When I started watching American Horror Story: Hotel, I quickly realized it was drawing a lot from The Shining. Even though I had never seen that film (I’m not a big fan of horror films, so my viewing of them is pretty spotty), I have seen so many homages and parodies of the long tracking shots through ornate hallways, along with creepy kids at the ends of those hallways, that I immediately recognized their appearance in the Hotel Cortez. Of course, I also recognized a fair amount of David Lynch’s style (and the creepy kids seem to have emigrated from Village of the Damned, which I also only know secondhand).
So to celebrate Halloween, I decided to finally watch The Shining. I was surprised at how effective the film still was, even having seen so many clips of the distinctive bits and knowing most of the plot, which minimized much of the suspense (even so, I was still shocked by Scatman Crothers’s death — oops, spoiler alert). I was also surprised by how much of what I had taken as Lynch in American Horror Story was actually from Kubrick. Many of what I thought were references to the Great Northern Hotel in Twin Peaks may actually be from the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (though Garin Pirnia makes a good case that The Shining was greatly influenced by Lynch’s earlier Eraserhead, especially in regard to sound design, so maybe Twin Peaks merely brought the influence full circle). (And there is a lot of The Shining‘s Jack in Twin Peaks‘ Bob.)
Apparently I am not the only one to make these connections. Richard Vezina has made an astonishing mash-up video to highlight the shared aesthetic of these two auteurs: