The Treachery of Images: The Meaning of F21s



As I said in the intro, this all started by me trying to find a deeper meaning in the photos than the heaven/hell/work/play dynamic I already felt was bedrock fact.

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But my concept for those was deeply embedded in the seeming relevance of the up/down/left/right directions that the photos sat in from the photo Jack photo.

This was further cemented into my mind thanks to my study of every shot in the film composed according to what’s called “phi grid framing“. From doing that, I found that the right/east side of the screen was usually where objects of play and/or the more playful/less serious of two characters was situated, while the opposite side of the screen was for the opposite or opposing sort of thing.

In the example here we see that the dart board is perfectly framed by what I think of as the “play” column, while the Colorado flag is well situated in what I call the “work” column. If Jack’s real work is killing Hallorann, then this appearance of the flag probably works to connect the idea of America’s theft of indigenous lands and slaughter of indigenous peoples with Jack’s kill crazy rampage. In fact, there’s a 19-value photo in this “work” column too, and a 19-value will watch over Jack’s murder of Hallorann, but we’ll get to that.

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As for “heaven” and “hell”, I began to wonder if the top horizontal bar was meant to express the looming, judgy, transcendence of good things, while the bottom bar was meant to express the lurking, scheming decrepitude of evil things. That’s what helped me notice that our first look at the Overlook starts it completely within this sinister underworld, only allowing it to creep ever so slowly into what might be the “earthly” middle bar.

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Perhaps the 42 vehicles here are meant to represent the damned souls the Overlook keeps in its “hell”.

But would that mean that all seven photos up from photo Jack would have some connection to “north/heaven”, every photo down some connection to “south/hell”? Was it a purely spatial thing? And if it wasn’t, would that invalidate my prior understanding, in some way?

Once I’d begun to realize the numeric value of the way the photos moved throughout the hotel, it occurred to me that, at some point, Kubrick (or some helper of his), had to have sat down and plotted all this out. So, if Kubrick knew that he would want 4 to mean “heaven”, 10 to mean “work”, 12 to mean “play” and 18 to mean “hell”, would it have taken that much energy to think of seventeen other meanings or themes that the other pictures would speak to?

I’d been working on this project long enough for numbers like 42, 237, 11 and 3 to resonate with me wherever I found them. I’d already made a list of every spoken number, every date, every time code on every clock or wristwatch. So it wasn’t long before I had a small collection of numbers with values I felt had intrinsic meaning to the story’s context. It was 3 “goddamn” years ago that Jack destroyed Danny’s arm. The Grady murder/suicide was 9 years ago “during the winter of 1970”. Photo Jack is forever trapped inside “19” “21”. Stuff like that. All that remained after slapping together the obvious ones was 1, 6, 14, 15, and 17. For those, I basically just looked at how the photos behaved in the film, and deduced from there.

Now, I don’t want to claim that I’m absolutely 1000% right about my labels for these–an evaluation like this is bound to feel like a Rorschach test at times–but I think that I’m as close to right as we can get from a preliminary examination.

We’ll go through these one-by-one in a second, but first I just want to look at how the pictures relate to one another spatially. Notice how the upper left three (1, 2, 3) deal with the idea of the past. The upper right three (5, 6, 7) are about how Hallorann’s murder is the result of good magic (Danny, Hallorann, Wendy and maybe Watson) losing against bad magic (the hotel, Ullman). The middle left three (8, 9, 10) are about how Jack’s “work” (killing Hallorann) has that connection to what Charles Grady did. The middle right three (12, 13, 14) are about how the real “play” the hotel wants Danny to do is to go into 237 (where he’ll see the lesson key, with its connection to the Beatles at their best). The lower right three (15, 16, 17) are about the difference between individuals and twins, and how this relates to why the Beatles broke up. And the lower left three (19, 20, 21) are about how moving time and frozen time (AKA “Jack’s doom”) are factors in what makes the isolation of the Torrances so central to their struggle.

Then consider how the whole lefthand side is about abuse (the hell of work) and identity (the heaven of work), and how the whole right side is about synergy (the heaven of play) and time (the hell of play). I think these make for some fairly coherent wings to Kubrick’s main themes.

Update: I recently discovered that the Stanley Kubrick archive at the University of the Arts London keeps some kind of cache of the photos in their storage. And as you can read here in their inventory, these photos are from some Warner Brothers archive and are said by the archive staff to contain images of famous people. Knowing which famous people could help us gain a deeper appreciation for the significance of these patterns. As you’ll read down the line, I’d already begun to suspect that the figures in photo 16 include Frank Sinatra, and might even be the rat pack themselves. I doubt that any revelations we ever make will be damning comments on the celebrities; I rather think these names will only serve to further deepen the richness of the pre-existing weave.

Also, you might’ve noticed, if you followed that last link, that the photos in the archive are accompanied by production photos from Billy Wilder’s 1957 film The Spirit of St. Louis, which concerns Charles Augustus Lindbergh’s nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927. I’m loathe to make any hard connections between that story and our film until we can (if possible) show a link within our film to that film. The one thing that does jump out at me is that Wendy totes a Louisville slugger while approaching the All Work papers, and those papers contain a line last, and most otherwise famously, heard at the cinemas in 1957’s The Bridge On the River Kwai. Both of these 1957 films were nominated for an Oscar at the 30th Academy Awards.


Someone says the words “one”, “once”, and “first” around 50 times in the film, so trying to nail this one down to a meaning was about the hardest thing to do. “Is Tony one of your animals?” “You set em up, I’ll knock em back, Lloyd, one buh one.” “This is KDK12 calling KDK1.”

So the first thing I did was to look at where the photos appeared and how they behaved. The first place the pic appears is in the stairwell overlooking Jack as he approaches the interview. He’ll seem to be looking straight at it at 3:27 into the film, as he’s crossing the spot where he’ll axe Dick.

This spot will be seen 8 more times in the film, during moments like Jack phoning Wendy about getting the job, and the opening shot of Jack’s first day on the job. Wendy bringing breakfast in the first interior shot following the shut down of the hotel. Hallorann approaching his death. Stuff like that.

You might notice how, in the above graphic, we’re counting scenes where the photos appear as partially cut off by the hotel’s architecture, and yeah, that’s how we get to 2368, it’s true.

Anyhow, the three other times a 1-value appears are only ever seen the one time in the film. First as Wendy is saying, “My god! This place is fantastic! Isn’t it, hon?”

Then, in the first wall of photos Danny passes during the opening of his first lesson.

