Aspiring writer and his family agree to look after a hotel during the winter season when it it closed.
Kubrick set out to make the scariest horror film ever and he almost pulled it off. King's novel charts the leads descent into madness, but Nicholson is in the basement to start with. Shelley Duvall, love her though I do, is mostly annoying.
Fairly tame by modern standards, but still packs a wallop through the constant sense of dread in the cavernous hotel.
Note: Robin Pappas and Burnell Tucker would have appeared in a now deleted final scene proving that the Torrances were A-OK.
Yes, it's become a big part of pop culture, but really, it's vastly overrated (like most of Kubrick's films). The imaginary symbolism people have made up to tie the film in with moon hoaxes, overanalysis, etc. may have given the film a larger cult, but don't really help its reputation, nor that of modern "culture."
In the book, Torrance is a disgraced teacher descending into alcoholism. In the film, as Weary points out, Torrance is obviously batshit at the initial job interview. And therein lies the big problem with the film, along with Duvall's whiny annoyance of a character, as well as the kid, who's pretty annoying, too. Not hard to understand why Jack wants to turn them into kindling. The Overlook itself and its endless corridors are the real star of the film, and the final shot is a haunting one.
That all being said, when a version more accurate to the novel was attempted as a TV miniseries, it was a flop. So something to be said for the auteur interpretation, I guess.