The scene below is, of course, from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece, The Shining.
In this scene, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) stumbles into the Overlook Hotel’s ballroom, still fuming over having been accused of abusing his son. A recovering alcoholic, Jack sits at the bar and thinks about how he would give up his soul for just one one drink. And, on cue, Lloyd (Joe Turkel) appears.
As I was watching this scene, it occurred to me that, way back in 1980, there probably was some guy named Lloyd who saw this movie in a theater and was probably totally shocked when Jack suddenly stared straight at him and said, “Hey, Lloyd.”
The brilliance of this scene is that we never actually see Lloyd materialize. We see him only after Jack has seen him. So, yes, Lloyd could be a ghost. But he could also just be a figment of Jack’s imagination. Jack very well could just be suffering from cabin fever. Of course, by the end of the movie, we learn the truth.
Everyone always talks about Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack. Some people love it and some people hate it. (I’m in the first camp.) However, let’s take a minute to appreciate just how totally creepy Joe Turkel is in this scene. Turkel was a veteran character actor and had appeared in two previous Kubrick films, The Killing and Paths of Glory. Two years after appearing in The Shining, Turkel played what may be his best-known role, Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner.
From Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, here’s Jack Nicholson and Joe Turkel: