THE SHINING Breakdown | Ending Explained, Easte...

THE SHINING Breakdown | Ending Explained, Easter Eggs, Hidden Details & Things You Missed

Credit: WB (The Shining)

Ok, so The Shining is one of my favorite movies of all time. Depending on what day it is, the top spot for me switches between this, the thing, and the godfather. It’s one of those movies that has stuck with me since the first time I watched it, and I remember being about 8 years old and scared out of my mind after my first visit to the Overlook Hotel. But why does it have this lasting power and influence? I mean, on the surface, you could be forgiven for thinking that the movie is extremely simple. As a kid, I thought it was pretty much just about a family who were given the job of looking after a hotel, and the dad went crazy and tried to kill them. However, there are so many hidden layers to the film, and throughout this video, we’re going to be breaking down all the subliminal ways that the movie messes with you, along with its hidden meanings.

Now the biggest headache is the hotel itself.

King came up with the idea for The Shining when visiting the Stanley Hotel out in Boulder, Colorado. He and his wife booked it for October 30th, which was the night before it was about to close for the season. They were the only two guests there, and King spent the night wandering the long hallways of the hotel, swept up in just how creepy a place like this could be if it wasn’t teaming with guests.

Now the idea of “shining” comes from the John Lennon song Instant Karma.

The Overlook Hotel In The Shining Explained

This idea that people imprint on something long after they’re gone is what the Overlook embodies, and it’s seemingly filled with the souls of those that it’s trapped along the way. Traumatic events leave longer-lasting impressions, and this is why it’s teaming with all sorts of evil spirits.

It’s important to bear in mind that the hotel is supposed to be its own malevolent entity, and it’s very much alive.

When watching the movie for this breakdown, I think two things became pretty clear, namely that the hotel itself didn’t want Jack; it wanted Danny. It also became clear to me that Jack has The Shining as well, which explains why he didn’t lose his s**t going into Room 237. Now we will talk about whether the ghosts are even real later on, but taken at face value, I think that Jack was the easiest to manipulate, which is why they sought him out. The hotel wanted to get Jack to kill Danny so it could take his immense power.

Doctor Sleep also makes it clear that alcohol can help dull this sixth sense, and in that, we join an elderly Danny Torrance who’s hit the bottle hard. Potentially Jack was an alcoholic for the exact same reason, and his months of sobriety ended up cracking him enough to the point that he could pick up the presence of spirits once more.

Should’ve hit the spirits, eh?

Interestingly, there’s this weird inconsistency in the movie where Jack says that he hit Danny three years ago, which is when he promised to stop drinking. However, he also says:

Five months on the wagon

This implies that he kept drinking and that it was only his time in the hotel that completely cut him off from it. It makes sense when you think about it too; Jack only started to see the ghosts deep into the winter, and this time completely away from alcohol likely woke up his senses.

Credit: WB (The Shining)
Credit: WB (The Shining)

In the end, we don’t really know what happens to Jack, but we get that haunting photo of him on the wall at the July 4th ball in 1921.

Bringing up this photo in full, we can see that he’s doing a pose with his right arm angled upwards and his left arm pointing down.

This actually has links to Satanism, and when searching for “Satanic poses on Google, the first result that comes up is Baphomet doing the exact same thing. It was really chilling, and the ending of the movie is something that’s stuck with me for decades.

Now, when discussing it, Kubrick suggested that this could hint at there being reincarnation within the hotel, and certain aspects of the film seem to suggest that. For example, we hear the story of Charles Grady, who killed his family.

Now the important things to keep in mind are the names Charles Grady and the fact that his daughters were 8 and 10. We, of course, seem to meet these as they terrify Danny, but these are clearly twins and not sisters born at different times. Later on in the bathroom, we also meet a man going by Grady who killed his family with an axe, but he clearly says his name is Delbert Grady.

This could show that there were two Gradys at the hotel who murdered their families and that they were reincarnations of each other. In the time between them dying and then having to grow up, the other one could have filled in and continued the cycle, and this is why we have these errors in the names.

This would explain the line.

You’ve always been the caretaker.

And it would explain why Jack says he feels like he has deja vu.

There’s also the idea that the twins want Danny to stay forever and ever.

And when crafting the novel, King said that time doesn’t really exist in the hotel, and this is how all the different decades happen at the same time.

