The Golden Shining: Section IX



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55:14 – 88:14

Golden Spiral Moment – 75:15

Forward First Half (8 seconds of crossfades)

  • Danny vs. Zombie Jack (168 sec)
  • WEDNESDAY placard (3 sec)
  • Danny enters 237 (92 sec)
  • Jack’s nightmare (Boiler room, wakening, Danny) (42+31+63+118=254 sec)
  • Jack stalks to the Gold Room/”Sees” Lloyd (115 sec)
  • When Jack Met Lloyd (262 sec)
  • Wendy interferes (50 sec)
  • Hallorann hears a shine (110 sec)
  • Room 237 (215 sec)
  • Music: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (171 sec), The Dream/Awakening of Jacob (239+205=444 sec), De Natura Sonoris #2 (179 sec)

Backward First Half

  • When Jack Met Lloyd (165 sec)
  • Wendy interferes (50 sec)
  • Hallorann hears a shine (110 sec)
  • Room 237 (275 sec)
  • Hallorann’s 1st phonecall (40 sec)
  • The Room 237 Follow-up (137+17+18+5+46=223 sec)
  • Jack hears a ghostball (51 sec)
  • Hallorann’s 2nd phonecall (52 sec)
  • The Ghostball (41+100+51=192 sec)
  • Jack and Grady in the bathroom (107 sec)
  • Music: The Awakening of Jacob (263 sec), Masquerade (37 sec), Midnight, the Stars, and You (195 sec), It’s All Forgotten Now (84 sec)

Forward Back Half

  • Room 237 (60 sec)
  • Hallorann’s 1st phonecall (40 sec)
  • The Room 237 Follow-up (137+17+18+5+46=223 sec)
  • Jack hears a ghostball (51 sec)
  • Hallorann’s 2nd phonecall (52 sec)
  • The Ghostball (41+100+51=192 sec)
  • Jack and Grady in the bathroom (164 sec)
  • Music: The Awakening of Jacob (58 sec), Masquerade (37 sec), Midnight, the Stars, and You (195 sec), It’s All Forgotten Now (141 sec)

Backward Back Half

  • Danny vs. Zombie Jack (225 sec)
  • WEDNESDAY placard (3 sec)
  • Danny enters 237 (92 sec)
  • Wendy in the boiler room (42 sec)
  • Jack having nightmare (31 sec)
  • Jack awakens (63 sec)
  • Enter silent Danny/Wendy accuses Jack (118 sec)
  • Jack stalks to the Gold Room/”Sees” Lloyd (115 sec)
  • When Jack Met Lloyd (97 sec)
  • Music: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (228 sec), The Dream/Awakening of Jacob (239 sec), De Natura Sonoris #2 (179 sec)

You can skip down to the next break line in the text if you don’t care what special properties Section IX has that the others don’t.

The second-last section of any Fibonacci movie has two special qualities:

  1. It crosses the middle of the overall movie, so the action is almost entirely identical backward and forward. The middle of 54 and 88 minutes is 71 minutes, so the film would have to be 142 minutes for Section IX to perfectly reflect back on itself. But because this version is 57 seconds shy of that, Section IX is a little wobbly, though none worse for wear, I’d say.
  2. The second thing is: once you apply a spiral cut here, you’re creating a kind of mini movie, which in this case is exactly 9 minutes, because the spiral cut happens at 75:15, and the middle of the movie is 70:45. So, even though the edges of Section IX are uneven to one another, the spiral cut still cuts action that is a certain length from the middle. It’s true that if the spiral cut had gone the other way (landing on 67:13), the mini middle movie would only be 7:04. But no matter (in fact, the roundness (and aptness) of that 9 minutes shows a certain conscientiousness, as we’ll discuss in a special section on this matter below).

I don’t want to limit the possibilities of what could be done with these middle movies, structurally or aesthetically, on a narrative level. But it strikes me that it would behoove the structurally/narratively-inclined to do some cool shit with this section.

I often think of it like the small square at the centre of a phi grid (the one boxing in the heart of the Overlook, our subject, below). Despite being the smallest section (of the nine major sections) on the grid, it’s nevertheless the visual highway through which all the other sections of the image intersect. And it doesn’t have to be the bow atop the gift box, but it can be. And I think it would be a waste not to pay it especial attention as a storyteller.

