End of the World Film Club #9:
The Shining

The Shining

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Join us for our next, perhaps final End of the World Film Club, in which we’ll watch and discuss Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining – for many, the greatest horror film of all time…

With many cinemas reopening, or on the verge at least, and lockdown – wisely or not – continuing to ease, after much thought, we’ve decided to call it a day for End of the World Film Club. At least for now. Yes, it’s sad, we know, but we’ve had a good run. We’ve watched some amazing films, all of which have inspired great discussion since those heady early lockdown days of April, when we kicked things off with Powell & Pressberger’s stone cold classic, A Matter of Life and Death.

If this happens to be your first encounter with our film club, though, we watch a free and easily accessibly film, then anyone who wants to can follow and join in with the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EndoftheWorldFilmClub. The good news is that we’re going out with a bang, as this time we’re watching Stanley Kubrick’s horror tour de force, The Shining. Thought by many to be the finest horror film ever made (there’s a discussion topic if ever there was one), it won out in our poll over Paweł Pawlikowski’s 2013 drama Ida, and Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s Sicilian Ghost Story.

The Shining, as we suspect you already know, is Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s book of the same name. It tells the story of Jack Torrance – recently installed as winter caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel – his wife Wendy and their son Danny. Empty for the off-season, Jack’s intention is to use the time and solitude to write – the dream! The only problem is the hotel has a history. Oh, and Jack is a recovering alcoholic. Then there’s Danny’s powers… To go any further would be to leave a spoiler strewn path in our snowy wake, so we won’t.

Famously despised by King, and turning 40 this year, what’s left to be said about Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining? Well, for many, the film’s director alone is an endless discussion point, inspiring rumours on everything from the moon landings to the various subtexts of his output. As for the film itself, it has variously been hypothesized that it is a metaphor for the CIA’s mind control program and that it is proof – in its layers of visual connotations – that the illuminati killed Kubrick. Ahem. In any case, a good companion piece to the film is 2012 documentary Room 237 (so called due to the significance of that particular room at the Overlook Hotel), which explores some of the film’s many readings.

For Kubrick, though, his version of The Shining was simply about addressing the fact that there is “something inherently wrong with the human personality. There’s an evil side to it,” he said. “One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly.” And, despite finding the myriad conspiracy theories out there interesting/amusing, that’s more than good enough for us.

What the critics said:

“The movie is not about ghosts but about madness and the energies it sets loose in an isolated situation primed to magnify them.”

Roger Ebert

“Deeply scary and strange.”

Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian

Watch The Shining on BBC iPlayer, and join us on Twitter to discuss, this Friday 7 August, 7-8pm

Further Reading: Room 237 is meta manna from heaven

The End of the World Film Club has watched:



The Handmaiden / Julieta

The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975

Tehran Taboo

The Conversation

Assault on Precinct 13

A Matter of Life and Death     

Posted on 05/08/2020 by thedoublenegative