On top of this, there was an alternate ending that contained a deleted scene that changed the way the movie played out. Danny and Wendy were in the hospital, and they were visited by Mr. Ullman. He said that none of the skeletons or rivers of blood were there when they inspected the hotel and that it must have been in their imagination. However, he gives Danny a tennis ball, which is the same one that rolled towards him from Room 237.

Now the name Overlook has its own secret meaning. Though it could be taken as meaning that it’s overlooking the mountain range, it can also be taken as meaning to overlook something. We as the audience aren’t seeing what’s really going on there, and there’s also the idea that something in the hotel is looking over those inside.

Stanley Kubrick used a steady cam technique throughout, which was a revolutionary way of filming at the time. It allows you to follow the characters through the hotel, and we get shots like this at several points, giving the feeling that both us and the hotel are stalking the family.

Now, huge shoutouts to Rob Ager for putting together several videos on the film, and in those, he talked about how the layout of it was actually impossible. Several years ago, people in the modding community tried to rebuild the overlook in a Duke Nukem map, but they found that when trying to recreate it, they just couldn’t do it without breaking the layout itself.

Most of the rooms overlap, and there are several doorways and windows that actually lead to nothing.

For example, just before Jack walks into Mr. Ullman’s office, we can see that there’s a large hallway that runs down the back behind it. Upon entering the office, we can see that there is a window directly behind Ullman’s chair that shows trees. This view simply doesn’t exist, and subconsciously, this is flagging up to us in the back of our minds. There’s also the bike ride that Danny takes just after the Tuesday chapter card pops up. Now it’s important to keep in mind that this all takes place on the second floor, which we know because Danny rides past the balcony twice and we can see into the main hall.

Now as we start, we have the elevator shaft on the left and then an open door with a set of stairs on the right. We then follow Danny up the corridor and watch as he turns left. On the right, we can see another set of elevator doors, and these link to the ones in the main hall just below this, which we see in later shots.

That makes the previous pair impossible, as the wall where the elevator should be is actually the wall in the hall that has the Native American art on it.

The elevator behind it simply wouldn’t fit, and that open stairwell would also lead to nowhere.

Now let’s go back to those elevator doors next to the balcony. As Danny continues to ride, we see that on the left there is a place to look out over the main hall. Now as we follow Danny, he turns right, then right, and then right again, and this time we can catch him riding past the balcony once more. This is impossible, and it would mean that he has turned back on himself and would be above the Colorado lounge. Now also look at the thickness of the wall just beside the balcony. We can see that it’s about a meter and a half wide, and yet, down the hallway, we see several doors lining that side, leading to rooms that simply aren’t there.

Now this corridor also contains room 237. Later on, when Danny approaches this, we can see doors to other rooms lining the wall; however, when we go into room 237 and see how big it is, we know that these doors don’t actually lead anywhere as they back right onto the room itself.

When Ulman is showing the Torrances around, just before they get to their room, we can also see a door down the back and one to the right. Due to where the bedroom and bathroom are, we also know this doesn’t lead anywhere, and the window outside that leads to the snow slide also shows that the door down the bottom of the corridor doesn’t go anywhere either.

Something just feels off about the hotel, and these things all add to its mystique. Plus, there’s the fact that it’s so brightly lit. How many other horror movies can you name that are this bright, and it actually feels unnatural to have something like this? There’s also the fact that every room in the hotel feels different. We never really get a sense of place, and because of this, we never know what the characters will be walking into next.

Room 237 In The Shining Explained

If you’ve ever seen the documentary on the film Room 237, you know there are lots of conspiracy theories surrounding it. This covers things like Kubrick being the guy who faked the moon landing, the movie being a metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans, and even the Holocaust.

I think with The Shining that some of these ideas can definitely be found here, but they’re incomplete and thus never fully formed. Because of this, people can grasp at them and run off with their imaginations, which is another reason that people keep talking about the movie. According to the Now Playing Podcast, when Tom Cruise was making eyes wide shut, he would see Kubrick still cutting and editing the Shining in his spare time and to me that says that the movie was never really finished.

Now the holocaust idea links to the fact that Jack uses an Adler typewriter. This also changes colour throughout the movie going from light tan to grey blue. Due to its use in the holocaust to take people’s names before they were shipped off to the ghetto and concentration camps, many have theorised that this symbolises this dark event in history. The color change could potentially show the darkness sweeping over the hotel, and it is interesting how it changes color throughout.

