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The shining ending explained: why jack is in the photo.
One of the many mysteries of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is why Jack appears in the photo at the end, and it actually has a semi-simple explanation.
Why jack torrance is in the photo at the end of the shining, how wendy & danny escape the overlook, how the shining movie’s ending differs from the book, redrum & the elevator blood explained, the shining’s real meaning, what the shining producer and screenwriter say about the ending, what happened after the shining ended, what doctor sleep revealed about jack's fate, the real hotel stephen king visited that inspired the overlook.
- The Shining film differs greatly from the novel, with Kubrick making significant changes to the story and adding elements to the ending that weren't present in the book.
- The ending of The Shining, particularly the photo of Jack in the 1921 ballroom, suggests that Jack is a reincarnation of a former hotel employee, although this explanation is not explicitly stated in the film.
- The Shining explores themes of cyclical violence and abuse, and Kubrick's film is full of metaphors and symbolism that have led to countless interpretations of its true meaning, including theories about sexual abuse and the ghosts being representations of violence and abuse.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is regarded by many as one of the greatest movies ever made, and to this day continues to be the subject of debate — especially when it comes to the ending and why Jack is in the infamous photo of the guests at The Overlook. Based on the book of the same name by Stephen King, The Shining follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who takes a job as the off-season caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Jack takes his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and their son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), with him, but little do they know, the Overlook has some dark secrets of its own. Triggered by Danny’s psychic abilities, the hotel releases some dangerous supernatural forces that break Jack’s sanity — and the safety of Wendy and Danny.
The Shining film is very different from the novel — so much so that Stephen King has said he hates The Shining many times. It’s understandable: Kubrick asked for the freedom to change whatever he wanted, and exercised that freedom fully. Although King didn’t oppose that at the time, he wasn’t expecting Kubrick to go as far as to change the essence of the book, and add elements to the ending that weren't present in the novel. The Shining book and movie are very different entities, and details that are explained — or at least easier to interpret — in the novel are either not included or left very ambiguous in the film. Kubrick deliberately didn't explain The Shining 's ending during the film, but he did later explain why Jack Torrance appears in The Shining picture at the end.
Related: The Shining Movie's Most Significant Difference From Stephen King's Book
Perhaps the most challenging part of The Shining 's ending to explain is the final shot: a 1921 photograph showing Jack with other guests in the hotel’s ballroom. This scene has been interpreted many ways, and one of the most popular explanations is that it represents the hotel “absorbing” Jack’s soul. Although this makes sense, Kubrick himself has said the photo actually suggests Jack being a reincarnation of an earlier official at the hotel.
The reincarnated Jack explanation makes sense when going back to his conversation with Grady in the bathroom, where the butler tells Jack that he has “ always been the caretak er.” This explanation for The Shining ending also fits with the role of both Grady characters mentioned in the film: the past caretaker and the ghost. The ghost is Delbert Grady, and the past caretaker was Charles Grady. Jack says he saw Delbert in the newspaper, and thus he is the reincarnation of Charles Grady.
While the explanation that Jack is in the photo at the end of The Shining because he's a reincarnated former employee makes sense, this isn't explained in the movie itself. It's also not immediately obvious when rewatching with that knowledge (unlike, say, The Sixth Sense, where rewatching with the knowledge that Bruce Willis's character is also dead completely changes the viewing experience). Kubrick's explanation for the Jack Torrance's appearance in the 1921 ballroom photo may be plausible, but it's also one of the few weaker elements of The Shining, as such a significant plot element could have been both further elaborated on and made more apparent.
After being freed from the kitchen pantry by Grady’s ghost, Jack (whose sanity was already shattered by that point) goes after Wendy and Danny, axe in hand. Wendy and Danny lock themselves in the bathroom, and Wendy sends Danny through the window. Unable to pass through that same window, Wendy is trapped when Jack arrives and breaks through the door with the axe — the famous “Here’s Johnny!” scene. Wendy defends herself with a knife and slashes Jack’s arm, causing him to retreat. The Overlook’s cook, Dick Hallorann, arrives to help Wendy and Danny after the latter reaches out to him through “the shining,” but is ambushed and killed by Jack.
