Based on the 1977 book by the master of scares Stephen King, The Shining brings cabin fever to a whole new level. Multiple adaptations exist, but the one that easily comes to everyone’s mind is the 1980 psychological horror film starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd. Many scenes from that movie are still referenced in modern media. One iconic feature of the film includes the scary twins who appear ominously in the Overlook Hotel. The Shining twins had a steady, threatening scare that was at odds with their young age. Years later, their actresses, Lisa and Louise Burns, have abandoned haunting abandoned hallways in favor of a more approachable lifestyle.
The Burns sisters played The Shining‘s Grady twins. However, the girls in the movie were supposed to be 8 and 10. But since the actresses are twins, the characters they played were presumed to be as well. Years ago, they captured that eerie aura of vengeful spirits too well to pass them by.
The Shining twins aren’t haunting hotels anymore
Fortunately, the Burns sisters are not playing a role in the psychological downfall of a writer. These days, they can actually be found on Twitter. They share a joint account and Lisa Grady has her own solo one as well. They even help fans identify them from their appearance in The Shining. Louise Burns stated in a tweet, “The clue is in the chin.” They further informed fans that Lisa is on the left in the movie photo.
Outside of social media, the still sisters reminisce about the movie. Together they attended the 50th-anniversary screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. As Kubrick also directed The Shining, it was quite the reunion.
A turbulent ride for characters and actors
The Shining was just as intense for the actors to film as it was for viewers to watch. Some of their worries did not come from expected places, however. Actually, acting in a psychological horror would not be so bad if the weather were simply nicer. In an interview with The Daily Mail, The Shining twins themselves shared some on-set insight. They recalled, “I remember being worried, not because of the blood, but because it was going to be cold. Stanley was such a perfectionist and had planned exactly how he was going to pour the blood over us, so our main concern was just staying really, really still.”
The pair have great memories overall from the filming of the movie though, noting how great Nicholson was to work with. He’s famously known as a very intense method actor, but nonetheless, he took the team to become friendly with the young girls and make them feel comfortable.
— Shining Grady twins (@Shining_twins) June 16, 2019
It takes a special mind to bring King’s book to life. Neither Lisa nor Louise seemed to mind, however. In fact, when discussing working with Kubrick they said, “We loved it. Every day felt like we’d been invited to a very exclusive party and we were the youngest, luckiest people to be there.” The twins continue to attend horror conventions, meeting fans of the beloved horror flick. Since leaving Hollywood behind, they both have taken on their own careers. Louise became a microbiologist and Lisa went on to become a lawyer.
Along the way, though, they’ve kept in touch with the franchise that made them household names and horror movie icons. In December of 2022, they attended a book launch for the novel Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which their joint Instagram account calls “A fabulous book, with many unseen pics from behind-the-scenes. Beautifully realized, a tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s film.”
Just in time for Halloween 2022, they also discussed part of their innate aura that helped them land their roles in The Shining.
“We’re naturally spooky,” the twins told Cosmopolitan. “But we did practice our timing — saying things in unison — and we worked on saying our lines in a hollow, other-worldly kind of way a number of times.” It helps that their parents were very supportive of their work; although the twins had to be escorted everywhere because of the nature of the set, their parents never tried to convince them to drop the project.
The twins are in their fifties and they were also in the historically long lines that flocked to Britain to pay respects to the Queen when she was lying in state. The whole process took over four hours.