Thursday, December 24, 2015


I don't think there has been a horror film of which more has been written of by intelligent critics than Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING. So I won't belabor any of the statements and conjectures penned by people who have more time on their hands than I do.

But...there are some small things about the movie that always itched at the old gray matter. If you've read the novel you know that the presence of the supernatural is foremost and present throughout the book. It's there from the very first and lingers until the end. But Kubrick took the meat of tale and put a different spin on it. The thing that I walked away with--even as far back as the day I saw it first-run on a big screen in a theater in Charlotte NC in 1980--is that there might not have been anything supernatural going on, at all.

People hate it when I say that. But it's just something that was always there when I watched the movie (and I've seen it more than half a dozen times). Part of it could be that I personally don't believe in the supernatural. The metaphysical world is fiction, as far as I'm concerned, so it wasn't much of a stretch for me to figure that everything that happens in the film are merely psychotic episodes, hysteria, paranoia, and hallucination.

The one exception was, of course, the scene where the bolt keeping Jack Torrance prisoner in the food pantry is released. Who did that? What did that?

For years I argued that it wasn't a ghost, but was, in fact, either Danny or Wendy.

But a friend of mine always says, concerning this film, if Kubrick didn't show it, then it didn't happen. You either see and hear it or you didn't. If you didn't...then don't second-guess the man who wrote and directed it.

Fair enough.

And then, finally, I stumbled upon an interview with Kubrick wherein he speaks about the fact that the movie is about the supernatural (and not just insanity), and he even addresses the specific scene in which Jack Torrance is released from the food pantry.

So. There it is.

A hotel full of evil spirits.

Lloyd. The best goddamn bartender between Timbuktu and Portland, Maine--or Portland, Oregon, for that matter. (And one of the creepiest personalities ever placed on film.) Portrayed by the wonderful actor, Joe Turkel.

And scarier, yet: Delbert Grady, methodical murderer and racist of Victorian ease. Impeccably played by the most frighteningly talented Philip Stone.

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