Film & Water #38 – The Shining


Episode 38: THE SHINING

Rob Kelly welcomes comedian George Kane to talk about the 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic, THE SHINING. All work and no podcasting makes Rob a dull boy!

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13 responses to “Film & Water #38 – The Shining

  1. Great discussion! One of the earliest modern horror movies I watched, at a way too young age. Probably the first time I encountered Jack Nicholson as well, so he made quite an impression!

    The scene with the nasty old female corpse scared the beejeezus out of me. It still gives me chills just thinking about it.

    I think Transformers was still on at the time I first saw the film, so it was a little unsettling to hear Jazz’s voice coming out of a guy who gets axed in the chest. Plus, Hong Kong Phooey, and countless other cartoon voices Scatman provided. Very jarring to a young kid who had no business watching this film!

    I haven’t seen this one in a long time in its entirety. But I remember thinking the hotel was haunted, and that perhaps Danny’s abilities goosed the supernatural goings on, at least a little bit. Add in an already unbalanced Jack, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Maybe it’s because I just got back from Disney World and am currently reading a book on the subject, but this podcast made me realize there are some shocking similarities between The Shining and…The Haunted Mansion! Yeah, I know, sounds nuts. But the whole point of the Mansion is that its a retirement home for 999 happy haunts, and they are recruiting. And Jack gets recruited at the end of this film!


    1. Cool, can’t wait to download and listen to this! Like you Chris, I saw this at a young age and was freaked out by the old lady. Went from a hot naked lady to a scary old one!!

      Will listen tonight or tomorrow!

      I think you guys need to talk about Flash Gordon! That would be awesome to hear a discussion of one of my favorite childhood films (I still listen to the Queen album from time to time!). Also Killer Klowns From Outer Space. I tell my kids that’s the best movie ever made haha.

      1. I know Rob will have to beat potential guests off with a stick, but I would LOVE to talk Flash Gordon here!

        Heck, the wedding march is the theme song to Super Mates!!! I made the DJ play the main title theme at our Junior Prom!


  2. I just have accepted at this point that there’s something about this movie that I just don’t get. People praise it all over the place, put it on “best of” lists, and I just don’t think it works. I’ve never thought it works. Not the first time I saw it when I was in high school, not the time I saw it in my 20s on the big screen with an audience. I recognize the artistry that went into making it, but it just does not click for me (I feel the same way about No Country for Old Men.) And so far as I’ve been able to find, I’m the only person who feels that way whose opinion isn’t shaped by a preference for the book (which I’ve never read.)

    I’d never say it’s a bad movie, and there a moments I can even point to that are brilliant. But taken as a whole the pieces don’t fit together for me. The inevitability of Jack’s descent into madness doesn’t jibe with the ambiguity of what in the hell is actually going on with the hotel/ghosts/pictures/Danny’s finger. And I do believe that Kubrick did EXACTLY what he set out to do and everything means something. But having layers beneath the surface isn’t enough, because if the thing doesn’t hook me in some way then I have no interest in diving below that surface. I feel that way about much of Kubrick’s work with only a couple of exceptions.

    A solid episode, just not a film I enjoy talking about because I’m tired of all the puzzled looks I get when I try to explain why I don’t think it works.

  3. Very interesting episode. I just wrote about The Shining here – – and George’s initial thoughts on the movie mirror mine very closely. Also I chuckled when he said he avoided the book for years because of his passion for the film because I did the same thing! I’m even a fan of Stephen King’s and have read quite a few of his books, but I steadfastly avoided The Shining for decades! I first saw the movie as a teenager in the 90s and ever since I’ve been in its thrall. When I finally read King’s novel earlier this year, I was equally pleased with it. It was silly of me to avoid it all this time. It’s not the movie – but it’s the source material! And it’s valid and engaging and really very good, all on its own. So now I have a love for both the film AND the book, which is pretty cool.

    Again, I wrote about most of this and expanded on it for Sequart just last month. I wish I’d noticed this call for a guest on Facebook, Rob! I would have loved to discuss this one. But George was clearly the super fan needed to give this film a thorough treatment alongside your usual brilliant work. Great job, guys.

