četvrtak, 28. ožujka 2013.

Rodney Ascher - Room 237

Kubrickov film Isijavanje neiscrpan je rudnik zlata za teoretičare urote. Zašto? Jer ima toliko "očitih" indicija da je nemoguće da nešto nije skriveno u njemu. No još je zanimljivije da nešto (u ovom slučaju film) može obilovati tajnama i tajnim značenjima iako ih tamo nitko nije svjesno stavio (kao što za Isijavanje svjedoči Kubrickov pomoćnik Leon Vitali). Postoje dvije mogućnosti: 1.paranoja je u očima promatrača i ako se potrudiš, možeš tajne veze (halucinacije) "otkriti" u bilo čemu, 2. tajne veze upisuju se "same od sebe", mimo naše volje, tj. mi sami nikad nismo jedini tvorci bilo čega a naša "svijest" samo je dio neke obuhvatnije svijesti (tajne veze skrivene su i samim autorima: mi mislimo da nešto činimo slučajno, iz pragmatičnih razloga, no nešto nas "vodi"da učinimo baš to; tajne veze nije upisao Kubrick, nego su se one upisale kroz Kubricka).
Svježi dokumentarac Room 237 iznosi mnoštvo "raskrinkavajućih" tumačenja Isijavanja, no klasik paranoičnih čitanja Kubrickova opusa je Rob Ager.

Room 237

room 237 the shining
Ascher's fascinating, nutty, cleverly edited film is aimed at a somewhat specialist audience of movie fans obsessed with Stanley Kubrick's upmarket horror flick, The Shining. The movie stars Jack Nicholson as an increasingly deranged writer, working as winter caretaker with his wife and six-year-old son at a labyrinthine luxury hotel in the American Rockies where another caretaker butchered his wife and twin daughters a decade earlier. It's a fascinating, enigmatic film, deeply pessimistic about human nature like all Kubrick's work, and Ascher has consulted five assorted Kubrick students – a professor of history, a performance artist, a veteran network TV reporter, a playwright, and an "erudite conspiracy hunter" – to examine the film in detail and its place in the Master's oeuvre. One thinks it's about the Holocaust, another the annihilation of Native Americans, a third sees in it a coded account of how Kubrick conspired with Nasa to fake the Apollo 11 moon landing, while one thinks The Shining can only be understood by simultaneously showing the film backwards and forwards with one version superimposed on the other. A picture as riveting as being buttonholed by the Ancient Mariner, it's best visited after seeing the longer, restored version of The Shining that opens next week. The package however should bear King Lear's warning: "That way madness lies."

Early in Kubrick’s version of The Shining, Stuart Ullman tells Jack Torrance, “For some people, solitude and isolation can of itself become a problem.” Ullman then hires Jack as winter caretaker for the Overlook Hotel, a position that led another man to murder his family with an ax and then kill himself a few winters earlier. Director Rodney Ascher might have taken Ullman’s warning and turned it into a thesis when he set to work on Room 237.
Assembled with the audio from five interviews and a raft of footage (mostly from The Shining, but with moments from all over Kubrick’s oeuvre as well as other near-random selections), Room 237 plays host to five different readings of Kubrick’s classic film. These range from the sorts of interpretations that might get a check mark and a scrawled “interesting analysis” from an English professor to the brand of conspiracy theory that therapists would deem diagnostically relevant. They all start from similar places: a general confusion or dissatisfaction with the film; attention to minor incongruities, patterns, and continuity errors found upon revisiting it; and the creation of a full-blown theory about what The Shining is really about. Two of these theories have been built enough currency that someone will probably mention them if you bring the film up at a bar at a daytime hour: first, that Kubrick wanted the film to act as an allegory for the eradication of Native Americans by European settlers, and, second, that The Shining works as a comment on the Holocaust. Both rely on Kubrick’s supposed attention to detail: the director simply could not have chosen Calumet brand baking powder or a German typewriter if he didn’t intend for these objects to behave as omens and referents. Both are offered by proud older guys who believe they’ve uncovered something real and true about Kubrick’s intent (the Native American theory belongs to journalist Bill Blakemore, the Holocaust to historian Geoffrey Cocks). Their theories bite back at one another, each genocide undercutting the other, though Blakemore can at least point to explicit mentions of the atrocities he champions in The Shining itself.
The thinness of Blakemore and Cocks’ readings pales alongside the batshit lunacy of Jay Weidner, who attempts to treat The Shining as a confession from Kubrick for directing the footage of the faked moon landing. Weidner’s pomposity takes him so far that when he says he expects to be audited by the IRS for his discovery, he delivers it as a boast. The other two interviewees, playwright Juli Kearns and John Fell Ryan, offer less strict readings and instead nod to clever ideas and hidden references that might actually enrich the film rather than the interpreter. Kearns looks to the mythological referents that lurk in the film, with Jack as minotaur, half-animal half-man, and hedge maze as labyrinth, while John Fell Ryan runs down the list of alternative readings, discussing The Shining as version of 2001 in reverse, or how The Shining might work if played backwards and forwards at the same time on a single screen.
Room 237 follows The Shining’s structure, divided into nine sections. Ascher went to great lengths to map out what the interviewees describe, whether it be Danny’s path through the Overlook on his big wheel or paired stills that prove a continuity error. Room 237 has as distinctive a score as The Shining’s, though Ascher employs an enticing sort of nu-Vangelis synth where Kubrick leaned on Penderecki and his quarter note hornet’s nests. The work that went into Room 237 appears staggering; Ascher has done his utmost to give these theories their most thorough (if not sympathetic) presentation. It’s the interviewees, not the directors, who undo their own arguments, in most cases. The structure of Room 237 approaches element of The Shining individually, with each interviewee offering what they think a particular choice means. By having each theory read out alongside the others, Ascher shows how each reader finds something different in the same object in order to bear out their theory. The hotel’s room 237 is one of these: Weidner will say it refers to the sound stage where the moon landing was filled, while Cocks sees in it a math that points to 42, the year the extermination of Jews began. A can of Tang on a dry goods shelf stands for space travel, while Calumet baking powder on the same shelf refers to a peace pipe. For the viewer who feels a deep enough need, even the hotel carpeting and stickers on a boy’s bedroom door can be profoundly revealing.
Ascher’s interest is not in The Shining, though his film includes so much footage from Kubrick’s work that every piece of press for Room 237 comes with a paragraph of legalese insisted upon by Warner Brothers and Kubrick’s estate. Instead, the director investigates the limits of interpretation, the moment when an idle interest becomes a fascination, and then an obsession. Kubrick’s version of The Shining is a mess, a work of sloppy genius: threads are picked up and forgotten, different elements collide, vast sections of the original work are dropped in favor of bizarre new details. Jack could be possessed by the burial ground beneath the hotel, or aggravated by his own inability to work, or haunted by his alcoholism. People can see things in the past and future, but this power has totally undefined rules. It’s not hard to see why someone might go too far in the hopes of dredging a consistent, interpretable breakdown of what Kubrick was trying to do in The Shining, and Ascher has found subjects as fascinating and incoherent as the subject they themselves tackle.
The director himself is only heard once in the film, asking John Fell Ryan (as you’d assume he asked all the interviewees), “But… why would he make the movie so complicated?” Ryan concedes that, for him, it’s oddly personal: he has a young son (the film pauses at one point so Ryan can calm him), he’s out of work, he and his wife are thinking of moving somewhere remote. Ryan’s tempted by what he sees of himself in The Shining, worried that he might be the kind of person Ullman is talking about at the start of the film. Ascher has put together an engrossing and vivid document of isolated, creative minds each at work on their own project of tainted analysis; he uses their misplaced passion to document a type of worship that serves only the worshipper.- 

