September 29, 2016

Why That Bear Performed Fellatio on That Guy in 'The Shining'

Kubrick's biggest WTF moment is finally explained.

There's plenty of speculation surrounding hidden meanings and conspiracy theories of The Shining (a feature-length documentary's worth, to be exact) but the strangest part of the film may forever be Wendy's sudden discovery of a man in a work suit receiving fellatio from a man in a bear suit.

Stanley Kubrick famously tried to distance himself from Stephen King's novel, but he did so in a way that seemed more like an attempt to tease the author rather than set himself apart. The changes appeared in minor details rather than in overarching story structure. For example, in the book, the snowcat is yellow and Jack’s Volkswagon Beetle is red.  In the movie, the Beetle is yellow and the snowcat is red. But when Dick Halloran is making his perilous journey through a blizzard back up to the Overlook Hotel, he passes a red Beetle crushed by an 18-wheeler. Ouch.

Kubrick did decide to keep some things, and it turns out that the bear scene was one of them. Similar to the Beetle switch, however, the bear was actually a dog in the novel. Kubrick opted not to go further into the backstory, instead, he used the scene as just another building block in his nerve-wracking Jenga tower of tension. Check out Rob Ager's video below for further analysis of Kubrick's famous scene.

Ager's idea is mainly motivated in this bear-to-dog switch. He believes that "a shift from dog to bear costume doesn’t have any significant effect on the aesthetic scariness of the scene, so there must have been some sort of logic at work in Kubrick’s decision."

Without fully going into all the examples Ager gives, he believes that logic is employed throughout the film with a sort of subliminal messaging. For example, in an early close-up of Danny, we see his head resting on a bear pillow as he speaks with a psychiatrist.

Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining."

Perhaps the coolest of these clues is the striking similarity of the establishing shots between Wendy discovering the Ursidae sex act, and an early shot of Danny back at home brushing his teeth as he prepares for bed.

Danny.
Bear.

Your Comment

31 Comments

The only artifact more over-analyzed than this film must be the Bible. They seem to attract the same type of zealotry, as well.

September 29, 2016 at 11:43AM

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Joseph Moore
Creative Director
227

I signed up for nofilmschool simply to upvote THIS comment. No joke.

September 29, 2016 at 6:30PM, Edited September 29, 6:30PM

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Only bigotry such as yours can demean critical thinking and analysis. Go and read about NLP and film writing techniques...Sir.

May 13, 2020 at 8:07AM

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juan
1

Only bigotry such as yours can demean critical thinking and analysis. Only bigotry such as yours can demean critical thinking and analysis. Go and read about NLP and film writing techniques...Lord Joseph.

May 13, 2020 at 8:09AM

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juan
1

This analysis genuinely creeped me out and scared me. Especially the quick intercutting between Danny in the bathroom and the bear. Cree-frickin-eepy.

September 29, 2016 at 11:51AM

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Ian Park
Documentary Editor / Director
293

DAMN.... what an awesome analysis.... I never thought about this.

September 29, 2016 at 12:36PM

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Walter Wallace
YouTuber
1537

i never thought its a bear in the movie, looks like it could be a dog costume, but interesting analysis

September 29, 2016 at 1:16PM

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Spence Nicholson
Writer / Director / Producer
132

Title should have been "BJ and the Bear".

September 29, 2016 at 3:45PM, Edited September 29, 3:45PM

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or "Kubrick Bears It All"

September 29, 2016 at 6:25PM

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Tim
426

You guys are probably too young to know but BJ and the Bear was a TV show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY4L1xQIl0g

September 29, 2016 at 6:38PM

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LoL nope... and now I've shown my age :-P (nope as in it was on of my favorite shows...)

September 30, 2016 at 7:14AM, Edited September 30, 7:15AM

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Film GRIT
Host With The Most
331

Brilliant Kubrick-Level analysis.

September 29, 2016 at 6:58PM, Edited September 29, 6:58PM

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There's a "does a bear shit in the woods" joke here somewhere, but I'm too tired to think of one. I'm relying on you all to step in and fill the void.

October 6, 2016 at 1:45PM

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Ahh. Watch out for hairy gay bears. Now I finally understand what "The Revenant" was all about.

October 31, 2016 at 4:50PM

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Jeffrey Norman
Director / Editor
111

Early in the movie Jack is reading a playgirl magazine, and if you Google the cover one of the articles listed on the front is about incest, and specifically about parent child relations. Might be on to something.

