Tag Archives: Stephen King

Trailer Roundup: Prof. X, Sinestro, and the Governor Made a Movie, Plus Hangover 3…

This is Grizzly Bomb’s Trailer Round for April the 12th in the year of 2013…

[tabgroup][tab title=”The Hangover Part III”]

When you saw the first Hangover film, did you think it would make a great trilogy?  Someone did.  So here it is.  The triumphant conclusion to the story that doesn’t appear to have an ending.  You know it will be good when it returns back to where the first film has already been.  Here we go again, again.

The Wolf Pack returns to Vegas on what appears to be a mission fulfilling the wishes of deceased father in law Sid Garner.  Or, at least, that is what I believe the plot to be.  The only thing confirmed from the trailer is that giraffe dismemberment is hilarious.

Director:  Todd Phillips

Stars:  Bradley Cooper, Melissa McCarthy, Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Chung, Justin Bartha, John Goodman, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, and Ed Helms.

Release Date:  May 24, 2013

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Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) is an ex-criminal.  But like father, like son.  Go figure?  His son ends up in the hospital after a heist gone wrong, and Sternwood has to get him out.  So this should be the perfect opportunity for Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) to put Sternwood behind bars for good.  Wait, no.  That would be too simple.They grab my interest when they attach the name Ridley Scott in the opening sequence.  Does this mean it will be a great film?  No.  It just means they have my attention.

Director: Eran Creevy

Stars: James McAvoy, David Morrissey, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, Jason Flemyng, Peter Mullan, Johnny Harris, and Elyes Gabel.

Release Date:  March 15, 2013 UK

[/tab][tab title=”Somebody Up There Likes Me”]

This seems to be one of those dry indie comedies that I find difficult to relate to.  Though it is considered a comedy, it has evident dark tones.  That being the case, I wouldn’t expect our presented “protagonist” to advance or become any better by the films end.  Therefore, with no relatable characters, I would fail to have my usual cathartic experience.  This is often the case with dark comedies.

Why should you see it?  Well, heck.  It’s got Ron Swanson in it, now doesn’t it?  Not really, but Nick Offerman is in his typical form which I am sure is quite entertaining.  The more screen time he gets, the better this movie will be.

Director:  Bob Byington

Stars:  Nick Offerman, Keith Poulson, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Marshall Bell, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Kevin Corrigan.

Release Date:  March 8, 2013

[/tab][tab title=”Stuck In Love”]

This seems like an endearing little piece with a large cast that I very much enjoy.  The trailer shows what appears to be a great representation of modern love in a divorced society.  Selfishness motivates most of our decisions, and because of it, we let things go that we shouldn’t, and we give up on things that deserve our attention.Sometimes, it’s tragic how dependable we can be on other human beings.  Love is the overpowering emotion that convinces us many times that the unreasonable is reasonable.  I know this description seems complex, but it is all invoked from this trailer.  So it seems like a pretty interesting movie.

Director:  Josh Boone

Stars:  Logan Lerman, Lily Collins, Jennifer Connelly, Kristen Bell, Stephen King, Greg Kinnear, Liana Liberato, Nat Wolff, Spencer Breslin, and Patrick Schwarzenegger.

Release Date:  June 14, 2013

[/tab][tab title=”White House Down”]

I feel like this movie will succeed.  Hear me out.  Everyone was a bit disappointed with the flat, explosion friendly Die Hard 5.  They felt a little bit better when Olympus Has Fallen came out.  They felt that their Die Hard void had been filled.  So people will enter into the summer movie madness remembering that they enjoyed a film where the White House was under attack from foreign invaders.

So enter White House Down.  It is very Red Dawn ish.  Which, I love.  It cannot be determined if the invaders are foreign or domestic, but judging upon the Lincoln quote, probably domestic.  It’s like Red Dawn meets Die Hard 4.

Director:  Roland Emmerich

Stars:  Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins, Rachelle Lefevre, and Jimmi Simpson.

