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Untold Stories tag header

How The Shining twins became every kid's nightmare

A 5-minute oral history with Lisa and Louise Burns

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Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock; James Shaw/REX/Shutterstock

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In The Shining, twins Lisa and Louise Burns sent shivers down ­audiences’ spines as the ghostly Grady sisters, who haunt the halls of the Overlook Hotel and beckon little Danny (Danny Lloyd) with their creepily monotone siren call. Thirty-seven years later, Lisa and Louise reflect on filming their “Come play with us, Danny” scene in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 phantasmagoria of horror.

LISA BURNS: Stanley only had one [Steadi­cam]. He could only take one shot and then roll it again and roll it again. That happened a lot. To us, we weren’t saying our lines any differently. He just heard something different every time.

LOUISE BURNS: [The powder blue dresses] were awful, horrible material. [Costume designer Milena Canonero] bought those two blue ones and she couldn’t get any more, that’s my­ understanding. Which is why the blood scene was filmed at the end, because they didn’t think the dresses would be able to be saved. Then, she bought another pair of dresses, which were blue and pink or something like that, but they didn’t match, and I much preferred them. They were nicer, brushed cotton material, nicer material.

LISA: Even for those days, those dresses were really not what people wanted to wear. I think it was just polyester, but it was a very scratchy material.

LOUISE: I remember being concerned that I would be very cold [in our murder scene], because I thought it would be clammy, but it was more like sticky. Stanley got heaters. He spoke to us a lot beforehand. He was a lovely man. Very friendly…[but filming] did seem to take ages.