'Room 237' Helps You Find Your Own Way Through Stanley Kubrick's Masterpiece 'The Shining', With Jack Nicholson

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Call yourself a fan of 'The Shining'? Spare a thought for Rodney Ascher, such a committed admirer of the iconic horror that he's made his own film, 'Room 237', delving into the meanings and mysteries of Stanley Kubrick's chilling masterpiece.

"I've watched it approximately 20 times all the way through," he counts now. "Including countless frame by frame sections over the past year and a half.

"I first watched it aged 10 or so, and made it through the first 15 minutes.

the shining
Jack Nicholson in 'The Shining', a film that has entranced and horrified fans for 32 years

"Something about the opening title music creeped me out from the start. As the car drove around the mountain, what ought to have been a boring job interview had a creeping inevitability, had a shadow of doom and inevitable horror."

Ascher was prompted to make his film by an analysis of The Shining that a friend posted on Facebook. He discovered himself a "bottomless pit of commentary, speculation and analysis" that he felt other films, even those of Kubrick, just didn't offer.

"It's a simple tale, a family dynamic, a genre movie, told like an ambitious arts film. There's so much ambiguity, even with Jack (Nicholson) just staring off into space."

Despite the forensic study that came with making the film - taking five different points of view, and illuminating them with voice over, clips, animation and re-enactment to provide a very subjective commentary.... Ascher surprised himself by still being able to enjoy the film afresh, testament to its enduring qualities, and elects the bathroom encounter between Jack and Grady as his favourite part.

the shining
Nothing creepy about these two...

Of course the ultimate test of 'Room 237' awaits - has Ascher thought about showing his labour of love to Jack Nicholson, the veteran actor whose name will forever be associated with the janitor whose search for literary inspiration takes him into strange, macabre places from which there is no return?

"I'd love to show it to Jack," he says, sounding suddenly awestruck. "From this point in my career, he seems like a fictitious character to me (notwithstanding watching his face in close-up every day for the past 18 months). It'd be fascinating to get his take on it."

Room 237 is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below, and start making up your own mind about Kubrick's masterpiece...

Around the Web

Room 237 (2012) - IMDb

THE FILM « Room 237

Shining a light inside Room 237 | Film | The Guardian