Release Date:  June 28, 2013


Countdown to Halloween #3: Pennywise the Dancing Clown

I was about twelve years old when I first read It. As a kid I did not do well with scary stories (I had to be taken out of Men In Black twice in theatres before I could sit through the whole movie) so I’m not sure why I decided a story about a child-murdering space clown would be something I’d be into, but for whatever reason, my curiosity was piqued. In the subsequent decade or so, I’ve lined my bookshelves with a substantial portion of Stephen King’s prolific work, but none of his villains are as iconic or as memorable as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

Pennywise is probably Stephen King’s most famous monster and his visage, embodied by Tim Curry in a made-for-TV movie adaptation, is also one of the most recognizable clowns in pop culture. This probably comes down to the sheer fact that, as an entity, It really only exists to haunt and brutally murder children. As a supernatural being from another dimension, it resides below the town of Derry, Maine, and awakens every 30 years to feast. In It, a group of kids hunted by the monster spend most of their lives in a desperate fight against fear itself.

At face value, the eponymous monster is scary because it takes advantage of your deepest fears. It knows exactly what makes you shudder and it manifests itself into it, whether to control you, terrify you, drive you insane or just because it thinks kids taste better when they’re scared. Throughout the story It transforms into a werewolf, a leper and an entire reservoir of drowned corpses, in addition to a handful of other custom-tailored gruesome creatures designed specifically for each of its victims. There is a moment late in It when the reader learns that Pennywise is an evil so foreign to our world that its true appearance can’t be processed by the human brain. The characters perceive It as a hulking, spider-like creature, but that’s only the closest approximation they can understand. There’s something so perfectly Lovecraftian about that idea. It also serves as an appropriate endpoint; You constantly feel its presence below the town of Derry, just out of view. If it were to be revealed as anything tangible or concrete, it would take so much away from its ethereal oppression over the town’s residents.

But despite all this, the creepiest form of all is that of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. As Pennywise It entices children with his floating balloons. He taunts and insults the Losers’ Club when they return to Derry, flaunting his murders and flashing his teeth. And of all the scares in the entire book, to this day I still shiver when I picture one scene where he stands knee-deep in water staring and smiling at one of the kids. That is why Pennywise is the mascot of the story – he isn’t some subjective horror that can be rationalized away. Adults can see and walk right by the jaunty painted clown while he points and sneers at his next victim.

I don’t know if there ever was a time when clowns were not terrifying, but if Pennywise didn’t start it he certainly does a lot to reinforce the notion. I have read It more times than I can count now, and while I think the 1990 TV movie is so dated and corny it’s almost laughable, even it can’t quite wipe away some of the genuine creepiness of the book. But maybe scariest of this whole story? Supposedly Pennywise’s big red wig was Tim Curry’s real hair.

Check out the other characters on the Countdown HERE.

The Shining: The Most Complex Horror Film Ever Made.

The Shining is one of those movies that most people don’t really get on their first viewing. It certainly wasn’t embraced by critics in 1980 when it first came out, but it hit a nerve with audiences, and over time has become massively appreciated for the masterpiece it is. It’s a film that to this day, is still not fully understood, yet is deceptively simple whilst still being enormously complex. So complex in fact, that I dare say it’s probably the most complex horror film ever made. The main reason I believe I can firmly say this, is because it’s directed by Stanley Kubrick, who is one of the greatest directors of all time. Every single one of his films is a bold statement about life, culture, social issues, personal expression, the universe, – everything. For a man to have made the single greatest Science Fiction film of all time, (2001: A Space Odyssey), it’s certainly fitting that he also made the most complex horror film of all time, and a strong contender for greatest horror film of all time as well. The difference between 2001 & The Shining being, that no film has ever really been able to touch 2001, but many have gotten close if not surpassed The Shining, in terms of sheer horror. But none have come close to its level of subtle complexity.

The Shining

But as far as complexity and symbolism, The Shining is unparalleled. I can’t think of another horror film with as much depth and meaning behind literally every single shot in it as does The Shining. It’s a film that is riddled with subtext, visual cues, architectural anomalies, subliminal messages, and symbolic background imagery so dense, that it makes nearly every frame of the film full of things to dissect and discuss. Believe me, in researching this article, I’ve seen plenty do just so. The point of this though, is to present all of these ideas and concepts to you in a simple, relatable way, without overloading you with information like I’ve seen other articles do. Frankly, the movie is an ocean of information, but the beauty of it is that all of it works on every level. It’s a horror film about a man going mad. It’s a psychological thriller about a woman in peril. It’s a ghost story about a haunted hotel. It’s all of those and more, and every interpretation you take from it with each viewing is just as valid as anyone else’s.

