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Five years after the initial lukewarm reception and subsequent praise of Barry Lydon, famed director Stanley Kubrick looks to foray into the horror genre with The Shining this May.
1975’s Barry Lyndon was not well received well at first by critics, mostly due to pace and run-time. In the end though, the film ended up being nominated for seven Academy Awards, and winning four of those. Even with its success critically, Warner Brothers was not left happy with Kubrick’s trend of critical successes that have little commercial success. So what is the next move for an artistic auteur like Stanley Kubrick? Most people wouldn’t guess it, but Kubrick’s first film in five years will be a horror film adapted from creepy Stephen King’s novel The Shining.
I can’t say that I am surprised though, Kubrick has already aimed his lens at several genres. He made what might arguably become the greatest science fiction film of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey, an amazing historical epic in Spartacus, a hilarious war satire with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, and the aforementioned period piece Barry Lyndon. This move could be a great one for Kubrick. He has been proven to create films with a psychological edge. With both his reputation and skill, Kubrick brings the type of legitimacy that Roman Polanski first brought to the horror genre in 1968 with Rosemary’s Baby. Meaning, horror films can be artistic and meaningful.
Artistically rewarding horror films don’t come around often. The Excorcist was an award winner in 1973, and audiences found another creepy and well crafted horror flick much more recently with the release of last week’s film The Changeling. What Kubrick should worry about though, is will The Shining make enough money to allow the legendary director to shoot other passion projects like his Napoleon biopic. I don’t think Kubrick needs a financially successful film to necessarily maintain his ongoing legacy, but he does need one to maintain his relationship with major studios. Two strong things the film already has going for it though, is the strength of the success of the original novel and the addition of the bankable star-power of Jack Nicholson.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to The Shining?