A piece of horror news that went mainstream last month was the revelation that Shelley Duvall, revered by genre aficionados for her arresting portrayal of Wendy Torrance in The Shining, is severely mentally ill. An interview on The Dr. Phil Show shock audiences, as Duvall barely resembled her previous self; she was clearly suffering from paranoid delusions, believing that the “Sheriff of Nottingham” was stalking her and that Robin Williams (her Popeye co-star) is still alive.
Many Horror Freaks speculated that Duvall’s experiences on the set of The Shining may have had something to do with her current state. It’s the stuff of horror folklore, tales of Stanley Kubrick’s extreme directing tactics when it came to Duvall’s performance. Even Jack Nicholson has weighed in on the tortures Duvall endured during the filming of The Shining.
Duvall has been upfront, as well, about the toll Kubrick’s demands took on her:
“I was really in and out of ill health because the stress of the role was so great,” Duvall mentions in the book The Complete Kubrick. “Stanley pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play.” Things got so bad, her hair began falling out.
Jack Nicholson, her co-star in the film, says that Shelley showed him the clumps of hair that she had lost one day while filming. He also said that Duvall was sometimes mistreated, being forced to film the now-famous bat scene in the movie over 127 times. (Source)
While we have not heard any updates regarding Duvall’s health, everyone here at Horror Freak News wishes her all the best.
Do you think Stanley Kubrick is partly to blame for Duvall’s mental collapse? Sound off in the Comments section!
Official Synopsis: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.