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GOLDEN SPIRALS – SKIP TO A PAGE
MARK 13:29 ⎔ I ⎔ II ⎔ III ⎔ IV ⎔ V ⎔ VI ⎔ VII ⎔ VIII ⎔ IX ⎔ X
THE MIDDLE MOVIE ⎔ IX MIRROR MOVEMENTS
33:14 – 54:14
GOLDEN SPIRAL MOMENT – 41:15
Forward First Half (9 seconds of crossfades)
- The Danny/Hallorann interview overhang (55 sec)
- A MONTH LATER placard (3 sec)
- Wendy brings breakfast #1 (28 sec)
- Danny’s 1st Lesson (37 sec)
- Wendy brings breakfast #2 (135 sec)
- Jack banging his ball (32 sec)
- Danny’s 2nd Lesson (79 sec)
- Jack chucks ball/studies maze (32 sec)
- Danny and Wendy in the heart of the maze (43 sec)
- TUESDAY placard (3 sec)
- Wendy makes fruit salad (42 sec)
- Music: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (140 sec)
Backward First Half
- Wendy saying goodbye to Tony/Danny (62 sec)
- The Lounge fight (62+93+92+29+146=422 sec)
- Music: The Roadrunner Show Theme (12 sec), The Roadrunner Show Soundtrack (50 sec), Polymorphia (419 sec)
Forward Back Half (3 seconds of crossfade)
- Danny’s 3rd lesson (110 sec)
- Jack blows up at Wendy (176 sec)
- THURSDAY placard (4 sec)
- Wendy and Danny play in the snow (20 sec)
- Jack’s creepy stare (28 sec)
- SATURDAY placard (4 sec)
- Blizzard/Jack typing (16 sec)
- Wendy tries the radios (126 sec)
- Danny’s 4th lesson (119 sec — 17 + 6 + 37 + 58)
- MONDAY placard (5 sec)
- Summer of ’42 (82 sec)
- Danny vs. Zombie Jack (92 sec)
- Music: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (153+93=247 sec), Lontano (106 sec), De Natura Sonoris #1 (118 sec)
Backward Back Half (18 seconds of crossfades)
- Jack and Grady in the bathroom (264 sec)
- Wendy plots escape/Tony’s first REDRUM (54+88=142 sec)
- Jack kills the radio (68 sec)
- Hallorann’s 3rd phone call (42 sec)
- 8am placard (3 sec)
- Hallorann’s flight (46 sec)
- Jack typing All Work pages (25 sec)
- Hallorann’s plane landing (20 sec)
- Durkin’s (94 sec)
- Hallorann driving to Durkin’s (48 sec)
- Wendy saying goodbye to Tony/Danny (45 sec)
- Music: It’s All Forgotten Now (111 sec), Home (147 sec), The Roadrunner Show Theme (45 sec)
At this point in my original draft of this analysis, I started analyzing the four halves independent of each other, because we’re now considering much larger, much more narratively dynamic dramas, especially in the context of the mirrorform. I’m going to attempt to simplify these analyses, and hopefully we won’t pasteurize it too badly.
In case you missed it, the first thing I should point out is how, for the first time since Section III, the spiral cut is on the side closer to the section’s start point. You might recall that we employed a reverse-spirals technique to get better acquainted with that section. Well, reverse-spirals weren’t needed here, and even had they been, the result wouldn’t have been good. It would’ve landed us right smack dab in the middle of two sequences that aren’t particularly transitional–Wendy/Danny halfway through playing in the blizzard, Hallorann halfway through his final distress call, halfway through reintroducing himself to the ranger.
I’m pointing this out because Section VIII would be across from Section III in the inter-Fibonacci comparison chart, both being the middle section in their respective series, so it might’ve been nice to see a duality there. Still, what they do share is spiral cuts against the norm.
Alright, so, the forward action is pretty neatly divided for Danny by having his first two lessons on one side (both of which are fairly unparanormal, unless you count the maze’s overlarge size), and the second two on the other side (both of which feature visions of the Grady twins). There’s also a neat thing in how the start of this section features 55 seconds of the Danny/Hallorann scene, which is majorly about room 237, and the back half starts with 110 seconds of Danny’s first brush with 237 (55 x 2 = 110). Actually, all his lessons have some loose connection to the room. His first lesson starts and ends directly below the room, in the back hall of the lounge. The STAFF ONLY doors to Danny’s right here might even be a marker for the exact position of 237 in the above hallway. This also occurs during the 732 of Polymorphia.
Danny’s second lesson, as previously mentioned, coincides with the start of the 732 Polymorphia. And while Wendy showing him the maze continues (for 16 seconds), all his left-rights are experienced during the 732.
The third lesson is obvious, and the fourth lesson repeats what Danny sees after touching 237 in the third lesson: that of the Grady twins in close up. And that shot just so happens to overlay with Jack having his second of two bathroom/ghost experiences.
Moving on: both halves contain one of the two scenes of mother and son playing outside together (while the backward action of Section III contains the entirety of their reuniting after the maze chase, and escaping the hotel in a snowcat parked near where the one in the below righthand shot can be seen).
