The Timberline Lodge, Oregon, does not have a Room 237. In Stephen King‘s book, the room of mystery is actually Room 217, but its proprietors felt that as the real-life double of Stanley Kubrick’s diabolical Overlook Hotel, the room’s axe-wielding associations mightn’t be the strongest draw for the vacationing family. Such is the pervasiveness of “The Shining,” and indeed 33 years after its release, horror anoraks and Kubrick devotees alike are still tugging away at its thematic carcass. With commentators batting for such subtextual teams as “Native American Oppression”, “Nazism in 1942”, or the wackier “Moon Landing Denial”, the conversation has run and run.
It is upon this argumentative chassis that Rodney Ascher builds the documentary, “Room 237,” an expert back-and-forth on the theories surrounding the film, which premiered at Sundance 2012 and goes on limited release March 29th. Having so far piggybacked on the original 1980s marketing with a retro-cool campaign, a new poster (via io9) launched this week that sees the advertising turn as cryptic as the material. A Warhol-esque can is the centrepiece for all the Overlook Hotel’s creepiest motifs: a Native American headdress made from Jack Torrence axes; a pair of silhouetted twins; a river of blood. The number 42, allegedly a reference to the 1942 Final Solution, is big on the poster and even bigger in “The Shining” ( “Summer of ‘42” is on the TV, it’s the number on Danny’s sweatshirt, and for those keeping score, Wendy hits Jack 42 times with a bat). And as for Room 237? Well 2x3x7 is… 42. Duh.
And oh yeah, there’s one more clue on there: a silhouette of a Saturn rocket. Many believe Kubrick slyly referenced his (supposed) involvement in faking the moon landing throughout the movie, but perhaps most prominently on Danny’s Apollo sweater. Is your head spinning yet? Just wait until you see the movie.