6 Cool Things You Never Noticed In THE SHINING

Todd-Spence by Todd-Spence on Oct. 18, 2013

If you've never seen Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining, do yourself a favor and rent it right now.  In fact, just go buy it because it is one of the more rewatchable films to ever exist.  A film that transcends the horror genre.  Not only because of the performances and pop culture mainstays, but because of the subtleties, the minutiae each time you watch the film placed by its widely known obsessive director. So here are some pretty cool easter eggs to wet your appetite for that first (or thousandth) time of watching this classic.

#1 Nicholson's Hitler Mustache



The Shining has been theorized as a metaphor for the Holocaust (a subject Stanley Kubrick obsessed over until 1993's Schindler's List, realizing Spielberg's film couldn't be topped) so this easter egg is very interesting.  In the final transition of the film, fading from one shot of Nicholson's character (Jack Torrance) to a more close up angle in a photograph, it appears that his character has a mustache, causing him to appear to look like Adolf Hitler.

#2 Kubrick Crashes King's Red Beetle



Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick disagreed with many alterations from novel to film, from casting to the film's ending.  And Kubrick allegedly left an interesting message to King in a particular scene where character Dick Hallorann is on his way to The Overlook Hotel when he sees an awful wreck on the side of the road.  A red Volkwagon beetle has been crushed by a semi-truck.  Coincidentally, the Torrance family in the novel own a red Beetle.  In the film version, it's a yellow beetle.  Some say this is Kubrick's way of saying that he has taken ownership of King's story.

#3 The Playgirl Magazine



Is Kubrick pulling our leg or does this Playgirl magazine have a larger meaning, describing the Overlook Hotel's mystical powers of suggestion.  Jack Torrance's character sits casually reading a Playgirl magazine as his boss approaches, out in the open, in the hotel's lobby. Pretty strange. This could easily have been just a gag, or was it Kubrick's bold way of letting us know early on in the film that some things are not quite right with this place.

#4 Overlapping Imagery



Take two copies of The Shining, play them at the same time (one in reverse, the other normally), overlap the images, and you find some interesting moments (and plot points) happening at once.  In this case, Nicholson's face lands on top of two murdered bodies causing him to look like a clown, which for Nicholson's character he's already feeling like a failure in his insecurities as a writer and father.  Coincidentally, this is also two separate but identitcal points in the movie; The spirit of Grady discussing how Jack Torrance needs to "correct" his son, while Danny discovers that the daughters of Grady were corrected themselves (brutally murdered in the Overlook hallway) - two completely seperate points in the movie, colliding when you play two copies forward and backward.

#5 Furniture Disappears On Purpose



Ghosts do reside at the Overlook Hotel, but it doesn't end there.  This interesting easter egg could easily be explained as an error by the film's production designer or set dressers but I personally doubt that.  Especially considering how much of a fixture the table and chair are in the room, not to mention Kubrick's well known obsessive nature to everything in frame.  It's not that they are replaced, they simply disappear, which tells us more about the power of the Overlook Hotel and it's abilities to alter not only the people in it, but itself as well.


#6 The Overlook Hotel Is A Labyrinth

There are many examples of this, so here's just one.  Take the Torrances bedroom for instance.  We see where the windows are located and we see where the bathroom window is located, it looks to be a corner room in the hotel.  Makes sense so far.



But it begins to make no sense when we see the exterior of the bathroom window, which tells us that their room is located in the middle of the hotel, not the corner.



Of course, there are many more theories and easter eggs you can find in The Shining.  Afterall, the movie has existed for over 30 years, a good chunk of time for people to start dissecting.  Luckily most of those fun theories and easter eggs are in the new documentary Room 237 which is what spurred this article in the first place, now available on Netflix Instant.  Definitely worth watching.

-Todd Spence (follow me on the Twitter)

eldystar User

If you play 380 versions of the movie half foreward  1/4 backward and 1/4 sideways it clearly shows the movie Orphan annie.   What is the director trying to say???

Mr_Tideman User

For #4:  Now that shit is reaching, and somebody has way too much time on their hands.

Andulamb2 User

All of this is nonsense. You're looking too hard, and finding significance where there isn't any. All movies contain errors. It doesn't mean anything. And running the movie backwards on top of another copy running forwards? Seriously? You really think Kubrick edited the film so that certain things would line up? Jesus Christ.

