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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

The Shining (1980) ft. VP Morris

Guest: VP Morris, award-winning author of ShadowCast and Dead Ringer (


  • Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance

  • Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance

  • Danny Lloyd as Danny "Doc" Torrance

  • Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann

  • Barry Nelson as Stuart Ullman

  • Philip Stone as Delbert Grady

  • Joe Turkel as Lloyd

  • Tony Burton as Larry Durkin

  • Barry Dennen as Bill Watson

  • Lisa and Louise Burns as Grady Twins


  • The Shining was released on May 23, 1980 in a limited capacity but was quickly wide-released within a month.

  • It was initially met with mixed albeit mostly negative reviews at the time including both Siskel and Ebert, and Pauline Kael.

  • This is the only one of Kubrick's last eleven films to receive no nominations at all from the Oscars or Golden Globes or BAFTAs. Instead, it was Kubrick's only film to be nominated at the Razzie Awards, including Worst Director and Worst Actress (Duvall), in the first year that award was given. Duvall's nomination was retracted by the Razzie committee on March 31, 2022.

  • Partly due to the persistent comments of author, Stephen King, about "hating" the adaptation of his novel as well as the mixed reviews, the film would only go on to gross a projected $47.3 million on a budget of $19 million and making it only the 12th best movie of 1980.

  • However, after a few years, the film would undergo a significant reappraisal by both audiences and critics.

  • In 2001, the film was ranked 29th on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills list and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains list in 2003.

  • In 2005, the quote "Here's Johnny!" was ranked 68 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes list. It had Channel 4's all-time scariest moment, and Bravo TV named one of the film's scenes sixth on their list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

  • Film critics Kim Newman and Jonathan Romney both placed it in their top ten lists for the 2002 Sight & Sound poll. In 2005, Total Film ranked The Shining as the 5th-greatest horror film of all time.

  • In 2006, Roger Ebert, who was initially critical of the work, inducted the film into his Great Movies series, saying "Stanley Kubrick's cold and frightening The Shining challenges us to decide: Who is the reliable observer? Whose idea of events can we trust? ... It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing."

  • In 2010, The Guardian newspaper ranked it as the 5th "best horror film of all time". It was voted the 62nd greatest American film ever made in a 2015 poll conducted by BBC.

  • In 2017, Empire magazine's readers' poll ranked the film at No. 35 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Movies". In 2021, The film was ranked at No. 2 by Time Out on their list of "The 100 best horror movies". Critics, scholars, and crew members (such as Kubrick's producer Jan Harlan) have discussed the film's enormous influence on popular culture.

  • In 2012, The Shining was ranked the 75th greatest film of all time in the Sight & Sound directors' poll. The film appeared at 88 on the critics' list in 2022, but was left off of the directors' poll this time.

  • In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

  • Finally, thirty-nine years after the original film, a sequel, Doctor Sleep, was released on November 8, 2019.

  • The Shining currently holds an 82% on RT among critics, a 66 score on Metacritic, and a 4.3 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

Plot Summary: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a winter caretaker position at the remote Overlook Hotel in the Rocky Mountains, which closes every winter season. Jack is advised that the previous caretaker killed his family and himself in the hotel during a fit of madness. Jack’s son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), and his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), are set to join him. Danny has telepathic ability, and before leaving for the seasonal break, head chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) informs Danny that the two share this ability, which he calls "shining". Hallorann tells Danny the hotel also has a "shine" due to residues from unpleasant past events and warns him to avoid Room 237. Soon Jack’s mental health starts to deteriorate. As he falls into madness, the shine from the hotel casts its spell on those inside.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Do the sins of the father pass down to the sons, and are we cursed to forever be haunted by them.

Did You Know:

  • The Shining was supposed to be filmed in just 17 weeks but ended up taking 51 weeks to complete shooting causing Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Arc to be delayed.

  • Even though The Shining novel is based on Stephen King’s stay at The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the exterior shots are from the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.

  • Due to Kubrick’s severe fear of flying, only the establishing shots are actually filmed in Oregon. The rest of the Overlook hotel, inside and out, was built on a soundstage in London.

