This weekend I planned on watching both The Shining and Room 237, which gives some independent theories about The Shining, by some very imaginative people. I figured watching Room 237 first would be a good idea since I pretty much have The Shining memorized, and it would be cool picking out the theories the next day when watching the horror classic yet again. Although Room 237 had received some great reviews, I can’t help but ask “why?”
It is not that Room 237 was filmed or edited poorly, because it wasn’t. My problem with the chosen subjects of documentary in regards to the theories behind one of horrors most memorable films. For instance, there were some interviewed that thought The Shining represented subjects ranging from the Holocaust, to the slaughter of the American Indians and even the 1969 Moon Landing, which was suggested that Kubrick shot for NASA and The Shining was his confession of the act.
The fact of the matter is, not only can none of those theories be proven, but the fabric of each of them made their advocates sound, well… unhinged. The only truly legitimate claim was that Stephen King did not like Kubrick’s adaption of his book, and had it remade as a TV min-series years later, but that is not all that uncommon. There are many instances when a Writer doesn’t like the interpretation of their work by a Director. At the end of the day though, when someone mentions The Shining, do you think of the mini-series version or the theatrical version?
I love horror movies, and I agree with a lot of people that Kubrick was a genius in the way he presented a story to his audience, but couldn’t he have just made a great movie without the inclusion of hidden messages? Conspiracy theorists are passionate people, and many have a great ability of finding the things they want to see in a body of work, and presenting them in a very convincing way to others. Interpretation of art is one of the highest compliments a creative can receive. It is reinforcement that there work touched someone in a special way, but if an artist presents you with an image of a forest, it is going to be difficult to argue they were trying to represent a desert,
If you decide to see Room 237, go into it with an open mind, but try to watch The Shining soon after and ask yourself if Kubrick was in the business of making great movies or great subliminal messages? No matter what The Shining represents to you, it is still great to recognize how the creative process binds us all together.