Now I’m not sure how much merit there is to that as this was the same model as the typewrite Kubrick used and he could’ve just been putting this in to reference himself.

The character of Jack was very much a Stephen King stand-in, and this frustrated writer felt creatively bankrupt, much like Kubrick may have at the time.

Now there’s also the Native American genocide, which I think holds far more weight. When Ullman is showing the family around, he talks about the hotel itself.

It’s located on an Indian burial ground.

He also mentions the Native American art in the Colorado lounge.

There are theories that the elevator shaft itself leads directly underground, and then when building it, the hotel had to shift the corpses out of the way. This is what the river of blood symbolizes, and it’s bringing everything up that’s buried beneath the surface. There’s also the music at the start, which has whaling over the top of it.

Credit: WB (The Shining)
Credit: WB (The Shining)

Similar to a Native American chant, this could be hinting at what’s really going on. Throughout the hotel, we also have several pictures that signify this. For example, when Jack is about to enter Mr. Ullman’s office, we see a painting to his left, which is called The Great Mother. There are also several paintings of native Americans throughout the hotel as they get shown around.

When we get to the fridge and Dick Halloran is talking away, we can also see some food with a prominent Native American figure on it.

Wendy later on wears a yellow coat with Native American images on it, and there’s also the tapestry in the main hall. Jack constantly throws a ball at this, and eventually he ends up chucking it in a way that’s similar to the axe motion he makes when cutting down the door.

When drinking at the bar, Jack says

The white man’s burden

And many have theorized that this is referring to white guilt. Again, there are so many theories on this film; let me know your thoughts below.

Now we start off…can you believe we’re about ten minutes into the breakdown and haven’t even started the first scene?

The Shining Breakdown

Anyway, we start off with Jack driving through the mountains to his job interview at the overlook. This footage was actually used at the end of one of the many cuts of Blade Runner, and the blue text popping in is something that Jordan Peele also adopted for the movie Get Out. A similar scene also happens in the sequel Doctor Sleep. I was going to do all the call-backs to that in this, but we’ll end up with a 2-hour video, and I think instead I might just cover that movie in its own separate breakdown.

Over the top of this, we can hear the Dies Irae melody, which spells doom for the Torrances. This ancient melody is about impending death, and its notes were also used in the beginning of A Clockwork Orange.

Jack here is riding in a yellow beetle and later on Dick Halloran passes a crushed red one in the snow. This was actually meant to be Kubrick making a jab at King because in the book Jack drives a red one. When adapting the novel, Kubrick said that The Shining isn’t exactly a literary masterpiece, and it’s from here that their uneasy rivalry kind of started. The majority of Kubrick’s work adapted novels, and these often had a mixed reception, but he was able to take the elements and craft them into something new. I like the book, but this first shot is what probably caused them to dislike each other. King had it set up contractually that if the book ever got adapted, he would get to create the first draft of the script, but King threw this out. Upon release, King said he didn’t really like the movie, though over time he has come to appreciate it. He ended up making his own version in 1997, which he said was the true one, but the more the last person said about that, the better.

Now we approach the parking lot and can count 42 cars parked up at the Overlook. 42 is a number that later appears on Danny’s t-shirt in the bathroom mirror. When we cut to the tv scene we can also catch The Summer of 42 playing on it. This TV also doesn’t have any electrical cables, which adds an extra headfuck to the scene as it’s not plugged in. $42 million is later mentioned, and it could also link in with room 237. If you do 2 times 3 times 7, then you get 42, and it’s all connected.

Now, why could this be? Well, again tying back to the Holocaust theory, 1942 is the year that the final solution was put in place, and it could be Kubrick hinting at that.

Jack goes into Mr. Ullman’s office, and this room is perfectly recreated in Doctor Sleep.

On Ullman’s desk, when we flip around to see Jack, we can see a red book. This is by Carl Jung, and it deals with shadow selves and double sides similar to what Jack has. We can also see that he is wearing a green tie with several lines across it. These are actually patterned to look the same way that the maze does, which is, of course, a big location in the movie. Jack wears something green throughout every scene early on in the movie, but he later switches to red after having the dream about murdering Danny and Wendy.

This could show a shift in his mindset, and red is, of course, a color that pops up in key horror scenes.

At Jack’s home, we meet the pair and can catch Wendy reading The Catcher in the Rye. This is a highly controversial book that basically centers around the loss of innocence.

