The Shining [Blu-ray]

The Shining [Blu-ray]

?Heeeeere?s Johnny!? In a macabre masterpiece adapted from Stephen King?s novel, Jack Nicholson falls prey to forces haunting a snowbound mountain resort with a macabre history.Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling horror novel than a complete reimagining of it from the inside out. In King’s book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick’s movie is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel’s labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer, who’s settled in for a long winter’s hibernation. As many have pointed out, King’s protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick’s Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him–all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley

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Draculas: 4 Film Favorites – Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)

Horror of Dracula Dracula Has Risen From The Grave Taste The Blood of Dracula Dracula A.D. 1972

Rating: (out of 41 reviews)

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9 thoughts on “The Shining [Blu-ray]

  1. Review by Joseph P. Menta, Jr. for Draculas: 4 Film Favorites – Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)
    Usually I have to pass on these inexpensive Warner Brothers four-movie collections that have popped up lately, as I either have no interest in the movies offered (the “Police Academy” compilation, for instance), or I already own one or more of the movies in the set. Finally, though, with this cool “Dracula” offering, there were four movies that I didn’t own and was actually interested in seeing.

    All four of these old Hammer Studios (Hammer was affiliated with Warner Brothers) “Dracula” films are engaging fun, often shocking and scary, too. Of course, I was immediately struck by the fact that Christopher Lee’s Dracula really doesn’t have much to do in any of them. Basically, his rarely-speaking character is there to set the story in motion, appear once or twice throughout, and then show up at the end to bring it to a close. The four movies devote much more of their attention to the activities of the characters surrounding Dracula, which is actually sort of interesting.

    Though I liked these movies a lot overall, I have to point out one ludicrous (but nonetheless entertaining) sequence in “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave!”, the second film in this set. In this movie, Dracula is actually revived by a priest stumbling around in the forest who trips, bumps his head on a rock, and falls unconscious. Blood from his head wound then trickles onto the surface of the frozen creek under him, drips down through a crack in the ice, and into the lips of a frozen Dracula, who just happens to be directly under where the priest tripped! The trickle of blood revives Dracula for that particular movie. Amazing! Oh, I should mention that the priest was actually in the forest BECAUSE of Dracula (he was on a mission to sanctify Dracula’s castle, to make it unusable for the vampire in the event he ever tried to return to it), so it was really unlucky that the priest decided to trip- after traveling hours through the forest- RIGHT ABOVE THE SPOT where Dracula’s corpse was frozen in the ice. I thought that was really funny.

    Anyway, aside from that head-scratching moment, the stories here are mostly solid, the prints are sharp and clean, and there are even a few modest extras (mostly in the form of the films’ trailers). If you enjoy horror movies of years past, you can’t go wrong with this entertaining set, especially considering the price.

  2. Review by Media Mike for Draculas: 4 Film Favorites – Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)
    This nice little four pack is a great introduction to Hammer horror movies, which are admittedly an acquired taste today. When the Hammers came out in the 50’s to 70’s they were notorious for being shocking (showing –gasp!–blood!). Needless to say, they will seem tame to a modern audience.

    On the other hand, we don’t get the graphic excess of today’s horror movies, and there is a vitality to the proceedings missing from the stage-based look of the Universal predecessors. Dracula doesn’t just strike a pose when stalking a victim–he runs across a room and lunges at him. Van Helsing would similarly scamper over a table to get his stake into a vampire.

    A big plus is that the Hammer Dracula films feature one or both of two of the best character actors ever – Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

    Be aware that the fantasy side of things is toned down. Dracula doesn’t turn into a bat or cling to walls, for instance.

    Finally, The quality of the movies is not consistent. “Horror of Dracula” is by far the standout, and by the time things get to “1972”, inspiration (and the interest of the actors) has fallen considerably. Still, for four movies this is a great price.

  3. Review by Lee H. Hasselman for Draculas: 4 Film Favorites – Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)
    NO movie company EVER gave a more scenic, rustic,*GOTHIC* ambience than HAMMER STUDIOS!. AND!, as lasting and classic as Lugosi was, Christopher Lee was the PERFECT Dracula!. Hammer began it all with “HORROR OF DRACULA” in 1958, and it was gory for that time!… Several years passed, and the first sequal was ‘DRACULA PRINCE Of DARKNESS {My Favorite,and I NEVER understood why this wasn’t on this set instead of A.D 72???}.So outstanding was this 2nd installment, that HAMMER,themselves,realized they had something special!. Only to follow were;’DRACULA HAS RISEN’…,’TASTE THE BLOOD’…,and ‘SCARS OF DRACULA{highly UNDERATED!}. Finally;Satanic Rites, and A.D.’72. … But HAMMER did it right!; Little nuances :>{Lamps on carriages, English Countryside, candles,Castles}!!!.

