Let’s discuss the finer points of the Shining, shall we? It is arguably the best haunted house movie of all time. Everyone chatters endlessly about the freaky twins, “Here’s Johnny” and RedRum but seem to overlook some of the true genius of this film.
The Hidden Star: The Lonely Rockies
Let’s start at the top. Kubric selected Berlioz: Fantastic Symphony - Dreams of a Witch's Sabbath to accompany the vast and dizzying shots of the mountainous Sidewinder. This makes for the Best Opening Credits EVER and is the perfect set-up for the isolation you need to feel in this movie. It’s a 25 mile stretch of road that gets an average of 25 feet of snow each winter… so you are fucked. Even if you have a SnoCat it is still going to be super risky.
The Interview AKA Stuart Ullmann is WAY cooler than Bill Watson
Stuart Ullman requests that Bill Watson join in on the interview and tour of the hotel. This guy is a total creeper. Watson’s face shows zero emotion when Ullman shares the tale of the “tragedy of 1970” involving the axing and unavoidable stacking of Delbert Grady’s family. The guy barely speaks a word. You could totally miss that he is even in the film but that would be a huge mistake. Something about him is menacing…not like that nice Stuart Ullman.
Mr. Ullman is a pimp. All the “girls” say goodbye to him on the final day of the season…and how could they resist? That leather jacket! Those red pants. His cool demeanor as he discusses the Grady murder/ suicide and the slaughter of Indians during the construction of the hotel. I mean, hell, he reveals that the hotel is supposedly built over an old Indian burial ground and doesn’t even flinch. Cold blooded.
Are you a Winnie or a Freddy? I’m a Wendy. That’s the prettiest.
Wendy Torrence might not be the prettiest but she is a total catch. I would like to take a look at her resume. She runs the boiler, heating different parts of the hotel on a rotating basis without issue. Clearly she makes most of her own clothes. She is also an experienced radio operator, as you can tell through her communications from KDK1 TO KDK12. Finally, the woman is a confirmed ghost story and horror film addict, so we all have that in common too.
Did you know that Shelly Duvall, the actress who played Wendy, had the flu during the filming of the movie? This totally added an incredible authenticity to her fragile state and made it the crowning jewel in her filmography. Sorry Olive Oil.
The Torrences are bad parents. They smoke cigarettes indoors. They lose Danny at the hotel before they even finish their tour! “I found him outside looking for you” translation… you are bad parents. “The loser keeps America clean?” Don’t you mean the WINNER gets to do that? Come on Wendy! “Merica!
It’s blatantly clear that the lady MD who visits The Torrence apartment in Boulder doesn’t think much of Danny’s home situation. The look she gives Wendy as she discloses how Jack drunkenly dislocated Danny’s arm is withering. Finally, even Jack makes a crack about Wendy’s parenting after the Donner Party convie with Danny. “That’s ok, he saw it on the television.” Ugh. This is essentially the high point of their relationship in this film.
Wait for it! There’s more to Come!
Next time let’s review Dick Halloran’s fabulous taste in art and the fact that if you’ve got a goddam soul Lloyd has a glass of beer with your name on it. Cheers!