23.4.14

I Am a Ghost


Lately I've been on a horror film binge view fest.  I just don't have the time to discuss all that I watch.  I have finally seen Cabin in the Woods (eh, intentionally cheesy and too clever for its own good) and the newest remake of Carrie (horrible...avoid it at all costs).

Then, this past weekend, I Am A Ghost appeared on Itunes.  It looked intriguing but I was hesitant because I hadn't heard about it.  I did a little research and it is a very small and independent film with some very nice reviews.  The word around the blogs was that it only cost $10,000 to produce but it doesn't look cheap at all.

The story centers around a mysterious young woman wandering a huge, desolate Victorian house.  She goes about a daily routine repeatedly but the viewer can't help but notice that the routine has slight changes.  Also the time frame is confusing.  Although the house seems to be existing in a time period sometime around the late 19th Century...the young woman's clothing are Edwardian and yet she wears bonnets that are more in the style of the 1860's.  To add to the confusion she is surrounded by very modern (relatively speaking) devices.  It leads the viewer to wonder...are there really ghosts in this film?  The general atmosphere in the film is unsettling leading up to very disturbing finale.

Even though the film was made cheaply, it looks very elegant.  The lighting is beautiful and the colors are at times rich and other times faded.  It all depends on the mood of the heroine.  The set design is extremely nice with little victorian touches that are extremely oppressive to our modern sensibilities.

I'm glad I took a chance on this film and I highly recommend it!



17.3.14

Eraserhead



Eraserhead was on my list, along with Freaks, of horror films I wanted to watch.  I haven't had the nerve to watch Freaks as of yet, but when I saw Eraserhead at my local library I grabbed it.  Incidentally this film was one of the biggest influences on Kubrick's The Shining.  Indeed Kubrick's film seems to be a big love letter to young Lynch's debut.

Is the film a straight horror film?  No.  Is it horrific?  YES!  I've never been so scared while watching a film.  Not only was I scared but felt psychologically exposed by it.  This film never lets up, it only provides the barest minimum of tension release and that is only in the first quarter of the film.  The disturbing imagery piles up speaking straight to the viewer's subconscious.

I can only describe the experience as a free form anxiety attack.  Let me warn you, this film is not for the faint of heart and whatever you do, DON'T WATCH IT BEFORE BEDTIME!

What of the story?  If you are familiar with Lynch's later work than a coherent storyline is not a factor.  What there is of it seems to be the experiences of a young man pushed into a shotgun marriage due to his girlfriend's unplanned pregnancy.  The film plays with wild Freudian imagery highlighting issues such as sexual desire, sexual fear, body horror, fear of intimacy, social immaturity, fear of parenthood, spousal hatred, fears of old age and death.

The look of the film harks back to the German expressionist cinema of the 20's and film noir of the 30's/40's.  The black and white palette is rich with deep contrasts of shadows and light.  It is an extremely beautiful film even though it is hard to miss that fact due to the unnerving images.

I highly recommend this film if you love horror films, art house flicks and a bit of a cinematic daredevil.

9.3.14

Lives of their own



There have been so many wonderful theories on Kubrick's enigmatic adaption of Stephen King's The Shining.  My favorites are written by Rob Ager and Jonny53.  There are numerous interpretations out there some logical and others bizarre (Native American mass murder?).  The one that has recently interested me I originally read a while ago on IMDB.  However due to IMDB's overzealous policies of data dumping, the posts regarding this theory have long since vanished.  So I'm being very forthright when I state that this theory is not my idea.  I make no claim to creating it.  And I have no information on that brilliant person who did write about it.  This post is merely my attempt to recreate it and present it as one of the many fantastic theories that reveal the extensive work that Kubrick encoded into his film adaption.

One recurring theme in Stephen King's novels and short stories are about characters taking lives of their own.  All writers have experienced it in one form or another.  Whatever the reason characters refuse to behave in the way a writer wants him or her to behave.  They refuse to do what the writer needs them to do in the story.  Sometimes they even rewrite the story or change its focus.  The experience is rather uncanny and I can see why King would frequently visit it in his stories about horror.  It has been a long time since I've read The Shining, so I'm not sure if King touched upon this favorite theme in this novel. We do know that King and Kubrick had a few conversations while Kubrick was adapting King's novel into a film script.  I'm sure that Kubrick also read King's other work for insights.  This is important because the resulting film was intensely personal for both King and Kubrick.  I often wonder if Kubrick was tickled by the fact that both he and King shared the same initials (SK).  This theme of characters coming to life or controlling the writer is important because I believe that Kubrick used this as a main theme in his adaption.

What we are watching in Kubrick's adaption is a mixture of Jack's book and life.  As the film progresses through the boundaries between Jack's imagination and reality become blurry.  Also I don't believe Kubrick was cheating on the ghost factor.  They do exist and he gives a large hint to their reality well before the famous kitchen storeroom scene.

In order to understand this theory, a film viewer must pay attention to three factors:  the use of the color red, the presence of mirrors and Jack's typewriter.  All are used at key points just before or during important scenes.

The Interview

Jack's ride to the Overlook for his interview and the interview itself are reality.  A common complaint regarding the film was how ridiculously insane Nicholson's Jack was in the film. But this is not the case at the beginning.  During the interview Jack is rather low key.  Granted he is a bit stiff, but he was interviewing for a potential job.  What starts us on the dark road to insanity is Ullman revealing the awful history of a former hotel caretaker.  Please note this story is after Jack tells Ullman that he is trying to write a novel.  As soon as the Grady story is mentioned, Kubrick pointedly shows Jack's face light up.  Eureka.  The subject of his novel has just fallen into his lap.

