Recently, the producer and screenwriter of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (still deemed the best horror movie ever, by some) opened up about the process of making the film, and revealed some pretty interesting bits of trivia.
One of the most buzzed-about reveals was about the ending of the film, and all the twisted alternative ideas that Kubrick debated using. However, one of the other interesting reveals in EW's retrospective on the film, was how two key deleted scenes would've helped explain The Shining's cryptic (and for many, confusing) final shot.
Recap: At the end of Kubrick's Shining, Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance freezes to death in a hedge maze, while on a rampage to kill his son, Danny. After Danny and his mother Wendy drive away from the haunted Overlook Hotel, the camera takes us inside to a photo on the wall, showing Jack Torrance in the crowd of a decadent party that took place in 1921. How Jack was in the hotel both back then, and at the time of the movie, has always left viewers at a loss for both literal and thematic meaning.
Click Start the Slideshow to learn more about scenes Kubrick originally had in the film, that might've made things clearer.
Deleted Scene #1
According to EW and screenwriter Diane Johnson, there were key scenes of The Shining taken out, that would've made a big difference:
Two key scenes that heavily impacted the ending were actually shot and then deleted from the final cut. The first was a scene where Jack finds a scrapbook in the basement which chronicles events from the hotel’s dark past. The photographs set up the final haunting image of Jack in the 1921 picture. The scrapbook is briefly glimpsed in the final cut sitting on Jack’s writing desk.
Johnson: "The scene that I thought was really necessary was the scrapbook scene. The point of it in [King’s] book and in the script was that the scrapbook was “the poisoned gift” — in Russian structuralist fairy-tale parlance. It’s an element in classic fairy tales — like the poisoned apple. Jack seizes the scrapbook to use in his book, and at that moment he’s now under the power of the hotel. I argued very strenuously [to keep it]."
Deleted Scene #2
The second outtake was a two-minute hospital scene that was placed after Jack froze to death and before the final shot of the ballroom photograph. In the scene the hotel manager, Ullman (Barry Nelson), visits Wendy and Danny after their ordeal and explains that no supernatural evidence was found to support their claims of what transpired. Just when the audience begins to question everything they’ve seen, Ullman ominously gives Danny the same ball that was rolled to him from an unseen force outside Room 237.
Johnson: "In other words: All of this really happened, and the magic events were actual. It was just a little twist. It was easy to jettison."
NEXT PAGE: So What About That Photo?
That Photo Finish
So what are viewers actually to make of the final shot of Jack Torrance at the Overlook Hotel in 1921?
Unfortunately, Dian Johnson's explanation doesn't help explain things as concretely as some fans may hope:
Johnson: "There is an explanation for the photo, though it’s a bit strange and paradoxical because it’s both real and unreal — the idea that Jack was always at the hotel in some earlier incarnation. Jack had somehow been the creature of the hotel through reincarnation. At the same time, we’re meant to experience it “in the now.” There’s no way of resolving that, it’s meant to be magical. I do think it would have made more sense [with the scrapbook scene included]."