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Nightmare Fuel / The Shining

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Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies here and all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.... yeah, RIGHT!

It might be just the second work by Stephen King to get its own NF page, but there is no way this could make the movie any less horrifyingly scary.

If you want more Stephen King insanity, this other page has a lot more than you can shake a stick at.

  • Hell, the basic premise that someone you love and trust could go batshit insane and try to kill you is damned freaky enough on its own without all the ghostly trappings...
    • Imagine you have a parent who's been struggling with addiction and anger issues. They love you and you love them, and they really have been trying to beat their problems for themselves and for you. Then something happens and they snap right back to how they used to be. They frighten you, you're not safe around them, and you can't trust them not to hurt you. And there's no solution to the problem anymore. Even without the supernatural trigger, it's a disturbingly realistic situation.
  • King fully digs into his own experiences with drug addiction to create a chilling portrait of having a compulsion to do things you know are hurting yourself and your loved ones, and not being able to stop. Making it worse is that he later stated this was in no way deliberate, making the whole thing come off as a primal scream for help from his subconscious.
    • King’s revelation about his occasional feelings of antagonism towards his children also qualifies as Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror. The brilliance comes in the idea that writing the novel might have enabled King to gain cathartic release of his feelings towards his children and ensured that he would never beat them. The horror comes when you wonder what might have happened had King not written the novel and gotten his antagonistic feelings out.
  • Whilst Danny and Jack have always realised that something supernatural was at work Wendy has been blissfully unaware all this time. It's only when she is running around in a panic at the end she starts seeing the ghosts for the first time, seeing things that she know can't be there (as if being trapped in an isolated location with her husband going murderously psychotic wasn't bad enough!).

Novel only:

