As a lover of all things Stanley Kubrick, I’m always interested in stories and behind-the-scenes photos tied to the late filmmaker’s various projects. Being a horror geek, this is extra true when it comes to The Shining. Kubrick’s fascinating adaptation of Stephen King’s novel may not be the director’s greatest cinematic achievement, but it certainly gives viewers a lot to ponder – as seen in the recent documentary Room 237.
However, if you’re not so interested in kooky conspiracy theories related to Kubrick’s haunted hotel tale – or if you’d just like some more technical and grounded-in-reality information – then this 55-minute documentary is for you.
Staircases to Nowhere originally began its life as an 18-minute short film – culled from interviews that were part of The Elstree Project, an oral history of the movie studios at Elstree and Borehamwood in England. Response was so overwhelmingly positive that the project was expanded – and the full-length Staircases to Nowhere is now the only modern documentary about The Shining to be endorsed by Warner Bros. and the Kubrick Estate. That’s high praise.
Featuring interviews with nine people who actually worked on the film, along with Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, this documentary is chock-full of Kubrickian goodness. It offers not only a glimpse into how one of horror cinema’s most enduring titles was created, but also a portrait of how the very private Kubrick worked. It’s probably the most in-depth and accurate documentary we’ll ever see on this film. The list of interviewees alone is impressive:
Brian Cook - 1st AD
Jan Harlan - Producer
Christiane Kubrick - Wife of Stanley Kubrick
Mick Mason - Camera Technician
Ray Merrin - Postproduction Sound
Doug Milsome - 1st AC and Second Unit Camera
Kelvin Pike - Camera Operator
Ron Punter - Scenic Artist
June Randall - Continuity
Julian Senior - Warner Bros. Publicity
Grab some popcorn and settle in for a fascinating look into one of horror cinema’s most unforgettable films – recounted by the very people who helped Kubrick bring his vision to the screen.
Staircases to Nowhere: Making Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' from Howard Berry on Vimeo.
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