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January 27, 2012 11:16 AM   Subscribe

What you may or may not have seen hidden in "The Shining".
posted by cashman (216 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2012 [31 favorites]


Why, why do I have to be at work.

Kubrick was such a deliberate filmmaker that it's impossible to draw a line between "person seeing things that aren't there" and "incredibly observant person noticing Kubrick is seriously fucking with us."

May I request that "TheShining" is added to the tags, btw?
posted by griphus at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ahh yes, I've meant to watch this move, the trailer looked great. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


My plate, look, there are 42 beans on it. In 21 groups. Now look at it again. In the mirror.
posted by chavenet at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2012 [37 favorites]


Somehow have never gotten around to watching this movie. This post might finally be the motivation that gets me to.
posted by jbickers at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2012


Check out this previous Shining minutae post, Bookhouse. I'm not saying this dude is Completely Correct (as I haven't gone through most of it yet) but Kubrick was a very, very meticulous director who cultivated little things that seem like continuity/blocking/prop errors.
posted by griphus at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


One thing I noticed about The Shining is that it's incredibly fucking overrated and that I've seen dozens of scarier movies.

Sick of the stupid adulation this movie gets.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The human mind is amazingly adept at detecting patterns, even when they're not really there.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've only barely started reading but judging from the vertical whitespacing (blackspacing?) I can tell it's going to be great.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Times I got up to go to the bathroom--12
posted by stormpooper at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is, as far as I can tell, Masonic conspiracy theory warmed over.
posted by usonian at 11:31 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone's been taking way too much Adderall.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


It’s similar to the clues to Paul’s death on Beatles albums and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” synchronizing with The Wizard of Oz.

Oh dear.
posted by goethean at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


Someone's been taking way too much Adderall.

Or not enough.
posted by The Deej at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2012


It’s similar to the clues to Paul’s death on Beatles albums and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” synchronizing with The Wizard of Oz.

I'm not sure whether I'd be happier if this is or isn't a joke.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Somehow have never gotten around to watching this movie. This post might finally be the motivation that gets me to.
posted by jbickers


DO see the movie. But forget you ever read the link.
posted by The Deej at 11:37 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It’s similar to the clues to Paul’s death on Beatles albums and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” synchronizing with The Wizard of Oz.

See so right here you're just admitting that it's coincidence and synchronicity.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:38 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It’s similar to the clues to Paul’s death on Beatles albums and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” synchronizing with The Wizard of Oz.

Haha, GOT IT. A little ganja makes everything fall into place, doesn't it?
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2012


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm extremely sympathetic to the interpretation here (from that previous FPP), claiming that The Shining is at least in part an extended metaphor for the genocide of the Native American population on this continent. I really like the idea and find it quite plausible.

The numerological shot duration stuff in this article is a stretch, I think this guy is just noticing Kubrick's natural narrative rhythms, in the same way that some people have claimed to find Fibonacci sequences and Golden Rectangles buried in other artworks where they probably weren't intended - artists just lean toward certain natural rhythms.

As griphus says above, the fact that this movie is still eliciting this kind of beanplating, decades later, should be proof enough of its worth.
posted by chaff at 11:42 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


No one in filmmaking has ever done anything like this. Even with today’s CGI and any other nonsense they can come up with no audience has ever seen anything similar to what Stanley Kubrick hid under the radar in this film. There’s never been a more enigmatic experience than the “The Shining” and have I got an interesting story to tell.

I'm thinking that he hasn't actually seen too many movies.
posted by octothorpe at 11:43 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


CARPET REVERSAL! AIIIE!
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


For me there are just too many instances where they pop up and they’re way to obvious. When I point them out you’ll either believe it or you won’t.

Spoiler: You won't.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:44 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Have you ever looked at The Shining? I mean reeeally looked at it? Aww man!
posted by The World Famous at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm about 5 paragraphs in and this guy has said nothing. Is this really worth it? So far he just sounds like he enjoys his own voice.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:46 AM on January 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


The numerological shot duration stuff in this article is a stretch, I think this guy is just noticing Kubrick's natural narrative rhythms,

Also please note that Kubrick wasn't the editor.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2012


from article: No one in filmmaking has ever done anything like this. Even with today’s CGI and any other nonsense they can come up with no audience has ever seen anything similar to what Stanley Kubrick hid under the radar in this film. There’s never been a more enigmatic experience than the ‘The Shining...’”

Yes, Syberberg's eight-hour epic Hitler: Ein Film Aus Deutschland, which completely lacks a story or a narrative and which seemingly consists of nothing but very long monologues delivered on a bare soundstage with images periodically superimposed on the background, was really quite transparent and facile when you think about it.
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Breathless apophenia.
posted by Human Flesh at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was along for the ride until he said he was going to reveal which cast member was really for real psychic and then I remembered no.
posted by Legomancer at 11:49 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what, though? I'm being an asshole, sneering about this guy. So he's really excited about this movie; awesome. I wish more people were more excited about things they loved. And it's awesome that he can detail at length all these things he sees in it.

I still think he should see Hitler: Ein Film Aus Deutschland, but that's neither here nor there.
posted by koeselitz at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no NSFW on this link because that just doesn't really cover full-screen stills of the rotting, naked lady.
posted by resurrexit at 11:50 AM on January 27, 2012


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:24 PM on January 27 [4 favorites +] [!]


Posted at '12:24'.

REVERSAL!

'42:21'

21 is half of 42

!!!
posted by mazola at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


So he's really excited about this movie; awesome. I wish more people were more excited about things they loved. And it's awesome that he can detail at length all these things he sees in it.

There's being excited and then there's being obsessed.
posted by Fizz at 11:51 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was great! I look forward to next week's edition of Time Cube Movie Review.
posted by Mister_A at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2012 [18 favorites]


So the world ended, as the Mayan's said it would, on July 4th 1921 ?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:53 AM on January 27, 2012


I enjoy extended analysis of Kubrick as much as the next guy (as much as the next two or three guys, really), but around the time I came to the analysis of how many cast members had double letters in their names and how that fit into the Scheme of Things, I had lost his trail. I get the impression that this has been simmering too long, and if this fellow had posted his analysis about five years earlier (with that much less elaboration) he would come across more as Dedicated Film Analyst Guy and less as The RCMP Stole My Teeth And Replaced Them With Radio Transmitters Guy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I've never believed any of this kind of stuff for one reason: our brains don't work that way. You put "July 4th 1921" in front of my eyes, and I think of stupid patriotism and drunkeness, not the number 24.
So, even if it was intentional, it's pointless. It's like trying to hypnotize and Englishman in Swahili.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminded me of Rob Ager's analysis (which griphus also links to above).

I just realized that I can't stand crackpot theories about physics, but I love crackpot theories about fiction.
posted by painquale at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2012


Check out this previous Shining minutae post, Bookhouse. I'm not saying this dude is Completely Correct (as I haven't gone through most of it yet) but Kubrick was a very, very meticulous director who cultivated little things that seem like continuity/blocking/prop errors.

Hmm...I thought that previous post suffered from the same problem that Bookhouse identifies here. It is, in fact, trivially common for movie spaces not to "add up." (I.e., for you to be in a room that can't possibly exist in the house as seen in exterior shots etc.) In fact, it would be infinitely more remarkable for a movie to have an entirely consistent and coherent space. Movie directors (a fortiori in the pre-DVD, pre-VCR age) rely heavily on the fact that the vast majority of people don't have a sufficiently highly-developed space-memory to be bothered by those kinds of discontinuities. So in order to accept that Kubrick was deliberately doing this to creep the audience out we also have to accept that he was naive enough about film making in general not to realize that the audience would be entirely unmoved by the technique. Or, if they did, in fact, have any subliminal response to it, it would be exactly the same response they had to pretty much every other film--scary or not--that they'd ever seen.
posted by yoink at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm glad this person wrote all this out, but I guess maybe I was a little let down - I love when people hide messages in art or when there's a whole hidden layer of a work that goes unknown for a while.

And honestly, I did read the older link about how the layout of the hotel depicted in the film was impossible, and I have no doubt in my mind that Kubrick did that on purpose. I mean, this is Kubrick we're talking about.

But the thing this guy's doing is something you can do with more or less any movie. Don't get me wrong, it's fun to do, but to read directorial intent into it or to present it as a serious suggestion, I don't know. He believes it's significant whenever the numbers 1, 2, 4, 12, 21, 24, or 42 are in some way found in connection with anything happening on screen. I'm pretty sure you could find an incredible hidden message in the Wachowski's Speed Racer if you used his system.*

*The message: HAHA NOW YOU HAVE ADHD
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:00 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 6:39 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


And, now we go deeper... it's favception...
posted by jkaczor at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is, in fact, trivially common for movie spaces not to "add up." (I.e., for you to be in a room that can't possibly exist in the house as seen in exterior shots etc.) In fact, it would be infinitely more remarkable for a movie to have an entirely consistent and coherent space.