Will I ever get to the bottom of The Shining? I wonder. I saw it the day it was released in 1980, and again this afternoon for what must be the 40th time. As with every viewing, I scribbled another 20 pages of notes. I noticed things that I'd never spotted before (how did I ever miss the goose-stepping Mickey Mouse on Danny's sweater), refreshed certain cherished notions (is Wendy a traumatised extension of Shelley Duvall's chatterbox character from Altman's 3 Women?) and considered the influence of Eraserhead, which Kubrick deeply admired and screened for cast and crew. Indeed, The Shining is the movie that decanted the horrific blank-gaze deadpan of Lynch's movie into the mainstream. Upon release, however, it was decried as stately to the point of narcolepsy, unfaithful to Stephen King, and the end of Jack Nicholson as a serious actor.
Well, things change. No horror movie made since has been able to operate outside The Shining's deep, black, minatory shadow. It is routinely now described, and rightly, as among the greatest of all horror movies. Certainly it is the richest, densest, most lovingly layered and sculpted horror movie ever made, and perhaps Kubrick's masterpiece.
The proximity of its re-release to the arrival of Rodney Ascher's superb documentary Room 237 is propitious. The latter, a cornucopia of theories about the movie, should enrich any and every subsequent viewing of The Shining. Putting aside its more batty notions (like the one holding that The Shining constitutes Kubrick's apology for faking the moon landings), one wonders mainly at the way in which the theorists stick to their particular notions to the exclusion of all others. The Shining starts with purely American references to the cannibalistic Donner Party and the Indian burial ground the Overlook Hotel was built upon, satisfying the claims of one theorist that it's all about native American extermination and an US imperialism founded on murder and bloodshed. But listen to the music – Penderecki, Ligeti, Bartók – and consider that much of it mourns or memorialises the blood-soaked middle of the European 20th century.
Bloody America? Bloody Europe? Kubrick's displaced meditation on the Holocaust? Why can't it be all of them? In the end, the movie rotates around Kubrick's abiding concern in all his movies: the animal man, seized by a frenzy for death. Before he freezes over in the maze at the end, Jack has taken a full reverse-journey back down the evolutionary table, and the figure he finally most closely resembles, grunting with his axe, is the killer ape in 2001: A Space Odyssey, screaming with bloodlust as he wields his bone-weapon, exulting in having just invented murder. See it again: really, the 40th time's the charm. -

