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

the shining bear
Kubrick's biggest WTF moment is finally explained - The Shining bear. 

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.

Yes, we're finally getting to the bottom of The Shining bear. 

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.

The Shining bear

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

30 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
211

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
98

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
98

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
406

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

September 29, 2016 at 12:36PM

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Walter Wallace
YouTuber
1359

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
123

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
424

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
350

Brilliant Kubrick-Level analysis.

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

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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
123

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
96

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
48

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
96

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
99

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
99

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
96

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
192

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
239

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
153

Hello Guys, if you want to download and watch online web series and download movie then you can go to this site.You can watch more of such series legally on: https://thehindiworld.com/tamilmv-watch-and-download-movies-2020/

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

1
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sinh lão bệnh tử ai thấu

August 17, 2020 at 12:19AM

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Quảng Bình 365
Quảng Bình 365 | Thông tin sản phẩm & dịch vụ tại Quảng Bình
147

07B Nguyễn Chánh, P. Trần Phú, Tp. Quảng Ngãi

October 25, 2020 at 9:32PM

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Viettel Quảng Ngãi
Viettel Quảng Ngãi | Tổng đài Internet Viettel | Khuyến Mãi
8

I've read the book and watched the movie. I think Jack was the one who was molested. He hates himself. The drinking is to control his thoughts. He's all screwed up in there. He was probably attracted to Al which was a friend in the book work got him the job at the hotel. He was spending all his time with him. He has repressed homosesexual tendencies ( which he has tangled up with the emotions of being molested) and that's why he hates himself and strikes out. In the book when he beats up a student the guy cries out " you hate me because you know..." or something close too that. It's not in the movie. But the student he beat up and lost his job over was probably gay. On top of it when ever Jack describes him physically its like he's attracted to him. He describes his tan arms, golden skin and the blond hairs on them. And the hair falling over his brow.. He compares him to Robert Redford. He's everything Jack isn't and isn't that what we are usually attracted to? It's scares Jack on a very subconscious level. Deep down the wife suspects the truth too. That's why she sees the fellatio. The Hotel is messing with her. Jack hasn't molested Danny but he's terrified deep down that he will. The Hotel represents and basically is a den of depravity. Its demon possessed and if you die there you're trapped. The ghosts are aware and do things with and to each other. Most people can't see. Poor Danny can. Think the seven level of He'll. But without punishment. Dante's inferno. Any depraved thought is possible there. Things a lot worse than Jack thinks homosexuality is. I think Jack definitely had some of the Shine. That's why the Hotel got to him. When he drank that first drink in the Hotel bar he sold his soul. That's when he was completely possessed. Before that it was just breaking him down. There never was any real alcohol. It's all an illusion. He just gave up. He was slowly driven insane. The Father's Love scene is a hint at his worst fear coming true. The Hotel is basically saying "you give yourself to me and do what I want or I'm going to make you molest your child." A part of Jack probably wanted to mentally check out after that. He probably thought being drunk and giving was better better than hurting his son. I think he realized at that point the Hotel wanted to kill them all. What do you think?

May 11, 2021 at 8:04PM, Edited May 11, 8:04PM

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Teresa
8

Sorry, that's supposed to be Hell, not He'll.

May 11, 2021 at 8:07PM

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Teresa
8