Now in regard to some of the visual clues.  It is important to note that Jack is not wearing any red at all. The first spots of red we see are in the hotel walls also in Ullman's tie and shirt.  The color of Ullman's clothing is a big signpost that we are plunging into Jack's "novel" because he is the one who gives Jack ideas.

We immediately segue into a sequence with Wendy and Danny.  Their clothing is splattered in red which shows an eerie foreshadowing.  I find it interesting that Kubrick created a connection between Ullman and Jack's family.

The color red can symbolize danger, overwhelming emotions, sacrifice, war.  By contrast we see Jack dressed in green.  Kubrick seemed intent on creating a message that this Jack is not the same man that we see in the rest of the film.  The color green symbolizes jealousy, everlasting life, nature, youth and misfortune.  Why does Kubrick turn Jack into the Green Man or Jack o' the Green?  The Green Man is often shown as the horned god, Cernunnos the patron of the stag and protector of wild animals.  In many pagan myths the Green Man/Stag must die in order to be reborn and herald a new spring.  Cernunnos is also thought to be a god of the dead, who leads souls to the afterlife unless he considers them unworthy.  If unworthy, the souls are condemned to be wander lost.

Many have argued in their theories that Ullman knows more than he lets on about the nature of the hotel.  That Ullman may "offer" up sacrifices to the hotel from time to time.  This could be supported in the music Kubrick used which is very religious (Penderecki's Utrenja) and the aforementioned Green Man symbology.  So is Ullman engaging in magic to keep up the hotel's success?  As you can see, the colors are showing Ullman as a predator and Jack as prey.

The Mirror

Meanwhile Danny has a vision of the impending disaster. But the vision is not about Jack becoming homicidal.  Far from that, his vision is about the Grady tragedy.  The tragedy that Jack has decided to write about in his tentative novel.  Now why is that?  I find it fascinating that Danny sees the novel but not reality.  Many accuse Kubrick of not staying true to King's intention in the book.  That Kubrick just made Jack a straight villain not a man who was possessed.  In this theory Kubrick sticks as close as possible to the Jack in the book, more so than people realize.  Danny's first vision supports that a power, outside his and Jack's control, is driving events towards murder.

As a result of this vision and blackout, a doctor is called to treat Danny.  During the discussion between Wendy and the Doctor, Jack's fatal flaw is revealed.  Jack has a short temper and he once beat Danny.

Closing Day - Thursday October 30, 1980

The Death of Cernunnos

As you can see the timeline begins its countdown toward the final events.  It isn't just random.  It points towards both the structure of Jack's novel and magical numbers.  The viewer must also take into account that the Grady tragedy occurred exactly 10 years previously.  Why else mention the year as 1970?  And Kubrick set his film in present day and the same year as the film's release 1980.  In gematria circles, the number 10 represents completion, whole knowledge, the full course of life.  So at the end/beginning of every cycle the hotel gets its sacrifice.  Which is why the Grady tragedy occurred in 1970 with no other tragedies during the rest of the 1970's.  They were a sacrifice of 4 (Mother, Father, and 2 Daughters).  This is a new cycle and Jack's family will potentially be a sacrifice of 3.  Since it seems that Kubrick is equating Jack with a pagan deity, it is interesting to note that this date is the day before Samhain.  In the pagan calendar it is thought that the horned god Cernunnos dies on October 31st.

Widdershins

The ride up to the hotel is reality but it is already showing signs of Jack's fictional retelling of the Grady story.  As this scene shows, Jack is probably not a very good writer.  He would be unoriginal enough to make his novel a fictional account of his own family's brush with Grady like danger.  We hear stilted dialogue and hackneyed references to the Donner party.  Also important to notice that Kubrick uses an obvious rear projection screen technique to mimic a vehicle moving past scenery. The viewer should also be aware that the picture is now flipped.  During the opening credits, the car was shown to the right of the screen with the mountain also on the right side.  During this ride, the car is now shown to the left of the screen and the mountain has jumped to the left as well.  The car is in fact leaving the hotel.  Why the reversal?  It is a sign that we are now in sinister territory, stuck between reality and Jack's imagination, symbolically between justice and the unconscious.  There are more important wardrobe colors to found in this scene as well.  Jack is still in his signature green.  Wendy is dressed in brown.  But Danny is in blue.  Danny is almost always wearing something blue in his clothing.

Hotel Tour

The next scene we see is Jack waiting in the lobby for Ullman and his assistant Bill.  Right away, we can see that Ullman is still adding the color red to his wardrobe in the form of a pair of pants. There is a visual joke regarding the Torrence family luggage which is piled high by the front door.  It is not possible that all this luggage fit into a VW volkswagon.  So how sure are we that Jack even drives a VW?  Is it the fictional Jack that drives a cute little yellow VW bug?

Another hint that the scene is a kind of kooky novel, Jack merrily states that his son is in the game room.  But he forgets to account for the whereabouts of his wife.  The film pointedly cuts to Danny, in the rec room, playing darts.  Once again Danny gets a glimpse of Jack's novel in the form of the Grady girls.  Now if the color Red is an indication of the Overlook's power, then the opposing power color is blue.  As I mentioned before, Danny is frequently shown wearing his "Shining" blue.  We also see that the Grady girls are also in blue.  Did they once shine?