    It is a horror fans dream to have such timeless movies to go along with outstanding scripts!,and just ‘atmospheric’ scenery alone boggles!… HAMMER horror is MORE than enough to quench the pallet!; THUS!; to top it all off ! ; *Christopher Lee* IS at his…The VERY BEST !!!!

    BUY IT!

  4. Review by Trevor Willsmer for Draculas: 4 Film Favorites – Horror of Dracula / Dracula Has Risen from the Grave / Taste the Blood of Dracula / Dracula A.D. 1972 (2DVD)
    Skipping the Hammer sequels Warners don’t have the rights to – the Christopher Lee-free Brides of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness, Scars of Dracula and The Satanic Rites of Dracula – this is nonetheless an excellent collection of some of the best in the series.

    Hammer’s groundbreaking 1958 version of Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula) is still one of the very best despite the many liberties Jimmy Sangster’s concise and highly effective script takes with Bram Stoker’s novel to whittle it down to an hour-and-a-half. It’s not just the names that have been changed around and the cast of characters greatly reduced to Hammer’s budget levels (admirably disguised here by Bernard Robinson’s excellent production design). John Van Eyssen’s Jonathan Harker is no longer a lawyer, but here is posing as a librarian to get into Dracula’s castle with an ulterior motive – presumably on the grounds that the audience knows going in just what Dracula is so there’s no point putting the hero through all that mystery when there’s staking to be done. The budget doesn’t stretch to the voyage and arrival of the ghost ship Demeter or even a Renfield for that matter, and this Dracula has no social interaction with his intended victims in Whitby or London – in fact, he never even leaves the continent. Nor is the vampire fascinated with Harker’s intended – here he simply seeks her out as revenge. Yet the changes work surprisingly well, and even throws in a few good twists like the location of Dracula’s hiding place.

    Although he doesn’t have much screen time, Christopher Lee is inspired casting, a feral, vicious creature rather than a Eurotrash smoothie while a very agile Peter Cushing makes a surprisingly physical Van Helsing, the final fight between the good doctor and the evil count surprisingly energetic and violent before the best of the studio’s ashes to ashes, dust-to-dust finales. Although rather sedate by today’s standards, this film still has a surprising degree of energy and it’s easy to see why it made had such a profound impact on the horror genre for decades to come. The first colour version of the tale, it made a big selling point of being able to see the blood in all its vivid hues of red, although it also makes much play on the vampire’s female victims being absolutely gagging for it (perhaps not so surprising with Peter Cushing and Michael Gough as the male leads), setting the groundwork for the tits’n’fangs formula that would become the studio’s bread and butter over the next couple of decades. A surprisingly cheap picture, thanks to Bernard Robinson’s elegant production design and fine direction from Terence Fisher before the drink got to him, it never looks cheap: if anything, it’s rather seductively good looking. Unfortunately this is slightly compromised by Warners’ widescreen DVD, which feels overcropped at 1.85:1 (the film was intended to be shown in 1.66:1) and there’s also a slight wobble at the end of the closing credits.

    For the US release of Hammer’s fourth Dracula film (only the third to actually feature Christopher Lee, the Count sitting out Brides of Dracula), Warner Bros. used a one-sheet of a woman’s neck with a sticking plaster on it, following the title Dracula Has Risen From the Grave with the single word ‘Obviously.’ The film itself, however, is anything but tongue-in-cheek, and played deadly straight with a conviction the series gradually lost over the years. It’s probably the best-looking of all the Hammer Dracula sequels, and also the first where Christopher Lee actually speaks. As usual he’s almost a background figure for much of the film, with the bulk of the film carried by Barry Andrews’ atheist student romancing Veronica Carlson’s niece of Rupert Davies’ Monsignor, who inadvertently starts the blood flowing again when his attempt to exorcise Dracula’s castle only results in the Count being revived from his icy grave by blood from a convenient cut. Finding himself cast out of his home and aided by Ewan Hooper terrified priest (Renfield presumably being otherwise engaged), Dracula determines to take his revenge on Davies and his kin, stopping off en route for a light snack with Barbara Ewing’s busty redheaded barmaid.

