Amy Tries Again

Horror Movie, right there on my TV
April 10, 2010, 12:15 AM
Filed under: In Which I Try Again | Tags:

I have now joined the ranks of Those Who Have Seen The Shining. It was beautifully shot, the casting was perfect, and I have a theory that it is really about domestic violence. Watching it, you know what’s going to happen, and you’re just waiting for Jack Nicholson’s character to snap. Parts of it seem very dated (the wife character smoking at the breakfast table with her son, and then when meeting with a doctor) and parts seem incredibly modern (the opening sequence, the way Kubrick divides the film into chapters with titles).

For ever, and ever, and ever...

I also now understand a lot of tropes that I was aware of, but didn’t fully get: the Indian burial ground curse, for one. I’ve seen so many parodies of The Shining over the years – The Simpsons is the first one that springs to mind – that I knew what was going to happen, but didn’t know exactly how. This was an interesting perspective from which to watch it.

Some thoughts. I wasn’t as scared as I would have been as a child. It feels much the same as my peanut butter experiment: the taste (or, in this case, the feeling of being frightened) is still there, but it wasn’t as sharp or severe as it once would have been. I kept stepping out of the story, thinking things like ‘I wonder how they did that bit with all the blood in the lift’ or ‘Why isn’t the little boy at school?’.

Whilst I felt on edge while watching it, it was very much a story taking place inside my TV. It didn’t leak into my world the way scary things did as a child. This was, I must admit, a relief, but also something of a disappointment. I am glad it wasn’t an unpleasant experience, but I feel like perhaps my imagination has lost some of its power. I guess that’s dying off along with my tastebuds.

Sort of related: I remember when, in primary school, I really wanted to see Jurassic Park. I knew I would be terrified, but felt it was necessary so I could brag about it at school. (I’d had to negotiate to get to see it, as my parents knew how I reacted to anything mildly pulse-quickening.) I went to see it with Dad, I think I was about 10. My plan was this: if I got scared, I would look at Dad to see what he thought of the gross or scary bits, and then I’d remember that it was just a movie (a true Brechtian, even in grade 5). It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, and I felt terribly proud of myself. What I remember, though, more than the movie, is my father telling me beforehand that if I wanted to change my mind, he could forbid me from seeing it as it was too violent – should I so wish. That was kind. This is all a bit disjointed, but I wanted to post it while it was fresh.

Anyway, Significant Other has made popcorn and has put on a DVD of the The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) as something of a palette cleanser, so I must away. There is red wine to be had. In short: I enjoyed The Shining, and I currently have a copy of The Exorcist in my possession that I intend to watch soon.

Horror movies (well, a horror movie): SUCCESSFULLY TRIED AGAIN.

(I totally get why Stewie rides that kind of trike now, by the way.)


2 Comments so far
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Ha! When I saw Men in Black as a kid, I was seriously scared shitless. Now I really like horror movies… still haven’t seen the shining. Have you seen Omen?

Comment by Dan

My one criticism of the Shining as a movie is that it is screamingly obvious from the very first frame that Jack Nicholson is as mad as a box of hammers. There’s no subtlety to the character like there was in King’s book, there’s just this madness barely concealed behind the facade of normailty. In the book, the tension came from whether Jack would succumb to his demons and take his family along with him. In the movie, the tension comes from WHEN he will succumb to his demons.

Also I think the ending of the book was better than the film, but I think King and Kubrick were trying to make different points.

Mind you, both the book and the movie managed to scare the crap out of me when Danny goes to Room 237. Brrrr.

Comment by Disco Stu

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