Firstly, the main interpretation most folks get from the movie is pretty straight forward. Jack Torrance is an alcoholic writer who has taken a caretaker position at The Overlook Hotel. He is told murders have happened there, but decides to bring his family along anyway, and hopes to get some writing done. His son has a psychic gift, that warns him of the hotel, but he is powerless to do anything about it. Jack arrives at the hotel, and is slowly driven to madness by the evil spirits in the hotel, and he attempts to murder his family in turn. Along the way his son and wife elude him, and finally lose him in the massive hedge maze that resides outside the hotel. Jack, lost and confused, sits down to rest in the snow, and freezes to death. The film ends on a shot of a picture from the 20’s, where we see that Jack Torrance, or a man who appears just like him, is in the picture frame. It’s implied that he has been “absorbed” into the hotel, and is now just another one of the spirits who live there, restless for all time.

The Shining

That’s generally how most people I’ve spoken to, see the film. And it’s a valid way to interpret the movie! By all means it’s legitimate and has merit as that was for the most part how it was in the book. My personal interpretation however, stresses the psychological aspect of the movie, and precludes the concept of there being ghosts, by the way of Jack, Danny, and Wendy all being entirely unreliable narrators. Simply put, all of them are different levels of crazy, going crazier, and whose to say that what they’re experiencing is actually, objectively true. For instance, every single time Jack speaks to a “ghost”, in the film, there’s always a mirror, or polished surface present. In the bar, a mirror. In the food locker, the polished reflective metal of the door. I believe that every spirit he speaks to, is just a visual manifestation of his psychosis, made worse and worse by the isolation of the Overlook Hotel. Coupled with the resentment he feels towards his wife for the accusation of child abuse, and his weakness for alcohol which he imbibes in at the hotel, it paints a definite picture of a man whose sanity and objectivity are in question.

The Shining

If you were so inclined, and I am, you could find a bevy of reasonable explanations for everything that happens to the Torrance family. Reasonable being, non-supernatural in my opinion. Kubrick’s intention with the film seems very much skewed towards portraying any and all supernatural events relatively ambiguously, as I previously stated, all of Jack’s encounters can be explained by his deteriorating mental state. The same can be said for Danny and Wendy, who are doubtlessly being driven to their breaking point. Towards the end of the film, Wendy starts to see many terrifying visions, which at first viewing can be explained supernaturally, but also can plausibly be explained by her own burdening psychosis. Add in the fact that Danny could debatably have some form of autism, along with the incredible stress and likely abuse he receives at the hand of his father, and you’ve got a reasonable explanation for the twin girls he sees, along with the bruises he allegedly sustains in room 237. Again, all of these can be attributed to a family, basically going insane together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an epilogue scene, discovered in a vault somewhere, where Wendy goes catatonic and is committed, and Danny is sent to a foster home, irreparably traumatized for the rest of his life. A scene like that though, would be too absolute, and would ruin much of the fun of the film, in my opinion.

The only definitively supernatural thing in the film, is ‘The Shining’ itself. The inclusion of Dick Hallorann means that Danny almost definitely does have some psychic ability. In my personal interpretation of the film, I see it a bit more straightforward than just a haunted hotel. I see it as this: Jack goes to this hotel, looking to overcome his demons and foster his writing career. Unfortunately he suffers from a severe case of cabin fever and begins drinking. His alcoholism fuels his latent anger issues, and causes him to continue abusing his child physically. As a coping mechanism, Danny creates a way to deal with his abusive father, and hallucinates ghosts and other explanations for the things around him. He eventually psychically calls Dick Hallorann for help, until Jack tragically murders him in an insane rage. As Wendy protects her child, her husband’s madness has a drastic effect on her, and she begins hallucinating terrifying things around her, no doubt inspired by the many tales and rumors they’ve heard concerning the Overlook. The film ends with her escaping, and a family unit splits in a tragic, yet thankfully fairly bloodless way. As for the picture? It’s a final visual metaphor for how the hotel overcame Jack’s psyche entirely. He’s not literally “there” in the picture, more than he has ever “always been there”, as his hallucination/ghost friend Grady says.