jack nicholson in the shining
Original viewers of The Shining sat down to watch a psychological horror movie about a man who holes up inside a snowbound hotel, loses his marbles and tries to kill his family. Three decades later, the joke's on them; they read the whole thing wrong. The Shining is actually a Holocaust movie in disguise. Scratch that: The Shining is, in fact, Stanley Kubrick's version of Theseus and the labyrinth. No, wait: it's his veiled apology for helping Nasa fake the moon-landings, or a vast history lesson in human evil, from the dawn of man to the end of time. If there were ever a film to send the viewer mad, The Shining fits the bill.
Director Rodney Ascher estimates that he used only 10% of the interviews he conducted for Room 237, his riveting documentary on The Shining and its afterlife, presumably for fear of getting lost in the maze. But those that remain are creepy enough. Disembodied voices rear up on the soundtrack, each with their own pet theory, their own lurid conspiracy. These witnesses know Kubrick's film back to front, inside and out. They want to tell us about the "secret window" in Ullman's office, the significance of the number 42, and "the mysterious Bill Watson", a lowly hotel factotum who may just be CIA. After a while, most alarmingly of all, the voices start to make a kind of sense.
Ascher cobbled Room 237 together on a thrift-shop budget, editing at home, at night, after he'd put the baby down to sleep. "I cut the film between the hours of 8pm and 3am, and those hours are perfect for breeding a certain paranoia. I would listen to all these interpretations and think, 'Well yes, but no, but maybe.' It was like opening the book of Necronomicon or falling into quicksand."
Judged purely on face value, The Shining was Kubrick's adaptation of the Stephen King bestseller. It starred Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and reformed alcoholic who takes a job as winter caretaker at a haunted hotel. On its initial release, the film was widely seen to have fallen between two stools. The Shining was too arty for the horror fans and too trashy for the Kubrick buffs. Even King had his issues with the film. The novelist felt that Nicholson was too obviously demented as Torrance, that this hobbled the drama and that Jon Voight should have played the role instead. Room 237 shows him the error of his ways.
It would be nice to dismiss Ascher's subjects as a gaggle of idiotic, excitable fan-boys with too much time on their hands. Annoyingly, the shoe won't quite fit. Geoffrey Cocks, who sees the film as a Holocaust parable, is professor of history at a Michigan college. Bill Blakemore, who decided that the film was about the genocide of the Native American, after spotting a carton of baking soda in the background, is a senior correspondent at ABC News. These people are educated, articulate and often plausible. Yet somehow The Shining has infected them. Compelling, claustrophobic and cross-referenced to within an inch of its life, Room 237 depicts Kubrick's film as a kind of cinematic petri dish. Conspiracy theories bloom like mushrooms in the dark.
The BFI is releasing a restored, extended cut of The Shining, so I take myself to a preview screening. Rather worryingly, the film strikes me as somehow richer, stranger and more visceral than it did in the past. Part of this is the simple bonus of seeing it on a big screen. Part, I fear, is down to Room 237. Barely 10 minutes in I'm starting to understand where the theories are coming from, as little Danny (Danny Lloyd) pedals his bike past forbidden room 237 and the pristine ghost-girls invite him to "come play with us for ever and ever". The trouble with Kubrick's film is that it is so meticulously well composed. It has such ridiculous depth of focus. One has the sense that everything in these crowded frames (pictures on walls, cartons on shelves) is there for a reason, throbbing with significance. Watching The Shining is like scrutinising a painting by Richard Dadd or a malign version of Where's Waldo? Stare too long and you lose the plot.
But how many of these kinks have been put there intentionally? When a hack director makes a continuity error, it is taken as proof of incompetence. When a revered genius does the same, we wonder what they meant. The Shining comes riddled with bungled cuts and jarring locations. A chair vanishes from its place by the wall while a sticker disappears from a bedroom door. Midway through, the typewriter changes colour.
Ascher speculates that Kubrick may have been having some fun, teasing his audience, though he concedes that some of the cuts may just be mistakes. He is particularly intrigued by the hotel carpet that reverses its pattern from one shot to the next. "That's the trickiest one, because it means moving the camera's orientation from one end of the set to the other. That's a huge operation. It implies real intentionality."
No doubt many of the more outlandish interpretations could be confirmed by simply speaking to those who worked on the film. Yet Ascher deliberately chose not to go down this route. He wanted to keep his focus on subjective responses as opposed to objective truth. "In any case, even if you know the intention of the author, it doesn't necessarily make sense of it all." The unconscious, perhaps, is the great unsung hero in any work of art.
Undeterred, I ring up Jan Harlan, Kubrick's brother-in-law and executive producer on The Shining. Harlan is happy to correct a few misconceptions. No, he tells me, the film is not an apology for faking the moon landings. That rumour was partly seeded by a French TV documentary that aired after the director's death in 1999 and appears to have been doing the rounds ever since. He says that he still sometimes receives outraged letters about it: "How could Mr Kubrick have done such a thing?". Harlan tuts in exasperation. "He didn't, of course. But the story is still going on."
Regarding the continuity errors, however, the jury is out. Kubrick, he explains, was always intent on pushing the form, on leaving the work open to multiple interpretations, like the French impressionists or the Cubist painters that went before. "A straightforward horror film was not what interested him," Harlan insists. "He wanted more ambiguity. If he was going to make a film about ghosts, he wanted it to be ghostly from the very first to the very last. The set was very deliberately built to be offbeat and off the track, so that the huge ballroom would never actually fit inside. The audience is deliberately made to not know where they're going. People say The Shining doesn't make sense. Well spotted! It's a ghost movie. It's not supposed to make sense."
Whether this will provide comfort for Asher is anyone's guess. While assembling Room 237, the director found himself watching The Shining again and again, his brain whirring, his senses in uproar. Inevitably, he came away with a theory of his own. "There's a scene in which Ullman says that Grady stacked the bodies in the west wing of the hotel," says Ascher. "I thought, 'west wing'? That sounds like the White House. The Kennedy assassination. All of that." He's got to move on; he has to break free. I have a mental image of him still stuck inside that haunted hotel, still wandering the reverse patterns of the hallway carpet, in danger of playing for ever and ever. -

 Stanley Kubrick's Shining Assistant Thinks Room 237 Is 'Pure Gibberish'

Enough people read so deeply into The Shining that a documentary/full-length conspiracy theory has reason to exist in the form of Room 237. But Leon Vitali, Stanley Kubrick's personal assistant during the making of the 1980 film, doesn't believe there's so much there there. "I was falling about laughing most of the time," he tells the Times of his experience watching Room 237. "There are ideas espoused in the movie that I know to be total balderdash." The 64-year-old Vitali goes on to call the doc "pure gibberish" and opine that while Kubrick was happy for various theories to sprout, "I’m certain that he wouldn’t have wanted to listen to about 70, or maybe 80 percent" or Room 237.  But ... what about the Minotaur poster? That means something, surely? "That astonished me," Vitali says. "I stood staring at all that stuff for weeks while we were shooting in that room. It’s a downhill skier. It’s a downhill skier. It’s not a Minotaur." Ah. But there are Holocaust references in there, right? The German-made Adler typewriter, for instance? "That was Stanley’s typewriter. A lot of decisions made on the set were about pragmatism: ‘This looks good. It sits on the oak table pretty perfectly.’ Not to mention, it’s a great typewriter. I used that typewriter for 10 years, actually." Oh, just forget it.

 It’s Back. But What Does It Mean?

