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YMMV / The Shining

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  • Designated Villain: Nobody likes Mr. Ullman, Jack repeatedly calls him an "officious little prick", but he never does anything to anyone. At most he openly worries about Jack's past before hiring him anyway. That Jack is blatantly being hired because he's friends with one of the owners can't help. That said, numerous characters mention that he undercuts basic safety regulations to save money, hence the Hotel exploding due to a faulty boiler.
  • Growing the Beard: Stephen King felt that the point where he wrote Jack Torrance as a sympathetic antagonist was the point where he got better at writing.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The Arc Word that Danny keeps seeing, "REDRUM", is "MURDER" spelled backwards.
    • Jack going crazy in general—particularly pronounced in the book where Danny has repeated dreams and visions of a monstrous creature trying to kill him and yelling at him to "take your medicine." Most readers know the creature will end up being Jack long before they get to the climax of the book.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Jack himself. Even though he was the author of so many of his own failures in life, he and his family are trapped in an impossible situation. If not for the malevolent, supernatural hotel, Jack's caretaking job probably would have gone off without a hitch. Keeping his family at the Overlook leads to disaster, but leaving the hotel would have ultimately been almost as bad for them.
  • Never Live It Down: For the game of roque, this is a lot of people's only experience with the sport.note  This is what you get if you Google Image what a roque mallet looks like.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Along with Villain Has a Point, while he's stalking Danny, Jack is at least a little angry that Danny took the master key and went into Room 217, when he'd been expressly forbidden to go into any of the guest rooms, and (although Jack didn't know it), had promised Hallorann he wouldn't. Kid was trespassing, and if he'd kept his promise, he probably would have avoided the encounter with Mrs. Massey.
  • What an Idiot!: In-Universe. After Jack finds the scrapbook in the basement, he calls Ullman and threatens to write a tell-all about the hotel. Ullman is understandably chuffed, then Jack continues to rub it in. Why? Because Ullman discussed Jack's drinking problem and his getting fired from his previous job, and noted misgivings about hiring him. In other words, because Jack felt embarrassed. It's such a stupid move, afterwards Jack wonders if he's specifically trying to set himself up to fail.
  • The Woobie: Roger (in the book at least; his appearances in the movie and the miniseries are just random events). It's hard to not feel sympathetic for a victim of domestic abuse and homophobia to the point of being broken down to thinking he is a pedophiliac dog.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Ullman and Al being horrified at the idea of Jack writing a book detailing the hotel's bloody history. This is partially because it's much harder to keep the dark past of such places a secret in the age of the internet, and partially because a bloody history is seen as far more of a draw to guests, and thus unlikely to harm their bottom line. (Although the Overlook's primary market seems to be rich socialites and retirees, who probably wouldn't find a history of violence and corruption very alluring.)
      • When the book came out, true crime was still seen as a niche market that only catered to the depraved (this is even a minor plot point in King's own Salem's Lot). It wasn't until much later that true crime became such a broadly accessible, popular interest with its own thriving economy.
    • The depiction of LGBT people varies between All Gays Are Pedophiles (a character from one of Jack's short stories), Depraved Bisexual (Horace Derwent), or both (Roger).
    • Wendy asks Doctor Edmonds if Danny might "become autistic" and regards this as the worst possible fate a child could go through. Hindsight makes this especially a product of the scientific ignorance of The '70s as opposed to now, because in the years since King has delivered much more nuanced portrayals and commentaries on autism, particularly Holly of Mr. Mercedes and its sequels.

  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • None of the iconic scenes from the film (the blood in the elevator, "All work and no play...", the "Here's Johnny!" line) are in the book.
    • A peculiar case with the Ghost Girls: they were Grady's daughters and are mentioned in the book, but did not appear to Danny. The line "Come and play... forever..." was uttered by a thing in the playground's cement tunnel, in one of the book's creepier scenes. It's never stated what the thing in the tunnel is, but it can be assumed it's the malevolent ghost of a child who died on the playground, making the film girls an example of a Composite Character.
    • An interesting case is the hedge maze, which plays a pivotal role in the movie. In the book, it is not even a labyrinth but a topiary garden which comes to life, sort of. The topiary animals behave like that of the weeping angels.
