Urban Legends with the Ghost Brothers

Pop Paranormal - The Shining: The Grandpa of Modern Day Horror

Episode Summary

If you liked Urban Legends with the Ghost Brothers, check out a new podcast from Travel Channel: Pop Paranormal. Listen to episode 1 here and follow Pop Paranormal wherever you get your podcasts. Pop Paranormal is a horror movie and TV podcast hosted by the geekiest couple you know: Karama Horne (aka @TheBlerdGurl, culture critic parked at the intersection of pop culture and diversity) and Chuck Collins (comic book artist, podcaster and horror connoisseur). Each week they dissect their favorite horror and paranormal classics, deep cuts, and current faves that have left a lasting impact on pop culture. Hot takes, cold takes and insider takes will flow.

Episode Notes

If you liked Urban Legends with the Ghost Brothers, check out a new podcast from Travel Channel: Pop Paranormal. Listen to episode 1 here and follow Pop Paranormal wherever you get your podcasts. 

Pop Paranormal is a horror movie and TV podcast hosted by the geekiest couple you know: Karama Horne (aka @TheBlerdGurl, culture critic parked at the intersection of pop culture and diversity) and Chuck Collins (comic book artist, podcaster and horror connoisseur). Each week they dissect their favorite horror and paranormal classics, deep cuts, and current faves that have left a lasting impact on pop culture. Hot takes, cold takes and insider takes will flow.

Find episode transcripts here: https://urban-legends-with-the-ghost-brothers.simplecast.com/episodes/pop-paranormal-the-shining


Episode Transcription


KARAMA: This is Pop Paranormal from Travel Channel.  I’m Karama Horne aka the blerdgurl, culture journalist and critic, parked at the intersection of geekdom and diversity. 


CHUCK: And I’m Chuck Collins, professional comic book artist and horror connoisseur. WE ARE THE GEEKIEST COUPLE YOU HAVE EVER MET. 


KARAMA: And Chuck is a horror addict. And by default, now I am too. :25


KARAMA: We love watching paranormal movies and shows together, and we're always debating everything from their social commentary to their, I don't know, their monster threat level?


CHUCK: Yeah. I mean, unless it's Texas chainsaw massacre, cuz not for nothing.  Leather Face ain't a threat. 


KARAMA: See, only you would think that a man covered in another human’s skin is not a threat. 


CHUCK: Yooo...I have my reasons, I have my reasons (Laughter)


KARAMA: YOU SEE WHAT I DEAL WITH?!! Anyway, join us as we go deep on your favorite horror classics. We're sharing our hot takes, our cold takes and even insider takes. 




CHUCK: what is the best horror movie to get this paranormal journey going? I mean, there's a lot of good ones. It was hard to choose, but Karama, I got two words for you.  RED RUM 





CHUCK: Yup blood through the elevator doors, creepy twins in the hallway, Here’s Johnny! We’re talking about the damn Shining! 


KARAMA: Look, the shining is a classic and in fact, there are so many people that have pulled from this film. It's one of the most analyzed films in history. Everybody from Pixar to Jordan Peele have used parts of this film. 

CHUCK: You know, you've made your mark. When even Pixar put a shining reference in, in one of their movies, like those movies are for kids. What's an adult horror movie reference doing in here anyway?  But yeah, it's made its impact. It's like, you know, it's like the grandaddy of modern day horror. 

KARAMA: Yeah. And it has, I think, some of the biggest conspiracy theories of any horror movie in the genre.  

CHUCK: Look, You know, the relationship between baking powder and The Shining? I bet you didn't know there was a relationship there, right? 

KARAMA: Oh and listen. There's also the one person who hated the movie so much, they had to go and make their own version. 

CHUCK: Ohhh yeah 


KARAMA: All of that is coming up. 


KARAMA: Heads up, we're gonna be talking about The Shining. And spoiler alert, if you haven't watched it, we're spoiling the entire movie. What have you had, 50 years? Like... 

CHUCK: Yeah. It's been a minute. 1980.  