The other reason why I see it as the small box is because by crossing the middle the progression of a mirrorform narrative is tweaked in a funny way. Section I, despite being 1 minute, contains 2 minutes of narrative, thanks to the mirrorform, right? You’ve got the first and last minute of the film together, in Section I. Well, this trend continues so that the pattern goes: 2, 2, 4, 6, 10, 16, 26, 42, 34, 110. Do you see what happened there? The 34 is Section IX, because it doesn’t have twice the narrative. But because the narrative is doubling up on itself, it’s denser, and has to work even better than the other nine sections (also, yes, Section VIII does have 42 minutes of action, and is where Summer of ’42 plays, and all that jazz I was spouting earlier–not sure how I missed that).

Now, you might say, “Well, but isn’t the whole mirrorform movie like that, minus the Fibonacci lines?” Yes, you’re exactly right. And sure, a mirrorform narrative is probably hard enough to craft on its own. But with the Fibonacci lines, the second-last section will always cross the middle, and also, it’s the last time (in the mirrorform) you have the opportunity to tell the audience something narratively new; Section X is just Sections I-VIII playing in the opposite direction. And while Section X does need to work Fibonaccistically in its own way, again, it’s narrative retread.

Again, you might say, “Section IX also retreads once it crosses the middle. How is that any different?” I would argue there that the spiral cut, no matter which side of the middle it’s on, cuts these retreads in different ways (unless the film is 142:00 exactly; but 9 minutes worth of difference, in this case), inviting you to regard both halves as uniquely cut. They simply happen to be (roughly) the same 34 minutes of narrative. (Actually: fun fact, because of the 57-second overhang on either end, there’s 114 seconds that don’t repeat within each, meaning that instead of 2040 seconds of perfect reflection, there’s only 1926 seconds of shared plot.)

One of the first things I ever noticed about the Fibonacci Shining, that made me think I was on to something, is the fact that Tony is completely missing from the middle movie (in the sense that he doesn’t speak). His last words to Danny before the start come 185 seconds before (3:05), and his first words after occur 254 seconds after (4:14). As discussed, he’s in control of (backward) Danny from VI-VIII, and he speaks to Wendy and Danny in IV and V. So he’s really only missing from I, II, III and IX. And Danny himself is totally missing from I-II. And if we think of the middle of the film as a second starting point, as is suggested by the mirrorform, it seems fitting that IX would possess similar properties. I’m actually not sure if there are others, so let’s get into it.

The forward action splits at the moment room 237 Jack’s eyes crack open to see he’s mashing his face into the corpse of a woman twice his age.

14 seconds later we’ll see Danny shining (presumably to Hallorann, who isn’t seen again in this sequence) about seeing the corpse ghost emerge from the tub to strangle him. So the forward action divides the Danny who is starting to have traumatic experiences that Tony can’t protect him from, from the Danny who can express the worst part of this trauma to someone. The only other action Danny experiences during the back half is the REDRUM shine he has while Jack and Wendy fight in the next room about 237. In a sense, this is a slight regression from the distress call to Hallorann (in the sense that Danny is switching from suffering openly to suffering in solitude), but I think it’s important that we get a sense of Danny’s trauma being more than just a distress call. That if Hallorann hadn’t come to the rescue, things could’ve gone very badly indeed for ol’ Doc Torrance.

The spiral cut for the backward action (Jack taking his first drink)…

…separates the Danny who was still processing the horrors of 237, from the Danny who will shine for help.

Section IX Wendy has four major beats: 1) hearing Jack’s nightmare and trying to soothe him, 2) discovering Danny’s bruises and hating Jack for it, 3) telling Jack about the “crazy woman” in 237, and tacitly forgiving him for his apparent violence, and 4) what I call the 237 autopsy, where Jack comes to deceive Wendy about Danny’s abuse, and she uses it as leverage to leave the Overlook, which blows up in her face (see all below).

These beats have an interesting musical chairs quality, where guilt, blame, anger, shame, surprise, terror, confusion, paranoia and reassurance all show up in both characters in different combinations from beat to beat. Their last interaction before this was Jack casting Wendy out of the lounge, and their next interaction will be the epic lounge fight, so I think this toxic emotion cauldron is an apt way to show the labyrinthine emotional confusion that would lead from a tiff on TUESDAY to an attempted murder 10 days later.

