The Shining: Boilers

In our post, The Shining: Boilers,
we compare the differences between the feature film and the mini-series.  A most important prop in one, makes a trivial appearance in the other.

Beginning with the mini-series, the boiler was the most important plot device.  The series opens and in all practical purposes ends with it.  It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode that helps persuade Jack Torrance to keep his family anchored to the Overlook.  The boiler design, lack of a better word, is very steampunk.  It has character; hissing, steaming, creaking.  It is something more expected from Stanley Kubrick.


In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, there are two boilers in keeping with the motif of false symmetry.  If you look closely each model has slight differences.  But unlike the series, the boiler room is sterile and strangely silent.  May it be running under the power of the Shining?  A curious direction, the boilers have little contribution to the story.  Kubrick decides to give the custodial task to Wendy unlike the series and the book.  Stuart Ullman makes a very brief comment early.   In Wendy’s scene, the muted boilers allow her to hear Jack suffering from his nightmare.  The hotel pulls Wendy and Danny to Jack after her’s son’s trauma in room 237.

As much as Kubrick’s vision was superior in vision and cinematography, the series’ boiler room shows implied history where the feature film did not bother.  It had clutter, boxes, discarded furniture, all representing the forgotten past of The Overlook.  In the opening scene, we see the spirits of the Overlook reach out to Jack.  Taunting him, teasing.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series




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