5 reasons why The Shining sucks

My wifey had this major desire to watch a spooky movie last night, so I had no choice but to watch The Shining with her. Now I’ve never really liked The Shining much (I think Stanley Kubrick is an incredibly overrated director), mainly because those two spooky twins scare the crap out of me.

But last night, I realized that there were even more annoying things than the creepy little girls.

1. Jack Torrance’s Mace Windu-like character growth

“You’re referring to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Overlook Hotel. You believe it’s this boy?”

I’ve never read the book or anything, but I know that in the book, Jack was a regular guy with some issues, who gradually descends into madness at the hotel. Kinda sympathetic like that, really.

But noooooooo, you can’t have a sympathetic character in a Stanley Kubrick movie. That’s not how Kubrick rolls! In the movie, Jack was a crazy psycho who eventually becomes… more psychotic. Wow, what a great and unsuspected character arc!

Jack Torrance has about as much growth or development as Mace Windu, so that you half-expect him to try to kill his family with a purple lightsaber at the end of the movie. I’m not saying that you need some kinda M Night Shylamananlam plot twist at the end, but seriously, try not to reveal the rest of the movie in the first five minutes!

2. The soundtrack

Since it’s a movie that the wifey and I have both watched a few times before, we were actually Photoshopping while it was playing in the background. As such, the soundtrack hit me in a way I’ve never noticed before. It was loud, irritating, and just kinda stupid (kinda like Internet forum trolls).

You know that ringing sound that you hear when someone smacks the side of your head with a skateboard? Well, the soundtrack of this movie is like having someone repeatedly swing their skateboard into your ear for 2 hours. It’s just endless high-pitched ringing and sudden gongs and shit.

Scatman explaining the shining to Danny? Ringing sound. Walking around the hotel? Ringing sound. Always with the ringing sound!

And it’s not just the “creepy” parts either. That entire opening sequence where they drive up to the hotel? Loud irritating random sounds all the way. For this part, it’s like if Trent Reznor got incredibly doped up and went into convulsions on top of his synthesizer.

3. Danny’s Redrum voice

Wow. I mean, that part towards the end where he does the croaky voice and repeats “redrum” for about five minutes straight? That’s a small slice of Hell right there.

4. Shelley Duvall’s character

After watching this movie, you’d wanna take an axe to her too!

Okay, like seriously… how irritating was she? I mean she’s just so incredibly stupid. In most horror movies, she’d be the irritating character whose death you most want to see (except in this movie, she survives to the end).

She goes around the whole movie just saying dumb things and irritating not only Jack, but the viewer as well; you’d swear that it was Tom Greene in a wig.

And the worst part is towards the end – after Jack Nicholson goes apeshit and tries to kill everyone, she knocks him out with a baseball bat and locks him into the kitchen pantry. Smart move, but a regular person would then try to get the hell outta there, but not this woman. She goes back to her room and sleeps, waking up only when Jack comes back with an axe.

I looked it up, and it seemed like Duvall actually hated working with Kubrick and they frequently argued about her character and acting techniques. Hell, if someone wanted me to act like a complete dumbass, I’d kick up a fuss too.

5. People reading bullshit into the story

Look it up on the Internet and there’s a million different “explanations” on why the movie is all weird as it is, reading bullshit into the story as if it’s a freakin’ Shakespearean play. There’s theories that it’s based on the White Man beating down on Native Americans, that it’s based on the Holocaust, or Hansel and Gretel.

Just because Kubrick has the chef die over a rug that’s got an Indian motif, or that the hotel is built over an Indian burial ground, doesn’t mean he’s making some kinda social statement. He probably just thought it’d look cool… like blood pouring out of an elevator. You can imagine Kubrick standing at the set like Beavis going “Indian motifs and blood from an elevator are cool! Heh heh heh heh heh!”

“Heh heh heh… Indian motifs are cool!” “Yeah, and then blood pours out from the elevator. Huh huh huh!”

This doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie exactly, but it kinda just makes me dislike it more.

Random Fact: The Shining is the only Kubrick film since the mid 1950’s not to get a nomination for a Golden Globe or Oscar. Instead, it got nominated for Worst Director and Worst Actress at the Razzies. Yep, the same type of awards that Madonna and movies like Gigli repeatedly get nominated for.

