The Shining is a psychological horror film directed and produced by the director Stanley Kubrick in 1980. The film starred actors such as Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, and Scatman Crothers.
The Shining was based on Stephen King‘s 1977 novel of the same name. However, Kubrick’s film does not follow the exact storyline of the novel. In fact, Kubrick collaborated with the writer Diane Johnson to make his own original screenplay. The Shining is considered to be one of the scariest films ever made and has a few iconic scenes that are known by almost everyone in the world.
The movie follows a man named Jack Torrance taking up the job of a winter caretaker at an isolated Overlook Hotel so that he can focus on his writing. Jack’s wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, move to Overlook Hotel with him. When the family arrives, the chef, Dick Halloran, gives them a tour and warns Danny to stay away from room 237. As time passes, Jack gets no writing done and starts behaving strangely whereas Danny starts seeing disturbing visions. The family starts seeing ghosts and Jack gets crazier with every minute. He eventually attempts to murder Wendy and Danny, but the two end up escaping from the hotel.
15. Kubrick Didn’t Read The Screenplay That Stephen King Wrote For The Shining
Stephen King published his third novel The Shining in 1977. The novel proved to be a huge success. So naturally, you’d think that Kubrick was hugely inspired by King’s novel to create the film The Shining. However, it turns out that he wasn’t. Apparently, Kubrick considers King to be a weak writer so when King wrote a screenplay for The Shining, Kubrick did not even bother to read it.
Instead, Kubrick decided to collaborate with the American novelist Diane Johnson in writing the screenplay because he liked her book, The Shadow Knows. Kubrick was also inspired by the TV series Omnibus – he used similar psychological misdirection.
14. People Think The Shining Is Kubrick’s Apology For Faking The Moon Landing
There is a conspiracy theory out there that the moon landings were faked by the US government. According to some people, Kubrick was hired by the US government to direct a fake film of Armstrong supposedly walking on the moon.
Some people who believe this conspiracy theory also believe that Kubrick felt really bad about taking part in faking the moon landing. As a result, he made The Shining as a sort of apology to the US citizens.
It is said that the film is littered with clues that give away that the moon landings were faked. These supposed clues include Danny wearing an Apollo 11 jumper and the large amounts of Tang (a drink supposedly used in NASA missions) featured in the film. Also, room 237 supposedly refers to the distance between the earth and the moon (237,000 miles) and the terrifying twins represent the Gemini Space Programme.
13. Kubrick Was Extremely Mean To The Actress Shelley Duvall
It is said that Kubrick was not very nice to the actress Shelley Duvall. He apparently constantly screamed at her in front of the film cast and crew to ensure that she was scared and paranoid enough to play the character of Wendy.
Duvall has said – “From May until October I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great. Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play.”
12. Danny Lloyd Had No Idea He Was Starring In A Horror Movie
The actor Danny Lloyd played Danny Torrance, Jack’s son. Since Lloyd was only five at the time of filming, Kubrick did not want him to know that he was starring in a horror movie. Instead, he supposedly told Lloyd that The Shining was a family drama movie. And of course, Kubrick didn’t let Lloyd to be present during the most terrifying scenes. So naturally, Lloyd believed the director.
In fact, it wasn’t until Lloyd was 16 years old that he even watched The Shining. Lloyd said that he did not find the movie scary – “I just personally don’t find it scary because I saw it behind the scenes. I know it might be kind of ironic, but I like funny films and documentaries.”
11. The Gruesome Scene Where Blood Pours Out Of The Elevator Took A Year To Film
You know the utterly terrifying scene of blood pouring out of the elevator? Well, apparently the scene took a whole year to film. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true! The scene, which first appeared in Danny’s vision of the future, was filmed in three takes.
If it took only three takes to get the scene right, then why did it take a year to film it, you might ask? Well, you see, Kubrick is a bit of a perfectionist and at first he did not think that the blood used looked like genuine, human blood. Plus, as you can imagine, the blood scene was rather messy and so it took nine days to clean the set every time Kubrick didn’t like it and then set it up again.
10. Stephen King Doesn’t Think The Shining Is A Good Movie
Stephen King wrote the novel The Shining in 1977, and when Kubrick decided to make The Shining into a movie King also wrote a screenplay. However, Kubrick did not think that King was a good writer and thus did not even read King’s screenplay. Instead, he collaborated with another author and wrote the screenplay himself.
However, it turns out that King is not a fan of Kubrick’s work either and did not really like how the movie turned out. You see, Kubrick ignored the part in the book where Jack Torrance was a normal guy who went mad as a consequence of alcohol, solitude and the paranormal. So King felt that the actor Jack Nicholson was too mad looking to play Jack Torrance. King also didn’t like how Kubrick chose Shelley Duvall to play Wendy as he imagined Wendy to be a blonde cheerleader. In addition, King felt that many parts of the film fell flat.
9. Room 217 Was Changed To Room 237 So That Timberline Lodge Guests Wouldn’t Avoid That Room In The Future
Timberline Lodge that is located in Oregon was used for the exterior shots of the hotel that appears in The Shining. If you have read Stephen King’s book The Shining, you will recall that the creepy room in the hotel is room number 217, not room number 237. So why was the room number changed in the movie?