And while the first part of the first half sees off Danny’s 297-second talk with Hallorann (his only scene alone with Dick), the last part of the back half starts his 260-second talk with Jack (his only scene alone with his father–I don’t count the moment when Jack scares him out of his hiding place). I bring up the scene lengths because the part of the Danny/Hallorann talk that involves 237 is exactly 37 seconds (and occurs in Section VIII), meaning that without that, Danny’s two epic one-on-one scenes would be the same length. If this was intentional, it might have something to do with the fact that Jack almost quotes the Grady twins at Danny during their talk. “I wish we could stay here forever…and ever…and ever!” What’s really cool is that a second after Jack does this, we get this shot in the mirrorform of Jack and Grady entering the impossible bathroom, which reveals the bloodrug hanging on the inside of the antechamber, which overlays with Danny’s brain, as if Danny has just made the rudimentary connection between Jack and the twins, who have a connection for him to 237, which is the scariest place that no one has any business going into, so stay out! So instead of needing to ask about it, Danny pivots to the next most salient question: “You would never hurt mom and me, wouldja?”
As for Danny’s backward action, the back half includes the first of his Tony scenes, the spiral cut cuts the second Tony scene in half, with Tony’s one line of dialogue (“Yes, Mrs. Torrance”) occurring 7 seconds before the spiral cut.
This also brings to mind a close-but-no-cigar situation in how this breakfast is a kind of distorted mirror image of the first breakfast shared between mother and son (it even involves them watching the same episode of the same cartoon), but that scene occurs right after the start of Section IV. The Fibonacci line there does split on the establishing shot of the apartment, which leads to the breakfast, but I don’t know if that’s super relevant. If you chose to count that as a kind of stylistic enjambment (I’m not sure I would), then I think it would only speak to how different these similar breakfasts are, both being cut by a Fibonacci line/spiral cut, and only being one degree away from each other (IV-VIII).
What we can say is that all of Tony’s utterances of REDRUM occur in Section VIII’s back half (11 yells), and Section VII’s first half (32 murmurs, and 11 louder-pitch utterances). Actually, I just had another listen, and there’s a strange gap between REDRUMs at the 22 mark in the second sequence, so perhaps we’re meant to understand them in clusters of 11, 22, 10, and 11. Another way of looking at it is that Danny does 11 REDRUMs from the beginning of the long scene to the moment of picking up the knife and turning to grab the lipstick off the make-up counter. The next 11 take him to the lipstick, and back to the door. The next 10 cover the period of writing out the word on the door, which we could interpret as a bonus REDRUM (the one on the door), making 11 for that section.
Since 11s tend to have nefarious connotations all throughout the film (and since the Grady twins were REDRUMed, and look like an 11), I’d say that’s pretty cool.
And the first 11 REDRUMs occurring in the back half here has a nice connection to Section III’s back half including the Trapper’s Camp painting, which, as we all remember by now, surely, has a very direct connection to Hallorann’s murder.
And the 4 sets of 11 REDRUMs happening in the first half of VII…
…plays nicely with the fact that the first half of Section II starts roughly in the spot where Hallorann was murdered and zooms on photo Jack, the murderer.
And while I’m sure that I’ve implied elsewhere on the site that Jack was murdered by the hotel in a way, perhaps having his frozen corpse isolated in the back half of Section II helps us to see that it was less murder (since it isn’t paired with the REDRUMs of Section VII) than suicide/natural causes.
It might also help to have a quick look at the mirrorform for the REDRUM-by-the-11s moments. Here’s the start and end points for the Section VII one. Wendy is having her last direct contact with the outside world, on the radio that will be murdered in its next scene. Also, if we think of this as the first round of 11s, the mirror scene is of a Wendy alone on the radio. 1 – 1.
The start of the second set. Pretty obvious what the connection might be. But again, this is the second set, and it starts on two people (Ullman’s in the room, but we only hear his voice for the better part of this scene).
Start of the third set. Some murdered girls with a knife tip between their heads. Also, go here to read about what the art behind the girls refers to. Lots of death type stuff going on back there. Third set = two twins and Danny.
Start of the fourth set, where the team is passing beneath the spot where Wendy clubs Jack down the stairs. Also, probably coincidence, but Ullman is saying “We had four presidents who stayed here.” And this is the fourth set. Also, Watson has returned to the group, so we’ve got four peeps (and a lot of background peeps).
The start of the fifth set shows some women with heavy luggage heading up the stairs (towards room 237?). It also shows some people lugging a giant pile of luggage onto the elevators…and in the crossfade…
…these people overlay with the Torrance’s massive pile of luggage (in this, the end of the fifth set), which one of the Room 237 theorists linked to the idea of the holocaust, for the way that all the murdered jews were “turned into luggage” in the sense that all the luggage they brought with them into concentration camps was all that was left behind after the mass extermination.
As for the fifth set/five people dynamic, we go back down to three people in this part, but we’re aware, I suppose, that Danny and Wendy should be there. Also, we end back in the space where Hallorann will die, and where we’ll get the zoom on photo Jack (and the model of the labyrinth where Jack will literally die is in the distance). So do the two deaths make up for the missing two peeps?
And, I won’t speculate about which of these 11s might be which of the five horsemen of the apocalypse, but one is very clearly removed from the others, so we’ve got another case of 1-and-4, split across Fibonacci lines.
