The Shining

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    "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."


    A 1977 novel by Stephen King. Loosely adapted into a movie by Stanley Kubrick in 1980, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall -- though quite different from the original, the film has become a classic in its own right. Still, Stephen King was irritated at the changes (while remaining lukewarm-to-positive about the film overall), and it was more faithfully remade as a 1997 miniseries starring Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay. It didn't fare as well with the critics.

    The movie was named to the National Film Registry in 2018.

    Tropes used in The Shining include:
    • Abusive Parents:
      • Jack's father was a violent Domestic Abuser, who also beat up his kids regularly.
      • Wendy's mother abused her emotionally.
      • Jack also accidentally broke Danny's arm - while trying to spank him for misbehaving.
    • Action Girl: Averted, as Wendy is anything but. This troper notes it here because during the DVD commentary for the 1997 miniseries, Stephen King comments that Rebecca DeMornay asked him if Wendy could have had karate lessons. Uh, no...Your average housewife would not have that kind of training. King does point out that it was a challenge to believably adapt the Wendy character--who is college educated but unemployed with no social support network--to a 1990s audience. Why does she stay with Jack?
    • Adaptational Attractiveness. Inverted with Wendy. She's described as being conventionally attractive in the book, whereas in the film she's portrayed by Shelley Duvall, who is more waiflike and fragile-looking than her novel counterpart.
    • Adaptation Dye Job: Wendy is blonde in the novel, but has black hair in the movie.
    • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: See Mythology Gag below.
    • The Alcoholic/Domestic Abuser: Jack is/was trying very hard not to be this, because he doesn't want to be like his dad.
    • Alien Geometries: In the movie version, the layout of the hotel makes no sense whatsoever. Stuart Ullman's office has a nice big window in the middle of the building, the Colorado Room has multiple floor to ceiling windows with a mystery hallway behind them. The hotel interiors are designed at nice right angles in building that doesn't. The freezer flips sides of the hallway between shots. This was done deliberately for dramatic/horror effect.
    • The Alleged Car: The Torrances' VW Beetle.
    • All There in the Manual: See Mythology Gag below.
    • Angrish: An Ax Crazy Jack Torrance falls into these near the end of the movie when he is reduced to only being able to moan like a wounded animal.
    • Arc Words: "Unmask! Unmask!"; "REDRUM; "Come down here and take your medicine!"
    • Ax Crazy: DUH!
    • Axe Before Entering: One of the most famous examples.
      • In the book it's a roque mallet.
    • Background Halo: Inverted with the black chandeliers, which gave Jack a "black halo" post snap.
    • Bigger Bad: The malevolent force behind Overlook Hotel.
    • Bittersweet Ending: In the novel, Wendy, Danny, and Hallorann escape and an epilogue shows them with Hallorann at his new job in less-threatening mountains. Wendy is recovering from the back injuries Jack gave her with the roque club (while possessed) and Danny is still traumatized, though they are getting better.
    • Black Dude Dies First: In the movie, anyway. Averted in the novel, where Hallorann survives.
    • Bond One-Liner: "Gentlemen, I think the party's over" is said by Jack before dying with the Overlook Hotel.
    • Canon Welding: Several of King's later works have entities very similar to the Hotel itself. To say nothing of the occasional references to the events of the book in other works.
    • Chekhov's Gun: The handyman's spiel in the book about the old, dangerous boiler.
    • Chekhov's Skill: Danny walks through the maze with his mother near the beginning of the film. It comes in handy.
    • Christmas Ghost Story: While the novel is more obvious about its ghosts being ghosts, the film still has the storeroom door unlocked by some sort of supernatural agency.
    • Cool Old Guy: Hallorann, and Watson for a lesser extent.
    • Cluster F-Bomb: In the novel it's done by, surprisingly the Hotel itself. It's not uncommon in King's works to find the inhuman monster being so humanly vulgar.
    • Creator Cameo: Stephen King appears in the 1997 adaptation as a bandleader.
    • Creepy Twins: Grady's daughters. Actually, they are specifically described in both book and film as not twins (ages 8 and 10) but in the movie they were played by real-life twin actresses.