You really need to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
posted by Fizz at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


And now I will tell you what you didn't see in The Shining. Here it comes. It's coming now. It's probably around the corner, maybe picking up a beverage at the convenience store. Do you have a cellphone? Let me text it, because it really should be here by now.
posted by user92371 at 12:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [35 favorites]


Okay, maybe I need to take that back. I'm at the point where he thanks Google for helping him do all this. Is he ever going to reveal anything? I hope it's outlandish and remotely plausible.
posted by koeselitz at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2012


...okay the more I read this the more I am convinced that this is a very observant Crazy Person With A Big Theory.
posted by griphus at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2012


Wait, a person (Kubrick) with an OCD repeats numbers over and over again? You lie, sir!
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2012


posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!


Hmm, interesting. I only see favorites.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 6:39 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

And, now we go deeper... it's favception...
posted by jkaczor at 3:01 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] [!]


GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD!!!
posted by Fizz at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


from article: “I went to a hypnotist once and in the last session he tried to plant a sneaky suggestion in my mind that I would return to him at a later date and I feel the same thing has been done to me with this film.”

Um. Really? Wow.
posted by koeselitz at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


In all honesty, it's long been known that if you want something to seem incredibly ordered without it being obvious why it's so ordered, you use number symmetry and repeated numerical patterns. People with OCDs do this naturally because they think that the patterns are actually there and not just in their heads. But here are some examples of artists who were obsessive about numerical symmetry: Dürer, Bach, Mozart, Ravel, Györgi Ligeti (it's not surprising that Kubrick uses Ligeti in so many of his soundtracks), Wes Anderson...
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's favorites all the way down...

... until you reach the turtles...
posted by jkaczor at 12:06 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure you could find an incredible hidden message in the Wachowski's Speed Racer if you used his system.*

Yeah it reminds me of those awesome Secret Bible Code!* people. I remember a point in the mid-90s when Secret Bible Code! was relatively big and someone used the same Secret Bible Code! software to find that Hitler's birth was predicted in Moby-Dick.


*The best part of the whole Secret Bible Code! thing was the movie The Omega Code in which the Secret Bible Code! specifically deals with secret predictions about the Antichrist, and what happens in the movie is that the Antichrist gets ahold of the SBC! software and has it running full-time so that it will print out the prophecies relevant to what he's supposed to do next, because he doesn't know. So they're self-fulfilling prophesies, or, in another sense, the Bible is actually an instruction manual for the Antichrist.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:07 PM on January 27, 2012 [12 favorites]


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 6:39 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

And, now we go deeper... it's favception...
posted by jkaczor at 3:01 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] [!]

GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD!!!
posted by Fizz at 3:05 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!1
posted by 40 Watt at 12:08 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


You really need to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Looks like an interesting book (thanks)--but I'm not sure of its relevance to my point. I'm not saying that it's impossible to make people aware of inconsistent spaces (see: the TARDIS). I'm saying that the kind of minor "if you watch the movie on DVD 300 times and plan it all out on paper you will realize that the view from the corner office can't possibly be the same as the view from any of the corners of the house as seen in exterior shots" inconsistencies just don't rise to that level. And that you'll find them in just about every kind of movie ever made--from musical comedies to slasher horror.
posted by yoink at 12:11 PM on January 27, 2012


"you'll find them in just about every kind of movie ever made" - Well, since directors are notoriously obsessive, that makes sense. You won't find them in Godard.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2012


tl; dr --someone who's either an Aspie or does a great imitation of one entertains you endlessly with his Lite Brite-inspired text.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Check out this previous Shining minutae post, Bookhouse. I'm not saying this dude is Completely Correct (as I haven't gone through most of it yet) but Kubrick was a very, very meticulous director who cultivated little things that seem like continuity/blocking/prop errors.

I read that one as well, and I have to say that I thought a lot of it was a stretch. While my experience is in television, not film, I know how much randomness, ad libs and the like occur during a production, and I've seen viewers take something that was an accident or an ad-lib and attribute great import to it. People like to think of Kubrick as the ultimate auteur and refuse to believe that he didn't intend everything that happens in his movies, but consider: "Singing in the Rain" was a Malcolm McDowell ad-lib. (Yes, Kubrick allowed it and chose to use it, but still). We don't know what Kubrick did or didn't control in The Shining well enough to base entire theories completely on minutia.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like an interesting book (thanks)--but I'm not sure of its relevance to my point

The only relevance it contains is that a man finds a chest full of crazy notes, documents, screenplays, books, film footage about a house that contains a hallway that is larger on the inside than is physically possible on the outside. Oh and it may or may not have eaten two small children and driven an old blind man insane while researching the house.

Other than that though...no relevance at all. :)
posted by Fizz at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm seriously disconcerted with what passes as "objectivity" whenever one of these conspiracy things pops up. That numerical patterns like this would happen "naturally" is obviously absurd. But that a human would create them deliberately? There's nothing whatsoever absurd about that.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:15 PM on January 27, 2012


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 6:39 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

And, now we go deeper... it's favception...
posted by jkaczor at 3:01 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] [!]

GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD!!!
posted by Fizz at 3:05 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!1
posted by 40 Watt at 3:08 PM on January 27 [3 favorites +] [!]


Upon second thought, maybe they're just numbers.
posted by Fizz at 12:15 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


At 1:27 you actually see the ghost of Paul watching "Oz"! And he's holding a pillow with a print of a prism breaking light into colours!

COINCIDENCE? I THINK SO!
posted by clvrmnky at 12:16 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm saying that the kind of minor "if you watch the movie on DVD 300 times and plan it all out on paper you will realize that the view from the corner office can't possibly be the same as the view from any of the corners of the house as seen in exterior shots" inconsistencies just don't rise to that level.

But whether or not the director (auteur, whatever) intends the audience to be aware of details like this isn't necessarily relevant to whether or not those details exist. Yes, it would have been almost impossible for Kubrick to imagine an audience examining the movie at that level of detail and with that much repetition. But he did. He definitely would have watched its creation that closely and often. So would the editor, etc. Maybe he designed things to be inconsistent in that way because he thought it was interesting himself, whether or not anybody else would ever notice it. And we have.

Or maybe it doesn't matter whether it was intended. Maybe it's just there, and if you add it to your reading of the movie it makes the experience richer.
posted by penduluum at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't know what Kubrick did or didn't control in The Shining well enough to base entire theories completely on minutia.

Yeah, the point I was trying to make was that the minutia is there and just because it isn't a puzzle piece in a Theory of Everything, doesn't mean it wasn't intentional. Although there is no no real way of sussing out which is which, which furthers Kubrick's intent with it.
posted by griphus at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2012


There's being excited and then there's being obsessed.

The problem with conspiracy theorists like these isn't their obsession, but their stupidity.

I'm reminded of high school. There was an elective psychology class that tons of kids took because it was supposed to be an easy A. Just about every year, the teacher handed out these papers "explaining" how the Alice in Wonderland books were all about drugz. I didn't take the class, but every year, for four years, the other students would all come out, like, buzzing about this brilliant theory and how it all tied it together so perfectly.

I scoffed. Of course I did--I'd been an Annotated Alice obsessive since I was 10. You know who was obsessed? Martin Gardner. You know where that obsession led him? To logical and well-researched notations on a great book.

But when I talked to the other students about it--about how, sure, there were clearly drug references but reading the text solely in this way kind of missed some of the point and implied a single-mindedness that even the rather coy and brilliant Carroll lacked, they just kind of sneered at me. Didn't I get it?! It was all about DRUGZ. The problem wasn't that they were hung up on the whole thing. The problem was that they failed to see any of the glaring logical or contextual problems around this great unifying "theory."

Which is, uh, kind of what seems to be happening here.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2012 [15 favorites]


Or maybe it doesn't matter whether it was intended. Maybe it's just there, and if you add it to your reading of the movie it makes the experience richer.

It never matters what the artist intends, because how would that affect the experience?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:20 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


from article: “It's the most famous deleted scene in movie history; the mysterious deleted hospital scene at the end of ‘The Shining‘.”

Really? The most famous deleted scene in movie history? More famous than the one from The Wizard Of Oz? More famous than the awful thing Lucas added back in from Star Wars where Han Solo talks to Jabba for the first time? This is seriously the most famous deleted scene in movie history?

“I'm not exaggerating, it’s quite possibly the most famous deleted scene in movie history as it was part of the finished work and was actually shown to audiences for a few days before being excised from the film by Stanley Kubrick.”

Oh – okay. Carry on, then.
posted by koeselitz at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm calling bullshit on his "different shirt" claim in the two pics from "No Country for Old Men."
posted by VicNebulous at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Alright. Some Arschloch come up with an algorithm to find out what the odds of these elements being pure chance are.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2012


Maybe he designed things to be inconsistent in that way because he thought it was interesting himself, whether or not anybody else would ever notice it. And we have.

