'Doctor Sleep': All the References to 'The Shining' Explained

The Shining is full of iconic moments, from "here's Johnny" to "redrum," creepy twins to Scatman Crothers, and its sequel Doctor Sleep pays tribute to all of the biggest moments of the 1980 Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. Though the film mostly focuses on a grown-up Danny Torrance (played by Ewan McGregor), it stills gives us plenty of flashbacks to the early original movie and the dark events at the Overlook Hotel.

All the Shining references in Doctor Sleep

WARNING: The following contains big spoilers for Doctor Sleep


Doctor Sleep starts the references right from its opening moments, where we see a young Danny (Roger Dale Floyd) on his tricycle on the iconic orange patterned carpet of the Overlook Hotel. However, he is still haunted by the decaying woman in the bath, who both Danny (Danny Lloyd in The Shining) and Jack (Jack Nicholson) saw in the Overlook Hotel.

Familiar faces with new faces

The early scenes of Doctor Sleep reveal what happened to Danny and his mother Wendy (Shelley Duvall in The Shining, Alex Essoe in Doctor Sleep) after they left the hotel. However, rather than give us the original faces of these characters via CGI, the makers of Doctor Sleep have decided to recast not only Danny and Wendy but also Hallorann (Scatman Crothers in The Shining, Carl Lumbly in Doctor Sleep), who still communicates to Danny beyond the grave despite dying in the 1980 film.


One of the techniques Hallorann teaches Danny to deal with the ghosts of the Overlook who keep haunting him is to put them in a box in his mind. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that where that box is located inside Danny's mind is a replica of the snow-covered Overlook hedge maze.

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Danny Torrance (Ewen McGregor) sees the word 'redrum' in "Doctor Sleep." Warner Bros.


Throughout the film, adult Danny bonds with Abra (Kyleigh Curran), a girl with similar gifts to him who he communicates with via a chalkboard. When Abra uses her 'shining' to uncover the murder of Bradley Trevor (Jacob Tremblay), the psychic shock of this causes the board to crack and spell the word "murder" or, as Danny sees it in a mirror, "redrum"—the word that Danny keeps saying in The Shining.

Blue jumper

One of the most iconic costumes of the 1980 movie is Danny's knitted Apollo 11 sweater, seen by many conspiracy theorists as Kubrick's admission that he faked the moon landings. Though Doctor Sleep does not see the sartorial statement return, adult Danny wears a knitted jumper in the exact same shade of blue to one of his AA meetings.

217 vs. 237

One of the scariest places in the Overlook is Room 237, where the woman in the bath is found. In the Stephen King book, however, the room is 217, and Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan pays tribute to both. The room that Hallorann visits Danny in in the hospice is Room 217, while the original Overlook Room 237 also appears on screen.

1980, Shining Street

In the film, we spend a number of scenes in Abra's house, with the sign on the gate telling us that her home is number 1980 prominently shown a number of times. This does not appear to be a coincidence⁠—1980, after all, is the year the original Shining came out.

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The twins from "The Shining" return in "Doctor Sleep." Warner Bros.

The Overlook

In the movie's climax, Abra and Danny head to a long empty Overlook Hotel for the final battle against Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). As fans might expect, this residence is haunted not only by ghosts but also plenty of Shining Easter eggs. These include:

  • The twins, who appear as two of the demons who kill Rose and then take over Danny's body.
  • The typewriter on which Jack tried to write his novel is still in its prominent place in the lobby, though the papers reading "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" do not appear.
  • An ax identical to the one Jack uses to terrify Wendy and Danny first appears in a glass case, and is later used by Danny to attack Rose, and then Abra after he gets possessed.
  • The maze, which Danny now uses to keep his mind boxes, which he then opens and unleashes on Rose.
  • The holes in the doors that Jack made with the ax, including the one through which he said "here's Johnny" remain in the doors, with adult Danny looking through one in a way that replicates the original Shining poster.
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Danny Torrance holds a familiar ax in "Doctor Sleep." Warner Bros.
  • The "great party, isn't it" man is one of the ghosts from the original movie who turns up in the sequel in the hotel after being mentioned earlier in the film.
  • Rose the Hat sees a torrent of blood coming out of the elevators, the same thing seen by Danny in The Shining.
  • The wall of photographs, one of which features the anachronistic image of Jack that we see at the end of the original film, is briefly seen during one of the chase sequences.
  • "Lloyd" the Barman. In the original film, the barman was a ghostly vision Jack had, but in Doctor Sleep this vision is of Jack himself (Henry Thomas), appearing to his son while pretending to be "Lloyd".

Doctor Sleep is in cinemas now.