Moving on to Wendy, her forward action is very nicely split between the newly Overlook-lonely Wendy who has no reason to fear her situation, and the Wendy who has felt the sting of Jack’s sudden rage.
In the back half he’s casting her out of the lounge, she’s going out in a blizzard to be outside while Jack stares at the lounge windows, she’s trying the radios to vainly build some kind of bridge to the outside world, and finally showing Danny an R-rated sex drama to try to forge a kind of replacement for Jack in her son. Section IX (which also ends, remember, where Section VIII’s backward half begins, roughly)…
…features very little Wendy, and she’s in a state of some confusion in each of her sequences there. So it’s rather appropriate that when we pick back up with (Section VIII) backward Wendy, she’s essentially in the upgraded version of the forward half’s two halves: in the first scene she’s discovering how totally alone she is when, after plotting her escape, she hears “REDRUM” and discovers that Danny has been subsumed by Tony; her next scene crosses the spiral cut, and confirms her lonesomeness when she addresses Danny like he’s not Tony, just to get that soggy “Yes, Mrs. Torrance” back in her face; and of course, the following sequence, which dominates the other backward half is the step-by-step descent into madness that is the lounge fight, which ends (in the Sectional sense), just as Jack is starting to make his first serious death threats. So you could say that Section VIII perfectly encapsulates Wendy’s more clear-eyed perception of her isolation, and what to do about it.
On that note, people who’ve read my thoughts on the Tower of Babel will know I have grander thoughts about Wendy’s last meaningful backward Section VIII line of dialogue, “Well, I’m very confused. And I just need a chance to think things over.” But in the above context, I like how it caps off Wendy’s status as a confused person. From here on out she’ll be much less confused. In fact, her next dialogue to Jack is basically all appropriately defensive. And once she’s locked him up, she may be a little too polite with her prisoner/demon-husband, but she knows what she wants to do. Get the fuck outta Dodge. Unable to do so, she’ll slumber, until all unholy REDRUM rains down around her. At which point, a lack of clarity might’ve proven quite fatal.
Oh, here’s a cute thing: Wendy tells Tony/Danny that she’ll be back in “five minutes” after talking to Jack. The number of seconds between this claim and the start of Danny’s shining their conversation is 273 (or 27 seconds shy of 5 minutes), which happens to be another 237 jumble, like the Polymorphia that’s playing over this segment (732). Oh, also, at exactly five minutes after she says “five minutes” is when the flash of REDRUM interrupts Danny’s bloodfall vision. That’s pretty on point.
Actually, that’s really cool, because Kubrick is essentially doing to us what Tony’s doing to Danny. Kubrick is relying on our internal, unconscious sense of time to jolt us in that moment, with the distant memory of Wendy saying she would be back by then. She’s not back, and Danny’s hearing why she’s not back, and since she’s not back, Tony knows that can only mean one thing: REDRUM is inevitable now. Of course, you have to bend reality slightly to think that Wendy transported from the staff wing to the lounge in zero seconds, which she would’ve had to do for Danny’s vision to be happening exactly five minutes later. But if it was five minutes from the moment she walked out the door, I could see it only taking 60 seconds to get from the one place to the other.
As for Jack’s time in Section VIII, my first thought was that it’s very tied to Wendy’s Section VIII. But what it really is is the forward first half is their hunky-doryest portion overlaying their most un-hunky-dory portion (before things devolve into constant death threats). And the back half starts with Jack banishing Wendy from his lounge, and they stay separated til the end of VIII, and then in the backward action, they’re completely separated (helped in part by Hallorann’s lengthy rescue mission), in the back half, and almost a perfect half of the first half apart, before the lounge fight kicks into gear.
So what is there to say about Jack? The forward split nicely divides three sequences of his pre-madness normality (each of which involves a sports reference)…
…from four sequences of his swift devolution (two of which feature staring out a window, two of which feature hammering out All Work papers, two of which feature total silence, two of which feature lengthy discussions, two of which feature randomly disappearing furniture, and two of which feature blazing fires…oh, and you can see the floor rugs in the lounge have inverted in the 2nd and 3rd shots below).
The backward split divides the Jack co-opted by Grady to murder the snowcat and radio (and to do a little more All Work typing), from lounge fight Jack, who still needs to work himself up a bit before he can enter the killzone.
There’s a nice parallel in VII and VIII beginning (in the backward sense) with murder talk; VIII being the more subtle (“I…corrected them, sir.”) than VII (“I’m just gonna bash your brains in.”).
So basically the forward action depicts the ghostless effects of the hotel’s seduction powers on Jack (Section IX will almost totally contain Lloyd, the 237 ghost, and (the visible) Delbert Grady, but for the 4:24 of Grady that spills into this section), and the backward action depicts the final ghostly seduction, and the immediate results of the hotel’s success–Jack killing the radio, and so on.
The breakfast sequence is almost two scenes, spiritually. In the first half of that scene we see Jack awaken to his new life in the hotel, but he’s constantly seen through a mirror (82 seconds), and then we cut to Wendy and when we cut back to Jack and finally see him right way round (41 seconds), there’s a subliminal shock, as if something is different, but we can’t place what.
