(NOTE: The Italic parts are Miranda interjecting, she didn’t have internet at the time I wrote this so she went and added her parts in after the fact. Now on to the post!)
You all get a little more content than a normal week! On Halloween, per the brilliant decision of Miranda, *That’s me!*, we decided to watch The Shining (Stanley Kubrick’s version) given that we would be able to compare it to the book. Here’s what we have to say:
*Also, just real fast, in case you didn’t get the title it’s in reference to Frank Ocean’s song Novacane where in one line he says “Stanley Kubrick, this is some visionary shit” – in which I decided to do a little play on words so to speak, ok back to the review*
*Let’s begin with the fact that we are NOT film buffs therefore if Stanley Kubrick actually did have some visionary camera movement or something going on with this movie we sincerely know nothing about that, this is just our reaction to it as regular movie goers and book readers.* We don’t watch horror films often, if at all, so we don’t really know how this revolutionized things for that particular genre – but to us it wasn’t frightening. *Yes, we found it to have certain moments of fright such as Jack flying across the screen and digging an axe into Hollorann’s chest, which I totally called a millisecond before it actually happened, but we’d say it was creepier than it was scary*. It wasn’t the type of creepy where you’re afraid to turn off the lights either, it was more what are you trying to accomplish, this isn’t working type of thing. While Miranda and I both differed in our reactions we agree in the fact that given the hype around this movie, including a recent poll saying The Shining was scientifically proved to be the scariest Halloween movie, it really didn’t provide an overwhelming amount of discomfort. Of course, Mr. Kubrick, it’s not your fault for building the hype around your film.
It is your fault however for changing simple things for no reason. In the book the room where the decrepit old woman in the bathtub was found is Room 217, why would you choose to use Room 237? It’s a simple fact of changing one number, and we found this baffling. Obviously a film adaptation can’t be exactly like the book, but to us it doesn’t make sense to just use the original number. *Also why the hell is the woman fucking attractive? I found the part with the puss-filled lady in the bathtub to be the most frightening part in the book and she defiantly wasn’t attractive and Jack definitely didn’t make-out with her naked self. Again this added to the creepiness of the film (where he is snogging her and then he finds out he’s snogging a dead, skin pealing off, slimy old woman) but it wasn’t frightening it was just … ew. Going off of that, the book showed Danny’s encounter with the bath lady and her strangling him, but they didn’t show that in the film which was disappointing (not that I like to watch children getting strangled)* Another point of differentiation is the conversation Danny and Hallorann have when the family first moves into The Overlook. We thought it would have made sense to show that those who “shine” can communicate with each other, and give more depth to Danny’s character in showing just how much “shine” he has. Another one of our biggest miffs is over the fact of the hedge animals. The movie provides hedges, but it’s a maze. If it was because the technology at the time wasn’t developed enough to show all the features and movements of the hedge animals, you are partly forgiven.
Besides these fairly minor decisions, we are more upset in the way the characters are presented. One is the role of Hallorann (played by Scatman Crothers). In the book he is a major character given his relationship to Danny and his role in aiding Danny and Wendy from the escape of the Overlook. To us, it was not only saddening to see that Jack kills Hallorann, but that Wendy pretty much leaves him there. In the film, it seems that his role is downplayed a lot. Too much in our opinion, but we are fairy attached to the character *He wasn’t supposed to die! That’s just not right man*.
Now with Danny (Danny Lloyd), we can imagine finding the right child to pull off the amount of emotion and understanding a bit difficult. However, he seemed to fall flat particularly when he was meant to be scared. His face was a prequel to the Home Alone face of Macaulay Culkin, and Culkin does a better job of scaring me. *The way I viewed the kid in the book was to have the freeness of a child, a lightness until towards the end when his dad goes bonkers or when he shins, but Danny in the movie was sort of dead face throughout – it worked really well towards the end and when he played Tony – those parts were genuinely creepy (him foaming at the mouth when he saw the bathtub lady was really great also when he writes REDRUM with Wendy’s lipstick and is holding the knife – that was really great too), but when he is suppose to be ‘Danny Torrance’ he didn’t do it for me*
Now the role of Wendy and Jack seemed vastly different than the book. We felt no connection to these people and no understanding of why they acted the way they did. Jack (Jack Nicholson) seemed like he didn’t care about his family from the get-go, and that is the opposite of King’s. In the book it feels like a father and a husband trying to reform his ways. *The film barely touched on his past alcohol problem and him trying to do right about it and also when Jack interacts with Danny (in the film) it seems so awkward and forced – like the part where he takes Danny on his lap and tried hugging him – it’s just really weird and doesn’t feel right*. Wendy (Shelley Duvall) was posed more as a big sister to Danny than as a mother in my opinion. She also has a lot more strength in the book especially when she fights with Jack, compared to a weak woman in the movie. I’d be scared for Wendy too given that she has no idea to swing a bat, and more over run like a normal person with a knife. The movie featured Wendy running with a knife that looked more like a floppy eraser, incapable of doing any damage in her hands. This makes no logical sense, as seeing that she was in charge of making meals, how can she not know how to hold a knife? *Tiffanie says floppy eraser, I say floppy dildo – it was horrible! It looked like she was going to cut herself running with that knife, no one runs like that! Also didn’t she ever learn to point sharp objects downward? Like, come-on lady, let’s use some logic here. I really hope Shelly Duvall was put into the movie to act as comic relief because she did a really great job at it*
By now, if you’ve stuck around, we’re pretty tired of ranting. So here’s what we did like. The stylistic choices such as the low camera angles greatly aided in creating fear. Music was chosen tastefully and further added an element of fear and suspense. *The music was AMAZING! The way it added suspense – it was so precise, the movie wouldn’t be anything without the music*. Big props to Kubrick for attempting to show Danny’s seizure-like episodes in addition to choosing the way Tony would be present. The voice was dead on, and the index finger moving was a clever portrayal. *Super creepy with the finger and the voice – I was kind of waiting for Tony to say ‘ET phone home’ :)* Finally, a round of applause goes to Jack Nicholson and his eyebrows, for without whom, the film would not be as creepy and crazy.
If you must know, we did see a multitude of other differences, but our biggest question is what happens at the end of the movie? We don’t understand why there is the shot of Jack with his crazy eyes frozen in the snow and how it pertains to a picture of what looks like him taken in 1921. Does it have something to do with the history of the hotel and maybe a theme of reincarnation? If you have an answer we would appreciate the answer.
We thank you for your attention thus far. If you are just scrolling because you want to know the punch line and did a TLDR, just know I didn’t like it. *I wouldn’t go as far as to say I didn’t like it, I would just say it’s a completely separate story from the novel and it’s WAY more comical than frightening*. There’s a lot of hype around it that altered our perceptions, and we didn’t like the clear differences in the portrayal of the characters. *We welcome conversation on this topic by the way, if you absolutely love this movie please tell us why it’s so brilliant to you, enlighten us if you will – we’d love to hear opinions from near and far*. With that, we leave you with this gif. We’re Stephen Colbert.
Tiffanie and Miranda