The book has had a lot of debate surrounding it and was even censored in schools, so I think Kubrick put it in for a reason.

In a strange coincidence, a month after this movie’s release, Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon, and he sat down and read this while he waited for the police.

It’s eerie seeing this now, and we then meet Tony. When Danny Lloyd auditioned for the part of Danny, he actually came up with it then, and Kubrick loved it so much he cast him in the film.

In the book, we learn that it’s his adult self, and the clue is that Danny’s full name is Danny, Anthony, Torrance.

Back at Ullman’s office, we also get some dialogue that touches upon what happened in the source material. Jack ended up attacking a student while he worked as a teacher, and thus, he had to seek employment elsewhere. This could be linked to his alcoholism, and it also explains the rage that he displays later.

Credit: WB (The Shining)
Credit: WB (The Shining)

Now after the interview scene, we get a very important moment that foreshadows a lot of what’s to come. We see Danny bent over the bathroom sink and slowly approaching a bath with the shower curtain pulled. This foreshadows what’s to come in room 237, with the curtain also being over the bath there. On a little side note, this room was recreated for the TV show Hannibal, and along with the carpet in the hotel, it’s one of the most referenced things in cinema.

Now on the wall, we can also see a sticker of Dopey from the Seven Dwarves.

After his vision, this disappears, potentially signifying that Danny is no longer dopey when it comes to what’s going on with the hotel. He also gets nicknamed Doc by Dick. Doc is the wisest of the seven dwarves, and this nickname could have been chosen for a reason. I don’t think that the sticker disappearing is an accident, and Kubrick was infamous for layering his films with details like this.

Now there are theories that the way Danny is leaning over here is meant to be similar to the shot later on with the guy in the dog suit. Many have stated that this is to signify that Danny was abused by his father, and later on we see Danny lying on a bear pillow, which is thought to also give a nod to this.

The child psychologist that comes to visit them probes Wendy later on, and she seems to suggest it, but it’s important to bear in mind that this only appears in the longer version of the film that was only released in the US. Kubrick actually cut out 23 minutes from the movie for the UK release, and thus it’s difficult to discern what his actual intention for the movie was.

I don’t subscribe to that theory, and honestly, I don’t really like thinking about it when watching the movie. I feel like I have to touch on it though, because it’s such a popular theory and it’s believed that the things that happen in room 237 are actually carried out by Jack and Danny.

When the room calls him in, the tennis ball rolls to him on the floor, and this is also the same ball that Jack is seen throwing throughout the hotel. I’m sure everyone watching this also knows that when he’s sitting down in the hotel, we can catch him reading a Playgirl magazine. This one superficially had an article about incest, which many have tied into the theory.

Again, not really my interpretation of it, but I thought if I didn’t bring it up, I’d be skipping over one of the more common interpretations of the film.

Now, Danny is of course looking in a mirror when this happens, and it’s important to bear in mind that a mirror appears in every scene that a ghost does. It’s possible that these could reveal the truth and be gateways to the mirror world that we often overlook.

This is what spirits could inhabit, which explains why Tony uses one to write murder. It of course comes out backwards as Redrum, and this idea of it being a mirror could be represented in that.

On the road, Jack tells Danny of the Donner party and the cannibalism they carried out in order to stay alive. This foreshadows the impending isolation that the family is going to be facing, and though they think they’re headed for a fun trip, there is a darkness to it.

From here, we get some masterful editing by Kubrick as we watch the exterior of the hotel, and this then transitions into the shape of the ladder in the lobby. Not really a crazy detail, just a nice, nice bit of editing.

Now, after a tour of the lounge, we cut to Danny in the games room. At this point, he meets the twins for the first time, and this once again ties in with the idea of mirrors. Kubrick included lots of symmetrical shots throughout the movie, and I think he was hinting that everything has a double side to it.

Up in the top left, we can catch a poster of a man skiing. The way it’s shot, though, has had many thinking that it makes his legs seem like they’re angled backwards. This would be similar to a Minotaur, and with the maze at the end, there could be a tie to ancient mythology.

This idea of doubles carries over into the next scene, as we see two girls that look extremely similar passing behind the tree.

Next, we have the hedge maze that Kubrick created for the movie. In the book, hedge animals came alive, which appeared in the 1997 adaptation, and again, the less said about it the better.

Lastly, we hit the Gold Room and watched as Wendy did a little dance move across the floor. This is something Jack later does, mirroring the move that’s set up here. We’re introduced to Dick finally, and he shows Wendy and Jack about the kitchen.