Jack then goes after Danny, who runs into the hedge maze — all this during a snowstorm. Meanwhile, Wendy runs through the hotel looking for her son. At the hedge maze, Danny manages to escape by laying a false trail to mislead Jack. Wendy and Danny reunite and leave the hotel in a Snowcat, and Jack freezes to death. What happens to Wendy and Danny after that is unknown (in the film, at least), although a deleted scene features them in a hospital, recovering both physically and mentally from everything they went through by the time The Shining ended.
As mentioned above, the film ends with Wendy and Danny escaping during a snowstorm thanks to the Snowcat Hallorann arrived in. Jack is left in the snow and freezes to death, and it’s implied that the Overlook Hotel continued with its cycle of murder by bringing in more reincarnations of past workers. The Shining novel, however, has a very different ending, and one that even made way for the sequel Doctor Sleep .
In the novel, Jack manages to fight the hotel’s possession long enough for him to tell Danny to run for his life. Unlike the film, Hallorann in The Shining book doesn’t die and helps Wendy and Danny escape at the end. The hotel makes one last attempt to possess Hallorann, but he successfully manages to avoid it. As for Jack, he does die but not in the snow: a malfunctioning boiler explodes and kills Jack while also destroying the hotel.
The novel ends with Danny and Wendy spending the summer at a resort in Maine where Hallorann works as head chef. The three remain close, and Hallorann comforts Danny over the loss of his father and teaches him to fish. Interestingly, in the 1997 Shining miniseries, which King himself wrote, there's a brief epilogue in which a graduating Danny is visited by the ghost of Jack, beaming with pride, suggesting that Jack's spirit was fully freed when the Overlook blew up.
The meaning and topics addressed in the novel are very different from those in The Shining movie Stephen King hates so much, given Kubrick’s many changes to the story in order to fit his vision. The Shining novel and film work best as separate pieces, with each ending having a different meaning. The aforementioned sequel, Doctor Sleep , got a cinematic adaptation that serves as both a sequel to The Shinin g novel and Kubrick’s film, in a way.
In The Shining , Danny and Hallorann are the two characters with “shining” abilities, which allow them to communicate with each other even when miles apart. Danny’s “shine” reaches its peak at the Overlook Hotel, which mixed with the hotel’s spirits and own evil, unleashes some real horrors. Danny has visions about the hotel right after Jack gets the job and during his time at the hotel, and has a traumatizing experience when drawn into the “forbidden” room 237.
When the hotel’s forces get a hold of Jack, Danny starts chanting and drawing the word “REDRUM,” which Wendy later sees reversed in the mirror, revealing the word “MURDER.” Danny was warned by the Grady twins that something terrible was going to happen, and “REDRUM” was the warning passed on to Danny and Wendy through Danny.
One of the most memorable scenes from The Shining is the blood coming out from the elevator. This is one of the film's unique scenes (along with the Grady twins) and there are a number of ways to explain The Shining 's elevator scene. As mentioned above, Kubrick left many details open to interpretation, whether for viewers to come up with their own explanations or just to mess with them. T
he elevator blood scene first appears as a vision to Danny, and materializes near the end of the film when Wendy is looking for him. Because the movie's Overlook Hotel was built on an "Indian burial ground", the blood coming out from the elevator has been interpreted as that of the Indigenous people buried there. Others believe it’s the blood of all the lives claimed by the forces of the hotel, which might be the most convincing explanation.
Kubrick may not have been fully faithful to the source material when adapting Stephen King’s book, but he succeeded in making a film full of metaphors and symbolism that have made way for countless interpretations of its true meaning. Of course, there are some more convincing (and coherent) than others, but The Shining is explained as, at its core, a story about violence and abuse and how these are often cyclical. Jack had a history of anger issues and violence, mainly against his family. When Wendy finds Danny after he enters room 237, he’s in shock and physically injured, and Wendy immediately blames Jack for it as he has hurt their son before.
Jack is a recovering alcoholic and relapses at the hotel. He might have had his anger under control for a while before taking the job, but he went back to it there. The Shining 's Overlook H otel itself also has a history of cyclical violence: it was built over a Native American burial ground, and its existence is a testament to the violence of colonization. Charles Grady killed his family with an axe, and Jack was on track to replicate that. The abuse part of the story is both physical and psychological: both Wendy and Danny are clearly scared of Jack, even before the hotel’s influence takes control of him, and yet they stay with him.