KARAMA: So the Shining is the Stanley Kubrick movie based on Stephen King's book of the same name, also called the shining in it Jack Torrance  plays a struggling writer who gets a job at the overlook hotel as a caretaker for the winter. And he brings his wife, Wendy and his son, Danny, along with him. Now, Danny has his little superpower is called the shining, which give him visions of what's gonna happen next. I also think he sees dead people like premonitions.


CHUCK: Yeah, he's kind of like a low-grade Jean Gray, you know? Like, like if the shining took place in the Marvel universe, you'd see Charles Xavier come to The Overlook, talking about [In low voice] “young Danny, you have an amazing gift, come to my school.” 


KARAMA: And you know what, had Danny gone to professor X's school for the gifted. He probably would've had a better winter than he had at The Overlook. What actually happens is that in the shining Jack, his dad gets more and more evil and he gets possessed by the need to kill his wife and child. And he tries. But he does not succeed. Wendy and Danny luckily get away, but Jack does not. The hotel claims him and he is the one who's left behind. And his soul is basically trapped in the overlook hotel forever, forever, and ever, and ever 


CHUCK: Jack's face at the end of that movie in the snow, like that's a real childhood nightmare for me. You have no idea, like. I would go under the covers like “no, I don’t want to see that.” But listen, the real life story is almost equally creepy.  


KARAMA: Yes! It goes like this… 



KARAMA: So in 1974, Stephen King and his wife decided to go on a little vacation and they went to the Stanley hotel in Colorado during the off season,they ended up having the entire place to themselves because the hotel was basically preparing to shut down for the winter. The night they stayed there. King swears he had this dream about his three year old son running through the hallways, but he was being chased. Wait for it-- by a fire hose. 


KARAMA:  Now what really kills me about the story is that when he woke up, he said, you know what? I think I should write a book, not, Hey, babe, let's leave. 


KARAMA:I know if I was staying at a creepy hotel and woke up after having a really creepy dream, I'm not staying and writing a book. I'm leaving. 


CHUCK: we're done. 


KARAMA: We're gone. 

CHUCK: We’re out. We ain’t staying no questions asked. 


KARAMA: Absolutely. But no, instead King, couldn't stop thinking about this place and decided to write an entire book about it and that is what inspired the movie. 

KARAMA: Up next. We're talking about the differences between the book and the movie, plus we're gonna find out what Steven King really thought of Kubrick's adaptation and what really sneaky thing Kubrick did to piss off king that stayed in the film. We’re telling it all! 

CHUCK: All right. So all y'all listen out there. Are you ready for this drama? 

KARAMA: This story is crazy. 

CHUCK: So king totally hated Kubrick’s version of his book. So much to the point where King was talking mad, smack to Kubrick for decades.


KARAMA: Yeah. He's been pretty vocal about that. 


CHUCK: Yeah, vocal is an understatement. He’s like--


ARCHIVAL: King Interview: I used to describe The Shining as something like a beautiful car that had no engine in it.



CHUCK: I think we could start by stating the fact that the character Jack is two different people all together You have… Jack Torrance in King's novel, who was more of a sympathetic kind of character who was more like an everyman, you know, um, who had his own issues as somebody can actually empathize with, as opposed to Kubrick's version where once you saw Jack Nicholson go through the halls of that hotel on his way to talk to Mr. Ullman about getting that job, you knew something was wrong with that man. 


KARAMA: Right and I think casting had a lot to do with it because Jack Nicholson, that's his look, I mean, from the Shining to the Joker, like he's. 


CHUCK: Yeah. 


KARAMA: He shows up and, you know, you know, wanna dance with the devil in the pale moon light? Like that's how he rolls (laughs)


CHUCK: and look, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love, Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance in the, Kubrick film, but I think, that's where, Kubrick had one vision, King had another.  


KARAMA: The other character that, you know, King also could not stand in the movie was Wendy. I mean, Wendy was supposed to be patterned after his own wife. And he, I think at one point called Kubrick's interpretation, one of the most misogynistic characters ever put in film, and he is not wrong. The Wendy that King wrote was strong and stood up to her husband, cuz he's thinking of his wife, but the Wendy in the film was weak from the very beginning. And that was one of his other big issues. 


