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Headscratchers: The Shining
  • Just what was that man in the dog suit doing?
    • Exactly what you think he was doing.
      • You learn more about it in the book.
      • In the movie, however, it is never explained, and is never mentioned again, making the whole scene entirely pointless. Yes, a somewhat relavant plot point can become utterly pointless if done different in another interpretation.
      • Why would a lack of explanation makes something pointless? I think it's a very significant moment in the film and the fact that it may be Narmy to some viewers doesn't change the fact that it scares Wendy, and would probably scare you too if you were in her position. It's significant that it's the only time any of the hotel's "ghosts" appear to Wendy. So, far from being pointless, it further pushes the ambiguity of the nature of the Overlook - is it really haunted, or is Jack mad? Is Wendy now mad and therefore hallucinating too? Or both? Or neither?
      • It was a vision of something that happened in the hotel once. Perverse partyers linger beyond their welcome. What else is happening in the film?
      • It's a vision of perversity, but the back story is one of betrayal and despair.
      • It's part of a rush of WONDERFULLY surreal eldritch images that I personally consider to be the film's Crowning Moment Of Awesome (or maybe more specifically the elevator part is). Would added context really make these images more powerful than they are as mind screws? Really??
    • In the book, Jack is caught up in a costume party that was held sometime in the 1940s in the hotel. The man in the dog suit is a guy called Roger, who was the lover of bisexual playboy Horace Derwent (a Howard Hughes expy). Although Derwent is now bored with Roger, Roger wishes to carry on the relationship, and Derwent tells him that 'if he came to the ball as a doggy, a cute little doggy, he [Derwent] might reconsider'. The party scene includes moments of Derwent humiliating Roger in front of a group of people by making him do dog tricks. The man the dog suit guy is apparently 'servicing' is, most likely, Horace Derwent.
    • Some critics believe that it and some of the other horror scenes are supposed to 'stand in' for a traumatic event that happens when Danny wakes Jack up when he goes to get his toy fire engine. This kind of thinking has grown a lot more prevalent as Trauma Theory has advanced.
  • How exactly did Jack get out of the pantry? Grady? Grady is a ghost (or a figment of Jack's imagination).
    • Grady's ghost is just one part of a sentient hotel. The door latch is also.
      • If it can open the latch why not just open all the locked doors he has to chop down with his axe?
      • Rule of Scary?
      • There's no clear answer as to just what Grady is, and if he's a ghost, there's no in-universe reason for why he can't interact with his environment.
      • The Hotel is testing Jack. He needs a bit of a hand, but it won't do bloody everything for him.
    • Actually that part bugs me too, simply because it seems to be the only moment in an otherwise intriguing Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane movie in which there is no easy answer from the "Mundane" column. The ambiguity is perhaps shattered irrevocably, and we know we're in a haunted building for real. Because if not, how could Jack have escaped?? Neither Wendy nor Danny would have ever let him out (Danny even less so, I think, if he were in "Tony" mode), and Hallorrann (sp?) had not yet arrived. As far as we know, they're alone in the hotel, and Jack doesn't break through the door, assuming he even could. Didn't Kubrick say that the aspect of the story that fascinated him so much was the multiple possible interpretations?
      • Of course it could have been Danny. In that case, Grady's voice would have been a hallucination by Jack. Abused children often still love their parents, including letting them out of a locked room.
      • He was far too terrified of him to have let him out. The only thing I can think of is that there is a third personality we haven't seen, separate from Tony, but not only is there no evidence for this, it doesn't seem to fit anyway unless Danny has some suicidal part hidden in his psyche.
      • IIRC, in the book, Danny helps Wendy to move Jack into the pantry, and Jack starts to wake up and orders Danny to let him out. Danny almost instinctively starts to do so. Considering this, it doesn't seem completely implausible that Danny might have let him out.
      • Maybe Danny fell for Jack's Wounded Gazelle Gambit? Not a far stretch, he's only young, and might not understand such a tactic.
  • Me again, guy from above paragraph. I just thought of something else. Word has it from some reliable sources that Kubrick's original ending—which sadly I cannot yet find on Youtube; it was cut out right after the premiere—had Wendy awakening in a hospital and being told by Ullman that they Never Found the Body. I guess this could mean either that she was the insane one and it was all in her head—getting an imaginary husband from that photograph or something...?—or that Ullman, corrupt as he is, was just in a cover-up. The photo stands and ends the current cut, though it could be interpreted supernaturally as well—as Jack really having "sold his soul" to the hotel for that drink, for instance. CAN ANYBODY FIND ME A COPY OF THIS DELETED SCENE? PLEASE?
    • According to the documentary Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, Kubrick destroyed unused footage. Sorry.
      • Damn!
  • Regarding the above deleted scene, apparently Ullman gives Danny a yellow ball as a Callback to the Room 237 scene. I didn't notice a yellow ball, but I uh - ahem - have this habit of looking a my hands during scary movies. Anybody else see this "yellow ball"? I figured it must be important if it was in the original ending...
    • The ball rolls down the empty hallway where Danny is playing outside room 237. It's what first lures him inside when he notices the door has suddenly been unlocked. A few people have also pointed out that the "Gold Ballroom" is where Jack offers his soul for a drink and where he's talked into killing his family.
