Round 2: Track Two: Black Flame


ROUND ONE: 12 3456789
ROUND TWO: 12 3 45678 9

  • In Q, this marked the appearance of the album behind Wendy, right? And the album is called East Wind. And again, Hallorann’s standing in his apartment with the Car and Driver with its reference to the West Wind.
  • The other thing to point out about this moment in Q: it starts with Wendy hearing the rings from the Overlook from Jack. This side starts with Hallorann getting through to the forest service, after being unable to reach the hotel by phone.
  • Also, it was exactly 2:10 ago that Wendy was holding Danny in the same position as the figures in Woman and Terrier, which appears at the moment in Q. And Wendy was holding Danny like that at exactly 1:19:21 into the film proper (that’s not counting the WB logo). And 1921 is the year Jack gets stuck in. Alex Colville called that painting his Madonna and Child, meaning St. Mary and Jesus. And while mirrorform Jack is seen stuck inside the 1921 photo, the opening shot shows the shot cruising out over St. Mary Lake. So I guess Kubrick’s making the point here about how we all want to be embraced by the unconditional love of a mother, and he’s combining it with Jack’s murder dream, which he oughta know contained acts there is no love truly unconditional enough to completely forgive, but that’s what Wendy might’ve provided him (perhaps was even trying to provide in her way, given that she didn’t run screaming from him after this confession) to help prevent the fate they ended up hurtling toward.
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  • Another cool Q-link: the moment that the shot cuts to Wendy saying “Sounds like you got the job?” with East Wind sitting right behind her stomach is represented in this half by this shot of the moose appearing above backward Wendy’s head as she runs out of the lounge. As discussed earlier, the Iroquois believe that the east wind is blown in by the moose. Wendy’s about to retreat into the east, from whence she came.
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  • At 20 seconds into both sides there’s a cut: Q cuts to the shot of Danny talking to Tony again, and Dead cuts to the grumpy forest ranger, telling Dick that the phone lines are down thanks to the storm. The conversation Danny has with Tony is all about Danny trying to get Tony to give him some info Tony doesn’t want to give. Hallorann’s being blocked by the hotel (perhaps), and has to seek an alternate route to contacting the family. Tony gives Danny the bad news he was trying to hold back. And Jack kills the radio, creating the scenario that draws Hallorann in, and helping create the scream face from Danny’s vision.
  • What’s more, in this moment from Q, Danny is overlaying with Cornelius Krieghoff’s Log Hut on the St. Maurice, and as you’ll read in the section on that painting, St. Maurice was one of the first black saints in Christian mythology. So, given that Black Flame is about the brutal death of Roger Williamson, I’d say this pairs well with our resident martyr Dick Hallorann, and the early part of his rescue quest.
  • This moment features the violin strike that went over the zoom from Q’s blowjob bear scene. Here it goes with this very similarly lit scene of Hallorann standing by the West Wind Car and Driver, while the backward action zooms out on screaming Jack. In fact, the zoom out on the BJ bear makes the lamp in that scene almost the same size as the one behind Hallorann. In fact, I just checked the Twice-Folded version, and Hallorann crosses the room again, bringing the two lamps together until his torso blots out his lamp.
    • A YouTube commenter by the name of Jesterquest just informed me that this violin section is a reproduction of the opening bars of JS Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, part of a collection of sonatas Bach published the same year as his wife Maria Barbara Bach unexpectedly died. What’s more, they had three children die in infancy, including a pair of twins. But what might be the most significant factor there is that Bach remarried shortly after, to a 16-year-old soprano girl, when he was turning 36. That would seem to pair well with the sexual significance of Wendy seeing a bear mask person with a face resembling her own performing fellatio opposite Danny in this confessional sort of moment with the bathroom mirror. Meanwhile, Jack’s nightmare is about the death of his wife and child. Hallorann’s call may seem incidental, but he is beseeching the ranger to check up on a family in danger, when he’s the one fated to die – a death that the Tony vision will be prophesying.
    • Now, it’s definitely a coincidence that Bach’s piece would be included on the Yamash’ta track, but I would bet Kubrick would have been mindful of its appearance at this moment.
  • Also, the BJ bear room has that Vesuvius painting beside it, with its connection to the family-slaughtering Hercules. And on the Dead side, Jack is dreaming of himself doing exactly that.
