The Shining (15)
Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, Jack Nicholson and an isolated hotel called the Overlook…
Rarely has a modern horror movie so completely tapped into notions of unease, madness and murder than The Shining which Kubrick evolved from King’s novel and in doing so delivered arguably the Daddy of late ‘70s shockers.
Nicholson, then just 42, was at the height of his powers when he played Jack Torrance, a writer who moved his wife and son into an empty hotel out of season so he can work on a new book.
But psychosis and the supernatural overtake Torrance with the Overlook becoming a labyrinth of unrelenting terror that threatens to swallow up him, his desperate wife (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd).
Re-released by the British Film Institute in its longer 144-minute American version (which restores scenes originally cut by Kubrick) The Shining towers above most of its contemporaries due to an overwhelming mood of dread and some of the most genuinely frightening scenes ever put on film.
Nicholson’s slow slide into insanity is handled with panache by actor and director and even his barnstorming final scenes – “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” – can’t upset the balance of what is a superlative journey into pre-ordained death.