Aide to Kubrick on ‘Shining’ Scoffs at ‘Room 237’ Theories


Did you watch the classic 1980 horror film “The Shining” and think it was about a man driven to insane and murderous rage by a haunted hotel? If so, you blew it. Or rather, you missed profound messages subtly embedded in the film by its enigmatic director, Stanley Kubrick.
That, at least, is the notion behind “Room 237,” a documentary by Rodney Ascher released on Friday. The movie is a series of voice-overs atop scenes from Kubrick movies by a small assortment of obsessives who have developed baroque theories about the true meaning of “The Shining.” One believes the film is about the slaughter of American Indians, another that it is about the Holocaust. Yet another claims it is a kind of apology by Kubrick for the putative role he played in helping to fake the moon landing. And there’s more.
The documentary could be construed as a sly tribute to “The Shining” as measured by the startling variety of fanciful postulations and close viewings it has inspired. But the theories are presented with such a surprising lack of irony that it seems as though “Room 237” — the name refers to the scariest suite in the Kubrick movie’s snowbound Overlook Hotel — just might want its audience to take them seriously.
That makes the theories fair game for a sober assessment. And who better to provide one than Leon Vitali, who is listed in the closing credits of “The Shining” as personal assistant to the director? Mr. Vitali had an acting role in Kubrick’s 1975 movie “Barry Lyndon,” went to work for him soon after and remained on his payroll for decades. Mr. Vitali’s first task as an assistant was to fly to the United States to cast the role of Danny, the child of Jack (Jack Nicholson) and Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall). He was present during the 13-month filming at sound stages near London, and throughout postproduction.
Mr. Vitali, 64, is a Briton who now lives in Los Angeles, where he works on his own and other film projects. He was recently sent an advance copy of “Room 237,” and not surprisingly it elicited a strong response.
“I was falling about laughing most of the time,” he said by telephone. “There are ideas espoused in the movie that I know to be total balderdash.”
Take, for instance, the scene near the end of “The Shining” in which Jack Torrance is about to chop down a door as he chases his wife and child with an ax. The character recites a few lines of the “Three Little Pigs” story. “Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in,” Jack huffs, mugging and grinning in pure derangement. “Not by the hair on your chinny chin chin.”
In “Room 237,” Geoffrey Cocks, a professor of history at Albion College in Michigan and author of “The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, and the Holocaust,” writes that Disney’s original animated version of “Three Little Pigs” featured an anti-Semitic caricature, a wolf dressed as a Jewish peddler. He ties that in with several supposed references to the Holocaust to suggest that Kubrick wanted to link the fictional horror in “The Shining” with the real-world horror of the Nazi concentration camps.
That reading implies that Kubrick planned to use “Three Little Pigs.” But according to Mr. Vitali, when the scene was being filmed Kubrick brainstormed with him and Mr. Nicholson what Jack Torrance ought to howl before swinging his ax.
“Stanley thought the scene needed something, a few lines for Jack that would make him sound threatening and nasty,” Mr. Vitali recalled, but lines that could, in another context, sound soothing. “Three Little Pigs” was proposed, but nobody was quite sure about the words. So Kubrick called the mother of Danny Lloyd, the child actor who’d won the role of Danny Torrance.
“She was staying in an apartment nearby and she had the words to ‘Three Little Pigs’ right there,” Mr. Vitali said.
Mr. Vitali also cautioned against the suggestion that there might be Holocaust overtones to the German-made Adler typewriter that Jack uses to tap out his mad loop of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
“That was Stanley’s typewriter,” he said. “A lot of decisions made on the set were about pragmatism: ‘This looks good. It sits on the oak table pretty perfectly.’ Not to mention, it’s a great typewriter. I used that typewriter for 10 years, actually.”
Kubrick, who died in 1999, was legendary for his perfectionism, but he also believed in improvisation. What looks to many of the Shinologists in “Room 237” like the result of careful planning is often mere happenstance.
There are scenes, for instance, in which Danny wears a sweater showing the Apollo 11 rocket. This becomes part of the faked-moon-landing theory, as articulated by Jay Weidner, an author and independent filmmaker.
“That was knitted by a friend of Milena Canonero,” the costume designer, Mr. Vitali said. “Stanley wanted something that looked handmade, and Milena arrived on the set one day and said, ‘How about this?’ It was just the sort of thing that a kid that age would have liked.”
Likewise, the cans of Calumet baking powder seen in the Overlook pantry were chosen not because they featured an American Indian in headdress, thus highlighting Kubrick’s interest in the plight of the American Indian, but because they had bright, bold colors.
“Part of what I did during that trip to the U.S. in 1975 was shoot larders in hotels,” said Mr. Vitali, using the British word for pantries. “It was so that Stanley” — who was American born but had lived in England for years by then — “knew what one was likely to see there. And I found Calumet cans all over the place.”
Yet another contention is that a poster in the Overlook shows a Minotaur, suggesting that the movie is a retelling of the Greek myth about the part man, part bull.
“That astonished me,” Mr. Vitali said. “I stood staring at all that stuff for weeks while we were shooting in that room. It’s a downhill skier. It’s a downhill skier. It’s not a Minotaur.”
Mr. Vitali said he never spoke with Kubrick about any larger meaning in “The Shining.” “He didn’t tell an audience what to think or how to think,” he said, “and if everyone came out thinking something differently that was fine with him. That said, I’m certain that he wouldn’t have wanted to listen to about 70, or maybe 80 percent” of “Room 237.”
Why not?
“Because it’s pure gibberish.”

‘I Know What The Shining Is Really About’: Inside the Crowded Cult at the Overlook Hotel


