The Shining as a Tube Map

What is The Film The Shining About?

Introduction to The Shining

Mike Bell's Tube Underground Map of The Shining

The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1980, is a psychological horror film based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King.

The film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd, telling the story of a family that takes up residence in an isolated hotel for winter, only to be plagued by supernatural forces and the father's descent into madness.

Other Actors:

  • Dick Hallorann - played by Scatman Crothers
  • Stuart Ullman - played by Barry Nelson
  • Delbert Grady - played by Philip Stone
  • Lloyd the Bartender - played by Joe Turkel
  • The Grady Twins - played by Lisa and Louise Burns
  • Horace Derwent - played by Norman Gay
  • Lorraine Massey (the woman in Room 237) - played by Lia Beldam (young) and Billie Gibson (old)

    These are the main characters and actors from The Shining, but there are additional minor characters and extras that appear throughout the film.

    The Plot of The Shining

    The Torrance Family

    The film follows the Torrance family – Jack, Wendy, and their son Danny – as they move into the Overlook Hotel in Colorado to work as its caretakers during the off-season. Jack, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic, hopes that the solitude will help him focus on his writing and rebuild his relationship with his family.

    The Overlook Hotel

    The Overlook Hotel itself plays a significant role in the story. Its history of violence and tragedy seems to have imbued the hotel with a malevolent energy that manifests as ghostly apparitions and eerie occurrences. Danny, who possesses psychic abilities known as "the shining," is particularly sensitive to the hotel's supernatural presence.

    Jack's Descent into Madness

    As the winter progresses, Jack becomes increasingly unstable and starts to succumb to the hotel's evil influence. His mental state deteriorates, leading him to become violent and putting his family's lives in danger.

    The Shining's Themes and Symbolism

    Isolation and Loneliness

    Isolation plays a crucial role in The Shining, as the Torrance family's seclusion in the snowbound hotel allows the dark forces to take hold of Jack and drive him mad. The story explores how isolation can lead to loneliness, despair, and the disintegration of one's mental state.

    The Supernatural and Psychological Horror

    The Shining seamlessly blends supernatural horror with psychological terror. The film's supernatural elements are represented by the hotel's sinister past and haunting manifestations, while the psychological horror stems from Jack's descent into insanity, driven by both the supernatural forces and his personal demons.

    The Struggle Between Good and Evil

    The battle between good and evil is a central theme of The Shining, as the Torrance family struggles to survive against the malevolent forces within the Overlook Hotel. Danny's psychic abilities represent the power of good, allowing him to resist the hotel's evil influence. In contrast, Jack's vulnerability to the hotel's dark forces ultimately leads him down a path of destruction.

    Stanley Kubrick's Direction

    Visual Storytelling

    Stanley Kubrick's masterful direction in The Shining has contributed to the film's enduring legacy. Kubrick employs striking visuals and meticulous composition to create a sense of unease and tension throughout the film. The use of symmetry, long tracking shots, and striking colour palettes work together to immerse the viewer in the Overlook Hotel's unsettling atmosphere.

    The Music and Sound Design

    The Shining's haunting score and sound design play a significant role in creating the film's eerie atmosphere. The innovative use of music, including the iconic opening theme, amplifies the tension and unease felt by the characters and the audience. The sound design, with its unsettling noises and whispers, further contributes to the film's sense of dread.

    The Shining's Legacy and Impact

    Critical Reception

    Upon its release, The Shining received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising its visuals and performances while others criticized the film's deviations from Stephen King's novel. Over time, however, the film has gained widespread acclaim and is now considered one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

    Cultural Influence

    The Shining has had a lasting impact on popular culture, with numerous references and homages found in films, television, and other media. Iconic scenes and lines from the film, such as "Here's Johnny!" and the twins in the hallway, have become part of the cultural lexicon. The film has also influenced generations of filmmakers, inspiring countless horror films and psychological thrillers in the decades since its release.


    In summary, The Shining is a masterful psychological horror film that explores themes of isolation, the supernatural, and the struggle between good and evil. Stanley Kubrick's visionary direction, the outstanding performances by the cast, and the film's haunting music and sound design come together to create a truly memorable cinematic experience. The Shining's enduring legacy and influence on popular culture are testaments to its status as a classic work of horror.


    Who directed The Shining?

    Stanley Kubrick directed The Shining, which was released in 1980.

    Is The Shining based on a book?

    Yes, The Shining is based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Stephen King.

    What is "the shining" in the film?

    "The shining" refers to a psychic ability possessed by the character Danny Torrance, which allows him to communicate telepathically and sense supernatural forces within the Overlook Hotel.

    Why is the Overlook Hotel haunted?

    The Overlook Hotel is haunted due to its dark and violent history, which has imbued the building with a malevolent energy that manifests as ghostly apparitions and eerie occurrences.

    How has The Shining influenced popular culture?

    The Shining has had a significant impact on popular culture, with its iconic scenes and lines being referenced in films, television, and other media. The film has also inspired generations of filmmakers and contributed to the development of the horror genre


    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.