Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is an 1980 psychological horror film based upon the 1977 novel by Stephen King. It follows the Torrance family and their seclusion in Colorado's scenic beauty, the Overlook Hotel. The father, Jack Torrance accepts a job maintaining the hotel as it's closed over the cruel winter, following his failed teaching career. An aspiring writer, Jack seeks to pen his magnum opus during this period of isolation, unknowingly endangering his family and himself to elusive supernatural happenings at the haunted hotel - slowly tearing away at his already fragile mental state.
The film famously deviated from the original source material due to creative differences from Stanley Kubrick and screenwriter Diane Johnson. Because of this, many sequences and scenes were created exclusively for the film adaptation; taken into account with the daily rewrites, many of these didn't make the final cut.
List of Deleted Scenes
- Following the 39 minute mark in the film. After bouncing the tennis ball around the lobby and checking out the hedge maze model, Jack discovers a trail made from his writing materials. He slowly follows it into the Colorado Lounge, where he mysteriously finds a scrapbook sitting on his desk. After flipping through it's many pages, he discovers it contains the bloody history of the Overlook Hotel, which he begins to use as inspiration for his writing project. The seeds of Jack's infatuation with the Overlook were planned to begin with this scene, which was inspired by the plot thread in Stephen King's original novel. Diane Johnson fought to include this scene in the final cut. Remnants of the scrapbook's significance in the story can be found in the film, from it's visibility on Jack's writing desk in several scenes and a line of dialogue from Jack when talking to the spirit of Delbert Grady: "I saw yer' picture in the newspapers..." The prop scrapbook can be viewed at The Stanley Kubrick Archives in London.
- A scene of Wendy carrying the injured Danny down the halls of the Overlook, following her argument with Jack at the 62 minute mark. This scene was first discovered in an auction for a workprint reel belonging to Kubrick's assistant, Emilio D’Alessandro. It is unknown who won the auction, leaving the question in speculation whether or not the public eye will ever see this footage.
- At the 84 minute mark of the film, Jack eyes the bar table mirror in front of him to see the Gold Room guests become corpses, upon finishing his conversation with Lloyd the bartender. Many of them were drenched in the blood, with knives lodged in their backs and chests, while others were bare skeletons. Kubrick insisted that the skeletons used on set be authentic, and these can be seen in the final film at 133 minute mark when Wendy witnesses them in the lobby.
- Dick Halloran's death in the climax was originally far more gruesome. Jack would hit Halloran in the head before swinging the axe into his spine. As Halloran fell on his back, Jack continued to dismember him until he hears Danny running away. According to Diane Johnson, his death was changed as "Kubrick didn’t want it to be too gory, he thought a lot of blood was vulgar" Halloran's corpse can be found laying on his back when found by Wendy at the 132 minute mark of the film.
- Many more scenes regarding Wendy's visions in the climax were filmed. One of which involved Wendy witnessing the ghost of Mrs. Grady, all drenched in blood standing behind her through a mirror. As Wendy screamed in shock, the glass of the mirror shattered. According to Shelley Duvall, "it was a scary scene, but I don't think audiences would have understood who she was." The prop head that may have been used for Mrs. Grady can be seen in The Making of The Shining.
The Deleted Epilogue
The most famous deleted scenes of all is the removed epilogue for the film. After Jack freezes to death in the hedge maze at the 139 minute mark, the film then would've faded to daytime, where a group of police officers investigate the hedge maze, unable to find Jack's frozen corpse. It then would've cut to the Overlook manager, Stuart Ullman walking down a hospital corridor to meet a nurse (credited to be portrayed by Robin Pappas in the ending credits of the film) playing Snakes and Ladders at the reception desk with Danny. She lets Ullman into the room where Wendy is staying, informing her that the authorities couldn't find any trace of the supernatural events she witnessed nor Jack's body. Ullman sympathizes that anyone would've witnessed such hallucinations due to the horrors she went through at the hotel, and invites her and Danny to stay at his suite in Los Angeles. On his way out, he proclaims to Danny he "almost forgot something", tossing the same tennis ball Jack was playing with earlier in the film to his hands. Ullman bids Danny goodbye, and then the film fades to the photograph shot it typically ends on.
The scene was included with early screenings of the film in Los Angeles and New York. Hearing about the negative reception The Shining was receiving, Kubrick began to attend some of these screenings himself to survey audience reaction. Upon leaving the auditorium, he noticed a fell swoop of silence as viewers would leave immediately as the credits started. Curious to see how audiences may react, the epilogue was cut in certain screenings, which instigated a much different atmosphere as the movie ended: the audience felt a buzz and applauded, as they sat through the credits discussing the meaning of the film.
Kubrick wrote the epilogue because of the affinity he felt for both Danny and Wendy, desiring to reassure the audience that they were okay upon surviving the events at the Overlook. However, after seeing this discrepancy between audience reaction to these two cuts of the film, he decided perhaps he went the wrong direction in providing these answers to the viewer. Thus, he ordered Warner Bros. to contract an editor to psychically cut the scene from the reels it was included in at these early screenings - the man they found was Jay Friedkin.
Friedkin described “He very meticulously explained exactly what frame to cut out of and what frame to cut back to." Escorted in a limousine driven by Warner Bros. representatives, Friedkin diligently cut the scene from each reel timing his visits to each theater, so it wouldn't impede on the showtimes. At the end of the day, he handed the film over to Warner Bros. believing that would be the end of the story. Two weeks later, Kubrick called him inquiring about a negative reception circulating in one theater opposed to positive reactions in another. He was lead to believe perhaps Friedkin missed that theater during his travels, but upon inspecting the reel at said theater, the print was fine. “One of the theaters was in Midtown on 57 street. It was more known for art films and classy films. The other was the Olympia up on 100 and something street. Which means it was playing to people who didn’t give a fuck about Stanley Kubrick, and were only going to go see The Shining because of the trailer.”
The deleted epilogue of The Shining remains a heavily discussed topic in the history of cinema to this day. Film critic Roger Ebert, who attended one of these early screenings commented in 2006 ".. Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue. It pulled one rug too many out from under the story. At some level, it is necessary for us to believe the three members of the Torrance family are actually residents in the hotel during that winter, whatever happens or whatever they think happens."
All the film lifts of said scene were reportedly destroyed, leaving chances slim to none that the epilogue will ever again meet the public eye. However. many believe there may be one or two surviving prints out there, with the discovery of an extended cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey serving as a glimmer of hope. Alas, as per Kubrick's wishes, the lost 2001 footage was decided not to be released by Warner Bros. and his estate. As for The Shining, only time will tell if the deleted epilogue or any other cut footage for that matter will ever surface, seemingly remaining a ghostly memory among those who have seen it, like the ones that sleep within the Overlook.'