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Interesting Facts About Stanley Kubrick’s Horror Classic The Shining

According to Kubrick's biographers, David Huges, King wrote an entire draft of a screenplay for The Shining, which the director did not even see.

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Updated:July 26, 2019, 12:52 PM IST
Interesting Facts About Stanley Kubrick’s Horror Classic The Shining
A still from The Shining.

"If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed."

One of the most prolific filmmakers in Hollywood, Stanley Kubrick, who was born on July 26, 1928, is often cited as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His films, adapted from novels (Stephen King's The Shining) or short stories are noted for their dark humour, realism, cinematography and use of music to set the tone.

The late director, screenwriter and producer, who taught himself all aspects of the film production and directing after graduating from high school would go on to make such stellar cinematic experiences as Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), and his final film Eyes Wide Shut in 1999, before his death at the age of 70.

One of Kubrick's most acclaimed films is the 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling horror novel The Shining. Considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made, playing upon the fears and nightmares of the audience, the film is widely acclaimed by critics and has become a staple of pop culture in modern cinema. Interestingly, the film deviates a lot from King's novel and a number of inconsistencies and symbolism have given rise to a few theories surrounding the classic.

On his 91st birth anniversary, here's taking a look at a few lesser known facts about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

The exteriors of the hotel in the film were picturised at the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood in Oregon. However, the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s story is the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, which according to various reports is actually haunted. Kitchen staffs say they have heard partying in the empty kitchen, and music coming from the ballroom’s piano when nobody is there. Furthermore, according to the Thought Catalog, the hotel plays The Shining on a loop on one of its TV channels, available in every guest room.

Turns out Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick had only one conversation before production began on the movie. Kubrick called King and demanded to know whether the whole idea of ghosts presupposes that there is an afterlife — before hanging upon him. During a conversation with The Guardian, King had revealed that King was shaving when the call came and Kubrick asked, "I think stories of the supernatural are fundamentally optimistic, don’t you? If there are ghosts then that means we survive death.” King asked him about hell and how did that fit in? Following a long pause, Kubrick apparently replied, “I don’t believe in hell," before hanging up.

A lot of conspiracy theorists believe that the moon landing was faked and that Stanley Kubrick did it and The Shining supposedly serves as Kubrick’s confession. According to them the director had hidden clues in plain sight throughout the movie, details he chose to include, as they weren’t in the book. Notably, Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater brings the moon landing to mind, in addition to the number of the haunted room being changed from the novel’s 217 to 237 (the moon is 237,000 miles from Earth), and known space-drink Tang being prominently displayed in the hotel’s pantry.

According to Kubrick's biographers, David Huges, King wrote an entire draft of a screenplay for The Shining, which the director did not even see. Kubrick, instead, worked with Diane Johnson on the screenplay and worked on it with her for eleven weeks.

In a 1983 interview, Stephen King told Playboy that even though he admired Kubrick for a long time, he was actually disappointed in the end result. The author did not like the casting of Jack Nicholson either.

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