Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of “The Shining” is a psychologically strained film about a family hired as winter caretakers at the sprawling Overlook Hotel in snowy Colorado. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a recovering alcoholic and child abuser, goes to the hotel with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd). During his interview, Jack learned that the former caretaker had lost his mind and murdered his wife and two daughters before committing suicide, but Jack assured the hiring manager that his family would live well in isolation.
Although Jack intends to write a novel at the Overlook, the haunted hotel invades the family’s minds, distorting their reality. Jack hallucinates ballroom parties, complete with cocktails, bartenders, and music. Danny, who exhibits psychic abilities, has visions of the hotel’s bloody past. Wendy’s life is punctuated by the boredom of cooking, cleaning, playing with Danny and watching television. She’s on the edge of sanity as Jack stalks her and Danny through the halls with an axe.
“A House on the Bayou” and “The Shining” both simmer with sinister supernatural energy. In Kubrick’s film, the family struggles against the hotel’s malevolent energy, while in “AHOTB,” the family has two neighbors with supernatural powers to contend with. Both films center on a family struggling to stay together despite their troubled past, a husband who turns against his wife, and two mothers who fight to save themselves and their children’s lives. “The Shining” has new notes on rotten tomatoes and is essential viewing for horror fans.
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, please contact the Crisis text line by texting HOME to 741741, call National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit National Institute of Mental Health website.