    • In addition to the "Here's Johnny!" line, Jack attacking his family with an axe has become iconic in its own right. It was a roque mallet in the book.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • The Creepy Twins were trying to warn Danny about what will happen to him and his family if they stay in the hotel. Grady does tell Jack that one of them tried to burn the hotel down, which could suggest that they were bored, or it was an accident — or they knew of the hotel's evil even before it drove their father insane.
    • Jack finds a beautiful, nude woman in room 237 who allegedly strangled Danny. Instead of informing the authorities,...he just says nothing and makes out with her; a complete stranger. Was he just being an asswipe as usual, cheating on his wife with his son's attacker or was he, perhaps, lured by her beauty being under a "spell" of some kind before she turns into an old, cackling corpse? Or was he reliving the previous caretaker's memories (and the rotting corpse represented his guilt)?
  • Award Snub: You would think that an iconic Kubrick film would have qualified for several Academy Award nominations in its day, but alas, you would be wrong. It was one of just two films Kubrick made after Paths of Glory to receive no Oscar nominations whatsoevernote . Indeed, the initial backlash was so strong that Kubrick was nominated for Worst Director at the inaugural Razzie Awards ceremony (as was Duvall for Worst Actress) and the film was mostly panned in its initial theatrical release. Siskel & Ebert outright refused to review the film on their show Sneak Previews, an act which would be unthinkable today (and contrasts starkly with the loving tribute to Kubrick that Ebert presented on his show not 20 years later upon his death).
  • Broken Base:
    • The movie did this for King's fans, some of whom feel Kubrick's reinterpretation is valid, even brilliant, despite the liberties he took with King's story; others feel that Kubrick sacrificed too much of King's Character Development and backstory for a chilly, impersonal adaptation. See They Changed It, Now It Sucks! below.
    • Even among people who liked the movie, is it better than the book, just as good, or inferior? No matter what opinion you have, someone will come after you.
    • The DVD Commentary provides tons of insight into the technical aspects of the production and filming. They also praise Kubrick for elevating King's mere "ghost story" of a novel.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The "dog costume" scene in the movie. It actually supposed to be a reference to Overlook's original hotel manager Horace Derwent and his lover Roger, who have quite creepy scenes concerning their relationship in the book. But since Kubrick's version didn't even bother to explain who the characters were, it becomes a completely random moment. Which makes it Narm for some, an epic Mind Screw for others. His appearance in the miniseries is also rather random, not helped by the fact that he says some rather narm-tastic lines.
  • Creepy Awesome: Jack Torrance on the rampage is frightening, but is also a riot of energy and laughs.
  • Death of the Author:
    • There are countless interpretations of what the movie is about and what happens in it. Kubrick revealed his true intentions in an interview with Michel Ciment, where he says that the ghosts were real, that Grady rescuing Jack from the storeroom was intended as proof that the ghosts were real, that the indications that it's all in the characters' heads are a giant Red Herring and that Jack was a reincarnation of the man who was at the July 4th Ball. For the most part, this interview has been ignored by theorists, either because of this trope, because Kubrick was known to lie and misinform or out of genuine ignorance of its existence.
    • What doesn't help is that Kubrick has also stated, "It's just the story of one man's family quietly going insane together", which implies a more mundane explanation for the film's events, so make of that what you will.
    • For what it's worth though, the film version of Doctor Sleep (a sequel to the Kubrick film) explicitly aligns with the idea of the Overlook's ghosts being real and was produced with heavy involvement from the Kubrick estate.
  • Delusion Conclusion: It's not uncommon for some viewers (especially those who put Doctor Sleep into Fanon Discontinuity) to interpret the haunting at the Overlook Hotel as a combination of Danny's imagination and Jack's escalating madness.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many interpretations of the movie. There's even a 2012 documentary film called Room 237 detailing some of these.
