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Haunting Beauty

While we are in the depths of winter with yet another polar vortex looming over us, we’ve been hiding away from life outside, cozying up with movies and marathons of HBO series, trying to pretend that just beyond our front door there isn’t a face-numbing frigid wind, ceaseless and unforgiving.

Temperatures like this bring a certain hotel to mind… a grandiose lodge located in the snowy mountains of the American West… The Overlook Hotel. One of our all-time favorite movies, Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining, is a film that completely plunges into that feeling of isolation and seclusion in the dead of winter.

 

We have always been drawn to this film for the brilliant direction, the dark and mysterious plot, the eerie soundtrack, the fluid camera work, and the chilling performances. But above all, we are obsessed with the gorgeous set design. The scenes are stunning, so powerful they burn images in your psyche that are impossible to escape.

 

 

Kubrick had the reputation to be quite the perfectionist, demanding his actors do many takes, sometimes 50 or more per scene. Meticulously staging his sets, carefully choosing props, paying a great deal of attention to color, placement and lighting. Everything in each scene was specifically set in its place by the director.

 

 

There is so much eye candy in this film. The bright geometric carpets found throughout the hallways of the hotel. The blood red elevators. The classic candle-lit chandeliers. The very 70’s velvet portrait paintings in Dick Hallorann’s apartment. The magnificient yet incredibly daunting hedge maze. The green color-blocked bathroom in the mysterious Room 237.

 

 

Observing the camera snake its way through the immense halls to the narrow more intimate corners of the hotel sparks an urge in us to paint a wall blazing crimson or bright celery green, upholster a piece of vintage furniture in a bold geometric textile or install lustrous shimmering gold drapes in our windows.

 

 

These iconic scenes have been permanently branded into our minds. We are wholly inspired by this film, like we are with all of Kubrick’s films, and yet we are still petrified to watch it alone. Kubrick created a masterpiece, and we, like many other Shining fans are entranced.

Katherine Tyznik.Highstreet

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