DIR: Stanley Kubrick• WRI: Stanley Kubrick• Diane Johnson • PRO: Stanley Kubrick• DOP: John Alcott • ED: Ray Lovejoy • DES: Roy Walker • CAST: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
It’s no surprise that, with Stanley Kubrick directing and Jack Nicholson starring, that The Shining is often considered the greatest horror film ever made. Time and changes in the zeitgeist have done little to diminish the film’s incredible quality. If anything, it’s reinforced. Given how Hollywood regularly churns out by-the-numbers horror films with alarming frequency, it’s good to know that it’s not the genre that fails – it’s the directors and actors of these poorer films that do so. The Extended Cut – or for purists, the American version – features just under half an hour of extra footage that elaborates on key areas of the film that were left out in the European releases. While it’s fascinating to see certain elements explained more thoroughly and key scenes given more depth and time to develop, it’s obvious why they were cut from the film.
It’s not that they’re superfluous, it’s more that the film isn’t greatly served by their inclusion. It adds and contributes more to the tension with the additional knowledge. As well as the additional and extended scenes, the film itself was put through rigorous digital remastering and adds a great amount of colour and removes the traditional grain. Some might argue that it makes the whole film process soulless, but this is seeing The Shining in all its intended glory. None of the film’s performances have been lost or been dampened over the past thirty-two years. From Jack Nicholson’s near-comedic frenzy to Shelley Duvall’s teeth-grinding hysteria, The Shining continues to impress. This is a classic that is definitely worth revisiting.