    • Daddy's Girl: Wendy was like this.
    • Daylight Horror: As horrific as it is, there are few scenes that are literally dark. It's a well-lit movie.
    • Dead Little Sister: Wendy lost her sister Eileen when she was run over by a car: Eileen was six, Wendy ten at the time. Wendy thinks that's probably the reason her mother became such an insufferable bitch.
    • Death by Adaptation: Dick Halloran in the movie.
    • Depraved Bisexual: Horace Derwent, to some extent. In the party scene in the book, Jack spots Derwent sadistically humiliating his lover Roger in front of the other ghostly guests. Roger may counts as well, though he is more a Depraved Homosexual.
    • Dirty Mind Reading: In the book, Danny "hears" a female hotel guest thinking that she'd like to get into a bellhop's pants...which leads to him wondering why she didn't just put on some pants of her own.
    • Doing In the Wizard: The film does this to a certain extent, downplaying the more overtly supernatural elements of the novel. Kubrick's version gives the impression that Jack was well on the way to Ax Crazy before the Overlook got hold of him.
      • The film can actually be read as there being no supernatural elements at all - it's all in the minds of the characters.
        • Alternately, the film can be read as there being only supernatural elements - how did Jack get out of the locked pantry?. Kubrick was careful to prevent any airtight interpretation of the film.
    • Drone of Dread
    • Drop the Hammer: Jack's Weapon of Choice in the novel and miniseries is a croquet mallet.
    • Eldritch Abomination: Well, maybe in the novel. Something is seen coming out of the Hotel as it burns up, before it dissolves into nothingness.
    • Evil Eyebrows: Even if you knew nothing about Jack Nicholson before seeing this movie, you'd still be able to guess what's going to happen to him just by looking at his eyebrows alone.
      • So much so, King objected to the casting of Nicholson and begged Kubrick to reconsider.
    • Face Heel Turn: Jack Torrance, Grady, and probably a lot of other caretakers who got too comfortable with the Overlook over the years.
    • Fan Disservice: The hot girl in the bathroom. She appears fully naked and upfront, yet it still looks creepy rather than sexy. On top of that, she turns into a rotten naked old corpse-woman who cackles in the creepiest manner possible!
    • Fan Service: Many would argue that the first naked lady in the bathroom was more fanservicey than not.
    • Fauxshadow: Early in the book, a character mentions a large picture window, how expensive it was to install, and to take care that it doesn't get broken. Rather disappointingly, it doesn't get broken until the hotel explodes.
    • The Film of the Book
    • Foregone Conclusion: The poster really doesn't leave much to the imagination as to what Jack ends up doing.
    • Foreshadowing: References in the book to the old, rather dangerous boiler that requires steam pressure to be manually relieved.
    • Gainax Ending: The movie.
    • Game Face: "All right. No more masks."
    • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Allegedly Kubrick told the MPAA that the torrent rushing out of the elevators was rusty water and not blood in order to get the movie's trailer shown. At the time the MPAA did not allow blood to be depicted in trailers.
    • Genius Loci: Yes, the hotel is infested with ghosts, but it seems that it's less the ghosts and more the hotel itself, which is implied to be both alive and VERY sadistic.
    • Gorn: While the movie and miniseries avert this, the novel contains some quite horrific examples, especially in the climax. Special mention goes to the bit where Danny tries to break his father from the hotel's influence, only to have Jack become completely possessed and forced to slam his own face with the roque mallet several times until he is finally dead and the ghosts can take full control of his body.
    • The Heartless: The Overlook itself is hinted at being an example. See Hive Mind below.
    • Hedge Maze: An iconic one.
    • Heel Face Turn: In the novel, Jack is temporarily returned to normal by his psychic son, Danny. Realizing what the hotel has done to him, Jack tells Danny that he loves him and tells him to escape while he still can. In the minseries Jack regains control one last time to ensure the hotel goes boom.
    • Hell Hotel
    • Hive Mind: The hotel's ghosts/psychic echo supposedly comprise one.
      • At one point it is compared to the collective group intelligence of a hive of pissed off wasps Hallorann saw in his youth. There is also a hive of wasps in the storyline itself, furthering the symbolism.
