Why Ewan McGregor Didn’t Watch The Shining for Years

The one thing that is amusing, to me, about The Shining, is how creepy and ultimately scary it is to so many people. Perhaps it’s the madness a writer lives with inside their own personal thoughts that keeps them from being too freaked out, or maybe I’m one of those individuals that doesn’t scare easily, but the movie was great, though not so insanely scary that it might cause nightmares. Ewan McGregor on the other hand didn’t watch the movie until he was an adult, but as Kevin Burwick of MovieWeb tells it the matter had more to do with John Carpenter than Stanley Kubrick. It sounds as though Ewan was shown the movie Halloween when he was just a teenager and the experience unnerved him so badly that he quickly figured that horror movies weren’t for him at that point. That’s fair, I recall being shown the third installment of A Nightmare on Elm Street back in the third grade, so it’s easy to sympathize. But still, this movie is something that a lot of people have spoken of as true nightmare fuel, though in all honesty it’s more of a visceral scare, as it was one of those that kicked off the 80s as horror began to shift. There were plenty of visual scares, as the decaying old woman in the room is an image that’s hard to lose, but the Overlook was a place of subtle terror, and not quite as violent as say IT, or Cujo, or several other Stephen King stories.

It’s ironic now that after all this time of not watching the movie that Ewan would take on the role of Danny Torrance, the son of the main antagonist in The Shining. It’s even been established that Danny is playing the part of an alcoholic that eventually kicks the habit. This unfortunately mirrors Ewan’s real life since he too had to stop after a while in order to preserve his career. It would seem that a great number of celebrities in different walks of life have nasty habits that develop either before they get famous or not long after, but the luckiest among them learn how to curb such tendencies or eliminate them entirely. With the character of Danny however one can imagine that he has a very good reason to want to drown out the world since the Shining, the hidden talent that Danny has had since he was a young boy, could possibly be something that might tear at a person no matter how badly they try to resist. Some might argue that it could be genetic in Danny’s case since his father Jack was a recovering alcoholic that dropped off the wagon hard once the family reached the Overlook and he was given enough time to really peer around.

If you stop and think about the horrors that Danny witnessed when he was young, and the fact that the Shining likely didn’t just go away when it was already so strong when he was young, you might get the feeling that he would do anything to drown it out if even for a little while. That kind of talent would come with a very heavy price, and a great deal of trouble for a young man growing up. On top of that his mother was never that stable of a character as was seen in the movie, so it would seem that Danny might have been on his own after a while even if she’d found a way to cope. The story does see Danny enjoy some peace for a short time, but as we all know by now with Stephen King stories the best part is that once the peace settles in for a while the monsters come out to play, always intent on breaking up what little bit of happiness anyone has found with the intention of wrecking every last happy thought that there is to be had. The True Knot, empty and soulless immortal beings that need the essence of those that are like Danny, are the monsters that need to feed continually to simply survive, and in this coming movie they’re that inexplicable force that doesn’t stop, doesn’t slow down, and doesn’t care who’s in their way when they come seeking a target. They’re the perfect villains for the story since they represent an insidious type of chaos that is fully prepared to break down and destroy anything and anyone that they feel the need to eliminate.

With only a few days to go until the movie is released fans have every right to get anxious about how it’s going to go. So far the expectations are high, and after having read the book it’s easy to see how. Just a word of caution though, go in expecting to be entertained, nothing more and nothing less.


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