The forward spiral cut divides her first three beats from her last beat, dividing the Wendy who never fully understood why this situation seemed so confusing, from the one actively being thwarted by her husband’s duplicity. The backward spiral cut divides the beats in half, keeping the Wendy who blames Jack from the Wendy who blames the hotel.

In this way, mother and son experience a very similar chopping up (into little pieces?) by the spiral cuts. Their forward cuts separate the one who is increasingly unsure of the support they have around them, from the one who feels alone, and their backward cuts separate the one who is running into the scary rooms (Danny ventures into zombie Jack’s and 237; Wendy runs into nightmare Jack’s and the Gold Room, though technically she’s probably been running all over the hotel looking for him) to possibly help someone and then feeling the horrific effects of having gone into that room, from the one who is crying out for help to varying degrees of effectiveness.

Jack’s Section IX is quite similar, but, like with the toxic emotion cauldron of the Jack/Wendy drama, it’s all out of order. This could largely owe to Jack figuring much more prominently in the narrative here. But it’s more likely showing us how the Overlook assaults everyone in the family in roughly the same way, but how they react differently to its effects, because they’re different people, in how they treat themselves and each other. It pushes Jack toward oblivion, and Wendy and Danny toward straining for help.

His scenes go Suite 3, lounge, Gold Room, 237 (next to lounge), Suite 3, Gold Room. So lounge and “home” invert, and both lead to the Gold Room. Also, his emotions go, zombie, extreme (terror), extreme (indignity), extreme (horniness, terror again), extreme (rage), drunken.

First he’s zombie Jack having his big showdown with Danny, and quoting the Grady twins without realizing. Then he’s all alone in his murder dream from which he awakens feeling utterly vulnerable and disoriented before waves of shame and guilt beat on his conscience. Then he enters the scary Gold Room, thinking himself utterly alone, and discovers that no, in fact, he has a friend, in his old pal mirror-booze. Not the best thing to indulge in before entering another scary room (237, though we don’t see him physically enter), which leads to more uncertainty about where his supports lay, because now Wendy doesn’t want to stay in a murder house, and as nice as Lloyd was being, the 237 ghost fucked him up a little. His horror about having gone into scary rooms is fiercely suppressed (for the sake of continuing his “work”), and then hijacked partly by his feelings of inadequacy, and partly by the quickly ensuing ghostball, which makes him feel like he’s finally where he ought to be: in the feted lap of luxury. That is, before Grady hijacks him one step further. But that occurs in Section VIII/X. Section IX only contains Jack’s big gotcha on Grady.

The thing to notice is that Jack goes through six beats of oscillating between trusting and not trusting the hotel: zombie Jack (trust), nightmare Jack (distrust), Lloyd’s ghostbooze Jack (trust), 237 shock Jack (trust-into-distrust), ghostball Jack (trust), Grady bathroom Jack (distrust).

The forward cut occurs right at the moment he’s realizing he’s kissing the old corpse ghost, so it separates the trust-distrust-trust Jack from the distrust-trust-distrust Jack. The backward cut occurs about 6 seconds to the right of backward Jack taking his first drink, which means it divides “sober” Jack from “drunk” Jack (I put the quotation marks because I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think anyone can say for sure, if the hotel’s ghostbooze has the power to intoxicate).

I think it would also be fair, since Section IX is the “middle” section, to regard this spiral cut as another kind of Fibonacci centre-point to the film, similar to the middle second of the mirrorform film. Jack encounters three ghosts who shape his worldview and his relationship to his drama, and this cut divides his relationship with the middle one in half (dramatically speaking), and just as she’s transformed. What’s more, his relationship to each ghost is affected by a mirror (Lloyd is created in one, 237 is transformed in one, and Grady is studied in one), and this middle mirror is the mirror that jogs him into realizing the power of a mirror’s truth.

And in the other direction: Jack is damned by so many of the little rubicons he crosses, but perhaps the king of them all is taking that first drink. As I discuss in my Julius Caesar analysis, there’s an argument to be made that this is the drink that “assassinates” the old Jack. So this spiral cut could be doing double duty, dividing the live/sober Jack from the dead/drunk Jack.

