Read the Deleted Final Scene of Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

Stanley Kubrick was a tireless genius, his mind a impenetrable maze of its own. You can attempt to analyze the auteur’s work and pinpoint his intentions but there will always be the sneaking suspision that he knew something just beyond our realm of knowledge and we’ll never quite find the answers we’re searching for. So when it comes to The Shining, his meticulously-detailed and visually-staggering horror film, everyone tends to hold tightly to their own, very personal theories and opinions—from it being nothing more than a metaphor for WWII to the film as Kubrick’s way to express the anxiety he was carrying about secretly helping to fake the moon landing of 1969 (as told in Room 237). And to our thrill, Vulture has pointed out that on The Overlook Hotel—a Shining site run by Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3—you can now read the deleted ending of The Shining in its original text. 

Just after the U.S. opening in May of 1980, Kubrick chose to remove the ending from the film, sending assistants out of L.A. and New York to cinemas to erase the final moments from all finished prints. Upon its initial release, the scene featured a hospital epilogue between the haunting shot of Jack in the snow and the spine-tingling long dolly shot through the lobby that ends on the July 4, 1921 photo that pinches every chilling nerve in your body. Sadly, little remains of the original ending, save some polaroids, costumes, and 35mm film trims that are a part of the Kubrick archive. Diane Johnson, Kubrick’s co-writer on The Shining says, "[he]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." Weird. She also goes on to talk about how 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." Hmm. Well, I am certainly thankful for his manic episode of realization, that, no, that ending takes so much away from the final shot of pleasure of fright that lives inside the closing moments we know and love to watch—over and over and over.

Read the first page of the final scene below and the rest here, and check out these polaroids—which time (and perhaps something more sinister) have withered and blurred to the point of ghostly expressionist paintings. Oh, and feast your eyes on The Shining forwards and backwards simultaneously superimposed.

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