Then, for the last time, a second later, as Danny’s passing the southwest stair. The low angle of this shot allows for this final 1-value to appear as the fourth photo up the stair there. In the scene of the tour, or of Wendy coming to fight Jack, the higher angle cuts off this 1 from sight.

I won’t make a habit of showing you every moment of every photo, but I just wanted to impress upon you the singularity of the 1-value. No other F21 photo behaves quite like this. Appearing in so many “first” shots. Actually, the 4-value is like that. But “heaven” and “origins” are hardly estranged concepts.

Also, the early parts of the film makes a few subtle references to the Book of Genesis (as studied exhaustively here, in case you’re interested). In the first shot, Jack passes a magazine with the Tower of Babel on the cover. And when he calls about the job, the song playing on the soundtrack is The Awakening/Dream of Jacob, which is about Jacob’s ladder. That scene bleeds into Danny asking Tony why he’s afraid to go to the hotel, which leads to the flood of blood vision, which I see as a Noah’s Ark reference.

There’s also one general thing about the photos I haven’t touched on yet: there seems to have been some mind paid to what was in the photo itself (in many cases, though perhaps not all), and the photo for 1-value is of three people talking at a dining table, while a fourth person looks on in the lower right corner. And the origins of this film involve two sequences of three people engaged in forms of interviews (Jack-Ullman-Watson and Danny-Wendy-Doctor) while a fourth presence looks on imperceptibly (the hotel upon Jack, and Tony upon the doctor).

I must now (as of May 2020) include the fact that there’s an album in the film that was the soundtrack for a documentary called One By One. The significance of this album’s appearance has lead to an entire re-dissection of the film, which you can read here.

2 – The Abuse of Danny Torrance

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Speaking of origins, it occurs to me (and probably millions of other people), that Danny created(?) Tony when he was two years old, after getting his arm broken by Jack. And “Tony” looks a bit like “two” and “Danny” mashed together. Tony is Danny’s #2. Two is also the number for twins and horns, two major aspects of the film’s text and subtext. Here’s some other references to two in the film to ponder.

  • In their first encounter, Lloyd pours Jack two drinks, which he drinks.
  • “He came up here with his wife and 2 little girls…”
  • “He put both barrels of a shotgun in his mouth”
  • “You folks could stay up here a whole year and never have the same menu twice.”
  • “You called Danny ‘Doc’ twice just now.”
  • “It’s been known to give some people second thoughts about the job.”
  • “I’ll come back later on with a couple of sandwiches for you and…”
  • “I just happen to have two $20s and two $10s right here in my wallet!”
  • “Few extra pounds of energy per second per second.”
  • “I have a wife and eh 2 daughters, sir.”
  • The suite across from Suite 3 is Suite 2. It’s seen when Wendy’s bringing breakfast, when Jack returns from 237, and when Jack’s axing up the place.
  • There’s numerous paintings throughout the hotel featuring two birds together. Or sometimes there’s two paintings of one bird, or two paintings of a dog, or of a fox. Or of two Stoney Nakoda children. Or of two snowy cabins. In 237 there’s 4 paintings of 2 birds. In the hall where Wendy sees the Grady ghost, there’s two paintings featuring 2 canoes. In the one (Mist Fantasy) the canoes are empty, and in the other they have rowers. There’s 2 skiers on the Ski Broadmoor poster. There’s two ski instructors in the Steamboat promotional poster.
  • There’s a song on the soundtrack called De Natura Sonoris #2 (On the Nature of Sound #2)

The first time we see a 2-value is in the first moment of the first shot of any F21 in the film (along with a 4- and 16-value), hanging above two older women chatting. And the 2-value photo is of two fancy ladies chatting at some 1920s-’50s gala affair.

The next time we see it, Ullman is saying “This old place has had an illustrious past.” While two workers are seen, one of which blocks the photo as the shot continues. This location is seen three more times: 1) as Wendy runs to wake nightmare Jack, 2) as lounge fight Wendy backs up the stairs, and 3) as defeated Jack tumbles down the stairs.

Also, this 2-value appears along with a 21-value, seen at the top of the stair. These add to 23, and 23 is the number of stairs going from where Wendy cracks Jack, to where Jack lands. The number of stairs down from Jack’s ruin to the main floor is 7, and as we’ll see later, a 7-value hangs on the other side of this stair.

The next 2 is a second later, on the southeast pillar, as Ullman is saying, “We’ve had four presidents who stayed here.” This 2 appears along with another 7, and in the collection north of there, on the other pillar, is another 7. So we’ve got twin 7s along with this 2. And two women are exiting behind the group (around Ullman’s shoulders here) right as the 2 becomes visible. Remember, the 2-value refers to Danny’s abuse, and Ullman’s final line here, “All the best people”, leads straight into the scene of Danny in the games room throwing darts, a scene which is all about the abuse of children.

As discussed, there’s two 2s here…and there might be that shadowy one in the lobby’s southeast stair. But let’s say it’s here, where it oversees Wendy bringing Jack breakfast, and Hallorann slow-walking to his doom.

It’s interesting that the two areas with 2s feature two 2s so close together. And the two (technically three) sequences of Wendy and Hallorann charting this course, feature the characters moving along the same path, though shot in fairly different styles of camera movement.

Also, we’ll see as we go on that there’s a 3-value and a 7-value that hang just below the lefthand (eastern) 2-value, and the scene immediately before this one of Wendy bringing breakfast was Hallorann hectoring Danny about staying out of 237. Just 12 seconds after his final “STAY OUT!” we see Wendy heading past this 2-3-7.

And it bears repeating that, whether the real 237-value of the lobby is completed when Jack approaches the kill spot, or at the moment of Dick’s axing (2:07:32 or 2:08:37), Dick is here passing this 2-3-7 again, either right before or right after the 237-value locks into its wholeness. It’s spooky to think he’s also passing the “hell” photo in this moment (upper right-most photo on the right/west side of the hall, here).

Also, this means that one of the two 2s is part of a 2-3-7/23-7 combo, though the 23-7 one takes a little more work to make work.


The fact that it was “3 goddamn years ago” that Jack broke Danny’s arm is the big thing here, but here’s a list of the film’s other references to threes.