      • When Danny enters room 217 in the novel, he tries to read the mind of the infamous bathtub lady. The experience is compared to sticking your hand inside a wasp's nest.
    • Ignored Epiphany: In one chapter in the book, Jack realizes how he's being manipulated by the hotel, but changes his mind and blames things on his son. He understood quite well what was happening. He also realized at that point it was too late, and just how deep the hotel's claws had sunk into his mind. Kind of like a self loathing alcoholic who knows he's fallen off the wagon, but feels he's too far gone to even try anymore. Blaming his son was just his way of shifting the blame for his own failure from himself.
    • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In the novel, Danny to Jack. Jack manages to come through long enough to tell Danny that he loves him very much and begs him to run away, before the hotel, in a very brutal fashion, erases what little there was left of Jack's soul.
    • Indian Burial Ground: In Kubrick's film, the Overlook is built on one. In 1987 San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bill Blakemore penned a rather intriguing essay arguing that the film is basically a hidden commentary on the genocide of the American Indian.
    • Ironic Echo: In the miniseries, "That's what I've been missing".
    • I See Dead People: Numerous and varied.
    • Kensington Gore: Enough to float sofas down the corridor. Executive Meddling almost cut it, but Kubrick told them it was just rusty water.
    • Kill It with Fire: In the book, Jack and Hallorann recall burning wasps' nests and how "fire destroys everything" and later, good!Jack delays possessed!Jack just long enough so that he fails to dump the steam in the hotel boilers and blows up the Overlook in a glorious fireball.
      • In the movie, Grady tells Jack that his girls attempted this, which is why he "corrected" them.
    • Kubrick Stare
      • Symmetrical rows of objects in color-coordinated rooms that share the shape of the cinema screen is another Kubrick look.
    • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Horace Derwent is a thinly veiled Howard Hughes. In the movie, he's the guy in the bedroom not wearing the dog costume.
    • Living Bodysuit: In the novel, Jack ultimately becomes this for the Overlook's Hive Mind
    • Locked in a Freezer: Happens to Jack in the storeroom. Sometimes this is not as effective as you might think.
    • Madness Mantra: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
      • From the film: "REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM!"
    • Magical Negro: Like everything else by Stephen King.
    • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The film is more ambiguous towards the supernatural aspects of the story. However, the titular "Shining" is equally effective in both the film and the book - warning clearly of danger five seconds before the axe hits the bathroom door.
    • Mythology Gag: Kubrick dispensed with several of the novel's plot points but kept references to them in the movie. The book explains just where Danny's imaginary friend "Tony" comes from, who the dead lady in the bathtub is, and who the person in the dog costume delivering a blow job is. The film keeps these elements but with no explanation. Also, Kubrick did not use the novel's climax-- exploding boiler destroys the hotel--but still showed the boiler in a couple of scenes.
    • New House, New Problems: The hotel, though the Torrances are only planning a temporary stay.
    • No Except Yes: This line, as Jack has pretty much lost it and starts menacing his wife.

    Jack: I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just gonna bash your brains in. I'm gonna bash them right the fuck in!

    • Nostalgia Heaven: This is the plot. Dead people stay in the hotel forever as ghosts at a 1945 party (1921 in the movie).
    • Not Now, Kiddo: Danny knows from the beginning that the Overlook Hotel is bad news. But he can't tell this to his parents, not just because he's a kid but also because they don't believe in psychic powers. He also knows how important this job is to the family, so he hopes that he's wrong.
    • Off the Wagon: In the novel, Jack quit drinking after accidentally breaking Danny's arm while drunk. In the film he just dislocated Danny's shoulder. The Overlook eventually gets him to drink again.
    • Oracular Urchin
    • Parental Favoritism: Jack was his father's favorite, though he still beat him regularly. Jack still loved him as best he could, even when the rest of the family began to hate him.
    • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Delbert Grady.
    • Popcultural Osmosis: The twins in front of the elevator (apparently) aren't twins at all, just sisters who dress and look the same. Still doesn't make them any less murdered by their crazy dad.
    • Pragmatic Adaptation: While the movie departs from the book quite a bit, it can stand on its own.
