The Shining Is 41 Years Old This Year
During my research of Stanley Kubrick and his style of filmmaking and just how intensely involved he was during the entire filmmaking process, I came to the conclusion that the speculation from some that there were “ Continuity- Errors” in this film, mostly revolving around furniture that may seem to move or be missing or light switches that are suddenly there in one shot but not in another, I believe this speculation is incorrect, these things have previously been identified as errors, must have been done on purpose, Stanley Kubrick would not have allowed continuity errors given he’s famous for his attention to details in his films, so with that in mind I re-examined the missing furniture and other things that had been labelled as continuity errors and looked at them to see if they might mean something else.
Continuity Errors ? Or Something Else…
The scene in The Shining that had blatant furniture placement error or it would seem, there you can see it below.
In the Tuesday section of The Shining where Wendy interrupts Jack and he not so politely tells her not to interrupt him when he’s in there, in the scene where Wendy walks up to Jack he yanks the paper out of the typewriter, has the conversation with Wendy and exactly at that moment that end table and chair behind Jack disappear in one shot and then reappear in the next.
We then see Wendy walk away it’s this very next shot of Jack that is the key that unlocks the schizophrenia theory or the Wendy theory, if we look at Jack here, he is not flustered his hair isn’t out of place and there is still paper in the typewriter which means he never pulled it out, the key again is the look of someone who just witnessed something disturbing, I would call this look at a minimum puzzled look like “what just happened”? This is where the Wendy theory takes off what could Jack have witnessed to give this look
There are three disturbing possibilities that might have just occurred
- Wendy walks up to Jack and has a conversation with him where she is speaking out loud but the replies Jack is giving are happening in her head
- Wendy has a conversation out loud where she voices Jack‘s responses as Jack as well as her own responses
- Or maybe the most disturbing she walks up to Jack and has that entire conversation in her head while she stands silently next to Jack then walks away
It’s Wendy that has psychological issues
Now I’m not psychologist or psychiatrist but from layman‘s point of view she could be schizophrenic, this would explain the hallucinations and the paranoia, now we know Wendy has issues with her mental fitness, we can go back to the look Jack gives as she walks away and maybe the reason he keeps typing is because this is something he‘s gotten used to and he lets her go because this is what she does, back to the furniture missing part , now I believe as Wendy is having these hallucinations she just isn’t recalling things perfectly as they are in reality so things come and go because they’re not important or she just doesn’t recall them their, glitches in her memory but we can use these changes or emission as our clue to her active hallucinations the other important clue is when we see Wendy has these hallucinations is camera placement, when the camera is filming from the back of characters as in the scene above, the camera starts from far behind Jack and comes closer as Wendy walks in, it’s as if Wendy is the camera and she’s watching her hallucinations , but we need more evidence
In This scene Wendy and Danny watch television that obviously isn’t plugged it, how is this possible ? It’s possible if it’s only Wendy that sees picture on the tv and as you notice this shot also has the camera placement from behind the characters, another clue for her hallucinations, in reality, they are sitting in-front of a tv that isn’t on and Wendy is hallucinating while Danny is just watching the snow fall and playing with his toys which is why he gets bored and asks to get his fire engine
This scene also starts from Danny‘s behind by the camera placement we can confirm it’s a hallucinations of Wendy , while Danny go inside he calls to her mom, he knows she’s inside and inside the room he meets a “crazy woman” that strangles him as this crazy woman is in fact Wendy.
Wendy And MSBP
But why would she harm his own son ? i think, not only she could be from schizophrenic but it could be possible Wendy also suffers from Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy (MSBP). This is mental disorder that people have most of the time you hear about this happening between a mother and her child where they either tell people that their child is sick or suffering when they are not or they actually make them sick in order to gain attention of some sort, that’s a very basic definition, the story Wendy tells the doctor about Danny’s dislocated arm could also be a made up by Wendy in order to gain sympathy. even if Danny‘s arm were injured we now know that it was most likely Wendy that injured him and not Jack but blamed Jack in order to gain attention as an MSBP sufferer might do, but wait Jack confesses to Lloyd about hurting Danny.. right? But we know Gold Room scenes are also Wendy ‘s hallucinations
You can see the carpet behind Wendy and Danny is gone, also the floor lamps they are also gone but when we get a front shot of Jack we see the end table and chair behind him is also gone… again.
But all the missing objects re-appear as she starts to walk, All signs of fluctuating hallucinations, her hallucinations have now fully convinced her that Jack is the one that hurt Danny and that Jack is dangerous and unstable, how does Jack look now? so now that we know Wendy is the one having a mental breakdown what does that mean for Jack? does that mean Jack is a loving husband trying to live with a woman with psychological issues? It doesn’t look like it, back to the hallucinations of Wendy’s, we are seeing is what Wendy is seeing in her head but we need to remember that when people are having hallucinations the bystanders involved are still there in the true reality dealing with these psychotic episodes. we’ll get to it in minute.
If Danny doesn’t shine why does Dick Hallorann shows up at the overlook hotel? well dick answers that question himself
i use to think in the scene where he talks to Durkin about why he was going to Overlook hotel in a snow storm the story about Allman calling him was just a story to tell so that he wouldn’t have to explain his shining ability but in actuality when he says Allman called him because the Torrances turned out to be unreliable and needed to be replaced this was actually true Mr. Allman did get a call from Torrances about needing to leave the Overlook hotel but who call Allman? i think it was Jack that called him, after the blow up scene in Wendy‘s head.
This Is How He Is Talking…. (Normally)
Remember, here Jack is most likely trying to talk with her as a normal person but she is in a deep hallucination
But how do we know that this is hallucination?
