Lost ‘happy ending’ to The Shining found

Mark Lankester

A lost screenplay for Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ has been found, revealing the final 2 minutes that were infamously cut from the cult 1980 horror.

[Related story: Stephen King to publish sequel to The Shining]

The missing script was tracked down by ‘Toy Story 3’ director Lee Unkrich, who also happens to run ‘Shining’ fan site, The Overlook Hotel.

This find reveals the final four page “hospital ending” that actually screened at the film’s May 1980 premiere, however Kubrick soon changed his mind. One week later, the notoriously perfectionist director had all copies recalled by Warner Brothers and cut to 146 minutes.

The missing two minutes of film have long since been destroyed, and until recently the only evidence of their existence was a small set of on-set Polaroids taken during the scene. But now at least we can imagine how Kubrick’s horror masterpiece might have played out. 

In the scene we see Wendy and Danny recovering from their ordeal in hospital, where hotel manager Ullman visits them. It’s a slightly happier, but less genre ending than the Jack-freezing-to-death finish we’re given in the final cut. The actual script is below…

‘The Shining’ co-writer Diane Johnson said of the missing ending: “Kubrick felt that we should see them in the hospital so we would know that they were all right. He had a soft spot for Wendy and Danny and thought that, at the end of a horror film, the audience should be reassured that everything was back to normal.”

Did Kubrick make the right choice? Let us know in the comments below.