The Large Association of Movie Blogs, also know as The LAMB selects a film each month to be crowned the Movie Of The Month. Blogs from all over submit their posts and The LAMB records a special episode of their podcast, The Lambcast, in honor of the monthly film. To learn more and read MOTM content please visit the line on our sidebar or click here.
Watch that trailer and tell me you aren’t disturbed. Go on… I’ll wait. You can’t. The reason you can’t, is because everything from the music to the eventual release of blood from the elevators can make ones skin crawl. It’s been 32 years since the release of the film and it still has a profound impact. It’s talked about and referenced in other films and television. Even a documentary is coming out this year, Room 237, about the theories behind the hidden meanings in the film. And to this day, when Danny is riding around on his big wheel through the hotel, I cringe, thinking that at every turn he’ll run into those twins and I’ve seen it time and time again. I should know what happens.
I don’t even like horror. From the numerous podcast appearances, and the few reviews/articles I’ve done for the site, I’ve made it apparent that me and horror genre films never hang out. I don’t like being scared and it seems that, in my eyes, the horror genre has been pushing towards physical gore and shock value, versus a mental and psychological terror that stays with you. That, and the general fact that I don’t like being scared, keeps me away from them. But there is something about this film, as chilling as it can be, that pulls me in and keeps me mesmerized. It could be the set pieces. It could be the intrigue of just what the hell is actually going on in that hotel. But every piece of it keeps me watching and guessing. Like I said, I’ve seen it time and time again, so why is there still a mystery to it? Why the intrigue?
At the beginning of the film, we see a car headed down the highway to a hotel hidden away from the world. It’s exclusivity made it a go to destination back in the 20’s and 30’s but makes it a perfect vacation spot now. Even first being introduced to the hotel, the color pallet interests you and even the small talk, interests you. As the film introduces Wendy and Danny, you still find yourself concerned. Who are these people? How did Danny meet Tony? What happened between Jack and Danny? And why is Jack so calm when the manager describes and explains the gruesome murders? It’ all so… intriguing.
After a few days go by, we see the isolation of the hotel take its toll on the Torrance family, most notably Jack. And more and more questions present themselves. Is Lloyd real? Are those twins real? What is Jacks novel about? What’s in room 237? Was Jack dreaming or planning? Why are some of the fixtures and rooms of the hotel shaped so oddly? What the hell is going on?
Some of these get answered when Danny finally explores what’s in the room, which leads Jack to lose his mind, which leads Dick Halloran, the groundskeeper, to come back and check in on the slowly decaying family. I’m sure many of you have seen the film but some haven’t yet so I won’t spoil the ending. But for the rest of the film, we see a wide variety of what-the-hell-is-going-on-here and many many memorable scenes and lines that ultimately lead to one of the biggest WTF endings I have ever seen. To this day, it gets me.
The film grows more and more intriguing with each viewing as you start to look for things you hadn’t noticed before or maybe you want to find answers to those questions. Such a powerful film from Stanley Kubrick doesn’t give them away quite so easily. This film is a true testament to the power and influences a Kubrick film can have on you. He’s able to walk into a genre, pull it’s insides out, show them to you in the most darkest way possible, then push them back inside, making it impossible for the film to leave your thought process for days.
The intrigue and lasting impact of this film is just one of the many possible topics to explore with this film. There is always the controversy behind the way Kubrick treated Shelley Duvall on set and the conversations Kubrick and King (The author of The Shining which this movie is “loosely” based on) would have at odd hours of the night during production. The hidden meanings in the film such as Danny’s sweater choices or what Room 237 stands for. But all in all, no matter what you study about the film, the intrigue pulls you in.
I was lucky enough to see this on the big screen back in November at midnight and it added to the depth of the film. You were able to notice little subtle qualities (such as book titles) that add to the film’s curiosities. I own the Blu-Ray (have watched it several times) and yet, every time I watch it, it stays with me for a few days after. It’s a film that will never truly let go of your subconscious and will keep you thinking, until you watch it again. Even as I type this article, I know I’m going to have a hard time trying to sleep tonight. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. You owe it to yourself to see not only a masterpiece of what true horror can be, but to witness the powerful allure of such a film.
If I had to sum up the LAMB movie of the month with one sentence it would be the following: It’s a film that takes incredible performances, a terrifying soundtrack, and unforgettable images, and stays with you for ever… and ever… and ever.