Now the hotel tour can be seen as a bit superfluous and a curious waste of time.  After all Jack was already shown the area during his first visit.  But as an indication of subsequent events, the tour is extremely important.  Jack and Wendy's first visit to their apartment is mirrored later in the film under more horrific circumstances.  The camera in the later sequence shows Ullman's POV as if he were still showing the hapless couple their living quarters.  We see all the important landmarks from the Maze, snowcat garage to the Gold Ballroom.

It is the Ballroom that is the most significant.  Rob Ager pointed out in his commentary that the furniture moves on its own in the ballroom (and other areas as well).  This frequently attests to the fact that the hotel is really haunted.  But there is also another correlation, the tour of the Ballroom perfectly mirrors Jack's plunge into the Ballroom's past.  Ager pointed out that the bar chairs were out of place.  As if Wendy, Ullman, Danny and Watson had all been sitting at the bar.  Ultimately they do sit at the bar, because in Jack's fantasia of the good life they appear as the "ghosts".  Ullman is Lloyd.  In reality Ullman tells Jack there is no liquor during the winter.  His ghostly evil twin Lloyd is a bartender.  The couple sitting at the bar while Jack dances past is none other than his wife and child.  Watson turns into the diabolical Delbert Grady.  The only two who don't seem to have doppelgängers are Jack and Halloran.  Until the staging is revealed that these two are mirrors of one another.  As they are introduced, Halloran and Jack shake hands with the same body language.   They face each other as if looking in a mirror.  I wonder how many times Kubrick had the actors film this scene until they looked twin like.

The Shining

The conversation scene between Danny and Holloran is one of the most important in the film.  Because Holloran explains to Danny the particulars of the talent they share.  The power of the shine is portrayed as the color blue and both characters have blue in their clothing.  This is also the only scene, at the hotel, that does not have Jack's influence on it.  We are watching reality.  What is also important to note is that Holloran stresses that there are people who have the shine but do not know it.  The unspoken part is that both suspect another individual at the hotel with shining power but it is unknown if they can pinpoint that unknown player as Jack.  Jack is not aware of his talent, he can't control it like Holloran or Danny.  But his novel releases and focuses the latent talent and allows everything in the hotel and his broken psyche to gain form.  The book, in essence, is like Danny's Tony, a coping mechanism for raw talent.

The other significant subject in their conversation is about Room 237.  While Holloran refuses to discuss the room, it is clear something is wrong about it. So Danny bringing it up rings alarm bells.  What lives in that room?  And why does it not fit into Holloran's theory that past hauntings are just like pictures in a book?  I wonder if the room is even used at all in the hotel.  Perhaps it stays locked all year around keeping whatever monster the hotel harbors a prisoner.

One Month Later - Sunday, November 30, 1980

The film flashes this important title because we need to take into account that nothing happened during this time.  There were no ghosts in the hotel, Jack was a regular guy and Danny had no visions.  Presumably Jack performed all the duties that were left to him as a caretaker.  As we learn later in the scene, Jack has not been writing.  Which indicates that for this one month he hesitated to use the Grady story as his basis.

The scene opens with Wendy bringing Jack his breakfast.  As Wendy enters their apartment, we see Jack's sleeping reflection in a mirror.  Kubrick stresses the Widdershins factor yet again in that we are not seeing the natural Jack, we are looking at his opposite...his doppelganger.  As the scene progresses, Kubrick pans in closer to the mirror until the camera travels through the mirror.  It is quite clear we are no longer in reality but inside the backwards mirror world of the book.

The Haunted Typewriter

The one element that is the most important in the film yet rarely written about in most theories is Jack's typewriter.  It is the one object that holds power and constancy throughout the film.  The shots of it, when in use or unused, are a totem and signpost to the viewers.  Whenever we see the typewriter, we know that what occurs around its image is distorted or even unreal.

The first shot of it we see, it lies ominously on a table with Jack playing handball in the background.  We now know that Jack has begun to write.  How much of it is on paper or just in his head is famously revealed later.  But as of this point in the film, he is writing.

Anything that has influence of his book, his fictional account of the Grady story, has the color red included somewhere in the scene.  The first typewriter scene, is the first time Danny and Wendy enter the maze.  Both are wearing red clothing items.  The film cuts to Jack, staring into the maze replica and imagining his fictional family in the maze.  Importantly, Jack is wearing no red items but he is wearing a blue shirt.  Jack is shining.

Tuesday - December 2, 1980

The film opens this new day with a shot of the hotel and in the background we hear a howling wolf.  In keeping with symbolism of the horned god, we discover that The Wild Hunt has begun.

The film shows Wendy preparing dinner for the family.  Kubrick gives a sly visual joke in the fact that she plans to feed her family an industrial sized can of fruit cocktail.  I mean really, could the three of them eat all of that fruit?  But the reason why we are shown Wendy is that this scene is a baseline for reality.  She is not dressed in red.  So the TV broadcast of the large snowstorm approaching their area is very real.  Wendy is dressed in a blue shirt.  Some theorists, like Jonny53, believe that the whole Torrence family in this film can shine.  Perhaps he is right, because in addition to Wendy's blue shirt we can hear the news broadcast announce that an Aspen woman was reported missing.  This occurred while hunting with her husband.  The wild hunt indeed.

