So, we’ll just go chronologically through all different disappearances. These are not all equally interesting, but I’m sort of a completist, if you couldn’t tell.

Kicking things off we’ve got Ullman’s assistant Susie’s vanishing ivy and elephant. These are the only items missing from her office between the interview and Jack’s ripping the guts out of the radio.

Obviously, this is a much less supernatural alteration than many of the others, but I want to talk about these kinds of changes too, when they seem to have symbolic value.

It occurred to me, after discovering the Beatles subtext of the film, that the elephant could represent Ganesha (George Harrison was Hindu, and Lennon was sympathetic to Hindu views), since it’s sitting next to Copper Thunderbird’s The Great Earth Mother (a painting depicting a shaman communing with an indigenous deity), and the four seasons photos of the Overlook, with their connection to the Let It Be album cover.

Ganesha carries an axe as a symbolic representation of his status in Hindu mythology as a “remover of obstacles”. Since Jack’s true purpose at the Overlook is the murdering of Hallorann with an axe, this seems to suggest that Hallorann was some kind obstacle for the hotel (perhaps he was an obstacle to them creating a master race–Hallorann being the only person of colour on their crew). In the mirrorform, when the elephant’s still there, Jack is stalking Danny with an axe in the labyrinth.

When the elephant and plant have disappeared, Jack is on his way to kill the radio, which very much creates an obstacle for Wendy and Danny’s escape. And the mirror moment for the vanished Ganesha is the first shot of Jack typing after banishing Wendy from the lounge. So on the one hand, Wendy has been removed as an obstacle to Jack’s “work”, but on the other hand, this is the third shot of Jack working on his All Work and No Play papers, which corresponds to Danny’s third lesson, in which he first encounters room 237, and finds it locked. This third lesson shot of Jack typing is shot from the upper level of the lounge, right around the corner from room 237, which is probably still locked at this point, still blocking Jack and Danny from advancing their characters.

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Ullman’s ivies disappear too, but so does his nameplate, when Wendy’s in his office for a scene. Of course, much of the work materials disappear too, and you’d think he took it with him for the winter…except that it comes back, when Jack arrives to kill the radio.

The mirror moment is Wendy being told by Tony that “Danny’s not here, Mrs. Torrance.” So perhaps this missing nameplate (that reflects perfectly in the glass desktop, with inverted colours of white and gold, in case you didn’t notice), represents the fact that there is no longer and Danny and a Tony. It’s just Danny now. You could extend this to the fact that, for Wendy, the friendly face of the Overlook (Stuart Ullman) is now gone from her life, and all that remains is the dark side. When Jack comes to kill the radio, the dark side has become the friendly face, in the form of Delbert Grady.

The disappearing Dopey sticker on Danny’s door could mean a lot of things, a few of which I’ve discussed in the Snow White comparison analysis. I’ll spare you a retread of everything from that analysis, but just notice this: Dopey’s colours are not red and yellow like Winnie-the-Pooh, but green and purple, like room 237’s carpet. Wendy is compared to Winnie-the-Pooh a few times (and has the general temperament of Dopey), so the disappearance would seem to suggest that Danny’s vision, while enlightening Danny, also robbed Wendy of her Dopey-Winnie-ness, if only slightly. Also, Wendy never sets foot in room 237, and the stickers on this door have a connection to what happens in that room, and its role in Danny’s survival, so the disappearance could be a nod to how the Lesson/Escape keys are not meant for, nor exercised by Wendy.

Notice in the wider shot how Dopey would’ve been approximately across from the door handle. Once it’s gone, the remaining stickers have a better overall symmetry. But perhaps this also signals that Danny has opened a different kind of door in his mind, which cannot be closed. And so the handle of that door, Dopey, disappears. (I’m not married to this theory, but I like it, so I’ll leave it for your consideration.)

The mirrorform of the vanished Dopey is Jack climbing some stairs before killing Hallorann. We can hear Hallorann (Sleepy, in the Snow White analysis) calling out for anyone to answer at this point. So the vanishment could also be a subtle nod to the fact that this Snow White features some dwarf death.