  • It’s also neat that there’s muskox in the painting outside BJ bear room, since there’s a stuffed bison head in the lounge on the other side from the stuffed moose head. And again, Hallorann’s got that West Wind Car and Driver. Actually, the Iroquois hold that the west wind is blown by the panther, and while a tiger isn’t that, it’s similar, and Hallorann has one of those.
  • The same moment in Q that triggered the start of the bloodfall is here the cut to Wendy retreating back into the boiler room. Which means…
  • …that Danny’s vision of the twins in Q occurs at the same moment as Wendy arrives back at the boilers, and is hearing Jack’s first screams (did Danny scream during his visions, and did Wendy come running then?). And his vision of himself screaming in the darkness occurs at the same moment as forward Jack is passing from the Gold Room path into the ghost ball, rendering backward Wendy in a similar darkness. The darkness of the mirrorform.
  • But I also love how this speaks to the notion of “crossing the threshold”. Danny, by begging Tony for the vision of the future saw something he couldn’t unsee. Except that his mind blotted it out in a kind of self-defence. Jack is about to cross the threshold in the opposite way, venturing into a fantasy about a gilded past, where things were simpler and easier, just waiting to embrace a man of his stature and social standing. His mind will blot out the intrusive truth of reality when it comes to him later in the form of a baseball-bat-wielding Wendy.
  • This also means that Danny’s fade to black (from the bloodfall washing over his field of vision) happens almost at the same time as Jack’s fade to black here.
  • This is too complex a theory to get into the details here, but the shoes worn by these women appear at the same time in Dead as Danny’s two pairs of runners appear in his bedroom in Q, as the scene with the doctor checking his eyes begins. My theory about the significance of these shoes can be read here.
  • On a less obscure note: Wendy with her clipboard looks like an aspiring doctor here, and this is the first scene of her taking over the work of Jack’s job, so that goes well with the appearance of the professional woman doctor.
  • Also, in 7 seconds the old 237 ghost will appear in the distance of the ghost ball, and Danny’s bedroom has that bathroom off on the left side of the screen that resembles the form and lighting in the 237 bathroom.
  • Twice-folded: Right as Dead Jack says, “Hi, Lloyd!” we cut to the shot of backward Quick Jack gloating over Hallorann’s ruin. And right in the middle of his evil eye is the 237 ghost sitting at her far table, with the key to room 237 dangling right there. I wish you could hear the music cue at this moment, it’s so wickedly epic.
  • Another neat thing to think about here generally is how this Lloyd scene compares to the earlier Lloyd scene, and how they both relate to the doctor scene. In the earlier Lloyd scene, Lloyd is echoing a lot of Jack’s phraseology, and there’s only alcohol bottles shown behind him as the men speak. In this Lloyd scene, there’s only a bright bar of light behind him, while the bottles live off to his sides, and here Jack is echoing Lloyd’s phrases, not the other way around. So in their first scene, Lloyd is mirroring Jack because he wants Jack to think they’re the same, and now he’s “blocking” Jack to make Jack want to mirror him. Meanwhile, during the earlier Lloyd scene (from the backward Dead half), the forward Q half featured Danny Lloyd acting as both Danny and Tony, openly and freely, while Wendy quizzed him for his feelings about the Overlook. And during this scene of Lloyd “blocking”, the forward Q half doctor is “blocking” Danny from seeing Wendy.
  • Twice-folded: As Dead Jack is saying, “It’s good to be back, Lloyd!” and “Hair of the dog that bit me” backward Quick Jack is killing Dick. But I especially like how this “dog that bit” is pairing with this image of the axe buried in Jack’s neck. His first drink was a kind of suicide, and here he’s asking for another drink. Another suicide. Also, in the four directions analysis, dogs are revealed to be associated with the hotel, so Jack didn’t only do this to himself, a “dog” “bit” him: the hotel helped him do it to himself. Perhaps this is why a painting of a dog is the first thing we see hanging inside room 237.
  • Oh man, Lloyd’s response is “Bourbon on the rocks!” and the last painting we see inside 237 is Baby Leopard On A Rock, which always makes me think of that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the young leopard leaps off the rock to kill and eat the prehistoric hominid. And of course, the bourbon he’s talking about is Jack Daniels, and here Jack and Danny seem to have an axe in their heads. Jack’s liquid suicide is the result of him downing a beverage named after himself and his son. Could this be a way of suggesting that it’s our sense of identity, and our sense of our place in the long genetic herstory of our family lineage, that causes us to want to self-immolate, self-cannibalize? And even that murder is the externalization of that impulse?