Jack’s two death mask faces come right before (II) and after (IX) the spiral cuts of Section II and IX, the second and second last sections.

Though the Jack I call zombie Jack certainly seems like an undead figure, and he predates drunk Jack. And, as I discuss in the mirror phrase analysis of the fight between Jack and Wendy, there’s evidence in Jack’s speech patterns to suggest that some remnant of the old Jack is still in there, dimly, and perhaps even desperately, wanting Wendy to perform the same mind games on him that Grady and Lloyd have already. In fact, that scene wouldn’t even make basic dramatic sense if Jack was 100% an agent of the hotel’s dark will. Unless you interpret everything Jack says as pure theatre to twist Wendy’s mind in a knot, but that’s not how I read Jack’s wrath.

And honestly I think it’s true that desiring these rebirths, these resurrections is part of what drives mortals crazy. We’ve tried outsourcing that desire to mythology, but we still crave it. We do self-destructive things to test and then to affirm and then to assure our mortality. And certain types of self-destruction compound. Jack knows on some level that Wendy can’t offer him what he really wants (to be a successful artist, with all the meagre immortality that would come with), and can’t even offer what the hotel is offering (the illusion of immortality), so his desire to kill her is poetic in a way. He wants her to suffer what he most fears: the one-way road of life.

Anyway, so these two, let’s call them bonus middles, speak to two of the film’s most central concerns: Jack’s betrayal of his family (the drink), and Jack’s betrayal by the hotel (the mirror). Even after he betrays his family, they try to help him (Wendy locking him up in the safest possible place to be locked up in), and even after the hotel betrays him, he runs right back into its arms (the rest of the movie, basically). So perhaps this is the best reason we have for not feeling too bad for ol’ doomed-from-the-start Jack.

The literal centre of the film (which takes place over a bland shot of Hallorann laying in bed) is fairly unspectacular, dramatically. So I like the idea of these bonus middles existing, off to the side, almost beyond notice. Like so many of this film’s little tricks.

Finally, Hallorann’s Section IX is neat because the forward action cuts apart his receiving Danny’s shine from his distress calls, and the backward action totally isolates all of his activity in the first half, creating a Hallorann-less back half (I actually had to go back and check that, because it didn’t seem to make logical sense–but mirrorform is not Fibonacci, and I was thinking like a mirrorformer).

Why that’s cool is because there’s exactly 273 seconds (a 237 jumble) in both gaps that divide these three scenes apart. Of course what happens in between the first two scenes is Jack’s entire 237 experience (the mirrorform of which includes Jack’s death drink, the bulk of the Lloyd convo, and Wendy showing up to report that there’s a crazy woman in one of the bedrooms), and what happens in the other gap is the entirety of the 237 autopsy between Jack and Wendy, followed by Jack storming off to the ghostball (the mirrorform for which is Jack telling Wendy about his nightmare, while Danny slow-walks out from his 237 experience, followed by Jack entering another scary room (the Gold Room) and inventing Lloyd). So basically room 237 is either the secret or the not-so-secret subject of all four sections of action created by Hallorann’s two 273 gaps. And just for the record, it’s 297 seconds from the start of the section to the first Hallorann scene and 355 seconds from the other side. Point being, the Hallorann scenes and their mirrorform equivalents are almost perfectly spaced apart not just from each other, but also generally within Section IX (remember, there’s 57 seconds of extra scene on both sides of IX that aren’t part of the opposite action, and 355 – 297 = 58; so Kubrick might’ve been planning for it to be more perfect; perhaps the missing final scene made the visual film 142 minutes exactly).

I might as well mention here that in these same gaps we get part of a 239-second (3:59) performance of The Awakening/Dream of Jacob, a 179-second (2:59) performance of De Natura Sonoris #2 (these play back-to-back in the gap between Hallorann’s two calls, the De Natura Sonoris #2 occurring completely within the 273-second gap). 239 and 2:59 being near-misses on 237. And then, in the other gap, during Jack’s 237 mission, we get a 263-second retread of The Awakening/Dream of Jacob, which is another near-miss (although Sbravatti seems to think the song starts during the shot of Danny shining the 237 key fob, which would make it 273 seconds–I’m not going with that only because I can’t hear what he’s talking about–possibly he’s using another version of the film?).

