Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seasonal Terror Disorder

'Tis the time of year where people are happy to have snow. It's awesome in a seasonal festive kind of way. But what about when the other people in the house are crrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaazy. And not just for feelin'. In an, oh-shit-Jack-Nicholson-isn't-acting kind of way which brings me to The Shining.
A Masterpiece of Modern Horror, indeed. I can't say anything about The Shining that hasn't already been said or parodied. It is a movie that I find is immensely watchable, scary and intellectual. I've known people who have written their graduate thesis' on this darn movie. Apparently, they passed after filling a hundred pages with "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" then claiming it's post modern (or po-mo).

What I will say about The Shining is that it's the only movie that gets scarier for me the more I watch it. I first saw it when I was 14 and you couldn't pay me to be scared of that movie. Thank God for A&E. They show The Shining at least once a day around Christmas. The older I've gotten the more I've understood of the movie and what makes it scary. The terror comes from relationships that are born out of the family. Patriarchal disputes between father and son, the deteriorating relationship between husband and wife, your child's imaginary friend getting too mouthy... The more you understand about human nature, the more terrifying The Shining becomes.

Snow is as much of a character in the Shining as a member of the family. It creates the whole set piece and functions as a plot device as Danny runs from Jack in the hedge maze and covers his tracks with snow. Cold, cold snow. I think about that in the middle of a snowstorm when I'm in my house. These would be the people I'd stuck with. And it's always good to come up with a plan if one of them goes crazy. And you had better hope they do. Because, if someone doesn't flip a logic switch that means you're the crazy one.

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