Film Review - The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick, the same director known for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey recreates the Stephen King novel, “The Shining” and as we are driven through an aerial view of mountains tailing a yellow car with off putting music playing in the background a certain mood is set reminiscent of 2001. - Eeriness diluted with foreshadowed horror.

figure. 1 Opening Scene; Yellow Beetle going to The Overlook
Throughout the beginning of The Shining we are lead around a large, spacious hotel, The Overlook. - Though instead of overlooking everything it is actually overlooked by everything else instead. No one stays in the hotel during the winter leaving Wendy, Danny, Jack and many (perhaps..) uninvited guests to endlessly torment the family. Infact The Overlook hotel does very well to make sure that the three of these people seem as small as possible in comparison. - Especially Danny. To say that the Torrance family are unsuspecting of this new environment may not be completely true, as Jack starts to exhibit something more than curiosity towards the isolation and previous past to The Overlook. Design-wise the daunting hotel is nothing more than a set of corridors with rooms attached; then to the side a maze. It is however the narrative of The Shining that makes it more like a labyrinth with rooms to other dimensions.

Rooms of The Overlook act like portals into other worlds whether that be from a 20’s cabaret room to one being gushed with blood. Room 237 tends to act as a metaphoric head-space of Jack, no one ever allowed to go in there or bad things will happen. When Danny does eventually do so his neck gets scratched and Wendy proclaims that Jack did it. (Even though he has been sitting in the same chair doing work on his typewriter.) Because we don’t see this, nor recall a time where Jack had a chance to do this we are thrown back to Kubrick’s old ways of playing with time and metaphor to insinuate ideas, theories and concepts whilst leaving us puzzled as to when exactly they happened. The Shining becomes less of a film about chronological order but more about fully exploring the reasoning and ultimately psychological depth behind an event’s occurrence. Kubrick does not want you to be as alienated as possible unless you wish to delve into the inner workings of his films. He wants you to think.

figure. 2 Jack's work-room
However arbitrary it may be, The Shining has been metamorphosed as a film about Nazi Germany, a confession to a faked Apollo 11 moon landing and so much more; as people desperately scramble to work out what this film means it is as nonsensical as it is purposeful. Recurring themes constantly surround Kubrick’s 1980 film which brings back interest and curiosity into a complete understanding. In the documentary “Room 237” directed by Rodney Ascher it details The Shining and the theories behind it, as one theorist describes "In every scene there's an impossibility"- (John Fell Ryan, 2012)

It has been argued that The Shining isn't a true horror film and maybe due to the lack of gore and flat-out torture it isn't. Although; the psychological aspects of The Shining are all too much tortuous as well. When you find out that Jack has only been typing the same thing, over and over “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” the simplicity of a hidden item, revealed into something no one expected is where The Shining… shines. “As Torrance smashes a door to get at his screaming wife, he sticks his head through and grins, "Heeeeeere's Johnny." That's Kubrick's real vision of horror.” (Kroll, 1980) As Kroll says, the sheer madness and simplicity of a simple name change is truly scary. We know his name is Jack; but who is Johnny?! It’s so illogically sporadic as it is insane. - But it is only the change of one word - a name. Room 237, Jack’s Typewriter, other closed rooms in The Overlook - so much hidden and eventually revealed but the real definitive answer for Stanley Kubrick’s endlessly spiraling film will forever be speculative and in shadow.

figure 3. The Labyrinth-like Maze
As for the ending of The Shining, it is as realistic as it is extremely preemptive and under-dramatic. There are no explosions, blood or even deaths. Jack may die from being frozen to death, but it’s not sudden. It would have taken a while for him to sit there and slowly freeze. - Another use of timing. Just like in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick’s patience for continuous time-frames working in synapse with each other are in The Shining too. Dwelling “at the outer limits of what can be thought of as a genre film, stretching the definition, filling it out, leaving it richer in its wake.” (Henderson, 2007) - And regardless of the genre, it may be one of the few films to remain timeless because of it’s usage of time and endless speculation.


Illustration List:

Kubrick, S. (1980). Film Poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].

Kubrick, S. (1980). Film Still 1. [image] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].

Kubrick, S. (1980). Film Still 2. [image] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].

Kubrick, S. (1980). Film Still 3. [image] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].


Henderson, E. (2007). The Shining | Film Review | Slant Magazine. [online] Slant Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].

Kroll, J. (1980). The Kubrick Site: Jack Kroll reviews "The Shining". [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Nov. 2014].

Room 237. (2012). [film] Rodney Ascher.

