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The Shining

Question: Has anyone ever tried zooming in on the various photographs on the walls of The Overlook, other than the final scene one? I bet Kubrick has placed crazy details in those too.

Question: Who or what is actually possessing the Overlook Hotel? Also, why do the said possessors want to drive Jack Torrance insane?

Answer: There is never a definitive answer, in either the book or the movie, as to what exactly possesses the Overlook. (There's a passing mention in the movie of the hotel being the site of an old Indian burial ground; Ullman says it as he's leading Jack and Wendy on the tour). The book makes mention of a lot of violent and unpleasant things that have occurred at the Overlook in the past, so the implication is that the hotel contains traces of these things. The answer to that question is left vague in both versions, though. You might get differing answers on the second part of your question, but most people who've read the book will probably tell you that the hotel's "goal" was not to drive Jack insane. Rather, its goal was to capture Danny's shining power. (The shining is a relatively rare power to begin with, and Danny's shine is extremely strong and powerful). The only way, of course, for Danny and his power to remain at the Overlook forever was for Danny to die there. Thus, the Overlook wants Jack to kill Danny, to ensure that Danny can never leave. If Jack's insanity is a side effect of that goal, there's no reason for the Overlook to care much about it. As an interesting side note, Jack believes that it is him that the hotel wants. In his conversations with Derwent and the bartender, he is led to believe that he is "managerial material" that is, that he will rise up the ranks from caretaker to the prestigious job of managing the Overlook. The Overlook does a good job of not revealing its true goal: to get Danny. Even though Jack is very flawed, he loves his son, and he repeatedly tells the manifestations of the Overlook that Jack's position in the hotel has nothing to do with Danny, and that Danny is ultimately none of the Hotel's concern. The Overlook finally begins to convince Jack of the need to "correct" Danny when it appears that Danny and Wendy's behavior might keep Jack from getting the manager job. (These last two paragraphs refer to the book, not the movie, as the movie provides virtually no answers at all to your second question).

Question: Does Danny's ability to "shine" have any connection to Jack's insanity and the events that occur in the hotel?

Answer: Effectively, Danny's shining is what brings the hotel to life. Because he has such an incredibly powerful shine about him, all these weird ghost things in the hotel are able to materialize and reveal themselves. These weird ghost things are always present to some degree, and those people with a small degree of shine get glimpses of them - like Dick Hallorann. (It's not quite made clear in the movie, but Dick saw the woman in room 237 in the book). However, Danny's shine is so great that he gives these forces enough life to appear to those without any shine, people like his father and mother. As it's the hotel that's slowly driving Jack crazy, and the hotel gets its power from Danny's shining, then I'd say there's definitely a connection between Jack's insanity and Danny's abilities. In the movie, it's not as clear as it is in the book, but Jack is effectively possessed by the hotel. He's not a flawed drunk with an anger problem who loses his mind because of isolation. He's a flawed drunk with an anger problem who's doing the best he can, until the forces of the hotel get inside his head and make him lose it.

Question: What is the significance of the play that Jack is writing, in both the book and movie?

Answer: Jack, who lost his teaching job due to his alcoholism and violent temper, is attempting to rebuild his life as a writer and working at the hotel gives him the financial means to do that. As the ghosts begin taking over Jack's mind, he is increasingly unable to work on the play. As he mentally deteriorates, the play's progress (or lack of) gauges his mental decline.

Question: After saying that he would sell his soul for just one beer, Jack looks up and greets the barman Lloyd. Since this was Jack's first time at the hotel, how could he have known the barman's name?

Answer: In The Shining, both Jack and Danny experience psychic episodes and visions. Lloyd could be a product of Jack's (crazy) imagination, or he psychically knew Lloyd's name and that he's the best bartender from Timbuktu to Portland (Maine or Oregon).

Question: What is the significance of the man in the Chipmunk costume with the man in tuxedo seen by Wendy in the bedroom ? What are they supposed to be doing?

Answer: In actuality, the significance behind this scene is explained in much greater detail in the novel. It is a dog costume, not a chipmunk costume, and the character in the book is referred to as the "Dogman." In the novel he chases Danny through the hotel, scaring him with absurd sexual threats. The man in the tuxedo is Derwent, a corrupt playboy and former owner of the hotel. The pair were former lovers, but Roger, the man in the costume, is desperate to continue the relationship. Derwent agrees at only one cost - Roger must dress in a humiliating dog costume, walk on all fours and bark. This all happened in the past and is being relived in this scene. The Dogman is perfoming fellatio on Derwent.

Question: What does "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" mean?

Answer: This is a very old expression meaning that if someone, anyone, does nothing but work all the time and never takes time for recreation or relaxation, they will become a dull, uninspired person. Jack, the main character, is twisting the expression in a malevolent way as his mind and body are being taken over by evil ghosts.

Question: Who hurt Danny after his visit to room 237?

Answer: In the book, after Danny visits room 217 (237 for the movie) the ghost of the woman who killed herself in the bath chokes him.

Question: Who is the old woman in room 237 and what is her significance?

