The Shining: Behind the Scenes and Screams

Love it or hate it – The Shining is labeled one of the scariest films of all time.

From “Here’s Johnny!” to “RedRum”, The Shining, and Stanley Kubrick, have made their mark in pop culture around the globe since the film’s 1980 release. Some friends of mine can’t watch certain scenes because it’s too scary (like the Grady twins or the blood in the elevator), while I on the other had wouldn’t necessarily call it the scariest film ever, mainly because Shelley Duvall kind of makes me laugh throughout. Where does it fall on your list of scariest films ever?

Well, thanks to this Imgur page, we get to go behind the scenes of the 1978 filming of the movie shot in Hertfordshire, Britain. These behind the scream shots kind of make the movie less scary to me, although there is something somewhat sinister behind Jack Nicholson‘s joker-esque grin.

the shining lloyd

the shining snow scene

the shining steadicam

From a production point of view, Drempt particularly likes the use of Steadicam used in the film (pictured above), where, we learned from the Wiki page that, Garrett Brown, the inventor of the revolutionary device, was “heavily involved with the production.” From the Wikipedia page:

“This film was among the first half-dozen to use the then-revolutionary Steadicam (after the 1976 films Bound for GloryMarathon Man, and Rocky), and was Kubrick’s first use of it. This is a stabilizing mount for a film camera, which mechanically separates the operator’s movement from the camera’s, allowing smooth tracking shots while the operator is moving over an uneven surface. It essentially combines the stabilized steady footage of a regular mount with the fluidity and flexibility of a handheld camera.

Brown published an article in American Cinematographer about his experience, and contributed to the audio commentary on the 2007 DVD release of The Shining. Brown describes his excitement taking his first tour of the sets which offered “further possibilities for the Steadicam”. This tour convinced Brown to become personally involved with the production. Kubrick was not “just talking of stunt shots and staircases”. Rather he would use the Steadicam “as it was intended to be used – as a tool which can help get the lens where it’s wanted in space and time without the classic limitations of the dolly and crane.”

Kubrick himself aided in modifying the Steadicam’s video transmission technology. Brown states his own abilities to operate the Steadicam were refined by working on Kubrick’s film. On this film, Brown developed a two-handed technique which enabled him to maintain the camera at one height while panning and tilting the camera. Brown notes that”

“One of the most talked-about shots in the picture is the eerie tracking sequence which follows Danny as he pedals at high speed through corridor after corridor on his plastic Big Wheel tricycle. The soundtrack explodes with noise when the wheel is on wooden flooring and is abruptly silent as it crosses over carpet. We needed to have the lens just a few inches from the floor and to travel rapidly just behind or ahead of the bike.”

This required the Steadicam to be on a special mount modeled on a wheelchair in which the operator sat while pulling a platform with the sound man.”

What are your favorite Shining moments? SHARE with us!

~Arielle

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