It is the nature of obsession, the compulsion that causes the otherwise rational mind to charge into the labyrinth, to wrestle the obfuscating Minotaur within, and extract from the bull-man whatever morsel of meaning can be salvaged in this ­dumbed, flat world of ours. This was the quest, I felt, once again reviewing my fraught, evolving relationship with Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining, in which an incipiently insane Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson), his purposely oblivious wife (Shelley Duvall), and their oddly talented son, Danny, spend a particularly snowy winter at the supremely creepy Overlook Hotel.
The movie came out in 1980, but my interconnect with the Kubrickian Kube long preceded that, back to the spring of 1964. That was when, as a high-school sophomore, I first saw Dr. Strangelove, the master’s glass-darkly comedy about what was then called “mutually assured destruction.” Finally, after a Cold War childhood spent diving under desks and being told not to look out the window when the Russians dropped the big one, here was something that made sense. No fighting in the War Room, Sterling Hayden drinking grain alcohol and rainwater, Peter Sellers shouting, “Mein Führer, I can walk!” was next-level Mad magazine, an advanced course in smart-ass, anti-authoritarian subversive moral feed for the budding sensibility. 
The fact that Kubrick was from New York, was born in the Depression cusp year of 1928, was raised in the South Bronx, hilariously blew off Taft High School with a 67 percent average (graduating 414th in a class of 509), was a staff photographer for Look magazine at age 17, made documentaries for virtually no money, and wound up bossing around big stars on Hollywood sets by age 30, held out the notion that any outer-borough Jew could do the same, or at least try.
After Strangelove, the canon was filled in. There was The Killing, from 1956, in which Kubrick reconfigured time to stage a racetrack heist and had Vince Edwards tell Marie Windsor, “Don’t bug me, I got to live my life a certain way.” There was Tony Curtis, talking like Sidney Falco/Bernie Schwartz as he washes Laurence Olivier’s back in Spartacus. And, of course, there was James Mason’s Humbert Humbert shooting Clare Quilty in the boxing glove and telling Dolores Haze of the “great feeling of tenderness” he has for her. But how could anyone have predicted the transformative experience of 2001? Four straight nights, we lay on the carpet between the first row and the screen, staring up into the Light. When it was over, the usher peeled us from the floor.
Which brings us up to The Shining, which, like so many Kubrick fans of my vintage, I lined up to see the night it opened at the now-torn-down Criterion Theatre in old, scuzzy Times Square.* Barry Lyndon had been an oil painting. But The Shining augured so much more. Pre-Internet rumors had been circling for months: Kubrick, holed up in his English mansion, had ordered forklifts of books delivered to his file-filled study. He read the first few pages of each book, groaned, and threw it against the wall with a thump. A huge pile of discarded material grew, a dozen feet high or more. Then the thumping stopped. The master had found his new vehicle: a Stephen King horror story set in a haunted hotel. Brian De Palma had a hit with Carrie; King was hot. Bemoaning that for all his success he had yet to make a film that had “done blockbuster business,” Kubrick pounced. Aesthetically, it made sense—a Kubrick horror picture, a return to the reliable genre chassis, one more opportunity to merge the high and the low in that seamless wiseguy way. 
Except it sucked. For the Kubrick fan, The Shining was like watching Roger Corman on Robitussin, a 16-rpm Fall of the House of Usher, some classroom chunk of faux-Pirandello absurdism. Among my ilk, the verdict was that the great Stanley, egghead avatar of Cold War cool, had gone terminally corny midway through A Clockwork Orange, halfway through the “Singin’ in the Rain” scene. The Shining seemed the final nail in the suddenly square-shape coffin. It was a rough year for the heroes of youth, with Bob Dylan born again, Muhammad Ali finished, and now Kubrick.
I mean, “Here’s Johnny!” This was supposed to be funny? 
White Men With Their Axes
In the ensuing years, more than most movies, The Shining has deeply, inexorably embedded itself into the pop-culture mindscape. No one thinks much about naming a mid-range cop show Redrum, after the film’s backward “murder” riff. The identically dressed murdered little girls who roam the ghostways of the Overlook Hotel have far exceeded the recognizability of the Diane Arbus photo they are based on. Still, I remained in the dark. I had no notion that a DVD-based cult had risen up around The Shining, that the movie was studied by cine-psychonauts with a fine-tooth intensity usually reserved for the Zapruder film. I had no knowledge of the plethora of Internet sites like theoverlookhotel.com, which refers to itself as a clearinghouse for “ephemera related to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of modern horror, The Shining.
This would change, however, when I happened upon a screening of Room 237, an epic of Shining fixation that critic Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter described as “nutty, arcane, and jaw-dropping … a head-first plunge down the rabbit hole of Kubrickiana from which, for some, there is evidently no return.”
Named for the forbidden Overlook room where the hapless, sexually frustrated Jack Torrance embraces a beautiful naked woman only to have her body decay at his tainted touch, Room 237 presents a compendium of Shining fans and scholars offering various readings on what the film is really “about.” These include: a metaphor for the extermination of the Native Americans; a retelling of the aforementioned Minotaur story channeled through an M. C. Escher–like maze of “impossible” architecture; a meditation on the nature of the Holocaust; as well as an encoded apologia by the director for his alleged role in faking the footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It is to the everlasting credit of Room 237 and its director, Rodney Ascher, that this apparent claptrap soon uncoils in the gray matter like a tapeworm.   
Immediately upon returning home from seeing Room 237, I streamed The Shining. Over the next 36 hours, I streamed the film three more times. Three decades past that desultory Times Square evening, fourteen years after Kubrick’s death in 1999, scales clanked from mine eyes like rain. In 1980, at age 32, The Shining seemed a trifle, made by a fading talent. In 2013, on the verge of Medicare, I saw a completely different movie, a Faustian saga of errant humanity, a sick, sick, sick, black-humored Kafka take on horror-movie conventions, marital relations, and the way synthetic realities tend to drive you crazy.
In other words, The Shining became emblematic of everything I had ever loved in Stanley Kubrick movies, a rewrapped gift from across time and tide from a once wrongly shunned, now thankfully resurrected idol.
It was certainly not unusual for people who disliked The Shining at first to change their mind about the film, said Bill Blakemore as we ate dinner at Cafe Fiorello on Broadway, not far from the offices of ABC News, where Blakemore started working more than four decades ago, covering the Vatican and numerous Middle Eastern wars. In Room 237, Blakemore is the one who believes the thematic subtext of The Shining is the murder of Native Americans by “the genocidal armies, the white men with their ax,” who came to build the Overlook Hotel in 1907.
Blakemore said he was clued to the larger message of the film by the presence of cans of Calumet baking powder on the shelves of the Overlook pantry. “He gives you a little key to the film’s larger meaning. This was how Kubrick worked,” Blakemore said. “He places something that catches your eye” that guides you through the confluence of false leads, misremembered memories, elliptical dialogue.
Asked why the significance of the baking-­powder cans was clear to him but not everyone else, Blakemore said, “I grew up in Chicago, just north of the Calumet Harbor. I knew the word meant peace pipe, the symbol of an honest treaty, but so little of what happens in The Shining is on the level. Still, for me, the cans point a direction. With Kubrick, however long the journey takes, by whatever route you get there, you eventually come face-to-face with the truth.”
The mystery resided in the film’s central image, the repeated sequence of blood cascading from behind the hotel’s elevator doors, Blakemore continued over a plate of Fiorello’s hearty antipasto. “When the Overlook manager, Stuart Ullman, tells Nicholson and Shelley Duvall that the hotel is built on an Indian burial ground, that’s a dead giveaway, because the line isn’t in the Stephen King novel. That elevator shaft drives a stake into the body and soul of a murdered people.”
