Posted by Austin Lush
Austin Lush

“Here’s Johnny!”

You can hear this quote in movies, modern television, even in schools across America. But where does it come from? Contrary to popular belief it does not come from The Shining originally, but actually from the Johnny Carson show, a talk show from the 1950’s. It was a line that Jack Nicholson ad-libbed in the moment and Kubrick liked enough to keep in the film. This is just one example of how The Shining has gone on to influence so much of our popular culture today. Here we will be taking a look at 5 of the most famous references to Kubrick's masterpiece, some of which might not have been fully noticed by the casual viewer.

1.The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror V”

For those who are not familiar with The Simpsons, every Halloween the show has a special called a “Treehouse of Horror” episode. These episodes are not considered part of the cannon of The Simpsons story arc and are just fun, separate episodes usually made to parody horror, science fiction, and fantasy novels and films. They are know for being darker and more violent than regular episodes of the show, due in part to their source material.

In this episode, the show parodies The Shining with Homer starting as Jack Torrance and Marge as Wendy. Even though the show is done in a comical manner, it still uses several very important scenes from the movie, including the scene where Wendy finds Jack’s manuscript that reads, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Though in this version Homer writes “No T.V and no beer makes Homer go crazy.”

2. Twin Peaks

A critically acclaimed show from director David Lynch, Twin Peaks tells the story of a small town in Oregon and an FBI agent who is sent there to investigate the murder of a girl. While the plot and characters don't have much to do with The Shining, the ambiance and audio due, being inspired by the unsettling way that the Overlook Hotel is portrayed and the way the tension is built. The funny thing about this is the fact that David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick have emulated each other’s work for years in an almost ironic manner. David Lynch based the feeling of Twin Peaks off of the paradoxical fears that he experienced in his viewings of The Shining, a film that Stanley Kubrick made wanting to emulate the slow progressive uneasiness that the cinematography and especially audio created in David Lynch’s Eraserhead, which Lynch made after being inspired by Kubrick's audio work in 2001:A Space Odyssey. A dizzying love affair to say the least.

Even the opening scene reminds us of The Shining
Even the opening scene reminds us of The Shining

3. Toy Story 3

What? How is it that a movie about toys trying to find there way back home (pretty much the premise for the entire Toy Story franchise) could have anything to do with a movie about a crazy guy trying to kill people (also arguably the premise for every horror film.)? Well the fun fact is that Lee Unkrich, the director for Toy Story 3, is so obsessed with The Shining he runs a website called theoverlookhotel.com, dedicated to the film. Throughout Toy Story 3 Unkrich has littered hints to his favorite film, mostly referencing room 237, the infamous room in the Overlook Hotel. There is a security camera with the model number OVERLOOK 237. A garbage truck’s license plate reads, “rm237”. Even one of Rex’s cyber friends goes by the username of “Velocistar237”. All these references, and still no scene in the film where Woody comes chopping through a door with an axe?

4. Key and Peele “Continental Breakfast”

Key and Peele are two comedians whose show consists of various sketches written and performed by themselves. In one such sketch, Peele portrays a businessman who enters a hotel for the night. He is given room 237 and told about a free continental breakfast the next morning. The comedy emerges from Peele’s character, whose overly pretentious and yet aloof nature allows for laughs as he samples the different foods of the breakfast buffet. As he is eating, a man can be seen sitting at a table in the background. He is holding a Playgirl magazine (or similar girly magazine), a direct reference to a scene in The Shining where Jack reads a Playgirl while waiting for a tour of the hotel. In the end of the skit Peele goes up to Key, who is the hotel receptionist, and tells him that he would like to stay there indefinitely. To this Key replies “But sir, you’ve always been here”. As the episode ends we fade into a picture showing Peele at a table eating his continental breakfast in the 1930s. The ending is almost a scene for scene replica of the confusing end of The Shining that shows Jack in a similar picture from 1921.

5. Toy Story

Toy Story, one of the most beloved animated films of our time. Rich in story, characters and imagination, Toy Story will remain a great of its genre for years to come. But one section of the movie in particular has several references to Kubrick’s classic horror film. As Buzz and Woody are “won” by Sid and taken back home, we are taken back at how frightening Sid’s house is. It's filled with ghostly apparitions of toys who used to be normal as Buzz and Woody are and the house even has an effect on Buzz, who’s dreams are crushed during their time there and is driven crazy. These examples are direct allusions to The Shining, but even more direct than those, is the use of a very particular carpet pattern. The carpet on the floor in Sid’s house is the exact same pattern as the one in the Overlook hotel, meaning that Sid’s house is the “Overlook hotel” for Buzz and Woody.

"Psst..Buzz. Doesnt this carpet look familiar?"
"Psst..Buzz. Doesnt this carpet look familiar?"

Pop Culture is such an ever changing theme, but just as Delbert said to Jack “You’ve always been here.”, society says to The Shining “You’ll always be here”. We will still continue to reference this highly influential film for years to come, helping it mark it’s place among the greatest films of the horror genre.