It Came From the ’80s: The Shining (1980)

March 22, 2011

The Shining Movie Posterby Sheri White

In the Summer of 1981 (my favorite summer in my teen years), Kevin and I were on-again. However, my mom caught us making out on the porch one night and I wasn’t allowed to see him anymore.


It was really hard for her to enforce that since she worked full-time and I was pretty much on my own and going to the pool everyday.  So we still saw each other; I just didn’t let my mom know.  She liked his friend Vinnie, so I could say I was hanging with Vinnie or my friend JoLynn, and she’d be satisfied.  She had her own thing going on; she was dating my future step dad, so she didn’t really pay too much attention.

My dad and his wife and kids came up from Texas that summer.  I didn’t tell him I wasn’t supposed to see Kevin, so he had no problem letting Kevin come with us on a few outings. My poor dad – when I went to Texas to visit him the next summer, I asked him if I could get my ears double-pierced since it was a big thing at the time. My mom had said no, but I didn’t tell him that.  He wasn’t real thrilled to get a call from my angry mom once I got back.

The Torrance family drives to the Overlook Hotel.

The Torrance family drives to the Overlook Hotel.

One night my dad and Kathy, and her sister and her husband decided to go out partying, leaving Kevin and me to babysit the various kids.  Little kids in bad while Kevin and I cuddled on the couch watching movies?  I didn’t even care I wasn’t getting paid.

Back then not everyone had cable TV. Kevin’s family did, so it was no big thing, but when I discovered my step-aunt had cable, I was stoked.  I flipped around the channels (the remote was connected to the TV with a wire!) and saw that The Shining was about to start.

Not only was a cool horror movie coming on, it was rated “R” – and I wasn’t allowed to watch those.  Plus we were given permission to have a couple beers while the adults were out – it was such a perfect night.

I’m sure everyone has seen The Shining by now.  I had only seen previews, so I didn’t really know what it was about.  I hadn’t read the book yet.  I had no idea just how scary it would be! It was really riveting, too; Kevin and I didn’t make out at all during the movie!  The usual parts stand out in my memory of that night – the blood gushing out of the elevators, “Here’s Johnny!,” “I’m just gonna BASH YOUR
BRAINS IN” and the naked lady in the bathtub that turns out to be a dead hag.

Creepy-ass little girls from The Shining (1980).

Creepy-ass little girls from The Shining (1980).

That was such a fun night – after the movie was over, the next thing that came on was a comedy skit show called “Jokes Your Folks Never Told You.” It was so crude, but so funny; Kevin and I laughed the whole time.  It was nice to laugh after being scared during a movie with no adults around.

My dad and Kathy and the rest of the adults came back shortly after that, laughing amongst themselves (they were pretty lit).  Kevin and I were invited to have a couple beers with them before we went home (they were so COOL to us, not irresponsible at all for giving alcohol to minors! LOL!).’

In more recent years, I showed The Shining to my kids. I guess I’ve exposed my kids to horror movies too early, because they didn’t seem too phased by The Shining.  My youngest said it was creepy, but “too long.”  I didn’t think it was long enough – I would’ve loved more creepy scenes.

I also really enjoyed the television mini-series of The Shining from 1997 with Steven Weber.  I actually think he made a better Jack Torrance than Jack Nicholson – blasphemy, I know!  And Rebecca DeMornay was a much better Wendy – Shelley Duvall was just weird.

The rest of that summer was just as fun, but trouble was ahead for Kevin and me; we were off-again in the early Fall, and just when I thought we might get back together, I discovered he had kissed another girl at a Halloween party, so I broke up with him.

But that didn’t last too long…

The Shining Trailer

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6 comments on “It Came From the ’80s: The Shining (1980)

  1. Maggie Mar 25, 2011

    I really hated The Shining when I first saw it – I loved the book and thought the film was rubbish and who the hell was this Stanley Kubrick bloke anyway? Then I had to write an essay about books being made into films and used the Shining as my example – I read a couple of books about Kubrick then rewatched The Shining and then I finally got it… I still have issues about some of it (you’re dead right about Shelly Duvall) but that final shot of Jack in the snow is just too creepy. Also I once stayed in a hotel in Wales that was just like the Overlook… I was convinced I was going to find an old lady in my shower…

  2. Don’t think The Shinning is a forgotten flix. A lot of us people around 30-40 remember it clearly as being one of the scariest movies from our youth.

    Thanks for making me remember it.

    • I agree, The Shining is definitely not a forgotten flick. Many of the movies you’ll find us talking about on this site are remembered by those who grew up with them. But, unfortunately, popular culture moves so fast that many of the movies we think everyone knows aren’t as remembered as we think they are. It’s sad really, but it’s also why fans of these movies need to keep the memories alive by talking about them! 🙂

  3. Damian Mar 31, 2012

    Wow! I am really crazy with this book and movie too… Very scariest in my 80s ))
    I am remember that in 80s I got my 1st top siders ) It was best year in my life. Here is my remembers…

    • Yeah, I don’t know what’s creepier, the twin girl ghosts saying “Come play with us Danny.” Or Nicholson standing alone in his writing room, head lowered, eyes shifted up, just staring, staring…

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