Friday, April 16, 2010


An extremely important celebration is upon us, and I would be doing my readers a grave disservice by not acknowledging it. Thanks to the folks at AMC, it has been brought to my attention that it is the 30th anniversary of "The Shining". This marks an important date for the horror genre and announced that for three decades, the collaboration of King, Kubrick and Nicholson have reigned supreme.
That's right my friends. The snow covered labrynth wasn't ever mentioned in the book. Instead, there is a roque court, a playground, and an animal-shaped topiary. Kubrick decided that having the hedge animals come alive (as they do in the book) was unworkable due to restrictions in special effects, so he opted for a hedge maze instead. That could have been even creepier to see, but I still love the maze ending with a Jack-sicle.29) DANNY LLOYD NEVER KNEW HE WAS ACTING IN A HORROR FILM
The actor who played "Danny" was only 6 years old at the time, and to protect his mental state of being, Kubrick never told him what he was really doing. They kept him secluded for much of the shooting and sheltered him from the real meaning of the film. He only realized the truth seven years later, when, aged 13, he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He didn't see the uncut version of the film until he was 17 - eleven years after he'd made it.28) THE CARPET IN THE HOTEL IS THE SAME AS THE CARPET IN SID'S HOUSE IN TOY STORY
How creepy is that? The geniuses behind the film gave the same patterned carpet to the villain/toy-torturer Sid as is shown in the Overlook Hotel. The colors are different, but it is CLEARLY the same carpet in both rooms. One of my most beloved kid's movies was secretly harboring horror film references. Holy Hidden Mickey Batman!27) THE SHINING HOLDS A WORLD RECORD
And it isn't for creeping people out either. Apparently the scene where Hallorann explains what "shining" is to Danny...was shot 148 times. Which is a world record for the most re-shoots.26) THE ROOM JACK TYPES IN, IS THE SAME ROOM INDIANA JONES FREAKED OUT ABOUT SNAKES IN
All of the interior rooms of The Overlook Hotel were filmed at Elstree Studios in England, including The Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his typing. Because of the intense heat generated from the lighting used to recreate window sunlight (the room took 700,000 watts of light per window to make it look like a snowy day outside), the lounge set caught fire. Fortunately all of the scenes had been completed there, so the set was rebuilt with a higher ceiling, and the same area was eventually used as the snake-filled Well of the Souls tomb in Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Louisville Slugger baseball bat with which Wendy Torrance bludgeons Jack is signed by Carl Yastrzemski, Hall of Fame Red Sox player. Stephen King is a huge Red Sox fan. I'm a Cubs fan...but I get how cool that is for King.
Despite many beliefs, the Grady sisters (which are one of the most iconic and creepy scenes of The Shining) didn't play a major part in the book. They are only discussed as the kids who were axed to bits by the previous caretaker. That's it. Kubrick was just a really sick puppy apparently. Oh, and they're not twins either. They're actually two years apart.
Stephen King has said the title as well as the act of shining came from the chorus of "Instant Karma" in which they sing "And we all shine on..."21) THE BATH WOMEN DON'T DO MOVIES
Neither Lia Bedlam (young woman in bath) nor Billie Gibson (old woman in bath) appeared in another movie before or after this one.20) GARRETT BROWN DID SHINING & ROCKY II CONSECUTIVELY
When Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown was hired to work on the picture, he was assured that there was no way the shoot would run over six months, as he had to be back in the US in six months time to shoot Rocky II. Six months into the shoot, less than half the film had been shot, and for several months, Brown worked one week in London on "The Shining," one week in Philadelphia on "Rocky II," commuting by Concorde every Sunday.20) DANNY MOVED HIS FINGERS ON HIS OWN
The inspiration for Danny to use his finger when talking as "Tony" was his own acting idea. He did it spontaneously during his very first audition.19) WENDY TORRANCE RAN UP THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Okay, not exactly...but the scene towards the end of the film, where Wendy is running up the stairway carrying a knife, was shot 35 times; the equivalent of running up the Empire State Building.18) THE PHOTO AT THE END IS 99.99% LEGIT
The 1921 photograph at the end of the film was a genuine 1920s photo, with Jack Nicholson's head airbrushed onto the body of another man. Kubrick originally planned to use extras and shoot the photo himself, but he realized he couldn't make it look any better than the real thing.17) GRADY AND LLOYD HAVE GOOGLY EYES.
Grady never blinks once throughout the entire film. Lloyd blinks twice: in his first scene, after telling Jack, "no sir, I'm not busy at all," and in his second scene, when he tells Jack, "your money's no good here."16) JACK NICHOLSON HATES DOORS
According to Shelly Duvall the infamous 'Heere's Johnny!' scene took 3 days to film and the use of 60 doors. 15) THE MUSIC SELECTION WAS AHEAD OF IT'S TIME...LITERALLY
The two Ray Noble and His Orchestra songs used were not actually from the 1920s: "Midnight, the Stars and You" (played in the ballroom) was recorded Feb 16, 1934, and "It's All Forgotten Now" (heard faintly when Grady is talking to Jack in the bathroom) was recorded July 11, 1934.Bold14) JACK TORRANCE IS A WIMP
Despite this film being cited as one of the scariest of all time, there is only one on-screen murder in the film. Pussy.13) ROOM 237 DOES NOT EXIST
The real Overlook Hotel is near Portland, Oregon. It has no room 237 because the owners specifically requested that a fictitious room number be used, believing that after people saw this movie (or read the book) no one would want to stay in that room.12) JACK'S MAZE PIMP WALK WAS REAL
Jack's limp at the end of the movie was an actual injury sustained when Jack Nicholson got drunk and fell out of a hotel window the night before shooting this scene. Old habits die hard I guess.11) THE SET WAS A WATER HOLE OF BRILLIANCE
Jack Nicholson’s visitors on the London set included Anjelica Huston, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, John Lennon and Bob Dylan.10) THE SHINING & TRON ARE MUSIC SIBLINGS
The electronic stuff comes from Rachel Elkind-Tourre, pieces based on works of Hector Berloiz, and Wendy Carlos who also worked on Tron.