A popular theory, and one that has gone very deep into the symbolism of The Shining , says that the film also addresses sexual abuse. The scene with the man in the dog costume and the man in a tuxedo is the one used to support this theory, which says the dog represents young Danny Torrance (who earlier in the film is shown to have a plush toy) and the man in the tuxedo represents Jack. Tony, Danny’s imaginary friend, is believed by some to be Danny’s way to cope with the trauma of sexual abuse from his father.
The dog/sexual abuse interpretation hasn’t been confirmed by those involved in the film, so it’s up to each viewer if they accept it or not. Either way, The Shining is not so much a ghost story in a literal sense, but a story about the “ghosts” (or “demons,” in some cases) of violence and abuse, and how these can come back to continue with the cycle. Even when looked at more literally, The Shining 's meaning is still up for debate, as some fans disagree on whether the ghosts in The Shining are even real . Of course, the ghost of Grady freeing Jack from the freezer remains hard to explain away, although that doesn't stop some from trying.
Funnily enough, director Stanley Kubrick had a couple of different endings in mind for The Shining , each of them very different. Kubrick was never into the idea of making a typical horror film, and he certainly got what he wanted out of the film, even if Stephen King didn't like it. In an interview (via EW ), executive producer Jan Harlan and screenwriter Diane Johnson both expand on the final scenes of The Shining , including The Shining picture at the end. Diane Johnson said this of Stanley Kubrick's non-horror vision: "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."
Despite all the changes Stanley Kubrick made to the ending, one of the director's visions remained in place throughout all of it: The Shining picture at the end. In the same interview, the screenwriter says, "The photograph was always in the ending. The maze chase grew out of the topiary animal hedges that move around in the book. Kubrick thought topiary animals might be too goofy and cute, but he always liked the idea of a maze." The maze in The Shining went over better than the hedge animals would've in Kubrick's vision. It's certainly an impactful moment that brings the movie full circle, seeing Jack become a part of the famous Overlook hotel ghosts once and for all. While it may not work for Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining ending can be explained as perfectly fitting the film he created.
Thanks to the existence of 2019's Doctor Sleep, there are now canon details of what happened to Danny, Wendy, and The Overlook Hotel after The Shining ending. Firstly, it's clear that the end of The Shining wasn't the end of the troubles at The Overlook. Danny (who goes by the name Dan as an adult) is plagued by haunting from the spirits of The Overlook for the rest of his life, with Doctor Sleep focusing on his attempts to capture them and put an end to his torment. Dan doesn't live anywhere near The Overlook, which shows that the power within is far greater than even The Shining hinted.
It's also revealed in Doctor Sleep that The Overlook was abandoned after the events of The Shining. However, this is another change from the original Stephen King narrative, in which The Overlook was destroyed at the end of The Shining novel when the boiler exploded. As for what happened to Wendy Torrance after The Shining, Doctor Sleep reveals that she passed away from lung cancer in 1999, age 53 when Danny/Dan was 20. This is only alluded to in the Doctor Sleep movie, but the book version gives a few more details about her life after The Shining ended.
Following the ending of The Shining, Wendy and Danny move to Florida after receiving a settlement from The Overlook's board of directors. In the book, she looks after Danny for the remainder of his childhood and maintains contact with Dick Halloran. Halloran helps Wendy understand and manages Danny's troubles at the hands of the spirits of The Overlook. Her death, combined with being haunted, drives Danny to alcohol abuse.
The sequel to The Shining, 2019's Doctor Sleep movie managed to walk a delicate tightrope between adapting King's Shining sequel book and being a follow-up to Kubrick's Shining movie. Directed by modern horror master Mike Flanagan, Doctor Sleep offered an unexpected treat in the form of an extended cameo by none other than Jack Torrance himself, now played by Henry Thomas. This appearance doesn't clear up the question about why Jack is seen in the 1921 photo at the Overlook, but it does suggest that the theory about his soul being somehow absorbed by the haunted hotel is actually true.
In Doctor Sleep , adult Danny Torrance is forced to head to the Overlook in order to unleash a greater evil on villain Rose the Hat, but while there encounters the ghost of his father. Yet, this isn't Jack — it's Lloyd the bartender, albeit not the same Lloyd that Jack Torrence encountered. Some believe this suggests Lloyd the bartender was never a real person , and instead just a role the Overlook assigns to one of the souls it owns. While Danny's barbs do eventually seem to wake up part of Jack's consciousness from inside his Lloyd identity, whatever good he had left in him was clearly erased once Jack was fully taken over.