Further Reading (FYI):
Room 237 Documentary:
MSTRMND The Shining Analysis (long):

Film Review - Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

figure. 1

Roman Polanski’s 1965 film, Repulsion, focuses on Carole (Played by Catherine Deneuve, figure. 2), an awfully withdrawn and isolated young woman living in the 1960’s but with none of the fun, glamour and excitement to go along with it. Equally, “the film is both weird and uncompromising, beginning with a close up of a huge gelatinous eye, squeamishly overlaid by the opening titles.” (Macintyre, n.d.) and squeamish it is. But with this squeamishness we are faced with Carole herself. - Made to be the very essence of beauty and French at that; it plays with all types of romanticism towards her. As the film progresses further several people do try to reach out to Carole with her reluctance yet always fail to ask why. - Or when any inquisition to why someone as beautiful as Carole could be so down, an interruption or distraction would occur and the questions dropped and forgotten about.

figure. 2 Carole 

For the beginning of Repulsion the terrified manicurist who bites her nails’ reasons for being like she is are left in shadow. Her uneasiness towards men can only be described as a “shy quirk” as that is what we see from her sister, Yvonne’s perspective. “The Beautiful Younger Sister” when asked how does she do? pulls away in reluctance. The view of nuns ringing a bell as if declaring their chastity to the oddly guilty Carole described as “what lurks beneath the orgasms of pleasure and pain.”(Morgan, 2009) followed by Yvonne and her partner declaring lechery instead, and thinking of such films like Black Narcissus (1947) shows great symbolism in it’s meaning. As Carole slams a pillow into her head to drown out the ever-growing moaning it becomes clear that maybe her plight is more sexual in nature than first believed.

figure. 3 Nuns in a Courtyard
Eventually Carole’s state of mind starts to deteriorate, her environment around her showing this as cracks in the walls appear and a lingering dampness floods the small apartment. An always-present rabbit - a metaphor of Carole’s fertility - rots away slowly and as a NY Times reviewer describes all of these.. “crunching indicators” (Crowther, 1965) for Carole’s deteriorating sanity.

figure. 4 Carole sitting on a bench staring at a crack in the floor

Throughout Repulsion it is extremely honest and raw with what it does show, but with the reasons behind why shadowed in complex hidden meaning. We will never be told why the sheer distressing scene of Carole in her bed being intruded on, the wardrobe she had put in front of the door shoved out of the way happens, or why it is so frequently revisited in dreams and hallucinations. - But as the film ends with a family photo, with everyone else in shadow but Carole and her father we are left feeling the worst sense of lingering…. repulsion.

figure. 5 Protruding hands from the walls of the apartment


Illustration List: 

Polanksi, R. (1965). Film Still 2. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Polanski, R. (1965). Film Poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Polanski, R. (1965). Film Still 1. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Polanski, R. (1965). Film Still 3. [image] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].


Crowther, B. (1965). Movie Review - Repulsion - REPULSION - [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Macintyre, E. (n.d.). Cult Classic Film Review: Repulsion. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Morgan, K. (2009). Roman Polanski Understands Women: Repulsion. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: [Accessed 29 Nov. 2014].

Animation - Zoetrope tests

Original jiggly Eskimo people, wanted to get the basic animation down freely :^)


From far away it looks okay, and whilst I fixed some issues with the animation (still not by any means perfect) but I really prefer the sketchy stuff. Meg did too! After reevaluating that I do in-fact have a noticable style I should use that to the best of my ability. I'll go over this once more more freely and then colour it.

What If Metropolis - OGR #2

What If Metropolis - Design Blueprint

A blueprint-styled layout of my city. :^) 

Film Review - Black Narcissus (1947)

figure 1. Movie poster

Black Narcissus (1947)

In a Himalayan-like atmosphere a group of Nuns are sent to try and modernize the natives of Mopu.  It becomes very clear from the start that it would be extremely difficult to educate and care for the natives that the film becomes about a test of patience for the nuns and their struggle to resist temptation into sexual premise that they explicitly swore not to conceive.

Sister Clodagh (figure 2.) and Sister Ruth (figure 3.) are the two of the main characters in Black Narcissus and early on warnings are given to Clodagh about Ruth and how she could cause some issues. A strong use of tone and build up is used throughout the film but in such a subtle way that is only truly visible when you revisit the film. At the start, pale and washed out colours inhibit the environment and even on the characters themselves. But towards the end, vibrant reds to denounce the erotic build-up of this frustrated film are shown everywhere; even onto Ruth’s eyeliner. As Micheal Mirasol puts it, “It's holiness against the libido, civility against the wild, control vs. desire.” (Mirasol, 2010)

figure 2. Sister Clodagh
figure 3. Sister Ruth

Whilst Black Narcissus may start to seem surreal the further onwards the film plays, it’s in the utter realistic reactions of the Nuns that the film shows its prevalence.  It uses heavy imagery such as birds in a cage, or the almost overjoyed expression on Sister Ruth’s conniving face as she rings the reoccurring bell tower. Infact even the temple is designed to be as reminiscent of once sexual occurrences and is not shy about showing it. The constantly ever-growing “Lurid emotions are matched onscreen by aesthetic and textual excess, effectively amplifying the darkness and instability evoked by the nuns.” (Bagatavicius, 2012) show just how mise-en-scene in an environmental sense has been considered to the fullest as everything works in harmony or completely against eachother at just the right moments. The Old General’s temple is extremely open and airy yet Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger still manage to create a sense of claustrophobia due to how high up it is and the overall tone of the film. There is a great comparison between open and repressed intentions.

figure 4. Sister Ruth's room

figure 5. Kanchi
Another strange thing, possibly because of the time of making, was the use of Indian actors. The Young General was the only ethnic Indian and the rest were white actors in makeup. For example, Kanchi (figure 5), played by Jean Simmons creates this odd illusion and as she does not speak much it only deepens this. Ironically, this is the only role Jean Simmons is not popularly known for..

