In his essay "Inconsolable Darkness" John Gianvito writes: "It (Gothic) a venturing into a world created by ones own fears and desires, in a state of enthrallment both seductive and destructive (47)". Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining tells the story of a character who is thrust into a Gothic world in which his own fears and desires turn him into a monstrous figure, isolated from both his family and reality. Through use of Gothic narrative elements as well as art direction, cinematography and character development The Shining paints a portrait of someone who is driven to acts of destruction through isolationism.
Gianvito further writes: "What has been supplanted in contemporary manifestations of the Gothic is the requirement to be transported, either geographically, as across some mountainous divide in Transylvanian mists, or psychologically, via descent into the imagination of a neurotic sensibility (48)". The opening sequence of The Shining involves a series of shots of the main character Jack Torrance and his family driving in their car through a mountainous landscape.
The car begins on a prairie with a shot of the mountains in the foreground as the car drives towards it. The sequence is shot almost entirely in long shots, with the camera very far away from the vehicle, which is dwarfed by the terrain around it. The car gradually moves from a warm looking climate towards a snowy, cavernous landscape. The only other car is seen moving in the opposite direction. The way the vehicle is shot in relation to the mountains and the direction it moves in indicates that the people inside of it are headed towards a very lonely, isolated location.
The Torrance family arrives at their location, a large hotel located in the middle of the Rocky Mountains known as The Overlook. The establishing shot of the hotel shows a snow covered building, obviously large in stature but small in comparison to the mountains that surround it. In the Gothic tradition the building could...