ROOM 237: Unraveling the Mysteries of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980)

“Symmetry, subtlety, and the thin line between civility and barbarism.” — Kevin Ernest Long

I’m in this passionate love with Stanley Kubrick’s mind. I wonder, how he finds these undefinable elements and adds depth to his characters. The deafening silence that prolongs the plots of his movies and the sudden yet subtle explode of climax is unimaginable. My love for Kubrick is based on his story-lines crafted with finesse and his actors who add mcharm to their characters with infinite improvisations and retakes.

Kubrick montage

A true perfectionist, Stanley Kubrick is quite the smartest and intelligent film-maker ever.

ROOM 237

An exemplary examining documentary on Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining (1980), and the obscure elements existing in the movie.

Offering diverse theories yet controversial, these film fanatics unravel the mysteries hidden in Kubrick’s movie. As it may sound crazy, the theories presented are personal findings and recollections of people who dedicated an important portion of their life decoding the movie’s messages.

Official Poster; Room 237

Official Poster; Room 237

ROOM 237 takes you to an Odyssey inside Kubrick’s mind! Dissected and displayed in front on the table, these are the showcase of various ideas pertaining to historic and cultural facts embedded into his movie which are finally revealed. They presumably fail to justify the authenticity of their hypothesis, as it cannot be validated with Kubrick who is no longer alive, however, the suggestions made by these experts were the eternal part of Kubrick’s life which can or do relate to his film-making style.

There are 9 segments, each decoding the metaphors which were possibly intentionally added by Kubrick during the filming to embed the message he wished to deliver yet denied public from seeing it. An exemplification of product marketing —Subliminal Marketing.

Some of the most Horrifying Theories

#1 The Fake Moon Landing (Apollo 11)

One theorist suggests that the Apollo 11 landing on the moon was faked, moreover, it was produced by Kubrick in a Hollywood studio. He points out that he found telltale signs of front projection used in moon landing footage, which is primarily used during film-making. Also, there are subliminal signs in the various plots of the movie that suggests that Kubrick intentionally embedded those images that profess that the landing was faked.

Room 237 of the hotel room is the base of all the nastiness and evil. In this very room, Jack encounters a ghost and hence starts being lunatic. Later Danny stops by the room staring at the very door, like he suspects there is something hidden inside -things he mustn’t know. Dick Hallorann, a chef, confirms Danny’s doubt by declaring the fact that he must never talk or care about Room 237. It’s prohibited from Danny’s eyes as well as the truth of moon landing’s prohibited from the public.

This very room also defines a part of Kubrick’s life he contracted to NASA and could never profess about it to anyone else. It’s a burden and regret he carried all his life that he wished to relive and so he did through The Shining, 11 years later.

He (Theorist) points to the knitted Apollo 11 sweater that Danny wears, and the fact that a carpet pattern resembles the Apollo launching pad as evidence that the film is an elaborate apology of sorts for Kubrick’s involvement.

#2 The Holocaust

Another theorist suggests, the movie is about The Holocaust.  He connects Jack’s sinister recitation of the Big Bad Wolf’s refrain to a Disney production where the wolf is an anti-Semitic caricature. Kubrick always wanted to make a movie based on the events of The Holocaust, however, he later dropped the whole idea.

It’s suggested that Kubrick sympathized with the whole holocaust thing. His prior life was mostly influenced by the horrifying events of WW II in Europe, and he showed the same through his movie by embedding subtle imagery of Nazi brutality and genocide of Jews. He’s an auteur, re-exhibiting the memories of Holocaust through The Shining.

A typewriter in most of the scenes plays prominent role. It’s randomly shown almost all the time in the movie. Typewriters played prominent role during Nazi occupation as well. Its extensive use in typing out and making a list of Jewish population was humongous during The Holocaust. If your are to watch The Schindler’s List, typewriters are extensively used and shown during the entire span of the movie.

 

#3 The Genocide of Native Americans

Kubrick’s ability to insert sublime elements in his movies is well known. In many instances, through the scenes and dialogues, Kubrick tried exemplifying the genocide that occurred in the greater American landscape against Native Americans.

The use of cans of Calumet Baking Powder in the backdrop, the poster of a Native hanging by the wall and the iconic elevator scene where the blood floods the whole hallway -suggests the height of American Imperialism which crushed the repression of Natives. Despite our denial throughout the history, Kubrick suggested that the truth shall come out either way and we must repent our wrongdoing one day. In the movie, it’s the gushing out of a flood of blood from nowhere.

In an early scene, the hotel’s manager, Stuart Ullman, claims that the property was build on the site of native American’s burial ground. Therefore, the scene where the blood is flooding the hallway signifies the very blood of those crushed souls which are buried beneath.


 

The Shining (Movie) Vs The Shining (Book)

Written by Stephen King, The Shining (1976) explores the objectives of paranormal in a rural hotel site and how a sane man is possessed by lunacy and is compelled to turn blood-thirsty for his own family. When Kubrick adopted the story, King stepped in with his creative inputs for the movie, however, after the movie was produced, it turned out to be way different than the book which infuriated King on a creative ground.

King’s important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. He quoted;

What’s basically wrong with Kubrick’s version of The Shining is that it’s a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that’s why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.

Stanley Vs Stephen

Stanley Vs Stephen

Kubrick along with Diane Johnson co-wrote the entire movie. As assumed by the theories presented, he had everything different in his mind about it. His motive was not to present what King had created but what he witnessed in his life. Jack Torrance is Stanely Kubrick and The Shining is his own story.

The movie confuses you in most levels and makes you wonder; how come Jack is possessed by a demon, why does he keep seeing things that do not exist moreover interact with them, and why does Jack appears in the picture dated 1921 shown at the end of the film. It leaves a sense of wandering and exploration that doesn’t end with the movie. It’s his trademark style. There are various levels of psychological elements involved with the project, most of which are decoded and published by Room 237.

Be it The Holoacust, the genocide of natives, fake moon landing, the myth of Minotaur and his labyrinth or the psychologial englihtment of little Danny throughout the entire span, the movie silently takes your away into a journey that resembles 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). A masterpiece, a cult and possibly the smartest movie ever made!

Room 237 (2012)

Directed by Rodney Ascher, Produced by Tim Kirk, Starring: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan and Jay Weidner

Distributed by IFC Films, IFC Midnight

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s