OSW Review | The Shining (US Cut) (1980)
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The Shining (US Cut) (1980)

Hello, and welcome to Jay’s horror reviews! In addition to loving wrestling, I’m an avid horror fan, with an optimistic approach and a high tolerance to bad films! I’m going to share my thoughts with you through short bullet points with minimal spoilers, to let you know if the film’s worth checking out. Let’s start off with one of my favourite horrors of all time.


Technical:
• Blu-Ray transfer is in GLORIOUS 16:9 (my favourite aspect ratio) as opposed to the 4:3 DVD release.
• This version is 142 minutes long (~half an hour longer than the UK cut). It contains mostly stuff before the Terrance family get settled in; more time spent on Danny’s imaginary friend Tony (‘the little boy who lives in Danny’s mouth’), and Hallorann’s uneventful journey back to the Overlook Hotel. Also when Wendy runs around being scared by various things in the hotel, there’s a frankly hilarious shot with skeletons. It’s interesting to see the film spell things out, but these scenes ultimately hurt the pacing, so it was right to cut.

Plot:
Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrence, a writer with writer’s block (it is a Stephen King novel adaption after all!) who takes up a job as caretaker for an isolated, snow-bound hotel over the winter. He brings his wife and young child with him, where he intends to get some good work done. The Hotel has an ominous past, where the previous caretaker, Grady, murdered his family before killing himself. Cabin fever, as the old timers called it.

Thoughts on the film :
• Still the incredible, iconic and one of the best horror films ever made.
• Nicholson’s performance is still OSCAR-worthy. Just a captivating, terrifying and believable performance. His first scene with the bartender Lloyd recounting the time he injured Danny is fantastic.
• Wonderfully shot, lots of long, smooth tracking shots and perfectly placed imagery and slow dissolves.
• Some really striking imagery, like the blood-red and white bathroom
• I love how dialogue changes tone, topic, seriousness and deadly intent line by line, in a scene where Jack talks to Grady.
• The score is fittingly atmospheric and unique. The drum winding up and down is particularly great.
• The title screens & accompanying screeching orchestra is still naff. “Oh no! Thursday!”
• The power of “Shining” isn’t used that much in the film despite it’s title. It helps add to the supernatural aspect though.
• Wendy, the clueless housewife, is barely tolerable before things go down. When they do, she’s just there to screech and cry. I’m sure it was emotionally & physically draining for the actress, and nobody liked her on set!
• Jack may have Cabin-madness but that’s no excuse for Cabin-rudeness!
• The nicest place to hold someone captive is the in food storage.
• Assuming that the film actually happened, how does Jack escape the pantry? I’m still not sure what the bear-costumed guy & his sexual act is supposed to represent. Weird for weirdness’ sake or intentionally to promote discussion?
• Kubrick had such  power as to demand changes to international cinema releases (as outlined above), and to even force projectionists to mail back a 2-minute ending sequence to the studio. Although it made for a better, tighter film.

Overall, worth checking out but the shorter (114m) UK version is the superior version. If you’ve never seen the film, go and watch it. It’s fantastic, really brilliant stuff. A masterpiece. If you have, watch it again, it’s still amazing. Excellent dialogue, an excellent performance in a wonderfully lavish, unnerving setting is a thing of beauty.

Differences between UK & US Versions 
Most of the deleted scenes are on youtube

Details

Release Date
July 30, 2014
Type

Comments

  1. Lface8 says:

    Great review, Jay. A lot of the negatives you mention, title cards not withstanding, I don’t recall being in the version I saw. Then again, it’s been a fairly long time since I’ve seen the movie so I could very well have blocked them from memory. One thing I will say is, I think the conversation Jack has with Grady could be my favorite part of the film (aside from Hallorann’s somewhat amusing death) for the reasons you mentioned above. I think it’s often overlooked (no pun intended) due to how well the scene prior with Lloyd is done. Overall, great film.

    1. Jay Hunter says:

      I’d never seen the American cut before so it was a treat. Like the T2 extra scenes, it’s cool to see but unnecessary. Definitely worth checking out. We only got the 4:3 DVD release so having it in proper widescreen is a huge bonus.

  2. Murphy says:

    The Dog costume BJ ghosts are actually a reference to the unpublished prequel to the book (which went into the Overlook’s pre-Shining history) http://withnailrules.tumblr.com/post/11992519535/before-the-play-by-stephen-king

    1. Jay Hunter says:

      Thanks mate! Now I can put that to rest

  3. But who’s side is he on? Great review, Lad. Hope to see more.