Friday, 13 December 2013

Film Review: The Shining

Fig 1
The shining is another Stanley Kubric film from 1980 and is a physiological horror about a man slowly loosing his mind in the a cabin far away from anywhere with his son and wife. The Shining is one of Kubrick's most iconic movies all of time with it's most famous scene with Johny coming through the door of the bathroom with the axe. But it is also well known for its stunning interior design, Ryan Lambie had explained how the colour can affect was used an audience within the interior design, “Kubrick uses violent contrasts of colour to heighten the feeling of unease” (Lambie, 2011). One of the best examples of this is in the carpet of the cabin (Fig 2). The contrasting colours help the audience maintain that sense of unease and discomfort that is seen throughout the film. Kubrick is also well known for his one point perspective and this tends the cause the audience the feel perturbed and causes discomfort within the viewer.
Fig 2
This pattern uses contrasting colours to cause uncertainty but it also reinforces that the cabin is a like a maze where in the design it is designed to be in a maze like fashion, to once again reinforce that sense of entrapment. Although it is strange how different the interior designs where in comparison to most horror films with it's cliché setting, it seemed to be authentic and more designed like a labyrinth, this was explained by Kubric himself, “We wanted the hotel to look authentic rather than like a traditionally spooky movie hotel. The hotel’s labyrinthine layout and huge rooms, I believed, would alone provide an eerie enough atmosphere. This realistic approach was also followed in the lighting, and in every aspect of the décor,” (Kubrick, 1981). This approach of making the sets to look more realistic and not to rely of the heavy of use of lighting to create a sense of ease within the film is a very unique way of portraying horror and isolation towards the audience and this is what makes Kubrick stand out with his attention to detail to provoke these emotions.
Fig 3

One aspect of the film is each room has a difference appearance and different use of symbolism with the scene. One of the most iconic and yet most confusing scenes is the scene with the blood coming out of the elevator (Fig 3),what Emma Dibdin says about this scene is, 'The moments that remain most terrifying are those that don't actually further the narrative at all in a traditional sense - the blood-gushing elevators’ (Dibdin 2012). Although that it could be argued this scene could almost be the 'belly of the beast' and although there is no mention of the house being alive is does seems to have an eeriness about it that leads to audience to believe that perhaps this house is the one in charge and is in fact a 'alive' in terms of the narrative. Although at the face of it the scene that seem to have an importance to plot as said by Dibdin but it could be argued to once again reinforce that sense of entrapment and unease that the film is flourishing throughout.

Illustration Lise

Fig. 1. The Shining Poster (1980) From: The Shining Directed by: Stanley Kubrick [Poster] United Kingdom, United States. Warner Bros. URL At: (Accessed on 13.12.2013)

 Fig 2. The Shining Carpet Design, From: The Shining, Directed by: Stanley Kubrick. At: (Accessed on 13.12.2013)

Fig 3. Blood coming out of the elevator. From: the Shining, Directed by:Stanley Kubruck.
(Accessed on: 13/12/2013)


Emma Dibdin (2012)
The Shining. In:   [Online] At:

Lambie, R (2011) Iconic Set Design:  The Shining. The Shining Overlook hotel at: (Accessed on 13/12/2013)

Kubrick, S. (1981) Kubrick on The Shining



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