There’s a lot of cool mirrorform stuff that happens here too, like how the 5-minute-mark REDRUM flashes on screen just as Jack is first awakening in the hotel (the first thing he does is ask the time, to which Wendy replies that it’s about 11:30–so there’s a nice double-up of time-related concerns there).
Whoa! Or a triple-up!
I’m just noticing this on my edit of this section, but just as Wendy’s saying “5 minutes” to Tony/Danny the opposite action is the news reporter saying “10 days”, as in “Susan Robertson has been missing 10 days.” This is Tuesday the 4th of December, Wendy is saying “5 minutes” on the un-placarded morning of Thursday the 13th. These moments are 10 days apart.
Here’s another thing: the transition from mirror Jack to right way round Jack tracks with the journey that crazy lounge Jack makes back into the shadows. In fact, if you watch this sequence the other way, it’s as if the emergence of crazy lounge Jack is putting mirror Jack back to sleep.
Jack’s not here, Mrs. Torrance. Jack’s gone away.
A bunch of 11s: 1) Jack throws the ball into the wall 11 (audible) times; 2) the Scientific American about the Tower of Babel is overlaying Wendy’s head in the below shot, and the Tower of Babel is talked about in Genesis 11:1-9; 3) there’s giant orange 11s hanging behind Wendy’s shoulder, formed by the gaps in the gallery bannister; 4) the newspaper talking about the Vela Incident (the one to the left of Wendy’s head here), is referring to an event (a “double flash”) detected by a satellite called the Vela Satellite OPS 6911; 5). If we can ever identify the other journals, we might find more of these 11s. Actually, I identified a Glamour magazine since I was here last, but that only has a 20, 17 and 8 on the cover.
Oh, fun fact: the Scientific American is Vol. 238, which is pretty damn close to you know what.
This is the 11th page Wendy flips through, and it’s the only one with such poetic structure to it, but also these pyramids are reflected in the ceiling beams above Wendy’s head in the reverse shot, near the bannister 11s (see below).
And you know, when Danny goes into 237, he’s wearing the Apollo 11 sweater. So, the abundance of 11s occurring during the 732 of Polymorphia is probably to further suggest the link between these numbers.
Also, every All Work line contains two sets of pseudo 11s in the “AII” and the “duII”.
In the mirrorform, this 11th page appears right after Jack’s last audible throw (the 11th).
The last thing to note about sane Jack (and I’ve spoken about this extensively elsewhere, where it’s part of much more interesting patterns), is that the last thing we see him do is move from reception to the maze model, and study it. These happen to be the same two points where a skeleton butler is standing during the skeleton ball, during the first half of Section V.
In the back half of Section V, Jack makes a phone call from roughly the same spot, as an old man is in the distant position of studying the maze model from the other side (the maze is also in a further-back position in the room at this point, probably to achieve this shot). This old man is first spotted in the back half of Section III, though (see below), emerging from around the corner where Grady ghost will later appear to Wendy. So, thinking to show that guy emerge in III gives us a III-VIII connection for this little bit of pattern business.
Actually, here’s something I never thought of before: the old man sitting in the chair beneath maze looker old man is sitting about the same distance from the wall and facing the same direction as Jack will do when Ullman and Watson approach him for the tour (Section VII, first half), so perhaps the appearance of these old men between Watson and Ullman partly speaks to the seeming argument between these men, as if Watson is saying, “We can’t do this to an entire family. Jack, sure. Who cares about the child-abusing narcissist? But not the family.” And Ullman is saying, “The kid’ll be alright. We just need Hallorann to show up. And then Jack will probably die trying to finish the job. Two for the price of one!”
As for (increasingly) insane Jack, I don’t have much to say about post-sanity Jack (as a non-cartoon human being) that I didn’t cover in The Shame of Being Watched.
One thing this section helped me realize is that there’s actually only two sections of the movie where Jack has a bit of action that starts and ends without ever overlaying with other Jack action on the other side: the tour of the Colorado lounge and Suite 3 (Section VII; first half), which only overlays with Danny’s big REDRUM scene, and his post-Suite 3 assault, from leaving to get Hallorann to killing the old man, which overlays with Danny’s first vision, and the doctor interview. Without doing a huge study on it, my guess is that this is probably true of Wendy and Danny too, if to a lesser degree. These moments happen to account for the start of Sections VI and VII.
The one thing that jumps out at me about the back half of VIII for Jack (that I haven’t covered in earlier sections) is there’s a 73-second (mirrorform) gap between the two shots of Jack typing from behind. These are shot very similarly, and in the sense of their proximity, I’m reminded of the proximity of the Danny scream faces. However, there’s only 3234 seconds from the start of the first shot to the end of the other (53:54), and I’m not sure what to make of that number, if it’s meant to have any significance. It’s the result of 42 x 77, and it’s 11 ÷ 297, the first of which are both significant numbers in the film’s numbers game. That might be sufficient, but if anyone thinks of anything else, let me know.
What else I can say about this little bit of business is that both moments have a connection to Hallorann’s rescue mission (the first one overlays and the second one crossfades), and so probably speak to the difference between these men and their sense of priorities.