Not only is he absolutely delicious, but his band 30 Seconds to Mars' music video for "The Kill" is an absolutely AMAZING tribute to the film.08) STEPHEN KING HAS A CAMEO (even though he hates it)
Surprisingly, the most universally accepted of his film adaptations is the one he hates the most. Stephen King has gone on record numerous times to express his dislike for Kubrick's version of the film. Yet, he still agreed to do his signature cameo as the conductor of the band in the "empty" ballroom.07) MIRRORS = GHOSTS
Everytime Jack Torrance talks to a ghost, there is a mirror somewhere in the background. (except in the food locker)06) SHELLEY DUVALL WAS LITERALLY TORTURED
Kubrick tormented Shelley Duval on set and convinced the rest of the crew to do so as well, so she would feel off balance and better portray the stress her character was going through. Duval herself became sick from the stress of the mood on set during the filming. She lost a lot of hair during the making of the movie.05) DANNY NEVER SAW THE GRADY GIRLS
The scene in which Danny is riding his tricycle in the halls of the Overlook and sees the Grady daughters is spliced. This was one of the ways Kubrick spared the actor playing Danny Torrance, Danny Lloyd. He was told to turn the corner of the hallway, look frightened and cover his eyes. At a later time, the two girls were shot standing in the hallway. The scenes were then spliced together.04) KUBRICK MADE HIS CAST WATCH A JACKED UP MOVIE TO SET THE TONE
Kubrick mandated the cast to view the film Eraserhead to put them in the proper mood for the movie. What a sick freak. I would NEVER make someone sit through this film. Unless they wanted to of course :)03) THE TENNIS BALL SCENE WAS IMPROVISED AND TOOK SIX WEEKS TO GET
The original movie script simply specified "Jack is not working." It was Jack Nicholson who improvised the idea of playing handball with the walls of the Overlook. It also took six weeks to shoot with a camera on a ball constantly to get the scene where it hits the wall just right.02) THE FILM WAS SHOT IN SCRIPT ORDER
Which means there were tons of sets created and in a line to be ready to used at any given moment during production.01) KUBRICK LIED TO GET THE TRAILER PUBLIC
When the film was first released, the MPAA prohibited the depiction of blood in any trailer that was approved for all audiences. Kubrick somehow managed to convince the MPAA board that the blood pouring out of the elevator was rusty water.

24 comment(s):

B-Sol said...

Brilliant! Great stuff, I'm going to print this post out and keep it in my back pocket to impress people at parties.

Oh, and how awesome must it have been to be the guy shooting The Shining AND Rocky II at the same time?? Well, maybe his family wouldn't agree...

The Vicar of VHS said...

Nice collection of info! I get into trouble with my King-loving friends for saying it, but I still maintain that Kubrick's THE SHINING is better than King's novel. I think King (like many successful authors *coughAnneRicecough*) seems to think that a good adaptation of his work has to be a literal transcription of words to images, and deviation from his story in any way makes it "bad." Of course that ignores the fact that movies and literature are two very different art forms, and what works in one doesn't necessarily work in the other. Kubrick is not a novelist, but he knows images, and he expanded King's ideas that would make the best, most effectively scary images (like the little girls, which you point out were not a big part of King's book), and discarded the rest.

See also: topiary vs. hedge maze. The maze in the movie is a powerful image, seen from above and from within, and much creepier than shambling BushBeasts. If you saw the King-approved TV movie with the hedges wandering around, you can easily see who was right there, imo.

Andre said...

