Shutter Island: 7 Creepy Facts That Prove It’s The Greatest Psychological Thriller Of All Time

Martin Scorsese is not known for his horror flicks. But with Shutter Island, he gave us the greatest psychological thriller cult-classic of all time. Here’s why Shutter Island is so revered by movie buffs.

The Opening Music Is A Direct Reference To Another Horror Classic

The Shining Easter egg

The setting that is Ashecliffe required Scorsese to come up with creative new ways to make it as eerie and haunting as possible. And the director already had something in mind. Cinema freaks and ardent fans of Stephen King would realize the opening sequence music of Shutter Island is a major reference. If you got a sharp ear, even you would know that the music is a reference to Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining – one of the greatest horror movies ever made. The song composed by composer György Ligeti, was used in The Shining during tense scenes of the film.

The Ominous Ending Was Foreshadowed Many Times In The Film

The Most Iconic Quote Ever!!

Say what you will but the director – Martin Scorsese, is a master story-teller unlike any other. There’s a reason his name come first in a movie that has heavyweights like DiCaprio and Ruffalo. Scorsese wantonly put some major hints and continuity errors dispersed throughout the movie’s run-time. He did so to give clues to eagle-eyed fans on the actual ending of the movie. Even the dream sequences that Teddy had were home to some major clues.

Scorsese Wanted Shutter Island Dream Sequences To Be Shot On 65mm

The Nazi Camp Scene

The 65mm format is now lost to the ages and is considered premium vintage only a few directors abide by. Scorsese was one of them. Both DiCaprio and Scorsese agreed that the Shutter Island dream sequences would blossom if shot in 65mm. Shutter Island is the first of five major movies of the last decade to have the 65mm format. The other four were Dunkirk, The Master, Murder on the Orient Express, and The Hateful Eight.

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Shutter Island Production’s Psychiatric Consultant Answers The Ending

The Perfect Subject

The director and the lead actor have been very vocal about letting the movie have a sort of open-ended ending. They refuse to answer the actual meaning behind the ending of Shutter Island. Doctor James Gilligan, the movie’s on-set psychiatric consultant, has a definitive answer. He claims Teddy Daniels chose lobotomy because of his guilt over his past mistakes as Andrew Laeddis. He chose a full lobotomy as a form of suicide. He refused to remember himself as a monster.

Inspired By Zombie Films

Weird Influences

Scorsese scoured through libraries of film footage to nail the visual style and aesthetics of Shutter Island. He ultimately found a match in Val Lewton’s 1940’s zombie movies. That was even before Romero immortalized the genre with his Living Dead ventures. On top of that, Scorsese screened Out of the Past and Vertigo to make the cast and crew understand his vision.

Mark Ruffalo Won His Role Over Josh Brolin & RDJ Because He Wrote A Fan Letter

Mark Ruffalo

The director is known to only cast actors who are just as passionate about his projects like he is. The original contenders for the role of Chuck Ale were Josh Brolin and Robert Downey Junior. But Scorsese chose Ruffalo because the actor wrote a heartfelt fan letter to the director detailing how much he loves his work and would love to work with him. Coincidentally, all three actors ended up playing major roles in the MCU.

Ashecliffe Patients Acting So Strangely


When the movie begins, Teddy and Chuck see many of the criminally insane patients of Ashecliffe acting strangely. One of them tries to shush them (or herself) from a distance while another even waves at Teddy. The reason being that the patients of Ashecliffe already knew Teddy was one of their own and Chuck and Teddy were just playing dress up. Even the hospital guards were in on it. The patients knew from the very beginning that it was all a farce!

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.