Free Documentary View from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining Looks at How Kubrick Made “the World’s Scariest Movie”

Only three days remain until Hal­loween, the evening on which every­one loves a scary movie. If you watch one your­self this Hal­loween, why set­tle for a scary movie when you could watch the world’s scari­est movie? Or rather, when you could watch what result­ed when one of the most vision­ary auteurs in cin­e­ma his­to­ry put his mind to craft­ing the world’s scari­est movie: The Shin­ing. Whether or not you think it holds that par­tic­u­lar title, Stan­ley Kubrick­’s adap­ta­tion — or, more accu­rate­ly, total cin­e­mat­ic re-envi­sion­ing — of Stephen King’s nov­el has, since its ini­tial release in 1980, tran­scend­ed the realm of the “scary movie” and tak­en a place in the zeit­geist as some­thing more com­plex, more icon­ic, and more per­sis­tent­ly haunt­ing.

Undead twin girls want­i­ng to play, blood flow­ing from ele­va­tors, a man­u­script con­sist­ing of a sin­gle phrase cease­less­ly repeat­ed, “REDRUM” scrawled on a door, a dog-cos­tumed Jazz Age deca­dent, Jack Nichol­son wield­ing an axe: how did Kubrick and com­pa­ny man­age to lodge so per­ma­nent­ly into our sub­con­scious these deeply trou­bling images? Gary Lev­a’s half-hour doc­u­men­tary View from the Over­look: Craft­ing the Shin­ing tries to answer that ques­tion, bring­ing in a group of inter­vie­wees includ­ing Kubrick­’s biog­ra­phers, his col­leagues in film­mak­ing like Syd­ney Pol­lack and William Fried­kin, and his col­lab­o­ra­tors like The Shin­ing’s exec­u­tive pro­duc­er Jan Har­lan, pro­duc­tion design­er Roy Walk­er, and screen­writer Diane John­son. (Jack Nichol­son also makes an insight­ful and non-scary — or at least less scary — appear­ance as him­self.)

View from the Over­look reveals that the vis­cer­al impact of The Shin­ing, a form­less unease that trans­forms into sharp-edged hor­ror as the film goes on, came as a result of (and this will sur­prise no fan of Kubrick­’s) hard, delib­er­ate work, from the dis­man­tling and rebuild­ing of King’s orig­i­nal sto­ry, to the con­struc­tion of the Over­look Hotel out of a mix­ture of real loca­tions and elab­o­rate sets mod­eled on real loca­tions, to the use of new kinds of cam­era rigs (cam­era oper­a­tor Gar­rett Brown hav­ing invent­ed the Steadicam, a device this pro­duc­tion more than put through its paces), and Kubrick­’s infa­mous, actor-break­ing take after take after take. I did­n’t know about any of this, of course, when I first saw The Shin­ing, pop­ping in a VHS copy late at night dur­ing a junior-high Hal­loween par­ty. But now I won’t for­get it — or any­thing else about this (quite pos­si­bly) scari­est movie ever made.

View from the Over­look: Craft­ing The Shin­ing will be added to our list of Free Doc­u­men­taries, a sub­set of our col­lec­tion 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

via Devour

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Mak­ing of The Shin­ing

The Shin­ing and Oth­er Com­plex Stan­ley Kubrick Films Recut as Sim­ple Hol­ly­wood Movies

Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing Reimag­ined as Wes Ander­son and David Lynch Movies

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Anno­tat­ed Copy of Stephen King’s The Shin­ing

Saul Bass’ Reject­ed Poster Con­cepts for The Shin­ing (and His Pret­ty Excel­lent Sig­na­ture)

The Hedge Maze from The Shin­ing Gets Recre­at­ed by Mythbuster’s Adam Sav­age

Room 237: New Doc­u­men­tary Explores Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing and Those It Obsess­es

Down­load & Play The Shin­ing Board Game

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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