Literary Nonfiction. Film Studies. Translated by Jacob Homel. Winner of a silver IPPY. Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining was released in 1980 and has been fascinating viewers ever since. It is a psychological thriller about a writer with writer's block (along with his wife and their young son) who takes a job as caretaker of an isolated hotel in the Colorado mountains during the winter off–season. The boy, Danny, is gifted with a "sixth sense" and soon begins receiving disturbing messages about the hotel's mysterious past, and thus begins a cinematic descent into madness and terror.
Simon Roy first saw The Shining when he was ten years old and was mesmerized by a particular line in the movie spoken by Dick Hallorann, the chef of the Overlook Hotel, while he is giving the family an orientation tour of the facilities. Hallorann seems to speak directly to Danny (and Simon Roy) while in the middle of enumerating the stock of the hotel's pantry to Danny's mother. He glances at Danny and the words cross telepathically into the boy's mind: "How'd you like some ice cream, Doc?"
Roy has since seen the movie over forty–two times, and the painstaking bond he has knitted with this story of evil has enabled him to absorb the disquieting traits of his own family's "macabre lineage." Analysis of the film, and the many parallels to his own family's troubled history, have allowed him to gain insight into the nature of domestic violence and brought him face to face with the "banality of evil."
"On first viewing, The Shining barely coheres: It's hard to say why exactly events in the film happen as they do. Yet long after, it remains deeply unsettling. Mother and child survive, but the axe-wielding father's death offers no finality. When Simon Roy was a boy, he caught The Shining on television. The deluge of blood made no impression, but when Dick Hollorann asked in slow-mo voice-over 'How'd you like some ice cream, Doc?' young Simon was sure the hotel chef spoke directly to him. Since that moment of being scared witless, Roy has watched Kubrick's film obsessively, finding new meaning in it and dark parallels with his own story. Just as Kubrick used Stephen King's novel to talk about the horrors of genocide revisited on the present, in Kubrick Red, Roy analyses the film to exorcise a crime in his family's past. An atypical memoir tracing genealogies of violence — as startling as the film that inspired it."—Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
Simon Roy is professor of literature at Lionel–Groulx College in Sainte–Thérèse, Quebec. KUBRICK RED is his first book.
Author City: Montreal, QC CAN