So, basically, there’s a tonne of 237-esque alchemy going on in this section, and it’s interesting that Hallorann’s scenes would be used to demarcate these points in time. Is that just about the fact that the number first came up between him and Danny? Is this a way to subtly implicate Dick in what happens to the family? They are 273s after all, and not 237s. But they branch out perfectly from the middle scene of the movie, like evil number wings. Perhaps we’re meant to regard Hallorann’s interruptions of these phases as being like the shines that blot out the Polymorphia in Sections V and VII. But in those cases, the Polymorphia is broken up into otherwise meaningless number groups. In this case, the Hallorann scenes are forming the 273s. And it’s not even a matter of the mirrorform: 273 is the timing between the forward-moving scenes. These scenes happen to be steeped in the subject of room 237, so perhaps Hallorann is simply being invoked because he’s the only other character with a connection to the room (and it’s most dramatically convenient to invoke him here).

The other neat thing to point out about all this is that the 237 ghost appears at the ghostball 33 seconds after the end of the last Hallorann scene in this section, and then disappears from the movie 227 seconds later. So, while 227 looks like another 237 near-miss (and it is), add 227 to 33 and get 260, or 4:20 in screen time. Another fun little 42, perhaps? (If only applying to Jack’s being in the ghostball.)

Oh, it is, however, 237 seconds from the moment she appears, to the moment the scene cuts into the Gold Room bathroom. So that’s cute.

Another fun one is how if you think of the scene starting in the boiler room, where Wendy first hears Jack’s screams, as continuous to the moment when she runs out of the lounge with an abused Danny, that section is 254 seconds. But if you remove the one shot of Jack screaming to himself, the only shot without Wendy (17 seconds), you get 237. So perhaps this is meant to be Wendy’s 237: being in the spooky boiler room, hearing scary screams, and then witnessing her son’s mysterious bruises.

As you can see here, her run to help Jack starts almost perfectly beneath 237 (red box), as we can tell by the position of the stairwell.

Also, there’s two tracks that play over this scene that play for its entirety, trading off at a moment that would be difficult for the average person to detect: The Awakening/Dream of Jacob and De Natura Sonoris #2. Well, first off, they change hands right here, at 61:10. This is exactly 2:37 into this sequence (of Danny emerging from 237). But that’s not all! 254 (the length of the nightmare sequence) divided by 157 (2:37) makes the golden ratio. So the cut between songs makes a golden ratio out of what we might call Wendy’s 237.

Going back a step: another neat, possibly meaningless thing I noticed is that if you take away the amount of time we know Jack to be having a nightmare (31 seconds) from the length of this scene, it becomes the same length as its mirrorform scene, the 237 autopsy, which is 223 seconds (though they only overlay for 112 seconds…which is almost exactly half of 223).

When he’s standing in (anti?)Christ pose for Grady, the mirrorform is zombie Jack saying, “Good! I want you to like it here.” And he’ll go on to say, “I wish we could stay here forever, and ever, and ever.” So there’s a nice duality to these notions of eternity and crucifixion/resurrection. And this is part of why I think of zombie Jack as zombie Jack. There’s plenty of other moments where you could describe Jack Torrance as zombie-like, but in this scene he seems especially so, speaking lethargically, dazed by insomnia, and slow to react to anything Danny says that isn’t a “yes, dad” or “no, dad”. Perhaps that was always meant to pair with the Christ pose, and the notion of a resurrected figure, which in reality can only really be described as a zombie (or a near-death experience, I suppose).

In fact, as the twins are saying the “ever and ever” line in Section VIII/X, Grady is saying his “I corrected them, sir” bit. Since he means that he murdered them with an axe, I’m reminded of the role that dogma has played over the centuries in religious culture. If we regard the Overlook, the labyrinth, and the natural world as reflections of each other (as I believe Kubrick would like us to), and then take Grady at his word that his daughters “didn’t care for the Overlook at first” and that “one of them stole a pack of matches…and tried to burn it down”, we could read this as analogous to the way heretics have been accused over the centuries of trying to undermine religious dogma, and paying the penalty of life itself. I would guess that most of the countless “heretics” who were similarly stoned, burned, ripped apart, and tortured to death by pious people weren’t 100% atheist or anti-theist, probably not even halfway there. They simply had a feminist thought or two, or they were unlucky enough to be born the wrong skin colour or sexual orientation, or what have you. To be “corrected” is to be brought back to the pure form of the dogma, and if that’s not literally possible…we have other ways of making you correct.

