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)