Whether or not you are a fan of the works of Stephen King (I remember I once waxed especially pretentious in college as I asserted that he might be a good storyteller but he is a mediocre writer - god) it is impossible to dispute that he holds an essential place in the canon of horror. The Shining in particular demands attention and between analyses of the book and critiques of the movie there have been literally thousands of papers on the subject; there is even a movie about the different ways the film is perceived.
So I think it is amazing that no one - perhaps not even King or Kubrick themselves - understands what truly makes The Shining so very very scary. It's not the creepy twins or the naked lady who turns green and melts. It's not REDRUM or the grinning maniac with an axe hunting down his own family either. What makes The Shining so haunting, so horrifying, so sinister is that it slices to the very depth of human existence and lays bare that which the soul most fears: at its heart The Shining is a story about parents trapped with their child on a Snow Day that never ends.
Yeah, I know. Minor chord, minor chord, minor choooooooord.
You will have to wait until the snow melts to read my treatise on the subject but the key issues I plan to address are these: if the child was away from home being educated would not Jack have been able to sit down at his typewriter with a cup of tea and actually write his post novel without having to stop every five minutes because he had to help get two Legos apart? Can we stress too strongly the fact that had Danny been at school day in and day out like I was when I was a girl (uphill. both ways) his father would not have had to break off mid-thought (again) to point out that since they have roughly five miles of hallway perhaps Danny could go ride his tricycle somewhere other than around and around his desk? Is there any other reason for chopping through a door beyond the extreme provocation of having to ask repeatedly that his son and the ghost twins stop jumping on each other whilst screaming? In short, would Jack have descended into madness if he had been able to slap some boots on the kid and send the little lump of sucking need to school?
Yes, no, no and, most profoundly, no.
PS My children have now been home for at least a chunk of every week since the middle of December and I am gibbering. Gibbering! I tell you. And I know I am fortunate in this instance because it's not like I have a job or anything else to do besides interact with my belovable children every five seconds. Without cease. Every day. For weeks on end. It's an introvert's dream right there, I'll tell you what. But still... while I might be drinking more wine than usual in the evening at least I am not scrambling to come up with childcare as they cancel school - AGAIN - because it is too cold in Minnesota. Too cold! In Minnesota! I feel for everyone who smacked their foreheads against the wall when the call came last night and I would offer to let you drop your kids off at my house but at this point I also seem to be sympathizing with the guy with an axe so... there are probably better options.