And of course, there’s a strong symbolic suggestion of resurrection in the Grady twins, not just because of how they flip between their murdered and unmurdered positions, but because of how Ullman describes them as being “about 8 and 10”, meaning they weren’t twins. Meaning these little girls are not the pure resurrected form of Grady’s girls anymore than Delbert is a resurrection of Charles Grady, or photo Jack is the pure spirit of Jack Torrance sealed in celluloid. In other words, Kubrick is suggesting there’s something demented about the dogma of resurrection. The comfort Jack feels at discovering he’s “always” been the caretaker is the same as the horror we feel at discovering he’s always been an abusive asshole, and that he’s willing to explore that aspect of his character to its fullest extent. He’s willing to become a corrector.

Moving on: there’s an interesting micro-theme in the film of time distortion. The most prominent example is in Section VII, during the tour (when we jump back about two hours between the kitchen tour and the end of the tour) and during the lock up of Jack (when we see that the whole lounge fight and pantry lock up happen between 6:30 and 7:00am, which all takes place “after” Hallorann’s 8:20am arrival at Stapleton airport). These events both cross the spiral cut, but especially the forward action.

But there’s also the strange matter of how in early October (25 seconds after the Section VI spiral cut) Wendy reported Jack’s sobriety as being “5 months” old, and how in mid-December (5 seconds after the Section IX spiral cut) Jack decried to Lloyd the “5 miserable months” he’d spent on the wagon. It’s possible Wendy was exaggerating to save face, but it’s highly unlikely Jack would feel the need to do anything but make his suffering sound as harsh and unbearable to Lloyd as possible, so I think his 5 months is much more likely to be accurate. So if Wendy’s is also accurate to the best of her knowledge, it’s possible that Jack fell off the wagon in July and covered his tracks.

Whatever the explanation, this discrepancy draws our attention to May and July, the two most significant months in the film’s aural and visual language. Ullman mentions May twice (and October once) in his description of the hotel’s runtime (Section IV – back half), and Jack invokes it during the lounge fight in the line “Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the Overlook Hotel until May the first?!” (Section VIII – first half)

Of course, there are numerous references to Julius Caesar, and July, the month photo Jack is forever entombed in (Section I), was named for the murdered dictator.

There’s also the curious issue of the distance between the Overlook and airports. When Jack first arrives for the interview, he tells Ullman and Susie he made the trip in 3.5 hours, to which Ullman reacts astonished about Jack’s “very good time” (Section III). Then, right before the tour, Ullman asks Watson what time their plane leaves, to which Watson replies “8:30.” (Section VI) Then at the very end of the tour (Section VII) Ullman says, “By 5pm tonight, you’ll never know anybody was ever here” meaning, even if Ullman was the last to leave (like in the novel), he would only just barely make his plane, and only if the airport was closer than Boulder, Colorado. There are a few small airports in the Arapaho National Forest area of the Rockies now (where this should take place), but I wonder if there were any there in 1979.

Then, during Hallorann’s rescue mission (Section VIII), coming from Stapleton International Airport, we see him pass a sign showing the way to Westminster and Boulder, so, presumably the closest airport is further away. Unless Ullman and Watson are just that intrepid, that they come and go by smaller, more private airfields. Or possibly they were getting ready to drive through the night to reach Stapleton for 8:30am, but then why not just drive to some motel, and leave in the morning? We also hear Hallorann say it’ll take about “5 hours” to get to Durkin’s, and we know it takes another 3.5 hours from there (Hallorann’s murdered at 5:25pm (Section V-VI), and he calls Durkin at 9:07am; see below). And we know Jack’s reported 3.5-hour drive from Boulder was “very good time” according to Ullman.

Oh, and there’s a historical discrepancy between the 1920s attire during the ghostball, and the 1930s music they’re apparently listening to (Section VIII/IX). If Jack believes that he’s transported back to the gilded age, he certainly doesn’t have an ear for its music.

So yeah, really there’s wacky time all over the place.

