All of Stanley Kubrick’s films – be it ‘The Killing’ or ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ – demand to be seen on a big screen. They’re about people trapped in huge, indifferent machines gone wrong, from a heist plot to a spaceship, and only the huge indifference of the cinema does them justice. In ‘The Shining’, the machine is a haunted house: the Overlook Hotel, created by Stephen King and turned by Kubrick into an awry environment in which mental stability, supernatural malignance and the sense of space and time shimmer and warp to terrible effect.
The story sees Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) drag his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd) up a mountain to be the hotel’s winter caretaker. Things go badly. This is the original 1980 US version, 24 minutes longer than the one familiar to UK audiences. On the upside, it fleshes out the family’s city life and includes an intriguing TV-watching motif; on the downside, there are some daft scare shots and it didn’t ever exactly feel short at two hours. Still, a masterpiece.