The shining (1980


Poster Stanley Kubrick directed a psychological horror film in 1980, based on a novel from the same name by Stephen King. The shining is considered as one of the scariest movies of all time. The film is about a family who moves to a hotel in which the father takes position of winter caretaker and devotes his time to do his writing. The hotel has bad memories which affect the father and this leads to terrifying reactions and develop fear in the mother, while the son experience frightening visions due to his extrasensory perceptions. "Once alone in the hotel the family embark on a normal family routine but very quickly things begin to deteriorate due to Jack’s frustrations at not being able to arrive at anything substantial in his literary endeavours. This manifests itself in his inward retreat into himself and a markedly noticeable externally aggressive and hostile reaction to Wendy and Danny" (Marren, D 2012) The film relates psychology to fear and contains a lot of suspenseful scenes The performances are great and perfectly reflect the actors' character. The acting is well directed and very generous in terms of facial expressions which shows the level of madness the father reaches and this exaggeration turns to have its funny side and scary at the same time. Still1 Concerning the kid (Still1), his tranquility and the way he looks at his surrounding makes us believe he is mysterious and have a different perception of the space to others.

It appears to be that there is a use of psychoanalytic theory of personality, for instance the scene in which the father is driving the car with his wife and son. The son told his parents that he is very hungry, which is a normal reaction to hunger to satisfy his need. In this case the kid could be seen as the Id, the unconscious aspect of personality which tends to meet its demands and is dominating the kids personality. The mother tells her son that they will soon get to their destination and eat which makes the mother a careful person, trying to suggest solutions in a realistic way. In Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the aspect of personality which is responsible for dealing with reality and operating in appropriate ways is referred to as the Ego, which clearly appears to be the mother's case. Unlike the mother's reaction, the father wouldn't take responsibility as he claimed that he's already told his son to have breakfast. This reaction puts the father in a position of a constraint personality, which doesn't give a choice but tends to make judgements and acts to make our behaviour perfect, in this case, it aims to make the kid feel guilty and under pressure not to having breakfast as the aspect doesn't allow complaints but perfection. This form of personality is called Super-ego.

In addition to that, Kubrick uses long camera shots and low angles to represent large spaces and a sense of insecurity, making the viewer feel dominated by the isolation and gradually under suspense thanks to the accurate synchronisation of the music with the scenes.

"The power of this movie is not so much in its gore, but in Kubrick's ability to cast a spell over us. The movie has almost a hypnotic atmosphere about it. We have been pulled from our world and thrust into the hotel. Kubrick constantly builds the tension. It is a slow burn. At times I almost felt like screaming" (Williams, S 2010). The claustrophobic sets for instance the pursuit in the garden maze (still2) with the dead ends and massive wall bushes that evokes a feeling of imprisonment and directionless, the slow motion of the bold blood coming out of the elevator and filling the screen really causes claustrophobic terror. Regardless the deviation of the plot from the original novel, the film has succeeded in many ways to evoke its mood using simple camera techniques, great acting and disturbing sounds that all work together to make it a memorable horror story which still competes with modern horror movies. "The music, the lighting, and the general atmosphere all amount to a
haunting and marvelously executed movie." (Marauder, M 2003)


Bibliography: Marren, D (2012) Available at:; [Accessed on 12/12/2012]. Williams, S (2010) Available at:; [Accessed online on 14/12/2012]. Marauder, M (2003) Available at:; [Accessed online on 14/12/2012]. Illustrations: Poster: Still1: Still2:

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