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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

Coming Attractions: THE SHINING (1980)

Ah, Christmas. The perfect time to break out those seasonal classics - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, SCROOGE - as well as some more...unusual choices.

For me, this is the best time of year to settle down and watch THE SHINING. The wintry light and chill outside is the perfect accompaniment to director Stanley Kubrick's magnum opus. I'd go so far as to say that, in my opinion, THE SHINING is one of the horror film greats. Not so much for "jump scares" - although it has a couple - but the vice-like grip it holds you in, from opening to closing credits. Even author Stephen King - who wrote the original book and has famously derided the film as a weak adaptation - admits that his first viewing of the film was "dreadfully unsettling." 

For audiences in 1980, the first glimpse of footage from the film was in the trailer:

Even after thirty plus years of viewings, it's still an incredibly powerful image - made all the more eerie by the atonal music playing underneath. It would have been very easy to turn this trailer into a traditional "jump scare"; the "blood flood" could have gushed forth at standard speed, with acompanying loud sound effects as it washes the furniture around the screen. Kubrick's more restrained approach in doing the complete opposite makes for a far more disturbing sequence.

This was the third (and final) take of the "blood from the lift" sequence - Kubrick was concerned on the first two that the liquid "didn't look enough like blood." Due to the logistics of resetting the scene, it took nine days each time to flush the set of the splashed "blood" and clean it up to Kubrick's satisfaction. 

For fans of the film, I'd recommend seeing this promotional film made to advertise More4's 2008 "Stanley Kubrick Season". The breadth and accuracy of detail is astonishing and repays multiple views:

Finally - and on a lighter note - there's this classic fan trailer: