Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watch James Franco go undercover as The Shining's Jack Torrance at a haunted house

It’s still easy to rag on James Franco for acting like a pretentious grad student a few years ago, but it’s time to acknowledge the dude deserves our respect. Even if you didn’t like his brilliant turn in Spring Breakers, his reverent, nuanced performances in fare like 11.22.63 and The Deuce are proof that he isn’t just coasting on his ego. Also, who could forget about Carlos the Dwarf?


Speaking of The Deuce, Franco and his co-star Chris Bauer rid themselves of the show’s early ‘70s grime for an altogether different role: Jack Torrance. Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is the basis for this year’s Universal Studios’ Hollywood Horror Nights haunted maze, where visitors wander the halls of the Overlook Hotel and probably bump into those creepy-ass twins. And while it would’ve been great to see Franco and Bauer in frilly sleeves, the above video chronicles how each donned rubber Jack Nicholson masks and axes for a recent run at the attraction. “You never know who is behind the masks at Halloween Horror Nights,” reads the above video’s accompanying text.

Granted, were this 2010, Franco would probably have swapped out the Nicholson mask for one of his own face, using it as a means to explore “the intersection of horror and celebrity,” but here, older and wiser, he seems to just be having a blast.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.