  • In the novel, Danny's first encounter with Lorraine Massey, the woman in Room 217 is just horrifying. The description of her bloated, rotted corpse floating in the bathtub is horrific enough (and she's also smiling), but then she starts to get up and chase after Danny, who by this point is so utterly consumed with terror that he isn't even able to think to open the door to let himself out. At least the woman in the movie starts out looking attractive. Not so much here, as even when she was alive she was pretty ugly.
    • And then, just as Danny's managed to calm himself down, remembering Dick's words about how he doesn't think the hauntings can hurt people... the ghost clamps her hands around the poor kid's neck and tries to strangle him.
    • Even worse, she is one of the ghosts that followed Danny home after the events of the novel, and reappear in Doctor Sleep. Danny seals her inside his mind.
    • The description of her when she was still alive. She's never named, but Watson recalls her visiting the hotel with her grossly underage lover. She's well into her 60's, breasts sagging, poorly dyed hair, varicose veins all over her legs, acting like she's 40 years younger than she really is, not to mention acting like an enormous asshole to everyone around her. When her lover finally has enough and abandons her, she kills herself in Room 217.
    • Try reading that part again, knowing what happens afterwards. Jack and Wendy find Danny, and since she doesn't seem to notice the water stains on his clothing, she thinks that Jack lost his temper and hurt Danny again. Angry at Wendy for jumping to conclusions, Jack storms off, and ends up in the bar, where the hotel starts sinking its hooks into him.
  • The novel was scary in its own right, especially those moving topiary animals and Jack being haunted by his father.
    • The haunting needs to be elaborated on; Jack hears his father coming from the radio, telling him to murder Danny and Wendy, leading to Jack smashing it in a panic and isolating them even more from the rest of the world.
  • King once talked about his inspiration for the novel, he and his wife were out on a trip, and stopped at The Stanley Hotel that was just closing up for the winter, and manned with a skeleton crew, leaving them almost completely alone in the building. Imagine having to stay in a place like that.
  • Doctor Sleep fleshes out some of the backstory and setting of the Overlook Hotel, it's revealed that the sheer amount of ghosts at the place is because the area is saturated in supernatural energy, allowing ghosts to manifest easier than they otherwise would. They also reveal that the only ghosts who linger in the mortal world are usually the ones who know that something much worse awaits them on the other side for their crimes.
  • One of the reasons why Danny doesn't want to tell his parents about the horrible feeling he has about the Overlook, not to mention his Shining, is an incident that occurred soon after Jack quit drinking but before he lost his job. Another kid in Danny's nursery class had a father who suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized, with the mother and son leaving town soon after. A combination of schoolyard rumors ("he lost his marbles, they took him to the bughouse, and he can never never never leave"), and Jack's rational explanation of the situation created a deep-seated fear in Danny of his parents having him committed if he ever told them outright about his abilities. He even has a monologue about the men in the white coats coming to his house and taking him away forever.
  • Tony's warning about the Overlook. "This inhuman place makes human monsters".
  • The blood splatter Danny sees in the presidential suite.
  • The presence Danny encounters in the playground concrete tube after the snow traps him inside.
  • The fire hose coming to life and menacing Danny like a snake.
  • The topiary animals in the novel are terrifying. What makes them even worse is the fact that they only seem to move when they aren't being looked at (yes, even in the split second Jack looks from one to the other), changing into a different position each time, getting closer and closer...they basically were an early version of the Weeping Angels or an R-rated prototype of the Boos.
    The thing was, you couldn't watch all of them. Not at once.
    • It's worse when they go after Danny, popping out of the snow and trying to stop the little boy from reaching the door.
  • Wendy's abusive mother, who hated her and resented her for taking her husband’s attention. While she wasn't quite as bad as Jack's father, Wendy belives that her emotional abuse drove her father into an early grave, and Danny is terrified of her, despite her never abusing him, and in fact dotes on him. In his own words, "It's like she wasn't your mommy at all. Like she wanted to eat you".
