May 23rd, 1980 saw the release of one of director Stanley Kubrick‘s most iconic films, The Shining. Initially a commercial flop, the film has gone down as an iconic Hollywood masterpiece, and one of Kubrick’s most celebrated films. Based on a novel by author Stephen King (Carrie, Salem’s Lot), who admittedly is not a big fan of Kubrick’s adaptation, The Shining combines a a series of bizarre elements with Kubrick’s carefully crafted filmmaking, exploring the darker side of the human subconscious. Kubrick was a popular director at the time the film came up for production. He had previously released such renowned films as 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), which had earned him a great amount of control when it came to making his films. The production on The Shining, however, was not what anyone had expected, taking more than a year to film at a budget that ended up at $18 million. What’s more, critical reception was incredibly harsh against Kubrick and lead actors Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, The Departed) and Shelley DuVall (Annie Hall, The Portrait of a Lady), even though the film did end up grossing $44 million.
Many, including King, were surprised that Kubrick had diverted so far from King’s original novel, but Kubrick maintained his style and method for making the film, which is what had earned him his renowned stature in the first place. Regardless of its initial lack of popularity, The Shining has gone on to become a cult classic. A documentary titled Room 237 explores all of the various interpretations of the film, from the Holocaust, Native-American genocide, horror film, and dark comedy playing on the ‘horror’ of spending time with your family in an isolated location. Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo) has a new book coming out surrounding the making of the classic film. Kubrick passed away in 1999, but his films and the style in which he made them continue to inspire modern filmmakers. If you haven’t seen The Shining before, you definitely need to sit down and watch it…and pay close attention: you never know what is going to happen next in a Stanley Kubrick movie. Enjoy!