  • “At least 3 people have been killed by exposure to freezing winds.”
  • “…he came home about 3 hours late, so he wasn’t exactly in the greatest mood that night…”
  • Grady spills 3 flutes of advocaat on Jack. The real Charles Grady murdered 3 people.
  • Jack references the 3 little pigs.
  • Wendy tells Danny to run 3 times.
  • It’s just before 3:00pm when Wendy runs to nightmare Jack. Which means that it’s probably exactly 3 when post-237 Danny enters.
  • Jack’s drive to the Overlook was about “3 and a half hours” to which Ullman replies “That’s very good time!”
  • Jack mocks “Go check it out!” about the dead snowcat 3 times.
  • They’ve been in Boulder 3 months. Also, they enter the Overlook on October 30th, and leave December 13th, so their Overlook experience spanned 3 months.
  • The Gold Room can “accommodate” up to 300 people “very comfortably”.
  • The Torrances live in Suite 3, which, in the book, was Hallorann’s quarters.
  • The meat locker Hallorann walks Danny and Wendy out of is labelled “C3”.
  • There’s 3 blazing fires in the film: 2 on the 2 THURSDAYs and 1 on SATURDAY. All 3 are very close together in the mirrorform.
  • There’s 3 sled dogs in the painting Trapper’s Camp.

The lounge 3-value first appears during the start of the tour, but I think the more interesting appearance is when Jack’s awakening from his murder dream. The photo looms over him the whole time he’s fretting and lamenting his fate of being a nightmare-haver, and a mind-loser. Also, there’s an 18-value (“hell”) on this same wall, to make a total of 21, the number for “Jack’s doom” or “frozen time”. So, it’s neat to think that Jack’s reaction to his murder dream might be a combination of his guilt over having abused his son so badly (3), and his fear of going to hell for it (18). But it’s extra interesting to consider the fact that what would make this dream so nauseating is the way that some part of him wanted to be doing what he was doing in the dream. He tells Wendy he didn’t just kill her and Danny, “chopped [them] up into little pieces”, and how could you go that far unless you were really focused on, really passionate about the act? He wants to be the frozen “21” Jack at the end. And it scares him.

The next 3 to be seen is on the same middle east-facing wall of the lobby, overlooking Wendy bringing breakfast, and Hallorann approaching doom.

And the final 3 to appear, sequentially, is this one over Jack’s head as he mounts the stairs to sneak into the lobby for the kill shot. The other F21s that accompany it here, 5 and 14, make a total of 22, which is close enough to 21 to make me wonder if that’s the point. Jack’s no longer afraid of his doom, or he’s being blocked from experiencing the 21-ness of this moment. But honestly, it’s probably only 22 in order to help all the other math bits work out to their totals.

As for the photo itself, note the way it resembles the one right below it (“work”), with a square painting hanging over a dining table in some sort of library, seen diagonally by the photographer. Jack’s real “work” at the Overlook is to be an abusive monster.

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There’s a lot we could say for this one, since it overlooks photo Jack’s photo, and since it presides over the entire interview (and is the only F21 photo in Ullman’s office), but I think we can simply surmise that it’s…about something like a divine body regarding the goings on in its connected scenes.

Other references to 4s in the film (beyond the Four Directions/Beatles kinds of things) include:

  • “We had 4 presidents who stayed here.”
  • “I was afraid they were gonna be there till next April!” Jack describing the two $20s and two $10s he’s got in his wallet. And April is the 4th month of the year.
  • “4pm”: the placard we see before a condemning, judgey Grady shows up. Also, at 27 minutes long, the section of film following this placard is the longest in the film. Meaning that, in mirrorform terms, it overlays with the first half of the first half of the film. So, out of 70:45 of mirrorform minutes, 27 are showing the post-“4pm” action, meaning that the entire INTERVIEW section (with all its many 4-value photo appearances) mirrors over “4pm”. That all said, the first time we see a clock in this section, it’s Wendy’s wristwatch, showing 5:10pm. And the action of this section begins only 7 screen minutes before that moment. So, we don’t actually know for sure that any of the action occurs within the 4pm time frame. It’s possible Jack was woken by Grady at 5:00, they talk for 3 minutes, and while Tony/Danny does the REDRUM sequence, Jack is being given the axe, and he’s crossing the hotel on a direct familicide mission. I mention this because, as we’ll see later, the section marked “8am” only features one shot that might be within that hour.
  • Number of times Hallorann says “Anybody here?” before getting axed.
  • We see Danny’s scream face and the bloodfall 4 times. The scream face is seen once in a vision and four times in reality, while the bloodfall is seen in three visions and once in reality. You might point out that the first bloodfall vision is broken up by two other visions, which would mean we see the bloodfall in six shots total, but that first vision shows the blood have progressed at the speed you would expect as though it were occurring concurrently to the other visions, so, I don’t know. But since 6 equals “good magic” there’s a case to be made that the bloodfall, and Tony’s forewarnings of it are technically a good thing. Actually, hey! There’s 1 real bloodfall and 5 shots of visions of it. If 1 equals “origins” and 5 equals “murder”, how perfect is that for my Pillars of Hercules theory? That whole theory is specifically about the origins of murder. Culturally, historically, and geographically. The bloodfall is the origins of murder. Click that last link if you wanna know what the hell I’m talking about.
  • Dick’s flight from Miami would be 4 hours and 20 minutes, which means he caught the 4am flight (the flight attendant says they’re due to arrive “at 8:20”).
  • TUESDAY in the film takes place on the 4th of December (Wendy watches news in the kitchen, Danny gets his 3rd lesson outside 237, Jack freaks out about being interrupted).
  • The Torrances live at the hotel for either 44 or 45 days, depending on how you count time. Their time alone there starts on October 30th (CLOSING DAY), and Jack dies after Wendy and Danny flee in the early evening of December 13th. Jack’s death would be around 6pm, and Ullman tells us how “by 5 o’clock tonight, you’ll never know anybody was ever here”. So, if we imagine that the Torrances living there only starts after the hotel’s shut down, then it’s almost 44 days-worth of time exactly.

So, beyond (almost) every shot of Jack in the interview, the 4-value appears in the first shot of the film, along with a 2 and a 16. So I guess this means Jack was being judged the moment he stepped through the door.

I should mention that this spot on this wall is seen many other times in the film, perhaps most interestingly in the moment when Jack notices the ghost ball. In the first moment of this shot, the 4 and 16 are hidden by a pillar, meaning that the visible total between the two wall portions in that moment add up to 37, a spooky number. But as he moves toward the ghost ball, the 4 and 16 appear thanks to the motion, and the 2 disappears, making a much less alarming total of 20 on the left and 35 on the right, for a combined 55. Actually, we’ll see later on in a section I call There’s No Place Like Home, how this 20-35 might be something like the 20-34 combo that holds a very special place in Jack’s heart.

