Author Topic: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"  (Read 404 times)

Offline TheReturnofLive

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Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« on: November 12, 2019, 08:25:06 PM »
So, because our corporate overlords have suggested to us "Dr. Sleep," my interest is drawn back to one of my favorite movies - Stanley Kubrick's the Shining.

Loosely based on the book (and I say loosely; Steven King absolutely hated the film as he felt it was nothing like his book), the Shining tells the story of a man named Jack Torrance, a failed writer and English teacher, who has taken a job at the Overlook Hotel, where he will act as Caretaker over the Winter while the Hotel is closed. The Overlook Hotel, however, is home to at least one horrifying incident (the movie suggests very clearly that it's way more) in which a former caretaker, Charles Grady, snapped and killed his wife and two daughters with an axe, and then blew out his brains. Jack's son, Danny, has an ability called "the Shining," in which he can communicate to other people who have this ability by thought, and he can see things happen in the future as well as traces of things that happened before which have attached themselves to certain places.


Spoilers below; if you haven't seen it, don't read the rest of this.

Sounds kind of straight forward, especially in terms of predicting what happens, but the movie never fully explains itself and suggests multiple different things - both at a surface level and clues scattered throughout the film which suggest that there's something much deeper that's hidden from us that is going on.


At the surface level, there's so much weird things that don't add up.

For one, are all the ghosts real entities? The ghosts seem to be able to perform activities such as causing physical harm to Danny as well as unlocking Jack Torrance's cold room freezer that couldn't be explained by it just being imaginary or a product of the Shining.
Moreover, Jack's wife is able to see these ghosts despite the fact that there's nothing in the film that suggests she, herself, has the Shining.

But at the same time, whenever Jack talks to a ghost he can see, he is always facing a mirror - when he is talking to the Butler in the bathroom, he's directly looking into the mirror and seeing his own reflection.



Same with the Gold Ball Room, where the entire room and bar is covered in mirrors.



The bathroom in Room 237 also has mirrors. The only time he's talking to a ghost without a mirror is when he's locked away, and he can't actually see the ghost.

Moreover, in a glaring continuity error, when he's talking to the Butler, he gets the first name wrong of the previous caretaker - calls him "Delbert Grady" instead of "Charles Grady." His conversations with Delbert Grady are nonsensical as well because Delbert Grady says that he's not the caretaker and hasn't killed his daughters, and then proceeds to tell him that he "corrected" his daughters.


Yet this doesn't explain why Shelly and Danny are able to see these ghosts if they are just products of his own insanity.


Is it because they are creations of the Shining? The other character who has the Shining claims there are some folks who have it but refuse to acknowledge or believe in it - is it a reference to all the other characters? And if they are just traces and images, why is it the case that they seem to manipulate Jack and cause physical harm to Danny?


There's also the unanswered question of the ending photograph, which shows Jack, paradoxically, in the photograph of a July 4th Ball from 1921.



Some have suggested that this suggests Jack is reincarnating, forced to come back to the Hotel and commit the same cycle of violence over and over again. Kubrick himself said that that's what the photograph is supposed to suggest. Yet some have said that this photograph is a list of the hotel's victims, and now Jack himself is a member of the hotel and resides there forever, and ever, and ever; according to one source, there was originally a deleted idea where in the Ballroom, Jack would look into the mirror and see the entire ballroom covered in the corpses and blood of all the members of the party. This would also explain the "eternal" aspect which the ghosts keep suggesting.


And that's not even asking the questions of what's causing it. Is it the hotel? Is it the Devil? Is it the nature of the world? What is it?

What's in Room 237? What's so appealing about it? Is it symbolic? Is it real?



And that's just a surface-level analysis of this masterpiece of film. There are so many clear patterns hidden in this film that all suggest different things.

Did Jack sell his soul to Satan, which possessed him? When Jack meets with the bartender for the first time, he says before the bartender appears "I would sell my soul for a drink right now." And then a creepy, nonblinking, pale individual with a cryptic / evil smile, wide-open eyes, wearing red with pointed ears appears and gives him a drink. Later on in the film, Jack is yelling at his wife about how he made a contract with the Hotel and horrible things would happen to him if he broke the contract. When he is talking to the bartender, he acts completely different, acting as though he's known the bartender this whole time. And finally, the final photograph - which is allegedly based on a completely original photograph with Jack's face brushed on - has a pose that is unnatural and weirdly fits the infamous "Baphomet" image that people here are probably used to seeing. Moreover, the song playing is "Midnight, and the Stars and You....", and said image of the goat has a star and moon.



There's also a black moose head in the background when Jack is staring at his family from inside menacingly. According to one source, apparently Kubrick was extremely adamant about this one detail and wanted to order six Mooseheads until he found one that fit. He wanted to use it more throughout the film, but it got burned during an accidental fire in production.



More than this, did this cycle of evil start with the Native American genocide in this area, or is this film a metaphor about Native American genocide and how America's foundations are that of a cycle of violence which can never be separated from its foundation? We learn early on that the hotel was built on a "Native American burial ground," and Native American imagery is used throughout the entire film, as well as American imagery. The floor patterns are Native American, there is Native American artwork hidden throughout the background, there are canned goods which have Native American labels on them. During the ballroom scene, many of the women have bands with feathers on their head. What is the significance?













(Pay attention to the women)



Is this film about Danny experiencing sexual abuse at the hands of Jack, and Danny dealing with it? See this documentary here; there's so much evidence that suggests this:



How can it be all three without them contradicting the intended purposes of the other?