I should probably also point out the Danny’s toys connection. At least four, but possibly five of the nine vehicles he plays with in Section IX (making a little crescent shape; see below) appear elsewhere in the hotel. Both halves of Section VIII contain links, the two by Wendy’s news program flipping their left-right relation to each other once they’re in Section IX. And the ones in the REDRUM/Jack’s Axe sequence (Sections VI and VII) both connect to Sections IX and VIII.

I can’t be sure about the box-top sedan in the Summer of ’42 scene (purple ring), but it might be the same as the first car that Danny grabs while playing outside 237 (an AMC Matador; he moves it from the middle to the edge of the line-up). If so, that would mean the fighter jet is the only Summer of ’42 vehicle that doesn’t reappear, though the tank that’s right next to it appears in Suite 3 later on top of a book called Bomber Pilot, by Philip Ardery. A firsthand, award-winning account of dropping bombs from a fighter jet in WWII.

If those two connections are correct, and intended to neutralize, that means the only scene with toys that don’t repeat are in IX: the race car, the cement mixer, the second police van, and the pink car with the popped hood.

What’s the significance? Well, the toys appear in Sections VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X. So that means the back half of the Fibonacci Shining has dinky cars, and the other side doesn’t. Does that mean the back half is the Work & Play half? What would that make the first half? The Survive If You Can half?

Another thing of note is that these toys all connect to scenes invoking the film’s major numbers. Playing outside 237, the 11 on Danny’s sweater, Summer of ’42, the 4 groups of 11 REDRUMS spoken by Tony/Danny, the “1968 shooting” referenced by the news (1969 is a major reference point in the film), and the tale of Susan Robertson who’s been “missing 10 days” (the film’s visual action takes place over 10/11 days depending on how you read the last shot). And there’s a mild twin effect in the sense that the news/REDRUM scenes only feature two toys, both of which repeat in other rooms, one only repeating once (the S.W.A.T. van (connecting the first and third shot) and the tank (connecting the second and fourth shot)) and one repeating twice (the lorry (connecting shots one, two, and three) and the bulldozer (connecting shots two, three, and four)), both connecting the four scenes together without touching each other’s duo shot. Also, if the AMC Matador is in shots two and three, that would mean that these two shots contain two toys that appeared in three scenes, and two toys that only appear in these two shots.

It’s also interesting that, while a few toys do make the cross from Boulder, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of toy cars. The only thing I can see is whatever’s in the purple ring in the shot below, but it’s unclear what this is. It’s situated next to a thermos featuring art from the TV show Emergency!, which is about paramedics. So it’s easy to imagine it’s a vehicle, but it could be something else. In any case, its shape and colours (blue top, red bottom) don’t match any toy from later on.

Ditto with what might be a little red car on the Suite 3 windowsill.

As for connections to Section IV (Section IX’s Fibonacci buddy), I’ve already covered most of them, but we could point out that Ullman mentions “running the boilers” in the back half, as basically the only specific thing Jack’s expected to do. And here we have the only scene of anyone in that room doing that job.

There’s a bloodfall sequence in both (both in the back half): Wendy’s real one, and Danny’s vision during the 237 autopsy. And the fact that the bloodfall correlates to Death in the Four Horsemen theory reflects nicely the way that this section contains the vast bulk of the film’s ghosts.

Tony first appears in IV, and then is curiously absent from IX.

Both feature the song De Natura Sonoris #2. I think I’ve written about that, but in case I haven’t: the Section IV one starts when Jack realizes Danny’s flown off into the sky, and the Section IX one plays when Wendy sees Danny from across the lounge, and tells him to go back to his room. When she looks down at his shirt after getting no response from him, is she having a similar thought about Danny achieving lift-off?

Both feature a major moment of Jack’s undoing: his first drink, and getting tricked by Danny’s backward walk. And both contain a backward walk, with Jack’s 237 escape, and Danny’s trap.

So I started keeping a short list of things that are unique about Section IX (in addition to its unique properties as a section), and here’s what I came up with. I might add to this if I think of more.

