ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

"Heeeeeere's spoilers." While the years have been kind to 's , it is hard to imagine a world where someone creates a sequel or a reboot to the 1980 classic. Even IT has been given the remake treatment, so The Shining will surely find itself on the slate for a revamp, but for now, we can sit in with a DVD copy and relive the at home.

While we all know the story of Kubrick's film, there was nearly a very different ending for Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and his son Danny. In fact, there were several endings thrown around the cavernous halls of the Overlook Hotel, so what did we miss out on?

Our A-maze-ing Ending

'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Lauded as one of the best horror films ever, The Shining and its leaking blood elevators terrified us all, while 's performance as Jack Torrance made him a legend of the genre. However, was notoriously dismissive of Kubrick's vision of the film, so much so, he made his own lackluster TV movie in 1997. Kubrick himself wasn't such a fan of the source material and made his movie's ending vastly different to King's original. The 1997 novel had the hotel's malfunctioning boiler explode, which trapped a possessed Jack inside to burn to death.

The film's screenwriter, Diane Johnson, recently revealed how we got the ending we know and how Kubrick came to his final decision:

"The ending was changed almost entirely because Kubrick found it a cliché to just blow everything up.He thought there might be something else that would be metaphorically and visually more interesting."

The film actually closed with Scatman Crothers's Dick Hallorann taking an axe to the chest while Danny led his father into the hotel's hedge maze. A lost Jack eventually freezes to death with the immortal image of Nicholson's popsicle corpse. The ending isn't exactly a cheerful Disney ending, but Kubrick had envisioned two even darker versions of the tale.

See also:

Danny's Demise

'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

In the book, only Jack dies, but Kubrick felt that the film needed a higher body count. According to Johnson, even after killing off Hallorann, Kubrick had once toyed with the idea of Danny Lloyd's Danny also tragically losing his life:

"Danny's relationship with his father was the thing that most interested Kubrick. He was emotionally involved with the point of view of a little boy who is afraid of his father."

"I remember Kubrick saying that visually he could imagine a small yellow chalk outline on the floor like that they put around the bodies of victims. And Kubrick liked that image. But he was too tender-hearted for that ending and thought it would be too terrible to do."

Talk about a macabre way to round off the world's worst Tripadvisor stay at the Overlook. Danny himself was a complex character, with his backward chanting and possessed finger. became the damaged heroine of the film, so having her lose both Jack and Danny would definitely have added to her psychological torture.

Hallorann's Hell

Crothers and Jack remained the only casualties of the film (apart from the various hacked up guests), but another planned idea was to have Hallorann survive his axing. Like in the novel, Hallorann would be instrumental in helping the family escape Overlook, however, Kubrick imagined that he would meet an even worse fate, becoming the de facto Jack of the hotel:

"We always had the powers of the hotel in mind. So the hotel would have been warping Hallorann's mind for quite a long time. It was an attractive idea that Hallorann is good [throughout the film], then he gets there and is possessed by the hotel into a monster surrogate for Jack."

We saw the power that the hotel had over Jack, so the Hallorann twist isn't too hard to imagine. Kubrick amped up the horror of the hotel as an entity much more than the novel did, and by not simply burning the place down like in the book, Kubrick kept the evil alive in the minds of viewers. We eventually ended with that zoom in shot of Jack's mysterious past at the hotel in 1921 in one hell of a powerful ending.

The Alternate Ending

'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'The Shining' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

One scene that was filmed, but never made it into the final cut, came in between the maze and the photograph. It saw Danny and Wendy recovering in the hospital, when the hotel's owner, Stuart Ullman, comes to visit them. Showing concern for the pair, Ullman denies any evidence to support their claims of supernatural powers at the hotel or what happened to Jack.

A bemused Danny is horrified as Ullman hands him the ball, which rolled toward him by unknown forces outside room 237. It would cast a huge question mark over the entire events of the film AND still include the 1921 photograph for a complete mind f*ck. It sounds like perfect Kubrick fodder, and although the director loved the scene, it was ultimately removed following the preview screenings in New York and Los Angeles

While the film we have come to love and know is near-perfection, you can't help but wonder what Kubrick's other ideas would've looked like on film. Having Danny die, or Hallorann become possessed would certainly have been an even more Kubrick-esque way to end the madness. For the time being at least the Overlook remains closed, but how long before some young horror upstart casts some creepy twins and checks in for a stay in King's world?

Check out the trailer for The Shining, and don't forget our poll below!


Which 'Shining' would you like the best?

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

[Poll Image Credit: Warner Bros.]


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