Yes, the hotel is a labyrinth. Not because there are windows where there shouldn't be, but because it's huge, and because we are shown that it's a labyrinth via Danny's Big Wheel excursions, and because of the juxtaposition to the hedge maze. In other words, it's right out in the open that the hotel is a labyrinth. It doesn't take misplaced windows to see that. Next you'll be telling us that the hotel is secluded, or a prison, or something else completely obvious.

Now, as for the Hitler thing... If Kubrick really wanted the overlapping jacks to look like Hitler, the woman behind Jack wouldn't be wearing a dark dress. With a lighter dress, the smaller Jack's hair would make for a much better mustache.

Then there's the Playgirl. Okay, cool, I hadn't noticed that. But you don't do anything with it. "Hey, Jack's reading a Playgirl! That must mean... something! Um, that something, um, isn't right." Wow. Quite the analysis there. Seems to me that if you're going to fantasize hidden Easter eggs, then you at least need to explain their significance. Like, tell us that it suggests that Jack is gay, and show us how that is supported by the rest of the film, and tell us how that changes the film's message. Just saying "this is weird, it must mean something" strikes me as lazy. You have to do better than that.

I never did like the English teachers who would dictate the hidden meaning to be found in the books they made us read. Their conclusions never had any support. If the author didn't intend it, then it's not there. Just wanting to see something doesn't make it real. That's what marks the difference between the sane people and the people who wear tinfoil on their heads. When you start inventing your own truth, you've got problems. This movie is what it is. If you can find out from interviews or journals or notes in the margins of the scripts that Kubrick planted some hidden thing, fine. Otherwise, it's just made-up nonsense.

gonzagylot User

I woke up one morning, and remembered the change of a millenium. 

The Russian Stripper lap-dancing me to completion. 

Atlantic City, looking for a sullen host who did not want to party. 

Poverty, and poverty, and poverty, and poverty. Yet, I spent more money on drugs then than I ever could now. More money, more problems. 

It's all a shady memory, a champagne bottle cork hitting a friend in the face. He was so mad that he wanted us to punch him in the  stomach. 

I remember my older brother playing me "Head Like a Hole" when I was 10. These days hip 10 year olds probably hear their first Mumford and Son songs. 

The real millenials were borne from 1975-1985, after that is the Hipster generation. 


Jack Torrance is in bottom center.. Hitler character is behind him....


Good shit! More articles like this please.

Ganjieka User

all you did was watch the movie "room 237" and make exact points from that movie.

Skinlikewinter User

The first one is just the slicked back hair of the picture appearing to be a mustache on the fading Nicholson. I doubt this was a hint at Hitler and was most likely just a coincidence. 

BlankTitanic User

Kubrick did make mistakes I think. Two I have noticed: In Eyes Wide Shut there is a statue on a hallway table that disappears similar to the chair you mention.

In Full Metal Jacket the old piston helicopter is flying and the cut in fly by scenes of the jungle etc...you can clearly see that the shadow of the helicopter is a late model Bell.

That being said I agree that 99% of it is done by Kubrick with precision.

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts

documentary streaming on netflix called "Room 237", Kubrick reveals it all in the secrets of his film adaptation of The Shining

JellyBeanOfDeath User

The last one about the hotel being a labyrinth is a bit of a stretch. It was probably just a mistake.

Andulamb2 User

@ROBOFSTOP The writer is saying that the two overlapping Jacks cause one to look like Hitler. The hair of the smaller Jack creates a mustache on the larger Jack. Personally I think it's nonsense.

Kahlandad User


Watch the movie Room 237... it's where this article was stolen from

Todd-Spence moderator User

@GanjiekaLike I said at the bottom "Luckily most of those fun theories and easter eggs are in the new documentary Room 237 which is what spurred this article".

imc440 User

Kuberick was psychotic with his films on a frame by frame level. Given the stuff others had mentioned about how this was a reference to the genocide of the Indians, I would doubt that it was just a coincidence.

Todd-Spence moderator User

@Kahlandad I already mentioned you should watch Room 237 so you just stole that line from me!

imc440 User

Doesn't really make it your article though. I realize that the theories existed before room 237, but you've just lifted from that.