    With a prologue that takes place before Dracula, Prince of Darkness and the main body of the film taking place a year later, it takes some liberties with the vampire mythology: the revived Dracula’s first appearance is as a reflection, he has no problem removing crosses from willing girls’ necks while a stake alone is no longer enough to kill him: you have to pray as well, which is a bit of a problem when your hero doesn’t believe in God. Yet they’re not as jarring as they might be, the latter resulting in one particularly memorably gory sequence. The change in director from Terence Fisher, sadly in decline at that time and unavailable due to a car crash, to Freddie Francis gives the film less of a production-line feel than most of the studio’s Dracula series and, despite an awkward filter in some scenes and a distinctly jaundiced look for the Count, the film has a much more expansive look and feel almost unique in the series, with a striking and well-employed rooftop set courtesy of undervalued production designer Bernard Robinson and some relatively unfamiliar Pinewood standing sets rather than the overused backlot at Bray. He gets good performances too, with a particularly nice turn from Michael Ripper as an amiable innkeeper (as opposed to his usual miserable and terrified innkeepers).

    Unfortunately while the DVD boasts excellent colour and definition, some shots look oddly distorted, as if stretched, and the sound wanders in and out of synch far too often for comfort. On the plus side it does restore the censor cuts of about half a dozen gallons of blood spurting from Dracula’s chest after he gets staked and includes the original trailer.

    Taste the Blood of Dracula follows on so directly from Dracula Has Risen From the Grave that, after one particularly bizarre piece of deus ex machina that borders on the inspired, it begins with Roy Kinnear literally stumbling into the last scene of the movie. On a less welcome note it also marks the point at which an increasingly reticent Christopher Lee was reduced to a cameo figure as the Count – it’s not until the halfway point that he’s resurrected in a less than convincing display of special effects. Until then much of the film is carried, and rather well, by Geoffrey Keen’s Bible-bashing strict disciplinarian Victorian dad, the kind of man you can set your watch by as he sets off to do `charity work’ in the East End with his respectable friends John Carson and Peter Sallis saving fallen women – about two each once a month in Roy Hudd’s brothel discreetly located in the backrooms of a soup kitchen. It’s there that he and his pals are surprised playing horsie by Ralph Bates’ dissolute disinherited aristo who has sold his soul to the Devil and offers to broker the same deal for them if they’ll buy Dracula’s cape and blood for him, reasoning that “Having tried everything that your narrow imaginations can suggest, you’re bored to death with it all, right?” Naturally it all ends badly with Bates getting a severe case of indigestion after drinking the blood of the title and getting kicked to death by his new friends, conveniently providing Dracula with a new body and a new mission – to destroy all three men through their children (a typical role-call of amply-bosomed totty, future BBC regulars and supporting actors who never made it to the major leagues in the forms of Linda Hayden, Isla Blair, Martin Jarvis and Anthony Higgins in the days when he was still calling himself Anthony Corlan) while Michael Ripper’s ineffectual detective displays a pronounced lack of interest in the mounting body count.

    The idea of the sins of the fathers being revenged by their children is a good one, offering both a neat twist and a reason for Lee’s extremely limited screen time that keeps him very much to the sidelines until the disappointing finale, but it’s certainly one of the more entertaining sequels and, a couple of lapses such as the resurrection scene aside, boasts superior and atmospheric direction from Peter Sasdy with some surprisingly graceful camerawork. It’s also the last of the Hammer Draculas that looks like they spent some money on it – when they churned out Scars of Dracula the same year, it looked like they’d spent all their money on this one and had only pocket change and whatever was left over in the studio wardrobe for that!

    Warner’s DVD offers a good widescreen transfer with the original trailer as the only extra.