    • There are a few theorists who are genuinely convinced that Stanley Kubrick was responsible for faking the moon landing, and that The Shining is his attempt at coming to terms with his guilt and confessing his fakery to the world. According to this interpretation, Jack Torrance (an artist living in extreme isolation from his family while working on a project of great personal importance) is meant to be a Author Avatar for Kubrick, who was forced into extreme isolation while filming the fake moon landing for NASA. Also, the number "237" is a reference to the 237,000 miles in the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, Room 237 is a stand-in for the soundstage where the landing was filmed, and Danny's "Apollo 11" sweater is a clue to the film's true meaning.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Shelley Duvall revealing that she'd long been suffering from severe mental illness in 2016 hits this one in-universe and out, as the psychological torment Kubrick put her through may have exacerbated it (though she personally denies such allegations or his involvement in her current state). This also makes the constant complaints critics had at Duvall's performance in the film, especially the Razzies for infamously "nominating" her for 'Worst Actress', feel crueler.
    • The use of the Timberline Lodge as a stand-in for a hotel with a history marred by death and tragedy became this just two years after The Shining's release, when director Boris Sagal died following a horrific helicopter accident in the Lodge's parking lot while filming World War III.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • I Am Not Shazam: Thanks to the "Here's Johnny!" scene, the uninitiated would often believe Jack's name is "Johnny." Whenever the scene gets parodied, more often than not, the stand-in for Jack would refer to themselves in third person.
  • It Was His Sled: The ending photograph.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • And to a lesser extent: "RED RUM! RED RUM!"
    • "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
    • Jack's frozen corpse is popular for use in image macros joking about snow or the cold.
    • "Come play with us, Danny... forever... and ever... and ever..." Expect any set of twins, real or fictional, creepy or not, to be hit with this at least once.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Jack crosses it when he kills Dick. At that point, there's no turning back.
  • Narm: Given how beloved the film is, there's a surprising amount.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The guy in the dog costume and his lover. Completely out of nowhere, yet incredibly memorable due to sheer WTF-ness.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: While the film is considered a horror classic and one of the greatest films of all time, it's difficult to discuss it without bringing up not only the immense Creator Backlash by Stephen King as a result of the film's heavy deviations from the original book, but also and more significantly Kubrick's abusive treatment of the film's cast on-set, particularly his psychological tormenting of Shelley Duvall that allegedly resulted in her lifelong struggles with mental illness and an early retirement. While Duvall eventually did dispel the severity of Kubrick's actions and denied him being abusive, the perception of his gruelling enforcement of method acting really isn't a great look, especially since Kubrick never expressed regret over his actions to the day he died.
  • Realism-Induced Horror: Defenders of the Kubrick version of The Shining often feel that the ambiguous nature of the Overlook Hotel's haunted nature make the film scarier, in that it makes it seem like a similar scenario could happen in the real world.
  • Signature Scene: The film has several scenes that have become revered, iconic moments of cinematic history most of which were not from the original novel.
    • Jack chopping down the door and then going "Heeeeere's Johnny!", very likely the most iconic of them all.
    • The Creepy Twins at the end of the hallway.
    • "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
    • Bear-Dog Guy.
    • The wave of blood rushing out of the elevator.
    • Jack frozen in the hedge maze.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Cracked claimed in its article that the film is an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1968 Swedish film Hour of the Wolf.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When Wendy tells Jack about what happened to Danny in room 237, his reaction is "Are you out of your fucking mind?" and we're supposed to think that he's acting like a complete Jerkass. However, before this, Jack was wrongly accused of hurting Danny and never even got to defend himself as Wendy yelled at him and ran away. And now that she's suddenly coming to him for help with a story that sounds pretty ridiculous, it's not that hard to see why Jack wasn't exactly cheery. Not that it justifies the other Jerkass things he's done though.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The movie for many of the book's fans. Outside of them, in both mainstream audiences and horror movie geeks, it's considered one of the best horror films ever made. On the other hand, Stephen King explicitly feels this way about it, mainly because Kubrick took out Jack's redemption. Specifically, King has stated that he thinks the film is a good horror film but a poor adaptation.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • It was impossible for the miniseries to try to stand behind the grounds of a highly respected classic like Kubrick's take on the book. While most agree that the miniseries follows very well with the original book, it's peppered with heavy Special Effects Failure, and resulting Narm, from it being a 90s product with nowhere near the craftsmanship of Kubrick and some usage of Padding.