Well, some say that Kubrick changed the room number from 217 to 237 to let his viewers know that the moon landings were fake – number 237 supposedly represents the distance between the earth and the moon (237,000 miles).
However, there is a more rational explanation for the change in the room number: the managers at Timberline Lodge asked Kubrick to change the number because they were scared that guests would start avoiding room 217. There is no room 237 in Timberline Lodge, so that’s why that number was chosen.
8. Kubrick Made His Secretary Type Out The Exact Same Phrase For 500 Pages
In The Shining, Jack initially takes the winter caretaker job at Overlook Hotel because he wants to work on his manuscript. However, when Wendy takes a look at the 500 page manuscript the only sentence she finds in it, written over and over again, is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Some people believe that instead of just getting the text typed out for a dozen or so pages Kubrick actually typed out the same sentence over and over again for 500 pages himself. In another version, Kubrick supposedly asked his secretary, Margaret Warrington, to type out the exact same phrase on 500 pages. In this version of the story Kubrick supposedly made his secretary write out the 500 pages in four different languages – French, German, Italian and Spanish – for the different foreign releases of The Shining.
7. The Famous Axe Scene Required 60 Doors
Kubrick was a perfectionist when it came to filming scenes and always wanted the best out of his actors. He was prepared to shoot the same scene over and over again to get that perfect shot. You know the scene where Jack Nicholson uses an axe to break down the bathroom door? Well, apparently that scene took three days to shoot. And in the process, 60 doors were damaged.
So every time Nicholson chopped down the door and Kubrick wasn’t happy, the production team spent hours cleaning up the mess and putting up a new door. However, the terrifying scene came out perfectly so perhaps Kubrick’s perfectionism is justifiable. Also, did you know that the famous phrase “Here’s Johnny” was improvised?!
6. The Actor Jack Nicholson Stopped Reading His Script
Apparently, Kubrick was so fickle with the script and kept implementing so many changes that the actor Jack Nicholson felt like there was no point in even reading it. What is the point in reading a script and preparing the lines if it was going to change to something completely different?
According to Nicholson, he stopped reading the script and only read the new pages that were given to him on the morning of filming. Maybe other actors did the same as Nicholson. That would explain why Kubrick made the actors re-shoot the scenes – if the actors only learned the dialogue on the morning of filming, there is no way they could remember it properly, much to Kubrick’s dismay.
5. Most Scenes Were Shot Over And Over Again
Kubrick was said to have been a real perfectionist and thus made the actors he was working with re-do the scenes over and over again. This was no exception when it came to The Shining. Some scenes were re-filmed over a hundred times.
Kubrick has said – “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.”
4. A Fire Destroyed Most Of The Movie Set
When the shooting of The Shining was almost done, the film set suddenly went on fire. No one knows how or why the fire broke out and it remains a mystery to this day. The set still photographer of The Shining has said – “It was a huge fire in there one night, massive fire, we never really discovered what caused that fire and it burned down two soundstages and threatened a third at Elstree Studios. It was an eleven alarm fire call, it was huge.”
Some people seem to believe that Kubrick might have caused the fire himself because in one famous picture he is laughing amidst the wreck of his burned down set. However, that does not seem very probable as the fire caused a lot of expenses.
3. There’s An Alternate Ending
Kubrick ended up changing the ending of the film after it had been playing in movie theaters for a while. According to the screen writer Diane Johnson, “the ending was changed almost entirely because Kubrick found it a cliché to just blow everything up. He thought there might be something else that would be metaphorically and visually more interesting.”
Of course, if the hotel wasn’t going to explode, then somebody needed to die. Because The Shining is a horror film, after all. Apparently, various character deaths were considered, including the death of little Danny. Johnson has said – “I remember Kubrick saying that visually he could imagine a small yellow chalk outline on the floor like that they put around the bodies of victims. And Kubrick liked that image. But he was too tender-hearted for that ending and thought it would be too terrible to do…”
2. Danny Lloyd Starred In The Shining And One Other Film Before He Quit Acting For Good
The actor Danny Lloyd who played Danny Torrance, Jack’s son, was five at the time that The Shining was shot. Danny was chosen to play Danny out of many little boys due to his ability to concentrate intensely. So at the time, many film viewers and Lloyd’s co-stars must have believed that he would grow up to be a big star and that he’d go on to play in many other movies.
However, that did not turn out to be the case. The Shining was not Lloyd’s last role – the actor went on to star in the 1982 movie Will: G. Gordon Liddy. However, after Lloyd’s appearance as “Young Liddy” in Will: G. Gordon Liddy, Lloyd called it quits. He went on to become a biology professor and he teaches at community college in Kentucky.
1. Kubrick Had A Fascination With Ghosts
Even though it seems that King and Kubrick had major disagreements about The Shining, the two still talked to one another. King often recalls how one time, Kubrick called him at seven o’clock in the morning and said – “I think stories of the supernatural are fundamentally optimistic, don’t you? If there are ghosts then that means we survive death.” King replied asking how hell fit into the picture to which Kubrick responded with “I don’t believe in hell”.
Kubrick also had a similar conversation with his daughter Katherina. Apparently, to her he confided that he didn’t believe that there were ghosts, “but wouldn’t it be nice if there were, because that would mean it wasn’t the end.”
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