Room 237 (2012) | Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining gets a fun, but freaky deconstruction

Room 237 (2012)

Ever wondered if Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was anything more than just a scary movie, and that they were there hidden meanings lurking within each masterfully conceived frame? Well, Room 237 does just that. Director Rodney Ascher takes nine segments of Kubrick’s film adaptation of the Stephen King novel and lets five über-fans present their radical theories, decoding the hidden symbols and messages that have been ‘purposely’ buried in the film by the notoriously meticulous director. The results are… bonkers, to say the least!

Room 237 (2012)

Some of the notions are straight out of a media studies course in semiotics (I remember those, thank you John Fiske), some are downright ridiculous, and others are quite convincing. But whether Kubrick was actually making a holocaust film disguised as a horror, commenting on the genocide of Native American Indians, or apologising for taking part in the faking of the 1969 Moon landings, is neither here or there because this documentary is enthralling entertainment.

Stephen King, however, would probably disagree – the author turned it off half way through, according to an interview he gave to Rolling Stone in October, because he felt the filmmakers were ‘reaching for things that weren’t there’. Whatever you choose to believe or not, in the end, this playful deconstruction will give you cause to revisit Kubrick’s chilling masterpiece. Then again, it may be just an elaborate subliminal hoax to get us to do just that?

Room 237 (2012)

Worth a mention is the soundtrack by Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson. It’s outstanding, and a must to seek out in its own right as it evokes Goblin and John Carpenter, late 1970s prog rock and early 1980s electronic music (all my favourites). Death Waltz Records in the UK released a limited edition CD in late 2013, and it’s since become quite the collector’s item. If you want to add your theories, check out the film’s official US Facebook page (click here).

Room 237 is available on DVD  and to stream online from Metrodome



About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on November 22, 2014, in American Indie, Documentary, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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