So you've seen 'Room 237.' Now what?
05:00 AM, Apr 09, 2013
One of the most talked-about documentaries this year is Room 237, a stylish examination of the cult that surrounds Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
The film, which is now available on demand, has renewed interest in the 1980 psychological horror classic. As it unfolds, viewers are introduced to obsessed Shining fans who truly believe the movie contains hidden themes and messages, whether they pertain to the plight of Native Americans, the moon landing or the Holocaust.
Although I don’t buy many of the intricate theories presented, some fans do make convincing cases, and director Rodney Ascher succeeds in making the doc so visually appealing it’s hard to turn away.
If you haven’t watched the flick yet, I suggest you check it out in theaters or on demand via your cable company, iTunes, Amazon, PS3 or what have you.
If you have seen the movie, you may be inspired to delve a little deeper into the maze that is Stanley Kubrick’s mind and/or The Shining. I suggest a few resources below, and feel free to add any others in the comments.
1. Watch Vivian Kubrick’s The Making of The Shining. Stanley Kubrick’s daughter made an excellent, all-access doc about the movie when she was in her teens. You can find the 30-minute piece on any Shining DVD or, if you can’t wait, watch a shoddier version on YouTube. The filmmaker captures many candid moments with Jack Nicholson and the rest of the cast (including Shelley Duvall and young Danny Lloyd). What stuck with me was the rehearsal footage and scenes with Kubrick making obsessive, last-minute rewrites.
2. Watch The Shining Code 2.0. Room 237 isn’t the first movie devoted to Shining theories. This one isn’t as glossy but has a lot to say about the “codes” hidden within the maze, the hotel, the typewriter, Room 237 and other aspects of the movie.
3. Read/watch Jon Ronson’s work. Several years ago Guardian writer Jon Ronson wrote a great piece about his trip to Stanley Kubrick’s estate and some of the odd things he discovered in the late director’s archives. It’s partly because I’d read this article that I have to believe some of the Shining theories; after all, here was a man who had an entire room in his house devoted to books about Napoleon.
The access even inspired Ronson to make a documentary about Kubrick’s stuff called Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes. It’s pretty fascinating, and here’s a trailer:
4. Hear this How Was Your Week podcast. A recent episode of Julie Klausner’s always-entertaining program is devoted to Room 237 and features interviews with Ascher and producer Tim Kirk.
Room 237 expands to several theaters across the country on Friday. For more details, head to www.room237movie.com.