This was how Blakemore saw it. “For years I’ve covered these terrible events. War after war. Dispossession after dispossession. Murder after murder. Where do you think all that blood comes from?”
What a marvelous semiological scavenger hunt Room 237 was! To accept that Kubrick was a genius, an unerring god of a filmmaker, a man so meticulous and precise that nothing could possibly appear in his frames through unpremeditated accident, opened the floodgates of potential meaning. Geoffrey Cocks, interviewed in the documentary, was positive that the presence of a German-made typewriter and the number 42 on Danny’s sweatshirt signified, among other uses of the number, that the film was a commentary on the Holocaust, “42” referencing 1942. (Danny also says redrum 42 times.) Juli Kearns, a devotee of the Cretan-labyrinth theory, knew instinctively that the window in Ullman’s office was somehow “wrong,” a deliberately placed, architecturally “impossible” portal of doom (suggesting the supernatural lair of the Minotaur), which she refers to as “powerful” and “sinister.” John Fell Ryan, with no specific theory except awe at Kubrick’s infinite, engulfing talent, delighted in running the film forward and backward at the same time to study the synchronicity of the superimpositions, such as when the image of the murdered little girls is overlaid by a headshot of Jack Nicholson, looking “like a clown” with “blood on his lips.” If Susan Sontag feared that “interpretation” had become a matter of dry-rot “hermeneutics” rather than passionate “erotics,” she would find no reason to fret here. 
It wasn’t that so much of what was being said about The Shining was so blindingly new. What mattered was the DIY methodology, the way the meme moved, the collectivity. When Bill Blakemore first saw Room 237, he thought, “Well, maybe two of us are sane, and the other three are nuts.” This “40 percent rationality” quotient was irksome, but Blakemore soon came to appreciate director Rodney Ascher’s method. Since there are no talking heads, only voices heard over images from the films of Kubrick and others, the opinions seem to blend together into what Blakemore called “a giant conversation.” The result is “you might always have three people who are crazy, and two people are sane, but who’s who keeps changing.”
This was the only reasonable way to approach a great work of popular art, Blakemore said. The Shining was an ongoing puzzle, with many potential, endlessly protean pieces. Nothing was fixed. For an Internet activity, it beat sitting there in your underwear adding one more Illuminati connection to Obama.
There were levels to this game, as I would learn from Kevin McLeod, writer and video-game designer, whose lengthy Shining essay is one of the reigning texts on the topic. McLeod, who declined to appear in Room 237 because he “didn’t want to be included with a bunch of cranks” (but wound up liking the film anyway), and I had much in common. A pair of Queens boys, we both saw The Shining the night it opened, the then-12-year-old McLeod in the company of his mother at the now vanished Sutton Theatre on East 57th Street. We hit a snag, however, when I referred to Kubrick as “one of the three or four” greatest filmmakers ever. After a long period of silence, McLeod said, “Stanley Kubrick is not one of the three or four greatest filmmakers! Stanley Kubrick is a philosopher the equal of Heraclitus, a visual artist on the level of a Da Vinci.” Kubrick combined “all the great talents of a Velázquez and a Caravaggio,” McLeod contended.
Despite this rocky start, McLeod and I soon entered into an adept-initiate relationship regarding the formalistic-phenomenological nature of The Shining. Pedagogically, the problem was the twenty-year gap between our ages, McLeod suggested. My brain was simply too set in its outmoded way of seeing. The garden-variety theories expressed in Room 237, the “Native American vs. Manifest Destiny, mirroring vs. doubling, linear vs. continuum, supernatural vs. natural, text vs. visual, text vs. spoken word, fable vs. myth, cartoon vs. realism,” were not incorrect, McLeod wrote in his essay. What they lacked was a “neurophenomenological” overview to make them comprehensible on the level Kubrick intended. The movie was no less than “a primitive gateway to an entirely different mode of cognition beyond the limitations of speech and the written alphabet,” McLeod told me. Kubrick’s singular genius required its own aesthetic theory to be understood; McLeod aimed to provide it.
I believed everything Kevin McLeod said, just as I believed Bill Blakemore, Juli Kearns, and John Ryan Fell, too. Their truths were personal truths worked out between The Shining and themselves, and therefore unassailable. This was the greatness of The Shining, I decided. It enabled you to sit across the chessboard from the master, who spent a good deal of his late adolescence hustling games in Washington Square Park. This artistic generosity extended even to the outlier thesis of Jay Weidner, who in Room 237 asserts that The Shining is actually a vast confession for Kubrick’s role in faking footage of the 1969 moon landing—a plot the filmmaker allegedly entered into during the making of 2001 at the behest of individuals like Richard Nixon. This can be seen in the Apollo 11 sweater Danny wears, Weidner says, adding that the moon is 237,000 miles from Earth. The idea that Kubrick sought to expiate his guilt by leaving a trail of bread-crumb clues in The Shining visible only to Mr. Weidner struck me as a movingly cracked bit of ­auto-romanticism. 
The Bronx
As any Shining scholar knows, Stephen King was not thrilled with Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel. Indeed, according to many cultists, while Kubrick and his co-writer, novelist Diane Johnson, relied on King for plot detail, the ethos of the film comes from Sigmund Freud’s 1919 essay on “The Uncanny,” a quality described as belonging “to the province of … all that is terrible—to all that arouses dread and creeping horror.” The feeling could be described as a twisted mirror of the German heimlich, which meant all that was “familiar,” “native,” and “belonging to the home.” It was the unheimlich, Freud said.
The deeper in you went, the more unheimlich it got, I thought, as I drove along the Grand Concourse, where Babe Ruth once reputedly ate himself sick on pop and hot dogs, former home to Stanley Kubrick. I was looking for a theory, a way to explain The Shining to myself.
In the minds of the many, Kubrick could now be thought of as occupying some disembodied super-brain status, hovering above the firmament like Keir Dullea’s Star Child at the end of 2001. The man had become an abstraction, a near parody of himself: the neurotic with the pilot’s license who was afraid to fly, the recluse who felt the need to build massive, insanely researched sets depicting eighteenth-century Europe, wartime Vietnam, and the Overlook itself in his Brit Lord backyard rather than venture out into the Real.
This was not my Stanley Kubrick. What was needed was a process of re-racination, a return of Kubrick to the man I thought I knew: the fast-mouth kid in the earmuffs on the subway, traveling on the D train down to the Marshall Chess Club, stalking the back-date-magazine stands on Sixth Avenue, someone not so very much unlike myself. Kubrick’s family wasn’t religious, but he did become a man when he was 13. That was when he commandeered a Graflex camera, which turned him into Stanley Kubrick, this little pisher turned inspiration who would for a fleeting period of time be the single greatest moviemaker in the world. But who was he before the Graflex? That was the drama of The Shining, I decided.
This is what I had: The Shining was nothing if not a story of childhood fears, an attempt to come to terms with being born into a fallen, increasingly terrifying world. Far from Kubrick’s supposed hermetically sealed standoffishness, the film was a desperately interior work, the closest the director ever got to autobiography. It was his memoir film, a preteen action-adventure story with Danny, the boy who could “shine”—see what others could not—serving as a stand-in for the boyhood Kubrick.
I turned up a clue, what Bill Blakemore would call “a confirmer,” at the Majestic Court apartments at 2715 Grand Concourse, where Kubrick lived in his teenage years. None of the Dominican and Chinese people in the building’s once stately, now tatty, dimly lit lobby had heard of Kubrick, but the great director’s presence was palpable. Opposite the elevator was a series of sectioned windows. Each of the center panels bore a gilt-edged likeness to Louis XIV–era figures. The Barry Lyndon connective could not be ignored. There seemed no way the young Kubrick could have missed the paintings while heading to see yet another dream-life double bill at the nearby, resplendent Loew’s Paradise, now home to the World Changers Church, Creflo and Taffi Dollar, Pastors.
