Many fans of the film have noticed that the window seen at the beginning of the film, in Mr. Ullman’s office is an impossibility. Scenes that take place near the end of the film show that a hallway should be behind that office. Not the outside.
While this can be written-off as a continuity error, it further shows the mind bending space of the Overlook Hotel. The Hotel itself is a lot like a metaphorical maze the characters are going through. Leading up to the actual maze at the end of the movie.
In the film, Carrie’s mother verbally abuses her with Bible verses. The “Sins of Eve” as her mother calls it. Basically about how being a woman is a sin.
Except for one thing….all the verses she shouts are fake. Not one verse her mother says at her are from the Bible. A subtle way of showing just how psychotic her mother really is.
In one scene, she claims the verses about how sexuality is evil are in Genesis Ch. 3, but anyone knowledgeable about the Bible knows that Chapter 3 is actually the story of Adam and Eve.
At the time George Lucas was holding auditions for his film, director Brian DePalma was also holding auditions for the horror film “Carrie”. A few actors who auditioned for one film, may have gotten a role in the other. There was a rumor, later disproved by actress Carrie Fisher, that Sissy Spacek was originally cast as Princess Leia, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie.
A notable example is actor William Katt, who auditioned for the role of Luke Skywalker with Kurt Russell as Han Solo. Katt later got a role in “Carrie” as Tommy.
One of the scariest elements of “The Shining” is it’s ambiguity. You’re not sure if the ghosts are real, or a product of Jack’s mind. The answer is actually in this small scene. Stanley Kubrick mentioned how important this scene was, in fact his first draft script ended with this scene. You see, up until this point in the story, you can think of the ghosts as imaginary. Jack is locked in the pantry, and speaks with the ghost Grady. But here’s the thing:
Grady lets Jack out. This is important because A) It confirms that there ARE ghosts at the hotel and B) it’s practically the only time in the entire movie that the supernatural world physically interacts with the real world.
It is been said that a film is only as great as it’s villain. This can be true in many cases. It certainly is the truth in many of the works of author, Stephen King. In most of the films that have been adapted from his work, we have various and very memorable villains. It could be very easy to forget heroes which he has also written in his books. People forget, especially in the world of movies, that is the human elements which give the story it’s true strength, and not necessarily the supernatural parts. Stephen King’s human heroes are really where the power of his stories comes from. But in all fairness the scares are a pivotal part as well.
Enter Johnny Smith. From King’s story, and David Cronenberg’s film adaptation in 1983, of “The Dead Zone.”
In the story , Johnny Smith is a simple schoolteacher who is the result of going into a coma five years, awakens with psychic powers. One touch, and he can see someone’s past, present, and future. In the story, it has Johnny uncovering cases and going through certain events in his new life discovering both who he is now in the world, and what his powers can accomplish. This includes solving murder cases, and political conspiracy.
There are many layers to Johnny as the story goes farther and farther. It’s worth mentioning first and foremost that he is a reluctant hero . He did not ask for these powers, and there are probably parts of the story where he regrets having to use them. But in using them and in accomplishing the deeds that he does , he discovers a little bit more more about himself.
The very name Johnny Smith implies that he is the everyman. Therefore as a representation of the average person, it’s fair to say that he in fact is a representation of every individual audience member who either watches the movie, reads the book, or even watches the TV series that is loosely based off of both.
As the story continues, Johnny Smith becomes less of the average, everyman and more more of an outsider.
What else is very fascinating about the character of Smith, is that he follows a sort of character arc not too dissimilar from Brandon Lee’s portrayal of the undead hero Eric Draven, in “The Crow”. Smith is a man who was awoken from a coma after five long years. It really begs the question, how exactly does somebody reintroduce themselves into a world, and into a life, that is essentially already learned how to live without them? So Johnny’s mission in life is not only finding out how to use his powers, but also how to find a new meaning in his life . This quality makes him one of the most sympathetic heroes ever created by Stephen King . As stated before, it is the human elements and not necessarily the supernatural ones that make, not just Stephen King stories, but also horror, mysteries, thrillers, etc. into good movies and good stories altogether.
The filmmakers initially wanted the psychic visions that Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) to have, should look sharp and painful. The character “jolts” as it happens. Walken wanted these “jolts” to look authentic. So director, David Cronenberg would fire a .44 Magnum pistol off camera and not tell Walken when it would go off.