Friday, September 30, 2016

When Kubrick Faked the Moon Landing, or Thoughts on Room 237

 Room 237 (2012) is a fascinating documentary by director Rodney Asher that is more about Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining (1981) rather than the 1977 novel by Stephen King, at least as an initial starting point.  The movie is a series of interviews by critics and crackpots who have invested more thought and analysis in The Shining than the average viewer or even you and I, and arrived at some alarming conclusions, hidden in between frames and underneath the obvious plot.  It’s so much more than a haunted hotel and an alcoholic writer who falls off the wagon, and who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? 
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, according to Room 237, is really about the Native American Genocide, according to a shot of a Calumet Baking Powder can behind Jack Nicolson, or the Holocaust, because of the Adler typewriter Jack uses to write his “All Work and No Play” novel.  (Adler, being the German word for eagle and the symbol of the Third Reich, it's a reach but OK).  With interviews interspersed with footage from various Kubrick films including The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and even random films like The Legend of Hell House (1973), claims of hidden and subliminal messages, continuity errors and frame-by-frame analysis that leads to more questions, every actor’s action, costume and gesture is open to interpretation and feeds into the various conspiracies.
My favorite conspiracies involve the impossible architecture of the Overlook Hotel; there shouldn’t be a window in Stuart Ullman’s office, and the analysis of Danny’s big wheel scenes (another brilliant favorite in the original film).  The Apollo Moon Landing conspiracy is alluded to with Jack’s lies to Wendy, Danny’s sweater (Apollo 11), Tang orange drinks next to that darn Calumet Baking Powder can and side by side comparisons between the moon landing footage and Kubrick’s 2001 (1968).  Additionally, Room 237 (which was changed from the novel’s Room 217) references the sound stage where Kubrick faked the moon landing, and the fact that the moon is 237,000 miles from the earth. 
How deep does the conspiracy go?  As deep as you want it to, and Room 237 takes you on a joy ride to the outer fringe.  All great art intrigues, poses questions, and is open to interpretation and Room 237 dovetails nicely with the source material.  You don’t have to believe in any of the conspiracies to enjoy the thought processes that developed them, and the fact that they all draw inspiration from the same movie is in itself a testimonial to the genius of Stanley Kubrick and the movies he created.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).