The mirrorform for the presenting Dopey is Danny running for the labyrinth. So if we read the disappearance as an appearance (which it is, in the reverse), it’s almost like Snow White (Danny) had one of her friends show up to save the day.

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In the switch between the close ups and wide shots of the doctor in Danny’s room, a few things happen.

  1. A stack of magazines disappears, revealing the Goofy puppet to be floating.
  2. The cat/clown/cat-clown squeeze toy in the fishbowl has vanished.
  3. The catcher’s mitt has shifted (revealing that little yellow thing, by the bowl).
  4. The picture frame/chalkboard against the tiger mask has shifted to cover both the eyes on the mask.
  5. Some magazine (slipped beside the Sewing Cards box) has vanished.

As for Goofy: he and Wendy are wearing the same outfit (She’s not just Dopey and Winnie, but Goofy too!; or maybe she’s evolved into Goofy? Is that an upgrade?), so the levitation seems to suggest something about Wendy’s state during the doctor’s soft interrogation. Is this a very subtle nod at Wendy’s shine abilities? In the mirrorform, floating Goofy only appears while Hallorann is making his final journey toward death, taking a route through the lobby that Wendy takes when she’s bringing Jack breakfast. And as we learned in the Redrum Road analysis, those two journeys are heavily linked.

I’m not sure what the missing cat-clown with the bolt through its head means, although I am just guessing that that’s what it is. If it’s a rabbit somehow, that would speak well to what’s about to happen to Hallorann, who is associated to rabbits.

Same with the catcher’s mitt. Not really sure. Mirror Hallorann is passing through a room where a baseball bat once was. But what does that have to do with the mitt changing directions against a tiger mask? If it’s a Catcher in the Rye reference, Hallorann’s not exactly saving a child who’s run too close to the cliffs. Perhaps everyone associated to Tigers are Danny’s “catchers”, and Hallorann just happens to be the one who made the biggest sacrifice.

As for the blind tiger…I doubt very much that that’s a speakeasy reference (although the Gold Room is a kind of speakeasy for Jack, eh?). Tigers are associated to Tony and shiners throughout the film. So perhaps this has to do with Tony “hiding” during the doctor’s interrogation. The first line of doctor dialogue during one of these shots is “Is Tony one of your animals?” and we cut back to the wide shot after Danny says, “I don’t want to talk about Tony anymore.” In the mirrorform, the tiger’s eyes are blocked during most of Hallorann’s slow walk to doom, opening again just as he’s about 15 feet away from death. That could suggest the way that Tony and Danny don’t warn Hallorann about his death, despite the fact that they are within earshot of the hollering rescuer.

Red box = The curtains have drawn, a book has fallen over, and both Angell, Pearl and Little God, and In This House of Brede have appeared out of nowhere in the closer shot.

Blue box = A triangle with a circle in it (a symbol with a few meanings) moves around the books between shots. Note in the last shot below how there’s a similar shape on the moving box behind Danny. This triangle looks more like a spearhead, though.

Green box = A book called Flipsville/Squaresville and a book I haven’t ID’d are right next to Wendy’s head in both shots, but in reverse order, and in different book towers.

Yellow box = A chair at the breakfast table pulls way out between shots. Could this imply that Tony has come out to listen in? There are a few books around this spot with “Tiger” in or near the title.

And of course, note the way the giant lamp disappears so that we can get a better look at that book stack in the closer shot.

I included the last two shots so you could see how otherwise similar the far bookshelf is between shots. There is a small mystery in whatever that red plastic thing behind Wendy at breakfast is.