And also, I think it’s neat generally that this helps to make every scene of Jack typing occur in the back half of Section VIII (the nightmare is in IX, but there’s no typing). If that’s meant as part of the III-VIII connection, it could speak to way III’s back half is entirely about Jack showing up for his interview for this job. And that section contains 68 seconds (close to 73…) of Jack being unsure if he would be hired–probably the first and last time we see Jack putting effort into this thing. So the parallel is that Section VIII features Jack doing his “real” work, and we all know how that turned out. And the horror of that is that Jack showing up to these endless hateful job interviews is tantamount to his writing out the same sentence a thousand times. No matter what he puts his mind to, Jack’s centre will not hold. He will not achieve his desire, if his desire is to force life to conform to his art. To force life to appreciate his hard “work”.
Speaking of Hallorann, his role in Section VIII is the 237 conversation in the first forward half, and almost the entirety of his rescue mission in the back backward half.
Actually, I just noticed a neat pattern in Hallorann’s backward existence: he first appears in one shot in the first half of Section V (Wendy seeing his corpse; 4 seconds), then the first half of Section VI is basically all about his murder, then the first half of Section VII features one sequence of him driving the snowcat through the mountains (55 seconds), then here we have the back half dominated by the bulk of his rescue mission, from him realizing the Forest Service can’t get through, to him driving to pick up the snowcat from Durkin’s, then in backward Section IX he’s entirely in the first half, from hearing Danny’s distress call, to his first two response calls, and in backward X he’s utterly in the first half (the kitchen tour and Danny talk). In the forward action he appears in both halves of VII, IX and X, and in the first half of VIII here for a smidgen. So, in the forward drama he’s a major component of the last four sections, but in the backward drama he’s perfectly segmented into one half of six sections. The first half of V, VI, VII, IX and X, and the back half of VIII. So my first question there is: is this segmentation significant or incidental? I don’t see a numbers game at play, at least, not in the screen seconds (Hallorann’s story accounts for 21:01 of screen time). So I would assume if it has a purpose, it’s a symbolic/thematic one. If so, should we also include scenes that don’t feature Scatman Crothers, but do feature things that link directly to Hallorann (like Trapper’s Camp, or the Torrance apartment books that also appear in Hallorann’s apartment, or shots that include the spot where he’s murdered as part of their design)? If so, we could say what we already know, which is that Hallorann is a major figure in the film’s subtextual architecture. The significance of this pattern is in the way his forward self is less fractured, and less segmented, than his backward self. But I’m not sure why that would be. Hallorann is a significant figure in the mirrorform too, for being the major focus at the film’s middle moment, and for that middle sequence being exactly long enough to begin and end in the same moment. So it seems like he would have some special relationship to the mirrorform, and this backward/forward segmentation/unity would seem to signal that speciality. Also, both the forward and backward have the anomaly happen in the same section: this section. In the forward universe, it’s the only section where he doesn’t appear in both halves, and in the backward universe, it’s the only section where he appears in the back half.
Perhaps the discrepancy is meant to signal that these are Hallorann’s two turning points: in the forward, it features Dick lashing out at Danny for bringing up 237 (he’s never angry before or again), and in the backward it features him going from the failed phone call rescue plan to the physical rescue plan. Is that enough? Was that worth all the trouble?
Perhaps the only other major phenomenon to point out here is that VIII continues (and largely concludes) the mirrorform’s tradition of characters appearing in the same places on opposite sides of the film. So, in VII we had the first instance of this, with Wendy stepping into Danny’s spot in Suite 3, and then the epic pantry/kitchen interlocks. In VIII it’s four instances of different characters being in the same rough area, with generally more furtive interactions. The first three are close together, spread across the middle of the first half, and the last one is way later, at almost the exact middle of the back half.
The first of the first three is Danny’s 1st trike crossing the lounge fight.
The second is Danny having his Suite 3 shine of the lounge fight while Jack wakes in Suite 3 (about 60 seconds after the last one).
And the third is around 90 seconds later, when a writer’s block, ball-throwing Jack overlays with an All Work discovering Wendy in the lounge. So these three are all about the lounge fight.
Then, about 9 minutes later (60×90=5400; 9 minutes is 540 seconds–probably a coincidence), Jack is on his way through the lobby to kill the radio, and he passes the other radio area, where Wendy is finding herself radio-blocked (it’s on the exact moment that radiokiller Jack disappears that Wendy gets frustrated and traces almost the exact same path to the other radio). This is also one of the only moments when the same art piece is visible in both sequences (Tom Thomson’s Northern River).
Given that the Gold Room is a known extension of the lobby, and 237 is a known extension of the Colorado lounge, this basically only leaves areas of the hotel that are only seen once anyway (boiler room, games room, BJ well, twinhall) where an area never overlaps itself. Though perhaps it’s worth noting the two areas where the most ghost action happens (Gold Room, 237) are never directly overlapping (except with each other, which, by the way, is total, in the sense that all 237 scenes overlap the Gold Room–I just checked, and found that the total number of seconds for any scene of someone entering, leaving, shining or passing 237 is 462, which would be 7:42; close call for a 7:32).
As for the music, a few things.
This section features almost every performance of Béla Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. There’s 386 seconds in Section VIII, and 171 in Section IX, totalling 557 for the entire film. These performances play over Danny’s second and third lessons at almost equal length (140 and 153 respectively), and the final 264 seconds are cut by the Fibonacci line into chunks of 93 and 171.
