Let’s Remember The Times Pop Culture Has Paid Tribute To ‘The Shining’

Today The Shining is regarded as both one of Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick’s best films. When it came out 35 years ago this week, however, it was largely met with a lackluster response and even earned Kubrick a Raspberry nomination for Worst Director that year. Stephen King certainly wasn’t a fan and blamed Kubrick for failing to grasp the full evil that The Overlook Hotel housed.

In the years since its release, though, the movie has established itself as one of the definitive horror films. It’s one of those movies that has found such long-term success that it’s not uncommon for people to already be familiar with its iconic lines and scenes before even watching the movie due to its presence in pop culture, burrowing its way into everything from music videos to sketch comedy and video games. Here are some of the best examples of The Shining‘s everlasting relevancy.

The Simpsons

Homer is a simple man of simple pleasures, so when he isn’t allowed to enjoy his beer or TV he goes a little crazy/murdery. It doesn’t help matters that he’s living in a haunted hotel and being commanded by Moe’s ghost to go on a killing spree. Homer may not be super punctual about carrying plans through, but things don’t turn out well for Groundskeeper Willie in this story from “Treehouse of Horror V.”

Kate Bush “Get Out of My House”

The Dreaming was English singer-songwriter Kate Bush’s fourth album and it was a bit of a concept album in that most of the songs drew their influence from violent films. “Get Out of My House” captures The Shinning’s creepiness right off the bat with haunting vocals, screams, and lyrics like “This house is full of mistakes, this house is full of madness.”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

One of the standout episodes from season four, “Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life” finds Charlie and Dee attempting to experience the other’s dysfunctional life for the day. Dee soon finds out that Charlie lives in a building that might just be haunted by two dead twins, which probably isn’t the most terrifying thing about the place considering the dump is infested by 10,000 rats.

Slipknot “Spit it Out”

Right from the start we know this video is a nod to Kubrick horror with Slipnot’s name going the “redrum” route and band member Joey Jordison scooting around on a Big Wheel. When it was initially released, MTV banned the video for being a little too much like its inspiration with several violent scenes, but after being re-edited, they allowed it to air.

South Park

Few business endeavors have the potential to be more terrifying than looking after a haunted hotel, but buying into Blockbuster Video proves to be one of them. Nobody wants to step foot in the historical artifact in the “A Nighmare on Facetime” episode, and the rejection is enough to slowly drive Randy insane. Stan’s blood is on your hands, Netflix.

Family Guy

Family Guy gives a nod to The Shining in several episodes. First, in “Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater” Stewie encounters the ghost twins on his tricycle and simply runs them over, and later in “PTV” they get a taste of his bazooka.


In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Daria takes the opportunity to voice her opinion on the creepy-looking hotel the Morgendorffer clan will be staying at with Danny Torrance’s famous line.

Duke Nukem 3D

Players of Duke Nukem 3D were treated to a level that looked like a spot-on recreation of the eerie halls of The Overlook Hotel. If that wasn’t cool enough, you also got to blast an ax-wielding Jack Torrance.

Key & Peele

A lifetime of continental breakfasts might seem like the sweet life at first, but I suspect even one of those make your own waffle bars would become torturous rather quickly. This fantastic sketch by Key & Peele starts off with a very excited man who has apparently never stayed at a Comfort Inn overly enjoying some free muffins. It’s not until the very end, though, that we learn he’s been condemned to a lifetime at his hotel.


It’s hard to match the creep-out level of the original twins in The Shining, but UK Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright series, Spaced, comes awfully close in the above scene as main characters Daisy and Tim think that they’ve found their dream apartment before opening the closet door.