Friday, September 15, 2006


The Shining or Aliens?

UPDATED: James Cameron beats Stanley Kubrick. Everything that Max and everyone else said about Aliens is 100% true - it's a completely kickass masterpiece that is essential to any film lover's appreciation of what movies are capable of.

But.

The Kubrick Anthology mentions that the director of With a Friend Like Harry watched The Shining hundreds of times, learning nearly everything about filmmaking from one movie. And I feel the same way - The Shining (which I wrote about here) is one of the most perfectly composed, thematically rich, labyrinthine, visually enthralling, sonically compelling, challenging, total and pure film experiences of all time. There isn't a better horror film.

5 comments:

Mothwitness said...

I vote for The Shining.

Doug said...

(Can finally toss in my two cents)
A tough call, but I'd have to go for Alien. It more effectively works at making you jump out of your seat, where Shining more just makes you squirm in it.

Steve said...

As much as I dig Kubrick, this is an easy call: Aliens. Probably the first horror film I ever saw, and still one of the best.

Max said...

I love The Shining. It's the stuff of nightmares; more than simply offering us a monster to pin our fears on, the film instead proposes that WE are the monsters under our own bed.
ALIENS, however, offers us the ultimate monster, a creature in total opposition to all life save its own; the film takes a familiar creature fear (the insect) and magnifies it to an operatic scale. Not only does the monster consume you, it rapes you and forces you to bear its progeny. Even more than the first film, ALIENS lays bare a real grain of truth: the universe is a completely amoral place. It also offers a certain reversal of perspective - humans are quite comfortable on the top of the food chain, but just imagine for a second if the average size of cockroaches was 2 metres tall. The first film was the most grand vision of what Ridley Scott called the "10 little Indians in an old dark house" routine, but ALIENS puts the very function of human life in perspective, vis a vis the competition of the two species.
That's one mode of interpretation: on the other hand, it's a brilliant tale of one woman's psychological and spiritual redemption. It's also a rip-snortin' action movie, with some of the most amazing special effects ever burned on film. The seamless interaction between the special effects and the surrounding actors gives the film a psychological acceptance of image accomplished by only a few films. It's certainly James Cameron's best work.
I cast my vote for ALIENS.

Sam said...

I love both, but I'm going to vote for The Shining.