    • And there's Jack's father, who was physically abusive to his wife and children, and once horribly beat the former for no apparent reason when Jack was a child. And then, when the Overlook takes control of Jack, it/he basically says the same things his father said when he did it.
  • Anyone who has issues with flying will have a hard time getting through Halloran's trip back to the Overlook, with his plane taking a very bumpy trip through the blizzard. And his attempts to drive through the icy roads aren't much better.
  • The reason why Jack lost his last job and had to take on the caretaker position. Before the Overlook, Jack had worked as a teacher at a fancy prep school, also serving as coach for the debate team. One of the students on the team, George Hatfield, had a bad stutter, but accused him of rigging things against him (which the story later implies that he did). After he kicked George off the team, Jack came out to find him slashing the tires of his car, and beat the shit out of him - hard enough to leave a dent in the car's hood and give George a concussion. And this was after he'd gone on the wagon.
  • Danny's first vision of the Overlook, complete with a vision of a murdered Wendy and an insane Jack. And then, when he comes out of it and Jack comes home, the bag of groceries in the passenger side seat briefly turns into a mallet, one side stained with blood and hair.
  • Lloyd's face sprouting red sores, sweating blood, and turning a "hepatitic yellow", a la The Masque of the Red Death as the Overlook (through the party guests) starts convincing him to go off of the wagon.
  • The clock during the "party" - how the dome over the two little figures becomes coated with blood, bone, and brain matter, and the very realistic noises it makes.
  • When she comes downstairs to make food for herself and Danny, Wendy finds Jack in the bar, and he proceeds to nearly strangle her to death, accusing her and Danny of plotting behind his back. Then, when she comes downstairs to find out if Jack escaped the pantry, he attacks her with the roque mallet, breaking her ribs, her leg, and part of her back, forcing her to crawl back to their room.
  • Horace Derwent, an expy of Howard Hughes, is the most notable inhabitant of the hotel, a legendary millionaire who once tried to make the Overlook into a profitable business, but like so many others, he failed. However, unlike most others, his spirit still lingers at the Overlook, lording over the other ghosts of the hotel, especially his male lover Roger. What really makes Derwent scary, other than his casual sadism and greed, is that there is no reason for him to haunt the hotel. There is no record of him dying in the hotel, having sold it some time before he faded from public view, but despite this, he's still there, holding court over the other ghosts of the Overlook's past. And he's just as sadistic and cruel as he was in life, much to Danny's (and Jack's) terror.
  • Once the ghosts in the hotel have finally and completely taken control of Jack, Danny confronts his "father" and demands the ghosts face him, no tricks or deceptions. So Jack beats his own face in with the roque mallet...and then keeps talking to Danny.
  • Halloran briefly notices a huge dark shape emerging from the burning hotel. Was that smoke or something else?
  • The deleted prologue, Before The Play, contains a great amount of pure nightmare-fuel scenes that truly show how monstrous and abominable the Overlook Hotel is.
    • The first part of the prologue, is centered around the creation of the hotel itself, and the amount of horrifying deaths or near-deaths is frightening. The opening week of the Overlook was a series of especially disturbing days, beginning with a guest fainting upon the doors first being opened due to seeing something too horrible to describe, and ending with a man choking to death during a great evening banquet in front of all the horrified guests.
    • The second part of the prologue illustrates how the Overlook Hotel, even during full summer and at the lowest of its dark powers, could still break minds. After wearing-out a female guest by a series of extremely disturbing nightmares throughout all of her stay, the spirits of the hotel finally send her spiralling into a terrified madness when, in the middle of the night, they make a hand appear from under her bed and seize her arm...
    • The story of Lewis/Roger's life is extremely tragic, but becomes horrifying when we learn how he died. He killed himself by overdose, and this is what the official reports wrote down - but Roger never had any intention of killing himself. He just wanted to sleep after a particularly humiliating evening, when he got into his hotel room he realized he forgot his sleeping pills... Until, upon checking the previously empty medecine-cabinet, he notices a bottle of sleeping pills seemingly manifested out of nowhere, but that in his exhaustion he takes without asking many questions.

