Instant Classic

Paramount Theatre's Summer 2000 Series

Instant Classic

THE SHINING (1980)

D: Stanley Kubrick; with Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Joe Turkel. (R, 146 min.)

Stephen King hated it, and moviegoers weren't too sure what to think either when Kubrick's take on that author's bestselling haunted hotel opus opened 20 years ago. Time has given us some perspective on the auteur's high-style horror show -- this is Kubrick's game all the way -- and as such, it's bursting with gloriously ominous tracking shots, an eerie score from Wendy Carlos, and one of Nicholson's best roles. Any film that's spawned as many Simpsons pastiches as this one has clearly withstood the various slings and arrows hurled its way -- The Shining remains a visual tour de force, a gleaming, swooping tale of disintegrating family values and rampant paranoia. There's something particularly unsettling in Kubrick's monstrous set pieces -- the tsunamis of gore issuing from the elevators, the two dead girls who just wanna have fun, "all work and no play ...," yadda, yadda, yadda -- and the film dances around some of the subliminal touches that worked so well in The Exorcist seven years previous. And, of course, after seeing The Shining, you never looked at Johnny Carson in quite the same way. (8/9-10)

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