One of the most chilling details about both the novel and film versions of The Shining is that the Overlook Hotel is based on a real (possibly haunted) location that Stephen King once visited. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado made a strong impression on King thanks to its long, eerily empty corridors during his stay right before the hotel closed for the winter. What's more, while staying at the Stanley Hotel, King reports having caught glimpses of a young boy roaming the halls even though he and his wife were the only registered guests at the time.
Like The Shining 's Overlook Hotel , the Stanley Hotel also has a haunted history, even possessing a particularly haunted room (number 217) just like the Overlook's room 237. For all the supernatural twists and turns in The Shining ' s ending and story, knowing that it's based on a real location makes the film (and its difficult-to-explain ending) all the creepier.
‘The Shining’ Ending Explained: Has Jack Always Been Trapped in the Overlook Hotel?
"Midnight with the stars and you."
Stanley Kubrick 's 1980 film The Shining is widely considered one of the greatest horror films of all time by fans and critics alike. Famous for its ambiguity, The Shining has one of the most heavily discussed and theorized endings in cinematic history. Based on the book of the same name by Stephen King , The Shining follows Jack Torrance ( Jack Nicholson ), a writer who has been hired as the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in snowy Colorado. Jack, struggling with writer's block, thinks this is an excellent opportunity to free himself of distractions and finish writing his book. Jack brings along his wife Wendy ( Shelley Duvall ) and their 5-year-old son Danny ( Danny Lloyd ), and the three of them quickly discover that the Overlook Hotel has a disturbing history that jeopardizes Jack's sanity and threatens Wendy and Danny's lives.
King famously despised Kubrick's film adaptation of his novel, which does differ in major ways from its source material. When Kubrick signed on to direct the film, he requested to make some changes to King's original story , many of which completely alter the core themes of the novel. The famous final shot of Jack in the Overlook Hotel in 1921 is essential to Kubrick's vision for his adaptation of King's novel that has spawned theories that still continue to this day.
RELATED: This Iconic Stanley Kubrick Scene Took 148 Takes to Get Right
What Is 'The Shining' About?
Once the Torrance family arrives at the Overlook Hotel, The Shining becomes one continuous spiral into madness, but the ending of the movie perhaps starts when Jack once again enters the gold room where an elaborate party is in full swing. Jack once again sits down at the bar and strikes up a conversation with the bartender Lloyd ( Joe Turkel ), who tells him that his money is no good here, cryptically explaining it is "orders from the house."
As Jack is holding his drink, a server accidentally bumps into him, causing his drink to spill on his jacket. Apologizing profusely, the server ("Jeevesy old boy") offers to clean his jacket. He tells Jack that his name is Delbert Grady ( Philip Stone ), which Jack recognizes as Charles Grady, the name of the old caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. When Jack tells Grady that he chopped his wife and daughters "into little bits" before shooting himself in the head, Grady looks at him strangely and says that he has no recollection of such a thing. He tells Jack he is mistaken. He was never the caretaker here — Jack is the caretaker. He cryptically informs him, "I’m sorry to differ with you, sir. But you are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker. I should know, sir. I’ve always been here."
What Does "The Shine" Mean?
Grady warns Jack that his son Danny has a special gift — the "Shine," which in Stephen King's universe is a form of psychic ability that allows people to communicate with others using the mind, and gives people the ability to see things that have happened in the past, or will happen in the future. Danny is using his gift to contact Dick Hallorann ( Scatman Crothers ), the Overlook Hotel's head chef who also possesses the "Shine." Grady's message to Jack is clear: Danny and Wendy must be "corrected," just as he corrected his wife and daughters.
The next day, Wendy leaves Danny (who, according to "Tony," has checked out) in their room while she goes to confront Jack. Clutching a bat in her hand in trepidation, Wendy carefully walks toward Jack's usual writing table only to find he isn't there. She finds instead Jack's manuscript he's been slaving away over, which to her horror, is hundreds of pages with only one sentence repeated over and over again: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Jack creeps up behind her to ask how she likes his book. They then partake in what is not the most productive conversation, in which Jack, of course, tells Wendy he is going to, "bash her fucking brains in." She knocks him unconscious with the bat and locks him in the kitchen pantry. Later, there is a knock on the pantry door and Jack hears Grady’s voice on the other side. Grady tells him that he and "the others" have started to think he doesn’t have the stomach to do what he needs to do and deal with Danny and Wendy in the harshest way possible. There is the distinct click of a lock, and we can assume Grady has unlocked it.
