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The Shining
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Clinically Insane
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Sep 30, 2013, 03:36 PM
 
Saw this movie when I was 12. Haven't seen it since. Not really sure about my dad's thought process in letting me see it, but it didn't scar me or anything.

One of the things my 12-year-old mind couldn't process is the scene with the bear costume. I'm sure I asked my dad to explain it, but one would presume he deflected.

The upshot is I had no recollection of that scene. Someone mentioned it to me in my 20's and I was like, "what?"

Since then, I've felt that scene is a loose end which needs to be tied up. Someone mentioned it awhile ago and I felt it was time to research some Internet scholarship.

Boy did that take me down the rabbit hole.

The Shining is like some post-modernist wet dream. The sheer breadth of interpretation of what we're supposed to take from it, let alone that one scene, is breathtaking.

Of what I've read over the last few days, one particular interpretation stands out: nothing supernatural happened in the movie. Everything like that was either a dream sequence, or a literal metaphor. If I get him right (and I'm not sure I do, his explanation is extraordinarily complicated, and I only buy half of it) the bear scene is Wendy ending her denial Jack has been sexually abusing Danny.

I'm sure people are curious about this interpretation, but more importantly, have their own take on the movie.

You are hereby granted permission to let loose. Let's talk The Shining in any and all aspects.
     
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Sep 30, 2013, 03:56 PM
 
Just a quick example:

Every time Jack talks to a ghost, he happens to be in front of a mirror. The one exception is when he's locked in the storeroom and he talks to Delbert. However the door to the storeroom is shiny, reflective metal.
     
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Sep 30, 2013, 05:38 PM
 
I don't remember the bear, but I think I saw a TV editted version.
     
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Sep 30, 2013, 06:44 PM
 
That definitely wouldn't make the cut.

It's near the end. As Wendy comes up the stairs she sees a into one of the hotel rooms.

You see someone on their knees, bent over the edge of a bed. You can't see what the person is doing, but they're wearing some sort of furry costume, which has a union suit type flap on the butt. The flap is open, and you see bare butt.

He straightens up, and is wearing a horrifying bear/pig costume.

The tuxedoed ghost he had been blowing also straightens up.

They both give Wendy a "so, what's your problem?" look.


The person who mentioned it most recently (and got me on this kick) called it one of the most disgusting scenes in cinema. He likened it to the heart-plug scene from Dune.


It apparently is explained to some extent in the book, but was altered and put in by Kubrick with absolutely none of that context.
     
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Sep 30, 2013, 07:26 PM
 
I must admit, the non-supernatural theory really appeals to me. I like the idea the movie doesn't have a subtext of domestic violence, but domestic violence is the actual text text.

The supernatural elements are exactly what they are in everyday life: rationalizations for horrible behavior. Whether that's the abuser convincing themselves it's okay to abuse, or the abused convincing themselves it's okay they're being abused.
     
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Sep 30, 2013, 11:53 PM
 
Here's the shot, for those who saw the edited version or repressed the memory.

     
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Oct 1, 2013, 10:19 AM
 
Interesting. I must never have seen the full version either, because I don't remember that.

I always think I should re-watch that movie, but I can never get too excited over doing it.
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Oct 1, 2013, 12:15 PM
 
geez, the Shining is my favorite movie. I can't even begin to express the psychological damage this film has done to me. I love every frame of it.

My favorite scene is perhaps the very ending, the photograph on the wall. If you've seen it you know what I mean. If you haven't, well, now you have something to do. It's perplexing.

It's such a mindf*ck of a film, and so perfectly slow.
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Oct 1, 2013, 01:07 PM
 
The photograph is one of the tougher things to explain in a non-supernatural way. By that time, this guy's theories have completely gone off the rails and the movie is about the genocide of Native Americans.

And, WTF with the little piece of paper?
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 01:49 PM
 
I really, really need to see this movie.

Kubrick worked to insane detail in all of his films. Down to the characters' names in 2001 being anagrams of prominent roles from Nietzsche's works, of whose writings 2001 presents a parable.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 01:51 PM
 
@osiris

It may be solid enough in your mind, I want to throw some of this guy's points at you. I'm not sure of his conclusions, but I think he's built up enough evidence something is going on beneath the surface story.

I already mentioned how Jack is always in front of a mirror when he talks to ghosts. Of course, I didn't pick up on that as a kid, but I did pick up on him not being scared of them. In retrospect, what I can remember of the dialogue, the ghosts always tell him what he wants to hear.

One bit which I find incredibly interesting, is the theory all the stuff in room 237 and the area around it (with the hexagonal carpet) you only see with Danny (not counting the bathtub scene, which he has an explanation for). Similarly, the design and colors are like Vegas or something, totally at odds with the rest of the hotel.

