Movie Poster, The Shining

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Danny! Danny-boy!

Jack Nicholson practically growling his son's name as he succumbs to the evil forces harbored by the Overlook Hotel and sets out to slaughter his family is one of the more terrifying scenes in a movie that's basically a master class in terrifying imagery, start to finish.

Which is why, 40 years after its theatrical release, The Shining remains one of the all-time horror movies, the monster in this case being an entire building—and, of course, the demons within that just need a little nudge and a stiff drink to rear their ugly heads.

Subsequently, Stanley Kubrick's polarizing adaptation of Stephen King's haunting, so-scary-Joey-has-to-stick-it-in-the-freezer novel is also one of the most picked-over films of the 20th century, with endless analyses and theories put forth in essays, books, frame-by-frame breakdowns and films about the film, such as 2012's Room 237, which lays out nine interpretations of what, exactly, Kubrick had in mind.

But if going through all that sounds like a lot of work and no play, do not fear—we've done the sifting for you and, in honor of The Shining's 40th anniversary, have distilled the history, the lore, the myths and all the rest into 40 secrets about the making of this unforgettable film.

Also, SPOILER ALERT! This guide contains spoilers for both the book and the movie, so if you want to step away and read the novel and then watch the film first, go ahead. We'll be right here.

The Shining Book Cover

Doubleday

Stanley Kubrick, The Shining Set

Snap/Shutterstock

Timberline Lodge, The Shining, The Overlook

DC_Colombia/Getty Images

The Hotel, Shelley Duvall, The Shining

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

The Bloody Elevators, The Shining

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Jack Nicholson, The Shining, Typewriter

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Room 237, The Shining

YouTube

Danny Lloyd, The Shining, Overlook Maze

Hawk Films

Vivian Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick, 1986 Full Metal Jacket

Twitter

Leon Vitali, Stanley Kubrick, Filmworker

True Studio Media/Kobal/Shutterstock

Danny Torrance, Danny Lloyd, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Jack Nicholson, The Shining

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd, Shelley Duvall, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Danny Torrance, Danny Lloyd, The Shining

Columbia Pictures/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Lisa Burns, Louise Burns, The Twins, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Philip Stone, Jack Nicholson, The Shining, Grady

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Jack Nicholson, The Shining

Hawk Films/Entertainment Pictures/ZUMAPRESS.com

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy, The Shining

Moveiclips.com

Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, The Shining

Warner Bros.

Joe Turkel, Jack Nicholson, The Shining, Lloyd

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstoc

Jack Nicolson, Stanley Kubrick, The Shining Set

Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Shelley Duvall, The Shining, Axe

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Jack Nicholson, The Shining, Here's Johnny

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Danny Lloyd

Coleman-Rayner

Danny Lloyd, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Louise Burns, Lisa Burns, The Shining Twins

YouTube

Stephen King, 1980

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Barry Dennen, Barry Nelson, Jack Nicholson, The Shining

Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/Shutterstock

Jack Nicholson, The Shining, 1921 Photo

WARNER BROTHERS / Album

King wrote in 2001 in the introduction for a new edition of the book, "My single conversation with the late Stanley Kubrick, about six months before he commenced filming his version of The Shining, suggested that it was this quality about the story that appealed to him: What, exactly, is impelling Jack Torrance toward murder in the winter-isolated rooms of the Overlook Hotel? Is it undead people or undead memories?

"Mr. Kubrick and I came to different conclusions (I always thought there were malevolent ghosts in the Overlook, driving Jack to the precipice), but perhaps those different conclusions are, in fact, the same."

But Kubrick wasn't trying to infer otherwise. In his version, The Shining is indeed a ghost story.

 

He confirmed to his biographer Michel Ciment, "For the purposes of telling the story, my view is that the paranormal is genuine. Jack's mental state serves only to prepare him for the murder, and to temporarily mislead the audience."

It's choose your own adventure, King or Kubrick, on the way to Jack's demise, but the journey will scare the crap out of you all the same.

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.