  • Tony doesn’t talk.
  • No one goes outside.
  • No lessons or escapes (though there is one key).
  • Lloyd and the 237 ghost only appear here.
  • Only section to completely isolate a composer: Jack Hylton, Masquerade — although, in light of the mirrorform and Section X, section IX is the only section that can fully isolate anything. So it’s more like a confirmation that something was isolated here, musically.
  • Only scene to feature an uncertain moving perspective: the initial walk through 237. And actually, all the moving perspective shots are in this section: Danny moving toward 237, Jack moving through 237, and Jack moving toward the ghostball. You could argue that the quick-zooms on the BJ bear and Hallorann’s corpse are meant to be through the eyes of Wendy, but I think that’s a horse of a different colour.
  • Only section to contain nudity: boiler room nudes, Hallorann’s posters, and the 237 ghost — there is a scandalous calendar at Durkin’s (Section VIII), but it looks more suggestive than pornographic.
  • As of this writing, this section contains the most unidentified art. There’s 11 pieces left to get in 237, at least 10 in the boiler room, 4 on the walk to the ghostball, and 3 in Suite 3. The only other area that even compares at this point is the BJ Well (Section V), with 7 left. For the record, this section also contains 13 identified pieces, but without doing an exhaustive study, my guess is this would be the most severe imbalance. The only other area with a number that bad is the lobby, but the unidentified 13 pieces are mainly in connected rooms, like Susie’s office, the foyer, the accountant’s office, and the other radio room.
  • There aren’t many locations that we only see once (for one uninterrupted dramatic episode), but four of them (boiler room, Hallorann’s bedroom, Room 237 interior, the Gold Room bathroom) appear here. Only the Gold Room bathroom extends into another section. Other one-time locales include the games room (Section VII), the deep freeze (same), and the Hallorann rescue mission (Section VIII; Durkin’s, airport, plane). I’m counting Danny’s visions as disqualifiers for the twinhall and bloodfall, and I suppose you could say the BJ Well is a one-timer (Section V), but it’s obviously modelled strongly after the well outside Suite 3, and I do think we’re meant to think they’re connected.

As for the music, I think I’ve already talked about the majority of what’s to be said. I could point out that it’s neat the way Masquerade plays for 37 seconds, which feels like a light 237 reference. It also starts hugely inaudible, and remains hard to make out the lyrics, but if we time what we can hear with the complete song, we realize that it first becomes audible to Jack on the second that Jack Hylton(?) begins singing the first lyrics, though Jack wouldn’t be able to make out what these are. The lyrics contained by the film are: “While life soon will fade/I’ll meet you at the masquerade/While our hearts swinging to violins singing ’til dawn/Lady dressed in jade/Hold me tight at the masquerade/If the music halts here then my heart will waltz here, right on/Twelve o’clock is chiming up above”

I’m not sure if the 237 ghost is meant to be the lady dressed in jade, but almost every woman in the hall is dressed all in white, all in black, or some shade of gold, and her outfit appears to be something different, but it’s very hard to tell.

It’s cute that the music “halts here” halfway through the next verse. And also, the Grady-Jack tryst will halt the song Home partway through. As for the “12 o’clock” reference, the next time Jack moves through this hall, it’ll be quarter to midnight, and he’ll be on his way to killing the radio, halting the ranger’s emergency call to KDK 12.

As for all the 1930s music, each song is approximately the same length: Masquerade/192 sec; Midnight, the Stars and You/206 sec; It’s All Forgotten Now/195 sec; Home/189 sec. But the editing makes them 37 sec, 195 sec, 195 sec, and 147 sec. So the two Al Bowlly songs are twins, lengthwise. And fun fact: if we throw in the 97 seconds of Midnight, the Stars and You from Section I and II, the total ’30s music in the film is 671 seconds, or 11:11.

Oh, and there’s one more thing I noticed which partly has to do with music. Remember how there was that weird thing with all the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta being 42 digits off from a perfect golden ratio? Well, the scene that it carries over with in Section IX, of Danny vs. zombie Jack, goes for 168 seconds, or 2:48. 2:48 is 2:37 + 11. So, I don’t know if that’s super significant, but since it’s connected to the Bartók business, and since it features a similar discrepancy, I figured it was worth pointing out. It’s not like they prove each other, but 42 and 11 and 237 are arguably the most present numbers in the film (and there’s a tonne of other 237s in Section IX), so, again, it’s not nothing.

Click here to continue to Section IX Mirror Movements