What Happens at the End of 'The Shining'?
Upstairs, Wendy is sleeping, not yet aware that Jack has broken free of his confinement. Danny/Tony is repeatedly croaking out his unsettling mantra for the evening — "REDRUM" — waking a terrified Wendy, who sees through the mirror that he has written "REDRUM" on the door, which spells out "MURDER" backward. Right on cue, Jack starts to hack through their door with an ax while Wendy and Danny attempt to escape through the window. Only Danny can fit, so Wendy sends him out and tells him to run. Jack starts to hack his way through the bathroom door ("Hereeeeee's Johnny!") when Wendy manages to cut his hand with a knife.
Meanwhile, Hallorann, who has been communicating with Danny via the Shine, arrives at the Overlook Hotel. Just as Jack is limping through the hotel, clutching his ax, Hollarann calls out to see if anyone is home. It's too late for Hollarann, unfortunately, as Jack comes up behind him and slices right through him. Wendy is running through the hotel looking for Danny and she sees through an open doorway someone dressed up in a bear costume performing fellatio on a hotel guest. Horrified, she turns and runs downstairs where she sees Hallorann dead, covered in blood in the lobby. Suddenly, she sees hotel guests all around her as decaying skeletons. A wave of crimson blood starts to burst and pour through the red doors.
Danny is sprinting for his little life through the snowy garden maze outside the hotel while Jack chases after him. Danny manages to escape and find Wendy, and the two of them flee the hotel on a Snowcat while Jack continues to hobble through the winding maze, wailing and bellowing out in hysteria for Wendy not to leave him. The camera quickly cuts to the next scene. It is morning, and Jack is dead, frozen in the maze, trapped in the Overlook Hotel forever. The final shot of The Shining is the real kicker as the camera zooms in on a photo hanging in the Overlook Hotel. The photo shows the 4th of July ball in 1921, and who do we see smack dab in the center? Jack Torrance.
Why Is Jack in That Photo at the End of ‘The Shining’?
The Shining is full of ambiguity from start to finish. Was Lloyd ever really there? Who was the lady in room 237? What did she do to Danny? Why does Grady tell Jack that he is the caretaker? But the greatest mystery of all is that final shot of Jack at the Overlook Hotel in the year 1921. One of the more popular theories is that the Overlook absorbed Jack's soul after he died, claiming him as it did with the guests whose spirits are trapped in the hotel. Surprisingly, in a film where so much is left to interpretation, Kubrick actually explained that ambiguous ending.
In an interview with French film critic Michel Ciment , Kubrick said that the ballroom photograph suggests the reincarnation of Jack . We can assume then that Jack was originally a guest, or possibly a staff member, at the Overlook Hotel, which explains how Lloyd the bartender greeted him like an old friend and why Delbert Grady claimed that Jack was "always the caretaker." This would also explain that Charles Grady, the old caretaker who infamously murdered his wife and little girls, was a reincarnation of Delbert Grady, or "Jeevesy." It seems then that Jack has been, and will always be, trapped in the Overlook Hotel.
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He serves as the main antagonist of Stephen King's 1977 horror novel The Shining , the 1980 film adaption, It's 1997 Miniseries , one of the two posthumous overarching antagonists (alongside The Overlook Hotel ) of Doctor Sleep and a posthumous antagonist of its 2019 film adaptation of the same name . He is also a mentioned character of the Castle Rock TV series and a posthumous character of Misery .
- 1 Biography
- 2 The Shining (novel)
- 3 Doctor Sleep (novel)
- 4 Doctor Sleep (movie)
- 5 Misery (novel)
- 6 It: Chapter Two
- 7 Ready Player One
- 9 Appearances
Biography [ ]
Jack was the husband of Wendy Torrance , the father of Danny Torrance and Lucy Stone , the son of Mark Anthony Torrance and an unnamed mother, brother to Becky Torrance and two unnamed brothers, uncle of Jackie Torrance , and the grandfather of Abra Stone . Jack was an author and a former teacher who accepted a position as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado , and had an opportunity to write a play.
Jack grew up in a middle-class catholic setting on the United States East Coast. Although Jack's father, Mark Torrence, was mentally and physically abusive towards every member of his family throughout Jack's childhood, Jack seemed to have developed a love for the earlier years of their relationship. He saw his father's loud arrivals home as a means to break the silence, and would bond with him in spite of the abuse. However, this affection would end at age 7 after Mark's treatment towards his wife left her concussed and hospitalized.