We then see Danny on his bike making a circuit of the second floor.  The scene is saturated in red, from the floors to the elevator doors.  Danny is even wearing a red shirt but paired with blue overalls.  He stops in front of Room 237 which seems more and more like the door to Jack's deepest most disturbed desires.  What does Danny see but the two Grady girls flashed into his mind.

Immediately we cut to see Jack writing on his typewriter.  It seems that Danny was existing in both book and reality.  His glimpse of the Grady girls was his perception of his father's fascination with the Grady murder and Room 237 is Jack's desire to murder his own family.  Wendy enters the scene but is now shown to be wearing red boots.  However I have my doubts that this woman is the real Wendy.  While she does mention that the weather broadcast states that there will be a bad snowstorm she never mentions that she was cooking dinner.  Instead she tells Jack that she will bring him sandwiches.  This is odd because Wendy in the kitchen clearly set the table for three people.  After receiving a rather harsh lecture from Jack, Wendy leaves and Jack immediately starts typing again.  The viewers now know that Wendy never left the kitchen and what we saw was some wish fulfillment fantasy in Jack's imagination.  Many theorists make note that Jack pulled the paper from his typewriter when Wendy enters but it mysteriously reappears after she leaves.  They tie it into the poltergeist haunting aspect of the film.  I have no doubt that the movement of objects indicate the haunting of The Overlook.  But in this scene, it supports the book/reality idea.  Jack was imagining this whole scene.  Everything between Jack's typing was straight fiction.

Thursday - December 4, 1980 

Once again we Danny and Wendy playing in the snow while dressed in red clothing.  They pass the red snowcat which is strangely outside the garage.  Meanwhile Jack is in a trance.  The typewriter shown in the background.

Saturday - December 6, 1980

We start this day with a shot of the worsening snowstorm and Jack furiously typing up his next scene.

Meanwhile we get a shot of the real Wendy discovering that the phones have gone out due to the storm.    Just who was she going to call?  She checks up with Forest service regarding the phone lines which she is told will be out until spring.

Danny is once again on his bike and traversing an unknown area of the hotel.  This time the scene is predominantly blue and the red is only in his jacket.  He has a vision of the Grady girls.  But this time they are stronger and can speak to him.  The growing power in the Grady vision is in direct correlation to Jack's book.  The closer Jack gets to the climax of the story the more power the Grady ghosts have and it is all shined directly at Danny.  Kubrick teases us pointblank with the book sub-theme of the film by having Tony tell Danny that he is looking at pictures in a book.

Monday - December 8, 1980

We begin this day with both Danny and Wendy in silhouette.  It is probably a cue to show that reality is dimming for Jack.  He has stopped writing and is now hiding in bed.  Danny sneaks into the family apartment but is horrified to discover that Jack is not sleeping.  Kubrick hints that Jack is now losing track of who he is by showing his reflection in a mirror.  He is almost living full time in his book, almost widdershins completely.  Jack's echoing the Grady girls is another sign that the previous scene was what he was writing on his haunted typewriter.  Danny asks if Jack would hurt his family.  This immediately sets off Jack's latent rage at his family.

The scene cuts off strangely as if the film is missing the rest of the scene.  According to theorist Rob Ager, it did. What was cut off was Jack's beating and rape of Danny.

Wednesday - December 10, 1980

What we see now is a fictional retelling of the crime.  Danny is no longer on his bike.  Instead he is playing (Come and Play with us Danny).  Jack's hand ball rolls toward him, apparently from the now opened Room 237 apartment.  Danny is shown walking toward the open door.

Wendy is in the process of taking care of the jobs that Jack should be performing.  She hears him screaming and we discover that he has fallen asleep in front of his typewriter.  Jack has now been fully consumed by his own book.  He is no longer in green but in a deeply colored red jacket.  Whoever Jack was in the previous scenes is gone.  The red is not only an indication of the book but an indication of how much he hurt Danny.  He wears the jacket much in the same way that Lady Macbeth can't get rid of that spot.  He is hiding now in his novel, writing another reason why Danny was hurt.  Anything rather than face the crime he has just committed.

He tells Wendy that he dreamed that he hurt his family.  Even in fiction, Jack can't hide from what he did.  Danny appears covered in bruises.  Wendy immediately connects Jack to the beating.  She carries Danny out of the room and away from Jack.

The first ghost

Reeling and writhing with anger, Jack stomps into the Gold Ballroom.  I believe it was Rob Ager who cannily pointed out that every time Jack passed a mirror he acted out.  Almost as if Jack is switching personalities or what was inside him is revealed by the mirrors.  As he sits at the mirrored bar, he covers his face to avoid looking at himself.  When he looks up he greets "Lloyd".  Lloyd is a character in the book and behaves much in the way Jack has written him.  Lloyd mouths platitudes and listens placidly as Jack confesses his past abuse of Danny and his justifications of that abuse.  His desire to forget the attack on Danny is further symbolized in the drink that Lloyd gives to him.  Wendy interrupts the rather one sided conversation with the news that there is another person in the hotel.   However I don't believe this is the real Wendy.  This Wendy is a wish fulfillment vision by Jack.  One visual hint that this could be so is that when Wendy runs into the ballroom, she turns her head away from each of the mirrors in the hall.  What is also odd is that she left Danny alone in their apartment.  If she really thought that there was a stranger in the hotel, wouldn't she have had Danny by her side?