Now if you’ve even read this far, chances are you realize that this song is thought to have been composed with the Fibonacci sequence in mind. According to Sbravatti, the first and second performances in the film start around 2:24 and 2:12 into the song, and play to around 4:43. According to my ears, both iterations go on a second longer, but it makes little difference. According to the chart below (which shows a graphic analysis for the song’s Fibonaccian quality), you can see that this means that the track is starting in the film around the 34-bar mark and running to around the 70-bar mark (all along the bottom of the graph you can see where the scale is for reading the song in bars and minutes).
The 34 bar is significant, because this would be the start of the 8th Fibonacci section of the song. Since the track ends around bar 70, this means that only the 8th (34-55) and 9th (55-89) sections would be accounted for to our hearing (with the common end between all three iterations being the big cymbal crash at 4:43, around 15/16 bars past the start of the 9th section, and 18/19 bars from its end). In the Fibonacci Shining, these both occur in Section VIII, but there’s a third iteration, which crosses from VIII into IX. That one does so at 93 seconds into its 264-second performance, probably exactly at the start of the 7th (21-34) section of the song. Which means that the 1st-6th sections are in Section VIII, and the 7th-9th are in Section IX.
Was Kubrick simply using these sections to draw our attention to the Fibonaccification of The Shining? Or did using these segments this way inspire the Fibonaccification? Like so many of the techniques I’ve unearthed, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-the-egg thing.
But here’s what we can say for sure. Rounds 1 and 2 of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta are near-twins (140/153), occurring 48 seconds apart, atop the middle two of Danny’s lessons. The first one ends 43 seconds before the spiral cut (allowing for Wendy’s fruit salad scene), the second one starts 5 seconds after it. The final iteration starts 8:47 after the second one, which is big enough to fit an entire re-performance of the song (it being 8:11 long), though I’m not sure if that’s significant. Let’s say not.
What does seem significant is that if you add all the iterations together you get 557 seconds worth of music. The golden spiral for that number is 344 digits from the beginning (344) or ending (213). I’ve tangoed with the four numbers enough to know there isn’t a way to reach either of these figures simply. The best thing I’ve come up with is that Sections VIII and IX divide the total amount of Bartók into collections of 386 and 171 seconds. So the golden spiral would be exactly 42 seconds back from the spiral cut (171+42=213). Which happens to be the following frame of action.
And here is the Fibonacci line moment.
What’s crazy is that the same line of dialogue occurs right after both of these moments (flowing backwards). It’s Jack saying, “Mr. Grady…you were the caretaker here,” in two very different tones. First with a self-satisfied “gotcha”, then with an “or else”. I might point out as well, that the action that occurs between these moments is Danny breaking the 180-degree rule in an interesting way, while the camerawork on the opposite side of the film breaks it in a different way.
As you can see here, the camera jumps from one side of Jack and Grady to the other, as if jumping through a mirror (and there’s mirrors all along the side wall…). And as Danny approaches, his orientation to Jack is left-to-right, and he moves past the middle of the frame, the orientation shifts to right-to-left (and what is (or should be) directly behind the camera capturing this shot?).
A giant mirror.
Anyway, whatever. I don’t know if it super matters that I be right about this. I think there’s a good deal of connection there between these 42 seconds, and I’ll happily admit that I’m biased, because I would like there to be more eggs for my Easter basket (labelled “Kubrick’s Limitless Genius”). This is simply one more egg. But you have to admit it’s kinda fascinating to think he might’ve planned for that.
I admit, it would be much neater if the VIII-IX Fibonacci line divided the cluster of music as a whole into a perfect golden ratio. That would seem almost like blessed confirmation of the entire theory (if you need more evidence than what I’ve provided thus far), and could also be crazy coincidence #2186 on the list some of you are surely making to keep track of all these crazy coincidences. But the fact that it’s off by exactly 42 seconds (and the dialogue repeat and the mirror-smashing), one of the films two major numeric icons, does seem like more than a lark to me. It seems like Kubrick was probably just too clever to be so obvious, and covered his tracks to all but those paying attention to his private symbology.
I’m honestly not trying to seem cultish here, but if there’s another explanation for why Kubrick would do the 42 thing, I can’t think of it. Recall too that Summer of ’42 disappears from the screen the second that Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta begins playing for the last time. So that alone could be our cue to accept the 42-second discrepancy. But what’s really cool there is that the 82-second portion of that film that appears in this film begins at 24:24 of its timecode (if we discount its opening 14 seconds of Warner Bros. logo). So first off you’ve got that 24-24 which might be a reflection of the 42-42 going on here (the crossfade in the second image below shows a door chain connecting from the image of the TV screen up to the heavens–could that be a symbolic chain from the one scene to the other? from the war movie to the Fibonacci song?). But most interesting is this: the golden ratio for the 103:55 runtime of Summer of ’42 is 64:14 (or 39:41 from the beginning), and if you cut the (00:00-64:14) section with a spiral cut, you get 24:32 (or 39:42, but 24:32 is also a spiral cut for 00:00-39:41).