Again the missing furniture concept and hallucination connection that light wasn’t there before. But what I think real Jack is saying to her in this scene is that he is going to call Mr. Ullman to have someone replace them maybe he mentions that he would see if Hallorann could replace them, which is why in her next hallucinations she has Delbert Grady mentioned to Jack that Danny is trying to contact Hallorann with his shining ability
Did you know Mr. Torrance that your son is attempting to bring an outside party in to this situation. Did you know that?
— Delbert Grady
Jack then goes to the radio room, this is when Jack in reality calls the fire service to relay a message to Mr. Ullman that they need to leave the Overlook for medical reasons, the clue we are given that Jack actually did this is sitting right on the desk. Mr. Ullman’s name plate is right there on the desk earlier when Wendy was in there it wasn’t there, but how do we know when Wendy was there it was reality and when Jack was in there it was a hallucination ?
You can see there is no light switch when Jack walks in the office when he was about to be interviewed and there is no switch when Wendy walks in the office either… but a switch suddenly appears when Jack walks in to the office and we know it’s another Wendy Hallucination.
So when Jack walks in the office we know it’s one of those mixed realities where something is happening in reality but we are only seeing what Wendy is seeing. there’s another one of these mixed reality and it’s big bombshell reveal what happens to Jack so here’s when it’s comes to a head
Here Wendy goes down to look for Jack and right away the camera is behind Wendy and we know right off she’s having another hallucination, she’s actually in that room physically but we see the bear carpet that should be in front of the fireplace is not there. But when we see Wendy from the front in the next shot the carpet is there, again this whole scene is a mixed reality hallucination, the manuscript that Jack has written is there but she is hallucinating what’s written ...
All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy”
Next shot, Jack appears but we see him from behind, Jack is trying to talk to her in reality but she’s in full hallucinating mode.
She is holding the bat in reality Jack is actually trying to talk Wendy out of her hallucination and is asking her to put the bat down. when he reaches for the bat she hits him in the head and he falls down the stairs
Now The Reveal Happens…
The light switch is again missing from when it was there before in the walkthrough scene so another indication Wendy is still hallucinating, but something completely different from what we see in the next shot happens, she didn’t dragged him to the store room she actually dragged him to the maze.
After this happens, every-time we see Jack it’s Wendy hallucinating, Actually.. most of everything we see from this point is Wendy’s hallucinating.
If she hallucinates, putting Jack in store room then Jack talking with Grady is a Wendy hallucination and also answers the age old question of who let Jack out of the store room, he was never in the store room.
Just A Quick Flash Back….
People have commented on Jack’s attitude of irritation during that drive to the hotel. or that scene in hotel where Wendy asks him about if he had any ideas about the project he’s been working on and he says not good ones and sarcastically “agrees” to Wendy‘s advice and that sarcastic answer like you have no idea what you are talking about .. you know how people have commented on Jack’s attitude of irritation during that scene people have made comments on Jack‘s behaviour that it’s a sign that Jack doesn’t respect Wendy or thinks she’s just not smart like she’s just an irritation, this speculation may have some credence because of what she has Grady say during the store room hallucination with Jack, she gives herself props for getting over on Jack and being stronger than he thought, here’s what Grady says..
Your wife appears to be stronger than we imagined, Mr. Torrance , somewhat more resourceful , she’s seems to have got the better of you”
This seems to mean that she knows Jack doesn’t think highly of her and here she defends herself through Grady, this maybe a way of getting back to Jack‘s subconsciously , unfortunately it happens through a psychotic break
You’ll notice that Wendy hears the snowcat first and then Jack hears it , this is intermingling of reality and hallucination and then she imagines Jack heading down to the lobby. we see another clue as Jack looks out to the lobby , the closest chandelier to where Jack is standing is missing, giving us a clue that what we are about to see is not real
Remember if Jack is really not there then Hallorann doesn’t get killed, as Wendy starts looking for Danny , all these strange things we see happen to Wendy starts to make sense, now that we know she’s the one that has had a psychotic break
- This explains the man in bear costume
- The blood coming out the elevator
- The skeletons in the lobby
We know she is actively hallucinating when she sees Hallorann’s body the table behind her is missing when it was earlier there.
What happened to Hallorann ?
I think Hallorann is somewhere in the hotel looking for them or if he sees Wendy running around screaming with a big knife, he may have just let her be , another clue as to why Jack isn’t there chasing Danny is the placement of the snow cat, we see where and how Hallorann parked it
When Jack walks past it it’s facing a different direction as to where Hallorann parked it, this is because Wendy doesn’t know where it’s parked until she runs out of the hotel
It’s now parked the same way Hallorann parked it
She and Danny get in and steal the snow cat leaving Hallorann in the hotel and then we see Wendy‘s hallucination about Jack trying to find his way out of the maze
The Picture At The End
The final shot of Jack‘s Fourth of July picture is easily explained, this is Wendy’s final hallucination , we know this because the red couch that should be their is not there. And this is just a wrap up to a mental breakdown and her way of justifying what happened to Jack.
The Wrap Up
So there it is, does Wendy theory finally explains Stanley Kubrick’s vision of The Shining, I think this theory is more plausible than any other out there it doesn’t involve the supernatural or relay upon Jack as the one who goes crazy, did I miss something am I the one who’s going crazy ? I know I’m stretching everything here but the truth is I just love this movie, I just love talking about it, theorising and whatnot.
Hamza Sajjad (author) on June 04, 2021:
Rawan Osama from Egypt on June 04, 2021:
I like this kind of movies