There's more to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining than meets the eye, if the five obsessives who espouse their ideas and observations about the 1980 horror classic for this compulsive documentary are to be believed. From the filmmaker with 2001 conspiracy theories to the artist who shows the film to be even more creepy when it's superimposed over itself in reverse, the revelations come thicker and faster than snow on a Colorado mountain top. You'll never watch a movie in the same way again.
And there's you thinking that The Shining was just a scary movie about Jack Nicholson going nuts in a big, old hotel in the middle of nowhere. Ha! Think again.
Because not only is it an allegory for the Holocaust and the genocide of Native Americans, it's also Kubrick's way of telling us that he faked the footage of the Apollo 11 moon landings.
Well, that's what it is to the five devotees who give us the benefit of their insight/insanity after analysing Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's horror yarn to death.
So while it's ostensibly the tale of a caretaker (Nicholson) who becomes a man possessed while isolated at the remote Outlook Hotel with his wife (Shelley Duvall) and psychic son (Danny Lloyd), it packs more metaphorical craziness than a mad axeman lost in a mountain maze.
Journalist Bill Blakemore, for example, sees signs of ethnic cleansing in tins of baking soda. Similar parallels are drawn by historian Geoffrey Cocks, whose suspicions were aroused by the prevalence of the number 42 (the Nazis began to execute their 'final solution' in 1942).
The infamous Room 237 (2 x 3 x 7 = 42) itself is described as "the moon room" by Jay Weidner, an 'alchemical conspiracy hunter' who believes every change Kubrick made from King's novel is evidence of the director's part in faking footage for NASA (it was originally room 217, but the moon is 237,000 miles from Earth).
Then there's playwright Juli Kearns who became fascinated by the impossible geography of the Outlook hotel (internal rooms with external windows; a room that moves across the corridor), and experimental artist John Fell Ryan who made weird discoveries after playing the movie while superimposing it backwards at the same time.
There are subliminal messages everywhere: numerical, sexual, historical, geometrical, and miscellaneous (like the TV with no power lead).
But this is no dry discussion between talking heads. In fact, the interviewees are never seen. They simply voice their many points for Ascher to illustrate, illuminate and extrapolate with charts and carefully selected clips from Kubrick's ouevre and various significant others.
Of course, many of the notions can be dismissed as the wanton brain-farts of people with too much time on their hands (after all, 2+3+7= 12 = so what?). Others, however, are plain to see.
When is a continuity error not a continuity error? When it's in a Kubrick movie. You can't help but feel persuaded... maybe even, like one or two of the theorists themselves, a little paranoid.
Be warned: Asher's film is the ultimate spoiler. So if you haven't seen The Shining, cast your light elsewhere. But for those that have - and why else would you be watching? - it will change your Outlook for good.