Yeah, he could have. My point is, though, that that kind of inconsistency is utterly banal. It happens in every film ever made--because, for example, you pick Grand Old House A for exterior shots but you film the corner office scene in Grand Old House B--because A's interior is all wrong, or because you can't afford it, or because it doesn't have any rooms you can fit a camera crew inside.

So while Kubrick may, indeed, have been painstakingly mapping out these discontinuities in order to establish a creepy sense of space not-quite-fitting-together, it would suggest a certain naivete on his part to have done so, given that exactly the same effect is present in almost every movie of every genre ever made.

It would be like a director working up an elaborate theory about why he was using artificial lighting in his movie rather than just filming with available light. It would seem to me that the audience is so inured to the artificiality of lighting in film that you can't make the mere fact of its artificiality (i.e., the fact that people are lit in ways that cannot possibly be the mere product of the ordinary light available in the room) "meaningful." ("OMG, the Shining is so creepy because you can't tell where the light is coming from!!!")
posted by yoink at 12:27 PM on January 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


Seriously, if this guy didn't write in such an obnoxious, conspiratorial tone, you'd all give him due consideration.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:27 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


given that exactly the same effect is present in almost every movie of every genre ever made.

No, it's not.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:28 PM on January 27, 2012


Dude the internal geography of the Millennium Falcon doesn't quite work look I mapped it out I think Kubrick actually directed those scenes to be a creepy prequel to The Shining 2 4 12 24.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tl;dr. That dude needs to get to the fucking point already.
posted by sharpener at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]




We don't know what Kubrick did or didn't control in The Shining well enough to base entire theories completely on minutia.


Many of the people that worked with him on the movie certainly would know if he'd counted the frames in shots, insisted that certain shots happen an exact number of minutes in, been incredibly specific about which room number they used int he building, and insisted that there only be 12 steps in the hotel, and so on...

He has a reputation for being detail obsessed, but if it had been as elaborate as this guy seems to think, I'd imainge that there'd be some evidence.

I see a lot of pattern and no evidence at all. We're great at finding patterns.

...I do enjoy the paranoia, but I'd never stay with the author in an empty hotel.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:33 PM on January 27, 2012


Needs an "acresandacresofgreentextonblack" tag.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:33 PM on January 27, 2012


"Disagreeing with me is not enough, you should be able to show some proof of how you know Stanley Kubrick didn’t purposely edit “The Shining” so that certain scenes and shots would have the same numerical time durations as the numbers we see on Danny’s sweaters."

Unfortunately, when you're presenting a crackpot theory the burden of proof is on the presenter, not the listener.

There is some really cool trivia and information in here, but by god is rambling and confused.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:35 PM on January 27, 2012


outlandishmarxist: “Seriously, if this guy didn't write in such an obnoxious, conspiratorial tone, you'd all give him due consideration.”

I'm trying, outlandishmarxist. I'm really trying. I love movies, and I love crazy theories about movies. Moreover, I think it's fantastic when people are meticulous about this stuff.

But – well, I don't think there's evidence, for instance, that Kubrick even looked at timecodes. That may be intuitive to us now with our DVDs, but the DVD versions were released after Kubrick died, so he couldn't have even had a hand in them. And while I'm not familiar with his particular style of direction, all the directors I've read about tended to judge movie time by feet of film or by frames, not by minutes and seconds. Maybe somebody can verify what kind of equipment Kubrick edited on; that would be useful.

Until then, this stuff seems dramatically implausible – at least the stuff about minutes and seconds in scenes and stuff. Sure, Kubrick put a lot of numbers into his films, and they probably repeated a lot, probably intentionally. But I don't think timecodes could possible have anything to do with that.
posted by koeselitz at 12:36 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


The neon green text on a black background makes your theories automatically lose at least 5 credibility points.

Any time you add up the number of letters in someone's name to prove something, you lose another 2 credibility points.

And counting the number of pages that someone flips through to clock in another instance of that number appearing? Minus 7 points.

Pointing out scuff marks on the floor changing? Come on, dude. 10 points gone.

And yet... I think this guy might be on to something.
posted by k8lin at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, I'm only a little way into it, but it appears to be a good example of the human mind's desperation to see patterns where there are none.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!
posted by Fizz at 6:39 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

And, now we go deeper... it's favception...
posted by jkaczor at 3:01 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] [!]

GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD!!!
posted by Fizz at 3:05 PM on January 27 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!1
posted by 40 Watt at 3:08 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]


WORLD BACK IN BALANCE!
posted by Jahaza at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does he ever field a hypothesis about what the numbers supposedly mean?
I sincerely would like to know, I'm not being snide.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this the first time this has been posted here? The Shining analysis is epic, I thought surely it would've been covered here on Metafilter.

Now here's my question: In Eyes Wide Shut, every exterior street scene has a dead end in the bg at the end of the street where the action is happening ( Tom Cruise getting out of a cab, etc.) . The street dead ends into another street , making a T shape. This occurs even when at alleged various locations. Why? is it because it's a stage set and that's what they had to work with? Not likely, this is Kubrick! And if I noticed it, he noticed at ..and allowed it.
I'd love to hear if anyone else has noticed.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:39 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it is true that the vast soundstage that comprises the interior of the Overlook would never fit into the Timberline Lodge, which is presented as it's exterior. Therefore it is a TARDIS.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


But – well, I don't think there's evidence, for instance, that Kubrick even looked at timecodes. That may be intuitive to us now with our DVDs, but the DVD versions were released after Kubrick died, so he couldn't have even had a hand in them.

He couldn't have used a stopwatch? Film theory before the video era abounds with discussions of shot length, film length, etc. It didn't take David Bordwell and digital timing technology to kick off that discussion. Directors and editors knew how long their shots were.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:42 PM on January 27, 2012


It never matters what the artist intends, because how would that affect the experience?

You know, there are real problems with the intentional fallacy. Some of the obvious ones are just pragmatic--in fact we obviously care enormously about what artists say about their work. Imagine if we discovered a letter from Shakespeare claiming that King Lear was a complex political allegory about contemporary court politics. That's the kind of claim we simply would not be able to ignore. Productions would be mounted to bring that skein of meaning out. Every highschool student and undergrad student who ever studied the play would be taught about it from that perspective etc. etc.

And, o.k., we can obviously say "yeah, sure, but that's simply a vulgar error--the text is the text is the text, and Shakespeare may well have written it, but in the end he's just another consumer/interpreter of it. It means what it means. It's those words in that order, regardless of what Shakespeare at some point decides they mean."

But there's a problem with that claim, too. We never actually believe that a text is "just those words in that order." We always read them at the minimum as the words produced by a generic "person of that time-period." Think how uncomplicatedly we will say to a student who reads a modern meaning into words that could not have meant that to the author that they're misreading the lines and committing an anachronism. But if we genuinely believe that the words are "just those marks on the paper in that order" what does "anachronism" mean? That's still an appeal to "intent"--we are ruling out that reading of the words because it could not have been available to the author as an intended meaning at the time of writing.

Similarly, we rule out any reading of, say, a Shakespeare play as an allegory of C18th politics--no matter how well it might happen to fit. Think how often scholars are desperate to prove that a given author either did in fact read some source or at the least could have read some source as a way of authorizing an interpretive argument in relationship to that source. I think the idea of the "intentional fallacy" is useful as a way of prying off the dead hand of a pure subjection to "authorial intent." But we still actually need some limited kind of "author function" to control the range of possible meanings and applications of texts.
posted by yoink at 12:43 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


No, it's not.

Yes, it is.

(P.S. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.)
posted by yoink at 12:46 PM on January 27, 2012


I've skimmed through most of it, and it seems that his central hypothesis is this:
In this film Stanley Kubrick has either used his ability as a director to deceive, or to show us how easy it is to deceive. You decide which is right.
And also that Kubrick seems to have some sort of strange vendetta against King.
posted by codacorolla at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2012


I'd love to hear if anyone else has noticed.


I am obsessed with the exterior street scenes in Eyes Wide Shut. Every time I watch it I think I should know those streets, since streets that dead end into another street are somewhat uncommon in Manhattan. They seem so familiar, so much like actual streets, but so different I am forced to think that Kubrick created streets that were both familiar and dissimilar to actual streets. I think they are dream streets.

I am also obsessed with the stickers in the, I think she was a Prostitute, Apartment. They are so distinctly of an era which is not current. It forces me to think the scene was a pastiche, and was a dream of a fantasy sequence. I don't have screen shots of them, but they are pretty prominent.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:47 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I don't think timecodes could possible have anything to do with that.

