25 July 2011

Decoding The Shining

Last week, Flavorpill posted a ~20 video on their blog (in two parts) on the psychology behind the impossible set design of The Shining, created by a guy named Rob Ager.

I was fascinated, watched the whole way through, and found myself then reading the text version of the analysis, which is really, really long (currently at 21 chapters). It attempts to parse all of the subliminal messages, themes and symbolism that he thinks run rampant in the movie. Covered are child molestation, alcoholism, secret societies, duality, genocide, animals, cartoons, and a bunch of others. Everything is tied together in a pretty engrossing package. There were definitely times when I thought the author was reaching for straws (he even says, "Before we move on to the next chapter, if you’re not familiar with a lot of the conspiracy theories discussed here then you may well be jumping to a 'Rob’s a bit of a nutter' conclusion" at one point, which made me laugh). At other times, though, the analysis was pretty hard to argue with, which led to a new respect and interest in Stanley Kubrick that I've not had before (I admittedly don't really pay attention to directors). There are ties drawn to Kubrick's other movies, to the making-of documentary of The Shining and its role in the movie's symbolism, and even the dynamics between him and the actors on set.

I guess it's no surprise that I liked reading this thing: what got me into Art History many years ago was a museum tour that took me through some of the hidden meanings and imagery in Salvador Dalí's paintings. I really like the stories behind things – especially the ones that reveal stuff that is right in front of you and you don't consciously realize are there.

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