.

Let’s not forget Jack.

Nicholson outdoes himself. His early, veiled contempt blossoms into pure homicidal mania, and there’s something so wonderful about watching Nicholson slowly lose his mind. Between writer’s block, isolation, ghosts, alcohol withdrawal, midlife crisis, and “a momentary loss of muscular coordination,” the playfully sadistic creature lurking inside this husband and father emerges.

What image stays with you most? The two creepy little girls? The blood pouring out of the elevator? The impressive afro in the velvet painting above Scatman Crothers’s bed? That freaky guy in the bear suit? Whatever the answer, thanks be to Kubrick’s deviant yet tidy imagination.

And, if you’re in the mood for a double feature, check out last year’s Room 237. As it explores various interpretations of Kubrick’s vision that vary in wackiness, it cements the effect The Shining still has on pop culture.

Speaking of.. if you’ve never seen The Simpsons take on it, The Shinning, you gotta remedy that.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOh8vWjHA9Q

Kubrick Obsessed Invite You to Come Play with Them

by Hope Madden

As evidenced by the phenomenal attention to detail shown in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V, Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent film The Shining inspires close examination. Director Rodney Ascher assembled some of the most inspired – obsessed, even – for his documentary on the Kubrick ghost story, Room 237.

If you’re going to make a movie about Kubrick, it better look good, and this one does. Ascher never puts the commentators on screen, preferring instead to replay fascinating scenes from The Shining, or pad with genius cut-ins from other films – some Kubrick, some not. His endlessly fascinating clip choices keep his doc engaging, while appealing to the movie nerd in us all.

Off screen, we hear the thoughts of ABC News’s Bill Blakemore, Albion College historian Geoffrey Cocks, playwright/artist/author Juli Kearns, recording artist John Fell Ryan, and “authority on the hermetic and alchemical traditions” Jay Weidner. Each has his or her own theory to spin. For instance, 2+3+7=moon. And while these theories are all a bit wild, most carry just enough evidence to keep you intrigued.

It would be too simplistic to take Room 237 as a deconstruction of The Shining, and those hoping to uncover Kubrick’s deeper meaning may be disappointed.

But what the film does, it does well. It explores one of cinema’s most exquisite films, using it to encourage the spectator’s active participation in viewing. In doing so, it positions film as an art equal to literature or painting in terms of thematic dissection.

It also opens our eyes to the abject nuttiness of Kubrickian “scholars” – and a documentary always gets extra points if it introduces an audience to an entirely new concept, like that of the Kubrickian scholar.

More than anything, though, Room 237 is a documentation of obsession, and a fascinating one at that. It bares more insight into the act of obsessing than it does on Kubrick’s work itself, but it helps that these people spend all their time analyzing such a great movie. If they were this excited about tessellations or ringworm, well, the movie would have lacked that certain panache.

To be fair, Kubrick invites obsession. It’s hard to watch any of his films, The Shining in particular, without feeling submerged in images and symbolism just out of your reach. It’s the kind of richly textured experience ideal for a ghost story.

Or a film that confesses the creation of another film in which the moon landing was faked.

Unless it’s a film about the slaughter of the American Indians. And Jews.

Or a minotaur.

Verdict-3-5-Stars