Another cool bit: the other thing this forward motion reveals is the painting of Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, which resembles the opening shot of the movie, but also contains a reference to a Samson Peak. So, on the one hand “heaven” is appearing in tandem with “Samson”, and the view of Samson looks a lot like our first look at this movie. So perhaps the allure of “heaven” is the allure of “going back to the beginning”. And if you recall that the wall ahead of Jack here is the one where that “hell” photo appears mid-movie, this is the first shot that it’s seen in, behind the glass door. So there’s a heaven/hell thing going on. Is the ghost ball heaven? Or is it hell?

A similar trick is pulled when Wendy sees Hallorann’s corpse. In the first shot of him, we only see the “hell” photo ahead of Wendy. Then we see Wendy’s horrified reaction. Then we cut back to this shot which gives us just a sliver of “heaven”, and half-cut “hell”. Since Hallorann’s corpse will have vanished by the next shot, I like to think of this as a comment on the uncertainty of Dick’s fate. Like, I think the hotel definitely absorbed his physical form into its essence, but perhaps his force ghost got to go some place else.

The other places we see a 4 include during Danny’s first shot inside the hotel, as he’s withdrawing his darts in the games room, before seeing two dead girls…

Danny’s score with these darts is 16, or 4 x 4.

…and very obscurely in his first shot after CLOSING DAY. I like this detail because what it means is that, even though Wendy’s first shot inside the hotel technically doesn’t include this eye of judgment in the shot…

…it would be staring directly at her from behind where the camera sits here. And remember, in just a moment she’ll exclaim, “My…god!”

As for the photo itself, it features partiers sitting at circular tables in a large dining hall, not unlike the scene during the ghost ball. True of the “hell” photo too, so probably these combination shots of “heaven”/”hell” are meant to draw our attention to exactly that. For some people the ghost ball would be heaven, and for some it would be hell.

Actually, notice how the “hell” photo almost looks like a zoomed-out “heaven” photo. The close-up on the table is now from further back and higher up. Then notice how the “Jack As Thrall” (11) photo looks like the “hell” photo, but higher and minus the tables. Maybe this is a comment on how Jack is beyond heaven and hell. Those are places where, by all accounts, time keeps moving and events keep occurring. Jack is not in such a place. Jack is frozen forever in inconsequential stillness. Almost lost in the crowd, like tears in rain.

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I’m not sure, truly, which of these I like better for this–I think they might even be synonymous. The big invocation the film does to 5s is when Wendy tells the doctor Jack “hasn’t had any alcohol in, eh, 5 months!” And when Jack tells Lloyd, “Here’s to 5 miserable months on the wagon, and all the irreparable harm that it’s caused me.”

These 5s have always stood out to me (one of the few puzzles I pondered over in my pre-Room 237 days), and I chalked them up to being one of the film’s many time warp phenomena. Wendy meets the doctor in late September (we know this because of a newspaper in Boulder), and Jack meets Lloyd the evening of December 12th, so there’s been almost three months worth of days between these statements. So, either Jack had a drink in July that Wendy doesn’t know about, or…the film wants us to connect the idea of “5” to the idea of drinking. There’s also the moment during the interview when Jack says, “5 months of peace is just what I’m looking for” even though the job runs from October 30th-May 1st (6 months).

Here’s the other invocations of 5s:

  • The “KDK 1 calling KDK 12” lines are repeated five times before Jack pulls the heart out.
  • Number of times Hallorann says “Hello?” while creeping to his doom.
  • “By 5 o’clock tonight, you’ll never know anybody was ever here.”
  • The month of May is invoked twice, once by Ullman (“Our season here runs from May 15th to October 30th”) and once by Jack (“Has it ever occurred to you that I have agreed to look after the Overlook Hotel until May the 1st?!?”), and May is the fifth month. There’s also numerous shots of Marlboro cigarettes, which have the slogan “Mild As May”.
  • Dick says it’ll take “about 5 hours” to drive to Larry Durkin’s.
  • Wendy says (1:40:40) she’ll be back from fighting Jack in “about 5 minutes” (and in exactly 5 minutes of screen time (1:45:40) Danny is tripping out, and sees the REDRUM door).
  • 5:10pm-5:25pm = the time between Jack’s first axe blows on Suite 3 and Jack killing Hallorann. I know 15 minutes isn’t 5 minutes, but it’s in the 5 o’clock period that Jack does all his axing around, is my point.
  • The suite next to Suite 3 is Suite 5.

So, the first time a 5-value appears is as Jack’s crossing the lobby in his first scene (while the Come Out, Come Out cast are still on screen, with their murderous/alcoholic subtext), and it appears again when Wendy moves between radio rooms (which she does after Jack’s first big blow-up), but my favourite appearance is the last one. Wendy is seeing the skeleton ball, which is littered with wine glasses and champagne bottles. Also, Hallorann’s murdered body has been absorbed by the hotel. And don’t forget that the other F21s here add up to 37, a rather devious number.

Also, if you haven’t read my Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse analysis, I think Wendy’s four flights through the hotel at the end can be attributed to the four horsemen, and I think the skeleton ball is about famine. And famine of alcohol is what leads Jack to murder.

The second and fifth appearances of the 5-value are on the west pillars in the lounge, but these are part of a very complex little bit of business which we’ll come to somewhere after this section.

The third appearance is as the only F21 photo Danny (visibly) passes during his third lesson. And as you can see, it’s only ever seen quite obscurely. Since Danny’s about to stop next to 237–the room that will contain events that will summon Dick to his doom–having Danny only pass 5 here feels apt.

Also, the scene following this one is Jack blowing up at Wendy about her interrupting his writing. So a 5 comes both right before and right after that sequence.

Finally, 5 is one of the three that Jack passes under on his way to do the deed.

As for the picture itself, it features a bunch of people shaking hands off the back of a streetcar, or train, or maybe the upper balcony of a yacht. It’s hard to say. But if it is some kind of “wagon”, it might symbolize Jack having fallen off his. And the handshake feels like a reference to Jack accepting the role of professional Dick Killer.