  4. Interesting and informative episode. I’ve never watched the film. I was easily pushed into nightmare territory by scary images, as a kid, so horror was something I avoided like the plague. I remember when the film was in theaters and the images of Jack Nicholson chopping through the door (parodied endlessly, but most perfectly by the Simpsons). I knew that this was a film I wanted nothing to do with. Over the years, I have draw up some courage and watched a horror movie or two. I have little use for slasher films and torture porn; but, some of the more psychological ones, like this, are far more engaging than I would have thought, in my younger days. That still doesn’t mean I seek them out. For all of Kubrick’s visual brilliance and messages, I have only watched A Clockwork Orange about 3 times and was deeply unsettled each time (and by different things, each time). I’ve seen real horror, when I watched Alan Renais’ Night and Fog, with images from the Nazi concentration camps; but Kubrick can also create unsettling worlds that are almost as sickening.

    I’m kind of surprised you guys didn’t mention (or at least, I didn’t hear you mention) that the bartender was Joe Turkel, who plays Tyrell, in Blade Runner. He wasn’t the most prolific actor (in terms of high profile movies); but, he was a memorable one.

    George’s description of Barry Lyndon is one of the most precise ones I have seen. I watched it on the strength of it being listed in a book about great War movies,as it features battles from the Seven Years War. I’ve stred at walls with more interest than that film, beautiful as it may look.

    1. Jeff-

      Yeah, it was my fault forgetting to mention Joe Turkel. Especially when you consider that the original theatrical ending to BLADE RUNNER features cut footage from…THE SHINING!

  5. Great discussion on a fascinating movie.

    I have two distinct periods in my life regarding this film.

    The young Anj grew up on slasher films, thumbed through Fangoria, and thought someone doing a handstand being macheted down the middle of his legs was the best death in Friday the Thirteenth Part III. That Anj watched The Shining and thought it was dumb and boring. I mean, are those 2 creepy girls and an elevator full of blood scarier than Jason Voorhees forcefeeding teens lit road flares?

    When I was a bit older and maybe more refined, I revisited this film and saw the horror. I think the words that best define it for me are eerie and creepy. There is this slow building sense of dread and unease throughout the film. Nicholson plays the part well, slowly unraveling in front of us. Horrific in an intelligent way.

    As for the ‘is it madness’ or ‘is it haunted’ question, can I be wishy-washy and say both? My feelings are that the hotel is definitely haunted. But it would take a particular disturbed mind for the haunting to manifest itself as it does in Torrance. So the workers want to leave for the season, maybe they can sense something is amiss. But only Nicholson, with his issues, can get the full blown spectral presence.

    Anyways, it has been a few years since I have watched this and now I want to see it again. Surely that is the highest compliment I can give the show.

  6. I don’t think you’re being wishy washy, Anj. Madness “unlocks” the house, though the house does push everyone’s psyche to the breaking point so it CAN be unlocked.

  7. My mother and grandmother took me with them to see Kramer vs. Kramer, an R-rated drama, so of course the whole experience begins with the trailer to The Shining. I think they tried to cover my eyes, but once the elevator full of blood opens up, you don’t really need to see it wash out into the hallway for the psychological trauma to set in. I saw bits and pieces of The Shining edited for television, but didn’t sit down to watch the entire movie until my teens. There are some indelible images and impactful scenes that I recognize objectively and can unnerve at inopportune moments (when I was in London, we kept running into the twins on darkened streets promoting a Kubrick festival.)

    All that having been said, I’m with Nataniel Wayne. I feel the same way about Stanley Kubrick as I do Alan Moore– they’re both cold, calculating technicians who impress me with their craft but leave me entirely cold and not a little bored emotionally. Respect, but not my bag.

    1. Funny, I would agree, mostly, about Kubrick; but not Moore, especially his America’s Best Comics work. The sheer joy of Tom Strong, the mix of comedy, action and drama of Top Ten, the satirical Tomorrow Stories and other bits and pieces (though I’m lukewarm on Promethea. League of Extraordinary Gentleman is a treasure trove for me: a bit of Philip Jose Farmer, some Moorcock, and total weirdness.

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