Absurdities: Pantry Oddities



The below image was my original attempt to combine all the pantries oddities into one collage. But it looks like we’ll have to go piece by piece.

Pantry Oddity #1 – The doors of the two deep freezes behind Hallorann to the left here, one of which we just saw leads to a rather large, deep meat locker, should cut into the side of the pantry. It’s only about five feet from the first locker (C2) to the corner where Hallorann will enter the pantry from. As we’ll see later, when Wendy drags Jack in, there’s enough room to drag about two Jack-lengths, at least.

Pantry Oddity #2 – This one’s minor, but we’re going chronologically, not by significance. Basically, I’m just pointing out that the view from outside the storeroom looks similar but different to the inside view, and note how the Tang/Ritz was always visible. If the reason for many of the following discrepancies had to do with Kubrick developing his themes as he went, then these were obviously the ones he knew to keep in, or to put in.

Now, I’m pointing out the Ritz boxes because many months ago I thought the yellow spines seen from outside the pantry were an indication that these were a different product called something like “Wind”. In fact, it says “Win!” and probably was just a contest of some kind. I put the arrow in mainly to highlight the seeming discrepancy, the sense of change created by this move.

Pantry Oddity #3 – This one’s more for you to study. I could point out all the ways the objects change between shots, but it’s more of a step-by-step kinda thing. I put in the red box to draw your attention to the fact that stumble Jack’s shelf here is probably identical to Hallorann’s from before, and yet, when Grady chat Jack is in the same spot a few hours later, everything’s a lot more ketchupy…

Pantry Oddity #4 – Note all the changes between Hallorann’s and Jack’s pantries. The supply along the back wall is completely different, Jack has a lot more coffee unpacked and a lot more of the Libby’s brand foods (fruits mostly, it seems) in boxes. Not a Tony the Tiger in sight.

Pantry Oddity #5 – Here’s the first really significant one, in my mind. The boxes near the door with Hallorann (Sysco, Maxwell House) seem to have moved to the back end when Wendy’s dragging in Jack, while what was perhaps on the back end in the beginning is on the door side nearer the end. This last bit can’t be said with certainty.

What can be said with certainty is that the boxes behind a shine-receiving Danny move to the door wall, as we’ll see later. It’s never shown what was on the back wall during Hallorann’s tour, which, for a while, had me wondering if the set had two doors on opposite sides, but I think that’s wrong now.

Pantry Oddity #6 – There’s a box of Café Vienna dated Dec. 13/77 which appears first behind a touring Hallorann, then in a tower next to stumble Jack (it falls on him along with the Rice Krispies after he crashes into the tower), and then next to waking Jack, crushed under some jugs of apple cider.

The apple cider part strikes me as the most interesting. As you can see in the third part of this collage, Jack simply threw the Rice Krispies box on the ground at his sleeping feet. So why did he take the trouble to stack the Café Vienna, and then move some cider atop it, as if that would accomplish anything? You might say, well, it’s probably a different box, and maybe so. But this happens to be the only box in the entire film with a packing or expiry date printed on it, and that date happens to be the date that Jack tries to kill his family, does kill Hallorann, and then dies in the cold, Dec. 13th, 1979. 1977 makes it two years earlier than film Jack’s death year, and while I have a few theories as to why this might be, the most plain explanation would be that book Jack dies in 1977 (Danny is born in ’72 and is five years old in the events of the story), so perhaps Kubrick simply wanted a reference to that.

Perhaps something more.

Pantry Oddity #7 – Certain of the boxes behind shine-receiver Danny move clockwise to the door wall later, like the Nugget box and Tree Top box, but most notably is the one completely obscured by Danny, and which can’t be seen again until stumble Jack makes his crash, and which is not seen unobscured again. This is for Poppers Supply, Portland, Oregon, whose logo is a large red flag, naming Portland directly. The company has recently been reported closed, and I can’t find any branding information to show that this was always or ever their logo. They were/are a popcorn supply company.

Well, Portland happens to be about 100km from Mt. Hood where the hotel the Overlook is modelled after is situated. And so I imagine this company was discovered by one of Kubrick’s research teams. But anyone who’s even halfway paying attention at this point should remember Jack’s line about Lloyd being the “Best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.” Jack says that to a ghost. And in this very spot is where both Jack and Danny will receive a shine: Danny from Hallorann, Jack from the Overlook (in the form of Grady’s voice, and unlocking power).

So, I think this could be a bit like the vanishing Dopey thing. When Hallorann asks Danny if he wants some ice cream (eye scream), what he’s really asking is, does Danny want to be exposed to all the truths of history? Right now, as Danny’s being faced with this question, he has Portland, Oregon at his backside. He doesn’t know about western expansion and manifest destiny and the brutal genocide of the indigenous populations of America. He doesn’t know that the red flag behind him wasn’t always the flag of this land. This is how Kubrick puts us in the position of Danny. We also don’t know about these things as well as we might. But do we want to know?

Also, just a shout out to the Willapoint clams and the corn flakes which make a cameo during the end of Jack’s dragging. They’ve remained in the same area.

Pantry Oddity #8 – This is to note how completely different the visible box walls behind the men are, here. While some of the companies are the same, only the Libby’s sliced peaches are the same product.

Pantry Oddity #9 – Here you can see that the Calumet used to be Texsun, and the other brands just aren’t there. But then, later in the film, while Jack is stalking to kill Hallorann, you can see that the same Calumet and Tang section is still there, and is still visible. Also, note how different the foreground is in Jack’s stalking image vs. what we see when Wendy has her back to that area a few hours earlier.

Pantry Oddity #10 – The boxes to the sides of Jack here are not the same between shots. So I’m thinking that “American Beauty” was a phrase Kubrick wanted here.

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