September 2016’s inductee to The Horror Syndicate ‘Horror Hall Of Fame’ is truly a deserving one. As October looms and with Halloween right around the corner, it was almost a no brainer amongst those of us voting. This film has instilled fear, dread and paranoia in viewers since its release over 35 years ago. Based on a best-selling novel written by Stephen King in 1977. It was the young author’s third novel and it reached instant notoriety and cemented King’s status as a novelist to look out for in Horror literature. Needless to say, he’s done pretty well for himself over the years. Stanley Kubrick would eventually take that novel (loosely) and create one of the pinnacle Horror movies of ANY generation. Time to enshrine 1980’s The Shining.
The Torrance family is in dire straits. Jack played magnificently by Jack Nicholson, is a recovering alcoholic writer that can’t seem to hold down a steady job. So he applies for a care taker position at The Overlook Hotel for the resorts winter off season. Agreeing to move his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd), Jack now can have all the time he needs to write his book and get paid for it as well. Seems like a good deal. Right? Everything seems perfect for the family, they are getting their lives back on track. But something evil in the hotel is prepared to stop at nothing to rip this family apart. By any means necessary. We all know how this plays out, so let’s just skip the juicy and horrific details.
One of the wonderful aspects of the film was the location. The Overlook Hotel’s exterior shots were actually that of the beautifully famous Timberline Lodge in Oregon. But unfortunately they never filmed inside the Timberline. All of the interior shots were filmed on sound stages in England. You can still visit, lodge and ski at the Timberline Lodge to this day.
The film had a few bumps along the way during production. Stephen King and Kubrick constantly butted heads over just about everything from the script to casting. Overall King was displeased with the end result of the film, he thought the visuals were amazing but ultimately felt the film itself was just style over substance. Shelley Duvall was sick almost the entire shoot, suffering from nervous exhaustion and even hair loss. Making it extremely difficult for her to stay focused. The effects of the illness are noticeable in the movie, Duvall looking sickly and pale towards the end of the film. All of these setbacks were not enough to throw this film into production hell. You can explore more information on these and other pitfalls from the production shoot in the documentary Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher it can be found on Netflix.
The Shining is truly a masterpiece of psychological horror. It has all the right ingredients for a true horror delicacy. The evolution of Jack Torrance descending into madness, was expertly portrayed by Nicholson. Despite all the health issues, Shelley Duvall was pretty amazing in her performance as a weak and petrified spouse. Young Danny Lloyd was also exceptional in his role as the little boy that had that special ‘shine’ to him. The film explores the depths of madness, the longing to connect, the fear of the unknown and pure evil. The Shining to me will always be one of the best horror films I have ever seen. So it is with great honor that I enshrine The Shining (1980) into The Horror Syndicate Hall Of Fame for September 2016!
Thanks for reading boils and ghouls! Remember, October is right around the bend. So stay tuned next month for our new daily segment, The ABC’s Of Horror where we will lead you up to Halloween, with it culminating with our next induction into The Horror Hall Of Fame!
Which film will it be?