CHUCK: Yeah. I think Stephen King talked more about how much he hated Kubrick's version of the Shining more than he talked about anything else in life. 


KARAMA: What's really funny about this beef between king and Kubrick is that Kubrick was not that verbal about it, but he got back at king in several ways. But one, I remember distinctly, was the red car that the Torrences drove in the book. 


CHUCK: Yeah. Stephen King was very adamant about having that red beetle because it meant something to him at the time. And Kubrick didn't want to include it at all. 


KARAMA: It made it into the movie, but they didn't drive it. It was crushed in a scene like that was almost a throwaway scene, during the snowstorm when Halloran was going back up to the hotel. and if you didn't know about this whole beef, you wouldn't even catch that. But it's just one of those things where King really wanted this red car in the movie and Kubrick was like, fine. I'll give it to him, but we're gonna do it my way. And he crushed it almost as a metaphor for like what he really thought of his ideas. 


CHUCK: Yeah, That wasn't even in the book he made a whole scene just so he can just so he can give him that middle finger.


KARAMA: After the break, we'll introduce you to a segment we're calling This Week In Bad Decisions and we're breaking down some of the wildest fan theories about this movie, like really wild. Plus, we're gonna dig into all of the shining Easter eggs in other movies. Sit tight.



KARAMA:  And we're back. Now it's time for a segment, we call This Week In Bad Decisions. Now we all know that characters in horror movies make terrible decisions, right? Like we're all sitting there, like, what are you doing? Why are you like this? Why would you go in there? So on this segment we are going to pick one character from the movie of the week who acted just plain stupid. 


KARAMA: (laughter) So my vote. As much as I love his character, my vote is,

Halloran because when I last checked, plane tickets were expensive and this man took a whole, week's pay to run back to the airport, to hop on a plane, to go back to the hotel, to help these people and ended up, uh, dead. And I, it was unnecessary. He could have just kept using the phone and stayed warm in his,really nice apartment. If I remember correctly.

CHUCK: You know, he survived in the book, right?

KARAMA: See that even makes me more angry. Okay. So, what is your pick for who does that? 

CHUCK: This one goes to the man himself, Stanley Kubrick. 

KARAMA: Really? 

CHUCK: Yeah, I’m going to tell you why 

KARAMA: uh oh 

CHUCK: This dude had the perfect opportunity to get to amazing actors, two old black dudes to have a great conversation. Instead gave us the blindest black conversation on screen. 

KARAMA: I I only remember one black conversation in this whole movie. 

CHUCK: Yeah, it was between the both of them. And you don't remember it. 

KARAMA: Wait so it was, Halloran and who?  

CHUCK: Halloran and Larry Durkin played by Tony Burton. Hey, I'm going back up to the hotel. Well, let me go get you that car. Okay. Cut two. Really? I think it was a missed opportunity, 

KARAMA: It should have been more like Lil Rel and Daniel Kaluyya in Get Out?


CHUCK: Absolutely. Yes. Yep. To, to straight up, say to his boy straight up, like yo Holleran and I ain't letting you go up there. In fact, I ain't renting you this car. 

KARAMA: and they just, and they just sat there and had a drink?

CHUCK: Yeah. Sat there had some bourbon and just chill for the rest of the night. Play some Spades 

KARAMA: Perfect. 

CHUCK: Meanwhile, the hotel could become a Lovecraftean creature and eat Jack and everybody else. And it'll be all good. (laughter)

KARAMA: What, oh my god. Remember, we're doing this segment every week. So tell us on Twitter using the hashtag Pop Paranormal, who your picks for bad decisions are.


KARAMA: All right. We can't talk about the Shining without talking about fan theories  

KARAMA: And some of these are so out there. We're not gonna be holding back our opinions

CHUCK: well, I wanna start with hell 

KARAMA: Of course you do. 

KARAMA: Of course you do. Have we met him yet? 

CHUCK: I mean why not?