The explanation is these are all Danny dream sequences. Including the bathtub scene. That's why everything about room 237 and the area around it is different than the rest of the hotel. One of the things I love about that is it makes the next scene, where Jack calmly tells Wendy there's nothing there, what actually happened.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 01:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I really, really need to see this movie.

Kubrick worked to insane detail in all of his films. Down to the characters' names in 2001 being anagrams of prominent roles from Nietzsche's works, of whose writings 2001 presents a parable.
The fundamental premise of this guy's theories is Kubrick is making everything have meaning to an unprecedented degree.

My initial instinct is not to buy that. A good team wants everything to have meaning, but is severely restricted by time.

OTOH, I consider 30 days to be an expansive schedule to work with. The Shining had 500.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The fundamental premise of this guy's theories is Kubrick is making everything have meaning to an unprecedented degree.

My initial instinct is not to buy that.
That's natural. You're probably wrong.

Read "2001: a triple allegory", or that one awesome book from 1969 on the making of 2001.

When I say "insane detail", I mean that quite literally.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That's natural. You're probably wrong.
Hence the qualifier "initial", and an explanation for why my perceptions would be that way.

But I love being corrected for mistakes I didn't make. No worries.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:22 PM
 
This guy's theory on 2001 is the monolith is in fact a movie screen, and at the end he passes through it and enters the audience of his own movie.

     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:26 PM
 
I feel the obvious end of this kick is me watching the movie again, but I really don't want to. It just seems disgusting.

I rewatched the bathtub scene and was so turned off.

Note, I stopped watching before the transformation. It was purely Nicholson's vile expression.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:27 PM
 
Re: the 2001 monolith

Well okay.

I'll say good for him.

But no.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
@osiris

It may be solid enough in your mind, I want to throw some of this guy's points at you. I'm not sure of his conclusions, but I think he's built up enough evidence something is going on beneath the surface story.

I already mentioned how Jack is always in front of a mirror when he talks to ghosts. Of course, I didn't pick up on that as a kid, but I did pick up on him not being scared of them. In retrospect, what I can remember of the dialogue, the ghosts always tell him what he wants to hear.

One bit which I find incredibly interesting, is the theory all the stuff in room 237 and the area around it (with the hexagonal carpet) you only see with Danny (not counting the bathtub scene, which he has an explanation for). Similarly, the design and colors are like Vegas or something, totally at odds with the rest of the hotel.

The explanation is these are all Danny dream sequences. Including the bathtub scene. That's why everything about room 237 and the area around it is different than the rest of the hotel. One of the things I love about that is it makes the next scene, where Jack calmly tells Wendy there's nothing there, what actually happened.
That's an interesting take on things, I need to see it again with this in mind.
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
@Spheric

Yeah. I don't buy it.

But if I read him right, Bowman looks into a mirror during the end sequence, and afterwards, everything flips (i.e., the tubes which were on the right side of his helmet are on his left for the final few minutes.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 02:45 PM
 
@osiris

Other stuff to check out:

Repition of images in different contexts. Like how Jack looks when he gets his first drink, and how he looks at the end.
Mirrors. Not just with ghosts, but everywhere. Especially right after Wendy accuses Jack of choking Danny.
WTF is this supposed to signify?

     
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Oct 1, 2013, 03:01 PM
 
Does playgirl usually have female cover models?
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 03:12 PM
 
I honestly don't know. I would presume not.

That's a real issue though. One of the stories is about incest, which is considered evidence Jack is sexually abusing Danny. That's not readable though, which makes me question the connection.

The person who came up with the theory said Kubrick was always looking for real-life props which tells the story he wants to tell. That I buy, I'm just not sure about his interpretation of this particular example.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 03:38 PM
 
There's other good evidence of the sexual abuse though. One is the bear scene. I may not believe the argument everything (such as an unreadable piece of text on a magazine) has meaning, but I'd be shocked if Kubrick put that shot in there just because it was "creepy". In the book, it's a dog costume. A dog costume could have been just as creepy, but Kubrick wanted it to be a bear. Why?

Whatever the rationale, Kubrick decided to use bears in other parts of the movie, and guess what? They all have to do with Danny. He has all kinds of Teddy bears. The big one for me is there's a painting of bears over Danny's bed. That particular detail (what goes over a character's bed) is an opportunity to have meaning (or foreshadowing) which only a hack (or someone with no money) would give up on the opportunity to use. Kubrick sure isn't a hack.

Probably the best evidence to me though, is the scene in the beginning with the doctor (where I should note, Danny's lying in bed with a Teddy bear). His frigging pants are off and he's covering his junk. That's gotta mean something. Likewise, while Wendy's demeanor during the session could mean lots of things, they're consistent with someone who's protecting their abusive husband, and is nervous the doctor might find out.