July 18, 2017 at 1:13AM, Edited July 18, 1:13AM

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Or, like, considering the scene's purpose (building a terrifying loss of sanity), it didn't matter if it were a bear or a dog and there was a bear costume readily available.

August 28, 2017 at 4:40PM

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Ollen
79

One huge inaccuracy in this analysis is that he says Snuggles the Bear is the only delusion Wendy sees. This is flat-out wrong. She also sees a man with his head split open who says, "Great party, isn't it?" and also a cobwebbed room full of skeletons in old-fashioned clothing, sitting around like hotel guests who unexpectedly all dropped dead and were left to rot.

August 28, 2017 at 5:11PM, Edited August 28, 5:11PM

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Great!

October 8, 2018 at 1:30PM, Edited October 8, 1:30PM

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Mohamed Isaaq
Script Supervisor, Writer & Director
137

So The bear performing fellatio was Jack Torrance and the old guy was his son?! I'm lost on this one lol, anyway one of the best film's of all time.

January 12, 2019 at 7:42PM, Edited January 12, 7:42PM

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chris
86

Here's a thought. Rob Ager is full of it. He’s made a lot of these videos where he draws lines between echoes of elements in the movie or between those elements and other things he thinks look like things. He ignores any evidence to contradict his theories. For instance here he builds an issue out of the apollo11 jumper being dissimilar to the one Danny wore entering Jack’s room. But its the one he wore going into Room 237. Ager would have you believe thats a deliberate discontinuity and a ‘statement’ rather than the more obvious indication that Danny actually was just in Room 237. So the only discontinuity is with Ager’s theory. If you comment something like this on his youtube channel he deletes and blocks you.

May 17, 2019 at 6:17AM

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nads norlik
commentalist
91

The most common conspiracy theory about any film is child sexual abuse - the second being that the characters are all actually dead.

May 17, 2019 at 6:26AM, Edited May 17, 6:26AM

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nads norlik
commentalist
91

Ager's modus operandi is to find the most minute detail, and create an entire alternate plot line from them. The thing he forgets is that these films were made long before anyone had an idea that anyone would be able to watch them over and over, going over them with a fine tooth comb, pausing and rewinding and pausing and rewinding, with a small screen touting high definition resolution, using the internet to look up things like an obscure bear pillow (which I don't think the eyes were trimmed, they're fabric, they edges weren't sewn down, they folded and bent), etc. I hardly think Kubrick based something so incredibly significant on fine details that an audience would have a hard time catching with less than 30 screenings.

June 29, 2019 at 9:46AM

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Actually Kubrick did know that people would be able to examine his movies in great detail in the future. We live in a World that is planned at least decades in advance, and Kubrick, being part of the team as it were, knew what was coming. The moon obelisk featured in 2001 represented the smart tv/phone. He chose to embed very subtle clues in his movies because he knew people in the future would be able to find them. The previous reference to incest/paedophilia above is also accurate and is repeated in Eyes Wide Shut, also referencing a bear. There is also a reference to Obama in EWS supporting the notion that everything is planned.

July 6, 2019 at 5:05AM

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Instead of movies, I love watching TV shows and thanks to https://www.primetimerewind.tv for a plethora of TV shows.

July 7, 2019 at 1:53AM

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maklanist
172

Bears don't have noses like that.

August 24, 2019 at 6:46PM

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Erik B. Anderson
100% Disabled
84

I’d love to see a follow up article about how The Shining is also one the most overrated films of all time.

August 25, 2019 at 7:03PM

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Resonance
108

That’s a dog costume in the movie, not a bear!

November 17, 2019 at 12:37PM

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Perhaps the coolest of these clues is the striking similarity of the establishing shots between Wendy discovering the Ursidae sex act, and an early shot of Danny back at home brushing his teeth as he prepares for bed.

March 17, 2020 at 8:40PM

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Xe Điện Tuấn Linh
Xe điện Tuấn Linh Chuyên các loại xe đạp điện, xe máy điện
46

Perhaps the coolest of these clues is the striking similarity of the establishing shots between Wendy discovering the Ursidae sex act, and an early shot of Danny back at home brushing his teeth as he prepares for bed.

March 18, 2020 at 1:15AM

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Xây Dựng Xuân Thành
Dịch vụ sửa chữa nhà trọn gói, phá dỡ nhà, cải tạo nhà Hà Nộ
146

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April 6, 2020 at 2:05AM

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Sweety
105

This is the best platform for entertainment. I like all the plays and movies.
https://ij-start-canon.org/

April 29, 2020 at 4:48AM, Edited April 29, 4:48AM

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