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Above all the other compliments you could heap on The Shining, there’s one thing that must be said first and foremost: the movie is scary as hell. Even thirty years after Stanley Kubrick’s haunted house movie was unleashed on the masses, it still packs the same punch it did initially. A modern film can layer as many computer ghosts and goblins over their footage as they want and they’ll never equal the same lurching dread you felt when Danny turned a corner to find two glassy-eyed little girls holding hands. Of course, The Shining also happens to be a masterfully produced film with several complex technical and narrative devices working throughout the film. Is it scary? You bet. But Kubrick’s macabre masterpiece is so much more than that.

1. Kubrick Was Coming Off a Flop

While Stanley Kubrick was far from prolific throughout his career, most of his films were complete successes, both critically and commercially. After seeing a string of massive successes including Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, and Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick hit a lull with the critically reviled Barry Lyndon. While the film has gained some measure of respect in the years since, Kubrick certainly had something to prove with his next picture.

Barry Lyndon
Barry Lyndon

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