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This was one of the hardest to say for sure. There’s not a lot of overt 6s in the film visually or aurally, but here’s some things I noticed:

  • There’s no 6s in the script, except for when the newscaster Wendy’s watching in the kitchen references a “1968 shooting”, which is fairly vague.
  • And if you’ve read my section analyzing the art in the film, you know there’s a fair number of references to 1969 (including Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater), and of course Abbey Road came out in 1969. In fact, 19 confirmed art pieces in the film, including four of the songs on the soundtrack, came out in the 1960s.
  • Danny’s arm would’ve been broken in 1976.
  • The shortest day in the film, THURSDAY, lasts 51 seconds, and takes place on December 6th (during which we see Danny and Wendy play in a blizzard while Jack stares creepily out the window…with a 6-value photo behind him…hmm…).
  • There’s 6 stacks of 7up crates in three moments of the film, and 6×7 = 42, our magic number. Also, 4 + 2 = 6.
  • There’s also 76 women and 67 men in the final photo Jack photo (totalling 143, the film’s length in minutes). This is similar to how there’s 67 heartbeat sounds and 76 heartbeat sounds during the parts where Wendy’s plotting her escape and Jack’s killing the radio, and Hallorann comes to the rescue. That’s a whole bunch of 6x7s.
  • There’s also a few scenes that take place around the 6:00 hour. We’ll cover all the clock hands moments later on, but I’ll just note here that the entire lounge fight and locking away of Jack in the pantry takes place between 6:30am and 6:55am. And it’s 6:10pm when Danny meets the twins for the last time. It’s 6:35pm when Wendy reports about the “crazy woman” in one of the rooms, which means Jack’s whole first Lloyd talk happens in this hour. The news report Wendy’s hearing while making dinner was the 6 o’clock news, on KRMA Channel 6, and that scene leads into the one of Danny triking to room 237, which might imply these moments were close together.
  • It’s not definite, but Wendy and Danny may escape the hotel around 6:00pm. Hallorann is killed at 5:25pm. It’s about 10 screen minutes from there to the moment Wendy and Danny are driving away. But the action involves Dan and Jack running from the lobby over to the 2nd entrance, then running all the way in and out of the maze. Wendy’s last four moves within the hotel that we see are relatively scattered including two places we’ve never seen before, so her journey could take almost any amount of time. In any case, their escape is closer to 6 than 5.
  • The film is made up of 664 or 666 shots, depending on how you count darknesses. If we think of it as 666, while I realize that’s a sinister number in certain mythologies, here it might be an indication of Kubrick’s desire to “trap” these evil spirits within the “labyrinth” of this great masterpiece.

The 6 and 7 value photos are also rather similar in terms of their content: a tuxedoed, sharply featured young man sits at a round white table with a woman wearing a spaghetti-strap dress, while someone all in white (with black bars on their shoulder pads?) walks behind them. So I don’t think I’m imagining the connection here. This might be the same group at the same resort/club/wherever.

So my sense that 6s are good and 7s are bad comes mainly from how often we see 7s in connection with bad things, like room 237. How infrequently we see 6s, and yet how frequently they turn up in the subtler elements of the film (shot count, soundtrack, the time of day). It’s almost like the 6s are being suppressed by all the bad magic. Or it’s as if they’re being broken up into these 42s (and symbolic 42s, like the 143s and 67/76s).

Anywho, the 6-value is among the least-seen photos, appearing three times in the southwest stair of the lounge.

And four times on the east side of the north wall. In the below shot, we get the only shot in the film of all five F21 photos on the lounge’s north wall at once. The two on the left make 33, and the three on the right make 37, which looks like half of a 23333337. But also, 33 + 37 makes 70, the year Grady killed his family. So while there might be an argument for the 6-value’s goodness, it seems to take part in a fair bit of insidiousness. But don’t all the photos?

Also, the music in this scene is the third and final performance of Lontano, which first appeared over the twins in the games room, but then over Hallorann’s offer of “eye scream” in the pantry, so I tend to think of it as the “shining” song. That first shine was probably a bad shine, but Hallorann’s shine was a good shine. So I wonder how Jack’s being shined in this sequence. Is Danny shining him to come play outside? Or is the 3337 shining him to come upstairs a while…? Perhaps he’s a little stuck between these shines.

7 – Bad Magic

The most major invocation of a 7 is in the name “room 237”, without a doubt. But I think it’s pretty major that the hotel was built in 1907, the Grady murders happened in 1970, and the Torrance murder happens in 1979.

  • There’s 7 mirrors inside 237.
  • The Dopey sticker on Danny’s door invokes the 7 dwarves (and a vision of the hotel from Tony (might be what) causes it to vanish).
  • There’s artworks by the Group of Seven in the lobby (at least 7 paintings, but I suspect an 8th of being by Franklin Carmichael), bloodfall hallway (at least 3 of the lobby ones repeat here), and possibly the twinhall (the piece beside the twins resembles AY Jackson’s work strongly).
  • There’s also two Copper Thunderbird paintings located in Susie’s office, one of which repeats in the 2nd entrance. Thunderbird was a member of the Indian Group of Seven.
  • There’s a profundity of references to Julius Caesar, for whom the 7th month of July is named. Also, photo Jack is trapped inside July of 1921.
  • The Jack Daniels Lloyd pours for Jack is labelled as a “No. 7”.
  • 7up bottles are seen in the kitchen, the lobby’s back hall, and even in the US Forest Service station.
  • Hallorann says “Seven kinds of what-have-you” right after his “eye scream” shine to Danny.

You probably remember how it helps make the 23-7 and 23-33-7 after Danny escapes 237…

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…so here’s where else it appears:

Along with a 13 on the northern west pillar, it adds to make a 20 in every shot of this view. In fact, I’ll tell you now that the sum for the southern pillar is 34. And 20:34 is the timecode for the first moment we see Jack step foot in the lounge. But there’s a depth for how cool this technique is that I don’t want to get into yet. That’ll be in the next section, if you want to skip ahead.

There’s two 7s on each of these pillars (for a total of three in the lounge entire–one on every pillar but the southwest pillar), and there’s also a 2-value here, as we’ve seen. So we could look at a 7 (northeast) and a 9 (southeast) as a reference to ’79, the year we’re in. Or we could could combine them all to get 16, which as you’ll see down the line has a connection to Abbey Road, and this is the first scene of the “Abbey Road Tour“.

A 7 hangs in the middle face of the east wall of the Gold Room access, beneath a 2 and a 3. This is passed by Wendy bringing breakfast and Hallorann bringing his shine power. I said it before, but I’ll say it again, Wendy’s first moment in the hotel, and Hallorann’s last both involve passing this 2-3-7.


8, 9, and 10 all have a kind of connection to the Gradys. Ullman describes the daughters as being “about 8 and 10”, and the murders happened 9 years ago.

(And just a note about it having been 9 years ago. I’ve seen it in too many academic analyses of the film not to point this out: everybody thinks the film is set in 1980, meaning the bulk of the action would be occurring 6 months after the film came out. I get the assumption, but only if you saw the film way after it came out. Like, how often do you assume the (non-sci-fi) movie you’re watching is set in the very near future?)

