35 years after ‘The Shining’ – what next?

This year marked the 35th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Based off Stephen King’s novel of the same name, it stars Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall in one of the most terrifying films of all time.

Of course, you didn’t need to read all that information.


The Shining has left an imprint as one of the most important horror films in cinematic history. With its release alongside Friday the 13th, both films received criticism from critics and fans alike. The Mail’s Jay Scott called it ‘overreaching, multi-leveled botch’, and Kubrick was even nominated for a Razzie Award. How did a film so rejected, even by King himself, survive the test of time?


There was certainly an element of disappointment,’ says Don Mancini, writer of Child’s Play, ‘because I was attached to the book.’ Kubrick famously took the film in a different direction from the novel and not everyone welcomed it. However, as time went on, it found its place in the horror world.

‘[Nowadays,] I adore The Shining, it’s one of my favorite films of all time.’ Director Ivan Kavanagh, of The Canal, sees it differently. ‘I’ve seen more frightening films but I think it’s still one of the best horror films ever made. Maybe one of the best films ever made as well.’ He explains that the plot holes left in by Kubrick lead to the audience using its imagination. ‘You only have to look on the Internet at all these wild theories of what the film is about. It worked, whatever he did, whatever way he constructed it, it completely worked for your own interpretation.’

The famous ROOM 237 has spawned hundreds of theories and even a documentary that brings people together.  The film has nine segments, each segment focusing on different elements within the film, which may reveal hidden clues and hint at a bigger thematic piece. ‘Because so many films give you all the answers, it’s great to see a film that makes people read so much into it even if it isn’t there.’ Says Kavanagh, ‘they almost wish it to be there, even if it isn’t. Everyone has his or her theory of what it’s about, or what the ending means, which is great.’


‘It is a testament to how endlessly fascinating the movie is that people are constantly trying to explain it.’ Mancini agrees, ‘that is ultimately the mark of a very successful horror story, and really a very successful work of fiction, period.’

The fact is, whether you like the film, or the book, or neither, The Shining has remained one of the most important films in cinematic history. The feelings evoked from the characters and actors to its audience resonate for generations after.

What did you feel when you saw the film? What do you think of it now? If you want to get into some real deep reading, check out the full article on Uproxx – picking the brains of young horror directors and The Shining‘s influence on the genre as a whole.




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About The Author

English Journalist and Filmmaker who moved to New York, as I don't play soccer or drink tea. Sometimes I say funny or interesting things on Twitter, at @JamesSpiro.