Room 237

Halloran is shown in the next scene receiving an image.  The three main colors of the film surround him.  His pajamas are blue indicating his shine.  The sheets are green indicating the pagan Cernunnos imagery.  Above his bed is a red portrait of a nude woman both a sign of the hotel's power and Jack's intentions.  We see Danny in contact with him.  He is now dressed in red mirroring the picture above Halloran's bed and Jack's clothing.

Jack wends his way into the forbidden hotel room and imagines that he sees a beautiful woman.  As others have noted, this woman is seen only in the bathroom and only in front of mirrors.  It is through the mirror that Jack sees the opposite of this young woman, an old witch.  Many theorists think that the audience have been given a glimpse into Jack's soul and a very stylized depiction of what he did to Danny.  Which ever version he saw (Danny's or Jack's)  Halloran is disturbed enough to make an attempt to contact the hotel.  The phone Halloran is using is ominously red.

He did it to himself

As we continue with this fictional recount of Danny's attack and aftermath, Jack goes back to the apartment.  We get a visual hint that we are still widdershins as Wendy and Jack pause at the entrance to the apartment in front of a mirror.  It should be noted that this scene strongly mimics the first time Jack and Wendy saw the apartment.  They peek into Danny's room then sit in their bedroom.  Here Jack writes that he convinces Wendy that Danny suffered from a epileptic attack.  Just like the one he had at their Boulder home. His rage at Wendy comes out once again and he runs away from the apartment.  He takes a look back at Danny's room as he leaves.  Or does he?  If this scene mimics the first visit to the apartment then Jack would be looking at the spot where Ullman was standing.

Who is buying my drinks?

Once again Jack is acting out a violent tantrum, knocking hotel objects onto the floor.  He is surprised to discover that there is a party in the hotel.  As the camera tracks past party balloons, the music cues in a snippet of a Jack Hylton's "Masquerade"(definitely a reference to Jack pretending to be a good family man).  The gold ballroom is fully lit now and filled with party guests dressed in 20's clothing.  The music cue has changed to Ray Noble's "Midnight, The Stars and You".  Jack sits at the bar and greets Lloyd again.  But then something odd and significant occurs, as Jack hands Lloyd money for his drinks, Lloyd tells him the money is no good in the hotel.  Everything up to this point in the story has acted according to Jack's authorial wishes.  But the refusal of the money throws him off.  He didn't write this, this is Lloyd acting on his own account separate from Jack's book.  Jack, no longer acting his lead character, demands to know who is in charge and covering his drink tab.  He allows himself to be dissuaded from further questioning by accepting Lloyd's explanation that it doesn't concern him.

The Other Grady

It is obvious by now that there is another force at work upon Jack.  As he loses himself inside his own novel, he is outside of reality and open to attack.  Although the film is primarily psychological, Kubrick did hold true to the haunted hotel theme of the book.  Whereas the ghosts are up front and visible in the novel, the movie lets them creep up until Jack can no longer ignore them.

A waiter drops a cocktail on the dancing Jack.  They enter a strikingly red bathroom filled with mirrors.  And here Jack meets Grady.  But please note he doesn't meet the REAL Grady.  The real Grady was named Charles, the Grady Jack meets is his own creation called Delbert.  The meaning of the names back this up as well.  Charles means "Man" but Delbert means "Day Bright". The bright lights and the mirrors and the Freudian bathroom setting reveals the inner Jack.  It is interesting to note (in keeping with Freud) that the toilet stalls do not have doors. But it isn't all cut and dried as that, there is still mystery.  Because the fictional Delbert does not act in the way that Jack has written him.  He refuses to be identified as the man who killed his family at the Overlook 10 years previously.  Kubrick has cannily emphasized that this scene is the same as the Room 237 scene.  Jack is positioned in the same way towards Grady as he was toward the young hag.  The Widdershins factor is now even more prominent with constant switching between left/right with the two characters mirroring each other.  As the two "Caretakers" discuss their families, Delbert implants the suggestion that his family must die.

Possession

As the hotel possesses Jack, we see Wendy already planning her escape.  However Danny is experiencing his own possession.  He has now allowed his alternate personality/imaginary friend to take over.  He tells his mother that "Danny" is gone.  But exactly which Danny is he discussing?  The book revealed that Jack's full name is John Daniel Torrance.  I believe it was suggested by another theorist that little Danny is channeling his father.  So as Hotel Grady takes over Jack, Jack takes over his own son.  Meanwhile "Jack Grady" is disabling the family's only lifeline to the outside world, their CB radio.  In turn, Halloran is thwarted in trying to contact them.

8AM - Thursday - December 11, 1980

The 11th day is important in magic. 11 is the number of psychic power.   On some gematria websites it states that 11 is a number of bad omens since it is 1 more over the perfection of 10.  The number 11 also symbolizes martyrdom, disorder and punishment of the wicked.  Obviously this is the day of sacrifice for the Torrance family.

We see Halloran traveling to Denver and attempting to arrange transport to the Overlook.  But oddly we also see that Jack is writing again.  This indicates a return to reality outside the addled mind of a possessed and drunken Jack.   We aren't sure who he is writing about but the next scene gives us a big indication...Halloran.  We get a hammy dialogue between Halloran and his friend about the transport to the Overlook.  It has the same stilted feeling of the dialogue the Torrence family had on their drive at the beginning of the film.  This accounts for the discrepancy between the worried Hallorann of the night before and this stuffed doll version stating that he was an errand boy for Ullman.

