Room 237


After the box office failure of Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick decided to embark on a project that might have more commercial appeal. The Shining, Stephen King’s biggest critical and commercial publishing success yet, seemed like the perfect vehicle. After a grueling production, Kubrick’s film version of The Shining received a wide release in the summer of 1980; the reviews were mixed, but the box office, after a slow start, eventually picked up. End of story? Hardly. In the 30 years since the film’s release, a considerable cult of obsessive Shining devotees has emerged, fans who claim to have decoded the film’s secret messages addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to Nazism to numerology to the Apollo 11 moon landing “hoax” and other government conspiracies. Rodney Ascher’s wry and provocative Room 237 fuses fact and fiction through interviews with cultists and scholars, creating a highly entertaining, kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick’s still-controversial horror classic. (Dir. by Rodney Ascher, 2013, USA, 102 mins., Not Rated, IFC Midnight) Digital