    • Psychic Powers: The "shining" of the title.
    • Psycho Strings: Half the score sounds very much like Bernard Herrmann's work indeed.
    • Recut: When the film premiered, it had a final scene in which Ullman visits Wendy and Danny at the hospital and explains that Jack's body could not be found. About three weeks into release, Kubrick ordered this scene excised from all prints.
      • Kubrick then trimmed an additional 30 minutes of footage for the film's European theatrical release. This shorter cut, which was his preferred version of the film, is also used for non-US DVD releases.
    • Redemption Equals Death: In the minseries only, Jack returns to normal one last time and lets his family escape to deal with the hotel himself. He and the hotel were killed in the explosion of the boiler. He reappears as a ghost one last time in the ending.
    • Room Full of Crazy: In the movie, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." It's particularly unsettling because of the sheer number of pages, with the tacit implication that Jack has been gradually losing his mind almost from the instant the family arrived in the hotel.
    • Room 217/237, and the Presidential Suite in the novel.
    • Sanity Slippage: And how!
    • Slasher Movie: The movie was a much different take on the kind of slasher movies that were becoming popular at the time. It's much more psychological; basically it's what happens when Stanley Kubrick makes one.
    • Slasher Smile: Just look at a picture of Jack during the "Here's Johnny!" scene. Of course, he is played by Jack Nicholson, so that sort of thing is expected.
    • Spared by the Adaptation: The Overlook itself in the film.
    • The Stinger: Miniseries only. A ghostly version of the Overlook is seen.
    • Snowed In: "WE ARE SNOWED IN!" (Jack to Wendy in the book when she keeps talking about getting Danny out of the Overlook.
    • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Midnight, with the stars and youuuu..."
      • "I love you, Danny. I love you more than anything else in the whole world. And I would never do anything to hurt ya, never. You know that, don't ya? Huh?" to Bela Bartok's somber and menacing Music for Percussion, Strings and Celesta.
    • Split Personality Takeover: Subverted. In the novel this is shown when Jack destroys his face with the roque mallet to simultaneously show Danny he's gone and delay the Overlook.
    • Spooky Photographs: "Overlook Hotel - July 4th Ball - 1921"
    • Tap on the Head: Wendy hits Jack on the head with a baseball bat and he falls down a flight of stairs. It's unclear which actually knocks him unconscious, but either way he's awake less than an hour later, with nothing more than a headache and a small gash for his trouble.
    • Through the Eyes of Madness: In the movie especially, it's kept deliberately vague whether the strange goings-on at the Overlook are "real" or just a product of Jack's deteriorating mental state.
    • Trail of Bread Crumbs: In the movie, Jack tracks Danny through the hedge maze by following Danny's footsteps in the snow. Danny quickly realizes what is going on and back-tracks through his own footsteps to throw Jack off the trail.
      • Strangely enough, Wendy jokes about having to leave a trail of bread crumbs to find her way around the hotel.
    • Truer to the Text: The 1997 miniseries is far closer to Stephen King's book than the Kubrick film, with the huge exception of the Bowdlerised ending. It's not typically seen as an improvement over the Kubrick version.
    • Uncanny Valley: Deliberately invoked by Nicholson's acting towards the beginning of the film; he seems to be cheery and dapper, but there's just something off about it, and it all feels horribly phony. Most likely done to call attention to his need for a drink.
    • Villainous Breakdown: As Jack chases Danny into the maze and begins to slowly freeze to death, his words become more slurred and begin to degenerate until Jack is just bellowing like an ox.
    • Villain Protagonist: Debatable. If one interprets the film strictly psychologically, Jack could certainly be considered one of these. However, if one accepts the supernatural interpretation, then the hotel itself (or perhaps what inhabits it) is the real villain.
    • Wham! Line: "You've always been the caretaker."
    • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: "Wendy? Baby? I think you hurt my head real bad..."
    • Writers Cannot Do Math: In the 1980 movie Wendy tells the doctor that Danny's shoulder had been dislocated six months earlier. Later, while bitching to Lloyd the Bartender, Jack says that the dislocated shoulder incident had happened three years earlier.