At William Howard Taft High School, where Kubrick managed to fail English, I found a Room 237. In Shining lore, the numeral 237 itself is of special significance, being as Kubrick changed the room number from King’s 217 for reasons that for many have never been satisfactorily explained. Taft’s sunlit Room 237, however, emitted no nexus-of-terror vibe. One student encountered on the steps of the looming building thought he “might” have seen The Shining on DVD. When I reminded him of the malign nature of Room 237, he exclaimed, “Shit! I got a fucking class in that room!”
I focused on P.S. 3, where Kubrick attended grammar school when he was roughly Danny’s age. After spending first grade in class 1B, Kubrick was assigned to class 2A. The import of this may be lost today, but in Kubrick’s time it was crucial. New York City public schools were tracked, with the supposed “smart” kids in the C classes, middling types (like myself) in the B sections, with the A group universally known as “the dumb class.” You didn’t want to be in the dumb class. It wasn’t something that happened in Jewish families, and one can only imagine how it went down in the Kubrick household. Jacob and Gertrude Kubrick took their only son out of school sometime after the second grade, choosing to give him lessons at home, an ­unheard-of practice at the time.
Asked about his academic career in a 1999 interview, Kubrick, speaking with the nasal Bronx accent Peter Sellers appropriated for his Clare Quilty role in Lolita, said, “My father was a doctor. My parents wanted me to become a doctor, and I was supposed to go to medical school.” This didn’t happen, the director adds, because he was “such a misfit.”
How difficult was it to imagine the pre-genius Stanley’s mortification at being in the “dumb class,” his dread of bringing home yet another miserable report card? Was Kubrick channeling the traumatic humiliation of his early school experiences, and his apprehension about his doctor father’s reaction to these failures, to gain insight into Danny’s fears about going to the Overlook, where his own dad would inevitably turn into a raving maniac?  
My visit to P.S. 3 on Lafontaine Avenue proved unsatisfying. The school was built in 1995; no one knew of an earlier incarnation of P.S. 3. However, a simple Internet search led to a July 18, 2012, Daily News article detailing a six-alarm fire on Walton Avenue, not far from Yankee Stadium. With 28 firefighters injured, the paper reported, the fire recalled another blaze on October 12, 1977, during the second game of the World Series. With the Yanks trailing the Dodgers 2-0 in the first inning, Howard Cosell commented on a shot from the aerial camera. “There it is, ladies and gentlemen,” Cosell famously if mythically intoned, “the Bronx is burning.” The 1977 fire, the News wrote, “began in the vacant P.S. 3 at 158th Street and Melrose.” 
Funny how a seemingly stray factoid can forge the way to theoretical cornucopia. In the memorable early scene in The Shining, Danny eats a bowl of ice cream given him by Scatman Crothers’s character, Dick Hallorann, the kindly Overlook Hotel chef. Aware that Hallorann is also possessed with the gift of “shining,” Danny asks if there is “something bad” at the Overlook. Hallorann grimaces. He knows Danny’s “shining” ability far exceeds his own, so he cannot lie. Choosing his words carefully, Hallorann explains that many things have gone on at the hotel through the years, “and not all of them was good.” By way of explanation, Hallorann says, “When something happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind … say, like, if someone burns toast.”
From there, it was easy enough to put together. Like the Overlook, the South Bronx was a realm of ghosts. If you could “shine,” which Hallorann says is seeing “things that haven’t happened yet” and “things that happened a long time ago,” then you’d gain access to the entire, terrible tableau: the European immigrants in their apartments thinking finally they were safe from the knock on the door, then the faces on the streets changed color, the fear of the unknown set in, leading to the moving vans bound for Jersey, Long Island, and the rest. Then they’d come, the agents of the insurance-mad landlords, the hooded arsonists stepping from the darkness with the can of kerosene they splashed across the lobby floor. A lit match flew across space, the flames shot up, and sirens filled the air. Between 1970 and 1980, more than 300,000 souls disappeared from the census rolls, a whole city of phantoms.
There is almost no chance that Stanley Kubrick, then in the midst of preparing The Shining, did not know about what was happening in his old neighborhood. Even behind the stone walls of his Childwickbury Manor, he kept up with the New York media and events in his hometown. He couldn’t fail to notice stories about the Savage Skulls marching down Fox Street. How far-fetched is it to assume he was aware of the fire at P.S. 3, where he spent the most terrible of his pre-Graflex years? As a boy, he was a die-hard Yankees fan, sitting in the bleachers to be near his idol, Joe DiMaggio, whom he’d later photograph for Look. In 1999, the two sons of the Bronx would die within hours of each other. He was still a follower of the sport, so it made sense that Kubrick would have had no small interest in a ­Dodgers-Yankees World Series.
Kubrick was gone before the terror started, but still, this was his world, these were his streets. Now they were being burned to ashes, one more bit of the past being gouged away, just the way the world of his forefathers had vanished from Europe—the hideous cycle of history spinning, a circle closing shut, one more mordant har-de-har of the human condition. 
I could feel it now, my communion with the artist, the merge of our minds. Kubrick and I were shining on the same wavelength. The Shining was about the past, his and mine. It was a psychic battleground, a heavy-metal Young Adult confrontation saga with stakes as high as anything in The Hunger Games. On one side was Kubrick/Danny with his weapon, his ability to shine. On the other was the Overlook Hotel itself, the epicenter of the unheimlich, sending out its armies of ghosts led by its timeless henchman, the ax-wielding Nicholson, who, after all, has “always been the caretaker.”
The fact that Danny escapes the labyrinth while Jack is left to freeze is about as close as Kubrick ever gets to a happy ending. 
A few days later, I was up in the South Bronx again, at 2160 Clinton Avenue, the six-story apartment house where the Kubrick family lived when Stanley was born. The trip was more of an homage than anything else, a tribute to a man who had enlarged my mind. But with Kubrick, the thought pattern is never static, potential synchronicity is always afoot. The building is only two blocks from the Bronx Zoo. This made sense, I thought, the relationship of free will and external restraint being a longtime Kubrickian theme most easily grasped in the juxtaposition of the final scenes of 2001 and The Shining’s claustrophobic Room 237. In 2001, mankind is allowed free rein to journey all the way to “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” before encountering the controlling monolith that will conduct the species to its next evolutionary phase. In The Shining, Jack, always a dull boy, the never-evolving murderer, has only the delusion of freedom. I liked this idea, sent it over to Kevin McLeod. Happy with my progress, he e-mailed, “Your comparison of 2001/Shining is apt … Properties inherent in the brain and in culture and even in cosmology that relate through direct metaphors in action in both films. Excellent.”
I was feeling pretty good about this, so I thought I’d sit down and watch The Shining again, just for kicks. I was barely past the first blood torrent from the elevators when my 26-year-old daughter came in the room. Ever the cultural-studies major, she wanted to know why I kept scouring the movie for meaning when it was so pathetically obvious what it was “about.”
“Oh, yeah, what’s that?” I asked.
“Child abuse,” she said casually, without looking up from the book she was reading. “Room 237 symbolizes where the father molests the son.” All the rest of it, the ESP crap, the spooks Shelley Duvall sees, Nicholson’s lunatic typing, the ax through the door, even the snowy maze outside, was just subterfuge, misdirecting artifice to cover up the main crime.
“So in the end it’s just another episode of Law & Order: SVU,” I said.
“Kind of,” she replied, with the touch of sympathy one reserves for an afflicted loved one. 
I hate it when she does that.  