The Shining

One final interesting note, is that a detail that many overlook (sorry), is that ‘The Shining’ is implied to be hereditary, as it’s only Jack & Danny who seem to have active experiences with the hotel’s potential spirits. Towards the end Wendy begins to see things too, but I speculate that this is a form of mental projection, brought on by the sheer force of will by Jack and/or Danny. A mindmeld of the “pictures” that ‘The Shining’ can show you, so to speak. As for what interpretation of the film you want to take, be it the first I described, which is to take the movie at face value or to infer things a bit deeper like in my own personal interpretation, is up to you. Perhaps you think it’s some combination of the two, or something else different entirely. The great thing about the movie is reasonably it could be any of those, and that’s without looking at any of the symbolic imagery in the movie to add further context for each scene in the film.

The Shining

One of the more overt examples of symbolism, is the fact that the Overlook hotel was built on old Native American territory, and is in fact built on Native American burial ground.  Stewart Ullman even says they had to fend off a few attacks from Native Americans while constructing the hotel. It’s generally reflected in all of the hotel, as the Native American motif is prevalent all throughout the entire building. In many rooms there’s some aspect of it in the background, hinting at the history of the hotel’s roots. Throughout the film there are subtle allusions to this more and more. Since the hotel was built on Native American burial ground, the setting of the film really becomes crucial towards understanding the nature of the “spirits” that reside there. It’s to be inferred that the hotel is a focal point to gather the would be spirits of the potentially vast amounts of Native Americans who were killed, during both the colonization of the land, and during the construction of the hotel itself.

The Shining

While the spirits that are implied to be the ones doing the haunting seem to come from 1921, there is still ample evidence of the Native American influence in the film directly. Most famously, the Elevator Blood scene, which has now become so iconic it’s been parodied ad infinitum. One must ask themselves though, whose blood is it we’re seeing? In the case of a cultural genocide, as the Native American population sustained, that’s probably the amount of blood that was shed by the many Native Americans who perished defending the burial ground, or who were buried there beforehand. Another key Native American influence? What weapon does Jack decide to use to finally take down his family? An axe of course, which is just an Americanized, extended version of the same basic weapon as a Native American tomahawk. Furthermore, as Jack chases his son into the hedge maze, we see him turn from a ranting madman screaming his son’s name, into a primal man at his most basic impulse to kill. The last civilized semblance of Jack is lost, as he finally rejects all language, and shouts only instinctual, animalistic, and guttural moans in anger and agony. At this moment, he has ironically become the “savage” that so many early settlers believed the Natives to be.

The Shining

Furthermore in the film, is a keen sense of visual symmetry. Both the main hall that Jack first walks into, and the hall that leads to the “Golden Room” are symmetrically similar,  and emphasize the increasingly more prevalent spatial anomalies in the film. Kubrick is famously known for his attention to detail, and the resulting incongruities when plotting out the architectural layout of the Overlook Hotel is something that would absolutely have been noticed as erroneous if it wasn’t intentional. It’s theorized that Kubrick intended a sense of disorientation to the viewer, subtly adding more depth visually and psychologically to the film. A viewer could watch the movie many times and not notice it consciously, but once looking for them, they’re everywhere. Famous examples include the aforementioned hallways, which aren’t architecturally feasible, the size of Room 237 in comparison to the hallway it resides in, to the more obvious example of The Impossible Window in Stuart Ullman’s office. A window that seemingly leads to a view of the mountains behind the Hotel, despite the room being located in the center of the Hotel, and nowhere near an exterior wall for such a window to exist.

The Shining

Increasing amounts of critics and fans have noticed these spatial anomalies, and have gone to great lengths to locate, study, and dissect the meaning of all of them. A particularly interesting example is a modified level for a PC game called Duke Nukem, wherein a fan modeled an entire level based on the Overlook Hotel. Because of the Hotel’s spatial anomalies, impossibilities and layout, the level had to be modified from the exact layout of the Hotel, in order to be continuously playable. One needs only to search “The Shining spatial anomalies” on the internet to quickly find the litany of posts, videos, blogs and pictures made dedicated to understanding and breaking down the Overlook Hotel.

From impossibly angled hallways, to impossible windows, to rooms that are impossibly bigger than they could be, the whole film is littered with visual cues for the subconscious to pick up on.