The piece of bog oak that appears in the middle of the lounge vanishes once Jack starts “writing”, and remains gone. Bog oak is a type of wood that can be hundreds or thousands of years old, so I suspect this is a comment on Jack’s desire to escape the normal flow of time, and to become an immortal thing, whether through his great art, or his being a photo on a wall somewhere. It’s all forgotten now…

The map of the maze that sits outside the maze moves. In the first shot, of the tour, it’s along the outside wall, to the left of the entrance. And when Danny and Wendy go in later, it’s right in front of the entrance, and at the end it’s missing entirely. So, in a sense, Wendy and Jack both see the map, and Danny never does. Is this a way of saying, don’t look at the map? There seem to be several maps around the film, but we don’t see Danny exposed to any of them (his toys are seen near the model maze at one point). Is this a way of saying maps are liars? Or just a way of underscoring Danny’s intelligence and memory? Also, the design of the stand changes, so that there’s three pieces of paper on both sides of the map. In the first edition, there’s only three pages to the right of the map. Oh, and the miniature maze map on the model maze inside sits to the right of the entrance.

The tree(s) that should be in the red box have been spirited away. As you can see in the mirrorform below, this spot overlays with a stack of books in the Torrance living room. The one turned toward the camera is a biography of Charles Dickens. I’m no Dickens expert; does Hallorann remind anyone of Dickens’ life or creations?

More likely, the connection would be to the book right above the Dickens, on the further back shelf. I believe this book, The Door by Mary Roberts Reinhart, appears in the Hallorann bedroom as well, which I’ll be discussing below in the absurdities section.


I noticed that there’s a red couch that disappears from the lobby, and one that appears where there was none before in the Gold Room. My simple analysis transformed into a deep dive, necessitated by how the appearances and disappearances of these couches in the mirrorform suggests the film may have much more to say about The Wizard of Oz than I previously thought. If that sounds like your kind of crazy, click here to read all about it.

There’s a ladder seen as Wendy and Hallorann do their loop around the kitchen that disappears in the distance of the shot of Ullman and gang intercepting Wendy. The ladder has nine rungs, so, according to my Jacob’s Ladder theories, this would most likely allude to the Grady murders of 9 years ago. So perhaps the significance of this has to do with the fact that when the ladder is there, the Jack on the other side of the movie is talking to ghost Grady through the pantry door (the ladder seems to become his spine in this moment), and when the ladder’s gone, he’s taunting Wendy about the snowcat.

The glass display case at the end of the hall here becomes a different one when Jack later struts past the same spot. Finally, it vanishes altogether.

As you can see in the next image cluster below, the mirrorform images that overlay all these glass cases is Wendy, in three very different stages of her attitude toward Jack. Since Snow White gets laid to frozen animation in a glass coffin, Wendy’s evolving attitude could reflect the evolving attitude of the seven dwarves against the wicked witch. Fun fact: when mirrorform Wendy passes through that same area herself, on her way to discover Dick’s corpse, the time code is 9:07, which is a backwards 709: the Snow White AT Code.

The red lamp shade that should be behind Wendy in her close-ups during the breakfast scene in Suite 3 vanishes, and the butterfly painting that should be behind it, isn’t.

The mirrorform connects this moment to Jack approaching Wendy from the darkness in the lounge. The breakfast scene is Jack and Wendy’s only scene alone together in the film where Jack is acting basically normal and fine. The lounge face-off is the first of his soulless killer encounters with her.

The nightstand between the bed and the door vanishes on MONDAY, but is present every other applicable scene. That sequence mirrorforms over the “everything’s perfectly normal” half of the entire Jack-Grady conversation.

During the Summer of ’42 scene, a blizzard rages outside the windows of the lobby, which looks out directly onto the labyrinth, but the labyrinth cannot be seen. Several large heaps are buried under snow, and there’s a giant roman pillar, presumably holding up the roof of the entrance. In fact, there seems to be a short, raised wall that goes around the whole building, and trees that uniformly line the outside of the Colorado lounge. Seeing the outside of the building, we can see that none of the windows suggested by the Colorado Lounge or the lobby are possible on either Kubrick’s model of the Overlook, or the building used as a reference in the aerial shots. One could argue that the backside of the building would be where these windows are, but if so, both exterior buildings are probably only barely wide enough to fit either the Colorado lounge or the Gold Room. So, given that the buildings are coated with windows, neither room would be able to not have windows on both sides.

