Movies + TV

A Paranoid's Guide to The Shining

Rodney Ascher's new IFC documentary, Room 237, the latest in a wave of Kubrickphilia (make sure to see the exhibition "Stanley Kubrick" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art before it closes June 30!), obsessively explores hard-core fans' theories about the hidden meanings of The Shining. Here are three of the kookiest.

It's about the genocide of the Native Americans.
Cans of Calumet baking powder, featuring a chief in a headdress on the label, appear repeatedly. There is talk of peace pipes. Native American art decorates the walls of the Colorado lobby. Most important, the hotel was built on an Indian burial ground, so the blood that pours from the elevators is being piped up from their bodies while also representing the blood on which nations are built.

It's the Jewish director's commentary on the Holocaust.
The recurrence of the number 42 (on Danny's sweatshirt, on a license plate) represents the year that the Nazis made the Final Solution official policy. Jack's German Adler typewriter symbolizes the mechanized way they carried it out. In German, adler means "eagle," which was a symbol of Nazi power. Eagles also appear throughout the film.


It's Kubrick's admission that he faked the moon landing.
Similarities between 2001: A Space Odyssey, released a year before Apollo 11's lunar landing, and footage shot on the moon's surface prove the director was behind both. In The Shining, Jack's treatment of Wendy symbolizes Kubrick's guilt over lying about the cover-up to his wife. Danny's Apollo 11 sweatshirt and containers of Tang in the kitchen are additional clues. The clincher: The hotel's evil room is No. 237, and it's 237,000 miles between Earth and the moon. Satisfied?

Premieres March 29 on IFC.

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Photo courtesy of IFC Midnight
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