You’d be forgiven for failing to notice some of The Shining’s more intricate details, since there’s a good chance you were covering your eyes with your hands the first time you watched it. Those details really do add to the experience of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic, however, including the fact that the color red appears in nearly every shot. Some of these appearances are obvious — that famous scene of blood pouring out of the elevator, the red-walled men’s room where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) freshens up — but many are quite subtle. Did you ever notice that the darts young Danny (Danny Lloyd) plays with are red, for instance, or that a book placed on a table in the opening scene and the dress Wendy (Shelley Duvall) wears are red as well?
According to one analysis, the inclusion of the scarlet hue is meant to be a visual nod to Jack’s deteriorating mental condition as the Overlook Hotel takes hold of him. It’s just one reason The Shining has been the target of so much theorizing on the part of academics and fans alike; there’s even a documentary devoted to unpacking ideas about the film, called Room 237. Some of the theories are more outlandish than others — the idea that Kubrick used The Shining to confess to helping NASA fake the moon landing is pretty out-there — while others are just strange enough to feel at home in the Overlook.