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The Shining is a horror cinema masterpiece, and figuring out its haunting and iconic ending was no easy task for Stanley Kubrick. Below, executive producer Jan Harlan and screenwriter Diane Johnson (who wrote the script with Kubrick) explain in greater detail than ever before how the legendary director considered several very different conclusions for the iconic 1980 film.
Kubrick’s starting point was, of course, Stephen King’s bestselling novel. The director dismissed King’s ending in an early treatment for the film, then changed the final act again for the shooting script, and still again for the movie’s first cut. The meticulous filmmaker didn’t settle on the version we know today until the last possible moment. Heeeeere’s what happened:
Jan Harlan: Stanley was fundamentally not interested in a horror film. He doesn’t believe in ghosts. When the book was offered to him by Warner Bros., he said, “Well, all right, it might be challenging to do this, but I must have the freedom to change whatever I like.” Stephen King was perfectly happy with that [at the time], it’s obviously a prerequisite to making a film. And Stanley certainly changed it drastically…
Diane Johnson: The ending was changed almost entirely because Kubrick found it a cliche to just blow everything up. He thought there might be something else that would be metaphorically and visually more interesting … The talkiness [of the book] was also discussed. A lot of the script was pared down during filming, too — especially for Wendy, who had many more things to say in the script than she did in the film.
Johnson: In the book, nobody gets killed except Jack. And Kubrick really thought somebody should get killed — because it was a horror movie. So we weighed the dramatic possibilities of killing off various characters and did different treatments. We actually talked it over in detail the possibility of having different people getting killed.
Even Danny, at one point, was briefly considered for the ending’s tragic victim…
Johnson: Danny’s relationship with his father was the thing that most interested Kubrick. He was emotionally involved with the point of view of a little boy who is afraid of his father. I remember Kubrick saying that visually he could imagine a small yellow chalk outline on the floor like that they put around the bodies of victims. And Kubrick liked that image. But he was too tender-hearted for that ending and thought it would be too terrible to do …
Johnson: The photograph was always in the ending. The maze chase grew out of the topiary animal hedges that move around in the book. Kubrick thought topiary animals might be too goofy and cute, but he always liked the idea of a maze … [For Hallorann’s death] Kubrick didn’t want it to be too gory, he thought a lot of blood was vulgar. He wanted it to be mostly psychological. Of course, there’s the image of the blood coming out of the elevators, but that was more ornamental and metaphorical — it’s different than seeing people get stabbed. The elevator opening was an image he had in mind all along and had even prepared it by the time we were writing. So there was some discussion about trying to find a way of ending it without a lot of blood.
Harlan: Very often crew members asked him, “Can you explain that to me?” And he said, “I never explain anything, I don’t understand it myself. It’s a ghost film!” You can’t imagine how much fuss was made over the big golden ballroom and the big lobby and huge windows that could never have fit into the hotel [based on the] establishing shot from outside. Any child can see that. And Stanley’s explanation was, “It’s a ghost film! Forget it!” … It’s not a movie with a serious message. I know many people think its impossible that Kubrick did a film which didn’t have serious messages and an enormous amount of [theories have been] invented. While he was alive all that was relatively quiet. After his death, these [theories] came out which were funny, and partly insulting. The most insulting one is the idea that The Shining is a film about the Holocaust. That’s outrageous. That’s an insult to Kubrick, that he would deal with the most serious crime in human history in such a light way, and also an insult to victims of the Holocaust. The other ideas are much more harmless, where continuity mistakes are attributed with deep meaning.
Blatty derived the character from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, where Pazuzu was considered the king of the demons of the wind, and the son of the god Hanbi. In The Exorcist, Pazuzu appears as a demon who possesses Regan MacNeil.
His arms are positioned like Baphomet AND George Washington. lol. Do you think the George Washington and/or Baphomet postures deliberately emulate the old Babylonian King of Demons Pazuzu?
Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928, in the Lying-In Hospital at 307 Second Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. He was the first of two children of Jacob Leonard Kubrick (May 21, 1902 – October 19, 1985), known as Jack or Jacques, and his wife Sadie Gertrude Kubrick (née Perveler; October 28, 1903 – April 23, 1985), known as Gert, both of whom were Jewish.
The name Baphomet appeared in July 1098 in a letter by the crusader Anselm of Ribemont:
As the next day dawned, they called loudly upon Baphometh; and we prayed silently in our hearts to God, then we attacked and forced all of them outside the city walls.
Huge Kubrick fan, flagged so I can read this later thanks for posting
originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus
Washington's Statue is an homage to the Roman General Cincinnatus who after defeating the enemies of Rome during the Republic returned to being a private citizen. It is not related to any of the Emperors or Baphomet.
On a side note, my guests always get a kick when my music rotation I use for company spits out Al Bowlly's Midnight, the Stars and You.
You are being very rude to me. I have contributed greatly to your thread. There is no fantasy in anything I have said as anyone will clearly be able to see; only conjecture.
originally posted by: ColdWisdom
a reply to: AugustusMasonicus
I knew it was only a matter of time before you showed up to 'set things straight.'
Couldn't you let us have our little fantasy?