But in the end, what does it all mean? Why does the layout of an imaginary set matter so much if the film isn’t worth watching? The brilliance of The Shining is that as well as being symbolically and visually rich, it’s a brilliantly acted, engaging and horrifying story. Whether you want to look at it as a psychological masterpiece, detailing the breakdown of a family due to a collective loss of sanity, or a supernatural whirlwind where a man and his family are driven insane by the otherworldly forces around them. There’s one underlying fact about however you interpret the movie, and that’s that no matter the reason, the characters in the movie are driven to the edge, and watching them go through such a harrowing ordeal, regardless of personal interpretation, is as engaging as it is terrifying. In a film filled with symmetry, impossible architecture, heavy symbolism, and implied meaning in every shot, one is left to ponder just why are the Torrance family subject to such a bizarre and cruel fate? The brilliance of the film is that this is where each viewer gets to decide their own personal meaning for the film, and focus on just what exactly that last shot of Jack Torrance in the 1921 picture frame means to them. Whether it’s something left over from another world, a visual representation of Jack’s spirit being claimed by the Hotel, or a picture of another man entirely, is up for the viewer to decide. It’s one of the few examples of ambiguity in a film done right, rather than simply refusing to answer a blatant question posed by the filmmaker ala Inception or Prometheus, to use more modern examples.

The Shining

To that end, I can only answer what the film’s ending, and it’s meaning as a whole are to me. It’s a movie I’ve seen probably over 60 times, because for a while I made a point to watch it nearly every day. It’s a movie I never find tiring, or get bored with, partly because of the rich background detail in the film I’ve just touched on in this article, but also because oddly enough, I find it strangely relatable. Yes, I know that sounds corny, or even borderline scary, but watching a writer try to wrestle with his demons, succumb to them, and eventually go mad because of them hits a nerve with me. I’ve had many of the similar feelings that Jack pretty rudely expresses to his wife about concentration and writing in the beginning half of the film. Now that’s not to say that I’ve also had borderline insane thoughts about chopping up my family with an axe, (although who hasn’t had those underlying angry thoughts every one in a while), but it’s more to represent my feelings on sanity, frustration, and the writing process. In a way, the film can represent the most extreme example of writers block ever had, and anyone who’s ever dealt with it knows how maddening it can be. In a way, watching The Shining is almost a meditative process for me, it’s a film that centers me, reminds me of who not to become, and entertains me at the same time.

At different times I can watch it as different movies, sometimes about a man going insane, sometimes about a haunted hotel. Sometimes that ending picture is his soul being claimed by the hotel, and sometimes I even think it’s far more complicated than that. Perhaps this old Jack from 1921 is a man out of time, an abnormality, and somehow both a different person, and yet the same person as Jack Torrance. In the same way that Delbert Grady informs Jack “You’ve always been the caretaker”, perhaps he’s meant to be taken quite literally at face value. It’s even implied that Grady himself has had a similar process thing happen to him. In the beginning of the movie we hear about a Charles Grady who went insane and killed his family, yet Jack talks to and sees a Delbert Grady, and even asks him if he was the caretaker before. It implies that perhaps what is happening to Jack, is and has been happening to people for a long time. The two Grady’s represent Old Jack from the picture, and Jack as we know him today, in a cycle long since past. Maybe Jack is and always has been the caretaker, and always will be. Other times I’ve watched it with a more reasonable mind and simply interpreted the whole thing as a case of everyone in the film being an unreliable narrator. Regardless of how many times I watch it, I always find myself being pulled back to it, over and over again. It’s unique to me because of this, and it’s by far the movie I’ve watched the most in my life because of it. It would seem that The Overlook Hotel even has powers to pull in the viewer, in this case me, in a way that I can’t explain. Or perhaps it’s just the exceptional talent of Stanley Kubrick, who in his own words set out to create the definitive horror film of all time, and frankly, I think he succeeded.

The Shining

It certainly is the most complex, because even in this article I’ve just barely scratched the surface on the pages and pages of content written about the film. There’s plenty more written by people far smarter than I, who have put a lot more work into breaking every little detail of the film down. There’s so much in fact, that I find it necessary to list just a few of the sources I drew my information and facts from, just to get you started, if you were so inclined. Be careful though, it’s a long rabbit hole to go down, but a damned fascinating one at that.

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The Shining

Countdown to Halloween #11: Jack Torrance and The Shining

Halloween is almost here, and you know what that means.  It’s movie season.  There is something special about watching horror films in October.  Cinefiles such as myself can’t get enough of the genre year around, but it seems even more fitting this time of year.  One of my essential picks for the season is 1980’s The Shining staring Jack Nicholson and Olive Oil herself, Shelley Duvall.  That brings me to #11 on the Grizzly Bomb Countdown to Halloween, Jack Torrance and The Shining.

