review of Stanley Kubrick's The ShiningEdited by Danel Olson and pub­lished by Cen­tipede Press, Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing: Stud­ies in the Hor­ror Film is an enor­mous tome packed with inside infor­ma­tion from cast and crew, includ­ing Jack Nichol­son, Shel­ley Duvall, Scat­man Crothers, the Shin­ing Twins, and even Lia Bel­dam, the actress who played the ghost of the woman in room 237.

This metic­u­lously researched vol­ume also includes illu­mi­nat­ing, some­times sur­pris­ing, essays by many of those who know the film best. In Tony Magistrale’s “Sutured Time: His­tory and Kubrick’s The Shin­ing”, we get a detailed look at Jack Torrance’s descent into insan­ity, includ­ing Stephen King’s thoughts on how Kubrick han­dled the col­lapse of the character’s emo­tional state and the speed with which Jack’s men­tal unrav­el­ing took place.

In “They Ate Each Other Up?”, Ber­nice M. Mur­phy looks at The Shin­ing as a tale with roots in the windigo of Native Amer­i­can leg­end, a the­sis she claims is rein­forced by the fre­quent ref­er­ences to can­ni­bal­ism in the film. Bev Vincent’s “The Genius Fal­lacy” analy­ses attempts to uncover mes­sages hid­den in The Shin­ing and how the search for this secret sub­text has even given us a new word – crypto-​kubrology. And in Danel Olson’s “Shin­ing Through the Labyrinth”, we’re treated to an intrigu­ing and thought-​provoking com­par­i­son between Kubrick’s work and that of Guillermo del Toro.

To com­plete this defin­i­tive vol­ume, there are dozens of pho­tographs of cast, crew, and set, as well as a detailed analy­sis of the film’s music and lit­tle known facts about scenes that were filmed but that never made it to the final cut.

In short, the book is a visual and lit­er­ary feast that can only enhance what Lee Unkrich calls “our dread for and per­verse inter­est in the Overlook.”

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