So great to have the talented Vincent Daemon reviewing again! Enjoy.
So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 Review by Vincent Daemon
Directed by: Rodney Ascher
Starring (in voice form):
John Fell Ryan
Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of THE SHINING. Not the book really, the “revised” tv mini-series was “entertaining,” if nothing else, but Kubrick’s version I’ve always found virtually unwatchable. In fact, outright unwatchable. I know that’s anathema within the current horror community, but most things I do in general it seems are anyway. But the the idea behind this particular doc seemed very interesting, and incredibly well put together, deeply intriguing me for whatever reason. Not only am I a horror junkie, I’m also a documentary junkie.
When putting it on, I did so with an open mind, ignoring everything I’ve ever disliked about the Kubrick classic. What I got was, to my astonishment, an ever-fascinating series of perceptions and opinions and observations that, quite honestly, would have never occurred to me, all coming from intelligent people and VERY thought out.
Another interesting thing is that many of the people interviewed couldn’t stand the film either upon initial viewing, and even repeated viewings. However they, much like myself, kept coming back to it over the years.
The film is presented in “9 Parts,” each one delving into a different point of view or observation about the film, that at first all seem completely batshit crazy. Until you listen and watch, very carefully, and begin to notice the various aspects of what exactly they are talking about. As the 9 segments flawlessly flow together, a much larger, much darker story is being told, one infinitely creepier in all reality than what King had penned.
That is also one of the more interesting “Parts,” is they do go into King’s ultimate fury at what he felt Kubrick had “done” to his book, which was essentially completely, and quite deliberately, and literally, wrecked as Kubrick very passive-aggressively went and essentially and made his own creation instead.
There is a definitive and dark bleakness to the entire affair that I really appreciated. The doc is actually suspenseful in its own right, and sheds lights on the film that actually coalesce and make sense, ALMOST, by its conclusion.
Oddly enough, scenes of various other films are used to accompany the exposition, including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” strangely (but in a way making a certain sense) Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” & “Demons 2,” “Eyes wide shut,” and very odd footage of the classic moon landing, which I found to be the most interesting “Part.” Supposedly there is a theory that Stanley Kubrick was “hired out” anonymously, by Disney, (ie: forced, I believe - - - Disney is infamous for sick behind the scenes tactics - - - look up Disney and the Lemmings) to “stage” the moon landing. The film takes a definitive turn toward the completely bizarre at this point, as apparently Kubrick HATED doing that, it tore him up inside, this bizarre lie and contractual obligation to which he HAD to follow, almost turning him into Jack Torrance, and makes several allusions to that within “The Shining” itself. Hell, just look at the director’s visual disintegration during the course of making the film.
Of course all of these are strange, almost OCD-like personal observations, which is what us true film buffs do.
What I like the best: by the films conclusion there is no real, concrete, quantifiable conclusion to any of this. Like a substantial portion of Kubrick’s work.
My opinion? Kubrick was burnt the fukk out, especially from the dreadfully dull “Barry Lyndon,” probably on a lot of coke, and crammed several different ideas, hints, and secrets within the film, as he’s notorious for doing, while simultaneously telling King to stuff it, for whatever reason, as even that is still essentially a mystery.
The director/documentarian did his job and he did it well. He let’s you draw your own conclusions. ROOM 237 is the room of secrets and mysteries, the one room Danny was NEVER to go in. Dark things hide behind that door, just as they do within this film. I would think it a fascinating watch for ANY horror fan/film buff. It was for me.
I may just give Kubrick's “The Shining” another shot.
Bio: Vincent Daemon currently works for THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE https://
theintestinalfortitude. wordpress.com/ ezine, his column titled ROSETTA BONES. He is still putting out increasingly strange short fiction, and frequently appears on the ANDROID VIRUS & SEAN SHOW, as well as has many other projects going. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/ vincent.daemon.1