The 1980 film “The Shining” was an iconic horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. Who doesn’t remember the baseball scene? Or the famous ad-libbed line “Here’s Johnny”? That’s the line that has been played over and over and is a part of pop-culture. That is all thanks to the craftsmanship of Kubrick and the over-the-top delivery of Nicholson. Together, they created a film that would hold its own down through the years of horror-centered films. Now—30 years later— it is known as one of the top films of its genre of all times.
Something interesting happens though with iconic things, films included: there are conspiracy theories abounding. One by one people come out of the woodwork with their own ideas of what the “real” story was with the movie. “The Shining” was definitely one of those films that created a number of its own conspiracies within the story line. Here are some of the most horrific, and memorable that we hope come to HHN27!
Some conspiracy theorists come right out with the big guns and call the hotel setting of “The Shining” – hell. They believe that when Jack signs his contract there, he is literally signing his soul away to the devil. It all starts with setting. Stephen King wanted a place to inspire him when he was writing the novel. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was perfect. The real-life hotel was built in 1909 by the Stanleys. Though they are long gone, their spirits seem to have remained with the building. Mr. Stanley has been seen hovering over the reception desk through the years and Mrs. Stanley is reported to play her piano in the music room. When King and his wife stayed there, they were the only guests and that gave them full run of the location. Having stayed in room 217, they knew that there were plenty of activities to throw a scare into a guest. What better conspiracy than to think of the hotel as hell itself?
What makes this theory so believable is the main character, Jack Torrence’s descent into madness. He starts off as a loving father and husband who is just trying to find some work. He signs the contract, which theorists believe is the beginning of the end for him. What makes it so intriguing and possibly valid a conspiracy is that Jack slowly starts to lose his mind…just like one who made a deal with the devil would. Sure they have a long-term gig, but the cost is to go crazy and terrorize the very ones you originally signed the deal for.
It also is interesting to know that when Jack signs the contract, he starts seeing visions straight out of hell. The blood flooding through the hotel, the visions of ghosts, the fears he goes through—all are signs that he is no longer dealing with just an “earthly world” but has tapped into something far more sinister. The fact is many unexplained happenings go on throughout the movie and interestingly enough, in the actual hotel where it was filmed. Could it be that “The Shining” really was the story of a man’s deal with the devil?
Another conspiracy theory within “The Shining” was that the film was actually reminding the audience about the Holocaust. This theory isn’t overt, but rather it has numerous small details that “add up”. Mainly, it is the setting that focuses on the Third Reich. They were famous for their list-making and details. That is exactly what Jack is doing on his typewriter—lists and outlandish details. Over and over he is hunched over his typewriter that has the symbol “Adler” on it. Adler translates into “eagle”, which was the emblem used by Nazis. Viewers can also see the eagle logo on Danny’s shirt and on the rental car license plate of Halloran. The repetition is indisputable. It was purposely repeated for a reason so conspiracy theorists hold that their view of the film being about the Holocaust is highly likely.
In addition to eagles and list making, there are some other details that support this conspiracy. Room number 237 is a focus. Multiplying 2 times 3 times 7, gives you “42”. There are known to be 42 cars parked in the hotel’s parking lot. Young Danny has a shirt with the number “42” on it in the film. Finally, Wendy and Danny pull up to the television to watch “The Summer of ‘42” midway through the film. So, what IS up with the number 42 and why is it supportive of this theory? 1942 is the year when the Nazis officially moved their inhumane “solutions” into motion.
Another conspiracy within “The Shining” is that the film is a tale about mind control and what the CIA can, and will continue to, do. A big part of this theory is based on Jack’s descent into madness. He comes in “normal” and slowly loses grip on reality. Not only does it affect him as he loses his mind, but it also affects his actions. It first starts with outbursts sparingly; then, it increases in intensity to the point of being dangerous to his family. What could cause a man to descend that quickly? Can it happen without some outside influence?
Mind-control theorists conclude that there was an external force plaguing Jack. That force was the CIA. This all started due to the word “Monarch” being clearly posted on a poster in the hallway. It appears when the eerie twins are seen. There is a poster, which is oddly positioned due to this being a reputable hotel. The poster is of a ski scene and the word is clearly written on it. The word though is code name for a “behavioral engineering” program that the CIA held, or possibly still holds to. The program reportedly looks to “break down” the human mind with experiments involving LSD, sleep deprivation and shock therapy. The conspiracy theory includes the hotel as being the CIA and the things that happen to Jack as being their experimentation into mind control. They rest their theory on the fact that a gradual degradation of mental ability and sanity is exactly what the main character goes through. Slowly, but surely he can be seen losing his mental stability. The fact that it is gradual, plays to their theory. Mind control and breaking down of the mind is always a long-term process that takes varying degrees of intensity. Jack suffers at the hands of the “hotel”, or CIA, and the viewer watches his mind break down over time.
JUST A DREAM
When it comes to “The Shining” there are many conspiracy theories within the story. There is always the tried and true one of the whole story being a dream. Some people believe that the setting of the hotel is perfect for a dream-induced setting. The long hallways, the empty hotel, the doors that lead nowhere… all are perfect fodder for a hotel that was made up in someone’s overly-excited dream. This theory comes mostly from the hotel and its haphazard layout. What is more confusing than this hotel?
The fact is that dreams don’t make sense. They can have the most bizarre layouts and riddle-like settings. Conspiracy theorists believe that “The Shining” was really just Jack’s bad night of dreaming. There are enough ghosts and visions to make this a viable theory. What writer with writer’s block, in a hotel that creepy wouldn’t suffer some kind of dream that was out of the ordinary? Add to that the main character’s penchant for alcohol and you have the exact recipe for a night of outlandish dreaming. Conspiracy theorists hold to this one, stating that no way could this really happen without some combination of alcohol, mental instability and having a really bad night.
So which theory is the most viable? That depends. Each one has its own validity so which one the reader chooses to pick is up to them. All that is known is that “The Shining” was an iconic film that lasted throughout the decades for a reason. That’s why we believe this could be THE greatest HHN house ever!
Scared and confused? You will be! HHN27 is less than 100 days away! So who’s excited? Let us know in the comments!
RED RUM!!! RED RUM!!! RED RUM!!! RED RUM!!! RED RUM!!!