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cinemaspeak59

Room 237 (2012)

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Room 237 (2012) examines the hidden clues in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining.  Several unseen voices describe and dissect overlapping images, running the film backwards, and singling out continuity errors they believe are sign posts to deeper meanings.  The result is The Shining is not merely a standard, but highly stylized, haunted house film, but much, much more.  No, it’s really about the genocide of the North American Indian; the Holocaust; sexual deviancy; the power of subliminal advertising.  And, here’s the kicker, The Shining is Kubrick’s confessional that he faked the moon landing for the government - not necessarily that we never went to the moon - but what the nation saw on television was filmed on a soundstage by Mr. Kubrick.  What’s amazing is these theories, conspiratorial or not, supported as they are by editing choices and props used in the picture - the shirt worn by Danny (Nicholson’s son in the movie), Tang orange juice, Nicholson’s type writer – are all remarkably plausible.  It all adds up to an utterly fascinating documentary.  Source: The Sundance Channel.

I’m surprised by the number of people who say The Shining isn't that scary.  I’ve never seen a scarier set piece than the Overlook Hotel, and throw in the beckoning call of the twins, the sinister bartender Lloyd (does he represent the Devil?) and the music, and you have one heck of a film.

I read in Entertainment Weekly that the ending Kubrick wanted involved the hotel manager, played by Barry Nelson, to visit Danny and his mother in the hospital, and bring Danny a gift: the mysterious ball that was rolled to him in the hotel.  Critics at screenings didn’t like it.  The studio deemed the film too long already, so it was cut. 

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I've been wanting to see this for a while, but haven't tracked it down yet. I'm a huge fan of The Shining, and rank it among my 20 favorite films of all time. That being said, I'm not sure I buy all of the various theories about the embedded imagery, most of which I have heard years earlier. It's possible that some, or even all, are present, and as you say, this doc makes a compelling argument, but I find we often read too much into things that we like or that fascinates us, and that can lead us down some rather dubious rabbit holes.

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I've been wanting to see this for a while, but haven't tracked it down yet. I'm a huge fan of The Shining, and rank it among my 20 favorite films of all time. That being said, I'm not sure I buy all of the various theories about the embedded imagery, most of which I have heard years earlier. It's possible that some, or even all, are present, and as you say, this doc makes a compelling argument, but I find we often read too much into things that we like or that fascinates us, and that can lead us down some rather dubious rabbit holes.

I agree. If all classic or cult films received the same treatment Room 237 gave to The Shining, then we might discover a trove of buried messages in those films as well.  

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