God, this movie...

Over the past week I've been reading through Rob Ager's analysis of the film.
If you're unfamiliar and love The Shining, I'd recommend taking some time to study it, here:
He also has a series of videos to accompany the essay that are very interesting...

I'd already seen the Room 237 documentary, which is fascinating, and from it I was already aware of some of these ideas. This essay goes into more depth on several of what I consider to be the more likely subliminal narrative elements deliberately injected by Kubrick. In obsessively fine tooth combing every shot, (as most familiar with the director's obsessive attention to detail would agree is not unwarranted,) I think he sometimes runs the theorizing off the deep end, but for the most part I think he's dead on or at least on the right track.

For instance, (spoilers maybe kinda) I agree that the main subliminal narrative correlates the surface events of the story to the historical patterns of genocide that have shaped civilization throughout history, with particular emphasis on the American colonial genocide of the Native American indians. The evidence for that is overwhelming. It seems to me that perhaps the intention of the film is to plant a seed of recognition of the horror of the atrocities on which our contemporary world is built, and to show that these atrocities are not only within our history, but will continue to recur "forever and ever", as long as we remain unaware and inactive in confronting and transforming our shadow material, in the Jungian sense, both as individuals and as collective society. (Think of the heavy use of mirroring, symmetry, twinning of dualities, looping, and recursion throughout the film. This will all make more sense if you've read the Ager essay.)

In that sense the crux of the film's positive imperative to the audience could be to take the first step in understanding and accepting collective responsibility for ancestral participation in bloodshed conquest, (both literal and in more subtle, figurative interactions,) and from there to recognize personal responsibility as a human being whose nature entails the endless cycle of conquest and cruelty to recognize those tendencies within ourselves and transform them. There's a lot to chew on here.

Another matter is the subliminal implication that Danny's shining visions and supernatural encounters are dreams, and the result of repression of trauma, with that trauma being a cycle of violent and particularly implied sexual abuse from father to son. (Again, check out the essay.) I've been thinking about this a lot and I do agree that the pieces are all there and it's very likely the case. It's known that on this film Kubrick was studying Subliminal Seduction and to be sure the film is thoroughly laced with sexually suggestive elements that would seem to add up to an unconscious association of sexual violation as the crux of the film's horror. More concretely, it's subliminally implied that Danny's encounter with the woman in room 237 never happened, and that it is a stand-in for Jack sexually abusing him after the camera exits the "You'd never do anything to hurt me or mommy, would ya?" scene. But why would Kubrick want to imply this. Does anyone have any thoughts? I'm starting to lean towards believing that the intention is to charge up our connection of seeing colonial genocide as a sort of rape.

Also, it blew my mind to recently learn that there are two Grady's spoken of: Charles and Delbert! WTF. Any ideas?

But yeah, god, this movie...

I've been just fascinated by it since I first saw it as a too-young preteen, and over the years I've watched it so many times that every shot is burned permanently in my memory. I believe it was the first really real horror film I ever saw, and it absolutely fucked me up. Since then I've seen virtually every other classic horror film from every era, a lion's share of the cult/minor favorites, and many hundreds of the B-flicks. But I find that each time I revisit The Shining, even now as a very grown-ass adult, the very same truly haunted feeling I got my first time seeing it takes over my life for the rest of the day and echoes for some time to come. No other film has ever given me this feeling of absolute surreal, creeping, ominous, totally irrational and unidentifiable real fear. It's like the whole world dissolves into illusion, your mind unfolded into a symmetrical, looping hall of mirrors, and the reflection they show is a universal portrait of human madness, as though the fountainhead of reality itself may well be deranged and malevolent, but you can't make out what's certain through the mist...

Also, this week as I happen to be thinking a lot about The Shining, I happen to have the house to myself and am serving as its *caretaker*, it's just started getting much *colder* where I am, and have even been working on a *location map* for a client. Really feeling the shine.


I watch all of Ager’s stuff on YouTube and sometimes he might go a little too far, as you said off the deep end, but I feel like he’s right on the majority of the time. I think the Shining is amazing and have always loved it.

Have fun “care taking.” :)


I like the movie too.


Just like Bazooka Joe! Limitless depth. Only plebeian fools are unable to see the allegory and amazing details.


It is an interesting read, thanks for sharing!