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About Drew

I love videogames, movies, my wife and my dog (in no particular order). View all posts by Drew

25 responses to “5 reasons why The Shining sucks

  • shotgun

    they killed Jazz in this movie too =(

  • Drew

    Yeah. I mean… Eyes Wide Shut, even Full Metal Jacket are just movies that bore me big time.

    • Joe Wat

      Full Metal Jacket sucks, he has the pussiest character of the whole movie as the protagonist and at the very end when that pansy kills the sniper you have typical Kubrick shitty dialogue “Hard core man, hard core.”. Why people have to overanalyze every damn movie of his, sure the guy liked to read psychology books, doesn’t make him a genius.

  • Mike

    I’ve watched this movie for the first time today. And ever since, I’ve been googling for “the shining sucks”, to try and find posts like this, just to agree with them, and share my own thoughts:

    THE SHINING SUCKS MONKEY ASS.

    Alright, that felt good.

  • Drew

    Hahaha good for you! Fuck all those Kubrick bandwagon fanboys.

  • ben

    sorry i don’t have an avatar! just happened upon the site randomly. but i COMPLETELY agree. kubrick is as overrated as they come. while i did enjoy a clockwork orange, everything else he’s done has been utter shit. does he have absolutely no idea what a three-act structure is, or is he just trying to be “artsy” and buck the trends. either way, his story-telling technique, above all, drives me absolutely up the wall. props for standing up for the truth, drew.

  • Drew

    That’s okay, Ben. You don’t need an avatar to rant about the Shining. You’ve got something better than a cool avatar: you’ve got valid points about how much this movie lacks a structure.

  • Alison

    You’re right Drew, there is no meaning to this movie. I actually asked Jan Harlan about if after a recent 35mm screening, and he said it was “nonsense and didn’t mean anything. It’s a fantasy, nothing more. Stanley and I always agreed that you should never try to explain a film that you don’t understand yourself: one of the reasons he never gave interviews”!!! That pretty much says it all. People who read things into this film and follow it like some kind of religion is fine, but I don’t agree, especially after hearing the above.

  • Drew

    I didn’t realize that Kubrick never gave interviews for this movie… I guess that anecdote sheds a whole lot of light on this matter!

  • Tom C

    I’m watching it for the first time right now, and yeah, the wife is intolerable. She’s a complete motor character, only there to drive the plot. And yeah, Jack’s character dev is totally lacking. There’s no illustration of him going mad..it’s all just rather sudden.

    Meaning to the film? The film is based on a King novel. Any meaning it has would have to be found in the source material. I think King would say that it has no meaning other than to entertain.

    • drewpan

      Well King hated the film, and the casting of Jack Nicholson. I think he mostly hated it cos the whole semi-autobiographical subplot of the main character’s alcoholism was downplayed in the film, and well… Jack was a psycho to begin with.

      • Tom C

        Yeah. Personally, I think Nicholson is the only thing that saved the film. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. I also think that the lady who played the wife did what she could with the material she was given. She did “terrified” very well, imo. It’s just a shame that her character was so 1dimensional and stupid.

        Like most horror films, stupidity drives the plot here.

        I also thought it crude of them to use the “n” word. I don’t know if it was just expected in 1980 (I was born in 84..so idk) or if they did it for shock value.

        All in all, I don’t hate the film, but it could have been A LOT better.

      • drewpan

        There has been a couple of remakes over the years, including one that King directed himself. I haven’t seen them, but I did read that they”re a lot worse than Kubrick’s version.

  • Tom C

    Interesting. I think I’ll find the one that King directed. I’m willing to bet that it’s better than this one. Movie critics are very hard to please, and if they already liked the first film, they would have even higher expectations.

    I think I’ll read the novel now. I like King’s work, but for some reason I couldn’t get in to the novel when I tried it years ago. Regardless, it has to be many levels deeper than the film, and I’d like to know more about the protagonist’s character.