KARAMA: so the hotel as a representative of hell. one of the theories is that the Torrance is, are trapped inside of basically hell and Jack is pushed towards evil that only exists inside the hotel. So, uh, Is the hotel actually a portal to hell? What is it? 


CHUCK: Do I think it's hell? nah. But I do think, however, the hotel is its own entity. It's like a malevolent force that feeds off of human energy. 


CHUCK: I believe that because the hotel was built on top of a native American burial ground, that's what fed it even more, that pain of the genocide, the pain of everything else. And you see it constantly in the movie where Jack will even talk about when he's talking to the bartender and he started to keeps mentioning the white man's burden and all the native American imagery around it. And, you know, the infamous scene, the scene that will be stuck in our heads forever, which is the elevator scene with the blood. that leads straight down to the foundation where the burial ground is, and you're seeing the blood of native Americans coming up through this elevator. So I think it makes sense that, the hotel is evil. 



KARAMA: I agree. I also think that some of the little things that people skip over in the dialogue, for instance, like when Ullman tells the Torrance’s is that the hotel was not only built on a native American bur ground, but that they rioted during its construction. Was meaningful and yeah, there was a riot, but clearly people died. It's just, there's so many indigenous motifs, even in the movie, like the artwork and the carpeting, and even the Calumet baking powder in the kitchen. It had a logo of a native American chief on it. If you remember, and apparently the word Calumet met, and I might be saying it wrong means peace pipe. And the way the cans were always facing us, I can't help. But think that all of these things were on purpose and that it's not a theory it's actually true. 


KARAMA: So, yeah, that was one of the most, um, plausible ones. One of the really, I always thought that this one was a stretch, was the connection to the moon landing. 

KARAMA:Right. So explain this, cuz I've never understood this properly. So

Chuck: there's a lot of people that believe in that the moon landing never. It was was a conspiracy theory that, They say that Stanley Kubrick was the one who recorded the whole

thing you know, like the whole one small step for man, you know? And so like Neil Armstrong's like, yeah, stepping onto the moon, their thinking was all on bouncing, back forth and everything. Yeah. Yeah. and because since Stanley Kubrick did such a good job, with, a 2001 space Odyssey, the government was like, yeah, we want that guy. Cuz it looks so realistic.And, and They said, it just like that

Karama: That's what

[Chuck: That's exactly. Yeah. They sound exactly like, like yeah. You know that guy Stanley Kubrick's awesome.

KARAMA: Okay, Chuck, but what's the connection between the moon landing and the shining?

Chuck: Okay.So you remember in the book. Steven King, the, the infamous room where all the creepy happened? That was that was room two 17 in the actual movie. Stanley Kubrick changed it room 2, 3, 7.So the significance of the number 2 37 is that it takes 237,000 miles to the moon. That's the, distance between earth and moon from earth. Okay. From earth.

Karama: All right. 

Chuck: And it said that the reason why he did it was because: he felt that Did this secret thing for the government and he needed to use the movie as a way of him expressing to the world. Like I helped in this whole thing.

Chuck: So to him it was like, oh yeah, this is 2--237. Those of y'all that know you. 

CHUCK: so that's it. So, you know, so room 2 37 is like his nod to the audience that he was part of this whole conspiracy,  

KARAMA: So, oh my God, this is just…, really?

CHUCK: and this is the reason why the room 2 37 in the movie is such a taboo room. 

Like this room that, that just hides all the secrets and everything else. Because in there you had, you know, what Kubrick was trying to say was that that's where all the secrets are. That's where I did the thing.

KARAMA: What's really funny about this is that  there's even another theory I heard and that is. They changed it from two 17 to 237 because the real life hotel, where they shot the film, they didn't want people to be afraid of staying in room two 17. So they made them change it to 2 37. cuz they don't have a room 2 37 in the real life hotel. 

CHUCK: yeah. See to me that makes sense that I don't even think that's a conspiracy thing. I think that's a real thing that the 

KARAMA: That one makes more sense. Yeah. 