I'm also curious about what equipment the blogger is using, because films like The Shining exist in 24 frames a second, but when they're converted to digital media they have to be massaged into 30 frames per second. So looking at something on DVD and saying it is 24 seconds 'to the frame' can't really mean anything relevant to the guy who died before the DVD was made.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:48 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, by the way, if you're put off by him discussing the time codes, scroll all the way down and see him incorporate Mayan astrology in to the mix.
posted by codacorolla at 12:50 PM on January 27, 2012


This post reminds all I really long for in life is to make a comfortable living writing fiendishly elaborate symbolism theories about fiction and posting them on the Internet. A mad dream, I know, but a lovely one. I would take requests, a base price of $5, with extra charges for adding length, sourced footnotes, personalized tapering levels of crazy, textual echolalia, interpretive handpuppets, etc. A deluxe commentary package at $5000 or so would offer sestinas about Final Girls written in my own blood in a mutilated copy of House of Leaves that I would hand-deliver to your door with the relevant video slideshow of sinister spiral patterns visible within '90s romantic comedies, so that I could provide the needed background raspy breathing for ambiance (now available on iTunes). I would also bake brownies.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:51 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, there was a deleted ending that was changed right after release? I've never heard of this before, but a quick googling shows a bunch of references to it.

whoah.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2012


I am obsessed with the exterior street scenes in Eyes Wide Shut. Every time I watch it I think I should know those streets, since streets that dead end into another street are somewhat uncommon in Manhattan. They seem so familiar, so much like actual streets, but so different I am forced to think that Kubrick created streets that were both familiar and dissimilar to actual streets. I think they are dream streets.

By the time Kubrick directed Eyes Wide Shut he hadn't been in New York in, I think, something like thirty years. The whole film was shot in England, mostly on sound stages (there are some second-unit shots of like a taxi driving over a bridge that were shot on location in NYC but Kubrick didn't go himself). The exterior street scenes were shot entirely on sound stages using just a couple of intersections. If you look you'll see that the same blue mailbox is on almost every corner because they simply didn't build very many sets.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:52 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm home sick and actually read the whole thing. It's... long.

TLDR [essay spoilers]:

In-movie:

- The Overlook itself isn't haunted.
- Every major cast member has the ability to "Shine," which extends to (unconscious?) telekinesis.
- Jack has the strongest Shine, and is forcing visions into the minds of the others; the fact that his Shine is strongest is also why Dick doesn't see him a'coming with the axe.
- It's Jack that lures Dick back to the Overlook, not Danny.
- Jack can Shine so strongly because he is, or has been possessed by, Satan.

Meta:

- Kubrick "reversed" the dynamic of King's original novel, and this can be seen in colour reversals (red car, yellow snow machine in the novel; yellow car, red snow machine in the movie).
- Also the fact that Nicholson is wearing a Stovington shirt at the beginning of the movie (a fictional King town) and he is seen reflected in a mirror.
- And most of the number stuff, which is all about reversals.


Nutty:

- Lee Harvey Oswald's face was airbrushed onto a photo by the CIA, just like Jack into the photo in the last shot of the movie.
- Backmasking to "reveal" that Jack is saying "Help Me" backwards in the last few seconds of his life.
- Every single continuity error is a part of a deliberate master plan by Kubrick and a message to us in the audience. Every. Single. One.
- The author discusses scenes that were cut out of the movie at the last second, but counts backwards from the end of the movie for several of his "a-ha!" 11/12/24/42 notes, meaning that Kubrick would have to not have only planned every second of film, but also planned it around the last-minute removal of a scene at the end.



There's obviously a lot more in there, but those are the major theses, as far as I understand them.
posted by Shepherd at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2012 [30 favorites]


If I ever become a famous director, I'm going to do a conspiracy thriller film and spend all of my free time figuring out an intricate hidden number/letter correspondence for every sequence of the film, and once you spend several dozens of hours scouring the movie frame by frame and discovering microscopic numbers in blu-ray magnification and cracking the code (which extends to the DVD extras and commentary, naturally), then the end message you'll get is "GET A LIFE MOTHERFUCKER."
posted by naju at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


This guy reads like a schizophrenic or possibly a speed freak. The long-winded, rambling, nearly incoherent seeing of patterns which probably aren't there.

Really, that boy just ain't right.
posted by Justinian at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2012


outlandishmarxist: “He couldn't have used a stopwatch? Film theory before the video era abounds with discussions of shot length, film length, etc. It didn't take David Bordwell and digital timing technology to kick off that discussion. Directors and editors knew how long their shots were.”

I will grant that this is true for the length of scenes and the length of shots. But the DVD timecode includes the length of things like the marquee of the film company, things that Kubrick would not have had control over in editing. Or are you really claiming that Kubrick went to the extraordinary length of obtaining the marquee and permission to edit against it before even beginning? If so, I think that requires some documentary evidence.

Also, this is clearly taking a wrong turn:

from article: “What’s a little odd is the names of the cast members from that final deleted scene are still shown at the end of the movie. Considering Stanley Kubrick is one of the most renowned perfectionists in the history of movie making, this is very sloppy indeed; unbelievably sloppy unless that deleted scene is actually an important and intentional part of the movie and we're supposed to notice it.”

Well, actually – if you read the page that this guy himself linked to just before this part, you know that this cut was made by the projectionists in the theaters themselves, since the cut was made after the movie was already released. There was no chance for Kubrick to sneakily leave the names they were, because Kubrick wouldn't have had the chance to change it anyway even if he'd wanted; directors don't generally get to go back and edit films after they've been released, and removing the scene was already quite egregious on Kubrick's part. Yet the writer here talks as though Kubrick had complete control over the end credits, even though he clearly didn't.
posted by koeselitz at 12:54 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Think how uncomplicatedly we will say to a student who reads a modern meaning into words that could not have meant that to the author that they're misreading the lines and committing an anachronism. But if we genuinely believe that the words are "just those marks on the paper in that order" what does "anachronism" mean? That's still an appeal to "intent"--we are ruling out that reading of the words because it could not have been available to the author as an intended meaning at the time of writing.

I think that anyone who instructs a student thusly is a pretty poor teacher. The whole point (if I can pretend that there's one point) of literature and art is that it allows an audience to discover new ways of thinking. If some dumb kid in 10th grade reads The Scarlet Letter and writes a paper about how it's an allegory about Halo or something, and his arguments are sound and he learns something and likes the book because of it, in what sense is that wrong? Only in the most boring sense, I think.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:56 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you look you'll see that the same blue mailbox is on almost every corner because they simply didn't build very many sets.


I can buy that, but I think there is a reason why they used the same set.

The streets also give a feeling of being enclosed or trapped, there is no direction you can look and see the horizon.

Interesting to note, at least for me, is that most of the T dead ends I can think of in Manhattan are near Chinatown. Which fits in with the scene where the costume shop owner's daughter is interrupted with the various asian men.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2012


Shelley Duvall says that he [Kubrick] cut the scene in the link, koeselitz. Yeah the time code thing may be a stretch, but classical musicians have been rigorous about time, sometimes down to the second, since the 17th century; I don't see why filmmakers shouldn't be expected to do the same.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2012


Somehow have never gotten around to watching this movie.

It nearly slots into the category of "films from King books that aren't as good as the book".
posted by rodgerd at 1:00 PM on January 27, 2012


I'd go with "is better than", myself. Admittedly a far smaller category.
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


If some dumb kid in 10th grade reads The Scarlet Letter and writes a paper about how it's an allegory about Halo or something, and his arguments are sound and he learns something and likes the book because of it, in what sense is that wrong?

BRAGGING TIME.

In college (and, unfortunately, on a day when I was out sick) a literature professor read my paper to the class, anonymously, thank god, as an example of how papers in his class should be written. It wasn't specifically because it was just a good paper, but because I had a very good argument for a theory that was basically wrong.

My point being that intent isn't as important as you make it out to be, yoink. If you want to continue using your Shakespeare example, such a letter would be considerably less influential than you think. Every production of Shakespeare takes into account not just the text, but, (ha ha) the intent of the director. The assumption that you can do a Shakespeare play "straight" or whatever is incorrect. Performances of Shakespeare are considerably more informed by other performances than they are by Shakespeare himself. That's why, for instance, the role of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (a play I'm more familiar with than Lear) is so mercurial. He's been played as run-of-the-mill Evil Jew caricature when anti-Semitism was the norm, and, in times closer to ours, he's been played as a tragic figure. Does the prominence of the former mean it's the correct way to perform the part? No. And if we found a letter from Shakespeare going all "GRAR JEWS," it would still be as varied as a role as it is, and it would still be taught in schools that the character can be seen in both ways.
posted by griphus at 1:06 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Intentional Fallacy, meet Unintentional Fallacy. Nothing below the belt, no rough stuff, I want a good, clean fight."
posted by outlandishmarxist at 1:08 PM on January 27, 2012


Bladerunner remains a weaker price once Deckard is signposted as a robot, no matter how "right" it is.
posted by Artw at 1:09 PM on January 27, 2012


Does he ever field a hypothesis about what the numbers supposedly mean?
I sincerely would like to know, I'm not being snide.