      • Jack also throws a different yellow ball, a tennis ball, at the wall in the Colorado Lounge.
  • If (in the novel) Tony is Danny from the future, does that mean he came from a timeline where Jack succeeded in killing his family? In other words, where did Tony come from and why is he there?
    • In the other movie (miniseries?) Danny from the future helped himself in the past, sort of a closed time loop, but went by the name Tony to avoid confusing young Danny.
      • Uhh... no. Tony isn't Danny from the future, he's a part of Danny's subconcious mind that serves to help him process the visions he's seeing. Remember, Danny's just five years old. In the novel, the imagery of Danny's visions is strange, it includes things like danger signs that Danny doesn't understand. That's how it seems to work, the visions are cobbled together from whatever Psychic force Shiner's draw from. Tony is his own imaginations way of trying to interpret the visions. Danny sees Tony as older and more authoritative than himself because that's what his imagination brought him as a guide.
      • In the novel and the mini-series adaptation King did, Tony is Danny's future self. In the Kubrick film, he's not.
  • Also something of a What Happened to the Mouse? : In the novel, Ullman (the manager) doesn't want to hire Jack because of what happened to Grady. He mentions, in passing, that he's more comfortable hiring a student or single guy as they have in the past. This must mean there have been OTHER caretakers. What happened to them? Did they just not "shine" enough? Were they too smart/not alcoholics/too strong for the hotel to get them?
  • Why is it called "The Shining"? I know Danny's telepathy is called The Shining, but it has almost no importance to the movie.
    • In the book, it's never referred to as "the Shining." It's either a verb (people "shine") or the noun is called "the shine." In an essay, King noted that the novel was originally called The Shine. Someone at the publisher thought it might be taken as something racist because the term might connote black shoeshine boys when we meet the (also African American) cook, Dick Hallorann. And yes, that's just as stupid as it sounds. So the publishers changed the title to The Shining, which King never liked. As different from the novel as the movie is, the characters and concept are still adapted from the book so the adaptations have the same title.
    • In the book, Danny's and Jack's "shine" is also the reason the hotel is as active as it is. To people with lesser "shine" (like Halloran) the hotel can only produce frightening images at worst. It's when someone like Danny, Jack, or presumably Grady come along with more "shine" that it starts to get really dangerous. So without "the Shining" the story would be pretty dull.
  • Okay, I may be totally dumb about this one, but... Why does Danny carefully follows his steps backwards into the labyrinth ? I understand this is a way to find back the entrance, but it's also the surest way to stumble into Jack, who is also following Danny's steps. How does he manages to lure Jack and find the exit ?
    • Jack is, at this point, highly confused and basically operating on animalistic instinct. The only thing it looks like he's thinking about is opening Danny up like a can of green beans. I always figured Danny wasn't really trying to lure Jack anywhere, that was just the quickest way to get him to lose Danny's trail. That way, Danny could escape, which he knows how to do (presumably) because he went through the maze at least one other time with his mother, earlier in the movie. And possibly more times, who knows? The point is, I think he took a risk of running back into Jack because Jack was moving faster than Danny was at the time, and would have surely caught up if Danny hadn't done something. It's just a happy coincidence that isolation or ghosts or alcohol or whatever has driven Jack so nuts that he can't figure out where Danny has gone, and spends the rest of his life thrashing around madly in the maze. Also, you're not totally dumb on this one. There are no stupid questions.
      • There's also the more practical reason, which we see in the next scene of Jack finding Danny's footprints. When he follows them back, they appear to stop at that spot. He then (IIRC) rubs out any other footprints he makes and hides until he can get away. Smart thinking.
  • Was the naked woman ghost in the bath who tries to strangle Danny and makes out with Jack supposed to be Grady's wife?
    • It's been a while since I've read the novel, but I believe she was a socialite who committed suicide in the tub. Your interpretation is perfectly valid for the Kubrick version, however.
      • I don't recall the movie explanation, but in the book I believe Grady hacked up his kids, and then his wife, (or maybe he shot her before he shot himself) so she would have died in a different way, not in the tub.
  • When Jack put his face through the hole in the door, why in the HELL did Wendy stand there and scream while he spouted a one-liner, instead of stabbing him in the eye with the big KNIFE she was holding in her hand? Wasn't that the point of having the knife in the first place? I mean, I know it's a hard thing to do, but when he's got an axe and you've got an opportunity, not taking it is deadly. And that's probably why Shelly Duvall's Wendy is so universally hated.
    • When you are in extreme panic and stress, you do not always think clearly and even can become temporarily almost catatonic. This is completely normal and nothing unexpected. I don't see any problem with it.
  • Why did the family move to Boulder in the first place? I mean, lovely town and I'm very fond of it, but it's a long damn way from Vermont. Al Shockley got Jack the Overlook job. Was the idea that they would move to Boulder explicitly so Jack could take the caretaker position a few months afterward?
    • Re-reading the first part of the book, IMHO it seems like they moved due to the loss of income when Jack lost his teaching job at Stovington. Jack's pride wouldn't let him take any money from Shockley, so it seems likely that they moved to more affordable climes. And it's not like Jack was looked on very favorably by other staff members - he and Shockley became friends because they both drank to excess.
The Shawshank RedemptionHeadscratchers/FilmShort Circuit

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