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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.)
    • 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.

  • 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.
    • 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 Awards nominations in its day, but alas, Kubrick was nominated for Worst Director at the Razzies and the film was mostly panned when it was first theatrically released.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Narm: In context, the infamous "dog costume" scene is supposed to be scary. However, since the movie doesn't bother explaining it, it becomes hilarious.
    • The sudden zoom effect - complete with abrupt music change - certainly adds to this.
    • Wendy's reactions to all the weird stuff going on can be seen as pretty funny. In that particular scene, she doesn't even scream (though obviously she's completely on edge at that time) — she just heads away, as if thinking "Ooookay, moving on."
    • At the end, Jack's moaning is really over-the-top. The shot of his body the next morning looking like he needs to poo really bad can induce tittering as well.
    • The smash cuts with scare chords that tell the date. ("Oh no, not Tuesday!")
    • The scene where the corridor floods with blood... and then a chair floats by.
    • The look on Jack's face when he sees the lovely naked lady in the tub.
    • The look on Danny's face during his nightmare. Somewhere between "I just drank a gallon of Coke" and "I'm having an epileptic seizure." Note that this is actually because Danny Lloyd had no idea of the scene's context due to Kubrick wanting to protect him from being traumatized; he was simply told to do a generic "afraid" face.
    • Jack, frozen to death, staring blankly off camera. In the 80's it was almost one last scare. Now that it's become a meme about winter (see Memetic Mutation above) it's more likely to inspire knowing smirks.
    • "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!" It's unnerving at first, but when he's shown to have written an entire manuscript, it borders on being humorous.
    • The "Great party, isn't it?" ghost. Though he has a grotesque head wound, his cheery demeanor—especially when compared to Wendy's hysteria—can come across this way.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • Vindicated by History: Kubrick's version was panned by critics on release to the point where it got Kubrick nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director. Nowadays it is considered one of the masterworks of horror.
  • "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 Jack Nicholson, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and some usage of Padding.
  • 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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