But 10 was already spoken for, and the girls who appear at the hotel are twins, and clearly not 8 and 10. So, if 10 has its connection to Jack’s true mission (killing Hallorann), I wondered if 8 was the symbol of Grady’s true mission: killing his daughters. Perhaps it was even the younger daughter especially that the hotel wanted. Maybe she shined brightest. So perhaps the “8 and 10” line is meant to suggest a bridge between the real Charles Grady and the real Jack Torrance. Also, 8 and 10 make 18, the hell number.

And in case you’re thinking (as I am), “Isn’t this all a little convenient?” Yes, I think it is. But that doesn’t mean the weave hasn’t been engineered this beautifully.

There aren’t too many other references to 8 in the film, but the ones that are there mostly refer to time:

  • “…Rutherford was serving a life sentence for his involvement in the the 1968 shooting…”
  • Watson tells Ullman their plane leaves at “8:30” right as they pass the spot where Hallorann gets axed.
  • The section of the film called “8am” is interesting. After it starts, Dick asks what time the plane will land in Colorado, and the flight attendant says “We’re due to arrive at 8:20.” We don’t know if it’s within the 8 o’clock hour when he asks this. And by the time he’s calling Larry Durkin, Larry’s clock tells us it’s around 9:07am. The following section, where Wendy and Jack fight, and Wendy locks Jack up, all takes place between 6:30am and 6:55am according to clocks and watches. So it’s possible that the only scene that takes place within the 8am timeframe that this section is named after is the shot of the plane landing. This leads to a short shot of Jack typing All Work papers in the lounge, but, again, due to the timing of the fight that leads to his lock-up, this would have to be sometime between sunrise and 6:30am. There’s also never a time in the film when a clock or watch is telling us it’s sometime between 8:00 and 8:59. So the section of “8am” is not about that time as much as it seems to be about making us think about that time (in spoken and written references), and if 8 symbolizes the “real” Gradys, perhaps the implication is that there’s an unreality about this whole section. We came looking for reality, but there weren’t no reality to be found.
  • The mirror moment for the shot of Dick’s plane landing is Jack saying, “I’m not…being grouchy…I just want to finish my work.” Followed by his semi-apologetic, sheepish grin here. So, if this shot is meant to be our “8am” shot it’s interesting that it mirrors with Jack referencing his “work”.
  • Also, it’s about 8.5 hours from the point that Hallorann makes his final distress call to when he’s landing at Stapleton (11:47pm-8:20am). And then it’s 8.25 hours from his call to Larry Durkin to his death at the hotel (9:07am-5:25pm).
  • Also, the film’s major action takes place over 84 days, going from September 23rd (the day I believe the interview happens on) to December 14th (the day we see Jack’s frozen corpse). There is the day of us seeing photo Jack, but that could never be determined, so I don’t count it.

The first appearance of an 8-value is interesting because shortly after it appears one of the female hotel workers blocks it, while Jack inquires about Ullman. What’s extra neat about this moment is that the male worker she’s consorting with has a 9-value in plain view right behind his head. So the male worker has a “Grady murder” photo behind him, while the woman has a “Real Gradys” photo behind her.

(Also, this is one of my favourite moments from the Redrum Road analysis at the bottom of this page. At the end of Carry That Weight (Round 3), right at this moment we’re hearing, “I never give you my pillow/I only give you my situation”, and that 9-value photo looks like a pillow behind the male worker’s head. And, after the first shot of Jack on the job at the hotel, where his head does have a pillow, we never see him sleeping on a pillow again. He sleeps at his writing desk, and on a bag of salt, but never on a pillow.)

And just note how the 8-value is of two fancy ladies boxed around by three men, with a black and white curtain cutting them apart vertically, and the 9-value features black and white cutting it horizontally. So perhaps the 8 is about the goodness of the murdered Grady women, and the 9 is about the heinous quality of their deaths.

As we see the next instance of an 8-value, two women (presumably hotel staff leaving for the year) start to carry their heavy luggage upstairs, in the direction of room 237. Why would they do this if they’re leaving? Like, even if they had to go up for some practical reason, why not come back down for their heavy luggage, or use the elevators?

Also, they do it in a really weird way, which I’ve tried to capture in this moment: the second woman climbs the first flight of five steps as if she means to walk straight into the wall, veering at the last second in a way that hides her face from appearing as she turns. So my theory is that these women are meant to symbolize the real girls who would be in the prime of their lives if indeed they’d lived (they’d be 17 and 19), but who are instead ascending toward room 237, as per the hotel’s dark will.

And I’ll just point out here, while we’re on the subject, that the combined ages of these girls would be 36 years, right? If they’d lived? 17 + 19. Well, there’s two 18-value, “hell” photos in this shot. One on the pillar and one in the far stairwell. So, them heading toward 237 might be exactly the point. These girls are in hell.

This theory is advanced by the fact that, as Wendy crosses the lounge for the fight, a second 8-value is revealed at the top of the stairs. So there’s two 8-values on the way to 237. And remember, Danny gets his third vision of the Grady twins by touching the doorknob of 237, right after triking past both the lower (Lesson 1) and upper (Lesson 3) 8-values. And Ullman says that Charles Grady “stacked [his family’s bodies] neatly in one of the rooms of the west wing” before blowing his brains out. Now, my feeling is that the lounge would be in the east wing, but there’s never a solid indication. It’s possible this is meant to be the west wing, or it’s possible that Grady took his hacked up family to 237 just for the hell of it.

The 8 is seen a bunch during the finale, but I especially like how it appears alongside a 10 (“work”) and a 17 (“twinship”) as Jack moves from killing Hallorann to trying to kill Danny.

In fact, with 13 sightings in the film, 8 is among the most-seen of any F21 photo, next to 2 “Danny’s Abuse” (13 sightings), 9 “The Grady Murders” (14 sightings), 17 “Twinship” (16 sightings) and 18 “Hell” (20 sightings). So, of the five most-seen F21 photos, four have a direct connection to twins. That’s apt.


We’ve kind of covered this, but here’s some other 9s:

  • Tony/Danny says “REDRUM!” 9 times, the first time, from his bedroom in Suite 3.
  • Ullman says Jack’s name 9 times throughout their time together.
  • There’s a few ladders seen throughout the hotel with 9 rungs (actually, this turned out to be part of a cool thing we’ll come back to later), one of which is seen in the spot where Hallorann dies, and one of which is seen behind Hallorann in the kitchen.
  • It’s 9:07am when Dick calls Larry Durkin.
  • It seems to be 9:05am when the Abbey Road Tour starts.
  • It’s around 9:20pm when Jack returns from room 237.
  • Calling about getting the job, Jack says, “Couldn’t get home before 9 or 10.”
  • The suite up the hall from Suite 3 is Suite 9 (seen best behind Ullman during the tour).

