The Endurance of ‘The Shining’

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There are plenty of films that have stood the test of time, but The Shining has a unique place in cinema history. Just the mere mention of its title is enough to send shivers down the spines of movie-lovers. Much like the hotel central to the film’s narrative, The Shining has a haunting and unsettling legacy. Part of this is due to the grueling drama that took place behind the scenes. Fans of Stanley Kubrick know his obsessive nature all too well. Demanding take after take, Kubrick reportedly drove some actors to their mental breaking points.

While The Shining is inherently unnerving, what really seems to get under viewers’ skins is the overwhelming number of fan theories surrounding the film. The Shining is based on the eponymous Stephen King novel, but Kubrick merely used King’s story as a vessel for his own thoughts and ideas. Every die-hard fan of Kubrick’s film will likely have a different interpretation of its true meaning. Jammed with subtext and subtle messages, people believe The Shining to represent everything from Kubrick’s confession of faking the moon landing, to a message about the Holocaust, to an indictment of America’s history of Native American genocide. In fact, in 2012, an entire feature-length documentary called Room 237 chronicled many such theories—for a film that was released nearly forty years ago.

The Shining was a groundbreaking film, and people remain entranced by it, which means that we’ll likely keep talking about it forever…and ever…and ever…

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