Edit: I forgot. There is a bear rug, which is a non-Danny related bear.
( Last edited by subego; Oct 1, 2013 at 04:07 PM. )
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 03:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
geez, the Shining is my favorite movie. I can't even begin to express the psychological damage this film has done to me. I love every frame of it.

It's such a mindf*ck of a film, and so perfectly slow.
Ditto. I saw it when I was about, ohh, 8 I think. Even to this day just thinking about the movie, or in this case reading about it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It has a marching horror to it, like a slow rising of the tide that eventually envelops you. It is the quintessential 'horror' movie. It's ability to stick in your head isn't only because of what it shows you but how it makes you fill in the blanks.

The scene with jack staring out over Danny running around the maze ranks among my favorites in cinema. At first Jacks face just looks like he is staring blanky and damn-near imperceptibly contorts into the face of a complete and utter madman.

Originally Posted by subego View Post
This guy's theory on 2001 is the monolith is in fact a movie screen, and at the end he passes through it and enters the audience of his own movie.

My body was just crushed under the sheer weight of pretentiousness....

I never read that much into the theories behind the Shining because at a base level the atmosphere and imagery alone were enough to fascinate. Kubrick's overwhelming strength was always his eye and meticulous preparation of a scene. Lavishly decorated scenes in Barry Lyndon were shot entirely with candlelight, for authenticity. I will most certainly be watching this again soon and I might just have to keep an eye out for more subtext this time.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 03:49 PM
 
Whatever the case, I'm having a lot more sympathy for Stephen King not liking the movie. If these interpretations are even in the ballpark, AFAIC, Kubrick connected himself to the book soley to milk King's popularity. Kubrick had no desire to make a movie of the book.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 04:02 PM
 
Have you seen the Shining miniseries by King? It's awful

Also I was talking about the scene with jack watching Danny and Wendy in the snow, the one I mentioned is not what I was thinking.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 04:29 PM
 
Two of the bigger pieces of how things which are seemingly supernatural may not be.

The first is who unlocks the storeroom. The only plausible possibility there is it's Danny, who intends to lure Jack into the maze where he'll die, instead of getting rescued to continue the cycle of abuse.

I say "cycle", because that's the other seemingly supernatural thing which isn't. The person in the picture is Jack's father, who presumably abused Jack.


Other supernatural tidbits. Scatman getting the vision: this was a Danny dream sequence. He actually is going for the reason he states after the vision, Ullman sends him there. This explains the "unique" decor in his bedroom, and how it doesn't really match what we see of the rest of his place. The telepathic communication with him in the beginning was also Danny's dream. Part of what makes any of this dream stuff plausible is it's stated a few times Danny has his "episodes" when he sleeps.

The room full of skeltons? The realization of the horror of Native American genocide and slavery.

Told you I only half buy it.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 05:14 PM
 
I think I liked the movie better without all this supposed metaphor. It's King's story, not Kubricks, and creepy enough without any incest subplot. I don't recall thinking the miniseries was that bad, it just had to compete with a really powerful film.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 05:40 PM
 
The incest angle is definitely upping the ante, but I think there is less needed to consider the idea Jack is a non-sexual abuser. He choked Danny rather than a ghost.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
I'm not trying to be a jerk here, serious question: You think that's where "Pedobear" comes from?
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Oct 1, 2013, 05:50 PM
 
Seems too subtle to have sparked a phenomenon.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 05:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Whatever the case, I'm having a lot more sympathy for Stephen King not liking the movie. If these interpretations are even in the ballpark, AFAIC, Kubrick connected himself to the book soley to milk King's popularity. Kubrick had no desire to make a movie of the book.
Kubrick *so* had zero need to "milk" anybody's popularity.

He was a total maniac who by that point had done Strangelove, 2001, Lolita, and Clockwork Orange, and was WAY beyond any need for a box-office kickstarter. If anything, the opposite was true.

He saw something in the book that may have never been intended.
     
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Oct 1, 2013, 06:47 PM
 
Need is not the same as derive benefit from.

Also note the qualifier "if these interpretations are even in the ballpark".

I loves me those qualifiers.
     
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Oct 2, 2013, 01:31 PM
 
Another interesting tidbit to interpret how you will.

In Jack's manuscript, sometimes it's written as "all work and no play makes Jack adult boy."
     
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Oct 3, 2013, 01:17 AM
 
Skeletons? Bear? is there such a thing as a Canadian version? because I saw the movie many times and I never saw those scenes!

I strongly suggest you see the King's version, you'll understand many things that aren't clear with Kubrick's version!
     
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Oct 6, 2013, 01:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I feel the obvious end of this kick is me watching the movie again, but I really don't want to. It just seems disgusting.

I rewatched the bathtub scene and was so turned off.

Note, I stopped watching before the transformation. It was purely Nicholson's vile expression.
Got it coming on Blu-Ray. Guess it was inevitable.

Physical media. I feel dirty already.
     
   
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