  • Maurizio

    I bought it on DVD, watched it and no doubt it was a put down, Jack Nicholson was the only good actor, it had irritating and awkward moments, it made no sense and it got boring after a while

  • nomadicspores

    It’s not a spooky film, it’s not a horror film. It’s a Kubrick film playing w/ the genre of horror. It’s dated, yes, like most films from 30 years ago. Acting has also changed since 30 years ago. There’s no hidden meanings: it’s a visual experiment, somehow, following Kubrick’s obsession with ‘vision’ throughout all his films. Yes, it’s artsy. So what? Then it should be read as an ‘art film’ – not as a mainstream horror film. If you were looking for a mainstream horror film, you shouldn’t watch The Shining.

    • Drew

      I think the point I was trying to make is more like “If I was looking for an enjoyable movie, then I shouldn’t watch The Shining.” I wasn’t disappointed in it as a mainstream horror movie, or a horror movie in general… I just feel it’s a highly overrated movie and well, I think it sucks.

  • justanothersnowflake

    I agree. I watched it last night and I found it more like a comedy than a horror movie. I also found it a little boring. My friend who watched it with me fell asleep halfway through the movie :P

  • Dave Smith

    I agree with many of the points made. I saw this in the theatre in ’80 and was very disappointed after reading the awesome King novel. Acting? Sucked (even Nicholson, seriously) and the wife and kid? There’s the true horror. The music? Just useless and distracting. Direction? It appeared to be auto-directed. The actors appeared to be working their lines from the script with no one saying, “OK, Jack, let’s bring that down just a little bit and try it again.” I laughed whenever Torrence would have a kiss or conversation with a dead person and he’d just roll with it with a big smile like it was some kind of joke. I suppose we are supposed to realize that he is now insane and under complete control of the spirits of the Overlook but the movie never brought us there. Soooooooo funny when Dick Halloran travels from Miami to Denver, then 5 hours in a rental car to Sidewinder in a blizzard at night and then in the Snow Track from SIdewinder to the hotel in the same blizzard in ten feet of snow only to be killed after being in the hotel for five minutes! Thanks, for the heads up Danny. Way to use that gift of telepathy. Too funny. Sad, pathetic movie. Also, you know this film comes up on top ten lists all the time for horror films? I bought the DVD for 4.99 yesterday because I really wanted to try it again and, yeah, it still sucks. (Thanks for the forum!)

  • Simski22

    Totally agree. Don’t really know a huge about Kubricka films (only seen 3 or 4 others), so not gonna comment on the director, but this was such an underwhelming film. I read the book first and loved that, so assumed a film as widely loved as The Shining would be decent. Dead wrong. I didn’t get invested in any of the characters and not one was sympathetic. As stated above in the book qith Jack for example they fleshed out his backstory and character enough for you to feel for him in the leadup to his mental break – in the film he was a dick to begin with and it only got worse. Wendy is ridiculously irritating the whole way through and Danny is just weird. In the books he came across more as scared and confused about Tony and the shining and what was happening to him; but in the film he seems to go about like he’s in a trance.
    And don’t get me started on the sound / music. High pitch squealing, random crashing and gongs…and not in that standard horror was of using it sparingly to ramp up the tension but all. the. time. Same with when he’s on his tricycle and they’ve amplified the sound of the wheels to about 20x the volume of everything else. Just why??
    Argh rant over. I genuinely believe this is one of the most disappointing films i’ve ever seen

  • microdon2

    Just saw it for a 2nd time (in Central Park in NYC, no less) and it was so bad as to be irritating. VERY slow – plodding, and NO surprises. You basically knew the story from the first 15 minutes. The casting was awful – the wife, the kid, even Scatman – jeeze – painful to watch. Even Nicholson – good, but no surprises. And the audience at the end – where he’s hacking at bathroom door – is laughing and cheering – is that what the director wanted?? And why are we rooting for the caretaker, exactly? Or even the wife – she’s incredibly stupid and annoying. And that incessant “red rom” chanting – annoying and WAY overdone. And there was NO scary part! Almost the entire movie irritated me, including that so many young people in the audience seemed to think it was wonderful. Maybe “The Shining” is an exercise in mass mind control…

  • Mike

    I just watched the Shining again after having first seen it when it came out in 1980 and it was just as bad as I remember. Boring, lame, slow, and disjointed are a few words that don’t do it justice. Characters that you don’t care about didn’t help either. And a soundtrack that seemed like it was stolen right out of a Paris Hilton porn flick. For any person that thought that this movie had any scary moments in it they should never watch an episode of the Munsters because they will never be the same again.

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