Hahah omg... I'm just going to say that your typo for Jack's real limp is the best thing I've ever seen. Unless of course you meant to do it which makes it even better!!

But fo real these rock. The best part is, it totally makes sense to me now why Danny looked so fake scared when seeing the non twins hacked to bits! And I'm glad you pointed out they weren't twins which I remembered you pointing out in a post from long ago. So crazy!

Simon said...

Dude. Best thing ever.

The Mike said...

This is fantastic. Next year for 31 years, maybe you can look into the mystery of what fell out of the elevator with the blood?

timothy grant said...

Love this list. Also in the book ... Jack runs around with a croquet mallet (which is what he kills Dick with) and not an axe. The overlook hotel goes kaboom due to a faulty boiler.

The aforementioned TV movie is faithful to the book including all of the above and it sucks.

I mean how scary can topiary and croquet be?

Mike D. said...

this is awesome britt

Andre Dumas said...

Wait it's supposed to be pimp walk isn't it because he LIMPS? God damnit. I was loopier than I thought today. Disregard everything I ever say on Fridays.

sroman said...

But have you ever seen this:

The Shining recut as a trailer for a family-friendly romantic comedy! It's really well done.

Oh, and one other thing (SPOILER):

31) Dick Hallorann doesn't die in the novel, because Jack isn't running around with an ax but a croquet mallet. Dick but survives.

B-Sol said...

Oh, Andre.

Pax Romano said...

Excellent stuff ... however, I can not, for the life of me, recall King being in this movie. I do recall him playing the orchestra conductor in the television version.

And as for the Grady Girls...Kubrick took his inspiration from this Diane Arbus photo:

Christine Hadden said...

Fan-freakin'-tastic post! I'm celebrating it right now by watching The Shining (on AMC, natch.)

And you've got two #20's, so you've got 31 reasons - even beter! Yay!

Erin said...

I LOVE ERASERHEAD! call me crazy, but it's incredible and on my list of favorites!

Ari S. said...

wow nice post

Anonymous said...

I'm with Pax. I can't for the life of me remember King having a cameo.

Incredible post Britt. Well done indeed. My favorite horror movie of all time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rebecca said...

Great post! I love your blog.


Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

I must say, it is a fortunate thing that although Jack's walk was real, the hacking and slashing was not! I know Mr. King did not care for this movie's treatment of his story, but one does adore Jack's work! The other folks as well, but if I had to choose a favorite, I think no-one could have done it better than the great (if somewhat inebriated) Mr. Nicholson.

Thomas Pluck said...

Great post on my favorite horror movie of all time, with plenty of stuff I didn't know. 30 years... time to watch it again. I always watch it when I'm snowed in. That and The Thing, another of my top 5.

Rabid Fox said...

Excellent list. I had no clue about three quarters of this stuff. Nicely done. That "Toy Story" tidbit just adds a real creep factor to the kids movie.

Unknown said...

Awesome post!

I'd never seen the music video, but after seeing your point about the mirrors/ghosts it makes the video even more effective...they are SMART fans with a meta homage that comments both on their song AND the real meaning of The Shining...good for them! I adore an homage that adds information/expands on the idea instead of just copying.

Totally agree with the Vicar, and the Diane Arbus reference to the twins. Her work is sooo frightening. But I gotta say to the person who didn't think croquet mallots could be effective in horror: they scared the shit out of me in HEATHERS. But I'm a woman, so everything about HEATHERS is real and scares the shit out of me!

Oh, and I've been wanting to discuss this for ten plus years...did anyone else lose a lot of faith in King when he swore up and down that that crappy MOW was how he envisioned The Shining? Because that was decidedly not awesome.

Okay, ONE LAST THING. As a low-budget smarty-pants director, it really pissed me off when I hear anyone got more than three takes on a shot. Honestly, I know I could make a perfect movie too if I were that spoiled and rich in time, money, resources. My thought on all of Kubrick's films is they BETTER be fucking perfect or he's a moron. Ditto for Woody Allen who has the luxury of regularly reshooting 30% of his movies. Like, how RETARDED do you have to be to fuck that up? Try shooting a good movie with bad diva actors who can't memorize their lines, no permits, one take, and a blown monitor if you want to impress me with your skillz!

Unknown said...

Sorry if that seemed too harsh. I LOVE The Shining. But still, no one needs 20 takes of a scene, let alone 150. Get your shot and move on, maestro. Children are starving in Ethiopa for chrissakes.

B-Sol said...

I've always thought King was nuts for rejecting what was without a doubt the finest adaptation of any of his stories (especially when the majority of them are kinda crappy). And yeah, Kubrick was an obsessive wack, that's for sure, but the results! Ah...the results! Sublime :-)

ravi said...

Just saw the shining and wanted to know if i had seen the lady in the bathtub somewhere.This was first on the google search list.

Related Posts with Thumbnails