The 100 best horror films - The Shining

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Number 2: The Shining

By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess. Explore the individual top tens of every contributor.

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |

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The Shining The Shining

The Shining (1980)

Dir Stanley Kubrick (Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall)

Do not disturb

The scariest moments in ‘The Shining’ are so iconic they’ve become in-jokes: Jack Nicholson leering psychotically from posters on the walls of student bedrooms everywhere... ‘Here’s Johnny’. Even so, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of execution and claustrophobia still retains the power to frighten audiences out of their wits. Nicholson is Jack Torrance, a writer working as a caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado mountains over winter. Stephen King, on whose novel the film was based, was famously unimpressed. The problem, he said, was that ghost-sceptic Kubrick was ‘a man who thinks too much and feels too little’. He resented Kubrick for stripping out the supernatural elements of his story. Torrance is not tortured by ghosts but by inadequacy and alcoholism. And for many, it’s as a study of insanity and failure that makes ‘The Shining’ so chilling. CC

What the experts said

  • ‘The Rolls Royce of horror films. The Overlook Hotel is one of the great haunted houses of cinema (except it’s a hotel)...’

    Reece Shearsmith
  • ‘Hard to believe that upon its release every asshole critic bashed this film. As usual, Kubrick was ahead of the curve and reinventing the wheel along the way. He made the greatest sci-fi film of all time so why not the greatest horror too?’

    Rob Zombie

Watch a documentary about 'The Shining'

Take a look at this brilliant making-of documentary, directed by Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Vivian

| 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 |           | No 10 | No 9 | No 8 | No 7 | No 6 | No 5 | No 4 | No 3 | No 2 | No 1 |