Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Visions Seen In "The Shining"

My list of visions in "The Shining" are at the bottom of this page.

A vision is similar to a hallucination or an illusion, and a ghost is an actual presence that becomes manifest to the living. It’s very interesting that Stanley Kubrick doesn’t use either word, ghost or vision, when he has Dick Hallorann explain “Shining”, and what he might be seeing inside the hotel, to Danny. “Well, you know Doc, when something happens it can leave a trace of itself behind. Say like if someone burns toast. Well, maybe things that happened leave other kind of traces behind. Not things that anyone can notice, but things that people who 'shine' can see.”

He’s talking about Danny’s ability to “see” past events that have happened inside The Overlook, and he doesn’t say a word about ghosts or that The Overlook is haunted. He’s describing visions to Danny here not ghosts, and he would have indicated so if he was. In Stephen King’s novel he doesn’t know about “ghosts” either. The spirits are aroused because Danny is in the hotel and they want his power. In Stanley Kubrick's Overlook it’s Jack that arouses the "ghosts" after he opens the scrapbook we see sitting on his desk throughout the film. Jack is the only cast member that knows what The Overlook's previous guests all look like; Dick Hallorann doesn't!

In the movie Dick Hallorann doesn’t mention The Overlook being haunted, or that there are ghosts there, because he’s never perceived any of this himself and if he did know of these things he would have told Danny so (exactly like he explained his ability to “Shine”). What the Torrances’ are perceiving in The Overlook only happens after Jack arrives. To a screen audience a vision or a ghost would both appear the same. But if you look closely at the script Stanley Kubrick puts proof that characters can project these visions into each others minds. It appears that both Danny and Dick Hallorann experience the exact same vision of Jack entering room 237. Danny is in his room and Dick Hallorann is several thousand miles away yet they see the exact same thing. If it happens once it can happen many other times like when Jack kills Dick Hallorann, Danny sees it and screams while hiding inside the cabinet on the other side of the hotel.

The visions that characters in the movie experience are interesting and important to look at and I’ve listed each of them. Jack is at the Overlook during every vision that Danny Dick or Wendy have, and we know from the dialogue the exact spot where he has the opportunity to peer into the Overlook’s scrapbook (5:26 into the movie, “I’d like you to take him around the place soon as we’re through ... ”). Visions begin appearing to the characters right after that. Stanley Kubrick tells us in the dialogue that these visions aren't real, “Remember what Mr. Hallorann said. It's just like pictures in a book, Danny. It isn't real.”, and Dick Hallorann knows exactly what he’s talking about. In the movie the Torrance's see 21 separate visions. After Jack has the opportunity to open the scrapbook he knows exactly what all of The Overlook’s most notorious guests look like. The ones that didn’t make it onto the hotel’s walls, the ones that aren’t, “all the best people” that Mr. Ullman speaks about during their tour. The exact same guests that appear in their visions. If The Overlook was haunted Mr. Ullman would have been proud of it and told Jack that fact during the interview, after all he did tell him about the murders.

Stanley Kubrick got an idea for using certain colors from Stephen King’s novel where Dick Hallorann smelled oranges when he “Shined”. Being that smell can not yet be adequately brought across to a theater audience Stanley Kubrick made the brilliant decision to use the two pigments a painter mixes together to make the color orange, then use those as a visual device to indicate “Shining”. Here’s my list of the visions and I've indicated where the color red, yellow, or the color produced if you mix them together (orange) is present in each. Danny sees 9 visions (the audience only sees 8 of them) and they are in dark red. Jack sees 8 visions and they are in dark violet. Wendy sees 4 visions and they are in dark green. With the final vision seen only by the audience. Danny sees the bloody elevators, the women in room 237, and “Redrum” all twice, and he sees the Grady twins four times. Lloyd and Grady both talk to Jack twice. And Wendy’s visions appear to her only once each.

Jack arrives at the hotel and is taken on his first tour by Bill Watson where he has an opportunity to look into the scrapbook.

1) :11 Danny has a vision of the bloody elevators (3X) and the Grady twins for the first time (1X). The elevator doors and the blood are red.

2) :21 Danny has a vision of the Grady girls in the playroom (2X). Danny is throwing red darts.

3) :39 Jack’s vision of the Hedge Maze Map. Jack is throwing the yellow ball and both Wendy and Danny are wearing red.

4) :42 Danny has a vision of the Grady girls again as he looks at the door of room 237. Red shirt and red trike wheels (changed from white in the beginning of the film).

5) :46 Jack has a vision of Danny and Wendy playing in the snow. Wendy’s red coat and Danny’s red boots.

6) :49 Danny has a vision of the Grady twins in the hallway (6X) all hacked up (4X). Danny is wearing a red sweater.

X) :58 Danny is strangled by his father but has a vision of being strangled by a woman (This is the only vision that Stanley Kubrick doesn't let the audience see). A red room key is in the door of room 237.

7) 1:04 Jack has a vision of Lloyd for the first time. Both Lloyd and Jack are wearing red.

The middle of the film where Jack becomes totally possessed by evil (If you look closely at the time code, the shot where we hear Jack gulp down his first drink is exactly 66 minutes and 6 seconds into the movie).

8) 1:11 Dick Hallorann and Danny have the same vision of Jack walking into room 237. Dick Hallorann's room is orange and he has a large red picture behind his head. Danny is wearing red.

9) 1:11 Jack has a vision of the women in room 237. Jack is wearing red.

10) 1:19 Danny in his bedroom overhearing his parent’s conversation he has a vision of “Redrum” printed in red (1X), and the Bloody elevators (1X). Danny and Jack are both wearing red.

11) 1:21 Jack’s vision of the party balloons. The other set of red elevators are seen.

12) 1:22 Jack’s second vision of Lloyd at the party. Both Lloyd and Jack again are wearing red.

13) 1:24 Jack’s vision of Grady at the party (he only talks to Lloyd and Grady at the party). Grady spills yellow advacot on Jack and they have a conversation in a red bathroom.

14) 1:45 As Wendy swings the bat Danny has a vision of the Bloody elevators (2X) and “Redrum” (1X). “Redrum” is written in red on a yellow door.

15) 1:54 Jack has an audio hallucination and imagines talking to Grady in the storeroom. Jack is wearing red and is surrounded by red Calumet cans and red Golden Rey boxes; all of which mysteriously move between shots without being touched.

The final chase after Wendy looks into another important book on Jack's desk, "All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy", and she begins to see visions for the first time in the film.

16) 2:08 After Jack swings the ax Danny has a vision the death of Dick Hallorann with red blood in an orange lobby".

17) 2:09 Wendy has a vision of the 2 gentlemen in the room. Dogman’s face is yellow.

18) 2:12 Wendy has a vision of the old man who says, “Great party isn’t it” (2X) and has red blood on his head.

19) 2:13 Wendy has a vision of the New Years Eve Party “skeletons” (4X). Wendy passes the red couch that disappears in the last shot of the movie. The three mirrors in the shot also disappear.

20) 2:14 Wendy has a vision of the bloody elevators (2X). The hallway and elevators are both red.

Jack is dead and everyone is gone. One last vision is seen by the audience who also have the ability to "Shine" and see visions that are like, "pictures in a book".

21) 2:20 The July 4th photo appears on The Overlook’s wall for the first time in the final vision of the film (other photos are in it's place when ever else we see that spot). The conspicuous red couch under the pictures and the mirrors have also disappeared.