  • In fact, Tony is often associated with tigers, and it’s in this moment that we see a tiger mask beside the doctor and Danny, with one eye unblocked. When he go in to the close-ups on the doctor, both eyes will be blocked. But in this moment he’s only inches away from where the Baby Leopard On A Rock is hanging on the other side of this wall in 237. So just as there’s a suicidal impulse in Jack, there’s one in Danny too, which seems to be part of the logic behind his even entering 237.
  • Also, it’s worth remembering that Danny has his Apollo sweater on, and that this song is called Black Flame, and is about the horrible fire death of a race driver. Prometheus stole divine fire from Mt. Olympus, and it was Apollo who pled with Zeus to get Prometheus released from his eternal torment of being chained to a rock, and having his liver get pecked out and eaten by an eagle everyday. Zeus sent Herakles to perform the task. And remember, there’s a painting of a bullfinch inside 237 (which would be roughly in line with the Baby Leopard painting from this angle), whose Latin name derives from the mythological figure Pyrrha, whose name meant “fire-coloured”.
  • There’s a fun sting as Lloyd puts up his hand to reject Jack’s money, making it look like he’s pushing Danny into 237. In Q, Dick is marching toward his death, and Lloyd’s hand seems to be pushing him along, too.
  • When Lloyd says, “Your money’s no good here” Dick is seconds away from getting the chop. Dick is chopped directly beneath a painting of Chief Bear Paw, who was from the same clan, Bearspaw, as Chief Walking Buffalo, whose portrait is directly below where Wendy clubbed Jack atop the stair. And Walking Buffalo’s proper name is Tatânga Mânî, which is pronounced the same as “money” in English. So if Mânî was giving power to Wendy’s defeat of Jack, that “money” is no good anymore for old Dick Hallorann. Also, according to my Avenue of the Dead theory, the Overlook is modelled after a particular collection of pyramids in Mesoamerica, which puts the Grand Stair in the same spot as the Pyramid of the Moon. And Mânî looks and sounds an awful lot like the Norse moon god, Máni. So it might not be a simple overlay that it looks like Lloyd’s pushing Danny toward 237. It could be that the Overlook is overpowering both the Buffalo energy that could’ve protected Dick, and the moon energy that could’ve protected Danny.
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  • Twice-Folded: There’s another fun sting that goes along with the image of Danny’s ghost ball rolling away from him. This pairs with the start of backward Q Dick starting to curve back into the other hallway, and forward Q Danny telling the doctor that she wouldn’t be able to see Tony if he opened his mouth “because he hides”. Note how the tiger mask beside the doctor now has both eyes hidden. Note too how Danny’s Formula 1-style race car overlays perfectly with where Jack is hiding behind the distant pillar (red circle).
  • Forward Dead Jack is repeating Lloyd’s “Orders from the house(?)” as he puts his (imaginary?) money back in his wallet. So I guess Jack’s doing a little hiding of his own, and with something unreal (earlier his wallet was empty).
  • Twice-Folded: I just have to point out that the last we see of Danny’s F1 car, it’s hovering right above the 18-value photo from the F21 key, which is the “hell” photo from that analysis. And readers familiar with that analysis will know that that photo wasn’t always hanging in that location throughout the entire film. Now, I don’t think Kubrick was saying the driver who died in the documentary went to hell (Kubrick wasn’t a believer in any monotheistic view of reality), but this is obviously the fear some people have about life, that it ends in a coin toss of the gods, who might send you to heaven or hell. Lloyd has just finished saying, “It’s not a matter that concerns you…at least, not at this moment.” He’s referring to the matter of who’s paying for Jack’s drinks. This is a message that will go down easy with Jack, ending their relationship for good, as he dances off into the arms of Delbert Grady. Meanwhile, in the Danny/doctor scene, the doctor has just asked if Tony “ever tell[s him] to do things?” causing Danny to break off the conversation.
  • There’s one last refrain of the Morricone-esque music right as Jack gets up and starts to dance around, ending as Grady crashes into him with the drinks. Another “accident”.
  • Black Flame ends in the moment between backward Danny here has denied that Wendy ever suggested Jack would do anything to hurt them, and Jack assuring Danny he would never do no such thing. Of course, he’s already done one such thing, and it’s the thing he earlier (technically later) referred to as an “accident”.
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Click here to continue on to Round 2: Track Three: Rain Race