One clue that we are watching fiction is that Durkin (Halloran's friend) has cartoons playing on his television.  The same cartoons that Danny/Jack is watching at the hotel.  Also note the posters that  are on Durkin's wall.  All of them extremely childlike referencing dogs and woodland creatures.  What kind of auto mechanic hangs pictures of childish animals in his place of business and watches cartoons?

Also why would Ullman call the HOTEL CHEF to do the HR side of the business?  He wouldn't,  if Ullman even thought of anything going wrong with his sacrifice he would have had his right hand man, Bill Watson, go to the hotel.  This indicates to me that this Halloran is straight fiction. What we see is Jack's racist, self loathing doppelgänger of himself.  This Halloran is all the good things still left inside of Jack.  The parts that must be sacrificed!

The fact that the murder we see may have never happened is highlighted by one very big, very important missing feature.

Why no Christmas?

The film takes place entirely after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Kubrick skipped over it entirely.  This may have relation to the Indian massacre motif that many theorists state that Kubrick was using.  But considering the Torrance family have a young child and they are far away from home, Christmas should have been a very, very big deal for them.  So where is their Christmas tree?  Where are the homemade christmas decorations that all children love to make?  Why isn't Wendy ever shown trying to decorate or bake Christmas cookies?  The simple answer is that it supports the argument that we are watching the fictional story that Jack is writing.  He neglected to include seasonal detail.  It also supports the supernatural sub-theme of the sacrifice of the Green Man.  We are in pagan territory here and Christianity has nothing to do with this story.  Unless, of course, we listen to the music Kubrick used.  Even so, evergreen plants held a big significance to the pagans who worshipped at the solstice. These plants were used to keep harmful ghosts away.  So it is quite telling that there is no "protection" of a lighted tree for the Torrance family.

Watch your Cartoons

The symbiosis between Jack and Danny/Tony continues as Wendy tells Danny that she will leave their suite for awhile.  Note that Danny is wearing almost the exact outfit that Jack was wearing when they had that "talk" and sitting in the same position on the bed.  Danny is drenched in red.  While there is no hint of red in Wendy's clothing.  This is an interesting duality.  It suggests that while Wendy is in reality, Danny is stuck inside his father's book.  As Wendy leaves, she grabs a bat.  Which is strange because we've never seen anyone use the bat in a pickup baseball game.  We constantly saw Jack throw balls, it seems the bat appears with Wendy finally taking her equal place in this marriage.  It indicates that she is now willing to take charge and stop depending on Jack, stop building him into her own father figure.  Another interesting indication is that the balance of power has tipped towards meek Wendy.  She, in essence, "speaks softly and carries a big stick".

How do you like it?

As Wendy searches for Jack in the hotel lounge, she starts to read his manuscript.  In this famous scene, we discover that what we thought Jack was writing was just gibberish.  Instead we saw it play out in the film.  We were inside Jack's story/hallucination and none of it ever made it into the physical world.  This is where the film stops being encaged inside Jack's head and begins to show real POVs for Jack's prisoners, Wendy and Danny.

As Jack stalks Wendy around the lobby, it is quite clear that Jack is speaking to her as if she were another one of his delusions.  She is just another character in his book.  He in turn has taken on arguments used by his Delbert Grady character.  Who do we see in this scene?  Are we watching the actual Jack or the diabolical Grady persona?

The film makes one more big point in this scene before Wendy finally knocks Jack's skull.  As Jack is raving about his responsibilities to his employers, there is a shot of Wendy in front of that famous series of black and white photos.  Those photos which mysteriously jump to a new wall and location in the last shot of the film.

The Store Room

As Wendy steps further into the challenge of protecting herself and her child, we see that she has found strength to drag Jack all the way from the lobby to the kitchen.  In her fear, we see the film meticulously document how the storeroom door is opened and locked.  It has a sliding bolt on top, in the handle is another bolt connected by chain which prevents the handle from releasing.  The film documents the lock mechanisms to make it clear that it would be impossible for Jack to escape without help.  However, earlier in the film there was an indication that there was another door into the storeroom.  This set anomaly along with many others was pointed out by film theorist Rob Ager.

Wendy soon discovers that Jack has trapped her just as surely as she has done to him.  He has completely destroyed the snowcat and her only means of escape.


4PM - Thursday - December 11, 1980

We lose 8 hours of time between 8AM and 4PM because Jack has been sleeping.  Which indicates he still driving the alternate reality of the film.  But why make an indication that is 4PM?  According to gematria, the number 4 indicates double duality.  It can also represent the Trinity.  But since Kubrick's film is an evil widdershins of everything good.  The trinity doesn't represent god.

Holy Ghost - Delbert Grady
Father - Jack Torrence
Son - Fictional Caretaker Jack Torrence

Jack speaks to what he thinks is his own fictional creation, they all unite and become 1.  It is only after Jack gives himself to this evil inversion that Delbert Grady releases him from his storeroom prison.  Now there is debate on how Jack escaped.  Some say he used that mysterious second door in the storeroom.  There is another group who states that Jack used psychic powers to release himself.  A smaller group of theorists hypothesize that Danny or even Wendy released him.  I choose to believe Kubrick himself when he stated that he was creating a ghost story.  We had indications earlier that the ghosts existed outside Jack's hallucinations when they acted autonomously.  Here, finally, we have proof that there is something haunting the Overlook hotel.  It may call itself Delbert Grady, it may masquerade as a beautiful women in a tub or a bartender but it is real and it is evil.

