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|3 reviews in total|
What can I say about the scariest movie I have ever seen that has not
already been said by others more articulate than yours truly? Do not view
this film expecting to see a screen version of the Stephen King novel.
Rather, this is a Stanley Kubrick film, and to fully appreciate it one
should judge it within the context of Kubrick's entire body of work as a
serious filmmaker. Thematically, THE SHINING relates most closely to 2001:
A SPACE ODYSSEY, though flourishes of PATHS OF GLORY, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and
BARRY LYNDON do manage to figure prominently in the film's overall
In a nutshell (no pun intended), Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall co-star with Oregon's Timberline Lodge - enlisted to portray the exterior of the Overlook Hotel - in a story that appears on the surface to be about ghosts and insanity, but deals with issues of child abuse, immortality and duality.
What the film might lack initially in terms of coherence is more than made up for in technique. Garrett Brown (the male voice in those old Molson Golden commercials), inventor of the Steadicam, chases young Danny Lloyd through hotel corridors and an amazing snow maze, providing magic-carpet-ride fluidity to scenes that ten years earlier would have been impossible to accomplish. If the film starts off too slow, remember who the director is. This man likes to take his time, and the results are well worth it: incredible aerial shots of the Overlook Hotel; horrific Diane Arbus-inspired twins staring directly at us; portentous room 237 and its treasure trove of terrible secrets; elevators that gush rivers of blood in slow-motion; Jack Torrance's immortality found via the hotel (akin to David Bowman's journey through the Space Gate); and some of the best use of pre-existing music ever assembled for a motion picture.
It would take a book to examine and defend the film's strong points and drawbacks. If you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch it alone with the lights off, with no interruptions, and make sure that it's raining. This is a cinematic experience that changed my life at the age of 14. Makes a great double feature with Robert Wise's 1963 thriller THE HAUNTING.
Although Oliver Reed and Karen Black are given top billing in this 1976
theatrical thriller by the director of the 1975 TV-movie TRILOGY OF TERROR,
BURNT OFFERINGS' real star is Oakland, California's Dunsmuir House and
Gardens, a 37-room mansion that doubles as the abode of the sinister Mrs.
The Rolfs and Aunt Elizabeth rent the house for a summer vacation and despite numerous near-death experiences refuse to leave! Although the film is fairly implausible for most adults, its parts are better than its sum: cinema's most frightening chauffer is brilliantly embodied by character actor Anthony James; a music box's seemingly innocent chime becomes a harbinger of inevitable doom; Robert Cobert's score is among the most frightening I've heard in a film; and the Dunsmuir mansion itself, with its beautiful grounds and foreboding swimming pool, later went on to be featured as the mortuary in PHANTASM, and 007's hideout in A VIEW TO A KILL, to name just a few. Definitely worth a look.
Though I first saw it on video in 1986, I have never spoken to anyone who
admitted to liking this wonderful little Canadian horror film. Yes, it's
corny. Yes, it's implausible. Yes, that is THE CROW's Michael Wincott in
a throw-away role as Matthew. But I love it just the same. Why? It's
unlike any other horror film I've ever seen. The film's poster art
perfectly conveys the film's mood.
With terrific cinematography by Robert Paynter and a brilliant score by Paul Zaza, CURTAINS is wonderfully eerie. John Vernon (of ANIMAL HOUSE and KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE!!) stars as a director looking to cast his next film. Six actresses vie for the part at his snowbound lodge in the Canadian mountains. Samantha Eggar is terrific as Samantha Sherwood. Lynne Griffin of Bob Clark's BLACK CHRISTMAS (one of the best horror films of the 1970's) practically steals the film with her comedienne-like wisecracks. And Maury Chakin appears in a hilarious bit as Linda Thorson's agent.
I had the pleasure of seeing this film in a theater in the winter of 1998 with an audience full of heckling teenagers and it was just great. This film is one of my guiltiest pleasures. Rent it and give it a chance.