    For reasons known only to the author, Bram Stoker’s Dracula never included the line “Sergeant, I’ll bet you a pound to a pinch of s**t that there’s a little piece of hash at that party, and if there is, I’ve got them.”, but the early 70s saw that particular oversight put right. Dracula A.D. 1972 saw Hammer trying to pump new life into the old Count with a new creative team whose big idea was basically to rehash the plot of Taste the Blood of Dracula in the 1970s with Christopher Neame in the Ralph Bates role as Johnny Alucard, here conning a thrill-seeking group of with it kids (Michael Kitchen and Caroline Munro among them) into making a date with the Devil with a Black Mass at the deconsecrated church that not only holds Lawrence Van Helsing’s body (Lawrence? Whatever happened to Abraham?) and Dracula’s ashes. “Okay, okay. But if we do get to summon up the big daddy with the horns and the tail, he gets to bring his own liquor, his own bird and his own pot.”

    As with the Godzilla films, the main attraction is kept off the screen for most of the running time – top-billed Christopher Lee’s role is probably smaller in this than any other in the series, four brief scenes probably totalling no more than ten minutes. Worse still, looking more like Peter Sellers than Transylvanian aristocracy, he brings nothing except continuity to the part: he does what is asked of him with professionalism, but that’s about it. Instead the bulk of the film is carried by Neame’s Malcolm McDowell wannabe, second-billed Peter Cushing as Van Helsing’s grandson Lorimar, Stephanie Beacham and Michael Coles’ open-minded cop (“There is a Satan.” “Of course. Otherwise we wouldn’t need a police force, would we?”). Yet despite the clumsily handled prologue and finale it’s fairly entertaining even if it is completely derivative, perhaps even more entertaining now than when it was released because its hip and happening trappings are far funnier than the intentional comic relief – not least Johnny Alucard urging “Dig the music, kids!” during the black mass – and it’s a lot better than Dracula 2000.

    The DVD also includes the wonderfully over the top trailer – “Are you ready? He’s ready. He’s waiting to freak you out – right out of this world!” – but not the short making of documentary from when the picture was still called Dracula Today (other rejected titles included Dracula Chases the Mini Girls and Dracula Chelsea ’72!).

  5. Review by for The Shining [Blu-ray]
    In 1975 King stayed with his family in a hotel in the Colorado mountains, and there “The Shining” was conceived, to be published two years later. Already famous, with this book King entered the hall of fame where he resides to this day. In 1980 Stanley Kubrick directed a bone-chilling silver screen adaptation of “The Shining”, starring Jack Nicholson. A breakthrough in cinematography, the film defined the modern horror as it was. Strangely, it does not diverge from the book as much as the author claims it does. With one slight irrelevant exception of an ending, there was only one issue that enraged King, and created animosity between the two giants ever after. Whereas Kubrick put emphasis on madness, King wanted the film to have dealt more with the alcoholism and the wreckage of personality. Therefore in 1997 we had a chance to see the TV miniseries directed by Mick Garris, “Stephen King’s The Shining”, which appeared to be a complete failure compared to its silver screen predecessor, although produced in cooperation with the author, and slavishly faithful to the novel. In my humble opinion, the infinitely longer King’s version didn’t create anything close to a frightening, suffocating atmosphere of Kubrick’s version. Moreover, I can’t possibly imagine anyone coming ever so close to Nicholson’s interpretation of Jack Torrance, the haunted alcoholic from the novel. Nicholson was born to play such roles, and certainly, if you have seen this film at least once, you won’t be able to forget it ever. I also claim that the wretched fate of a failed man, an alcoholic, was adequately and sufficiently portrayed in the original film version. The book is slightly repetitive in this respect, and the great virtue of Kubrick’s vision is that he was able to get rid of the redundancy apparent in King’s novel. In the mid-seventies, “The Shining” must have been a lightning of prophecy. A rich novel, which combined fantastic storytelling, and portrayal of alcoholism and hopelessness of the young marriage – “The Shining” was an instant success. Of course it might be a flagship example of an intelligent horror novel, but there are better accounts of haunted houses out there. Second, after a third novel crossing the genre territory, King was pigeonholed as a horror writer, and thus ever after his works were ignored and ridiculed as not worth reading. I agree that half of the time his books do not deserve mentioning and fall well into usual, categories, there are volumes to which there is more than it appears at a glance. The Shining is a best example of a novel where horror is used as a starting point for good old storytelling, where the crucial element has little in common with the supernatural, and much to do with mainstream portrait of the society and ordinary individuals faced with extraordinary circumstances.It’s worth to read the book, and then see Kubrick’s and King’s film versions. This way, you will be able to approach the same grand story from three different angles, and none of them weak, quite to the contrary.