I think everyone at this point knows the hell that Kubrick put both Shelley Duvall and Scatman Carruthers through on set, and he had them do hundreds of takes, which broke them mentally. Carruthers would be on the verge of tears when talking about the movie, and some of the scenes hold the gooey world record for the amounts of tears they carried out. His scene in the kitchen was apparently shot 148 times, with it holding the gooey world record for the most amount of takes.

At this point, we’re disoriented even more when Dick enters the freezer.

When they enter it, we can see an office to the side of the freezer, and then they go inside. When they exit, though, the things that had just been in the scene before are no longer there, and though it’s something you might not notice, you may be thrown off subconsciously.

Now they’re shown the dry storage, and Jack is later locked in here. He’s seemingly freed by the ghosts, and for many, this breaks the theory that it’s all in their heads. However, there is a possible explanation for how he escaped if you still want to keep that theory in your mind. When the three leave the freezer, they pass a secondary door, and the position of this means that it would be in the pantry somewhere. Thus, Jack could use this to get out of his own accord. I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like it when things are completely spelled out, and I do kind of like the ambiguity that you can have in thinking the ghosts may not even be real.

Dick then looks after Danny, and he feeds him ice cream while he tells him about The Shining. This scene signals the incoming danger Danny is going to have to face, and Kubrick has the shot set up so that knives are above Danny’s head, pointing downwards.

Dick says he used to hold entire conversations in his head with his grandma, and this speaks to the familial hereditary ability that the shining could be.

He also says:

They can’t hurt you; it’s like looking at pictures in an old book.

This is why the Ghosts have to use Jack and why they manipulate him throughout. It could lend credence to the fact that Jack was the one who hurt Danny in room 237, but with that room being the hotel’s heart, it may be why it can harm him.

This could also explain why Dick tells Danny not to go into Room 237 because that could be the one place where he can be harmed.

Now at this point, we cut to the hotel, which is empty except for the three members of the family.

We follow Danny as he rides around the hotel, and this steady cam movement as he glides is very similar to the shot set-up that we get when he’s running through the maze. The sound of the wheels on the floor and carpet is also repurposed later on, with the noise of them playing into the score itself.

At this point, we see Jack in bed being brought breakfast by Wendy.

On his t-shirt, we can see the words Stonington, and this is the high school that Jack taught at in the film.

From here, we cut to the typewriter with a blank piece of paper. Jack later ends up constantly writing, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.’ People have actually analyzed the sounds of when we catch him typing, and you can hear him basically typing out this phrase over and over again.

Wendy and Danny run to the maze, with the former chasing him, and she speaks.

This is very much foreshadowing the chase that will happen later on with his other parent running after him in the maze at the end of the film.

Back in the hotel, we see a little Teddy on the floor, and Kubrick purposely puts this here to set up Dick’s death, which happens in the same place. Jack also walks past a sofa, and if you look closely at it, you can actually see the baseball bat sticking out that Wendy will later use on him.

Jack looks down over the maze, and in an amazing bit of superimposition, we see Wendy and Dany walking in it. This was a model, but I think going from the cut of Jack to them here is meant to hint to him overlooking them.

Anyway, after this point, we catch Jack typing away in the Colorado lounge. He hides the paper from Wendy because this would give away that he’s just been using bots to type out the same comment over and over again. Anyway, there are a couple of important aspects to this scene, and the first of these is the open book on the table.

This contains newspaper clippings, and the reason Jack recognizes Delbert later on is because he saw his photo amongst them.

This scene also contains the disappearing chair that many suspect has been put into our minds. Kubrick was notorious for going on set and messing with things in-between takes, and this is the clearest example of that. Over Jack’s shoulder, we can spot a chair and a smaller table, and these constantly disappear and reappeared.

Whether it’s a continuity error or not, we’ll likely never know, but this feels like something too obvious for them not to pick up on when editing.

Now here we cut to Jack staring out, looking like a nutcase. Guy has lost it, but I bet he’d be having a great time out there if he could get internet to subscribe to the heavy spoilers show.

He’d also probably swing that axe at the “like” button.

Anyway, the days drone on and we get a real sense of isolation with each character being in different parts of the hotel. Wendy is unable to reach out to others with the radio, and we go with her to Dr. Ullman’s office. We can see the storm outside beating down again, highlighting the fact that this is a real view behind it even though it shouldn’t exist.