We’ve seen how it appeared behind the male attendant’s head in the lobby, and it’ll appear there in every other shot of this wall (a total of nine times, in fact), except for in the final 42, where skeleton ball Wendy is blocking it with her shocked scream face. Actually, I just checked all the other walls and appearances of photos–this is the most appearances by a single photo in a single area.

Since it is the most frequent flyer of the film, let’s consider the scenarios.

  • 1) Jack arriving for the interview
  • 2) Wendy bringing breakfast
  • 3) Wendy moving between radios
  • 4) Jack approaching the ghost ball
  • 5) Jack approaching to kill Hallorann
  • 6) Hallorann approaching his doom
  • 7) Wendy seeing Hallorann’s corpse
  • 8) Wendy seeing Hallorann’s corpse again
  • 9) Wendy approaching the skeleton ball

Of the two that seem least connected to Hallorann’s murder–Wendy’s two first scenes–both involve Wendy charting a course that someone charts during the Hallorann murder. Her bringing breakfast charts the same course as Hallorann’s death march, and her move between radios charts the opposite course that Jack takes after killing Hallorann.

The other places 9 appears include the pillar that the “older twins” pass during the tour (as discussed in the last section).

The left wall behind Danny in the games room. Right before the twins appear to him.

And as a migrant to the north side of the western pillars when Wendy comes to fight Jack. I alluded to this before, I think (it’s toward the end of the intro), but basically every photo on this pillar now was on the west-facing part of the southern pillar at every shot of that pillar throughout the film, and there’s a real neat reason for this, which we’ll get to later.

As for the photo itself, it’s interesting that it and 5 are the two photos that visibly take place outdoors, and they’re the two that seem to be specifically about murder.

We might consider that 5 + 9 = 14, the only photo that refers to a specific area of the hotel’s innards: room 237. Could that have something to do with the fact that room 237 is full of paintings composed in a zoo? And that zoos are typically outdoor institutions?

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10 – WORK

Considering the significance of this concept, the 10 photo appears only sparingly. As for the number appearing in dialogue, the number has a few connections to the news.

  • Wendy hears about a Susan Robertson who’s been been missing in the mountains 10 days.
  • Glenn Rinker works for News Watch 10. And tells us how “In Colorado 10 inches of snow has fallen in just a few hours tonight.”
  • Jack’s work starts in the 10th month, which Ullman also mentions during the interview. Coincidentally(?), the 10th month contains a reference to 8s by being called “Octo”ber. In fact, October used to be the 8th month, before the advent of January and February pushed it to the 10th month. So perhaps this is why the Grady girls are 8 and 10, and not 9 and 7 or 9 and 11.
  • MONDAY takes place on December 10th (Danny and Wendy watch Summer of ’42, followed by the zombie Jack/Danny bedroom face-off).
  • During his meat locker tour, Dick mentions having “…thirty 10-pound bags of hamburger…”
  • Jack tells Lloyd he’s got “two 20s and two 10s” right there in his wallet (but in fact he doesn’t have them).
  • The Abbey Road Tour ends at 10:54am according to the lobby back hall clock, then Wendy hears “REDRUM!” for the first time at 10:15pm, and the first moment of Jack’s axe slamming into Suite 3 is 5:10pm.

The photo itself, which resembles the 3-value, remember, features two men having a stare-down across a wide table, while five people sit lengthwise, looking morose. A spooky painting of a bay of islands (that looks a bit like a spooky face) watches over the proceedings.

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The first appearance of the piece is only after the Torrances are alone in the hotel (it’s obscured by a curtain when Jack comes for the interview), in the shot of Wendy bringing breakfast. But it’s quite tucked away, this photo, so it only appears again here as Jack’s approaching for the kill, and after the kill, coming for Danny.

The other place we see it is as part of the mystical westside “23”.

This spot is seen:

  • At the beginning of Danny’s 1st lesson
  • (Here) During Jack’s SATURDAY morning typing
  • After his THURSDAY of staring out the window, (which comes fast on the heels of his TUESDAY explosion about his work being interrupted)
  • As Danny creeps in after his 237 experience

Jack will later tell Wendy that it’s so “fucking typical” of her to want to screw up his life right when he “has a chance to accomplish something”, when “I’m really into my work!” And here we see him being really into his work.


This photo appears nowhere else, and contains a ghostly Jack Torrance. It contains 67 men (including Jack), and 76 women, for a total of 143, the number of minutes in the film. 143 also happens to be divisible by 11 (11 x 13).

There’s also a passage in the film that runs from 1:31:56-1:36:34 where there’s a heartbeat sound on the soundtrack, which beats for 143 beats. The first 67 go from Wendy plotting her escape to Wendy realizing that Danny has vanished into Tony for real. And the latter 76 go from Jack killing the radio to the start of Hallorann’s rescue mission. But the last of the former beats happens right as the new section is starting, so we might think of these as 66 and 77–6 x 11, and 7 x11. And if 6 means good magic, then maybe these heartbeats were about Tony’s shine power trying to protect him and Wendy, and the latter 77 were about killing the radio and summoning Hallorann to his doom.

The mirrorform action for these sections is that during the “good magic” section, Wendy gets through to the forest service and Danny rides the first part of his last lesson (the heartbeats stop right as the shot cuts to him riding into the Grady twins), and during the “bad magic” section, Jack is freaking out about being interrupted, which flows into the scene of him staring out the window while Wendy and Danny play outside, and ending on the scene of the first radio Wendy tries not working. (And in case you’re not a total Shining expert, this means that the beats end the second we hear the last of Redrum Road Round 2, which means that they end right near the 1/3 and 2/3 marks of the film. This means, oddly, that the “good magic” beats happen during the middle third of the film (where Jack meets a bunch of ghosts, and father and son enter 237, among other sinister affairs), while the “bad magic” beats happen during the first and third third of the film (which include most of Danny’s Lessons and Escapes, for instance).)

The most obvious visual 11 is the Apollo 11 shirt that Danny gets abused in, or you might argue that the Grady twins are like a visual 11. But there’s a few other rather subtle 11s throughout.

