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

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Vote up the theories that really shine.

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.

Photo: The Shining / Warner Bros.

  • 1
    108 VOTES

    The Grady Girls Had The Shining

    Posted by u/DarthRubiks2099:

    In The Shining, we're told that Grady went mad and killed his whole family. From the way the ghost of Grady speaks about "correcting" his family it sounds like the hotel manipulated him like it does to Jack. Yet the question is why. This incident is said to have happened years ago so and we can assume that each year they hire someone to care for the Overlook. So why did the hotel target this one family?

    The answer is that the twins we see appearing to Danny had the ability to Shine. Firstly, the incident with the Grady family is meant to be what will happen if the hotel succeeds. If Jack had killed Wendy and Danny he most likely would've killed himself afterwards. So the twins being able to Shine would certainly match up with this being a worst case scenario.

    Secondly, we know from the Shining itself and Doctor Sleep that the hotel wanted Danny's Shine. That's the whole reason for it manipulating Jack and trying to kill Danny. So it would make sense if that's the reason the hotel manipulates and kills people. To get their Shine. And if that's the case then the twins being able to Shine would certainly explain why it causes Grady to go mad.

    Finally, when Grady is cleaning off Jack's jacket in the bathroom, he mentions that one of the twins stole a box of matches and attempted to burn the Overlook down. While Danny was in the Overlook his Shine would pick up all sorts of evil images and visions. If the twins could Shine, then they most likely would've seen the same things. These images would probably be enough to push one of them to burn the place down in an attempt to destroy the evil of the hotel.

    108 votes
  • 2
    132 VOTES

    Jack Can Shine Too

    Posted by u/Ledwis:

    Danny has an ability known as "Shining" which causes him to see images of everything that's happened in the [Overlook] Hotel. Jack also sees images, such as when the bartender gives him a drink and when the woman in bathroom chases him. The movie portrays this as him going mad, but if this is him going mad, how could Danny of seen the woman in the bathroom earlier on? This leads me to believe that Jack can Shine, just like Danny. The only difference is it's made him go crazy, because he thinks he is.

    132 votes
  • 3
    62 VOTES

    Why The Overlook Isn't Haunted During The Summer Season

    Posted by u/CB2001:

    We only hear of one tragic event similar to what happens to the Torrence family: the Grady family. Other than the deaths of patrons at the hotel over the years, there are no indications of any other off-season murders in the same regard as we see with the Grady family and the Torrences, let alone any on-season hauntings of the magnitude that we see towards the end of the film or any of the staff going insane in the same regard as Jack and Grady did. That may be because, much like the on-season, there are barely any people who have a high enough Shine that would charge up the ghost activity during that was hired previously.

    During the on-season, we know Dick Hallorann worked at the Overlook for years, but we don't know for certain if his Shine ability is as strong as Danny's. And anyone else who comes to the hotel who might have a strong enough Shine may not stay long enough for the supernatural activity to get strong enough to make itself noticeable and may have been rather limited to one area (something like a single hotel room with the number 237 on the door).

    However, for the Gradys, they may have had a pair of strong Shine users and not realize it: their twin daughters. Before that, the Overlook's hauntings may have been limited to one room. But when the Grady twins are staying inside the hotel for months during the off-season, it inadvertently charged up the hotel's supernatural abilities enough for ghosts to start appearing, first as simple visions until they got to the point they could physically manipulate things if they so choose, and eventually exceeding the limitations of Room 237. After Grady murdered his family and himself, the charge stayed for a little bit until it eventually died back down again to where it was limited to one room.

    And like the Gradys, the Torrences brought Danny to the Overlook. The moment they moved in for the off-season was when the spiritual cell of the Overlook began to charge again. Like before, starting with visions. Eventually, it reached the point where Danny got attacked by the woman in 237, causing actual physical harm. And this explains how a ghost could let Jack out of the food locker: the Overlook's supernatural charge was at full enough at that moment that it allowed ghosts to be able to manipulate objects once again, and even allowed people without the Shine ability to see the horrors (this would explain how Wendy didn't see any ghosts or visions before the final act of the film).

    So, that means they after Danny and Wendy escape in the Snowcat, the strong charge the Overlook had slowly died out again. As for if management knew that strong Shine users could cause their hotel to become a massive Spook Central by staying in the hotel for months is hard to say. But it explains why there are no noted hauntings or insane staff/guest instances like that of Grady and Jack mentioned occurring at the hotel in the film that occurs during the on-season, other than what is limited to Room 237.  

    62 votes
  • 4
    94 VOTES

    Danny's Love Of 'Looney Tunes' Helped His Escape

    Posted by u/Bkwordguy:

    When we see Danny watching TV, it's Looney Tunes, specifically the "Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show." His nickname is "Doc," and Halloran does a Bugs Bunny impression when they first meet. Danny constantly cruises the hotel halls like the Road Runner, thereby also showing he's in good shape for a kid.

    When Jack finally snaps Danny puts all his exercise and cartoon knowledge into action. His evasion of his father is pure Looney Tunes-style, like the Road Runner vs. the Coyote. He outsmarts his dad in a very cartoon way by covering his tracks, leaving him to die in a very slapstick way. We even get an aftermath shot of Jack frozen to death like an idiot, just like how the Coyote is often smashed flat or folded like an accordion in defeat.

    94 votes
  • 5
    54 VOTES

    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.

    54 votes
  • 6
    66 VOTES

    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. 

    66 votes