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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

The Shining (1980)

This was a movie I knew culturally waaaaaaay before I ever saw it. I saw it for the first time at a fencing team Halloween party (must have been my freshman year) and it scared the bejebus out of me. Right around this same time, I had a brush with a haunted hotel in our area (a story better told in person. Ask me sometime!) so The Shining felt really real.


I struggle with this movie now on a few levels. I watch it regularly because it's stunning and incredibly effective in terms of building tension. But golly I cannot abide by the way this movie was made, specifically how the actors (Hiya Shelly Duvall) were treated by Kubrick. And that haunts this movie now. And with everything going on with IATSE and the recent on set death, work safety in the arts is VERY present in my mind. The movie is also weirdly colored by the subculture of things like Room 237, the documentary (I honestly enjoy) that deep dives into fan conspiracy theories about the "real" meaning of the movie. And now I'm taken out of the movie when I see a can of Calumet baking powder. Or the Apollo 11 sweater. And then there's the ever present discourse regarding book versus movie. I get it, King hates this one, I hate the one he likes, and ultimately, the book is so different from the Kubrick movie that I don't see the point in debating it. They're both incredible and can/should be taken on their own merits. (A quick shout out to You Are Good podcast's episode on book v. movie and the incredibly succinct observation that the book is about being an alcoholic and the movie is about living with one. They're both horrific nightmares.) So... I have a hard time really watching the movie now. So many things to think about on the periphery.


The sound editing on this movie does soooo much heavy lifting. All the tension building. All of it. I never really clocked the chanting that becomes ever more present in the third act before. It's unsettling but feels a little disjointed? Again, I hate to compare to the book but I kept thinking on this viewing how scattered the reason for the hotel seems to be in the film. Is it the devil? Is it an Indian Burial Ground? Is it The Shining? It doesn't really matter. I'd just almost prefer they give no reason then.


The lighting is phenomenal. I'm a little in love with the scenes at the bar and in the bar bathroom and it has everything to do with that intense white light and the surreal effect it has on everything, especially Jack Nicholson's truly bizarre face. Uplighting is a hell of a thing on that man.




Cardstock, paper, tissue paper, glue. 8x8"




Takeaways:

-This one was a roller coaster. I had high hopes, I had no time to work on it this week, I am simultaneously pleased and disappointed in it.

-I really wanted to play around with creating three dimensional shape with tissue paper but between that element being the very last thing to do (and I was exhausted mentally when I got to it) and the shadow box being shallower than I would have liked... Eh? It wasn't a failure but it wasn't as striking or dynamic as I would have liked.

-Cutting out the details on the elevator framing is a similar result. It was so scary to attempt, I'm not thrilled, but it went SO MUCH BETTER than I expected.

-Mostly I'm glad I finished.


Tomorrow is Halloween and we'll be watching Hocus Pocus! I know that means no Hocus Pocus art to share until after the holiday but really, Hocus Pocus is a year round movie. And we should celebrate it.


I hope you have a wonderful week. Treat yourself to some full size bars because fun size are a joke.

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