The Abridged Script
INT. OVERLOOK HOTEL - COLORADO
JACK NICHOLSON meets the LIMP-WRISTED BARRY NELSON for a job interview to be caretaker.
My family and I have problems with each other, so I thought nothing would be better for us than staying shut up together in an isolated mountain hotel for five months. Only that can bring us closer, and make me a successful author like Stephen Kin- I mean, uh, Steinbeck.
Geez, Jack, sounds like the set-up for a zany family drama. We need to stop this right now.
I'm sorry, you can't make fun of The Shining. There are no flaws in this movie. Anything you think is a flaw is really Director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant vision. To illustrate this, I will unload tons of backstory that doesn't align with the backstory you'll learn later.
We're sure this isn't really because Kubrick rewrote the script like twenty times during filming?
Just make enough maniacal grins and you've got the job.
INT. JACK'S SUBURBAN HOUSE
SHELLY DUVALL cooks for her son DANNY LLOYD, desperately wishing for a FASHION CONSULTANT.
You excited to live alone with your parents in an empty hotel cut off from civilization, Danny?
What 5-year-old wouldn't be? Especially when the most prominent memory of their father is when he dislocated their shoulder in a drunk rage.
What does your "friend" Tony think?
(cute high voice)
I don't want to go to the hotel, Mrs. Duvall!
How adorable, "Tony!"
(switches to growly Satan voice)
Tony is now entering puberty, Mrs. Duvall.
DANNY has a vision of the TITANIC FLOODING except with BLOOD. He has the same vision THREE TIMES.
Wow, this must be super important! It's really pivotal, right?
INT. THE HOTEL - CLOSING DAY
JACK and SHELLY get a tour from BARRY and SOME USELESS GUY.
Our hotel is quite popular. People love spending their summer up on this mountain surrounded by barren cliff.
Lovely! What do people like doing up here?
Um, my what a view. Here's our hedge maze. And some nice food.
That's worth a 3-and-a-half hour drive from the nearest town? I don't even see any good hiking trails among all these cliffs.
Would you two mind leaving your five-year-old with this guy who creepily knows things about you he shouldn't and is visibly scaring him?
Golly gee, of course!
DANNY is left with SCATMAN CROTHERS, the hotel chef.
See the cans on the pantry shelf, Doc? They're part of a theory that this movie is about destroying Native Americans.
My daddy has a word for that theory. I'm not allowed to say it, but it rhymes with "Bull pitt."
You have a special power called "Shining," Danny. It lets you see the future and read minds.
Do I ever use this power to help me, my family, or do anything?
Later I'll sense you're in danger and come to the rescue, but that's really MY power at work, not yours. So no.
Hey man, without MY power, we'd be starring in "Jack Goes Axe-Shit" instead.
Not saying that doesn't sound less like a pretentious religion group or a self-help campaign, but it does. Now Danny, you MUST NOT GO into Room 237. STAY OUT of that room. NEVER GO IN THERE.
Okay, how long before I should wander in?
About a month? Maybe?
INT. HOTEL - ONE MONTH LATER
JACK, SHELLY, and DANNY do things. Like, WALKING AROUND. Or LYING IN BED. Or EATING BREAKFAST. Or WALKING AROUND MORE. For a change of pace, RIDING A TRICYCLE.
Oh my God... OH MY GOD! AAAAAUGH!
(title card appears)
TUESDAY! DUH-DUH-DUH DUHM!
EVERY FUCKING SHOT is about five times longer than it needs to be because EDITING is for AMATEURS.
Hi hon, how's it going?
Fuck off! Bitch! You are directly responsible for everything wrong in my life!
Okay hon, does that include any furniture you break playing wall-ball?
OF COURSE IT DOES! Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!
Yes dear. By the way, we're snowed in and our son thinks he's seeing dead girls in the hallway.
Get back to him then, I'm out of ideas other than "Act like a jerk."
DANNY inches his way in, slowly as possible. SHELLY notices him and gradually ambles in his direction. A passing slug crosses the room four times. SUSPENSE.
Danny, what happened to your neck? I told you rouge is for girls, go wash it off.
JACK heads to the ballroom to talk to a GHOST BARTENDER, WHAAAAT?
Give me a drink. I've been off alcohol for five months.
I'm sorry Mr. Nicholson, but according to the title cards two more months have passed so you've actually been off alcohol for seven months.
Hey, stop it! No flaws, remember?
Oh right. Mr. Nicholson, if you could please retell the exact same backstory we heard earlier without providing any new information or development...
SHELLY runs in holding a BAT by the WRONG END because she is a MORON.
Jack, a crazy lady tried to strangle Danny! He saw the world's creepiest girls ever and their bloody chopped-up corpses, so of course he decided to wander into the cursed room and just stand there while a rotting old woman slowly got up and throttled him!
Sounds like the sort of thing psychic powers should have seen coming. Did the woman just let him go or what?
I... I'd ANSWER, but... BOOHOO A BOO I'M SCARED AAAH!
No fucking wonder I'm going nuts.
INT. ROOM 1408, I MEAN 237
JACK makes out with a NAKED WOMAN, WHAAAAAT?
This wasn't in the book...
What? There's a book?
DIRECTOR STANLEY KUBRICK
I read the Wikipedia summary once.
But surely that's where the most famous, iconic moments are from.
Hey, we weren't in the book!
I was a large croquet mallet.
Jeez, at least there aren't any attacking topiary lions. Those can STAY in the damn book.
The WOMAN turns into a CORPSE, WHAAAAAT?, so JACK leaves and promptly forgets about her.