Black Narcissus was ahead of its time in the sense that it dared to try and deviate from the normal assumption that all women were practically nuns.  – Generally. You can view the film as a “one off” event where desperate nuns try to contain all of their urges and ultimately fail; but there is an extreme amount of held back emotion and outburst that arguably would be present in modern-day films. Compared to films of today it’s almost boasted that there will be heavily lusty and sexually orientated scenes throughout, and seemingly unrelated genres of film contain it; such as Transformers (2007) with Megan Fox. Black Narcissus may have been one of the very first films to timidly – yet with frustration laced over the top –show women as epitomes of two extremes, abstinence or total obsessiveness. “becoming mirror images; extremes of human nature.” (Mirasol, 2010) As Mirasol says, it is Clodagh and Ruth who show these two sides and throughout Black Narcissus they clash constantly. It could also be the link in a very long chain as to why in the 70’s TV became so horribly open about absolutely everything when it came to women.

figure 5. A Farewell between Sister Clodagh and Mr. Dean..

Illustration List:

Pressburger, E. (1947). Kanchi. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Pressburger, E. (1947). Sister Clodagh. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Pressburger, E. (1947). Sister Ruth. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Pressburger, E. (1947). Film Still. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Pressburger, E. (1947). Film Still 2. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Pressburger, E. (1947). Movie Poster. [image] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].


Bagatavicius, A. (2012). Bloodcurdling Holiness in Black Narcissus. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

Mirasol, M. (2010). "Black Narcissus," which electrified Scorsese | Far Flungers | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Nov. 2014].

Mirasol, M. (2010). "Black Narcissus," which electrified Scorsese | Far Flungers | Roger Ebert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Nov. 2014].

What If Metropolis - Final Concept Painting

I feel like I may have lost the charm of the brightly coloured towers that I had before with having the foreground darker than the background. I may revisit!

What If Metropolis? - Definitive Influence Map

Firstly here's a link to my others on this project:

I tried not to stray far outside of Alvin Lustig for this project, as it's a two-person collaboration of sorts. - Though it'd be wrong not to look at Moebius (Jean Giraud) a little for that great sense of horizon he focused on. When I was doing a few thumbnails a few people said that some of my buildings were starting to look Tatooine-y. From Star Wars! How obvious!! (To my shame I did not realise straight away.) I find often - and maybe too often - I am lead to creators and things that look like they've inspired me yet I'll have either forgotten consciously about them or never even heard of them!

But conscious influence is something I have a sensitivity to. The only "in-depth" experience of Star Wars I have was when I was 9, and playing Lego Star Wars endlessly. (That and it being a massive pop-culture influence plastered everywhere in the background) It's so coincidental in a strange way how things you aren't even aware of can "influence" you so much... which leads me to wanting and not wanting to be influenced by people. Moebius, for example. - Anyone who holds any similarity to your own aesthetic makes me beg the question "Should I be influenced by this person? We're already too alike."Although then I feel like I'm obligated to be influenced by them because of the similarities! Maybe this is because of how people tend to relate to one another by the use of comparison. "Hey! x reminds me of b"

Of course there are people who influence me greatly and continue to do so; but the sheer amount of influence that can be completely unconscious is uncanny to say the least. That or, I've thought way too much into this and I should hush-hush and just go with it. (Wouldn't that be easy.)

What If Metropolis? - Orthographs

Wanted to try a cleaner approach rather than "Well I know what those lines are, who cares about anyone else"  Tried it from the perspective of a separate 3D Modeller having to create these buildings from my orthographic drawings; so they'd need to understand what's going on!

I did Front/Top/Side instead of Front/Back/Side because you won't see the backs of these buildings (and I think that's usually more important with characters..) Thought it was interesting some of the towers from above look like eyes.  - Fits with Alvin Lustig unfortunately going blind, I guess!

What If Metropolis? - Tower Details

What If Metropolis? - Scaling

Pushed the towers back, put some foreground elements in front of it so it gets more built up the further back you go into the canyon.  AAAAND

Messing around with layers I found a super great technique that'll be great to start off paintings from now on AND I'M SUPER EXCITED ABOUT THAT

What If Metropolis? - Structure & Framing

Alrighty, from my previous post I was thinking much more about the matte painting of my city. I then realized having my city in the centre of a canyon would not be optimal for showing a vast depth in it. (That and it was looking too similar to my previous project..) I pushed it back, and so the city is being built into the canyon walls too.  I am really focusing on building up the city to look like a lot of people live there rather than it being a small town!