    • Same goes for the film sequel Doctor Sleep although most find the sequel to be a good followup that is just overshadowed by Kubrick's adaptation.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Kubrick's version was panned by contemporary critics on release to the point that it got Kubrick nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director. Nowadays it is considered one of the masterworks of horror.
    • Shelley Duvall's acting was heavily criticized when the film came out, and she also secured a Razzie nomination, for Worst Actress. With the benefit of hindsight and the now-common knowledge of Kubrick's (mis)treatment of her during production, modern audiences tend to view her performance more favorably, and these days Duvall and her character frequently make "Best Of" horror movie lists.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: More people assume "Here's Johnny!" is from this film, rather than The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Funnily enough, Stanley Kubrick himself (who had been living in Great Britain since the early 60s, and generally didn't keep up with American talk shows) apparently didn't even realize where the line was from. If he had, he may not have allowed Jack Nicholson to Throw It In!.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Stephen King certainly felt this way about both Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, although most audiences wouldn't necessarily agree. Nicholson was often typecast in insane and/or villainous roles at the time, which King felt would destroy the sympathy audiences would feel about him going insane and turning evil, as well as ruining the surprise. Sure enough, he's menacing from nearly the beginning and never shows the resistance against what the hotel is doing to him like the book character. This has partially contributed to the Adaptational Villainy described above.

    Mini Series 
  • Author's Saving Throw: Especially considering Stephen King himself worked on the miniseries. In regards to the 80s film, some do like how the Jack and Wendy in this version are showed to be an actual loving but still flawed couple compared to the obviously tense relationship of the 80s Jack and Wendy. Depending on whether this works or not, depends on your state of the Broken Base.
  • Broken Base: The miniseries tends to attract rather... divided opinions, too.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Stephen King based the Overlook Hotel on a certain real life hotel he visited... The Stanley Hotel. Stanley Kubrick of course used another setting altogether, but the TV miniseries was filmed in the actual hotel.
  • He Really Can Act: While a far cry from the beloved Jack Nicholson performance, even detractors will praise Weber's performance as Jack Torrance due to making him sympathetic, likable, and more or less a Woobie who tries everything in his power to care and love his family only to be reduced into a monster by the hotel.
  • Narm: Near the end of the Miniseries, Jack rides an elevator into the basement while yelling, "Noooooooo!". What makes it amusing is that he seems to wait to yell until he passes by Wendy and Dick. Seconds later, Danny shows up and tells both that they have to get out, but the way he pronounces "Dick" is amusing.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The biggest criticism of the miniseries was that it simply was not scary. The miniseries was more dedicated to "fixing" the Kubrick film and being faithful to the book than actually scaring people.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Ullman only has one big scene here, but Elliott Gould turns in a memorable, if melodramatic, performance that makes every bit of it count.
  • So Okay, It's Average:
    • General consensus on the miniseries is that it's pretty decent, if a bit goofy and mixing in with the Special Effects Failure. One of the most liked things of the miniseries is making Jack a borderline Woobie, who really does love his family and wants to make amends with them, even going out of his way to give up drinking, completely different from the semi already unstable Jack within Kubrick's version.
    • The miniseries is also Better on DVD , with a few viewings, particularly the characterization of Wendy and the fact that we get to spend some time with a nice family. This is one thing that's missing from the Kubrick version: the good part of the Jack and Wendy relationship, and an understanding of why she stays with him, especially in regards to Jack's regret and sadness over what he did to Wendy and Danny.
  • Special Effects Failure: The animated topiary animals are shown with utterly hideous CGI. Looks like Kubrick was right.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: At one point, Wendy is investigating the elevator and ends up inside it. It would have made a great scary moment to have it start to rise or lower so Jack and Danny would have to pull her out before she got decapitated.
  • Vindicated by History: In a sense. While most agree that it doesn't hold a candle (hell, even a flame) to the beloved Kubrick film, it can be argued the miniseries works well with Weber's performance as Jack and following the novel well, Narm and Special Effects Failure not withstanding.


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