plot: A family moves into a hotel for the winter, and slowly start to loose their grip on reality, realizing that the hotel is haunted.
This is the 1980/81 film staring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall based on the novel by Stephen King.
Okay, so after the documentary the other day, I just could not get the idea of this film out of my mind. It's been years since I sat down and watched it all the way through. I actually found the book creepier.
While watching it this time, ironically, I didn't have any of the theories in my mind that played out so well in the documentary. On the contrary, all I could think was how similar some of the scenes were to Nicholson's other two movies Witches of Eastwick and Wolf. There were just too many moments that were mirror images to things he did years later in those films.
Which brings me to mirrors. In one of the first scenes we see him go to the hotel bar. he passes a group of mirrors. The first and second mirrors have his reflection but not the third. And Duvall's character does not seem to have a reflection at all in any of her scenes until the end of the movie. It's almost as if she doesn't have a real self to loose.
Speaking of...bloody hell she's a terrible actor. Those big bug eyes...but she plays the character like she's in a coma. Don't know if that is how her character was meant to be played in this version, or if she's just that bad an actor?
What I saw in this movie, is pretty much what I've always seen in it. Guilt plus isolation plus addiction equals opening themselves up to receiving the ghosts. Becoming portals for their psychic abilities. You have to think, in order for the character of Danny to be that much of a medium, the parents have to have some abilities themselves.
What I see in this movie, is the idea that after Jack finds the scrapbook, he becomes so obsessed with it, that he begins to imagine himself in the lives of the people the scrapbook is about. Which, in this movie you only see one shot of the scrapbook on his desk open. There is also the possibility that he's hidden alcohol or drugs in the hotel and is back to his addictions.
The character of Wendy, never really sat right with me. Not just because the actor is terrible, but because there's just something sinister about her. I know she's portrayed as the victimized wife, but I always got the impression there was something darker about her. Like, she's the abuser. In this version of the story, she is the only one to actually draw first blood. Come to think of it, she draws blood twice before Jack ever does, and when Jack does, it's against another man.
Just once, I'd like to see this movie end with the character of Jack and his son getting away from Wendy, leaving her to the snow storm. How different would the story really be, if the roles were reversed? I could sit here and write hours worth but that's enough for today.