The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting Craig Oldham

Craig Oldham is bringing Jack Torrance’s infamous manuscript to life

A new loose leaf publication from Rough Trade Books delves into the lasting legacy of The Shining, with 400 pages designed by Oldham and dedicated to uncovering new perspectives on the Stanley Kubrick film

The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting is designed as a box set of individual pages, featuring essays written by the likes of Cosey Fanni Tutti, Margaret Howell and an interview with Shelley Duvall – who played Wendy Torrance in the film, and who has spoken about the bullying she faced from the director on set.

The publication is intended as a real-life version of the novel manuscript Jack Torrance is working on in the film, and is the latest in designer Craig Oldham’s ongoing project to bring movie artefacts to life – starting with They Live’s alien-exposing magazine.

Why The Shining? “Kubrick’s films are without exception beautifully visual,” says Oldham of our lasting fascination with the 1980 horror film. “They have a surface veneer that is appealingly structured, often seductive, and always meticulously executed, and I think that naturally appeals to visual practitioners as they can read the film on that level and feel appreciated because of it.”

Oldham believes The Shining stands out as one of Kubrick’s “more graphic” films – thanks to elements such as the typography, the carpets, the maze, the indigenous decor and the looping structure of the story. For Oldham, the film behaves like a mirror, reflecting back to viewers whatever it is they bring themselves.

“A big part, perhaps, of why it appeals to creatives is it’s largely down to visual language,” he elaborates. “If you have a magazine spread and on one page is a picture of a burning car and on the opposite page there’s the word purple, people will try to make a connection even if there isn’t one to be made.

“The film does this excellently in the manner in which it is constructed, in what it has left out of exposition as much as the exposition it offers up. It’s a room that we all bring our furniture into to make our own, and not many films can do that. It’s a massive part of why it has endured so long.”

Oldham says The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting hopes to tap into some of the “under-researched” areas of Kubrick – for example, women and feminism, queer studies, race, ethnicity and otherness.

It includes a series of original texts, including Howell reflecting on the maroon jacket she designed that was worn by Torrance at the end of the film, and Jen Calleja exploring folklore, fairytales and Shelley Duvall. The box set also republishes some of the texts Kubrick read in preparation for making the film, including pieces by HP Lovecraft, Sigmund Freud and Stephen Crane.

The publication doesn’t lack for visuals either, with reproductions of real-life locations that influenced The Shining’s set design – including hotel ephemera that informed the Overlook Hotel – as well as artwork that appeared on the walls of the hotel.

“We’re taking a fictional publication out of its film and putting it into people’s hands to hopefully elevate or reevaluate their experience of The Shining,” says Oldham.

The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting will be published by Rough Trade Books in May; kickstarter.com 

SENIOR DESIGNER

MANCHESTER