It is certainly fair to say that the moment a deranged Jack Torrance burst through that bathroom door with his axe in The Shining, an iconic and perfect movie scene was created. In a career full of great films and a multitude of accolades, it is one of the most memorable moments from Jack Nicholson‘s entire filmography. The rage, the fury, the madness, it’s all there, forever terrifying his wife Wendy and all of us.
Turns out we can see how he got himself mentally prepared for all of it.
This video has actually been around for a little bit now, but the internet (that’s a good internet!) is bringing it to light once again. In it, you can watch Nicholson work himself up into a frenzy as he jumps around, yells at himself, mutters something about “kill,” and takes a few little practice swings of the axe. It’s pretty damn awesome, he is already “there” before he hears the word “action,” though it is slightly worrisome for the crew member walking near him during all of it.
Often times when you get a look at how these things are made it can take away a little of the magic, but seeing Nicholson on the verge of a breakdown going into this scene makes it even better. That door never stood a chance.
The cool bit of trivia about this scene is that Nicholson improvised Ed McMahon’s famous line from The Tonight Show. It’s impossible to imagine this film without it.
What is your favorite scene from the movie? Tell us below.
Image: Warner Brothers