A few years ago, a documentary was released called Room 237, about a group of obsessive people who believe that Stanley Kubrick was trying to send the world some message through The Shining. That message varies: to some it’s about the faking of the moon landing; to others it’s about the genocide of Native Americans. The common thread is that when these people watch The Shining, they see what they want to see. It’s caught them inside itself, like the Overlook Hotel catches Jack Torrance.
Most directors make movies to look (and sound, and feel) like the real world; the viewer experiences them much like they do their own, normally-lived life. Kubrick made movies to seem like dreams. Scenes flow into each other, the camera pans and lingers awkwardly, events aren’t necessarily strung together logically. The viewer is constantly conscious of seeing, not having the film’s images just appear in their mind’s eye. The Shining is perhaps his best match of style and subject matter: the story of a psychically charged hotel, the supernatural evil that dwells within it, the deeply damaged winter caretaker it preys upon (Jack Nicholson in one of this best roles), and his gifted son whose thoughts can be made real, fits perfectly with Kubrick’s rich, floating style. Everyone sees what they find scariest in The Shining, and they’re all right.
1980 / R / 2h 26m / Horror
Tickets for “A Nightmare on Franklin Street” classic films are $10 for general admission and $7 for Tampa Theatre Members, available at the box office, located at 711 N. Franklin Street in downtown Tampa, or online at TampaTheatre.org (service fees apply).