The Shining is an American film based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, directed by the established filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, which had its theatrical release for the first time on May 23, 1980, so this 2020 celebrates 40 years.

The story is centered on the character Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, and his family, who during the winter move to live at the distant Hotel Overlook, since Torrance was hired to take care of it. Once installed, supernatural events begin to occur, while an entity that lives in the place, possesses the body of the protagonist and pushes him to murder his family. Another important point is “the glow”, a kind of gift that his son Danny has and with which he communicates with a hotel employee who will seek to save them.

It was in 1977, when John Calley, a Warner Bros. executive, sent Kubrick printing proofs of what would later be the next novel by Stephen King, who was already famous as a bestselling author, after the box office success of Carrie (1976), first film based on her work.

Kubrick, after realizing the success of the film The Exorcist, decided to “try” in horror movies, so he agreed to adapt The Shining, with the only condition that he could change the novel to its film version.

That was how, from the hand of the screenwriter Diane Johnson, King himself wrote the script for the tape, which was rejected by Kubrick, because he thought it was too literal an adaptation, in addition to his prejudices regarding the concept of “life after death “, while continuing to express his enthusiasm for the possibilities of the text.

“It was the first time that I had read a novel to the end of those sent to me with a view to a possible film adaptation. I was absorbed in its reading and it seemed to me that its plot, ideas and structure were much more imaginative than usual in the horror genre; I thought a magnificent movie could come out of it, “the filmmaker told journalist Vicente Molina in an interview for El PaĆ­s in 1980.

Once the script was accepted, the filming lasted for fourteen months, due to the fact that the director insisted on recording the scenes chronologically, according to the text, in addition to the fact that, in his search for perfection, there were scenes that they rolled for whole days. This is known thanks to the documentary The Making of The Shining, filmed at the same time by one of her daughters, Vivian Kubrick, which was released on DVD in 2007.


Once the feature film was finished, Stephen King expressed his discontent, even mentioning the Kubrick film as the worst of all the film adaptations of his work, as he argues that the film downplays central themes of the plot, such as family disintegration, the alcoholism of the protagonist, but above all, that the supernatural nature of Jack Torrance’s behavior was not emphasized. Still, it is considered one of the pinnacles of the horror genre in cinema.

Although May 23 was the original premiere of the film, June 13 is considered the official date, this because its first release was reduced to only 50 theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the preview was the Longest version of the tape, at 146 minutes, excluding the final scene, which was asked to be cut during screenings.

June 13 was the premiere in the United States, with a 144-minute version; while on September 23 the final version was released, which was cut another 30 minutes, in order to redirect the narration towards a more abstract aspect. Although the official version was the shortest, today the longest is also known, thanks to its reissues on DVD.


The best-known ending to the film is a scene where the camera zooms in on an old black-and-white photograph in the hotel lobby, showing a crowd at a party and Jack Torrance in the center, rejuvenated and smiling. , while at the foot of it, is the date in 1921.

However, the ending that was cut in its version for the cinemas is very different: the protagonist’s wife is in a hospital room, where she receives a visit from the hotel administrator, who informs her that the body of her husband was never found

This narrative turn, although risky, opened possibilities for new conjectures regarding the film and what happened in the hotel, however, it was rejected as it weakened the threat of the “Overlook” on the family, which was praised by critics, since they found that the tape worked better without it.


Because the feature film did not fit the prevailing horror genre tapes (The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, and the Birth of the Slasher Subgenre with Friday the 13th), The Shining was not well received at the box office, for what it was even considered as “the most expensive countercultural film ever filmed”, so it became a cult film.

Thirty years later, it was finally considered among the 11 best horror films of all time; while in 2018, it was considered by the United States Library of Congress to be “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant,” and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Notably, the film was nominated for the Razzie Awards (the anti-Oscars) for Worst Leading Actress and Worst Director, awards it did not win. As for the Oscars, it wasn’t even considered.


Even as a cult film The Shining managed to penetrate popular culture, that is why many television programs have referenced or parodied Kubrick’s film.

The Simpsons during their Halloween special, The Little House of Horror V, incorporates a mini-drama in which the yellow family is sent to guard a “Mr. Burns” mansion, who takes television and beer away from “Homer”, motive that drives him crazy and trying to kill his family. In this animation “Bart” is the one who has the gift of “the shining”.

Because Stephen King does not like Stanley Kucrick’s version, in 1997 director Mick Garris made a miniseries adaptation that was carefully supervised by the author, who also participated in the production.

The scene of Jack Torrance peeking out of a hole made in the door by an ax has also been reversed in films such as It: Chapter Two (based on the novel It of King) of 2019 and Black Sheep, of 2007; while the scene of Danny Torrance, saying “redrum” (in English and vice versa “murder”) while bending his index finger, is taken up in a chapter of the animated series Daria from the early 2000s.

In 2009 he released the Anglo-Australian film Triangle, which includes explicit references to the Kubrick film; while for 2012 Room 237 was released, revealing alleged symbols hidden in The Shining.

A 2016 short film called The Chickening, which was screened at festivals like Toronto and Sundance, takes scenes from the original film, to which hilarious details and chickens are added, had a viral effect on the Internet.


In 2013, Stephen King released the novel Doctor Dream, a direct sequel to The Shining, which focuses on the character of Danny Torrance, now in his adulthood, as well as the sequels left by the events experienced in the “Hotel Overlook “and that now he must revive to save a little girl who also has the gift known as” the radiance “.

In 2019, filmmaker Mike Flanagan directed the film version of the sequel, which starred Ewan McGregor. For this continuation, King hoped that he would not have to return to any of the story told by Kubrick, however, being a second part of both the book and the feature film, he had to accept that some scenes be recreated to contextualize the viewers.

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