I had actually never seen The Shining (1980) until recently. I mean, I knew a lot about it culturally. Redrum. “Here’s Johnny”. Those creepy twins. The elevator full of blood. But, after seeing that the movie was available on HBOMAX, I figured it was time to get some context. And, now that I’ve seen the movie I can confidently say, I’m more confused.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. I just feel like I’m probably not smart enough to get a lot of what’s going on. Going in, I really thought I knew what the movie would be about. Jack Nicholson brings his family to a haunted hotel where they are isolated and over the course of the movie Jack Nicholson slowly goes insane and/or is possessed by the hotel and tries to kill his family. Sure, classic horror story. But then, hardly a half hour in, they introduce the concept of the son being psychic. Which is quite the curve ball that I wasn’t expecting, but whatever, I can follow that. But, then the fever dream of third act happens and I’m still not entirely sure what happened.
So, I did the only thing I could, I googled what was going on. I was really, hoping that I would find something that would make me feel less confused. But, I was wrong. Oh, I was so wrong. Suddenly, I was reading all these different fan theories and interpretations of the movie. Not only did I just get more confused, I also felt stupid for all the things I didn’t notice in the movie. I guess I’m too stupid to notice that the architecture of the hotel makes no sense. Or that Jack Nicholson’s wardrobe is changing to symbolize his decreasing sanity. Or that a bear skin rug disappears between scenes. Or that certain scenes are meant to be dream sequences. Etc, etc.
All I wanted was to know who the guy in poster is. And the context of the blood elevator. I got neither of those things! The blood elevator is just a vision the psychic kid has! God! So many questions! Again, I liked the movie. But oh boy, do I feel stupid and confused.
But seriously, who is that supposed to be in the poster?
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