1. Four Theories (plus One) on The Shining

    The new documentary, Room 237, presents four theories about The Shining, which Bilge Ebiri neatly summarizes and illustrates in his New York Magazine/Vulture article.

    Two are shown above:  It’s Really About the Nazi Holocaust”, and “It’s Really About the Faked Apollo Moon Landing”.

    In a concurrent article, “I Know What The Shining Is Really About”, Mark Jacobson develops a new theory about Room 237 itself:

    At William Howard Taft High School, where Kubrick managed to fail English, I found a Room 237. In Shining lore, the numeral 237 itself is of special significance, being as Kubrick changed the room number from King’s 217 for reasons that for many have never been satisfactorily explained. Taft’s sunlit Room 237, however, emitted no nexus-of-terror vibe. One student encountered on the steps of the looming building thought he “might” have seen The Shining on DVD. When I reminded him of the malign nature of Room 237, he exclaimed, “Shit! I got a fucking class in that room!”

    I [next] focused on P.S. 3, where Kubrick attended grammar school when he was roughly Danny’s age. After spending first grade in class 1B, Kubrick was assigned to class 2A. The import of this may be lost today, but in Kubrick’s time it was crucial. New York City public schools were tracked, with the supposed “smart” kids in the C classes, middling types (like myself) in the B sections, with the A group universally known as “the dumb class.” You didn’t want to be in the dumb class. It wasn’t something that happened in Jewish families, and one can only imagine how it went down in the Kubrick household. Jacob and Gertrude Kubrick took their only son out of school sometime after the second grade, choosing to give him lessons at home, an ­unheard-of practice at the time…

    How difficult was it to imagine the pre-genius Stanley’s mortification at being in the “dumb class,” his dread of bringing home yet another miserable report card? Was Kubrick channeling the traumatic humiliation of his early school experiences, and his apprehension about his doctor father’s reaction to these failures, to gain insight into Danny’s fears about going to the Overlook, where his own dad would inevitably turn into a raving maniac? 


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