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Movie Rec: Room 237

December 10, 2012

Room_237_(2012_film)

Stanley Kubrick was one of the 20th Century’s greatest directors, with films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon and Dr. Strangelove among his greatest achievements. His 1980 adaptation of the Stephen King thriller The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, is storied for its brutal production schedule and serious diversions from the source text. However, this gem of a horror movie is also known in conspiracy circles for its bizarre references, continuity errors and encoded messages. Or, you know, not. Regardless, searching YouTube or elsewhere for video exposés on Kubrick’s hidden message that the film is about, you know, the Holocaust, or the Federal Reserve or how Kubrick himself faked the Apollo moon landing (or just faked its footage) provides plenty of returns.

calumet-in-the-shining_0

Calumet-brand baking powder. Credit: Who2.com

Room 237 is a documentary in nine parts detailing the obsessions of many, though not all, of these close readers, demonstrating how continuity errors and food brand names provide the astute viewer clues to Kubrick’s real meaning with the film. I saw it at the IFC Center in NYC, and can highly recommend it to interested parties. Try to see it if the movie opens near you. Although it’s basically a glorified YouTube video, Room 237 has a lot to offer the conspiracy-minded. If you are interested in further Shining ephemera, check out The Overlook Hotel, maintained by Pixar director Lee Unkrich.

–Brian

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