Halloran travels to The Overlook

We now see that Halloran has indeed traveled to the Overlook as we see him drive that precarious road in full white out conditions.

Meanwhile Danny is still channeling his father.  He picks up a weapon indicating that Jack has gotten his hands on the ax.  As Jack gets ever closer to the family apartment, Danny becomes more frightened.  When he is finally released from his trance, Jack begins to batter down the apartment door with his ax.  Wendy again shows resourceful thinking by grabbing the knife she took from the kitchen to protect herself and Danny.  She also manages to get Danny out of the bathroom window and away from immediate danger.  Unfortunately she is still trapped.

There is an interesting little continuity error here during the bathroom door scene.  We see only one door panel knocked out by Jack in his effort to get into the bathroom.  But when Halloran arrives in the snowcat, we see Jack standing before two panels knocked out.  One very cleanly, the other ragged from the ax.  The punched out shapes in the door look like the number 11.

The word made flesh

We see that Jack has almost magically jumped a couple of floors to the kitchen again.  As he limps towards the front entrance.  We see this teleportation trick again when he murders Halloran.  His presence jumps from lobby stairs to behind one of the lobby pillars.

As Halloran is murdered the film's score jumps to life as it plays Penderecki's Utrenja Part II "The Resurrection of Christ" Ewangelia (The Gospel).  As the musical liturgy plays we realize that what we have been watching was an elaborate Black Mass with religious inversions.  The Hotel received its sacrifice and infusion of power with the death of Halloran.

The hotel begins it manifest its other inhabitants to Wendy as she searches the hotel for Danny.

Meanwhile Danny completes the final sacrifice as he leads his father into hotel's garden maze, entrapping him.  Jack then freezes to death.  Danny and his mother are allowed to escape.

Jack's Fictional Epilogue

We see the frozen Jack in the bouts of a final hallucination.  In the never written book that existed only in Jack's mind,  Jack is a glamorous inhabitant of the hotel.  He imagines himself in those old pictures lining the hotel walls.  There he stays forever and ever and ever.  In ten years, 1990, he and his fellow ghosts will be allowed to come and play.

Magic

This is not the only film in which Kubrick played with number symbolism, inversions and black mass motifs.  There is evidence that he did the same in his last film Eyes Wide Shut.  That he constantly equates luciferian imagery with the elite is very interesting.  It seems that Kubrick thought the pursuit of power, money and sex was akin to a death cult.  That rampaging lusts for all was the absolute corruption.  It makes men kill their families.  It makes rich people prey on poor.  It creates a society that thrives on blood sacrifices committed on "magical" days.

17.2.14

Austenland



My movie collection is bizarre.  I'll say it here and now.  I don't try to be high brow and track down all the important films with a message.  My collection is a wacky mix of love stories and violent action films, you know, Persuasion and RIDDICK!

Even so, I was hesitant about Austenland.  I liked the premise.  But Hollywood is so about the premise and then neglecting to give a story.  But this film was really sweet and goofy.  Nothing really outrageous happens, it has some great campy acting (from Jane Seymour and Jennifer Coolidge) and there is a happy ending.  It also skewers Jane Austen fans, Austen's books and Austen film adaptations really well.

BUT the best out of it all was the video included at the ending credits.  You haven't lived until you see Austen people dance to "Hot in Here".

6.2.14

It should have been Harry and Hermione says Rowling

Oh, if only I was on Livejournal still, what a party this would be.

So Rowling gave the Harry/Hermione fans a consolation prize...

http://www.hypable.com/2014/02/01/jk-rowling-ron-hermione-relationship-regret-interview/

I was there young ones, I was there for the shipping wars.  I was there when Delusional comment was made. I was there for the aftermath when the Harry/Hermione crowd used the word delusional as kind of coat of arms.  It was an interesting time to be a part of fandom.

All I can say now is...whatever...it is what it is.  Rowling wrote the books as she saw fit at the time.

So what about the alchemy?

The paradigms that Rowling was using all required a union between the Mercury character and the Sulphur character.  In her series that was Harry and Hermione.  Symbolically they did fulfill the requirements, they were a working partnership.  It was just in the personal area where the chemical marriage did not take place. So for the fans tuned into this angle or more sensitive to it, the fact that Harry and Hermione did not end up together was confusing.

Alchemy calls itself a cycle.  A never ending search for greater purity, enlightenment.  For an Alchemist to admit a mistake, is to declare his/her attempt at the great work a failure.  In Lyndy Abraham's book, it is called an even more extreme word...an abortion.  Why would Rowling admit this now?

Does she plan another attempt?

ETA:  I've been lurking on LiveJournal and the hoopla is sweet.  Just like the old days.  Supposedly there was more angst on Tumblr but I haven't visited those fan pages.  Oh for those younger days...pre-murder trial.

15.1.14

Why alchemy?

This is just an impromptu post inspired by the debate going on at Ferretbrain.

Why Alchemy?

Way back when I was a younger reader, I got into the Harry Potter fandom on LiveJournal.  Back then I was known as kaskait (the name I still use on IMDB).  I loved the wacky and sometimes serious discussions about the series.  It was also a good place to grumble when the series took a strange left turn from book 5 onwards.  Towards the end of the journey, the big topic du jour was Alchemy.  This was originally written about by the Hogwarts Professor, if I remember correctly.  Anyway the Alchemy craze had begun with everyone delving into arcane esoterica in order to further understand Harry Potter's journey.