The Mayan apocalypse. And something about pissing off Freud and Stephen King.
posted by shelleycat at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]




The Mayan apocalypse. And something about pissing off Freud and Stephen King.
posted by shelleycat at 1:10 PM on January 27 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


That was totally worth the foreplay.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:10 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, there was a deleted ending that was changed right after release? I've never heard of this before, but a quick googling shows a bunch of references to it.

Kubrick did this a few times. Strangelove, 2001 and A Clockwork Orange were re-edited after the initial release.
posted by octothorpe at 1:13 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I assumed the original post would mention "Room 237," the documentary about this very subject that debuted this week at Sundance--reviewers have been raving about it: Hollywood Reporter | New York Times | SlashFilm
posted by prinado at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's obviously a lot more in there, but those are the major theses, as far as I understand them.

You missed out the July 4th photo and a bunch of other numbers and the hedge maze pointing to the Mayan apocalypse. The apocalypse in general seemed like a pretty strong theme to me (also stuff about tanks and biblical chapters and blah blah).

But other wise your list is pretty much what I got from it all (and the weird Freud shit at the end) and I kind of can't believe I read the whole thing.
posted by shelleycat at 1:19 PM on January 27, 2012


If some dumb kid in 10th grade reads The Scarlet Letter and writes a paper about how it's an allegory about Halo or something, and his arguments are sound and he learns something and likes the book because of it, in what sense is that wrong?

It's wrong in pretty much the way you assume when you say it's some "dumb kid" who is writing the argument and that the only reason you're tolerating it is because at least that "dumb kid" seems to have gotten something out of the argument.

In other words, you don't think it's the kind of argument "smart kids" would make about the play. You don't think that it's the kind of argument a Shakespeare scholar would try to get published. It's clearly outside the generally accepted "rules" of the literary interpretation game. And those "rules" are ones that rely on a kind of generic "intentionality" even while they often explicitly condemn it.

Performances of Shakespeare are considerably more informed by other performances than they are by Shakespeare himself.

But that is precisely because we know so little about what "Shakespeare himself" thought. My argument wasn't that a letter from Shakespeare would instantly rule out all other interpretations of the play, by the way. Or that there would never be another production that didn't try to make some allusion to that line of interpretation. We have plenty of authors who left substantial commentary on their works, after all, and directors often gleefully ignore them. It was simply that it would be hugely consequential for our interpretive discussions about the work. The reaction would not be "ho hum, well, that's one more interpretation, I guess." It would become a highly privileged interpretation. One, as I say, that you would not be able to study the play without encountering (even if your particular Professor was arguing against it).

Your Merchant of Venice example is a good one, by the way. That play has already become a difficult one to stage in this day and age. Companies that produce it will often go to great lengths to contextualize it for the audience and hold Q&A sessions after the production where the issue of antisemitism will be hashed over etc. Were we to discover a letter from Shakespeare in which he vehemently railed against the Jews and declared his desire for them all to be eradicated from the earth (a highly unlikely discovery, I may say) that would be front page news on pretty nearly every newspaper in the world. It would make producing the play extremely difficult. I think you'd see it almost disappear from the repertoire. And it would hugely color scholarly interpretation of the play in future.

Yes, there would still be scholars who argued that "despite himself" Shakespeare actually treated Shylock far more evenhandedly than you would expect from his letter. But the very fact that the letter would be something one feels one has to take into account demolishes the extreme "it's just a series of marks on the page" version of the "intentional fallacy."
posted by yoink at 1:23 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]



- The Overlook itself isn't haunted.
- Every major cast member has the ability to "Shine," which extends to (unconscious?) telekinesis.
- Jack has the strongest Shine, and is forcing visions into the minds of the others; the fact that his Shine is strongest is also why Dick doesn't see him a'coming with the axe.
- It's Jack that lures Dick back to the Overlook, not Danny.
- Jack can Shine so strongly because he is, or has been possessed by, Satan.


We're all pretty much on the same page about the Hotel being some kind of semi-sentient netherworld of bad vibes that lacks agency and the kid being it's unwitting power source and Jack being it's tool, with the aim of offing them both and therefore absorbing them, right?
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


In other words, you don't think it's the kind of argument "smart kids" would make about the play.

No, that's incorrect. You're reading too much into my usage of the word 'dumb.'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2012


I think The Shining is plenty interesting, complicated, full of subtext and ripe for interpretation without getting into numerology and most-likely-a-coincidence type parallels.

The idea that it was an allegory about the genocide of native Americans was mentioned above; The Family Of Man is a short, readable essay about that idea which I found convincing.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:26 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


posted by Bookhouse at 2:24 PM on January 27 [2 favorites +] [!]

Holy fuck!! There are 2 favourites!!!!!


Hmm, interesting. I only see favorites.


I see . . . dead favorites.
posted by jeremias at 1:27 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


We're all pretty much on the same page about the Hotel being some kind of semi-sentient netherworld of bad vibes that lacks agency and the kid being it's unwitting power source and Jack being it's tool, with the aim of offing them both and therefore absorbing them, right?

Actually, no, this guy argues that the hotel isn't haunted or able to shine or whatever, it's all driven by the main character's own supernatural abilities. Personally I'm with you, the creepy hotel is much creepier.
posted by shelleycat at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2012


Couldn't get past the first few paragraphs of blathering without providing any information.
posted by univac at 1:29 PM on January 27, 2012


You could *almost* get away with it all being entirely non supernatural bar the fridge door opening. Of course, everyone would have to be having very consistent hallucinations.
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy is nuts. The hidden message in The Shining was Kubrick trying to tell us he faked the moon landing.
posted by notmydesk at 1:36 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Haunting is a straight up lesbo gang-bang, of course.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on January 27, 2012


Also, what's with saying that the setting for the movie is Oregon? There's no "Boulder" in Oregon.
posted by koeselitz at 1:43 PM on January 27, 2012


The Timberline is in Oregon - the source of teh confusion? But it;s quite clearly stated that the Overlook is near Sidewinder, Colorado.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on January 27, 2012


I have no idea where the maze is though - from all appearances it appears that it should be under a moutainside or hovering over a drop.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on January 27, 2012


In the book, yes. His point in this article is that he thinks Kubrick changed the location from Colorado to Oregon. Yet the film does mention Boulder repeatedly – doesn't it?
posted by koeselitz at 1:52 PM on January 27, 2012


Maybe I'll have to watch this movie again... heh.
posted by koeselitz at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2012


I watch it every year. It's Colorado.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on January 27, 2012


ORDO AB CHAO
posted by mediated self at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2012


This guy's tedious conspiracies aside - after reading that wonderful previous link and watching The Shining a few times I was convinced that it's simultaneously about 1) the Native American genocide, 2) modern American imperialism and 3) the abuse of Danny by his father, and the ways in which these global/familial-personal/political-oppressed/oppressor relationships have parallels and are even cross-allegories to an extent. It's a fantastically complex and rich work and in my reading it's deeply frightening in both a visceral and intellectual way, dense, and viciously critical of American history and way of life. I'm looking forward to seeing that new documentary.
posted by naju at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


This article talks a lot about continuity errors and how significant they are; interestingly enough, this reminded me of one of my absolute favorite directors, the insanely artful Yasujiro Ozu, and his peculiar philosophy about continuity errors:
"There was this table with beer bottles and some dishes and an ashtray on it, and we had shot the scene from one side and were going to shoot it from the other side when [Director Yasujiro] Ozu came up and began shifting the objects around. I was so shocked that I said that if he did that he would create a bad break in continuity, that everyone would notice that the beer bottles were not on the right and the ashtray on the left. He stopped, looked at me, and said: 'Continuity? Oh, that. No, you're wrong. People never notice things like that – and this way it makes a much better composition.' And he was right, of course. People don't. When I saw the rushes I didn't notice anything wrong with those scenes."
– Masahiro Shinoda, assistant director on Late Autumn [1960]

Maybe what matters isn't continuity but beauty.

posted by koeselitz at 2:01 PM on January 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, that's incorrect. You're reading too much into my usage of the word 'dumb.'

"Dumb" includes "smart"?

Seriously--do you think a smart kid with his/her eyes on a good program in English at a top university is going to send in a writing sample about how Hamlet is based on Halo? I mean, a brilliant comparison of their symbolism or something--sure. But an argument that says that Hamlet is making direct allusions to aspects of the game play and that certain lines in Hamlet are drawn from lines within the game of Halo? Maybe an argument that when the player Queen says:

Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!


there is an intertextual pun on the word "strife" that is meant to evoke the word "strafe" and the action of strafing fire?

