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Fan Theories About 'The Shining' We Can't Stop Thinking About

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Is The Sixth Sense set in the same universe as The Shining? Is Danny the real villain of the storyOver the years, fans of Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece have offered interesting speculations on the Overlook Hotel and its many visitors. Here are a few takes on possible theories regarding The Shining. Vote up the most cutting fan theories.

  • 5

    The Labyrinth Is The Key To 'The Shining'

    Posted by u/ardvarkmadman:

    The iconic labyrinth in The Shining is the central idea of the story, as interpreted by Stanley Kubrick. The carpet pattern, the scale model in the hotel lobby, the "All work..." pages in the typewriter and the scenes of Danny riding his Big Wheel around the hotel all point to the maze of insanity overtaking Jack (not too solid on the typewriter pages, but the variations of how it was typed indicate trying a new path in a maze).

    The final scene shows how the maze took Jack's life, not anything caused by the ghosts. 

    Heeeere's Johnny?
  • 6

    Tony Is A Manifestation Of Jack's Abuse

    Posted by u/TuToneShoes:

    Tony is introduced to us as 'Danny's imaginary friend', but is he more than that? Is Tony the manifestation of Jack's abuse of Danny?

    The scene in which the doctor examines Danny is full of sexual innuendo about Tony - He lives in my mouth, hides in my stomach etc. We get some sneaky visual clues that Tony represents Jack - notice the picture behind the doctor's head, to Goofy's right, we see the word TIGER and a cartoon tiger with one eye peeping out from behind a small chalkboard that happens to be in front of the picture. As the camera moves in to a close-up on the doctor, we can see that the tiger has hidden himself completely behind the chalkboard. At the same time, Danny recounts how Tony hides.

    It could be argued that the predatory tiger hiding behind the chalkboard represents Jack - he used to be a teacher, after all. As soon as Danny says "I don't wanna talk about Tony any more," the peekaboo tiger pops his spying eye out from behind the chalkboard again. The effect, once you notice it, is quite chilling.

    So what other evidence is there that Tony is a 'tiger'? In the storeroom, we see several boxes of Frosted Flakes. Each packet features a large picture of Kelloggs' famous mascot Tony the Tiger eating a bowl of the stuff. This is just as Danny "Shines" with Halloran "How'd you like some ice cream Doc?" Moments later, as they leave the storeroom, we see another curious packet of Frosted Flakes on the kitchen table, rigThe Dead Body In The Elevator Was Grady's Wifeht in front of where Danny will sit with his ice cream. Halloran would have had to literally move the packet from in front of Danny's face, before he could sit at that spot. As Danny eats his ice cream, his bowl sits right where Tony's had been moments earlier.

    Later, having knocked Jack out with a baseball bat, Wendy drags him past the same kitchen table. When his head reaches the exact place where we had seen Tony the Tiger (eating cereal) and Danny (eating ice-cream), she pauses - Jack's unconscious eyes start to flicker and roll back into his head, he gurgles and a heavy drool runs down his cheek - This simple piece of coreography could be interpreted as an echo of Danny's earlier "bedroom gagging" scene as well as foreshadowing the "animal suit" scene.

    In either case, it appears ladened with sexual overtones. Kubrick's eccentric mise en scene seems to be telling us that Tony is  a predator who hides behind a chalkboard, and a drooling tiger. For his part, Danny appears to have created Tony as a psychological defense against Jack's abuse.

    Heeeere's Johnny?
  • 7

    'The Sixth Sense' And 'The Shining' Are In The Same Universe

    Posted by u/goin2space:

    This theory is only based on the original movies.

    Danny and Cole can both see dead people. One difference is that Danny's father, Jack, is in the picture and can also see dead people. Unfortunately, Cole's father is not in the picture where we might assume that the trait is genetic. We don't directly see the mother's from either case interacting with the dead.

    We know that the dead can realize they are in fact dead, but continue to stick around in the areas of their death (haunt), as well as interact with their surroundings in both. The dead in The Sixth Sense seem to be less experienced (more freshly dead) than the dead in The Shining.

    One difference is that Danny can communicate via Shining, which is not explicitly referenced in The Sixth Sense, but I believe it could be a level of experience.

    Heeeere's Johnny?
  • 8

    Tony Is The Real Villain Of 'The Shining'

    Posted by u/dubhan94:

    In the film, we find out that Danny's Shining ability has a separate personality from Danny, showing Danny only what he wants to show him. This suggests that Tony also has intentions and plans separate from Danny. Before the events of the film, Jack dislocated Danny's arm and probably wasn't a very good father, so Tony wanted him out of the picture.

    Tony drove Jack mad through giving him visions & dreams and guided him into the events of the film which ended in Jack's death. When Wendy looks through the pages of Jack's novel, she finds that ALL of the pages say "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy." As in he had been typing that the entire time they were at the hotel.

    He didn't spiral into madness over the course of the movie, he was insane throughout it. Probably created by Tony, through visions and other mental manipulations months before they arrived at the hotel. It was probably even Tony who guided Jack towards getting the job in the first place. Since Jack gave up alcohol (I'm assuming he was an alcoholic) after dislocating Danny's arm, he was probably going through withdrawals, and was in a weak mental state, prime for Tony to take advantage of.

    In the beginning of the film, Danny receives visions of the hotel from Tony, which suggests that Tony is somewhat able to discern the future. If Tony can predict the future to even a small degree, then he was able to set up situations in a way where he new Danny would survive, yet Jack die. Remember when Jack was chopping through the bathroom door? Right before he is able to get to Wendy, he hears Dick Holleran call out and he leaves to check it out. It was the perfect timing, as if Tony contacted Dick so that the timing would line up exactly to save Wendy's life in that moment.

    During the interview, we hear that the previous caretakers name was Charles Grady, but in the bathroom of the Gold Room, he tells Jack his name is Delbert Grady. This shows that it wasn't the ghost of Charles Grady, but something else imitating it. That would further show that those other "ghosts" weren't ghosts at all, but Tony creating a façade of them through the visions he's giving Jack. Danny's bruises were caused by Tony to set Jack up and it was Tony who unlocked the lock so Jack could go to his doom.

    When Dick Holleran told Danny not to go to room 237, he said it was because places leave a memory of themselves behind. Considering this was probably the room the twins were killed in, and since he knew Danny had the Shining, he told him not to go into the room so that he wouldn't have a vision of what happened in there, not because the room was haunted. As for the picture at the end of the film, I think that was either a vision Tony gave to Jack (maybe the primary one), or perhaps a vision Tony was giving to the audience.

    Heeeere's Johnny?