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Awesome (and useless) facts about The Shining… before the sequel comes along


Well, you’ve probably heard the news. Doctor Sleep, the 2013 horror novel by Stephen King is getting a movie adaptation. Yes. 198o’s The Shining is getting a film sequel, according to the report from THR, and Mike Flanagan has been assigned (by Warner Bros) to direct it.

There is no word on who’s going to adapt the book and actually write the screenplay and there is certainly no word on the cast, but I’d like to remind for a bit of the original. The Shining.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, The Shining was based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name. Jack Nicholson played the role of Jack Torrance- the recovering alcoholic/writer who along with his wife and child comes to at the mountain-isolated Overlook Hotel, while Shelley Duvall played Wendy – Jack’s wife.

Before making The Shining, Stanley Kubrick directed Barry Lindon. A highly visual and stylish period film about an Irish man who attempts to make his way into the British aristocracy. Despite its technical achievements, the film was not a box office success in the United States and was derided by critics for being too long and too slow. The aftermath left Kubrick disappointed and sought to make a more contemporary movie with modern themes worth exploring.

Jack Nicholson was Kubrick’s first choice for the role of Jack Torrance, and after six-month period spent in intervening boys (in several cities) Leon and Kersti Vitali chose Danny Lloyd for the role of Danny Torrance.

Principal photography took over a year to complete, due to Kubrick’s highly methodical nature, but things got really messy between him and Shelly Duval on the set. She did not get along with Kubrick, and spent most of the working days arguing with him on set about lines in the script, her acting techniques and numerous other things. Duvall eventually became so overwhelmed by the stress of her role that she became physically ill for months. At one point, she was under so much stress that her hair began to fall out. The shooting script was being changed constantly, sometimes several times a day, adding more stress. Jack Nicholson eventually became so frustrated with the ever-changing script that he would throw away the copies that the production team would give to him to memorize, knowing that it was just going to change anyway. He learned most of his lines just minutes before filming them.

But despite the grueling schedule and constant high demands from Kubrick, the result was probably one of the most influential and scary horror movies ever made. It was 144 minutes long, and Unlike Kubrick’s previous works, which developed audiences gradually through word-of-mouth, The Shining was released as a mass-market film, initially opening in two U.S. cities on Memorial Day, then nationwide within a month. The European release of The Shining a few months later was 25 minutes shorter due to Kubrick’s removal of most of the scenes taking place outside the environs of the hotel, but it was masterful never the less.

Although contemporary responses from critics were mixed, assessment became more favorable in following decades, and it is now widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. American director Martin Scorsese ranked it one of the 11 scariest horror movies of all time.

But what are the rest of awesome (and useless) facts about The Shining?

Because Danny Lloyd was so young, and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the child. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. In fact, when Wendy carries Danny away while shouting at Jack in the Colorado Lounge, she is actually carrying a life-size dummy, so Lloyd would not have to be in the scene. He only realized the truth several years later, when he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He did not see the uncut version of the film until he was seventeen, eleven years after he had made it.

To get Jack Nicholson in the right agitated mood, he was only fed cheese sandwiches for two weeks, which he hates.

According to Shelley Duvall, the infamous “Here’s Johnny!” scene took three days to film and the use of sixty doors.

Shelley Duvall suffered from nervous exhaustion throughout filming, including physical illness and hair loss.

Anjelica Huston lived with Jack Nicholson during the time of the shooting. She recalled that, due to the long hours on the set, and Stanley Kubrick’s trademark style of repetitive takes, Nicholson would often return from a day’s shooting, walk straight to the bed, collapse onto it, and would immediately fall asleep.

There were so many changes to the script during shooting that Jack Nicholson claimed he stopped reading it. He would read only the new pages that were given to him each day.

The “snowy” maze near the conclusion of the movie consisted of nine hundred tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam.

The color red is visible, either overtly or subtly, in nearly every shot of the film.


There was no air conditioning on the sets, meaning it would often become very hot. The hedge maze set was stifling. Actor, actress, and crew would often strip off as much of the heavy clothing they were wearing as quickly as they could once a shot was finished.

Despite his reported abuse of Shelley Duvall on-set, Stanley Kubrick spoke very highly of her ability in interviews, and found himself quite impressed by her performance in the finished film.

During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead (1977), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and The Exorcist (1973) to put them in the right frame of mind.

The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list.


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