CHUCK: Like, yo, listen, please. Don't cuz we, we still need to make money up in here. So don't, don't use that 


KARAMA: Okay. We've dropped some deep knowledge about the shining on this episode, but what always gets me is that decades later, people are still talking about this movie. 

KARAMA: You cannot deny the effect it's had on Pop culture. So Chuck, when you think of the Shining, what comes to mind?


CHUCK: The twins




KARAMA: The creepy twins. Yep. 


CHUCK: they always creep me out. They're the reason why I was scared of kids. Even when I was a kid myself. 


KARAMA: I was freaked out by the twins until I got the rest of their story. And then I felt bad for them because what I realized that, oh my God, they died at the hands of their father. That made me sad because the person that they trusted was the person that was terrorizing them kind of like Danny and Jack, And when they invite him to play, they’re acknowledging that connection between them.


CHUCK: Yeah. Another character I felt bad for though was Halloran. I mean, his winter was probably going mad, smooth until them damn Torrance’s. 


KARAMA: I can't help, but look at Halloran as that magical Negro trope. And the concept of the magical Negro is when there's a black character who has some type of special mystical powers and their whole role is in service of the white leading character. 


CHUCK: Yeah. Cuz that's their only purpose. 

KARAMA: Right. They're magical or, or mystical. 

CHUCK:One thing about Halloran’s character, what I found interesting when he said me and my grandmother used to shine all the time. We'd have whole conversation and not open up our mouths once. 

KARAMA: oh yeah, no, we got a whole, we got a whole family of X-Men. This is a whole family of mutants 

CHUCK: Exactly, we got a whole family of black X-Men in the south hiding from white folks. And not just like we, we ain't gonna show nobody's damn powers. We just gonna stay here on this farm and chill. 



KARAMA: Jordan Peel, as you're listening, we want Halloran as a child. We want that story 

CHUCK: Word. We want the Halloran Clan to have their own movie. H men 

KARAMA: H men, oh my God. I'm done with you. 

CHUCK: Yup. 

KARAMA: I've done.  

CHUCK: So on a scale of one to 10, how legendary is the shining? 

KARAMA: It's really weird. That's a really hard question to answer because everybody looks at this as a pinnacle of movie making Stanley Kubrick's best work. But when it came out in 1980, it was trashed. Like critics hated it. 

KARAMA: But the shining is still endlessly referenced between all the conspiracy theories, uh, even that moon landing and the king Kubrick feud, everything helped cement the movie in cinematic history. 


CHUCK: I mean, Cisco gave it two stars when it first came out and Ebert was just like, I can't see myself in any of these characters. I can't, I don't have an empathetic boom in my body for anybody in this movie, 


KARAMA: But here's the thing, despite not getting good reviews. For some reason, all these years later, we've seen it referenced in so many other films. Um, um, in an endless adventure, the here's Johnny scene is copied and there's like a poster of the shining on the wall. Um, you mentioned one from Friday the 13th. 


CHUCK: yeah. 



CHUCK: he hacks through the door with an ax and then like, Chris stabs him in the hand. He was like, oh snap  Poltergeist, Carol Anne wakes up at exactly 2 


CHUCK: yeah. 237. Yeah. 


KARAMA: To meet the ghost and even Jordan Peele, and get out at the airport in the end, there's a reference to flight 237 


CHUCK: the first time. As soon as I heard it, I was like, Jordan, you think you slick? nah, I caught you. I see how you are. 


KARAMA: That's it for us. But before we leave in true paranormal fashion, we're gonna send you off with a puzzling clue about our next show.




CHUCK: So these three clues, we're all inspirations for the movie. We will discuss next. Close and Encounters of the Third Kind, Neon Genesis Evangelian and Jaws. What do you think it is? 

KARAMA: Think, you know the answer. Use hashtag pop paranormal on all social platforms and make sure to follow Travel Channel @Travel channel on Instagram, TikTok and twitter. 


KARAMA  We'll have all that linked below in the show notes. 


CHUCK: See you on the other side

KARAMA  Pop Paranormal is produced by Neon Hum for Travel Channel. You can follow our show wherever you get your podcasts, and we’d love it if you could take a second to leave us a five star review.