Friday, September 27, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Seventy - Room 237, "Genocide, Minotaurs, and... Faked Moon Landings?"

There's just something about The Shining that is systematically and overwhelmingly frightening. Acting, Cinematography, Sound, Mood... it truly is a masterpiece of psychological horror... and it's due purely to the efforts of Stanley Kubrick.

Room 237 is a testament to the film's lasting value, taking interviews from obsessive scholars who have analyzed the crap out of the movie, finding references and making leaps of logic and imagination that can be both believable and utterly ridiculous depending on your particular perspective.

If nothing else, these folks and their fanatical devotion to the tricks and references that Kubrick may or may not have inserted into the film has made for a fascinating documentary.

From that opening moments where scenes from other Kubrick films are used to dramatize the narrative of the interviewees, to the first time that opening helicopter shot swoops over the Colorado landscape and the title crawls, the feeling of empathy for the speakers coupled with remembered terror creates an instant connection between subject and audience.

It's actually rather amazing the level of detail that Kubrick put into the film and interesting how many of those details that people have picked up on, even if some of the theories seem a bit out there (faked moon landings, anyone?). I was particularly impressed by the map animations that demonstrated the architecture tricks that showed how unreliable and tricksy the hotel (or the force haunting it) was.

I also want to call attention to the other films that are used for footage that I mentioned earlier. A lot of Kubrick films are used, particularly Eyes Wide Shut, but there's also footage from films like Dario Argento's Demons, which adds a delicious bit of metahumor due to the fact that the cinema goers featured in those scenes eventually fell pray to their own film's ghosts. Both funny and referential, those dramatization moments for the voice over also lend a natural air to the anecdotes.

Things get a little freaky when one of the subjects talks about their experimental project of showing the film both forwards and backwards at the same time and all the little Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz coincidences that crop up in in terms of convenient framing mash-ups. While it's hard to imagine that it was intentional (like the wacky conspiracy theories), it's still an interesting way to watch.

From a filmmaker's perspective, Room 237 is a must see for students and film lovers. As a basic documentary, I think it would easily be compelling for a general audience, it's just that high quality in terms of pacing and editing. I would certainly recommend it to all viewers who have reached the age of reason.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

No comments:

Post a Comment