There are so many patterns and suggestions in this film, that people have made a documentary compiling all of the possible meanings in the film "Room 237," and have suggested that this movie is about Kubrick faking the moon landings




Some have thought it's about the Holocaust




Some have noticed the typewriter change and have thought it symbolizes that this whole movie was a book Jack wrote and successfully published.

Some have noticed the "Monarch" poster, and thought this film was a metaphor for MK-Ultra and reality-changing LSD and drugs.



People have noticed the numbers 12, 21, 24, and 42 appear throughout the form in various ways. "Midnight and the Stars and You," the photograph appearing in "1921," Danny's sweater saying "42," Danny watching a movie with the title "42," the license plate saying "42," room 237 is 2 + 3 + 7 = 12 and 2 * 3 * 7= 42. Shelly swings the bat 42 times. When Jack appears at the bar before the ghost, one seat is missing with 4 seats and 2 seats. In the movie, the times that appear in the movie are 8 AM and 4 PM during the transitions. 4 + 8 = 12. Both Delbert Grady, Charles Grady add up to 12. Jack Torrance's name adds up to 12.

What is going on here?

What are your thoughts and opinions on the movie, and all the speculative theories surrounding this movie?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 08:35:46 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2019, 05:41:30 PM »
One more thing: You guys have to appreciate that the film's first compositional piece is a very ominous, slow-paced Dies Irae . . . right?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 05:45:44 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 11:35:05 PM »
Why on earth would you watch such a thing?

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Providence is a present mystery by which our hope is confirmed and our faith solidified, if we give not into despair or disbelief.

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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2019, 12:10:53 AM »
Why on earth would you watch such a thing?

I enjoy creepy horror movies and stories. I also really like movies, books, TV shows, etc. that are open to multiple interpretations with hints littered throughout as to what it could factually be.

I don't know if I like horror movies per se - I'm not a fan of excessive gore, gross-out, or cheap jumpscares. Neither do I like something just because it's dark or has blood. In fact, one of the reasons why the Shining is probably my favorite horror film is because it manages to be so horrifying and scary without any real jumpscares or even deaths.


And I don't think a movie, just because it's a scary movie, can't have a good or important message.

I mean, as exaggerated as the movie is and how Catholics don't like how it has put Exorcism in the masses' minds, The Exorcist's message is a clearly Catholic one. Dare I say, even Irenaean.

(Contains offensive language)


And the original Godzilla film was a metaphor for the horror of nuclear / atomic bombs.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 12:22:25 AM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2019, 08:08:46 PM »
What about the hidden meanings of The Truman Show?

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Offline Daniel

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2019, 07:17:26 AM »
I saw The Shining a while ago but walked away rather confused. And I never bothered to rewatch it since it's like 4 hours long.

I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be about insanity or ghosts. Though if it was intended to be ambiguous then I guess I missed the point. (I just assumed it was poorly executed.) Maybe I'll try rewatching it some time.
 
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2019, 04:25:34 PM »
What about the hidden meanings of The Truman Show?


I'm not sure what your intent is here by posting this, but if it's to mock the absurdity of my original post,

1.

Kubrick's works are known for being intentionally unclear, symbolic, and according to his own words, having deeply layered meanings. When he was asked on whether or not "2001: A Space Odyssey" was about aliens guiding human evolution, he said "That was the general intent - but that's only the surface level meaning."

I mean, for another example, the ending of Full Metal Jacket should tell you that.

(Contains profanity and sexual language)



Kubrick was known for being an absolute perfectionist in his films. He would move props, replace props, and require certain props of a very specific quality at times with no discernible pattern. Props are visually and noticeably changed throughout the movie.

Just look at the production process of the Ball Room scene. He apparently hired an actual, British orchestra to pretend to play music in the background, and that shot had enough people and structure for a possible 360 shot - to make it look as realistic as possible. He told every single extra to not nod their head and remain relatively still while they were talking.

He also infamously wanted the room to be Silver at first, didn't like it, and then ordered an entirely new reconstructing of the room in Gold.


He was known for compulsively re-taking shots until they were his level of perfect.
Infamously, he reshot the "bat" scene with Shelly more than 100 times.



It's hard to tell when exactly one is going too far in overanalyzing his films, when he was known for being that obsessive and compulsive about his shots.

And background detail is without a doubt an important element in this film.

Earlier on in the film, there's a shot of a black plush bear with a red sweater lying on the same spot at the same exact angle that the only black character dies on in the film.
http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/mp/-kfTXo5_-gMl.jpg


So don't give me the "snicker snicker you are overanalyzing it you conspiracy nutjob"

2.

I'm not saying gemstones represent Jupiter or saying that Dalmatians represent the Church becoming "not spotless." No.

I've tried to separate my original posting into three sections: 1. General movie meaning 2. More plausible symbolism in the movie that's clearly repeated (From Satan to Danny's Ordeal) 3. Less plausible explanations based on anecdotal evidence, that people have written papers and made videos about.

My more "plausible" explanations have very clear connections with multiple references that appear throughout the film.

The Native American motif is without a doubt intentional and has some meaning. It is noticeably absent from Stephen King's book, yet it's a huge part of the Hotel's architecture, art, and history. There's also clear racism motifs in the film, with Jack talking about "White Man's Burden" and how there's a "ni**er" trying to interrupt the situation.

If there's a consistent pattern, it's not irrational or conspiratorial to draw a plausible reasoning behind it.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2019, 04:39:50 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Thoughts / Theories on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining?"
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2019, 02:31:46 PM »
What about the hidden meanings of The Truman Show?


I'm not sure what your intent is here by posting this, but if it's to mock the absurdity of my original post (...)

It was a facetious remark, calm down.

It's always possible to find hidden meanings in everything, especially works of art. It's not a necessarily absurd endeavor but it's not necessarily profitable either.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
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