Tuesday, 22 October 2013

30 Days of Horror | Day 22

A Frightening Child Actor
The Shining

Creepy children have been a staple of horror films for decades, whether they be ghosts, the undead or the subject of demonic possession. This is a sure development of cultural fears of children and the heightened awareness of the supernatural that they are perceived as having, a fear that the invisible friend that they claim to have could indeed be real. In spite of the influx of terrifying, monstrous children that provide countless choices for this post I have chosen a child that is very much alive, Danny from The Shining.

Until my first year at university The Shining had somehow managed to elude me, with the exception of the handful of iconic scenes that were always featured on countdowns of the best horror films of all time. When I finally got around to watching the film it was as a compulsory viewing for a class, and it lived up to it's reputation and then some. With The Shining Stanley Kubrick put to film some of the most disturbing, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful images seen in horror. The Shining is a haunted house film on a much larger scale and the hotel setting allows for a great variety in the scares and images that can be produced.

Danny Lloyd's portrayal of the young boy of the same name is central to the tense, fearsome atmosphere of the film as he is revealed early on to have an increased exposure to the supernatural events. While it is impossible not to feel scared for Danny throughout the ordeal at the Overlook Hotel, I find him at times to be just as effectively creepy as any of the ghosts that are housed there. The croaky voice he produces as he gives voice to the invisible friend that seems to occupy his index finger is a prime example of when he becomes a lot more scary than sweet, especially once it is revealed by Scatman Crother's character that he possesses a supernatural gift.

Similarly the sequences in which Danny rides his tricycle through the winding halls of the build up an incredibly tense atmosphere, and through association have always connected Danny with that feeling of dread, for me. There is something quietly frightening about this young boy, and while he is clearly an innocent throughout the narrative he has creeped me out just as much with each subsequent viewing.

Special mention goes to the twins, who definitely a whole lot more sinister and have probably tarnished the reputation of young twin girls for quite some time.

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