How ‘The Shining’ influenced ‘My Dead Bunny’


My Dead Bunny includes a scene in a hotel lobby. It seemed like a natural opportunity to reference the classic horror film The Shining. My idea was rejected.

The final illustration is based on this rough:  dead-bunny-v3-pg19-1

But my preferred , Shining-referencing rough looked like this:


If you’re illustrating a spooky book and you have a scene set in a hotel lobby, you have to reference The Shining, right? I don’t entirely understand the film (who does?) but it’s an absolute classic in the horror genre, and I wanted to include as many references as I could. (Can you spot them all?)

The publishers were reluctant to go with this version though: they were concerned about copyright infringement. There’s also the issue of having a consistent tone in the book. While just about every scene uses visual conventions of the horror genre, there are no overt references to particular horror films; these Shining references would have stood out as unusual.

Part of me is glad this version didn’t make it into the book. Another part of me wishes that every page had background references to horror films.

Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts (2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The fourth in the series, Chickensaurus, is out in late 2020. He is also the illustrator of the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris. James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015), In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. The sequel to My dead Bunny - There's Something Weird About Lena - is out in late 2020. James comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

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