Now we get a lot of weird creepy scenes, such as the TV one, and then Danny and Jack sit in the room together.

Jack Nicholson’s performance is just so unhinged in the movie, and like, from the first scene I was thinking, “These guys are nutters.

Anyway, we then cut to Danny playing with his toys on the infamous carpet. It’s almost like a maze, like we see as the line leads towards him and the tennis ball perfectly rolls along. However, in the next shot, we see that the line has switched to point behind him. When we cut back to him, that line is completely gone from in front of him, almost leaving him trapped in the pull of room 237.

Interestingly, the book originally listed the room as being 217, but the hotel owners asked them to change it because they were worried no one would ever book it.

All of the exterior shots of the hotel are of the real-life Timberline Lodge, and being associated with a movie about murder made them worry it could cause issues.

Missed a trick there though, mate. I bet tonnes of people would’ve loved to have booked up a room there after seeing just how popular the movie has become.

Next, we cut to Wendy in the boiler room, and in a black-and-white photo above the fridge, we can see two twins.

Probably gonna have to blur out the entire wall above the desk as well as there’s tonnes of nude women in photos there but Wendy just passes it as if nothing’s wrong.

Next, we see Jack slumped over his desk, almost having a nightmare where he kills Wendy and Danny. This ties in with the theory before, and some have suspected that this shows Jack is using his powers of the shining to project his consciousness into room 237 to attack his son.

When Wendy runs over to him, we can also see a chair against the pillar to the left, but when Jack is on the floor, this disappears.

Danny walks in with his shirt torn, and at this point Wendy suspects Jack did it. Now at this point, we watch him walk towards the gold room. Along the wall, we can see that there are several mirrors, and an important thing that happens here is that Jack lashes out every time that he passes one.

This is almost like the mirrors are triggering him, so he goes to the bar and sits in front of a mirror.

We then get a change in the camera angle so that Jack is staring directly at us when in fact he’s looking in the mirror. At this point, the bartender appears, and the movie really starts to escalate. Moments before Jack said he’d sell his soul for a drink, which is when Lloyd appears,

I’d sell my soul for a drink.

Jack also says

I always said you were the best of them.

And again, this plays into the idea that this is something that’s always happened and always will happen.

At this point, Wendy interrupts things, and Jack goes to 237. It’s also at this point that Dick gets a vision, and he heads out to the hotel. Inside the room, we meet a woman, and who else has gone to bed with a 10 and woke up with a 1?

My wife for starters.

You are having that.

We obviously can’t show the scene, but there’s something very hypnotic about it, with the score just droning away in the background and it almost playing out in slow motion. In the book, this woman was a guest who ended her life in the bathtub, and she’s very much a metaphor for the hotel. She seems beautiful on the surface, but once you get close, you see the decay and rot at the center.

Slowly everything comes crashing down, and we get more rivers of blood as Jack loses it at the idea of taking Danny to the hospital. He storms out of the room looking directly at the camera, and this unnerving fourth wall break is almost like he’s looking at the hotel and at us who are watching him.

From here we get the gold room ball scene, and the person that Jack passes at the doorway is the same as the man later on who says.

Inside, we also meet Delbert, and he spills Advocaat over Jack’s jacket.

This looks like egg, and egg is actually an ingredient in the drink. Nice little visual gag here with Jack wiping his hand on his back as a sign of contempt.

Now Grady takes him into the red bathroom, and something about this may throw you off beyond the garish color scheme. We know from the way they enter that this bathroom is located behind the bar. However, as we go further into it, we can see that there are cubicles that stretch out past the original. The width of this means that if it actually existed, it would be over the bar itself, so this is once again an impossible room.

The red paint is also almost like blood, potentially linking back to the elevator scene.

Now Delbert uses the N word to describe Dick, and the racial undertones here could link back to the white man’s burden line. The ball scenes are very much a throwback to white affluence, and these sinister undertones with the racial comments could be Kubrick showing how he thinks the characters viewed minorities.

Delbert tells Jack that he corrected his two daughters after they attempted to set fire to the hotel. This was likely the location acting in defense because they were a threat to it, and thus it had to leap into action to take out the children.

