• Horror masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick
  • Reason for masterpiece is it is different from traditional horror films, makes extensive use of bright colours, lighting and space as the element of terror
  • Based loosely on Stephen King novel
  • The Overlook Hotel featured in film is an optical illusion based on three different locations
  • Filmed mostly in Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, UK
  • Interior based on Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park
  • Exterior is based on the Timberline Lodge, Oregon



Set Design

  • Filmed mostly in indoor studio
  • Features life size replicas of real hotel locations built in a large indoor space
  • Even built the entire façade of the Timberline Lodge to film the snow scene
  • Considering the level of detail of set design, the spatial impossibilities found inside the film is clearly intentional, and we will go into more detail later on


Inspired By

  • Stephen King novel for general storyline
  • Film itself significantly influenced by an episode of Omnibus, where two card players, a paranoid and a cheat gets into an argument which leads to a fatal gunfight in a Snowbound Nebraskan hotel
  • The Shining uses the same kind of psychological misdirection in its plot
  • Original inspiration for the novel comes from a hotel Stephen King stayed in, which was the Stanley Hotel in Colorado
  • They were the only guests in the hotel as the hotel was about to close
  • Long empty corridors
  • He had nightmares that night of his 3 year old son being chased through the empty corridors of the hotel

Extreme Angles

  • Jack as he attempts to break free from the kitchen
  • Disorientates the viewer
  • Warps architecture
  • Symbolic, door now becomes a barrier over the character to overcome

Pulling Shots

  • Shows subject moving through architectural space
  • Powerful tool to describe three dimensional space whilst keeping the focus on character


  • Invented by Garrett Brown first in 1975
  • One of the first films to use it
  • Allows for smooth camera movements through a space at a high speed

Long Panning Shots

  • Quickly describes entire building space in one linear camera movement
  • Has the quality of an architectural section through the building


One point perspective

  • Kubrick was in love with symmetry and used this technique extensively for framing a scene
  • Architectural framing, very relevant to our visualisation work
  • Shows content of rooms with subject in focus in centre of frame
  • Accentuates the feeling of isolation throughout film and puts the large spaces into perspective


  • Makes use of a lot of zoom shots
  • Slowly reveals a character’s state of mind as camera zooms in
  • Reveals vastness of architectural space as camera zooms out

Impossible Architecture

  • One of the most prominent features
  • Most of the set design in The Shining are spatial impossibilities
  • Optical illusion
  • Symbolic maze that echoes physical maze outside hotel
  • The executive producer of The Shining, Jan Harlan, has stated that this was intentional. “The interiors don’t make sense,”
  • “Those huge corridors and ballrooms couldn’t fit inside. In fact, nothing makes sense.”
  • Impossible architecture adds to the atmospheric effect of the film, blending reality and fiction to enhance the ethereal quality of the Overlook hotel



Danny’s journey

  • Kubrick intentionally uses the long tracking shot to disorientate the viewer
  • Upon closer inspection, Danny passes by Room 237 twice
  • Number of doors are purely illusional, doesn’t actually represent the architectural space behind them, designed to confuse the viewer into thinking the hotel is bigger and more complex than it really is


  • Staircase to the right impossible
  • Room 237 is way too large for the floor plan, impossible doorways
  • Impossible doors lead to elevator shaft
  • Hotel made to look at lot larger than it is to allow for the large size taken up by the Colorado room

Use of colour

  • Stanley Kubrick uses colour as a form of non-verbal communication.
  • Powerful psychological effect on viewer, defines mood and mental state of characters

Picture10 Picture7 Picture8 Picture9




  • Almost all lighting, apart from exterior shots are artificially lit within the studios
  • Lights simulating sunlight were so hot that some parts of the set was burnt and had to be rebuilt
  • Interesting feature of The Shining is the lack of shadows, particularly for a horror movie
  • Traditional dark gothic horror movies always make extensive use of shadows and ambiguity, whereas in The Shining everything is brightly lit
  • However, this is what in fact makes the movie so scary
  • White light and red walls in the toilet scene is so bizarre it is unlike any other room in the hotel, shows character’s increasing and developing insanity
  • Gold Room and ending snow scene both make use of hazy, ghostly lighting, portraying a sense of isolation, and acts as a visual portal to inhuman, supernatural world


  • The Shining is such a unique and masterfully filmed horror movie that is has sparked a cult following
  • It has inspired many films and television series using similar visual techniques



  • 1408, 2007 psychological horror film based on another one of Stephen King’s short stories
  • Takes place in a hotel room as well
  • Uses familiar camera techniques such as the one point perspective, dolly zoom and extreme camera angles
  • Instead of being large haunted corridors and rooms, the horror takes place in narrow, confined spaces




  • Being a modern production, the lighting and colour grading is much darker and saturated compared to The Shining
  • Similar one point perspective and even the design of the carpet is reminiscent of the one used in The Shining
  • Although American Horror Story has taken cues from The Shining, one can argue that it simply isn’t as refined
  • Parallel vs perspective angle

On Top of the World

  • Finally a bit of trivia at the end of the presentation
  • Note similarities in clip