The Shining is surely Stanley Kubrick's most misunderstood masterpiece.[...]
I use the word 'masterpiece' guardedly because I have never really thought that The Shining was a very good film.
At the time, in 1980 when I first saw it, I didn't like it at all. The way that Kubrick threw out so much of Stephen King's great source material and replaced it with a lot of things that just didn't seem to make any sense, really bothered me.
Hopefully, before I am finished with this essay, the reader will see it is only when Kubrick dramatically alters the script from Stephen King's novel that we can begin to understand what Stanley Kubrick is trying to tell us in his version of The Shining.
It should be understood from the beginning that The Shining is Stanley Kubrick's most personal film (outside of, possibly, Eyes Wide Shut). Before we are done here it will be easy to see that Kubrick was only using Stephen King's novel as a launching pad (excuse the pun) to be able to tell a completely different story under the guise of making a film based on a best-selling novel. He did this for a very important reason - mainly to save his life.
The Overlook Hotel itself is America.Secrets of The Shining: Or How Faking the Moon Landings Nearly Cost Stanley Kubrick his Marriage and his Life
Like America, the Overlook Hotel is new and shiny. It is ostentatious, corny and architecturally boring. As the Manager tells Wendy "All of the best people stayed here".
But there is something very deep happening. Kubrick brushed shoulders with the elite of the world. He knows what is going on.