Study Guide

The Shining Setting

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The Creepiest Hotel Ever

From the start of this movie, we can be pretty sure that there's something not quite right about the Overlook Hotel that serves as the setting for this movie. Maybe it's the isolation. Maybe it's the general barrenness of the landscape. Or maybe it's the crazy ominous music that plays as we see the establishing shots of the building…

We learn that the hotel has some terrifying history when Stuart Ullman says,

"The site is supposed to be located on an Indian burial ground, and I believe they actually had to repel a few Indian attacks as they were building it." 

If you've seen a lot of horror movies, you already know that building something on a Native American burial ground—or really any burial ground—is always a recipe for trouble.

But just in case we weren't spooked by the bloody, skeleton-filled history of the place, we learn that, according to Mr. Hallorann,

"[W]hen something happens it can leave a trace of itself behind... say like if someone burns toast." 

If that's the case, the Overlook is like a totally charred piece of toast. We get constant glimpses of all the awful stuff that's happened in the hotel over the years, which definitely extends beyond Delbert Grady's murder of his family.

And it looks like this same gruesome history is what possesses Jack to repeat the violence of the past. After all, we can tell this by the way he fits in so smoothly with the ghosts that use the hotel to party.

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