JACK attends a GHOST PARTY and meets PHILIP STONE.
Mr. Nicholson, you ought to "correct" your family and kill them.
You ought to "correct" my understanding of what's going on.
I might be the man who killed his family here years ago. Or it was you and you've reincarnated. This party is taking place in the wrong year than when I killed my family which I might not have done. I was first mentioned as "Charles Stone" instead, and you think you read about me in the newspaper which you didn't, suggesting this is in your head which isn't the case because later I will help you escape in a way you couldn't have done yourself. Also, racism.
Huh? That didn't help at all.
Oh, Scatman Crothers is coming.
Scatman Crothers? Uh-oh, he isn't bringing Brad Dourif or Louise Fletcher, is he? I hate those guys.
INT. HOTEL - NEXT DAY
SHELLY heads down to find JACK, taking the BAT with her and HOLDING IT CORRECTLY this time. She reads the papers in JACK'S TYPEWRITER.
"All work and no play makes Jack a crazy actor." This can't be good.
Heh heh heh. I'm here to bash your brains in.
AAGH NO BLUBBER WHIMPLE SNEEZE SOB
Any moment now! Bwahaha!
Really, any moment!
After one more take, I'm sure!
(blood coagulates from apathy)
Jesus, have we set the "Most takes for one scene" record yet?
127 outtakes later, YES. SERIOUSLY.
Finally SHELLY bashes JACK and locks him in the PANTRY but PHILIP STONE lets him out.
INT. NICHOLSON HOTEL ROOM
DANNY has a vision of the word REDRUM written in BRIGHT RED LETTERS on a door. He becomes POSSESSED, picks up a GIANT KNIFE, runs his HAND over it, walks toward the door...
...and WRITES on the door in...LIPSTICK! (Were you expecting something else?)
Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redurm! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redurm! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! rredrum! Redrum! Redrum !Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!Redrum! Redrum ! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redru um! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum ! Redrum !Redrum! Redrum! Rwdrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! REdrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! REdrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum!! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum !Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrmu! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! Red-
Shut UP you annoying-
(sees murdeR in mirror)
Oh, that's the payoff of psychic powers. "Murder" backwards. It's so clever I didn't notice how pointless it is. Worst powers ever.
JACK starts AXING DOWN THE DOOR! SHELLY locks herself in the bathroom, pushes DANNY out the window, but gets TRAPPED!
Mary had a little lamb,
Her fleece as white as snow
Then one day she got FUCKING AXED TO BITS,
Turning white fleece red, oh no!
He CHOPS OPEN a SMALL HOLE and sticks his face through it, grinning widely as possible for ALL POSTERS AND DVD COVERS to come.
LIVE LONG AND PROSSSSSPER!
Crap, wrong show.
SHELLY lightly scratches his hand with a knife instead of SLICING OFF HIS FINGERS or STABBING HIS FACE. Outside, SCATMAN CROTHERS ARRIVES.
Hmm, I can ax open the rest of the door, kill Shelly, then easily proceed to kill Scatman... Or let Shelly escape and kill her later. Well that's obvious!
Whew, I was worried he'd notice the hole in the door grew three times larger after we stopped moving.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY
SCATMAN enters after winning a slow-motion walking contest. JACK lethargically limps closer. THE ARCTIC CIRCLE melts.
EARTH drifts ten miles further from the sun and the Arctic Circle REFREEZES. SCATMAN takes a few more steps.
My God, this has more pauses than The Tourist.
JACK chases DANNY into the TRIWIZARD HEDGE MAZE.
Am I still possessed? What was up with that, anyway?
DANNY! I'm right behind you! I'm limping at the pace of a caterpillar swimming in molasses! I'm following your footprints! Don't double back on them or anything!
Must... walk... backward... slower...
DANNY doubles over his tracks SLIGHTLY FASTER than continental drift, which is enough to back up nearly FIFTY FEET before JACK arrives.
Not realizing this obvious trick, JACK runs around some more before changing his last name to FROST.
Meanwhile, SHELLY finds a butler and a man in a dog suit having oral sex, overloading the WHAAAAT?-O-METER. She also finds the BLOODY ELEVATOR, GODDAMN FINALLY.
This would be so scary if it wasn't the fourth time seeing it!
She runs outside to the escape vehicle, presumably to ABANDON HER CHILD and DRIVE AWAY. Suddenly DANNY appears and runs toward her!
Gosh golly, we're safe!
Totally safe! No danger! Fuck you knife!
Mom, do you think it'd be more poetic and meaningful if you had actually driven away leaving your son trapped, adding a layer of surprise and mystery and illustrating how abuse and alcoholism ruins the integrity of everyone involved?
At that point, even though it'd demonstrate his original message, Stephen King would kill us. Stick to the feel-good ending! Your daddy's dead! We're traumatized forever! Yay!
"Feel-good ending?" Sure, yay.
Fuck this shitty movie! I am very outraged! In response I will write a four-and-a-half hour remake no one will watch and write a sequel no one would read if it wasn't for this movie's popularity! Kubrick go to hell!
JACK appears in a PICTURE from 1921, which at least makes more sense than the GIANT SPACE FETUS. Dammit, Stanley.
Ian S. has been an author at The Editing Room for 2 years. You can support Ian S. and the rest of the site on Patreon.
Ian S is an exuberantly quirky guy who likes drinking carbonated water with coffee creamer mixed in. Make of that what you will, some day it will be famous. Hopefully Ian will be famous too; right now, he'll settle for moderate comfort and wistful daydreams.