Today: February 22, 2024

Room 237

Room 237 is an in depth look at conspiracy theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Room 237 is an in depth look at conspiracy theories
surrounding Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
legends about films are nothing hugely new. At the time of their release the likes of The Exorcist and The Omen were said to be cursed which resulted in deaths and
tragedies. But The Shining seems
to be a film people continuously return, write thesis about and seemingly
extensive documentaries in order to try and decipher exactly what Kubrick was
trying to say.

Director Rodney Ascher gathers a handful of
Shining experts, or perhaps fanatics would be a better description of them, to
put forward their ideas of what the film is all about. It is a documentary for the blogging
age, one that throws so many ideas out with little to no editing of madness
that it’s hard not to be swept up in the sheer ludicrous nature of it all.

Theories abound;
from ideas that The Shining is all about the genocide of Native Americans or
the Holocaust right through to it being a subtle confession from Kubrick that
he really was the man who helped fake the Apollo Moon Landing. What Ascher does so well is use endless
footage from not only the film itself but any other movie clip he can get his
hands on to highlight the point and crucially instill a sense of emotional pull
without ever feeling the need to cut to a talking head.

Of course some of
the theories are laughable. That
the architecture of the hotel doesn’t fit and is therefore drawing attention to
more than is on screen seems far fetched.
But, like Jack Torrence slowly going mad in The Overlook Hotel, you want
to believe. You want to buy into
these concepts because, if nothing else, it will force you to watch The Shining
again with a renewed vigor and attention to detail.

Crucially Ascher
brings a sense of fun to what we’re seeing. At times the people putting their thoughts forward, who we
never see, are so eccentric you wonder if maybe they’ve gone ‘all work and no
play’ and have finally drowned in an ocean of Kubrick infested psychosis. There is no doubt that Kubrick was a
master manipulator, a filmmaker who liked to toy with his audience and hearing
these ideas you wonder if he is quietly chuckling from the great beyond
thinking; if nothing else, no one is talking about Star Wars like they are my stuff. Kubrick’s notorious attention to detail seems to be
the lynchpin to which all arguments are linked but with so many thoughts on one
film you suspect he knew what he was doing with much of it and sending us all
on a wild goose chase, just as he did old Jack around the maze.

Whether they’re
right or not Room 237 is a hugely entertaining insight into true fandom. Complex, enlightening and often out
right bonkers, here is a film that will certainly get your mind racing and your
feet running to re-watch The Shining again and again.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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