Jack's siblings despised their father for his abuse. While they also despised the role their mother's devout Catholicism played in convincing her to stay with him, Jack developed a hatred for her specifically for her meek, pitiful appearance. This trait would develop into a deep misogyny as Jack grew older, despising women for appearing weak, while also detesting his wife whenever she would stand up for herself.
Growing up, Jack would take his domestic abuse out on his classmates and animals. Jack got good grades in school, but often underwent punishment for lashing out and fighting other kids. After developing a liking for alcohol, his taste grew into full alcoholism in his 20s. Eventually, the only incident truly capable of shocking Jack into quitting drinking is an incident in which he harmed his son, Danny, during one of his binges. This set a difference between Jack and his father, as Jack truly regretted any instance of abuse towards his son, and held a small level of understanding of his own problems. Apart from the injury, Jack and Danny held a good relationship similar to the relationship Jack believed he had with his father earlier in his childhood.
The evil spirits that inhabited the Overlook Hotel would eventually drive Jack insane by way of drowning him in his alcoholism, past trauma, and fears of becoming as abusive as his father. The spirits possess him into attempting to murder his family with a roque mallet, which is revealed when his wife realized that 'redrum', the word that Jack had been writing on the walls, means murder backwards. His son, Danny, had developed psychic abilities he used to try to protect Jack from the hotel's influence, regaining his sanity. Wendy, Danny, and Dick Hallorann would escape the hotel, but unfortunately, Jack's sanity re-arrived too late, leaving him trapped in the hotel boiler room when it explodes. He dies and the hotel is left destroyed.
In the 1980 film, Jack (Jack Nicholson) does not get possessed by the hotel and is instead convinced into killing his family. At the end, he chases Danny through the hotel hedge maze. Danny (who'd played in the maze with his mother earlier in the film) recognizes how to escape, leaving Jack to freeze to death. In the 1997 miniseries, Jack was played by Steven Weber. Jack's final fate in the 1997 film was more true to the novel. Unlike the 1980 film, Jack's redemption was "rewarded" of sorts when a full grown Danny is seen graduating from a school. Jack's ghost momentarily appears to congratulate his son on completing his studies.
Jack appeared in the novel Doctor Sleep , in which Danny (as an adult, went by "Dan") discovered that he had a half-sister named Lucy, and a niece named Abra who had similar abilities to him — only more powerful. Dan saw a vision of his father at what used to be the Overlook Hotel near the end of the novel.
The Shining (novel) [ ]
In the novel, Jack Torrance is a loving but troubled father who cares deeply for Wendy and Danny but does not know how to show it properly. Jack's alcoholism and violent temper had lost him a job as a teacher of literature at a prestigious New England prep school. One day he catches a student he'd cut from the debate team -- the boy had a severe stutter that impeded his ability to debate -- slashing his tires. Jack cannot not contain his fury and he beats the student on the spot, only regaining his senses after he seriously injures the boy. The school board of trustees decides to suspend Jack until they can figure out how to proceed. Jack's closest friend, fellow recovering alcoholic Al Shockley, gives Jack the opportunity to become the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the off-season so he could make a recovery and return to the school and prove he was ready to teach again. Jack, Wendy and Danny arrive at the Overlook Hotel on closing day. Jack is fairly surprised by how many people are still at the hotel on closing day. He and his family are given a tour around the hotel kitchen by Hallorann and the rest of the hotel by Stuart Ullman before they are left alone. As time goes by and the isolation of the hotel sets in, Jack’s behaviour slowly changes. Jack finds an old scrapbook detailing the hotel's history, including many incidents of violence and corruption among the hotel's several owners over the decades it has been open. Jack becomes obsessed enough with the hotel's sordid past that he wants to write a book about it. He makes a long-distance call to the hotel's manager, Stuart Ullmann, and antagonizes him with this knowledge.
Eventually, he goes mad thanks to the influence of the hotel’s ghosts and attempts to kill Wendy and Danny. His plan does not work though and Wendy and Danny escape with Dick Hallorann who came to save Wendy and Danny as the hotel boiler explodes, killing Jack and destroying the Overlook completely.