I doubt this was a miscalculation by Kubrick, but what that means is that a spiral cut for that film is passed 8 seconds into its 82-second appearance in The Shining. The mirrorform moment for that moment is Hermie in that movie saying “It’s okay! Really!” in response to being offered money for his services (he wants her affection more than her money), and in the Gold Room bathroom Jack is reacting to the line, “Your son has a very great talent. I don’t think you are aware how great it is. But he is attempting to use that very talent…against your will.” To which Jack will respond, “Well…he is a very willful boy.” If we read the shining as the ability to create great works of art and advancements in science and technology, this would be a terribly apt thing for our villains to be discussing in this moment. Kubrick allegedly had something of a paranoid brain, so I doubt it was lost on him that power structures often (and throughout all of recorded history) seek to suppress, subvert, and control the messaging that is accomplished through art, and the empowerment of society that is accomplished through technology. But if it wasn’t for the willfulness of artists and scientists…what would we be living for?
Also, it’s at this second (24:32) that the TV screen has zoomed out just enough to fill the centre of the phi grid in this very neat way. See for yourself.
Oh, and here’s a cool thing: the song Home, by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles, which plays over the last bit of the Grady/Jack conspiracy, gets cut off at 147 seconds. Now, you can find multiple lengths for the recording of this track, but there’s at least one where the music is only heard for 189 seconds (3:09). That means that Kubrick may have thought he was cutting out exactly 42 seconds. Sort of like the 42 from the…oh, you get it.
But that’s not all. The mirrorform moment for when the film cuts to Summer of ’42 (51:20) is exactly 91 seconds from the end of these 147 seconds of Home. What’s 147 divided by 91? You guessed it: a golden ratio. So, Home is divided by Summer of ’42 into a golden ratio of itself, and it’s missing 42 seconds. Coincidence? (Incidentally, Home almost divides the amount of Summer of ’42 in the film into a golden ratio, but it’s off by 5 seconds).
So, again, I’ll admit that these strike me as fairly abstract connections (with the exception of the 24-24/42-42 pattern), but they don’t do nothing. And they are there.
The next bit is about the use of De Natura Sonoris #1 in the back half, but first I should observe that two of the three talks with the US Forest Service also occur in the back half, 118 seconds apart (almost 2 minutes apart). These are the two calls effectively rejecting the desires of Wendy (forward action) and Hallorann (backward action), the one that keeps her in the hotel, and the one that propels him to the hotel. The other call is 612 seconds apart from the third one (appearing in the first half of Section IX), or exactly 10 minutes apart if we count the end of Wendy’s dialogue to the first ranger (I usually count between the shots of the things themselves, in this case of the rangers in their office). So again, that’s 2 minutes apart and 10 minutes apart. And when we hear people calling each other through the radio, we hear that the Forest Service is KDK1, and that the Overlook is KDK 12.
2+10 = 12. That might just be a cute coincidence, and doesn’t have to do with my next point, but this is the best spot to point that out.
De Natura Sonoris #1, which starts right as we cut away from Wendy’s distress call, plays for 118 seconds, while Danny encounters the dead twins. That’s the same distance of time as between the first two Forest Service scenes.
What’s more, the third and final performance of Lontano plays for 106 seconds in the gap between those ranger scenes, starting 4 seconds after the first ranger disappears, and ending 8 seconds before the next one appears. Lontano is first heard when Danny first meets the physical Overlook twins in the games room, and De Natura Sonoris #1 is first heard when he last sees them in the twinhall. The only other time De Natura Sonoris #1 is heard is when Wendy’s running to find the dead snowcat, which just so happens to overlay with the length of the second time Lontano is heard, which is as Hallorann is shining “eye scream” at Danny in the pantry.
So, let me recap that, in case it was confusing:
- The gap between the first two (mirrorform) ranger calls, and the first performance of De Natura Sonoris #1 are the same length (118 seconds).
- De Natura Sonoris #1 starts playing immediately after we cut away from the second call.
- The gap between the calls is mostly filled with Lontano (playing overtop Jack’s crazy stare, and the radio that won’t work for Wendy).
- Lontano plays overtop the first time Danny sees the twins in the (ghost)flesh (games room), and De Natura Sonoris #1 plays over the second and final time (twinhall).
- The only other time De Natura Sonoris #1 is heard is when Wendy is running to the dead snowcat, which plays completely overtop the only version of Lontano I haven’t mentioned yet, the one where Dick’s shining “How’d you like some ice cream, doc?”
- Also, all the performances occur in the same parts of the same sections. The three Lontanos occur in Section VII first half and Section VIII back half, while De Natura Sonoris #1 occurs in Section VII first half and Section VIII back half.
So basically, the point I’m making is simply that these two tracks seem to have a special relationship to each other. And the themes they both play to involve twins (there’s a Da Natura Sonoris #1 and #2), radios (Lontano means “far away”), and shining (Danny and Hallorann can communicate very far from each other, like radios, and a sound wave takes on a very symmetrical twin-like pattern).