No, the smart student won't make an argument of that kind because the smart student understands the rules of the game. And those rules are, as I'm arguing, intriguingly contradictory on the notion of authorial 'intent.' The smart kid will know not to make an argument that says "this can only mean X because we know that Shakespeare personally believed Y..." but will also know that you can't impute meanings to the text that would not have been available historically to the actual historical Shakespeare.
posted by yoink at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Besides, if the Hotel were on Mount Hood it would be waaaaaay too close to Snoqualmie, and it would be in conflict with The Black Lodge for victims.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on January 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I love that about Ozu. Every shot composition is perfect, and if you pay any attention you can see the continuity errors (there's a particular red tea kettle in Floating Weeds that just dances all over the place between shots) but you don't even care because of the magnificent beauty in front of you.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


/wonders if the "hungry house" is a recognised recuring theme in horror fiction, consideres searching TV tropes, pulls back in time.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Shining has lots of continuity errors but they filmed for almost a year, did scores of takes for each shot, improvised a lot and kept re-writing the script during the whole shoot. If you make a movie that way, there's going to be a lot of little continuity errors.
posted by octothorpe at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2012


The reversing carpet thing is sufficiently creepy that I hope it is deliberate though.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Dumb" includes "smart"?

I think the construction 'some dumb kid' sounds funny, so I used it.

Seriously--do you think a smart kid with his/her eyes on a good program in English at a top university is going to send in a writing sample about how Hamlet is based on Halo?

No, because claims about Hamlet being based on Halo are clearly claims of authorial intent, and that is, as you've said, an anachronistic assertion. But I think that any arguments about what Hamlet is based on are no longer arguments about a work of art and are more in the realm of arguments about a particular historical figure (in this case Shakespeare). Which is all fine and dandy but doesn't have much to do with the intentional fallacy, as the intentional fallacy is focused on meaning rather than circumstances.

The smart kid will know not to make an argument that says "this can only mean X because we know that Shakespeare personally believed Y..." but will also know that you can't impute meanings to the text that would not have been available historically to the actual historical Shakespeare.

See, and it seems to me here that you're begging the question. As far as I'm concerned, ever since the New Critics, we've understood that the act of critical interpretation can't help but impute meanings to the text, and as such we tend to couch our arguments. It can certainly be interesting to allow an author's cultural and historical context to inform your reading, but it certainly isn't necessary. The only thing Hamlet is objectively about is the exact substance of what's on the pages of the various folio editions. The moment you say that it's about self-doubt, madness, revenge, or anything else, you are imposing a particular understanding that comes in part from your own particular cultural and historical context (informed by Freud, for example). When was the last time you read some scholarly piece on Hamlet that didn't make some kind of reference to ideas about the subconscious that we've only had for the past 150 years?

In any case, I think restricting critical analysis to strict terms of historicity to be profoundly dull, because after a certain point that transforms pretty much all works of art into historical artifacts rather than living texts that continue to grow new limbs and facial features as our context changes. I'd hate to live in a world where talking about the parallels and inferences between Hamlet and Halo were immediately disregarded. I'd hate to live in a world where we can't look at The Scarlet Letter and explore the ways in which it intersects with contemporary politics and pop culture and shit. An aesthetic critical framework which is only interested in drawing ever-closer to some Holy Singular Meaning created by a Divine Genius Artist seems profoundly boring.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2012


It's hard to believe anyone has been on MeFi for very long without seeing someone use all of their cleverness to do something really dumb.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, that's incorrect. You're reading too much into my usage of the word 'dumb.'

This is a good example of why I take issue with the hermeticism of the intentional fallacy. Like yoink said, it is a very useful tool, but in ruling out any considerations about what the author may have intended, it seems that we blind ourselves to treating art as a form of communication, however fuzzy its semiotics may be in comparison to more explicit modes of dialog. I don't disagree with anything you've wrote in your most recent post, it's more that I think critical interpretation is most satisfying with the application of several divergent hermeneutics.
posted by invitapriore at 2:28 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


By a good example I meant the fact that we all pretty much agree that yoink misunderstood you, even though the only evidence for that is your assertion effect. Obviously things are much less cut and dry when we move away from something as goal-oriented as a conversation, but the general issue applies.

Also, "you've wrote" should be "you've written."
posted by invitapriore at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2012


Arr! "Your assertion to that effect." I'm done.
posted by invitapriore at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2012


all beans and no plate makes jack a dull boy
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:33 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


TL;DR: Author combines MySpace webpage formatting with pareidolia.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2012


"Perfectionism without attention to detail can be a real train wreck..."

This made me laugh.

"I’m going to use this quote a lot, “Not things that anyone can notice, but things that people who 'shine' can see.""

It's almost as if he thinks...
posted by iamkimiam at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how much the formatting of a site can tell you about the content. posted by Gordafarin at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


"...it's more that I think critical interpretation is most satisfying with the application of several divergent hermeneutics."

Yes, yes, yes...a thousand times "yes".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:26 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw: "/wonders if the "hungry house" is a recognised recuring theme in horror fiction, consideres searching TV tropes, pulls back in time"

I'm curious too. Of course, TVTropes is a hungry house all of its own, so maybe someone else could go in and check? I just wrote a little thing on this theme myself a couple of months ago, so I'm wondering how common it is. Off the top of my head, and taken more or less literally, House of Leaves, Dionaea House, Monster House, The Thief of Always, The Shunned House, The Amityville Horror... There are a bunch.

And now the word "house" looks like nonsense to me.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:30 PM on January 27, 2012


If I ever become a famous director, I'm going to do a conspiracy thriller film and spend all of my free time figuring out an intricate hidden number/letter correspondence for every sequence of the film, and once you spend several dozens of hours scouring the movie frame by frame and discovering microscopic numbers in blu-ray magnification and cracking the code (which extends to the DVD extras and commentary, naturally), then the end message you'll get is "GET A LIFE MOTHERFUCKER."

Do this, but instead make it say "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:49 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know how you people read that site. I could only take 2 minutes before it started burning into my retina.

This makes me think about a couple of things I'm working on. There's a project I'm working on and doing a critical analysis of the movie through a specific lens. I keep having to make sure I'm not allowing that lens to become too large by allowing things in that really have no relation to what I'm talking about. It can be an easy thing to do, especially when you believe you have a unique perspective and want to explore it. At a certain point you want to be able to tell someone, but you should also make sure it doesn't sound like you have the crazy.

I also have a paper due on drugs in movies. When it came time to pick a movie I ran five or ten different films through my head that I could have fun exploring and then I thought I should at least go for an easy A. So I picked Inception and how a man destroys himself, loses his wife, and children through the use of drugs. I think I'll make the top represent Dom's mental stability, which will dovetail nicely with the idea he cleans himself up at the end and gets to see his kids. I have no idea what I'm going to about the crux of the plot. Maybe say Fischer is Dom, and it's him trying to treat himself and blablabla.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:50 PM on January 27, 2012


Imagine if this movie had Jodie Foster in it.
posted by Trochanter at 3:55 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


This guy's writing is fascinating. It's like he's written this piece 80 times and strung 'em all together in one crayola bright box opus. There are certain words (over 142 "visions"!!!) and phrases (this cannot be disputed) that he just LOVES. Not to mention the 124+ sentences that start with "I". I just wanna go corpus crazy on him!

Also, from the comments:
"It's interesting that in "2001: A Space Odyssey" HAL says he has been activated on the 12th January 1992. So we have 12, and 1+9+9+2=21."

And 8 days later, Ice Cube had a good day. 21+8 = 29. 2+9 = 11!!!!

Do I even need to mention that these are 4 posts apart on MetaFilter's front page?

Or the current year?

posted by iamkimiam at 3:58 PM on January 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or the current year?

Which, it should be mentioned, is one digit away from "2112," this being a clever bit of misdirection on the part of Kubrick (it can't all be easy, after all), who has in death deposed God from His throne to become Director of Everything. Rumor is he's pretty happy with the whole omnipotency thing absolving him of the need to do multiple takes, though I guess he's still a little dissatisfied with some of the actors in the production.
posted by invitapriore at 4:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Continuity "errors" are frequently used to create a sense of subconscious unease among viewers. However some of us are better than others at noticing these anyway. We've also become more conscious of their usage over the years.

Kubrick uses discontinuity in many other films, most notably Eyes Wide Shut, etc.
posted by onesidys at 4:13 PM on January 27, 2012


All the pictures he had proving "this guy's tie CHANGED COLOR from one shot to the next", all that was going on was, "the lighting changed because they were in a different room."

And I think the reason I'm fixating on that detail was because the rest of it just made me go, "phweeeee?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone has been watching a bit too much LOST...