“Here’s Johnny!”  I was one of those kids that made references to pop culture, but was entirely confused on their actual origination.  Though I hadn’t even seen The Shining, I was familiar with Jack Nicholson saying, “Here’s Johnny!”  When I would imitate it, people assumed I knew who Johnny Carson was.  Clearly they were unaware of my 9PM bedtime.  I would get the same confusion when I would pretend to be Michaelangelo from the Ninja Turtles by saying, “You dirty rat. You killed my bruddah.”  Everyone assumed it was my James Cagney impression.  (Even though he never once says that line, but I digress.)  Yeah, a five year old knows who James Cagney is.  Blonde Crazy was one of my favorite films when I was five.  (Sarcasm)

So this little five year old is going around saying, “Here’s Johnny!”  But why?  Because Jack Torrance is one of the most influential characters of pop culture, that’s why!  Originally introduced in Stephen King’s 1977 bestseller, The Shining, Jack Torrance was quite simply an alcoholic that ultimately met his demise due to his addiction.  Jack Torrance in his written format succumbs to this addiction, and nearly destroys his family and trusty chef Hallorran in the process. The novel is heavily themed with addiction, and the enormous sacrifice required to overcome it.  One scene from the novel that was omitted in the film featured Jack’s father, who was also shown to have been an abusive, alcoholic.  In the book, it was only after brutally destroying his own face with a mallet that Jack comes to his senses and resembles the caring father he once was.  Through the telepathic powers of The Shining, Danny is capable of overpowering the hotel’s evil spirit and the hotel’s boiler explodes.  Danny, his mother, and Hallorran escape, but Jack is destroyed along with the hotel.  This novel is such a phenomenal representation of what addiction does to a family generation after generation, and the climactic sacrifice required to extinguish the blemish.

In 1997, a three part miniseries was produced by King starring Steven Weber as Jack Torrance.  The television adaptation was intended to ensure a more true adaptation of King’s orignal novel.  Those familiar with the book loved it.  Those that had not read the novel, not so much.  Though the explanation for the boiler exploding in the book is due to negligence, the boiler exploding in the miniseries is directly due to Jack sacrificing himself to save his family.  The redemptive qualities are even more present in the miniseries then any other form.  Also, the miniseries includes a scene not in the book in which Danny has graduated from high school.  In this scene, it is revealed that Tony, Danny’s imaginary friend is actually the future self of Danny who has served as a guardian.  This is explained far greater in the miniseries than in the book, and makes even more sense when it was recently revealed that King will publish a sequel to the book in September of 2013.  It should also be pointed out that Anthony or “Tony” is Danny’s middle name.

So what liberties did Kubrick take with the 1980 film that were so far off the mark?  In my opinion, some of the best pieces of the film, that’s what!  It’s unfortunate, but in cinema, the original writer is one of the most disrespected members of the filming process.  As the saying goes, they’ll take artistic suggestions from the hair stylist’s brother’s pizza guy before they listen to the writer on the set.  Or at least, it goes something like that.  I don’t know, I have taken my own liberties.  Kubrick creates a character the audience is far less likely to sympathize with.   His insanity is so pungent that it is unrecognizable.  There is rarely confusion to wether Jack is the protagonist or antagonist.  We find the Overlook Hotel to be his fate and his destiny rather than succumbing to his own vices.  Hallorran doesn’t just get nearly beat to death with a mallet like in the book.  He gets an axe buried in his chest!  Not only did the audience get a shock from this scene, but the audience that had read the book would also receive a shock to find that Hallorran wasn’t going to make it out of this one.

The ending is one of the most blatant liberties in which nothing happens to the Overlook itself.  Though the evil that resides within the hotel is responsible for Jack’s behavior, it is Jack that pays the ultimate consequence, not the hotel.  No boiler explosions, and aside from some busted in doors, the hotel is unscathed.  Jack however, is left as the creepiest frozen Jack-sicle you’d ever see in the outdoor shrub maze.  The themes of addiction are not felt as strongly as in the novel.  We are not given a greater explanation of what The Shining truly is, and how great of an impact Danny has.  In many ways, I feel the film is successful at creating gruesome suspense and attacks the audience visually rather than displaying the theme of addiction.  In true Kubrick style, the film is done incredibly well, and for that reason, it remains a favorite to many.