Dick makes his way out to Colorado, and we catch Jack once again typing away. This room is once again shown to be symmetrical, adding to the feeling that the hotel has two sides. We follow Dick as he makes his way out there, and this journey is long and tedious. I think it’s purposefully done this way as well. We have this massive, long-drawn-out buildup that settles us into a feeling of believing that nothing will happen. Thus, when Jack attacks from behind the pillar, it comes out of nowhere and completely catches you off guard.

Back in the room with Wendy and Danny, we can hear that they’re watching Roadrunner cartoons on TV.

This cartoon is, of course, about a coyote trying to catch the roadrunner, which could be foreshadowing the chase that comes at the end.

We then get the staircase scene, which apparently had 127 takes. Some have said that this was an exaggeration, but either way, a ton of work was carried out, and you can tell just how exhausted Shelley Duval is at this point. The real exhaustion was in the person who had to type out “all work and no plaything 400 times.

Jack is dragged to the pantry, and I love the little stumble he does as he tries to get it up.

He damaged his ankle during the stair fall, and for the rest of the movie, we watch as he limps after his prey.

To me, this is Nicholson’s most memorable performance, and watching him turn into a violent psychopath is arguably the best thing he’s done.

After Wendy discovers the destroyed snowcat, we see the title cards change from days to hours, showing how little time is left.

Jack is freed by Delbert, and from here we catch Danny in a trance, saying Red Rum,” which leads into the infamous mirror scene. This needs to become another classic in which Jack chops down the door to the bathroom. Riffing on Johnny Carson he says.

Kubrick had never actually heard this catchphrase before and thus didn’t know it was related to the TV host, so they left it in. It’s probably better known for being in this movie now than for belonging to Carson, and it shows just how much of an impact this scene has had.

Here’s Johnny, it’s chapter 2.

The Shining Ending Explained

This scene took 3 days and 60 doors to film, as the production team had ordered easy breakaway doors. However, Nicholson had volunteered as a firefighter, so he knew the correct technique to use, meaning that the doors didn’t take him long to get through.

Now, this was almost shot for shot the same as the scene in the Phantom Carriage. Huge shoutouts to Rady Rick on Reddit for putting this together, and the movie was coincidentally released in 1921, which is the year on the photo at the end.

Danny runs through the kitchen, and he ends up hiding in a cabinet. This actually ended up inspiring my longtime friend Steven Spielberg to do something similar in the kitchen scene that pops up in Jurassic Park.

Dick is murdered, and then Jack chases his son while Wendy runs through the hotel. We hear the chants of the spirits, making this scene even creepier.

Here we get the dog scene, and this moment pulls from the book with someone in a dog costume doing what we see here. I don’t know how they got around the mask, but moving on. Now Wendy’s journey through the hotel was actually cut out of the Ku version. For about 20 years of watching this movie, I’d never seen this scene, and honestly, I kind of feel like it should have been left out. The skeletons look terrible, and that’s not really what this movie was going for. Amongst them, though, we can see several people that would’ve popped up in the gold room, including Delbert Grady serving drinks at the top of a table.

Wendy then runs along a red corridor, and we get the blood scan, which so far has only been shown to us in visions.

Outside, we see Jack closing in on Danny, but he outsmarts his father to lead him astray. This is the best use of the steady cam for me, with the chase feeling almost like we’re Jack running right behind his son.

Credit: WB (The Shining)
Credit: WB (The Shining)

Danny manages to escape with his mother, whereas Jack is stuck in there, and we end with him sitting down. Now Kubrick was known for doing jump cuts, and this was most notably the case at the start of 2001. However, I feel like this moment is another of his best, with us cutting to the frozen corpse of Jack in the morning.

Huge shoutouts to Depression Obsession on Reddit for pointing out that the expression here is the same that he has when he has his first drink. The user even placed the two moments over the top of each other, and we can see how they perfectly line up.

We then cut to the photograph and see Jack perhaps hinting at this cycle of violence being something that’s on going.

We close out with Midnight, The Stars, and You,” which closes out the movie on a very haunting note.

Anyway, that’s our breakdown of the movie and I hope you enjoyed it. I had a blast going back through this movie, and I know there’s so much to unpack that we probably didn’t even touch upon. Comment below and let us know your favorite detail or if there’s anything we missed. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on what you want us to cover next, so make sure you drop them below.

If you want something else to watch, then make sure you check out our breakdown of Event Horizon, which will be linked on screen right now.

Hopefully I see you after this, and with that out of the way, thanks for clicking this; I’ve been Paul, peace.


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