4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

OMG I just realized that the the number 42 us on Danny's shirt....
posted by littlesq at 4:15 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reading over more of this, it's sad how he mixes in aspects that could conceivably be deliberate (the typewriter changes color) with things that are obviously the result of, say, lighting changing because a scene is set at a different time of day. The bit about the Indian Head can is compelling, but then there's a ridiculous bit about how King doesn't explain the "hidden Indian" line in the book (so he missed a pop culture reference), and then there's this, which is one of the most ridiculous and poorly argued "arguments" I've ever encountered.
There's nowhere in the movie where Dick Hallorann lies, cheats, dumbs down, exaggerates, misleads or tells any falsehood to anyone at all. Any attempt at un-explaining this explicit statement that he makes to his friend Larry Durkin about why he’s returning to The Overlook and who sends him there is pure speculation and a fabrication from the mind of someone that has another agenda, someone who doesn’t want his statement to be true. But what Stanley Kubrick has him say is very explicit and we don’t have enough information to make a wild guess that contradicts what Dick Hallorann plainly states. In the end, as in life, we either believe what he says because of the type of person he is or we don’t. There's no other information to go by in the film. But what’s even more important is; his statement is either true or it isn’t as Stanley Kubrick gives us no other explanation in the movie as to why he returns to the hotel. If it’s true, the implications of the sentence on how we view this movie are immense. His statement totally changes everything about what's actually going on under the surface of this movie because the phones are out and the only way his boss could know something is wrong at the hotel is if he sees the exact same vision of Jack walking into room 237 as Dick and Danny see. There is no other way he could know and the only information we’re given from Stanley Kubrick about this is contained in that sentence. This is what totally frustrates so many of my readers who have a certain agenda. If you don't want to believe the obvious, that Stanley Kubrick gives the "Shine" to other characters in his film than you'll fight this sentence of Dick Hallorann's vehemently. But you can't change it.
I mean, this is just crazycakes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:22 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And I think the reason I'm fixating on that detail was because the rest of it just made me go, 'phweeeee?'"

That might have been the kettle, you should check.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the time Kubrick directed Eyes Wide Shut he hadn't been in New York in, I think, something like thirty years. The whole film was shot in England, mostly on sound stages (there are some second-unit shots of like a taxi driving over a bridge that were shot on location in NYC but Kubrick didn't go himself). The exterior street scenes were shot entirely on sound stages using just a couple of intersections. If you look you'll see that the same blue mailbox is on almost every corner because they simply didn't build very many sets.

That seems a little sloppy for Kubrick to let those details slide even if it is a sound stage. Maybe that's the reason, but I hope there's something more deliberate behind it.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2012


onesidys: "Continuity "errors" are frequently used to create a sense of subconscious unease among viewers. However some of us are better than others at noticing these anyway. We've also become more conscious of their usage over the years. "

This is interesting, I can think of a few examples, including a couple of obvious not so subconscious ones (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover), but is there a list somewhere? Specifically stuff outside of Kubrick.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:27 PM on January 27, 2012


Holy smokes. What must it be like to live with this guy?
posted by crunchland at 4:28 PM on January 27, 2012


I don't know what you guys are talking about. After a few lines of meth and huffing some turpentine this is TOTALLY MAKING SENSE!1!!!!

Seriously, though, if Kubrick was into to this kind of thing there would be some kind of reward, payoff or story-telling reason for it.
posted by snsranch at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2012


That seems a little sloppy for Kubrick to let those details slide

It could be he became preoccupied during the project with, you know, being dead.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:29 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


"What must it be like to live with this guy?"

Once you experience what he has to show you, you'll never look at living the same.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:35 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


ethnomethodologist: "One thing I noticed about The Shining is that it's incredibly fucking overrated and that I've seen dozens of scarier movies.

Sick of the stupid adulation this movie gets
"

One thing I've noticed about you is that you're out of your fucking mind, just like the guy who wrote this blog post. No offense.
posted by Red Loop at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]



It could be he became preoccupied during the project with, you know, being dead.


He didn't become dead until after filming the movie.
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:57 PM on January 27, 2012


"No offense."

None taken.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:00 PM on January 27, 2012


I'm just happy to discover a site that has this many stills from The Shining.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:24 PM on January 27, 2012


Why so many hidden Indians?
posted by Catch at 5:28 PM on January 27, 2012


Text is loading, but pictures are toast. Looks like MeFi crashed yet another website.
posted by zardoz at 5:48 PM on January 27, 2012


That seems a little sloppy for Kubrick to let those details slide

I dunno, I think people put a little too much emphasis on Kubrick's obsessive attention to detail. I mean, yeah, he had hundreds of photographs of doors around NYC so that he could find the 'right' door to be on the front of the building to the prostitute's house, but he really was just a guy, you know? And movies are a lot of work, and take (for Kubrick) like a year to shoot, and it's pretty easy to lose track of shit that isn't very important when you're working on a giant project like that.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:05 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aw, Photobucket...
posted by Gordafarin at 6:22 PM on January 27, 2012


D'ye suppose if someone showed him Drowning by Numbers, his head would explode?

That said if anyone (apart from Greenaway) was mad enough to do something like this, it was Kubrick. If it made any sense at all I'd be quite prepared to believe that he had.
posted by Grangousier at 6:38 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is interesting, I can think of a few examples, including a couple of obvious not so subconscious ones (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover), but is there a list somewhere? Specifically stuff outside of Kubrick.
Memento features a license plate that changes between scenes. It's a "fallability of memory" gag.
posted by EmGeeJay at 6:38 PM on January 27, 2012


I just want to say, that Shining is the best Disney trailer ever.
posted by SPrintF at 6:40 PM on January 27, 2012


but is there a list somewhere?

I'd very much like to see this list. If anyone wants to see another director who was obsessive in detail and where most everything on the screen means something, my suggestion is to check out Kieślowski's The Three Colors Trilogy.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:47 PM on January 27, 2012


You know what would be cool? Some kind of collaborative screening of The Three Colors Trilogy and some kind of 'net seminar on it. I recently got the HD versions of the three films for an intended re-watch. I think Blue is the best of the three, but I might be biased because Binoche in that film was at that time the most beautiful woman in the entire world.

A Greenaway screening and discussion would be good, too. Cook and Drowning, I'd propose.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:00 PM on January 27, 2012


darn, the site has exceeded bandwidth - can't see any of the screen shots.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:30 PM on January 27, 2012


I think Blue is the best of the three,

I quite agree, but for whatever reason critical consensus seems to be that Red is superior. Everyone else is wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:48 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joakim Ziegler : This is interesting, I can think of a few examples, including a couple of obvious not so subconscious ones (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover), but is there a list somewhere? Specifically stuff outside of Kubrick.

Definitely in David Lynch productions.... it's interesting to see how discontinuity became embraced as a means of postmodern expression mastered by Kubrick.
posted by onesidys at 9:41 PM on January 27, 2012


Genius Loci is, apparently, the correct TV Trope.
posted by Artw at 10:08 PM on January 27, 2012


Also, according to TV Tropes: "In the movie version, the layout of the hotel makes no sense whatsoever. Stuart Ullman's office has a nice big window in the middle of the building, the Colorado Room has multiple floor to ceiling windows with a mystery hallway behind them. The hotel interiors are designed at nice right angles in building that doesn't. The freezer flips sides of the hallway between shots. This was done deliberately for dramtic/horror effect."

Don't go in there and look though, it's a trap that will drain your soul.
posted by Artw at 10:10 PM on January 27, 2012


No, that's incorrect. You're reading too much into my usage of the word 'dumb.'
posted by shakespeherian at 3:25 PM on January 27 [+] [!]


Maybe he was just ignoring authorial intent.
posted by goethean at 10:33 PM on January 27, 2012


Movie audiences sometimes seek to attain a sense of normalcy, other times they go to be removed from normalcy.....
posted by onesidys at 10:38 PM on January 27, 2012


My God! It's full of stars.
posted by Gungho at 5:29 AM on January 28, 2012


So I finally get around to looking at this and all the photobucket pix have died... it's a conspiracy!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:18 AM on January 28, 2012


Can someone summarize this for those of who find it tldrtc? (too long, don't read time-cube)
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:20 AM on January 28, 2012


Whenever I write something of any length I'll toss in the odd known conspiracy reference (eg '23') in the hope that future readers will find loads more that arn't really there and I'll look dead clever....




... or do I?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:21 AM on January 28, 2012


Can someone summarize this for those of who find it tldrtc? (too long, don't read time-cube)

Start here
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:23 AM on January 28, 2012


Oh and I was hoping for the Fake Moon Landing conspiracy...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:25 AM on January 28, 2012


You people are crazy. Blue is okay, but it just ends up a painful fever-dream. White is clearly the best of the trilogy.
posted by koeselitz at 7:34 AM on January 28, 2012


Blue isn't painful at the end! It's redemptive! White is painful at the end. Har har, you've been imprisoned and think I'm dead, here I am, lol!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:14 AM on January 28, 2012


The idea that the Overlook itself isn't haunted but Jack is psychic would also mean that the whole story could play out ANYWHERE, they just happened to be at a spooky hotel. Which would be kind of lame - imagine them not going to the Overlook and it playing out as a second rate Carrie instead.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on January 28, 2012


24H PHOTOBUCKET CUBE
posted by quoquo at 8:39 AM on January 28, 2012


White is painful at the end. Har har, you've been imprisoned and think I'm dead, here I am, lol!

