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You may not be interested in anything I’d have to say about the 1980 film The Shining, and who could blame you? If you search your favorite video platform for analysis of The Shining, you’ll find that, though poorly received and even mocked when first released, it is now widely regarded as a top-100 film, and as the greatest horror movie of all time. It is also very open to interpretation. Everyone seems to have a favorite theory about what The Shining is about, but no one seems to have cracked the code. That alone merits our attention.
Not interested? I don’t blame you, but finish this paragraph before you wander off. The reason no one has a firm handle on The Shining is because it’s not a horror movie. It contains no supernatural elements, no ghosts, no secret power of insight and communication, and probably no real violence; the only shining going on is Kubrick shining on the audience, and shining a light into his own head. As the opening sequence suggests, we are making a journey up-river into the heart of darkness, and civilization has been left far behind.
Still with me? Great. This is a long one, but I’ll endeavor to reward your patience.
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