  6. Review by M. Maloney for The Shining [Blu-ray]
    This disc will feature an enhanced audio/video track for the feature film. Other features include commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter. There will be the same old “Making of the Shining” documentary that was featured on the old disc, but there are also three new featurettes: View from The Overlook: Crafting the Shining, The Visions of Stanley Kubrick, and Wendy Carlos, Composer. All in all, I’d make the purchase based on the video quality and enhanced sound alone.

  7. Review by Mike Liddell for The Shining [Blu-ray]
    I personally wouldn’t re buy every film that comes out on Hd-dvd especially seeing as how the prices haven’t really come down. That said a film like this is an exception, I believe horror fans are some of the most die hard film fans out there, and should and will pick this one up.

    For Audiophiles there is a new 5.1 track as opposed to the mono you got on the previous release. The beginning score when Jack is driving to the Overlook hotel is amazing cranked up with a Dolby digital plus track in 5.1.

    The transfer on this is beautiful.

    The Shining is the greatest Stephen King film adapation and is one, if not the greatest of all horror films. Also one of the greatest films for any genre and right in time for Halloween you can’t go wrong.

    Special features

    – Audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter

    – The Making of The Shining, with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick (from the previous DVD)

    – New View from The Overlook: Crafting The Shining featurette

    – New The Visions of Stanley Kubrick featurette

    – New Wendy Carlos, Composer featurette

    -Theatrical Trailer – This was one of the most effectives and eeriest trailers I’ve ever seen and it was so simple.

    I’ll go more in depth of the special features as I watch them.

    Technical Specs:

    – Aspect Ratio: 1080p HD 16X9 1:85:1

    – Audio: Dolby true HD: English 5.1 Dolby digital plus

  8. Review by Cale E. Reneau for The Shining [Blu-ray]
    The Shining is one of the horror genre’s most notable films. Made in 1980 by the late, legendary Stanley Kubrick, the film stands out as not only one of his best but probably the best Stephen King adaptation as well. Though not nearly as true to the book as the later TV-movie would be, it is undoubtedly darker, more macabre, and ultimately superior to that version. Kubrick was a genius behind the camera, giving us long, beautiful shots, allowing us to take in both the beauty and the horror of the Overlook Hotel. For those who have yet to see the movie (and honestly, who hasn’t at this point?), do yourself a favor and buy it today! Disappointment is impossible.

    As for the transfer of the film, it is unbelievable. While clearly not as visually stunning or breathtaking as modern day flicks, this HD DVD version of The Shining boasts a virtually flawless transfer and cleans up many of the blemishes that were present on previous VHS and DVD versions. Black levels are deep, clean, and ungrainy and the majority of the film offers a surprisingly clean look. Detail is not as strong as it could have been, but Kubrick intentionally shot this film softly. The images won’t pop and shine like modern movies will, as this is an old film, but for the price of the disc you are without a doubt getting the highest quality transfer this film has ever seen.

    Audio has been upgraded from a mono to a TrueHD soundtrack, but for the most part audio will be very front-heavy. Most of the peripheral speakers are used only for music, to intensify the sound of it (and it is effective).

    Special features are slim: the old making of documentary (with or without commentary), theatrical trailer, and a few small featurettes that delve deeper into the making of The Shining, as well Stanley Kubrick’s “Visions.” All pretty standard fare, all in 480i/p standard definition.

    Whether you’re a long time fan of the film, or new to it, this is a must-own if you own an HD DVD player and HDTV! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  9. Review by Steve for The Shining [Blu-ray]
    I own both the 2001 and 2007 DVDs of this film. I really don’t have any interest is who is ‘right’ with the aspect ratio argument, I compared both versions and found that you’re missing some of the video image regardless of which version you buy. I took screenshots of both DVDs and overlayed them on top of each other. I found that with the 2001 release, you get the 1:33:1 aspect ratio where the far left and right of the screen image is clipped. With the 2007 release, you get the 1.78:1 aspect ratio where the top and bottom of the screen image is clipped off. You can see what I mean by viewing the ‘customer image’ I posted, above. The blue border is for the 2001 release and the red border is the 2007 release.

    Both DVDs are ‘digitally restored and remastered’, however the 2007 release is noticeabley brighter and more vivid. The 2001 image seems faded and dull.

    This release has all the other special features of the 2001 DVD release, with the addition of optional commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter and three new featurettes.

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