Doctor Sleep (novel) [ ]
Jack Torrance does not appear in Doctor Sleep until the very end in which he appears as a ghost at the Bluebell Campgrounds, which was built over the Overlook Hotel and is the home of The True Knot looking over Danny, appearing proud.
Doctor Sleep (movie) [ ]
In the film version of Doctor Sleep, Jack is instead seen at the bar of the Overlook Hotel, having taken Lloyd's place as bartender.
Misery (novel) [ ]
Jack does not appear in Misery , but is mentioned. In Chapter 24, Annie refers to the Overlook Hotel, mentioning that a man burned it down. Referring to Jack, who allowed the hotel to burn down after not properly maintaining the boilers in the hotel's basement. This mentions that Jack is dead during the events of Misery .
It: Chapter Two [ ]
While terrorizing Beverly Marsh in a bathroom cubicle, It briefly takes on the form of Henry Bowers , yelling "HERE'S JOHNNY!" as Jack did to Wendy in Stanley Kubrick's film.
Ready Player One [ ]
Jack makes a brief cameo appearance in the film Ready Player One , in The Shining level, as he is chasing Aech. However, Jack is seen backward as his face isn't seen at all.
- Stephen King never liked the 1980 movie. His dislike for the movie was used in Ready Player One where the protagonists have to find the answer to the riddle " a creator who hates his own creation ".
- In the novel, Jack gets redemption and burns the Overlook Hotel down; in the 1980 film, Jack doesn't get redemption, he simply freezes to death in the hedge maze while attempting to kill his son Danny, dying as a monster.
- Jack is currently the only Stephen King villain to be both the protagonist and antagonist.
- Unlike the novel, Jack's full name, John Daniel Edward Torrance, is never mentioned in the film series, and is only known as John Torrance.
- Jack's role was solely switched as the main antagonist of The Shining film, since he was giving more depth than the Overlook Hotel.
- It is possible that Jack could've also had psychic abilities that were repressed alongside the abuse he endured early in his childhood.
- In the sequel to The Shining , Doctor Sleep , it was revealed that during his days as an English professor, Jack Torrance had an affair with a student and she had a daughter named Lucy. Lucy would go on to have a daughter of her own named Abra, who possessed a more potent version of the Shining. That would make Jack Abra's grandfather, and Danny Lucy's half-brother (and therefore Abra's uncle). His ghost would appear briefly to assist his granddaughter in the climax.
- In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 5 , there is a parody of The Shining titled The Shinning where Homer is driven insane after Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers cut off the beer supply and Cable TV, causing him to attempt to kill his family. His wife, Marge poses as Wendy Torrance, his son Bart poses as Danny Torrance (who possesses an ability called the Shinning ) and Groundskeeper Willie poses as Dick Halloran. This episode was dubbed as the scariest Simpsons Halloween Special.
Appearances [ ]
- The Shining (film)
- The Shining (miniseries)
- The Shining (opera)
- Doctor Sleep (film)
- Castle Rock (TV Series) (Mentioned)
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The Shining Turns 30
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of "The Shining" at the Stanley Park Hotel, the inspiration for the creepy novel and film.
Thirty years ago, Jack Nicholson intrigued and terrified us in the 1980 film adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Nicholson deftly portrayed Jack Torrance, the tortured hotel caretaker who slowly goes mad during a long winter at an isolated mountain resort. The novel and movie portray cabin fever at its worst as Jack slowly unravels and turns on his family while ghosts frolic in the majestic Gold Room and wander the halls.
The stately Stanley Hotel , overlooking the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, CO, was author Stephen King’s inspiration for the spooky Overlook Hotel. Experience a touch of the madness for yourself as this infamously haunted hotel celebrates 30 years of “The Shining.”
To honor the 30th anniversary of “The Shining,” the Stanley is keeping up with Jack Torrance’s typewriter mantra “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Halloween weekend offers a slew of Shining-inspired activities. The main event is the Shining Ball held on Saturday and Sunday evenings. This costume ball has a DJ, snacks and cash bar and culminates with a costume contest. Order a Redrum cocktail and reminisce about your favorite parts of the creepy movie with fellow fans. Arrive early on Friday and enjoy a private viewing of “The Shining.”
Can’t make it for Halloween weekend? Make reservations for a ghost tour and learn about Stephen King’s connection to the hotel. Visit the hotel’s most haunted spots, including the ballroom, the underground tunnel and room 217 where Stephen King was inspired to write the horror novel.
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