The Shining – How the Kubrick Carpet Trick Works

NOTE: I’ve added an update at the bottom of the post.

So, how does that reverse carpet trick work when Danny is in the hall on Wednesday and the ball rolls toward him?

In shot 257, the camera is over Danny and facing him as the ball rolls to him on a “reversed” field of carpet, then in shot 258 the carpet is returned to its normal state.

Kubrick has moved Danny. In shot 257 Kubrick leaves a bit of the edge of the white wall to the rear of the elevators showing which provides us with an orientation point.

The Shining - The Carpet Trick[clear]

As you can see, based on that orientation point, in shot 258, Danny has made one diagonal move up. If this was a chess game it would be down the order of moving from D2 to C3. Not exactly, I’m just drawing a comparison to illustrate the manner of the move.


What’s interesting to me is that Kubrick has left in shot 257 that orientation point of the bit of white wall so we can see what has happened.

And now, viewing from the front again, in shot 259, we can look at that orientation point of the bit of white wall and see again how Danny has simply been moved.

The hexagon reversed[clear]

Comparing the above with shot 257 now that we know to look at the orientation point of that white corner.

The Shining - The Carpet Trick[clear]

UPDATE (March, 2014): If there is any doubt this was done intentionally, such as that the very edge of the wall wasn’t intended to be viewed, please refer to my analysis of 2001, the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite section. Kubrick does the same thing here with the illuminated floor, as you can see in shots 584 and 585. I’ve described this in the analysis (also in shot 590) and how I believe, in 2001, what he did fits in with the chess game between HAL and Frank Poole. To understand a little more about the chess game you’ll need to read section three of that analysis beginning at shot 264. I had long thought that Kubrick’s moving Danny on the carpet seemed a very chess thing to do, but it wasn’t until doing my analysis of 2001 this past winter that I realized Kubrick had essentially the same set-up there and that Kubrick had established the chess board 8×8 square in shot 584.

Comments for “The Shining” Analysis – Table of Contents

I removed the analyses from the blog as there were too many images and I was concerned the server wouldn’t tolerate the traffic. Have converted them to static html pages and they are up here.

Below are some fun posts I’ve kept on the blog rather than converting to html:

In Which Kubrick Tricks Us Into Not Noticing the Door Which Has Opened
A post on the door that opened in the hall beyond Danny when he tried the door to Room 237 and found it locked.

How the Kubrick Carpet Trick Works
A post on how the Kubrick carpet trick works, when the pattern reverses under Danny. So simple!

Maps of the Overlook Hotel

I had thought it fun to study the locations of the shots on the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park in particular, and below are posts showing shots from Google Street View of the locations.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the locations of the opening shots on Going-to-the-sun-road are in the following posts: St. Mary’s Lake, Serpentine Bends, Crossing the Field, Helicopter Takes a Pass, Entering the west tunnel, Exiting the West Tunnel, The East Tunnel (not used in the film), After the West Tunnel, Last Shot of Glacier Park in the Opening. Though the Overlook is in Colorado, these opening shots, along with the Closing Day shots, pinpoint a kind of psychological place for the lodge as being on the Continental Divide. The final crossfades to the lodge occur before it. In the opening, the VW travels east to west and the final crossfade out to the lodge occurs east of the Continental Divide. In the Closing Day section, the VW travels west to east on the road and the final crossfade to the lodge occurs west of the Continental Divide. Kubrick often gives us several perspectives of a scene. Such as with there being several perspectives for the “shining” in Room 237. Such as the several mazes. We have the set maze outside the Overlook, we have the map for the maze (different from the set maze), we have the model maze (different from the set maze), and then finally he shows us the “world maze” in which the left mirrors the right side. This is a double labrys–the labyrinth–and we may find the same with the VW approaching the Overlook from either side of the Continental Divide.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the location of the Boulder apartment.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the locations of the ascent.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing the view down the mountain and the maze of ski slopes before the Timberline.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view of the Miami Channel 10 radio station and where the Stapleton airport was once located and the Westminster/Boulder exit from Denver that Dick passes by on his way to the Overlook.

Repurposed shot from Google Maps street view showing the exterior of a snow-drenched Timberline/Overlook.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing Dick’s travels up the mountain to the Overlook. Through sheer luck I believe I may have been able to pinpoint the location in which the Snowcat is shown in a pristine winter wonderland that hardly seems real, but is.

Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing a couple supplemental, pretty shots of the Timberline area.