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Room 237

by Louise Adams
Thursday Oct 3, 2013
Room 237

Is "The Shining" full of conspiracy theory proof, or are its quirks merely continuity errors? Rodney Ascher's film "Room 237" questions the motives behind the King/Kubrick collaboration (which the horror author hated, wishing the director had manifested the supernatural evil in the location, not the character), beginning under an onslaught of "Warner Bros. and the Kubrick Trust had nothing to do with this documentary" disclaimers.

Interviews with unseen obsessors are interspersed with scenes from the "Here's Johnny" Nicholson vehicle alongside Kubrick's other classics such as "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Spartacus," and "Eyes Wide Shut."

Some claim the 1980 film (which some, like Martin Scorsese, consider one of the scariest of all time) is about Native American genocide, indicated by the massive tins of Calumet (meaning "peace pipe") baking powder in the industrial kitchen's larder, and the supposition that the Overlook Hotel was built on an Indian burial ground.

A few feel the film is Kubrick's admission that he orchestrated the fake moon landing shoot, utilizing his "2001" moonscape effects. Young Danny wears an Apollo 11 sweater, and there are giant containers of astronaut favorite Tang in the storage room as well.

Others indicate that "The Shining" is a meditation on the Holocaust shown via Jack's German typewriter, an Adler, which means bird of prey and was a prominent Nazi symbol. The film also features the repetition of the number 42, the year the Final Solution was implemented. Plus, shiny son Danny wears the number on his shirt, the creepiest room in the hotel bears the number 237 (2 times 3 times 7 equals 42), and the distance to the moon is also about 237,000 miles.

Is "The Shining" full of conspiracy theory proof, or are its quirks merely continuity errors?

Danny and Wendy watch the movie "Summer of '42" (on a television without a cord, next to an office with an "impossible window" that couldn't exist due to the construction of the surrounding rooms). Fellow shiner Dick Hallorann has a 42 on his snow-covered license plate. There are initially 42 vehicles in the hotel's parking lot, and at least 42 crackpots have too much time and high def on their hands. All conspiracy and no reality make these Jacks limited boys.

The Blu-ray contains commentary with famed theorist Kevin McLeod, aka "mstrmnd," plus a panel discussion from the Stanley Film Festival, 11 deleted scenes, a making of the music featurette, and some trailers.

Stephen King's newest novel "Doctor Sleep" is the sequel to "The Shining," and follows the grown Dan Torrance as he uses his abilities to forget the past and help at a hospice. The book was published on Sept. 24, an inversion of 42. Coincidence?

"Room 237"

Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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