Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (as a ’90s Sitcom)?: Here’s How

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The first time I watched The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, it was at an 11 p.m. screening on a Sunday night in 1980. I saw it alone and as I walked back to my apartment when it was over, sometime around 1:30 in the morning, I constantly looked over my shoulder. That wasn’t because I was afraid of being mugged on the deserted streets of my New York City neighborhood. No, because as anyone who has seen the film knows, Jack Torrance, brilliantly played by Jack Nicholson, just 42 years old at the time, might be ready to pounce on me.

I’ve seen the film perhaps half a dozen more times, though never again on the big screen where those beautiful snow-capped landscapes look their best. Or those close-ups of Jack’s eyebrow-raised demonic looks or the desperate reactions of Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance to her husband’s increasingly bizarre behavior (“Give me the bat, Wendy”).

Kubrick made just 13 feature-length films in his storied career and, ever the perfectionist, just three in his last 24 years, including 1980’s The Shining. His filmography also includes such classics as 2001: A Space OdysseyA Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket. He died six days after showing his final cut of 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut to senior executives at Warner Bros. Pictures.

A talented young editor, Logan Cuddemi, has used his imagination and significant skills to create a brief “what if?” parody of the movie, complete with an upbeat (and recognizable) theme song, showcasing the cast as if it were a ’90s sitcom. It’s brilliantly done and we asked him several questions about his work (below).

Watch The Shining (as a ’90s sitcom)

Best Classic Bands: The juxtaposition of Kubrick’s horror classic with the easygoing vibe of ’90s-era sitcoms is pretty stark. How did you come up with the idea?

Logan Cuddemi: I think there’s just something about ’90s sitcoms. They come across as moderated and goofy, and yet were surprisingly innovative for the time. They started pushing boundaries while playing it safe. Television evolved into a free-for-all, but there’s still a feeling of beating around the bush and staying network-appropriate. So it’s a strange grey area. There’s also a palpable level of insincerity and averageness. Of course, families don’t actually function as they do on screen. It makes you wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. But they’re warm–that’s important. In terms of The Shining, Kubrick is an incredibly cold director. There’s almost zero warmth in that movie. You’re taught to fear it; he loves playing with motives. I figured a great way to work with this was giving the Torrance family the sitcom treatment. Plus, the juxtaposition is just so absurd that it’s laughable.

You selected the ultimate family sitcom theme song. Was that an easy decision or were there several close finalists?

There were many options. I decided that I couldn’t overthink it and simplicity was key. I think the Full House theme worked great because it’s equally iconic and involves an unconventional family (so lots of introductions). It also has nice pacing, whereas something like Friends or Seinfeld would have felt forced. Ultimately, it was an easy decision.

How long did it take you to put it together?

Honestly, I did the whole thing in probably four hours. I knew which scenes to look for and it just came down to a few hours of organizing clips and trimming them to work with the style. Things are much easier when you have a designated audio track to work with. I will say motion is critical; I’m very particular about cutting for just the right moment. Finding the right energy adds believability.

How old were you when you first saw The Shining? How many times have you seen it? Are there revelations about it that come to you on subsequent viewings?

Definitely quite young. I’ve seen the movie an unhealthy amount of times and it’s markedly one of my favorites. I’m a big King and Kubrick fan and wrote several essays on it over the years. Ever since reading Rob Ager’s analysis as a teenager, I became fascinated. The importance of mirrors and symmetry, even suggestions of retribution for indigenous genocide. It’s all there. Without getting into more detail I will say it has an incredible amount of depth. I see it differently every time. Face value it’s a King adaptation, but Kubrick had some other ideas.

Have you ever seen it on the big screen?

Logan Cuddemi

I saw it at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., when I was in college. It was an original print from 1980 so it was totally beat up and scratched. Couldn’t have asked for a more authentic experience.

What are your near-term and long-term career plans?

My near-term plans are to get comfortable in my career and continue doing the work I like to do. Video Editing and Motion Design are two things I fully enjoy doing. Working with software is great. Also networking and building my portfolio as much as possible. I’d like to work for some more interesting companies. Long-term I’d consider a few options, I think going into my own business eventually would be a nice challenge. I tend not to think too far ahead.

Cuddemi graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2019 with a BFA in Film/ Video. Reach out to him if you have an appropriate project.

Watch The Shining‘s official trailer

Related: Another memorable Nicholson role from 10 years earlier

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Greg Brodsky
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  1. Jett
    #1 Jett 6 March, 2021, 18:36

    You forgot “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” at the end.

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