Film only:

  • Let's just say the entire film qualifies as this, due to its surreal, almost dreamlike atmosphere, which is more in line with something you would see in a film by Dario Argento or David Lynch aside from Stanley Kubrick himself filming.
    • One of the most effective surreal elements, and yet one so subtle most viewers won't notice it consciously, is how the construction of the Overlook seem... impossible. That's because it is: Kubrick had the set designed so the walls and furniture could be moved easily when off camera, so whenever someone is walking/riding through the halls, they take turns that should circle back into a previous hall or to the outside, but don't. Also the doors of the rooms are spaced far too close for how big the apartments are, and the Torrance's room has a strange configuration unlike any of the others.
  • Starts almost right from the first scene, when Danny begs Tony, despite his reluctance, to show him why he didn't want to go to the hotel. Tony gives him his - and our - first look at the absolute horror that is the Overlook. Smash Cut to Danny's utterly terrified expression. Then you find out he had a seizure almost immediately thereafter.
  • "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Over. And over. And over. And over.
    • What makes that especially freaky is not so much the revelation that Jack's gone insane, but the implication of how long he's been going insane.
    • The ways in which the same repeated phrase is structured on a few of the pages is just like how paragraphs and dialogue would be in a real novel/manuscript is in itself is kind of unnerving.
    • The look on poor Wendy's face as she goes through the entirety of Jack's "novel". With every page she flips through her eyes get wider and wider in horror and she begins to panic and flip through it faster, when from behind her...
      Jack: How do you like it!?!
    • That incredibly disquieting, high-pitched, stringy score accompanying the scene.
    • A reminder that Wendy enters the hall already holding the baseball bat and looking furtively around even before she lays eyes on the manuscript. Though she doesn't want to consciously admit it, she knows that something is terribly wrong with Jack and that she and Danny are in danger; seeing Jack's Madness Mantra only confirmed what she already knew.
  • After Wendy locks Jack in the fridge, he screams at her in anger for a few moments until deciding to change tactics. After this, his tone of voice changes and he pleads to Wendy, almost like a child or a wounded animal, to let him out. An understated moment, but still chilling nonetheless.
    Jack: Wendy, baby, I think you hurt my head real bad. I'm dizzy. I need a doctor. Honey, don't leave me in here.
  • The point where Wendy, finally able to see the ghosts, runs into a man with his skull visibly split. "Great party, isn't it?"
    • This lovely moment. Wendy, half-insane after her husband trying to kill her and all the other crazy shit she's seen that night, stumbles upon a dude in a bear suit blowing a well-dressed middle-aged man. And that horribly spooky music just sends chills down the spine. If you walked in on that couple in real life, living or ghosts, and they gave you that look, like you were the depraved one, chances are you would run the fuck outta there. Not to mention, in the book the man in the dog/bear suit is wearing said suit and performing the favor because the man in the tuxedo manipulated and broke him through psychological abuse.
    • There's also the ball room full of skeletons dressed out in formal party wear. Not dancing or moving around or anything, just a dark ballroom covered with cobwebs, like everyone just sat down and died 50 years ago and no one ever found them.
  • The encounter with the woman in Room 237 who turns out to be dead and decaying... after Jack lustily embraces her.
  • "Come play with us, Danny. Forever. And ever. And ever." (That you can't quite see what their dead bodies look like makes it worse.)
    • Jack Torrance later says it in the same manner.
  • Shelley Duvall in and of herself is pretty freaking scary. Seeing her contorting her face in terror? Almost unbearable. Probably because Duvall was probably not acting. Kubrick worked on making her as unnerved and on-edge as possible while filming the movie, which likely impacted the actress' emotional health for the rest of her life...
  • Dick spends the entire movie traveling across the country to investigate a hunch. He gets an axe in the chest only moments after he walks in the door.
  • The music, especially the opening theme. You know you have one hell of a scary ride ahead when just the opening theme makes you want to watch this with the lights on. It's basically a Spiritual Predecessor to Philip Glass's work on Candyman.
    • Hector Berlioz' "Dies Irae" from "Symphonie Fantastique", electronicized by Wendy Carlos.
    • The native American chanting and/or screaming in certain scenes (like when Wendy runs up the stairs just before stumbling upon Dogsuit Man and Derwent), and the weird ululating noises in the opening scene.
    • Utrenja, which seems to exist solely to make people scream. It always comes suddenly, ear-splittingly loud, and the rhythmic knocking sound is like a pair of skulls being smashed together. Shows up when Jack axes Halloran, when Wendy sees the REDRUM sign in the mirror, and several times around the climax.
    • Hell, Krzysztof Penderecki's contributions to the score as a whole, which rely on Drone of Dread and Scare Chord to be scary. A prime example being Polymorphia, which plays over the "All work and no play" scene.
    • Midnight, with the stars and youuuuuuuuuuuuu.
  • And, of course, at the end of it all, when all of a sudden, the face of Jack completely frozen with a terrifying grim face, eyes completely open and dead, and teeth out. The music makes it all worse, as its one hell of a Scare Chord coming from out of nowhere, along the image. Just when you thought it all ended, the movie just won't let you go without a final scare.
    • What's even worse is that his expression is almost identical to the one he wears in the US version after he takes his first drink at the bar — the one he offered his soul for.
  • The scene where an almost-completely deranged Jack tries to comfort Danny... while this music plays.
    • And he tells Danny "I want to stay here forever... and ever... and ever." Yipes.
