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.
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.