"Wendy? Darling? Light of my life... I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence... I said I'm not gonna hurt ya... I'm just gonna bash your brains in, I´m gonna bash 'em right the fuck in."
—Jack Torrance to Wendy Torrance

John Daniel Edward "Jack" Torrance is the main protagonist/antagonist in the novel The Shining, the 1980 Film Adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, and the 1997 Miniseries by Mick Garris.


Jack was the husband of Wendy Torrance, the father of Danny Torrance and Lucy Stone, uncle of Jackie Torrance, and the grandfather of Abra Stone. Jack was an author and a former teacher who accepted a position as the winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, and had an opportunity to write a play.

The evil spirits that inhabited the Overlook Hotel drove Jack insane and convinced him to attempt to murder his family with a roque mallet, which is revealed when his wife realized that 'redrum', the word that Jack had been writing on the walls, means murder backwards. However, his son Danny also had some psychic abilities, which he used to try to protect Jack. Wendy, Danny, and Dick Hallorann escaped, but unfortunately, Jack regained his sanity too late and the hotel boiler exploded, which killed him as well as destroyed the hotel. In the 1980 film, Jack (Jack Nicholson) froze to death after he chased Danny into a hedge maze and became trapped. In the 1997 miniseries, Jack was played by Steven Weber. Jack's final fate in the 1997 film was more true to the novel. Unlike the 1980 film, Jack's redemption was "rewarded" of sorts when a full grown Danny is seen graduating from a school. Jack's ghost momentarily appears to congratulate his son on completing his studies.

Jack appeared in the novel Doctor Sleep, in which Danny (as an adult, went by "Dan") discovered that he had a half-sister named Lucy, and a niece named Abra who had similar abilities to him — only more powerful. Dan saw a vision of his father at what used to be the Overlook Hotel near the end of the novel.

The Shining (novel)

In the novel, Jack Torrance is a loving but troubled father who cares deeply for Wendy and Danny but does not know how to show it properly. Jack's alcoholism and violent temper had lost him a job as a teacher of literature at a prestigious New England prep school. One day he catches a student he'd cut from the debate team -- the boy had a severe stutter that impeded his ability to debate -- slashing his tires. Jack cannot not contain his fury and he beats the student on the spot, only regaining his senses after he severely injures the boy. The school board of trustees decides to suspend Jack until they can figure out how to proceed. Jack's closest friend, fellow recovering alcoholic Al Shockley, gives Jack the opportunity to become the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the off-season so he could make a recovery and return to the school and prove he was ready to teach again. Jack, Wendy and Danny arrive at the Overlook Hotel on closing day. Jack is fairly surprised by how many people are still at the hotel on closing day. He and his family are given a tour around the hotel kitchen by Hallorann and the rest of the hotel by Stuart Ullman before they are left alone. As time goes by and the isolation of the hotel sets in, Jack’s behaviour slowly changes. Eventually, he goes mad thanks to the influence of the hotel’s ghosts and attempts to kill Wendy and Danny. His plan does not work though and Wendy and Danny escape with Dick Halloran who came to save Wendy and Danny as the hotel boiler explodes, killing Jack and destroying the Overlook completely.

Doctor Sleep (novel)

—Jack Torrance to Wendy Torrance[source]

Jack Torrance does not appear in Doctor Sleep until the very end in which he appears as a ghost at the Bluebell Campgrounds, which was built over the Overlook Hotel and is the home of The True Knot looking over Danny, appearing proud.

Doctor Sleep (movie)

In the film version of Doctor Sleep, Jack is instead seen at the bar of the Overlook Hotel, having taken Lloyd's place as bartender.

It: Chapter Two

While terrorizing Beverly Marsh in a bathroom cubicle, It briefly takes on the form of Henry Bowers to go "HERE'S JOHNNY!" as Jack did to Wendy in Stanley Kubrick's film.


  • Stephen King never liked the movie. His dislike for the movie was used in Ready Player One where the protagonists have to find the answer to the riddle "a creator who hates his own creation".
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 5, there is a parody of The Shining titled The Shinning where Homer is driven insane after Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers cut off the beer supply and Cable TV, causing him to attempt to kill his family. His wife, Marge poses as Wendy Torrance, his son Bart poses as Danny Torrance (who possesses an ability called the Shinning) and Groundskeeper Willie poses as Dick Halloran. This episode was dubbed as the scariest Simpsons Halloween Special.


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