The table and chair behind Jack blip out of existence for one shot during the couple’s first blow out. In the mirrorform, it’s the first shot of the snowcat that Wendy and Danny will escape in. As if Wendy’s getting her first premonition that she needs to get outta Dodge.

There’s little end tables that disappear throughout the film. The two closest to the fireplace, between the dark brown chairs. Up until SATURDAY, they’re both there. Then on the afternoon of the nightmare, the western one vanishes while Wendy runs to Jack. Then on the morning of the slugfest, they’re both gone when Wendy goes to walk between them. Note too that the rugs beneath both sides of the middle of the room keep switching, but I’ll be covering that in greater detail later.

What does it mean? I’m honestly not sure. Maybe it’s to draw attention to the swapping carpets? Maybe it’s to draw attention away from the missing bear rug (and other rugs) in the third shot? The mirrorform doesn’t seem to tell us anything.

Also, Wendy passes a similar end table in the BJ Well, but it seems to be wider than tall.

There’s a little eagle statuette behind the radio in every shot but the one where it disappears. I’ve wondered if this was a purely cosmetic decision, since it might’ve made a little blob on crazy Jack’s face in the mirrorform. But if you study the mirrorform, you’ll note that radio killer Jack is obscuring the eagle on the windowsill. So maybe the idea was going from a two-eagle room to a no-eagle room, during the crazy face shot. But why?

In the first image below we see a rug to Danny’s left, under a couch and some end tables. All of that disappears by the time Jack is being interrupted by Wendy on TUESDAY.

Next we have the last two rugs Danny trikes over on his eastward lounge journey. These disappear when Danny is coming in after his 237 abuse (third image). And you can see the rug that’s still in the middle of the room at that moment is gone when the shot reverses and Wendy is holding Danny (fourth image). This isn’t a simple matter of the scene being shot on a different day. If you look closely at the fourth image, you can see that while the southern rug from the middle of the room is gone, its northern counterpart (closer to the fireplace) is still visible. That means that only half the furniture was displaced, then replaced exactly so, in order to only remove the one rug (on the pretext of shot composition?).

As for the mirrorform, I can’t see any strong reason for this. There’s an instance of the missing rug from the third image sharing similar colours to the sweater Wendy’s wearing in the post-237-ghost scene, and the red rug is mirrorformed by a bloodfall vision, and the middle rug overlays with REDRUM. But I don’t know. As noisy as these rugs and other details can sometimes make the mirrorform, removing them doesn’t exactly beautify the image, to my eye. They do improve the look of the forward image, and perhaps that’s the point.

I suppose that all the rugs that disappear during post-237 Danny’s entrance help backward Danny’s shines come through clearer. And perhaps their disappearance is meant to be connected to the distress Danny is experiencing, both in his present catatonic state, and in his later bloodfall/REDRUM state. Perhaps, like Durkin’s snowcat, it’s not about beautifying the image, but about Wendy having a clearer passage to that later vision. She will, after all, later see both the bloodfall and REDRUM. And in this moment, after hugging Danny, she’ll gain the sense that this was all Jack’s doing. Since the bloodfall works as a symbol of Death, perhaps Wendy’s getting a flash of Danny’s mortality through these bruises. And since nothing epitomizes Jack’s ultimate selling out better than REDRUM, perhaps the missing rugs are literal “rug-pulls” from the hotel to Wendy. After all, isn’t there something of a self-fulfilling prophecy about Danny’s visions? Murky stuff.

On a similar note, the rugs along the north side of the lounge disappear during Wendy’s creep to fight Jack. This is the only time they disappear. They’ve even reappeared in the shot looking back, when Wendy is scanning for Jack near the typewriter. This shot mirrors with the aerial zoom on the labyrinth. What’s odd about that is that the overlay totally blots out that the rugs are missing. All you can really see is the maze design with a faint Wendy moving through it. So, if the mirrorform was the point, like it seems to be in so many other instances, I’m not sure what the point is, unless it’s another “rug-pull”. Since the maze Danny runs into at the end is a different maze from the one he’s in there. And we’re even seeing in the aerial shot that the maze looks nothing like either of its maps.