The last music point to make is the most simple: the Fibonacci line at the end of Section VIII divides It’s All Forgotten Now into two parts, an 84-second part and a 111-second part. The song’s lyrics start 6 seconds into the Section VIII half and end 78 seconds later, so basically the Fibonacci line divides the lyrical from the non-lyrical portion of the song. What’s more, the lyrics occur entirely while Danny is in Suite 3 with Jack, so the song’s message about two lovers being back in love, having forgotten the troubles of the past, is particularly dark, given the fear Danny feels toward his father in this moment, and their shared past of abuse, which is not entirely forgotten, it seems. Also, the lyrics to this song play over a decidedly dialogue-free section, the only lines in it being, “Can I go to my room and get my fire engine?” and “Come here for a minute first.” This last dialogue ends at 39 seconds through the singing, or exactly halfway. There’s a cool thing in the backward action as well, where the first half of the singing covers Jack’s gotcha moment with Grady, and the back half of the lyrics covers Grady’s complete reversal on Jack. But this isn’t Fibonaccistic, I’m just pointing things out now. Let’s move on.
OTHER NEAT THINGS
- The first half of the mirrorform Section VIII starts with both Jack’s and Hallorann’s tones shifting from one tone to a much more aggressive tone (though these shifts occur in opposite directions from each other).
- Wendy only swings her bat 3 times during this section, once on the first flight, twice on the second flight. She’ll swing it 38 more times in the next section, the last 2 striking Jack on the hand and head. And, in case you forgot: lots of 237 suggestions in this sequence. So, the 37th swing of Section VII hit the hand, 38th hit the head. Altogether, Wendy swings at Jack 41 times here, which means that the slice on his hand near the end (Section VI/X) is like a final 42. So perhaps the first swing, and the next 2 (of Section VIII) are meant to reflect the 2 bat strikes and the 1 knife strike. This would make a pattern of 1-2-36-2-1. What would the 36 represent, if anything?
- This section contains almost all the scenes of people watching TVs: Summer of ’42 (end of forward back half), Stop! Look! and Hasten! (beginning to backward first half, end of backward back half), To Itch His Own (near the end of backward back half), the scene of Wendy watching the news (end of forward first half), and the Dalli Dalli episode that Wendy passes between radios (middle of forward back half). The two other TV sequences, are, of course, Hallorann’s channel 10 News Watch, which occurs at the very centre of the film (Section IX; forward first half/backward back half), and the first breakfast (Section IV; forward first half) where the episode of Roadrunner is the same as in this section. The fact that it’s the same episode in IV and VIII gives a connection between those two, and the IV-IX connection means that all the TV stuff has a Fibonacci-based connection.
- Almost all the placards appear in this section: A MONTH LATER, TUESDAY (forward first half), THURSDAY, SATURDAY, MONDAY (forward back half), and 8am (backward back half). This leaves 4pm (Section VII; backward first half), THE INTERVIEW (Section III; forward back half), CLOSING DAY (Section VI; forward back half), and WEDNESDAY (Section IX; forward first half, backward back half). So that’s six in VIII, and one in III, VI, VII, and IX. And of course, with the exception of WEDNESDAY, they all reoccur in Section X. I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Section III is the only one in the first half of sections to feature a placard, and it appears right at the spiral cut. So perhaps Sections I-V are being perfectly divided into the nameless intro and THE INTERVIEW, while Sections VI-X are being much more segmented, with the heaviness of placards in VIII reflecting the one in III.
- I should also mention that there are moments from CLOSING DAY and WEDNESDAY in this section, so, every identifiable day in the film (THE INTERVIEW isn’t verifiable, and neither is the day of the last two shots in the film) is accounted for in Section VIII, something necessarily unique to the section. Section V would come the next closest with Danny’s first vision containing things that happen on TUESDAY (twins), SATURDAY (twins again), and the final Thursday (bloodfall and scream face). Though Danny will have another bloodfall vision on the evening of WEDNESDAY, and he will see the twins in a different context on CLOSING DAY (a Friday). If we count those, Section V only fails to touch on MONDAY, THURSDAY, and A MONTH LATER.
- On a similar note: the back half of Section V and the back half of Section VIII are the only two times Danny will speak directly to Tony. VIII also features all of Tony’s dialogue to other characters, except for the first breakfast (Section IV; first half), and the final REDRUM screams that wake Wendy (Section VII; first half). Of course, this is all repeated in both halves of X, so Tony’s activity occurs in IV, V, VII, VIII, and X. And it’s unclear whether Danny has become fully Danny before the killing of Hallorann, which means Tony could be driving Danny throughout Section VI. This would mean that the only two sections that contain Danny without a demonstrated Tony are III and IX. Which is all neat to behold, but I’m not sure what it would mean.
- Depending on what you think Tony is, and what you think the Overlook staff are (in light of the Come Out, Come Out theory), despite the bulk of the ghost activity occurring in IX, this section (back half) is neat for featuring the only instance of an overlay of two different known ghosts talking to two different live characters: the Grady twins to Danny, while Grady talks to Jack.
- The family VW Beetle appears in Sections I, II, III, VI, VIII and X. The red Beetle that Hallorann sees smashed by the transport truck is also in the back half of VIII. So, discounting X for its inevitable inclusion in most lists like this, the only section that doesn’t have a pairing in the I-V/VI-X comparisons is II. Section VII does, however, include the tour of the maze (which should include their car in the lot, and doesn’t), and Wendy going to discover the dead snowcat (which should include her racing past the parked car, and doesn’t).
Click here to continue on to The Golden Shining: Section IX
MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING