While most people only know of the The Shining thanks to the film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King’s 1977 novel was published today, and to celebrate a story that has revolutionized the horror genre, here are a list of fun facts.
6. the location of the overlook hotel was entirely arbitrary
After writing Carrie and ‘Salem’s Lot, which were both set in small towns in Maine, Stephen King wanted to, in his own words, “spend a year away from Maine so that my next novel would have a different sort of background.” To decide where his next story was to take place, he opened an atlas of the United States on a kitchen table and set his finger down a random location, which just so happened to be Boulder, Colorado. Curiously, though, King seems to have abandoned this strategy entirely, as the majority of his book after the fact have taken place in Maine.
5. originally, there was a prologue and epilogue
Before The Shining was published, there included a prologue titled “Before the Play” which chronicled the events of the Overlook Hotel before the arrival of the Torrence family, as well as an epilogue titled “After the Play,” though neither were included in the final draft. Five years later the prologue was published in Whispers magazine, and an abridged version appeared in the 1997 issue of TV-Guide to promote the upcoming miniseries. The epilogue was thought to be lost, but was re-discovered in 2016, and both were published in a special edition of the novel released by Cemetery Dance Publication.
4. king hated the kubrick film
This one may not be as unknown to fans of Stephen King, but to this day he claims he was disappointed by the 1980 film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, despite it being regarded as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. His criticisms mostly stem from how poorly Kubrick adapted the novel’s themes, as well as how little the original source material was followed. I, for one, have to agree that, as an adaptation, the 1980 The Shining is subpar.
3. the hotel that king used as inspiration is also haunted
Many believe the Stanley Hotel is haunted, having reported a number of cases of ghostly activity. Kitchen staff have reported to have heard a party going on in the ballroom, only to find it empty. Patrons in the lobby have allegedly heard someone playing the ballroom’s piano; employees investigating the music purportedly found nobody sitting there. Employees believe that particular ghost is of Freelan O. Stanley’s wife, Flora, who used to be a piano player. In one guest room, people claim to have seen a man standing over the bed before running into the closet. This same apparition is allegedly responsible for stealing guests’ jewelry, watches, and luggage. Others reported to have seen ghosts in their rooms in the middle of the night, simply standing in their room before disappearing. Are these real ghosts or simply the imaginations of the inhabitants hijacked by the novel’s reputation?
2. the novel was adapted into an opera
Who would have thought that a supernatural horror novel would be inspiration for an opera? And who would have thought that the performance would have received largely favorable reviews? Directed by Eric Simonson and premiering at the Ordway Music Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the opera was, according to critics, “an unqualified success.”
1. ‘The shining’ was the first of king’s book to introduce the supernatural ability of the same name
If you’re a fan of the Stephen King Macroverse (which I explain in-depth here), then you know how prevalent “the shine” is in his books. While the abilities of those that possess the shine range from pyrokinesis to precognition, in The Shining it’s explained as telephony, and it’s the first of King’s novels that introduces it to his world. Since then, dozens of characters have been theorized to poses the shine, from John Coffey in The Green Mile to Mother Abigail in The Stand, and while Carrie was written before The Shining, it’s been retconned (at least by the readers) that her telekinesis was also a result of the shine.