I guess why I’m hesitant to go all in on the “pulling out the rug” theory is that there’s so much of that sort of thing going on in the movie. Like, shouldn’t Jack being released by Grady from the storeroom have a rug-pull? Shouldn’t anything about the wacky, shape-shifting kitchen have one? Perhaps these refer specifically to the few major things the hotel does to set up the family for failure. But Danny still eludes Jack, still defeats the hotel for its designs on him (however much it may’ve wanted Hallorann especially, we can’t assume the Overlook would’ve been sad to see the Torrances become the next Gradys).

Food for thought, I guess.

The piece of bog oak that has been leaning against the mazerug in every other shot of the movie, disappears after Wendy has witnessed Hallorann’s corpse. In the mirrorform, Ullman is saying of Charles Grady, “And he had a good employment record, good references and from what I’ve been told, I mean, he seemed like a completely normal individual. But at some point during the winter…” This will seem more significant during the next point.

The art on the wall disappears (while all the other art seems to remain) when Wendy sees the Grady ghost. In the mirrorform Ullman’s dialogue across this section is “…hired a man by the name of Charles Grady as the winter caretaker. And he came up here with his wife and two little girls, I think about 8 and 10.” So perhaps the vanishment of the art represents Grady ghost’s having murdered his family. The serene landscape is his wife, and the Brittany Spaniel and German Shepherd are his daughters. The German Shepherd appears again at the second entrance when Wendy goes to find the dead snowcat and when Jack goes to kill Danny. Correctly ID’ing the artists behind these works could further our understanding, but I think this is a good start. Even the name “Brittany” suggests a femininity.

The other absurdity to point out here is how Ullman’s line of dialogue in the film is one of the only striking differences between the film’s dialogue and the official script of the movie. In fact, it was this line that caused me to go through and seek out any other discrepancies. This is still the most major one, in my opinion (out of a couple dozen minor flaws). So, the script has Ullman saying the Grady daughters are “about 8 or 10” which would imply their twinness. But in the film he says “about 8 and 10” which implies they are not twins. I have a theory that Delbert Grady, Lloyd and the twins are not the actual manifestations of the people slain by the hotel’s forces, but projections of the hotel’s idea of those people. These art pieces, I would say, support this notion.

I’m throwing in these mirrorform images of where the German Shepherd painting transported to, but I’m not sure that they tell us much. Jack will talk to Delbert Grady when trapped in the storeroom, but why would it mirror over the Boulder call about getting the job?

This one’s obviously more firmly rooted in the supernatural, but, besides the appearance of the cobwebs, the skeletons, and the unnatural light, Hallorann’s body has vanished, and I think that’s because we’re meant to think the hotel absorbed him. The mirrorform moment is Jack saying “Not for me” as in, isolation won’t of itself become a problem for him. But in fact, Jack, despite dying in the labyrinth, will also become absorbed by the hotel. Right into the photo that will hang behind a Wendy observing an absorbed Hallorann.

At the skeleton ball Cornelius Krieghoff’s Winter Landscape has disappeared in the long shot, and then, in the closer shot, we see that it’s been replaced by the other Krieghoff, Log Hut on the St. Maurice. In the mirrorform, Ullman is saying how “…solitude…and isolation, can…of itself, become a problem.”

The red couch and the two mirrors at the entrance to the Gold Room become a blank space and two rugs. The mirrorform moment for this is simply the opening several credits for Kubrick as the maker of the film, the title, and Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd and Scatman Crothers’ names going by.

The absence of the red couch makes the mirrorform less red.

But I think what taking it out really does is take away our feeling of hopping up on this couch to see photo Jack at the end. A lot about the lobby has changed by the end, so one removed couch doesn’t add much to the general transformation.

If you skipped the A Tale of Two Red Couches section, click here

Click here to continue on to the section looking at things that transform

Click here to continue on to the section looking at absurdities