Read the Original Ending to Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'

Read the Original Ending to Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining'

Jan 24, 2013

 

 
The Overlook Hotel is a fantastic website if you're interested in all things related to Stanley Kubrick's iconic horror film The Shining. The Tumblr recently posted a copy of the screenplay showing the deleted original ending of the film. If you haven't seen the 1980 movie — and really, what's taking you so long? — you may want to give it a watch and bookmark this page for later. There will be plot spoilers.
 
The cut epilogue takes place in a hospital after crazed caretaker Jack Torrance chases his wife Wendy and son Danny through the Overlook Hotel's massive hedge maze. The scene was inserted after the shot of Jack frozen in the snow and the long dolly shot through the lobby of the Overlook, which ends by focusing on a framed photograph dated July 4, 1921. In the picture, we see Jack dressed in period clothes.
 
A known perfectionist, Kubrick didn't settle on editing the scene until after it opened in the States, which required his assistants tracking down copies in L.A. and New York City. The website reminds us "all known copies of the scene were reportedly destroyed, although it is rumored that one surviving copy may exist."
 
Cowriter Diane Johnson described the scene: "Kubrick had filmed a final scene that was cut, where Wendy and Danny are recovering from the shock in a hospital and where Ullman visits them. Kubrick felt that we should see them in the hospital so we would know that they were all right. He had a soft spot for Wendy and Danny and thought that, at the end of a horror film, the audience should be reassured that everything was back to normal."
 
You'll remember that Ullman (Barry Nelson) is the manager of the hotel who hired Jack Torrance and warned him about the previous caretaker's downfall with cabin fever. The man ended up killing his entire family and himself.
 
We're glad Kubrick didn't want to reassure us with this original ending since the cut scene reads expected and hokey for our tastes, not really adding anything to the filmmaker's masterpiece. The Shining's final revelation is quietly breathtaking and leaves us to speculate about supernatural influences, and wonder about the future of the Overlook, and Wendy and Danny. The original script definitely feels more aligned with Stephen King's ending, however. The book's conclusion is altogether different, though, and we much prefer Kubrick's take on the tale overall.
 
Give the script a read on the Overlook Hotel, and let us know if you think if the deleted epilogue mirrors the motifs in Kubrick's horror gem, or if the scene is a total dud.
 

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