‘Room 237 ’ Documentary With Theories About ‘The Shining’ NYTimes com — Volkswagen Apollo

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Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s

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Bob Canode

Rodney the director of “Room 237,” envisioned a series of shorts, but his grew into a feature.


“The Shining” was released in many viewers, including the Pauline Kael, left mystified by what they had seen. Expecting a standard based on a Stephen King seller, they got an unexplained of blood surging out of hotel a vision of cobwebbed skeletons and a guy in a bear suit doing untoward with a gentleman in a

Three decades on, scholars and are still trying to decipher puzzle of a film directed by Kubrick. To them it’s ostensibly about an alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack ) going more than crazy while his wife, (Shelley Duvall), and son, try to cope in an isolated hotel, the Mr. Kubrick was famously averse to explanations of his films — “I have it always the best policy to the film to speak for itself,” he wrote — which has led to a mind-boggling of theories about just he was up to.

The hotel’s hedge maze, Kubrick authorities agree, is a to the myth of the Minotaur; others drawn convincing connections the Overlook’s well-stocked pantry and the cottage in Hansel and Gretel. The one views the film — and many of scholars admit to viewing it of times — the more symbols and appear.

“Room 237,” the full-length documentary by the director Ascher, examines several of the intriguing of these theories. really about the Holocaust, one says, and Mr. Kubrick’s inability to the horrors of the Final Solution on No, it’s about a different that of American Indians, says, pointing to all the tribal-theme adorning the Overlook Hotel’s A third claims it’s Kubrick’s veiled confession he helped NASA fake the Moon landings.

When Mr. first began discussing the with his friend Tim Kirk, who later become the film’s the two were simply hoping to enough fans and theories to out a series of short films, something to post on YouTube. “On it seems like a very niche,” Mr. Ascher said, at the oldest standing Bob’s Big in Burbank, not far from a campus of the New Film Academy, where he a class in editing. “The Meanings of ‘The Shining’ — we be able to wrap that up quick. But the thing kept and growing.” By the time the two were “Room 237,” which had its at the Sundance Film Festival on was nearly two hours long.

What they had stumbled was a subculture of Kubrick fans has been expanding over the several years. The group professors and historians, fanboys and many of whom have their theories online by maps, videos, and pages-long pleading their cases. The filmmaker Rob Ager’s video of “The Shining” have hundreds of thousands of YouTube the voluminous online essay s of McLeod, a k a “mstrmnd,” range the film’s marketing materials to its uses of artificial light.

initial reception by journalists of of Kubrick’s films was negative,” the film scholar Julian author of “Kubrick’s Hope. Optimism from ‘2001’ to Wide Shut.’ ” “But as went on, his films were more and more seriously, and now are redefining him in terms of all of the contemporary theories. Many of the current think in different terms Kubrick thought when he was those films. They in a different vocabulary, and they different concerns.”

Among the topics of discussion are the liberties, large and small, Kubrick took with the novel. Mr. King, who declined to for this article, has never his dislike for the film and the way the director and discarded scenes, themes and In the book Jack’s Volkswagen is in the film it’s yellow. No big until one discovers that red VW actually did make it into the crushed underneath an overturned

But that’s not the only kind of moment “Shining” buffs are in; they have much themes in mind. To one of the subjects of 237,” Geoffrey Cocks. a professor at Albion College in and author of “The Wolf at the Stanley Kubrick, History, and the the film is full of references, subtle, some less so, to the Solution. There are the film’s references to 1942, the year the began their extermination of at Auschwitz: a 42 appears on a shirt by Danny; “Summer of ’42” is on the Torrances’ television; Wendy 42 swings with a bat at Jack. And there’s that gusher of “That’s as good a visual for the … of the 20th century has ever been filmed,” Mr. said in an interview.

When Bill Blakemore, a ABC News correspondent and another theorist in the documentary, noticed of Calumet baking powder with an Indian chief in “The Shining,” he knew what Kubrick had in mind. “I my friends, ‘That movie was the genocide of the American Indians.’ ”

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In Mr. Blakemore wrote an article for The Post, noting the film’s use of decorative elements (in one scene Mr. hurls a tennis ball against an Indian wall the Calumet cans and the Overlook’s on an old Indian … ground. about ghosts and memories and how we put our sense of what has happened in the Mr. Blakemore said in an interview. think a lot of things happened here in this particular over the years, and not all of ’em was good.’ talking about the way the human does it, and has done it over and again.”

The documentary’s biggest of faith comes with Jay who posits that Mr. Kubrick NASA fake the Apollo landings, then used Shining” to both confess his — and brag about it. Mr. Weidner is at on a DVD about the Kubrick-Apollo connection, his and cites as evidence a sweater by Danny with “Apollo 11” on it, and the design on the hotel hallway pattern, which he argues is a ringer for the aerial view of the launching pad. “The substory of ‘The Shining,’ ” Mr. said in an interview, “is the story of making the Apollo footage and trying to hide it from his and then her finding out about

Despite the scope of the film, uses scenes from the “Thief of Bagdad,” “Spellbound,” and F. W. Murnau’s silent “Faust” to different hypotheses, Mr. Ascher he only scratched the surface of the number of “Shining” theories. Why so The film “is a compelling work of art acts as a kind of mirror, for thoughtful people, who see aspects of that are among the most things they have Mr. Rice said. “That’s in the sense. In some cases it also be a paranoia that want to expurgate in some

“Room 237” — the title is a to a haunted room in the hotel — with no clear consensus on what “The Shining” means. How could it? But there’s no the filmmakers had a pretty serious, bunch to work with.

“This isn’t ‘Trekkies,’ ” Mr. Kirk, referring to the 1997 about the glorious excesses of Trek” fandom. “We don’t guys having ‘Shining’ or driving around in yellow VWs ‘ROOM 237’ license There were no conventions to go

This article has been to reflect the following correction:

January 29, 2012

An earlier of this article incorrectly imagery from “The The gentleman seen with the guy in the bear suit is wearing a but not a top hat.

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