    • Also, when Danny straight up asks his dad that he wouldn't ever hurt him or Wendy, where normally you'd expect a quick, emphatic response of "No, of course not" from your father, one of the people meant to protect and care for you, instead Danny receives a long, silent, detached stare from his father before Jack finally replies, "What do you mean?" The threat of the impending violence to come is no more palpable than in this scene, and it is absolutely chilling.
  • Jack confronting Wendy after the reveal of his sanity slippage with the infamous (above example) "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". The whole scene is Nightmare Fuel in its own right. Jack has become a ranting, insane shell of his former self. Wendy is traumatized, frightened, confused and scared for him and their son's well being. As she pleads to him Jack continues mocking her and backing her up the stairway before Wendy successfully knocks him unconscious with her baseball bat and drags him into the dry goods food locker.
    • In the same scene "I'm not gonna hurt you." [beat] "Darling, light of my life, I'm not going to hurt you. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said 'I'm not going to hurt you... I'm just going to bash your brains in!' I'm going to bash them right the fuck in." and then the look and faces he starts making after that little speech... shudder*
  • The final shot where the camera zooms in on a picture of a party from the 1920s, where Jack is seen between the guests, as if he always was a ghost in the hotel. To add some more creepiness to the scene is that, at that moment, the hotel is back to being as disturbingly empty as it was before...
  • Lloyd the bartender. Joe Turkel's performance is so creepy. All he does is stare unblinkingly at Jack, smile politely at him and give him a drink, and yet he still manages to come across as evil incarnate. Maybe it's the Nothing Is Scarier effect that he never does anything scary like the other ghosts, but you know he could if he wanted to.
  • Jack's behavior when he comes back from Room 237. There's none of the palpable resentment below the surface of all his interactions with his family up to now, no creeping influence of the hotel driving him crazy, or even the vaguely "wrong" quality he gives off in the interview scene - it's so mannered, so uncharacteristically gentle, so obviously artificial, as if something were trying its hardest to imitate a good, reassuring husband and keep Wendy and Danny feeling nice and safe with him... And then the sheer rage that starts pouring out as soon as Wendy insists they leave the hotel, with the sense that every bit of it is coming purely from Jack.
  • Tony in the film. In the book, he's Danny from the future, but the movie never divulges who or what he is. We're left with nothing but his insistence that he doesn't want Danny to talk about his Shining, Danny's tenacious avoidance in describing Tony in great detail, and the ominous and vague mentions that Tony tells Danny to "do things."
  • Redrum. Redrum. Redrum. REDRUM! REDRUM!!!!!note 
    • This is all kinds of Fridge Horror when you realize what is causing Danny to do this. He's just a little kid whose brain is trying (unsuccessfully) to shield itself from the Eldritch Abomination that is the Overlook. It copes with the monstrous things it is seeing by Danny's "shining" by the only mechanism available to it - regression. Inverting the letters. Trying to stay sane long enough to warn his mother in the only way he can...
  • The blood flooding out of the elevator. It's an iconic shot from the movie, yet it's completely illusory, a symbolic vision of the horrors hiding in the hotel. Only Danny can see it, and presumably Dick Halloran as well. Wendy finally sees it near the end when the Hotel has grown strong enough to affect her too.
    • Oh and its FAR more creepier and unnerving in the trailer thanks to the music by Wendy Carlos and the slow build up.
  • The finale during the intense chase throughout that damn hedge maze. A bit of foreshadowing. The maze is seen earlier in the film when Danny and Wendy are exploring and playing in it. Throughout the whole scene Jack is viciously and relentlessly chasing Danny, fire axe at hand, throughout the snow covered maze. The ominous nature of the scene is increased even further by the only thing illuminating the way being a bunch of floodlights giving that "Nothing Is Scarier" vibe. And to top it all off? After Danny manages to elude his father, we hear the whooping, wailing moans and muttering groans of Jack succumbing to his frostbite and injuries... and one scene later...
    • Jack's final moments in the maze. He is limping, barely able to stand, and constantly calling out his wife and son's names, though at that time his lips are so numb, or perhaps his mind is so deteriorated, that it sounds almost like incomprehensible moaning. That scene almost makes you forget he's a crazy killer, he sounds more like a tragic father desperately and futilely trying to escape the maze and find his family. Seeing anyone slowly, slowly freezing to death is a terrible thing.
  • The Oner in which Danny rides his tricycle through the hallways of the hotel, the scene has the viewer on edge since they do not know what lies ahead of the halls.
  • The scene where Danny and Wendy are playing in the hedge maze... with the camera taking a bird's eye view of the maze, with Jack menacingly looking over them in a Godlike manner — and a Slasher Smile slowly starts to form.
  • Philip Stone really sells his performance as Grady, and the restrained rage he exudes during his conversation with Jack in the Gold Room's lavatory ratchets up the suspense.

1997 miniseries only:

  • You think the woman in 237 was bad? You should see the woman in Room 217. It's way closer to the of a grotesque, rotting corpse described in the book.
    "Hello, Danny. We've been waiting for you. We've all been waiting."
  • There's a scene where Jack smashes a hole through the door of a room Wendy is hiding in, sticks his face in (similarly to the infamous "HEEEEEERE'S JOHNNY!" scene from Kubrick's version) and playfully says "boo!" The scariest part however, is when he loses his cool and lets out an extremely loud, almost inhuman-sounding roar when Wendy flees even further.
  • "Oh, there you are, Doc. I've been looking for you!"