The Shining or Full Mental Jacket

Ash Isaac


Yes! Finally, after months of nagging, heated late night discussions, bartering, negotiating, begging and other supplicating acts I’d rather not mention, the Vada bigwigs have agreed to sanction my first interactive film review. This week I will be staying at the Overlook Hotel, the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, to sample the local pursuits and engage in some much-needed R & R. The Shining is based on a Stephen King novel and the only other King works I’m familiar with are the Shawshank Redemption & Stand By Me; both short stories about the value of friendship and the triumph of hope over adversity. I’m sure The Shining will be in the same vein. Can’t wait!


Ok, there seems to have been some kind of mix-up in my reservation. I assumed I would be arriving at the height of the ski season and expected to see the bars heaving with chalet girls and boys taking advantage of the après-ski, but instead I find myself alone with just the caretaker and his family for company. They seem a pleasant bunch although there is something about the son, Danny, I just can’t place my finger on. Anyway, the hotel itself is a welcoming if slightly eerie building with all the facilities you would expect from a top resort. As long as there’s alcohol, I’ll be fine.


There’s no alcohol. I try calling the Vada hotline, but there’s no answer. Probably out drinking. Bastards. I spend some time with the caretaker, Jack. He says he’s a former alcoholic, ex-school teacher who’s come here with his family in order to write a novel. Somehow all of the above qualifies him to be the caretaker for a large, high end hotel. The snow is really coming down.


The son, Danny, is starting to annoy me. All he does is ride his tricycle around the hotel and scratch up the laminate floors. He keeps talking to me about some horrible murder and these twin girls that are constantly following him around. I pretend I have some writing to do and retire to my room, number 237.


I’m starting to like Jack. He talks to me about his book and I tell him I dabble a little with the written word myself and that I’d be happy to have a look and give feedback. It’s 400 pages of the same sentence written over and over again.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. It’s a post-modern, abstract work of genius. A paean to the futility of modern life. It’ s the first novel I dreamed of writing myself. Jack is clearly some kind of creative visionary, a literary Van Gogh who’s unappreciated and unrecognised in his own time.


Jack is clearly some kind of homicidal maniac. He’s just hacked to death a black gentleman that was in the foyer of the hotel. Jack says the dead man was interfering with his work somehow. Now, I know genius is unpredictable, but I think axe murdering is where I have to draw the line. It’s a really awkward moment and I wonder if Jack has been drinking from a secret stash. Maybe he needs a chat with his sponsor. Jack then tries to use the axe to break into the room where his wife and Danny are staying. His wife is holding a huge carving knife. I want to intervene, but domestic disputes are always difficult. I give Jack the number for Relate. Danny and his mother decide to go outside into the snow and lark around in the giant topiary maze that the hotel has in its grounds. They’ll catch their death.


I’m waiting to be picked up. Vada say they have dispatched the company Gulfstream to come pick me up. I’m not sure how it will land in the snow and without a runway. I wait in the lobby with Jack who is still clinging onto his axe. He tells me about another caretaker who ended up massacring his family, elevators full of blood, poltergeist bar staff and old, decaying women. I get bored and go to the hospitality room. I wonder if that ghostly bar tender is there. I could use a Mojito.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.