The Shining remains one of the most popular of horror films, It was also Stanley Kubrick’s financially most successful and over the years has garnered an enormous amount of analysis with documentaries such as Room 237 and now the book Stanley Kubrick’s the Shining written by Lee Unkrich the director of Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and ‘Coco’ for which he won an Oscar for each. But since he was young he has had an obsession with Kubrick’s film and has been collecting photos and stories about the films notoriously lengthy production.
Having interviewed so many of the cast and crew all with stories about the film Unkrich spoke to Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam which revolutionized film and able to film shots that had previously been unachievable. Brown had approached Kubrick about his new invention and what it could do and Kubrick employed him to work on the film where the camera man was able to capture the corridors of the Overlook Hotel with liquid smoothness adding to the whole eeriness of the film.
But Brown told him about the climatic scenes and how The Shining’s maze scenes would be illegal to shoot at least if they were shot under modern day conditions.
“There was really no choice but the Steadicam to navigate those huge spaces,” he told Unkrich. “[But] it got absurd at times in the maze. If a viewer knew what we were doing, they would be astounded. I was trudging through dairy salt eight inches deep with Styrofoam above thousand-watt lights on thoroughly dried-out pine needles. We were all terrified of fire the whole time, crunching along in my continually rotting boots because of the salt in a hundred degrees Fahrenheit. And it was oil smoke, now illegal, but then, legal. And we breathed it for three months to make that mist. And then you look at the final shot, and gosh, it looks amazing.”
Related feature : Kubrick’s assistant Leon Vitali