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"The Shining" Twins
Come Play with the Grady Twins - For Ever and Ever
Iconic Images from "The Shining"
Here's all you need to know about the Grady twins, from their real names to what they are doing now, how they looked on screen and perhaps on whom they were modelled. There are also some ideas for how to make your own scary appearance as a Grady Twin at Halloween - costume ideas are at the bottom of the page!
Stanley Kubrick's 1980 screen adaptation of Stephen King's novel "The Shining" is consistently voted one of the scariest films of all time. It's a claustrophobic psychological horror story taking place almost entirely inside the menacing Overlook Hotel, a malevolent entity which gradually overcomes writer Jack Torrance and uses him for its own evil ends.
There are a number of iconic images from the film. Perhaps the most famous is that of Jack Torrance's (Jack Nicholson) manic leer through the gap he has just hacked in the bathroom door. Other enduring images are a torrent of blood bursting through the open elevator doors, little Danny Torrance pedalling along long, empty hotel corridors on his tricycle and of course, the Twins. In actual fact, these are Kubrick's images, not King's. Nonetheless, the Twins are definitely one of the most memorable features of "The Shining" film.
The Real Life Twins from "The Shining"
Lisa and Louise Burns had a very short acting career; this was their only role and it was a very short one too. What they lacked in screen time they certainly made up for with impact.
The twins were born in 1968 and were 12 years old when their scenes were shot. Louise is apparently the elder of the girls, born 11 minutes before her sister. The sisters put acting behind them, Louise becoming a microbiologist whilst Lisa studied Literature.
The Grady Twins in "The Shining"
The Grady girls aren't actually twins in the novel, but are described as the daughters of a former caretaker, Charles Grady. Stuart Ullman, the hotel manager, says that the girls were about "8 or 10". The sisters were murdered when their father lost his mind and slaughtered his family. The girls don't actually make an appearance in the novel; the well-known shot of them at the end of the corridor is an invention of Kubrick's.
Kubrick chose real life twins to play the sisters and they appear dressed alike, so they are generally referred to as the "Grady Twins". The girls were Lisa and Louise Burns whose roles in the film marked their first and last movie roles.
The twins appear only to Danny Torrance. We meet them when Danny cycles around a corner into a corridor with blue rose-clad wallpaper. Danny comes to a sudden stop, his eyes filled with fear. There, at the end of the corridor, are two little girls, dressed identically in pale blue dresses and holding hands. They speak to Danny softly and in unison, inviting him to come and play with them - for ever and ever. Danny's image of the girls is interspersed with a more horrifying scene; their bodies, mutilated and bloody alongside an axe, lying in the same corridor. He stares at the vision before him for a few moments before covering his eyes with his hands.
Diane Arbus, Stanley Kubrick and The Twins
Many people have pointed out that the image of the Twins standing in the corridor has echoes of Diane Arbus' famous 1967 photograph "Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey" which portrayed the 7 year old Wade twins, Cathleen and Colleen.
Kubrick's widow has said that he did not intentionally reference the photograph, but Kubrick not only knew Arbus, but studied photography under her.
The Shining Twins Halloween Costume
The Twins are instantly recognisable so would make quite an impact at Halloween. Here's what you need for a costume:
- A friend
- Two pale blue dresses. In the film they have Peter Pan collars, short puff sleeves and a frill at the bottom of the skirt. Collar, sleeves and hem are trimmed with white lace.
- (An "Alice in Wonderland" costume - see right - could easily be adapted, leave off the apron)
- Two lengths of white ribbon and four medium-sized pink silk roses (for the waist sashes)
- Two pairs of white knee length socks
- Two pairs of flat black Mary-Jane type shoes
- Two white barrettes/hair slides
- Shoulder length medium brown hair, parted to the side.
Having problems finding a costume? Try this link for a custom-made Grady Twin outfit.