Oh, come on, shakes! That is sooo not how it ends.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2012


Besides, all three end the same way.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2012


They all get mixed up and you end up with brown?
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on January 28, 2012


Most filmmakers would have looked at King's book and thought, "This will be a great movie."

Kubrick looked at King's book and thought, "This will be a great start."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:30 AM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know in an alternative universe Kubric made a Warhammer 40K film...? I'd like to go there some day.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:34 AM on January 28, 2012


Besides, all three end the same way.

Stupid boat.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2012


Kieślowski was enamored with Kierkegaard's Repetition, and it's not far off to say ArtW is kind of right in that it can be "brown" and muddied. So yeah they end the same in more than one way and, I'd rather not specifically say how because people really should watch the masterpieces and have it unfold for themselves.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2012


Timecube-esque. Also: no mention of the fursuit blowjob? Scariest scene ever.
posted by ostranenie at 6:20 PM on January 28, 2012


Artw: "They all get mixed up and you end up with brown"

Four Shades of Brown, specifically.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:50 PM on January 28, 2012


It's easy to dismiss his entire thesis, based on the design of the site, and
the dismissal holds more weight when you read some of the more eccentric ideas he has, but there are some intriguing ideas in there, too, and I'm not going to dismiss everything outright because of the more nonsensical bits.
posted by sutt at 6:08 AM on January 29, 2012


- The Overlook itself isn't haunted.
- Every major cast member has the ability to "Shine," which extends to (unconscious?) telekinesis.
- Jack has the strongest Shine, and is forcing visions into the minds of the others; the fact that his Shine is strongest is also why Dick doesn't see him a'coming with the axe.
- It's Jack that lures Dick back to the Overlook, not Danny.
- Jack can Shine so strongly because he is, or has been possessed by, Satan.


I saw The Shining twice, once during its first run and once about a year later in a Kubrick festival. The second print had scenes the first didn't.

Somewhere I have a notebook full of all the details that support my view of it; God knows if I'll ever see it again, and my memory has dimmed.

The Shining has something very important in common with 2001: it chronicles the emergence of a new and terrifyingly powerful form of humanity (the next step, essentially, in Kubirick's somewhat Chardinian view of human evolution)-- the Starchild in 2001 and Danny, or more properly, Danny's co-personality Tony-- his mirror personality Tony-- in The Shining.


- The Overlook itself isn't haunted.


True.

It's merely the chosen stage for a drama conceived and directed (and puppet-mastered) by Danny's coself Tony. The purpose of this drama is the destruction of Jack, who is revealed in one of the scenes only in the 2nd print, as I recall, to have broken Danny's arm in an episode of child abuse which took place before the events of the movie begin, and is therefore a deadly threat to Danny/Tony which must be eliminated. This is the start of the Oedipal theme (also explored in Barry Lyndon), which is one of many Freudian tropes which inform The Shining. Danny's coself Tony and its properties have strong resonances with Julian Jaynes' ideas in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

One of the most obvious tells that what's happening can't be attributed to The Overlook being haunted is the way the Grady girls look. They are referred to as sisters separated by years, but when they appear they are identical twins identically dressed and holding hands(?). Because they are creatures of Tony, not ghosts, and a reflection of Danny's double nature.

Another indicator that Tony is the ruling intelligence behind the events at the Overlook is the deeply eerie childishness which suffuses them, most strikingly in the revelation that Jack's manuscript consists entirely of the proverb known to all children: 'all work and no play make Jack a dull boy' (and this is also another Freudian reference, namely, the Repetition Compulsion, which is one of three aspects of the Death Impulse), and in the fairy tale/cartoonish character of Jack's pursuit of everyone else with an axe (Danny is shown at one point watching a Roadrunner cartoon on TV), including the cartoon trope of fooling the villain by walking backward in your own footprints. And Jack's actions in general are a mashup of TV cliches.

For all his power, Tony is a child, and uses what a child knows to get what he wants.

- Every major cast member has the ability to "Shine," which extends to (unconscious?) telekinesis.

I think only Danny and Hallorann Shine, and that there is no telekinesis. I assume the author of the article imputes telekinesis to account for the opening of the door which frees Jack, which I tentatively think was done by Danny/Tony in person, because otherwise Jack would have survived, and the whole purpose of all this was to kill him.

- Jack has the strongest Shine, and is forcing visions into the minds of the others; the fact that his Shine is strongest is also why Dick doesn't see him a'coming with the axe.
- It's Jack that lures Dick back to the Overlook, not Danny.


Danny/Tony is in control of the visions.

Tony causes Jack to kill Hallorann because Hallorann knows about the Shining, and that could be a threat to him.

- Jack can Shine so strongly because he is, or has been possessed by, Satan.

Jack Is possessed by Tony-- and 'redrum'ed by Tony, who is Danny's mirror self.

The photograph at the end is especially interesting; I would say it represents another aspect of Freud's Death Impulse, the Nirvana Complex, and is dated July 4th because it celebrates Danny/Tony's independence day from Jack, and also because it marks the revolution which will take place because of the advent of the next stage of humanity, in the person of Danny/Tony.
posted by jamjam at 1:03 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If there's nothing spooky about the hotel and Danny did everything the Hallorann basically almost murdered *everybody* by putting the idea in Danny's head in the first place.
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on January 29, 2012


I think The Shining adheres to the fairly widespread fantasy convention that horrific events can leave an imprint that can be seen only by people with the shining, rather as otherwise invisible blood spatters can be seen only under UV, but that such imprints have no agency in and of themselves.

Danny /Tony knows about room 237 before Hallorann tells him anything, doesn't he?
posted by jamjam at 2:52 PM on January 29, 2012


I'm no King expert but I know he's explored the idea of a building or a place being a loadstone for evil in other works of him, in particular Salems Lot and the Marston House

For another interesting spin on the idea check out The Stone Tape
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:01 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a co-inky-dink
posted by Red Loop at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2012


Oh, nevermind.
posted by Red Loop at 6:31 PM on January 29, 2012


Reading through this and previous Shining threads again has made me want to see a stage treatment of The Shining.
posted by codacorolla at 8:44 PM on January 29, 2012


Reading through this and previous Shining threads again has made me want to see a stage treatment of The Shining.

Props would be too expensive, having to chop up a door every performance.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:48 AM on January 30, 2012


I haven't read the whole article yet, or a single comment. I just had to say this first:

IT'S 'PIQUE' YOUR CURIOSITY, PIQUE DAMMIT! NOT PEEK, OR PEAK, OR PEEQUE OR PEECK OR PEEC ARRRGH

At least 'peak' sort of makes sense, although it indicates a pinnacle so it sounds like "eh, this'll get you curious but then you'll lose interest".
posted by harriet vane at 3:20 AM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ok, now that I've got that out of my system and read the whole thing...

Underneath all the Secret Kubrick Code! and Mayan armageddon stuff, it's not that wacky a theory. He's really only saying that it's not a haunted hotel, it's that Jack is both insane and evil and inspired by the history of the building to commit murder. All of the (real) characters in the film have a level of shining, Jack most of all, but Danny uses his intelligence to survive rather than his supernatural powers. Jack in the photo at the end isn't an indication that he's always been at the hotel, it's the audience using their own shining to create a new vision for the next visitors.

I wish he'd edited this down and been a bit less obsessive over the numbers. It's an interesting take on the story (although not as earth-shaking as he assumes) and worth thinking about.

But I'm not sure I'd have read it if it didn't have that special Time CubeTM flavour.
posted by harriet vane at 5:51 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so I just watched this movie for the first time. What is the prevailing theory on what the hell happened?
posted by jbickers at 1:30 PM on February 3, 2012


Okay, so I just watched this movie for the first time. What is the prevailing theory on what the hell happened?

The house is haunted, people who can "shine" pick up on this faster than people who can't, the house basically drove Jack crazy, and then it absorbed Jack so fully into the house that he now appears in the backdated photographs. "You have always been the caretaker" indeed.

In the book, it's more clear that the house wants Danny in particular, because of Danny's super powerful shining abilities. The book also draws a more explicit connection between Jack's alcoholism and how the house is able to exploit this weakness.

It's an interesting take on the story (although not as earth-shaking as he assumes) and worth thinking about.

Enh. At best, it sounds more like an interesting starting point for another story entirely.

That said, I could be persuaded to read more studies in counterfactual film studies, e.g. "What if we were to analyze Saving Private Ryan from the point of view that it was made in a universe where the Allies had actually lost the war, and that the Third Reich had only crumbled of its own accord in the late 1980s?"
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:03 PM on February 3, 2012


from the point of view that it was made in a universe where the Allies had actually lost the war, and that the Third Reich had only crumbled of its own accord in the late 1980s

This is my new assumption for all film screenings. It makes Wall-E a lot more interesting, for example.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


To say nothing of Hogan's Heroes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:14 PM on February 3, 2012


Or The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.
posted by whir at 3:18 PM on February 4, 2012


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