Keep an eye out, another character on the Countdown will be revealed at every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

Also, for more on the Overlook:  The Shining: The Most Complex Horror Film Ever Made

‘Carrie’ Trailer – You Will Know Her Name

It’s almost Halloween, so what better time to start promoting the “updated” Carrie? This, the latest Hollywood remake (which isn’t actually scheduled for release until March of 2013) of the classic Stephen King novel adaptation stars Chloe Grace Moretz in the title role, and also features Julianne Moore as the over-bearing, crazy religious mother of Carrie White.

Chloe, who is only fifteen, already has a list of disturbing characters on her resume: Hit-Girl from Kick Ass, the vampire in Let Me In and the oversexualized werewolf child in Dark Shadows, so I guess playing the telekenetically charged, disturbed teen that is Carrie is just a natural progression for her. Personally, I would like to see Moretz get more roles like the one she had in Hugo as opposed to being typecast as “the creepy girl”, but she has proved to be a talented actress so hopefully her turn in Carrie will be just another stepping stone.

This movie still seems to be in the early stages of post-production/promotions as demonstrated by the lack of substance from their first trailer and website.  The trailer is impressive in it’s scope of capturing what is essentially the pivotal scene of the first movie but you’ve got to wonder where else they are going to go with the story. One of the weaknesses of doing a remake is that you aren’t surprising anybody with the main plot points so it will be interesting to see how the films fairly inexperienced director and screenwriter keep things fresh. It’s encouraging to see Julianne Moore attached to the project as she is definitely a talented actress but no one survives forever without making bad movie choices eventually. Screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa apparently got the job based on his work on Glee so maybe we can expect a song and dance number or two and the slushie in the face has clearly moved to the next level.


King’s Shining Sequel “Dr. Sleep” Out Sept. 2013

“Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya.”  Who here does not appreciate the sheer cinematic creepiness of Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Stanley Kubrick really knocked that film adaptation out of the park, but let us not forget where the genius behind the Outlook Hotel came from. Stephen King published The Shining in 1977 and it quickly became his first hardback bestseller. It was then adapted to film in 1980 and has etched more than one memorable scene into our minds. I begrudgingly carry those images with me every time I stay in a hotel. Will there, or will there not be an enormous pool of blood that spills out of this elevator?

Dr. Sleep

So what if we could have more? King has recently set a date for a sequel to be released to the 1977 classic.  Dr. Sleep will be published on September 24th, 2013. The novel will follow an older Daniel Torrance who now uses his “Shining” to assist the elderly. Enter plot point. A gang of psychic vampires are feeding off of people’s energy, and are targeting those with “The Shining.”  This kid just can’t catch a break, now can he?

Ultimately, I have three questions for Mr. King;  Should he?  Would he?  Could he?

The first question I would like to ask is, “Was this necessary?”  35 years after the original novel, have their been screaming fans calling for more of the Torrance family?  This is one of the most eerie, suspenseful stories that I have ever seen beautifully adapted to film, but I can honestly say that I left feeling fulfilled.  No further part of me had even an inkling to see what else could come out of this story.  Jack, the maniac, was always destined to succumb to his vices.  He belonged there, and just as the final portrait shows, he has always been there.  It gives me chills just thinking about it.  So with a stern, “No.” I can honestly say this book did not need to be written.

Dr. Sleep

The question of would he is obvious.  He has!  For those of us that are still curious 36 years after the original, the book will be out next September.  When it comes to writing something this long after the original there are two schools of thought.  King has either spent thirty plus years crafting the perfect conclusion to a story we thought was over, or he is simply reminiscing on a past muse to find something to write about.  Regardless, it’s Stephen King.  The book will sell.

Here is my third and final question for Mr King.  Can you do it, sir?  Can you write a book 35 years after the original and still keep it fresh and exciting?  For this I say, “Yes.”  The reason being is that good writing is good writing.  I could be listening to the dumbest story, but if the person is a good story-teller, I will still be engaged.  This will always be applicable to good writers.  If you captivate the audience, they will keep reading those pages.  The audience sometimes fails to recognize that it is not their story!  It’s King’s.  He can do whatever he wants with it.  You are given the option to either acknowledge, or ignore.  I’ll probably chose to ignore.  I am more than satisfied with where The Shining has left me.  Jack is still frozen with that terrifying look on his face, and Scatman Crothers still has an ax buried in him.  All work and no play makes Stephen a dull boy.

Dr. Sleep