Sunday, 29 November 2015

Space Oddities - The Shining

Stanley Kubricks “The Shining” (1980) was classed as a disappointing Horror film when first released (NY times 1980), Stephen King detested how the film adaption of his novel was lacking the original story. “ He gave him good source Material for Kubrick just to throw away”. But now in modern day “The Shining” is  considered as a film masterpiece. But not for the reasons people may think, the film does have all the signature shots, angles and beauty of all Kubrick’s previous films, but it has been said that Kubrick was bored of making films previous to The Shining and he was looking for something new. “ Kubrick has a 200 IQ, he is bored of making masterpiece after masterpiece, so began working on a new kind of film”  (Geoffry Cocks)

The film is littered with political metaphors and subliminal images, ranging from a German typewriter that Jack works on and the number 42 that is used throughout the film on jumpers, number-plates and rooms, signifying the time of the Nazi holocaust in world war two and how mechanical and orchestrated the genocide was that took place. On the movie poster the quote of the film said “A wave of terror that swept across America” juxtaposing Calumet Baking Powder cans (Calumet is a native Indian ceremonial pipe) and Native American apparel on the walls of the hotel, and lines in the film referring to ancient Indian burial grounds beneath the hotel all linking to the genocidal armies that terrorised the native Indians across America. This metaphor is strengthen through the film by the multiple scene of the blood gushing from the elevator but the doors remain closed, signifying that the governments responsible for the acts of genocide don’t like to admit to their actions, but the smell of blood will eventually seep through. 

(Fig.01)   (Fig.02)   (Fig. 03)

There are also very strong subliminal hints to the involvement of Kubricks alleged fakery of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “1969 Moon landings were indeed a hoax, and were staged by Kubrick using the special effects  techniques developed for the production of his masterpiece 2001”  (Jay Weidner 2011). Though this is a conspiracy theory, Kubrick changed the haunted room of the Novel 217 to 237, and a scene from the Shining shows a key thob  with the pseudonym Moon Room (Fig .01) and 237 was the actual number of the sound  stage where the alleged fakery was shot.  The pattern on the carpet (Fig. 03) also mimics and the actual pattern of launch pad 39a (Fig. 02) where Apollo 11 launched.

(Fig.04)   (Fig.05) 

The experimentation that Kubrick tested through “The Shining”  was the mirror metaphor used throughout. Danny speaking and writing backwards only for the mirror to show the correct message, in the maze Danny also back tract in his foot prints to escape Jack. But the mirroring of the film goes far deeper.  Jay Weidner 2011,  heard the rumours about watching the film in reverse, and set up a screening of  the film to be played in both forward and reverse whilst overlapping. Whilst watching the Key symbols of the film all interacted throughout, from Jacks psychotic stare in-twined with the murder of the two girls (Fig. 05), to the relationship between Wendy and the two girls (Fig. 04)....  

Stanley Kubricks version of “The Shining” could be said to be a intentional dis to Stephen King, “as the Torrence family use a red VW beetle in the novel, but in the film a yellow beetle is used. Only for a later scene in the film, a Red VW Beetle has been crushed by a lorry in a road traffic accident” (Bill Blakemoore 2013). Altogether this is not “The Shining” from Stephen King, this is the “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick.


•  (2013) Room 237. London: Metrodome Publishing

•  (2015) Forteantimes. London: Dennis Publishing

Illustration List:
•  Fig. 1,2,3,4. (2013) Room 237. London: Metrodome Publishing

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