  • There have been so many wild fan theories about the hidden meanings in The Shining that these conspiracy theories have their own documentary called Room 237.

  • Stephen King wrote a screenplay of his novel for Kubrick who turned it down without even reading it since the vision he had for this movie was already something he wasn’t willing to hand over to a different writer. This change in artistic vision caused King to hate this adaptation of his work and said regarding Kubrick, "I think he wants to hurt people with this movie.”

  • It took over a year to plan the mechanics of the famous elevator scene and nine days to actually shoot. To get this scene in the trailer, Kubrick told the MPAA that the elevator was spilling out rusty water, not blood.

  • Stanley Kubrick, famous for his perfectionism and demanding nature on set, drove both Shelley Duvall and Scatman Crothers to tears at different points in the production. The only actor spared from Kubrick’s wrath was child actor Danny Lloyd who often played ball with the director between takes.

  • The scene where Wendy strikes at Jack with a baseball bat took 127 takes to get right. The actors weren’t given breaks and Shelley Duvall ended up dehydrated and exhausted by the end of the shooting. The odd and unhinged acting from both Duvall and Nicholson in that scene is the result of this torturous and lengthy filming process.

Best Performance: Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind (Music)/Jack Nicholson (Jack)/Stanley Kubrick (Director/Writer)

Best Secondary Performance: Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind (Music)/Stanley Kubrick (Director/Writer)

Most Charismatic Award: Stanley Kubrick (Writer/Director)/Jack Nicholson (Jack)

Best Scene:

  • Opening Tracking Drive

  • Interview

  • First Tricycle Tracking Scene

  • Jack's First Snap

  • Room 237

  • The Gold Room

  • Delbert Grady

  • Wendy Finds Jack's Writing

  • Jack in the Pantry

  • "Here's Johnny!"

  • Maze Chase

Favorite Scene: Wendy Finds Jack's Writing/The Gold Room

Most Indelible Moment: "Here's Johnny!"

In Memorium:

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Jack Torrance: Here's Johnny!

Delbert Grady: ...You've always been the caretaker.

Danny Torrance: Redrum! Redrum!

Jack Torrance: [typed] All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Dick Halloran: Do you like ice cream, Doc?

Jack Torrance: Wendy,...I'm home!

Stuart Ullman: My predecessor in this job left a man named Charles Grady as the Winter caretaker. And he came up here with his wife and two little girls, I think were eight and ten. And he had a good employment record, good references, and from what I've been told he seemed like a completely normal individual. But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown. He ran amuck and killed his family with an axe. Stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the West wing and then he, he put both barrels of a shot gun in his mouth.

Grady Daughters: Hello, Danny. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Danny. Forever... and ever... and ever.

Jack Torrance: Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chin? Well then I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.

[axes the door]

Jack Torrance: [staring at the drink in his hand] Here's to five miserable months on the wagon, and all the irreparable harm it has caused me.

Jack Torrance: Of course, I intended to change my jacket this evening before the fish and goose soiree.

Jack Torrance: I dreamed that I, that I killed you and Danny. But I didn't just kill ya. I cut you up in little pieces. Oh my God. I must be losing my mind.

Jack Torrance: [chasing Danny with an axe] Danny! Daddy's home!

Jack Torrance: Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. 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 going to bash your brains in!

Stuart Ullman: The police thought that it was what the old-timers used to call cabin fever. A kind of claustrophobic reaction which can occur when people are shut in together over long periods of time.

Jack Torrance: White Man's Burden, Lloyd, my man! White Man's Burden.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9.17

Impact/Significance: 6

Novelty: 9

Classic-ness: 9

Rewatchability: 8.33

Audience Score: 9.15 (88% Google, 93% RT)

Total: 50.65

Remaining Questions:

  • What drives Jack mad?

  • Was Jack always mad, and what set him over the edge?

  • What is the significance of the photo at the end?

  • Why would Wendy marry Jack?

  • Why is Shelley Duvall in this film?

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