Answer: In the book, she is Mrs. Massey, an older woman who is seducing a man much younger than her, until late one night he leaves in the car they arrived in, and doesn't return. Distraught, Mrs. Massey kills herself with liquor and sleeping bills while taking a bath. However, since none of this is in the actual film, fan theories have sprung up regarding her importance to the movie. One theory is that she is in fact Grady's wife, and 237 is where he murdered his family.

Question: What exactly happened to Jack? Why is he in that picture at the end of the movie?

Answer: There are two possibilities: Most likely, Jack's soul is forever linked to the hotel, and every once in a while, he is reborn into the world, only to return to it, and instigate more killings. Basically, he is constantly resuming his duties as the caretaker of the spirits in the Hotel. That, or every time someone dies at the hotel, their soul becomes linked to it, and the photo at the end changes to illustrate that link. However, if that theory were true, then the cook would also be in the photo.

Question: Are the ghosts real, or does Jack just imagine them?

Answer: The ghosts are real.

Question: Who is Tony?

Answer: Danny's middle name is Anthony and "Tony" is his imaginary friend. A first, Danny fears Tony, but he later becomes Danny's source of strength.

Question: Why do the ghosts want Jack to kill his family?

Answer: The ghosts want to possess Jack. His family is an impediment to that, therefore they want him to kill his wife and child.

Question: Why is the supposed foreign version of the Shining with the deleted ending impossible to find? Does anybody have this version or know how to get it? I have a feeling it's an elaborate Internet rumor and does not actually exist.

Answer: Stanley Kubrick changed the ending of The Shining after it had been in theatres for about three days. About ten minutes of footage was removed. The full US theatrical version runs 145mins, everywhere else 115mins after Kubrick trimmed the movie to remove what he considered "unnecessary" scenes. There is no specific "foreign version" save for cuts any TV networks may make for transmission.

Question: Couldn't almost any continuity "mistake" be attributed to the Overlook's ability to "shine" or control Jack's mind and perceptions of his surroundings? Or are there only certain missing/moved/incongruous items that were deliberate examples of the hotel "shining"?

Answer: One could argue that point, but Kubrick likely had specific incidences in mind, and others are genuine oversights of the editor.

Question: Actually a further answer to the person who inquired after Jack's picture being on the wall at the end of the movie, a picture dated during the 1920s. Some interpret the hotel itself as both a real place and a symbolic representation as the working's of Jack's mind. Hence, as he gets crazier, it gets crazier. Grady's comment in the restroom to the effect that "you've always been the caretaker" ("you've always been responsible for what goes on here") could be taken as an allusion to this idea. Remember that Jack sees far more supernatural events than the rest of the family, and most of what Danny sees is in visions. So.how much of it "really" occurs?

Answer: It all really happens. He goes crazy because the hotel is working its supernatural powers on him, so by the end it is easy to persuade him to do its dirty work. The point of the picture at the end is that Jack keeps returning to the hotel in different reincarnations and getting the job as the caretaker. If it were all just visions, who unlocked the pantry door?

Question: Early in the film the hotel manager mentions that the Overlook was built on an old Indian burial ground and that builders had to repel several Indian attacks during construction. Indian attacks? During the 20th century? And why mention this detail, since it was never mentioned again or became part of the story.

Answer: "Indian attacks" just means attacked by Indians who owned the land. It does not necessarily mean Indians with warpaint/horses/etc., just that the attack came from the tribe who owned the land. As for him mentioning it to Jack, he is just giving him a brief history of the Overlook Hotel, as Jack will be the caretaker and might want to know about the history surrounding the Overlook.

Question: One of the corrected entries here says that the film was shot entirely at Elstree Studios in England. Why? I mean with all the possible locations in the US especially Hollywood and all the facilities they have there, why was the entire film shot in England?

Answer: Many major US-financed films have been shot in England. The original Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones opening sequence, the first three Alien films and many others were all shot in the UK. The rationale is often financial - it can simply be cheaper to make films outside the US, with Australia being another common choice. In Kubrick's case, part of the rationale may well have been financial, but he also had a fear of flying, so made all his films from 1962's Lolita onwards in the UK where he lived.

Question: In the book, there is a bit (I'm not sure which chapter) where Danny is in the playground and is nearly trapped in a cement tunnel with what he thinks is a demon that doesn't want him to leave,and the swings move on their own.There are also lots of bits in the book where he is chased by the hedges shaped like animals but never sees them move, just hears them.Is there a good reason why this wasn't in the film, because for me they were the scariest parts?

Answer: I know they cut the hedge animals simply because the special effects to make hedges move were deemed impossible to do at the time. But both of these scenes were included in the TV miniseries "Stephen King's The Shining", http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118460/.

Question: Why exactly is this film (and the book it was based upon) called "The Shining"?

Answer: It refers to the "gift" that Danny and Mr. Halloran shared as in this quote from Mr. Halloran: "I can remember when I was a little boy, my grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it shining."

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Quotes

Jack Torrance: Heeere's Johnny!

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Mistakes

In the first scene, when Nicholson is driving to the Overlook, the shadow of a helicopter can be seen at the bottom right. This is only visible in the un-matted VHS print and fullscreen DVD.

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Trivia

Stephen King has admitted not liking this version of his book.

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