Duality, blood, mirrors, the Holocaust and American genocide against the Native Americans are all things hidden somewhere inside Stanley Kubrick's famous creep show The Shining. And now you can hear just about every single amazing Shining theory and idea in one documentary, Room 237.
Room 237 is a compilation of every argument you've ever had about what Kubrick was really doing, complete with scholarly voice overs and frame-by-frame breakdowns. We sat with the documentary's director, Rodney Ascher, to discuss what really happened in the Overlook Hotel.
How many times have you watched The Shining now?
Rodney Ascher: 16 or 17 times, if you don't count watching it a frame at a time, forwards and backwards for a year and a half through the course of this film.
This isn't really a movie, it's more like the equivalent of getting stoned in your college dorm with a bunch of lit majors all dissecting pop culture. Was that your intention?
I'm going to take that as a compliment, because I used to love to do that. And yeah as you move on into your adult life, I miss the intensity of those kinds of conversations. Where it's 4 or 5 in the morning and you couldn't leave, even though you had a class in a couple hours. You couldn't stop because the ideas were coming to you quicker than you could say them out loud.
Why do you think everyone describes their first viewing of The Shining as "off." Not scared, not haunted, but "off." Why do you think that's a common emotion?
I think part of it is that you don't leave the theater understanding… I can't imagine someone leaving the theater having seen The Shining once and saying, "oh I totally understood that." The black and white photo at the end is in some ways presented as like a eureka moment. [Whereas] at the end of Citizen Kane there's the "Rosebud was the sled," or Shutter Island, "oh this whole thing was a charade he's crazy." No, if anything you ended that movie with an entirely new puzzle. Which troubled a lot of folks, but at the end of the day you're realizing that what you're watching is a horror movie. And leaving it a little off-balanced and confused and upset, makes a lot more sense. That feeling where you understand everything, you don't need to revisit it anymore. Mission accomplished. The Shining doesn't let you go that easily.
But where do you draw the line between symbolic interpretation and continuity errors. The typewriter changes color, the car almost hits Jack but is cut out in the next shot? A lot of those things can easily be explained away?
What's funny is, not one particular [thing] can be indefinitely explained away. [Film historian] Geoffrey Cocks talks about this when he's discussing the chair, something that might have been a mistake on set would almost certainly have been something he noticed in edit, but he decided to leave it in anyway. If you look at something like that typewriter [changing color] or Danny's position on the carpet, those are things that are harder to get wrong, often, than to get right.
The toys would have had to have been picked up and rearranged and rebuilt in exactly the same order in a different part of the room. Someone either had to bring in a different typewriter, or they painted this typewriter after it had already been shot. So the fact that it would look different couldn't possibly be a surprise to them. The typewriter itself is very interesting and we barely touched upon it except to highlight the weirdness of it [Edit Note: for example the typewriter is a German model which could represent the systematic and mechanical genocide that happened during the Holocaust]. But if can spring off in a couple different ways. Cocks talks more about the implications of the changing colors of the typewriter in his book The Wolf at the Door [and in the documentary]. The Shining is full of twins and doubles. Even the typewriter has a double.
The cans of Calumet is featured in the poster for Room 237 and it's one of the first real theories you discuss, why was that featured so prominently?
I think what's important about that can -- in many ways Bill Blakemore The Shining theorist wrote his article about the Native Americans back in 1987 and that was reprinted in newspapers and republished online. For a lot of people, his idea was kind of a symbolic theory of The Shining of record. And the can was the trigger that sent him down the path [Edit Note: For example Blakemore hypothesized that the cans, which mean ceremonial pipe, stood for various peace treaties being reinforced or broken with the hotel over their various appearances in the film] Other people had similar ones. Juli Kearns talks about the skiing poster, Geoffrey Cocks was the typewriter a lot of people have found singular elements of the movie that work almost as decoder rings. They're the first step on a path to making a new discovery about that film.
Which theory about the themes in The Shining resonates the deepest with you?
It's hard to pick one, but one thing I got really excited about was when John Fell Ryan was talking about looking through film archives and watching old newsreel films and beginning to develop a skepticism about the relationship between what you see and what you hear. And I think quite logically, we can make the jump that Kubrick as a kid growing up in the 30s and 40s who was always haunting movie theaters would likely have seen, if not these same films, the same type of films. And because a lot of us feel a connection to what Kubrick was trying to do, maybe he made the same connection. I thought it was kind of eerie that Geoffrey Cocks also talks about himself growing up on a diet of these news reel films. When their ideas start to cross pollinate. And Jay Weidner was talking about how Kubrick making similar discoveries while researching advertising. The way that they would use sexuality and hype in order to create connections to their audience. As these ideas started coming together, I found that very exciting.
What object are people most obsessed with in The Shining that surprised you the most? I was pretty surprised with the amount of attention paid to Ullman's impossible office window. And now I feel like a dummy for not noticing it earlier!
I must say Bill Watson, the summer caretaker, who seems like a very bright character but hardly has any lines. He's sort of prominent in a weird way, even how he's framed symmetrically to mirror Jack in that one shot. People had ideas about the connections to him in the movie. I don't think his role ever gets called out in the film, but he has a relationship with Jack in a way that is similar to Grady's relationship.
What's the least persuasive argument you've heard thus far?
Well, that The Shining is just a horror movie about a family trapped in a hotel.

To watch my previous video analysis of The Shining, based upon some of the concepts described in the text of the article, scroll to the bottom of this page. However, the text version is a much more thorough breakdown of the film and includes video stills and other research sources.

(note: the first two chapters are merely preliminary notes, please go straight to chapter three for the detailed film analysis)
4          AROUND EVERY CORNER (includes video supplement)
7          IT'S LIKE I GO TO SLEEP
8          WHICH ROOM WAS IT?
9          CRAZY JACK
13        PART OF THE FURNITURE (includes video supplement - added Jan 1st 2013)14        SOME SHINE AND SOME DON'T
15        THIS IS OUR GOLD BALL ROOM (includes two video supplements)
16        DANNY'S ORDEAL
17        BEAR IN MIND
20        TWO LITTLE GIRLS, ABOUT EIGHT AND TEN (includes two video supplements)
This article is still in writing and will be completed after further research has been conducted by the author.

                           The Shining Code 2.0 (complete film)

    Stanley Kubrick : Life in Pictures:

                                 Stanley Kubrick Interview (27th November 1966):

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