Every Easter Egg & Reference To The Shining (King & Kubrick)


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Warning: Contains spoilers for Shining Vale, episode 2.

The horror-comedy series Shining Vale is full of references and easter eggs for The Shining, both Stephen King’s original 1977 novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation. While it might seem that a reference to one version of The Shining would be a reference to both, this is not the case. Kubrick’s The Shining included many visual and cinematographic choices that added a new layer to the book while also changing some of the motivation, set pieces, and even the ending, resulting in a movie that Stephen King has famously hated.

Shining Vale follows the Phelps family as they move from a Brooklyn apartment to a potentially haunted house in Connecticut. The move is driven by an affair that Pat Phelps (Courteney Cox) had with the handyman, Frank (Jonathan Higginbotham), that has led the family to try to put some distance from their past as Terry Phelps (Greg Kinnear) tries to move past it. Before they even arrive at the house, Pat starts to see apparitions and as time passes, she finds herself haunted by the ghost of Rosemary (Mira Sorvino) as she tries to work on her new book.


Related: Shining Vale Already Hinted Its Ghosts Aren’t Real

The Shining might well be the most heavily referenced horror movie ever made, with so many later works paying homage to its iconic scenes or parodying them. When combined with the similarity in name between The Shining and Shining Vale, it might appear as though the large number of references might come across as cheap. However, Shining Vale self-consciously uses these references to draw a comparison between how men and women are treated with mental illness and trauma as it takes a feminist look at the original story, justifying the strong connections. Here is every one of these easter eggs and references to The Shining that have appeared in Shining Vale so far.

Terry & Pat Phelps’ Axe

Shining Vale Easter Egg Axe Pat

While it is hard to say which scene of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is most iconic, even people who have not seen the film are probably familiar with the image of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) smashing his way through a bathroom door with an axe. The axe plays an important role in the film as Jack drags it around the Overlook Hotel, kills Dick Hallorann with it, and ultimately freezes to death in the hedge maze while clutching the axe. Shining Vale quickly introduces the idea of an axe with Terry Phelps mentioning he’s been chopping wood as a way to deal with stress and highlights its existence as Terry questions the difference between an axe and a hatchet. Later, when Pat goes out to investigate a noise, she comes across the large axe and carries it for protection.

Shining Vale’s Kubrick Style Title Cards

Shining Vale Easter Egg Title Card Pat

Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining uses stark title cards of white lettering on a black background to mark the passage of time. While the first title card “The Interview” mirrors the title of chapter 1 from Stephen King’s The Shining, the slowly become more specific and related to time going from “Tuesday” and “Thursday” finally down to “8am” and “4pm.” Shining Vale parodies Kubrick’s The Shining cards by mirroring both their appearance and their strange variation of specificity, with Shining Vale episode 1 using “Monday,” “Wednesday,” and “Friday,” but by episode 2 one of the title cards becomes “Dinner.”

Pat Phelps And Jack Torrance Are Possessed By Buildings

Shining Vale Courtney Cox Pat Phelps

In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Jack Torrance appears to be driven to insanity by the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel and the isolation. However, in Stephen King’s original it is more explicit that the Overlook Hotel itself is evil and in someway possesses Jack, and it is his breaking free of the Overlook’s control that eventually allows him to avoid killing Danny, taking his own life instead. Shining Vale has a new take on this idea suggesting that Pat has been possessed by the house with her new manuscript noting that the attic has “entered her.”

Related: Why Stephen King Mostly Writes Horror Stories

Pat Phelps’ Writer’s Annex And Block

Shining Vale Pat Phelps Attic

In both versions of The Shining, Jack Torrance is hoping that his time at the Overlook Hotel will give him time to finally work on his book. Jack sets up in a room where he insists on being left alone when he’s working, but ultimately still faces writer’s block and as he becomes possessed by the house turns out only the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again. In Shining Vale, Pat Phelps hasn’t written anything new in 7 years and shuts herself away in the attic as her own writer’s annex where she faces writer’s block until, possessed by Rosemary and the house, she becomes prolific in a new way.

Shining Vale’s Ball Echoes Danny And Jack In The Shining

Shining Vale Easter Egg Ball Pat

One of the recurring props in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a toy ball. A ghostly presence rolls the ball down a corridor while Danny Torrance is playing to lure him to play with them, and later Jack Torrance bounces the ball around his writing space while procrastinating writing. In Shining Vale, a ball that looks almost identical rolls towards Pat while she is trying to write in the annex. She believes that her dog, Roxy, is responsible, and when she tosses the ball it rolls under a cabinet that reveals a mysterious photo frame.

Pat Phelps Hears An Overlook Style Party

Shining Vale Pat Phelps Rosemary Closet

An important part of The Shining’s narrative circles around the Torrance family detecting vague hints of past Overlook parties, with mysterious confetti being found in the elevators, and Jack Torrance being enticed into a party that is in full swing. While it hasn’t been shown yet, in Shining Vale episode 2, Pat Phelps heads into the hall closet in a dream where she can hear the noises of a party and pears through a hole at the unseen disturbance, before finding that Rosemary is in the closet with her in full party dress.

The Phelps’ Car Accident Hints At King’s The Shining

Shining Vale Small Girl Daisy Ghost

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining removed a lot of the backstory behind Jack Torrance, mentioning that he had hurt Danny and showing that he is a recovering alcoholic (like Pat Phelps). However, in Stephen King’s The Shining, Jack has also attacked one of his students and when he and a drinking buddy are in driving drunk they hit something in the road and find that they hit a bike and worry that they killed a kid, though they cannot find the body. The event ultimately scares Jack Torrance sober for a while. This is an inciting incident in The Shining, and Shining Vale appears to reference this in its opening scenes when, as the Phelps family are driving to their new home, Pat sees the apparition of a girl run into the road ahead of them and grabs the wheel to try and avoid her, but the Phelps family can find no evidence that the girl was there.

Related: The Shining: Every Actor Who Almost Played Jack Torrance In The Miniseries

Shining Vale Repeats Jack Torrance’s Intergenerational Trauma

Shining Vale Gaynor Phelps Gus Birney

As part of the homage that Shining Vale pays to The Shining, there are larger meta-themes that are being reexamined. In Stephen King’s original version of The Shining, there is a significant amount of attention given to the idea of intergenerational trauma and addiction. Jack, to some extent, embodies the alcoholism and abuse of his own father and fears that he will pass it on to his son. Similarly, Pat notes that she has previously inherited her mother’s alcohol addiction and now might be suffering from the psychosis that affected her mother at the age Pat is now. At the same time, she worries about her daughter being sexually active and promiscuous in the same way that Pat has been and is concerned about what aspects of herself might manifest in her daughter. This all allows Shining Vale to take a different look at the ideas of intergenerational trauma by using the female lens for how society affects and treats women, while The Shining was more focused on how that intergenerational trauma functions around toxic masculinity.

Next: Shining Vale Cast & Character Guide

Shining Vale releases new episodes Sunday on Starz.

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