Oct 13, 2017

13 Things You Didn't Know About The Shining

Article By: Tyler Doupe

With 37-year anniversary of The Shining upon us, it’s time to revisit Stanley Kubrick’s legendary horror picture by celebrating some lesser-known facts about one of the greatest horror films of all time.

When it comes to trivia, there are certain things about The Shining that every horror fan is likely to know. But we’ve dug a little deeper and searched through old interviews, DVD commentaries, and more to bring you some slightly lesser known facts about the flick. With that said, we now present to you 13 Things You Didn’t Know About The Shining.

1. Stanley Kubrick passed on "The Exorcist" because he only liked to direct his own stuff. But he changed his tune when the opportunity to direct "The Shining" came around.

Kubrick became interested in the project because of the way the tome could be adapted (in part) as a commentary on his own disturbing childhood and his notions about family. But he reportedly set out with the intentions of making something more substantial than the average horror picture.

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2. Stanley Kubrick had a very deliberate reason for leaving out the moving topiary.

Kubrick has explained that the reason he left the moving topiary out of the feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel was that he did not think it could have been brought to life convincingly. It was replaced by the maze.

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3. The twin girls from "The Shining" never made another movie.

Lisa and Louise Burns made an appearance in a 1979 TV series and then famously terrified audiences in The Shining. But they have not taken any acting roles since. They actually retreated from the public eye for a long period of time after their feature film debut. But the pair resurfaced for the 50th Anniversary Screening of the Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove

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4. Stephen King thinks Kubrick’s film is misogynistic.

King rarely turns down an opportunity to express his utter disdain for Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of his book. And in a fairly recent interview with Rolling Stone, King pointed out that he also thinks the feature is degrading to women. “And it’s so misogynistic,” says King.  “I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that’s just me, that’s the way I am.”

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5. The hotel room number was intentionally changed for the feature film adaptation.

Timberline Lodge (where the exterior shots were taken) asked that the film not depict room 217 as haunted because there is actually a room 217 there and there was concern that people would not want to book a stay in that room. Room 237 was chosen because it did not exist at the lodge.

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6. Shelley Duvall hated working with Stanley Kubrick

Duvall has been quoted, as saying that working with the director was “excruciating, almost unbearable”. Her view on the experience likely has to do with the fact that Kubrick deliberately mistreated Duvall in an attempt to get her in the frame of mind he wanted her to be in.

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7. There are multiple instances of props appearing and disappearing throughout the film’s runtime.

Usually this would be due to an oversight but some people suspect that Kubrick had his reasons. However, the film’s producers have said in interviews that there is no greater meaning to any of the continuity errors. In one of the bar scenes, we see that Jack’s drink is full of ice and in the next take, the ice has melted. Paper disappears out of Jack’s typewriter and moments later reappears. There is also a tree in the exterior shots that is there at one point and gone later in the season.

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8. The scene where Jack sees himself in the photograph is meant to be ambiguous.

It is intended to suggest that Jack has always been the caretaker at the hotel in some form and that he had perhaps been reincarnated. But it was not meant to give a definitive answer and it was supposed to be “magical” according to the film’s producers.

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9. Kubrick changed the ending from the book because he thought it wouldn’t fare well if adapted for the screen.

The director believed that the ending from the book would be “unsatisfying”. Kubrick thought it would be too cliché to have the hotel burst into flames. He wanted something that would be more visually appealing to viewers and from that, came the film’s existing ending.

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10. "The Shining" is absolutely not about The Holocaust.

The documentary Room 37 presented a multitude of theories about The Shining. Perhaps the most outrageous is the theory that The Shining was about the Holocaust. It is not. The film’s producers said that the mere idea that Kubrick would deal with such a tragic event so lightheartedly is an insult.

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11. Stanley Kubrick blames the actors he works with for necessitating a multitude of takes for each scene.

In an interview several years after the release of The Shining, Kubrick said that the actors were partially to blame for his tendency to require multiple takes. He was quoted saying: “It happens when actors are unprepared. You cannot act without knowing dialogue. If actors have to think about the words, they cannot work on the emotion. So you end up doing thirty takes of something. And still you can see the concentration in their eyes. So you just shoot it and shoot it and hope you can get something out in pieces.”

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12. Kubrick considered killing Danny at one point.

Kubrick made repeated changes to the script, even during production. One change he considered but did not follow through with was killing off Danny Torrance. According to the producers of The Shining, he was too kind-hearted to go through with killing off young Danny.

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13. Stanley Kubrick cut several minutes from the film’s ending at the last minute.

Kubrick originally filmed a final sequence with Danny and Wendy at the hospital. The sequence was shown at early press screenings of the film. But Kubrick ultimately changed his mind and requested that the scene be cut from the film. According to some reports, he even required theatres to manually cut the scene and send the footage from the real directly to him.

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