I was skeptical of the whole idea at first.  Because it was strange to me that a symbolic structure should dictate what a story should do or how it should end.  It seemed inorganic to me.  To this day, I still find it insane AND I think it is disturbing that it should be inserted into almost every fantasy and science fiction film/book.

Why?  This is what I want to know.  Why should this structure be used?  Are creators told to use it?  Or do they just stumble upon it, think it rather cool and then build their work on it?  One commentator on IMDB told me that he noticed many fantasy/science fiction genre films used Inverted Gnosticism.  He just wanted to know why, if there was anyone who would be willing to explain why these motifs are continually used.  If he was told it was just for depth/interest whatever, he could understand it.  There would be a reason however wacky.  But to this day no one has acknowledged Inverted Gnosticism.  For that matter no one has acknowledged the use of Alchemy structure in art (books, film, art, music etc) either.  Like the person who wrote to me on IMDB, I just would like to know a reason for the Alchemy.  If someone said to me they add it because of the challenge, the interest, the fanciful imagery...I could say that those were valid reasons and move on.  But since no one has, I only have my small amount of research on Alchemy and Artist context to sort out the intentions of individual pieces of work.

When I left Harry Potter fandom, I pretty much stopped reading about Alchemy.  Until I began to notice it in other genre works.  The one thing I noticed for ALL alchemy works was that the stories were prisoners to the Alchemical paradigm.  That in order to fit to the structure, the writer/filmmaker had to do cartwheels to force stories onto the Philosophical wheel.  In turn, this led to disturbing twists to stories that were once benign.  Harry Potter is the philosophers' stone, the philosophical child in that series.  He is, for all intents and purposes, pure love...the embodiment of the 5th element...quintessence.  But in his books he engages in torture and near negligent homicide, he celebrates bullies (his father and friends, the Weasley twins), questionable tactics (Hermione giving a teacher to Centaurs or Mind wiping her own parents).  In regards to his own misdeeds he NEVER apologizes.  In fact most other characters fall over themselves to tell Harry that he has no blame.  He is a font of pure love no matter what he does.  And because of the Alchemy structure this is so without question.

However I can't blame Alchemy for questionable story lines.  The art of Alchemy itself seems rather benign to me.  It is what people want to use it for that isn't.  So that led to me questioning WHY JK Rowling thought Harry's torturing ways was a good example of the Alchemical hero.  In regards to my debates on the film Prometheus at IMDB and Ferretbrain, I would like to know why Ridley Scott thought that it was ok that his hero David 8 should kill Charlie Halloway.  Was this all just to fit into their interpretation of Alchemy?  Not only that, what paradigm of Alchemy are they following?  There are many Alchemical sects, one of the more popular is Rosicrucianism.  So do the Rosicrucians think it is ok for Philosophical Children to torture or murder?  If so, why?  Is it because they have magical blood/ are royalty etc?

I would like to know.

On the flip side there are alchemical works that hold their characters responsible to their actions.

In Henson's Alchemical tale "Labyrinth", Hoggle poisons Sarah.  In the process she forgets her quest.  But when she comes back to herself, Hoggle faces her point blank, admits his crime and apologizes.  She in turn accepts his apology.  That is 100% in the spirit of the Alchemy I read about regularly.

However at the time of its release "Labyrinth" was a horrible failure.  While the torturer Harry Potter is a mega success.

Why?  Why are the elitist versions favored over the merciful?  That is why I continually study the structure and continue to question what Hollywood and the Publishing industry spew at the public.

8.1.14

Nowhere

On Long Island there is a community that you won't find on any map.

During the summer, its residents are helicoptered into the compound.  It was rumored that the President may have been a visitor.

Its entrance is nondescript with no indication of address but off the main road.  The entrance is gated, of course.  But there are plenty of gates all over Long Island.

If, by chance, your car passes muster to the security system those gates will open.

The road to the compound is fairly straight, bordered by trees, open land and a private golf course.  There are few to no cars passing by you as you drive to the heart of the compound.  As you near the shore of the Sound, your car will enter thick tree cover.  But the road doesn't end yet.  There will be an incline as you drive to the top of the sound cliff.

At the top of the cliff, you will suddenly notice that you have been passing houses for quite awhile.  It is strange that you missed them but then you realize they are all painted black, the loamy color of fertile earth.  They are big, silent, identical in the Craftsman style but stand ominously within the trees.  All of them command a view of the sound and the surrounding forest.  Most are empty with movement around only a few.

The road ends at the imposing stone clubhouse.  The grey of the stone contrasts against the black homes.  Clearly this meeting house is the most important building on the compound.  It seems pretty enough.  Until you realize the heavy gate you managed to enter off the main road, the long road, the black homes, the silence and then that stone building seems monstrous.  The wind off the sound rips around the structure and a slight howl can be heard.  It seems your imagination runs off with itself and it can imagine terrible things about that stone building.  Strange ceremonies.  Dark deeds.  World takeovers.  Crazy chanting.

During your accidental visit, if you see a resident, they ignore you.  There are no guards or guard houses. And you leave without incident.  But you are certain that whatever dwells in these homes command an enormous amount of power and wealth.