The hotel. That Jack Nicholson performance. The music. Those terrifying twins. The Shining is truly iconic. Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s book is far more than your average horror movie. It might be 37 year old this year but it’s not lost any of its creeping charm. Here are 7 things you might not know about The Shining.
1. The Timberline Lodge doesn’t have a room 237
If you were hoping to spend a night in the infamous room where evil lurks, bad luck. The Timberline Lodge in Oregon, the hotel used as the exterior for the ominous Overlook Hotel, doesn’t actually have a room 237. In Stephen King’s book, the haunted room is actually 217 but the Timberline Lodge requested it be changed to one that didn’t exist so that customers wouldn’t be put off staying there. Having a bath might not have been particularly relaxing…
2. There’s a moon landing conspiracy theory about Danny’s knitwear
Fully explored in brilliant The Shining documentary Room 237, a conspiracy theory revolves around Danny’s charming knitted Apollo 11 USA jumper. Ready your tinfoil hat because not only was the 1969 moon landing apparently faked, but the footage was directed by The Shining director Stanley Kubrick. This is allegedly his way of telling the world of his involvement. Who knew knitwear could cause this many Reddit threads? Can’t it just be cute?
3. The snow was very fake
The scene at the end of the movie where Jack Torrance pursues Danny through the snowy maze used a staggering 900 tonnes of salt and Styrofoam to make a horrific winter wonderland. The hedge maze itself replaces the giant topiary animals that come to life in Stephen King’s book. Stanley Kubrick just didn’t think the animals were feasible and built the maze instead to show the winding madness at work inside Jack.
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4. Once more, with feeling
Due to Kubrick’s obsessive nature about getting things perfect, The Shining doesn’t just have one scene that took forever to get right, it has multiple infamous stories from its actors. The famous scene in which Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance fights off Jack with a baseball bat was shot no less than 127 times. Another sequence where Dick Hallorann, played by Scatman Crothers, talks about “the shine” while sitting at a table with Danny was repeated 148 times to get it just right.
5. Door to door
In the famous ‘heeeeere’s Johnny’ scene, not only did Jack Nicholson ad lib his most infamous line that almost didn’t get used in the final cut, he was allegedly too good at chopping down doors. The props department went through almost 60 doors in the three days it took to shoot the scene. Rumour has it that the actor had previously worked as a volunteer firefighter so was a little too handy with an axe for comfort.
6. All work and no play makes Stanley a dull boy
The 500 sheets of paper with endless repeated sentences that just say ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ are suspected to have been hammered out on a typewriter by none other Stanley Kubrick himself. The task was never given to the props department to perform and going by his perfectionist take, it sounds like this might be the kind of thing Kubrick would do to make sure each page was just so.
7. That’s rusty water. Honest.
The MPAA keeps a strict watch on the content of the trailers that are released in cinemas and, predictably, were particularly strict back in 1980. Kubrick wanted the full The Shining trailer to just feature the scene with blood spewing from the elevator but knew this wouldn’t be allowed past the censors. Instead of admitting it was blood, he said it was ‘rusty water’ and somehow, staggeringly, the MPAA allowed it to run in cinemas where the complaints were so rife, recalls of the reel were demanded. Water lie.