One of the most discussed facets of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has always been its ending. It differs from the book obviously and has stirred much debate about the meaning of its ‘photo’.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, producer John Harlan along with co-writer Diane Johnson provided some information on alternate endings that were conceived as part of the writing process. A certain angle was to have Wendy kill Jack, while another draft had Jack killing young Danny.
Johnson explained why Kubrick changed King’s ending:
The ending was changed almost entirely because Kubrick found it a cliche to just blow everything up. He thought there might be something else that would be metaphorically and visually more interesting. In the book, nobody gets killed except Jack. And Kubrick really thought somebody should get killed — because it was a horror movie. So we weighed the dramatic possibilities of killing off various characters and did different treatments. We actually talked it over in detail the possibility of having different people getting killed.
Danny’s relationship with his father was the thing that most interested Kubrick. He was emotionally involved with the point of view of a little boy who is afraid of his father. I remember Kubrick saying that visually he could imagine a small yellow chalk outline on the floor like that they put around the bodies of victims. And Kubrick liked that image. But he was too tender-hearted for that ending and thought it would be too terrible to do.
They also reveal that it was intended to at one point have Hallorann live but become possessed by the evil powers of the Overlook Hotel, turning him into a “surrogate for Jack.”
You can read the full interview at EW, including info on the famous (or not so famous) destroyed hospital scene.