A couple nights ago I re-watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), one of my all time favorite horror films. My brother and his friend and I set up a beamer in our living-room and watched Room 237 (the documentary about The Shining) first and then watched Kubrick’s film. It was epic and I appreciated it even more than the first time, having a better knowledge of Stanley Kubrick’s filmography and loving all of the films he has done. I also have a better knowledge of the horror genre, but still, what can I say about the film that hasn’t been said before?
So I came up with a couple ideas while and after watching the film. I noticed that all those ideas are about how The Shining had a huge impact on filmmakers and pop-culture in general. Without prolonging my monologue: Here are five ways in which The Shining was inspirational to other filmmakers and artists all around the globe. Much like Room 237 these are subjective theories, some probably more valid than others.
Sofia Coppola is known to be a fan of Stanley Kubrick fan. She cited Lolita as one of her favorite films, and I certainly agree. The Bar Scene in The Shining reminded me a lot of the one in Lost In Translation and both films mostly take place in a hotel. Maybe it’s the light or the atmosphere or something subconscious, but I think Sofia was inspired by it. You can’t really see it in that picture, but to give you an idea of which scenes I’m referring to.
Wes Anderson is another director that is widely influenced by Kubrick’s aesthetic. The most apparent thing is how he frames his shots. Anderson clearly likes to use wide shots and move his camera like Kubrick used to. His similarities with the master however are mostly on a visual level, thematically and tonally the two couldn’t be more different. The shot on the left is from The Royal Tenenbaums.
Obviously not a visual comparison here, but an audible one. Not that the two scores are terribly similar, but I feel that Johnny Greenwood uses some of the same “wood instruments” (sorry, I’m no musical expert obviously). We all know P. T. Anderson loves Stanley Kubrick, so it’s no stretch that he would assign his composer to do something “similar” or (more likely) Greenwood loves Kubrick as well.
Stanley Kubrick is certainly an auteur, and as such his body of work can and should be viewed as one giant piece. He has evolved stylistically and thematically throughout his career. The Shining maze scene, reminded me of the scene in the trenches in Paths of Glory. In this sense Full Metal Jacket seems like a natural evolution for Kubrick, especially in developing his visual style, just like there would be no ‘Shining’ without Barry Lyndon.
Clearly this idea is kind of silly, but you can’t deny the fact that they’re both on a go-kart, wearing not only the same type of clothing, but the exact same colors. Now, of course Mario has a red hat and all kinds of tricks and he’s actually racing against people, but I can’t help but think that somewhere in Japan someone loved The Shining and wanted to pay homage to it. Even the way it’s shot, from behind is the same!
So, these were my thoughts on The Shining‘s influence and inspiration to other people. The way this film inspired me is that it made me want to watch “older” films. When I first saw it I mostly watched recent mainstream films and now I’m quite the opposite, preferring foreign art house cinema. It’s one of the great horror films and I recommend it to anyone who loves Kubrick, the horror genre or just a good mystery. If you don’t like the horror genre: This is proof that excellent genre pictures exist. If you have seen The Shining, I’d love to hear about how you interpret it and how it inspired you!