March 9, 2013

Room 237 (2013)

This Documentary is both engrossing and bewildering.

It's engrossing, because for fans of The Shining, this is one hell of an in-depth, behind the scenes look into the film's making and its supposed meanings. It's also a great glimpse into the mind of its genius director, Stanley Kubrick.

It's bewildering, because some of the theories that it offers up about The Shining's subtext and hidden themes, sound entirely bat-shit crazy.

Proof that the Apollo moon landing was faked!
It seems as if there's a group of people out there who are obsessed with dissecting Kubrick's 1980 film, and it's various hidden themes and meanings, in a very, very meticulous fashion. These people theorize that The Shining contains hidden commentary about child abuse, isolation, the mass slaughter of the American Indian, The Holocaust, how the Apollo 11 moon landing was faked (and that Kubrick had some sort of hand in it), and even Minotaurs... because you can't have a giant maze without a Minotaur, everyone knows that!

As an example of what we're talking about, check this out:

In The Shining, Room 237 plays a prominent role.
2x3x7= 42
There are 42 cars in the parking lot of the Overlook Hotel.
Danny wear a jersey with the #42 on it.
They watch Summer of '42 on TV.
Jack's typewriter is from Germany.
1942 is when the Nazi's formally adopted the Final Solution, which lead to the mass slaughter of millions of Jews...

That's the kind of theory that abounds in Room 237. Now, whether you believe all of that jazz or not is up to you, but I have to admit that watching the people in this movie who were trying to get me to believe it, was fun as hell. I mean, they're so passionate about it all, that some of what they were saying seemed absolutely plausible.

There's also some cans of Calumet in the movie, which obviously means Indian stuff.
What this movie does do, and what can not be denied, is show us how Kubrick's mind worked as a filmmaker. The man used patterns and tricks of the eye not only to play with his audience, but to add depth and meaning to his films. The way that Room 237 dissects the spacial anomalies of The Shining alone, was fairly mind blowing, and it showed me things I'd never noticed before during multiple viewings the movie. A lot of the "not crazy" stuff contained herein went a long way towards making us wonder just how much of the "crazy stuff" might not be so crazy after all.

I can't even begin to go into the myriad of theories that Room 237 offered up, or their complexity, because there's just too many of them. All I know is that by the end of the movie, when they play The Shining forwards and backwards at the same time, superimposed over itself, it sure felt as if everything they had been going on about just had to be true. It was eerie how well everything matched up.

Then again, I still believe that there was a ghost kid in Three Men and a Baby, "cardboard Ted Danson standee" explanation be damned!

Say what you will, but that shit syncs up, and it's creepy.
Was this movie a subtext-revealing expose, or was it simply the crazed rantings of people trying to make more out of The Shining than even Kubrick himself intended? I can't say for sure, but what I can say is that crazy sauce or not, this was one hell of an interesting Documentary. I honestly bought into a lot of what the makers of this movie were selling, as Kubrick was definitely the type of director who loved to play around with hidden themes. At the very least, all of this kinda proves that he was messing with our minds. At the utmost, it's all true.

Either way, I will never look at The Shining in the same way, ever again. I think that was the true point behind Room 237.


*One other thing that Room 237 got me to do was pull out my DVD copy of The Shining, and watch it with a far more critical eye. In doing so, I realized that my DVD copy was an outdated, terrible transfer, and so I went and upgraded my copy to Blu-ray. In essence, Room 237 pressure-sold me a Blu-ray upgrade for my crappy old DVD version, and for that, the producers of this film have my eternal thanks. Seriously.

In the picture below, we like to think of Jack as the audience (us, you), staring into the maze which represents this documentary; it's fascinating and we just can't look away, but in the end, we know that we'll never figure the damn thing out. Strangely, we're fine with that.


  1. I absolutely can not wait to see this. I'd like to do a double feature with this doc and The Shining. Great write-up!

  2. I wonder if Pink Floyd's Animals or Wish You Were Here sync up with The Shining if you start them playing after the third lion's roar?

  3. It was really fun to do that, Lindsay, we know you'll dig it too :)

    And Fluffy, I wouldn't be surprised lol

  4. I'll definitely do the double feature thingy. ;-)
    Which sequence would you recommend? Watch THE SHINING first and then ROOM 237? Or the other way around?

  5. I'd say watch Room 237 first, as long as you've already seen The Shining before.

    Either way, it will be fun for you at the very least.

  6. very interesting... first time I watched the shining I spotted only one thing that was mentioned in this documentary - the native Indian idea - however now that I have seen this it all makes a lot more sense in a way...