Do you like this hotel? Yes, I do. I love it. Don’t you? I guess so. Good. I want you to like it here. I wish we could stay here forever… and ever… and ever.
So last week I went to a Halloween party and the guys were trying to figure out what movie was still scary. They had a bunch that frightened them when they were children, but felt that they were no longer horrifying as an adult. When they mentioned this one, I was like maybe for you but I find this movie even more terrifying as an adult. Jack Torrence is a horrible and abusive man. When I first saw it their relationship scared me, but after being in an abusive relationship it is a little too real. The scene when he yells at her for “disturbing him” would give me nightmares and that manner he takes with her would fire so many emotional triggers.
So Jack is a writer and and alcoholic. He hurt his son and his wife unfortunately believes in giving him a second chance, I’m like no don’t, but she does and they are going to be staying at a hotel in the Rocky Mountains during the off season (winter) taking care of it.
Everything about this sounds like a truly terrible idea. This former alcoholic man who abused his child is now trapped with you up on the top of the mountain in the middle of snowy winter where help will be unable to come if needed. If I was the wife there is no amount of money that I could be paid that would convince me to be trapped with that man. Even the first time when I watched this and had no clue what would happen next, Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack Torrance scared me so, even in that just beginning “normal” scene, I would not want to be trapped up there with either Jack.
But before they are given full reign the manager, Stuart Ullman, reveals that the former caretaker had murdered his wife and two daughters, afterwards committing suicide.
Jack is okay with that and insists his wife will be too, uh no, but he is again he is also incredibly creepy. From the start of the film Jack Nicholson looks like a psychopath, as he does in every film.
Jack and Wendy’s son, Danny, has the ability to read minds and premonitions that always come true, just like in almost every Stephen King film. We are never given any reason why that happens. Is this “shining” an inherited trait? Why is he the only one in the family that can do it?
Oh he also has an adult man that lives inside him, but no one is too freaked out by that. I would be very worried.
Once they get to the Overlook weird things start happening as it is clearly possessed and starts affecting the family.
There are the ghosts of the twin girls that were murdered by their father: a scene that inspired one of my most loved memes:
But there are even more strange and paranormal things happening: the dead wife rises (in zombie form), there is a ghostly bartender, two men involved in some strange fetish of one being dressed as a dog, rivers of blood flowing, etc.
Eventually Jack is so possessed that he tries to kill his family, correcting them as the ghosts and hotel insists he should.
I’ve always wondered do the spirits and ghosts come out only to play in the wintertime, like a reverse snowbird? Haunting other areas in the summer? Is it his abusive nature that made him one they felt they could turn to their side? Do they only attack when there is a single family living there? Why don’t they continue this reign of terror and murder in the summertime?
The film is very well done with the pacing and how they show everything, but I just can’t watch something like this because of the abuse. Jack is absolutely horrible, I wish Wendy would have left that situation before they went to the hotel, but she’s been with him so long, seen the good side, and is trapped in the wheel of promises and manipulation.
Stephen King actually hates this film as he feels the actors didn’t capture his characters and the storyline is nothing like his book, just a “shallow interpretation”. He actually remade it for TV but I have seen that one and it is soooo boring. I still can’t believe any studio read that script and green lighted it, but I do feel that way about a lot of films.
The background of making the movie is as equally horrifying as the film, as Stanley Kubrick was a nightmare to work with. Remember when I talked about William Wyler in Wuthering Heights? Kubrick was just as terrible as with his constant retakes and need for the perfect shot drove every actor and staff member to near insanity. In all interviews I have ever read or watched by the actors in this film, everyone says that they were thankful for the opportunity and that they were a part; but would never ever do it again.
Kubrick also completely traumatized and gave Shelley Duvall a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately that was back in the day when a famous director could do whatever they wanted to and didn’t have to face any repercussions. That is another reason that makes this film hard for me to watch, all the fear Duvall had and her breakdown is actually real. After this film she had to go to a sanitarium for a little while.
And as this is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, I want to end with this: if you are in a relationship that mistreats you, abuses you or your children, and you want to leave, there is help out there and there are resources for you. One thing they show in this movie that is really accurate is about how Jack keeps saying he will change, he will be better, but doesn’t. Very few people will ever truly change their abusive behavior. They might be able to for a little while-enough to make you think they have changed for good-but instead after they have hooked you again, then they slowly return to their horrible nature.
Abuse is more than just physical violence, it can be in many different forms.
I Am a Survivor of Domestic Violence and I Know Help is Out There:
Are you being abused?
It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:
- Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
- Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
- Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
- Forcing you to have sex
- Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
- Controlling all the money, even money you earn
- Blaming you or your kids for everything
- Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
- Treating you like a servant or slave
- Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
- Controlling who you see, who you talk to
- Humiliating you in front of other people
- Refusing to let you leave the relationship
It can also look like the below cycle
If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
- Learn more about the resources in your area from your state or U.S. territory coalition against domestic violence
- Learn more from other national service providers
- Learn more about internet and computer safety
- Learn more about the red flags of abuse
- Learn more about the forms of abuse
And the Facebook banner:
For more Stephen King films, go to My First Boyfriend is a Monster!…Literally: Sleepwalkers (1992)
For more Jack Nicholson, go to What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)
For more ‘80s films, go to Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)