HIDDEN GEMS: 20. THE SHINING
Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. This week ‘horror’ film: The Shining. You’re welcome.
Man with family stays in snowbound hotel for the winter and can’t write a book. I know. Doesn’t sound like a great film, does it? Would it help if I told you that the film has some of the most revolutionary trike shots in the history of film? No, probably not. Shelley Duvall is in it. Still not interested? Jesus.
Based on a book by an American writer called Stephen King, The Shining was so poorly received even Stephen King, the writer, came out publicly to denounce the film as ‘an unflushed toilet’ in his essay ‘Supernatural Fiction (and Shit I Think)’. Director Stanley Kubrick had given up directing. He’d moved to England and was hosting a popular chat show for the BBC called ‘Parkinson’ when he read the novel. He immediately saw the potential for a hilarious comedy. He told Jack Nicholson: ‘It’s about a bad writer, who becomes a bad ax murderer.’ Jack Torrance, the murderous novelist, is terrible at killing people, repeatedly bested by his child and wife. The only victim he manages to kill is a man who can see into the future who is worse at seeing into the future than Jack is at killing people with an ax.
The film is neither scary nor funny, but a weird amalgam of the two. It was released to huge indifference and Kubrick went back to being a TV chat show host and never made another film again.