I had nightmares about “The Shining” before I’d even seen it.
As a kid, I wasn’t a fan of horror films. Some may credit this fear to an “overactive imagination.” My father, being the dedicated psychiatrist he was, developed and executed a series of social experiments to get to the root of this cowardly behavior. He would measure just how little information concerning a particular horror scenario he could divulge to me before I flew off into wild fits of screeching and slapping my ears. This was, for him, hilarious.
The most striking images my father described to me were that of two twin girls standing bloody in a hallway and the deteriorating body of a nude elderly woman come back from the dead. I knew nothing about Kubrick or “The Shining,” and I certainly didn’t know where these phantoms came from, but they’d love to pop up right around the time the hall light was shut off for the night.
“The Shining” had become, for me, a hint at the most terrifying experience imaginable, a series of images with no real concrete explanation as to what their purpose was. More than a movie, it was a feeling of dread mixed with adrenaline. And the first teaser promises just that.
The scene, iconic for anyone who’s seen the film, is a perfect representation of “The Shining” as a whole. The rush of blood coming from the elevators is inexplicable, beautiful and horrifying all at the same time. It is the type of slow motion mind melt that leads to lucid dreaming. What you’re experiencing doesn’t feel real, but at the same time, it’s not nightmarish enough to jolt you into conciousness. We see the title, the names of the stars and the grand label of Kubrick scroll down the screen, but none of that is really important.
What matters is the dread.
For anyone who hasn’t seen “The Shining” (don’t roll your eyes, it took me 21 years to work up the courage), one look at this trailer and that image is ingrained in your mind as the means to something deeper, something eerier. You want to know why this is happening. You want the whole story.
But you’ll never get it.