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  • We hear Jack’s tennis ball boom 11 times in the lounge.
  • There’s 11 miniature figures around the model maze in the lounge.
  • The movie takes place across 10 identifiable days (THE INTERVIEW, CLOSING DAY, A MONTH LATER, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY, MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, the final Thursday, and Frozen Jack day (Friday?)), and 1 unidentifiable day (photo Jack day).
  • There’s 11 loons in the painting Flock of Loons, which appears in Susie’s office and the 2nd entrance.
  • It’s 11am (or possibly 11:55am) when Danny’s in the games room (meeting the twins). Then, much later, it’s 10:54am, at the end of Ullman’s tour of the hotel. It’s “around 11:30” when Wendy wakes Jack the day she brings him breakfast in bed, and since we see the scene of Danny’s 1st lesson between the two sequences of Wendy bringing breakfast, it’s fair to assume that’s taking place within the same hour. It’s 11:40am when Wendy gets through to the US Forest Service, which we see on a large clock in their office (a scene that comes right before Danny’s last encounter with the twins, during his fourth and final lesson). Wendy’s watch points to the “11” and “3” when she wakes Jack from his murder nightmare (which is while Danny’s entering 237 with his Apollo 11 sweater). It’s 11:46pm when Jack kills the radio (the first of his two electronic murders). And it’s 6:55am (hands pointing to 7 and 11) when Wendy has locked Jack in the pantry, and is about to go see the dead snowcat (the second of his electronic murders). So, Jack’s murders, the twins, and the lessons all seem to have 11 connections, timewise.
  • The “All” and “dull” phrases in “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” look like they contain 11s in the two “ll” shapes. And there’s around 535 repetitions of that phrase (that would actually equal 11770-worth of 11s–535 x 11 x 2).
  • As Tony/Danny coos his “Redrum” sounds throughout his final scene, he does so in bursts of 11. The first set take him to the nightstand where he picks up the large knife and tests its sharpness his thumb. The second set take him to the makeup stand for the lipstick, and then all the way to him reaching the door. There’s a noticeable gap here, that lasts for a few seconds. He then does 10 more redrums while drawing the 11th. And his final 11 are at an increasing pitch, that rises throughout 5, and reach peak-shriek for the final 6. And incidentally, that makes 44 redrums, and as we discussed in the section on the 4-value photo, the Torrances only last 44 days alone at the hotel. Since Jack is seen most often beside the 4-value, and inside the 11-value, it makes sense that his stay at the Overlook would be 11 x 4.
  • And there’s every scene in the lounge, where the gallery slats shining down on people have the appearance of toothy 11s dangling like knives. They’re their most pronounced in the shot below, as Wendy sees the All Work papers for the first time.

So I guess I see 11 as both the “Jack was always our boy” number and as the “Grady Twins” number. The Pillars of Hercules number. When we see them or hear them, we’re meant to feel the doom of Jack’s entwining with this mystical place.

Kubrick also stated in an interview that all the figures closest to Jack in the second last shot of the film were “archetypes” of the way people looked in the ’20s. Others have noted that several of the figures resemble famous figures of politics and science, and perhaps that’s what they were meant to do, but I prefer to be sure, and as far as I can tell, these are not the actual human beings that others have claimed. At best they’re lookalikes. But even that would play well with this notion of twins.

12 – PLAY

As discussed, I think of this as “play” since it’s opposite “work” and since it only appears in the lobby and games room.

Other notable 12s:

  • The hotel’s radio call number is “12” in the KDK12 repeats. A hotel is a place for play and relaxation, so I feel like that follows.
  • A poster hangs between the Grady twins in the games room depicting the 1912 Denver flood.
  • There’s 12 members in the hotel’s ghost band during the ghost ball.
  • 12 is the number of blows it takes for Jack to take down the bathroom door.
  • 12 is the number of times we know Jack threw the tennis ball in the lounge (we hear 11, but we see an extra, silent one during a crossfade)
  • Hallorann says this number twice in the deep freeze: “12 turkeys” and “two dozen pork roasts”; and then twice in the pantry, “a dozen jugs of black molasses” and “thirty 12-pound bags of sugar”.
  • In the song Masquerade, which plays as Jack approaches the ghost ball, there’s a line that’s heard in the lyrics right as the song cuts out that goes, “12 o’clock is chiming on the clock–“
  • The song Midnight, the Stars and You, which plays as Jack enters the ghost ball, and again as we zoom in on the Final 21 photos, is, of course, all about midnight. So it’s interesting that the last thing we heard before the first time we heard this song (Masquerade) was a reference to midnight.
  • Room 237 is made up of 3 numbers that make 12 when added. A room for play…
  • The part of the film called WEDNESDAY takes place on December 12th, and starts with a close up of Danny playing with toys before another toy rolls up. This day also deals with Jack’s nightmare, Wendy’s accusation, Jack meeting Lloyd, Jack meeting 237 ghost, Danny seeing REDRUM, Jack and Wendy disintegrating, the Ghost Ball, Hallorann calling for help, Jack meeting Lloyd again and Grady, Tony taking over Danny, Jack killing radio, and Hallorann deciding to come to the rescue. So, this day involves Jack reaching out for the “play” he was after (alcohol and sex).

As for the photo itself, it’s one of, I would say, five that are visibly taking place in large banquet halls: the others being 4 (“heaven”), 11 (“Jack’s enslavement”), 18 (“hell”), and 19 (“time”).

The games room ones probably don’t require much explanation, though it’s neat that they’re right across from each other in this room, in the third column of both photo walls, one at the top, one at the bottom. Could this be a way to suggest Danny’s “heaven” status, and the twins’ “hell” status? Oh, I also learned recently that you’re meant to stand exactly 2.37 metres from a dart board (at the oche line). And 2 + 3 + 7 equals 12.

Come play with us, Dick. Come play with us.


So, I came up with this one after noticing that the 13-value and the 16-value are the two photos that feature four men alone, with some interesting dynamic between them, visually. In the 13-value, the four men are having two 1-on-1 conversations, with a black and a white curtain dividing them perfectly. And in the 16-value, the four men are three wearing grey suits and black hats, and one wearing a black suit and a grey hat (and is it just me, or do those guys look like the rat pack?). And 13 is how many tracks Sgt. Pepper has, and 16 is how many tracks Abbey Road has (not counting the secret track). And if this isn’t your first stop on my site, you know about the film’s connection to those albums.

So I’d guess the two 1-on-1 Beatles reflect when the group was in the height of its harmony, and the 3-on-1 Beatles reflect when they were most out of balance as a band. I don’t think it’s a comment on the quality of the respective albums–I mean, Sgt. Pepper is linked to Danny’s self-saviourdom, and Abbey Road is linked to Jack’s genesis with the hotel, but Abbey Road can be played over this movie, and it makes it about 10x as fun, for my money.

Other appearances of 13:

  • On Jack’s first day of work, a woman walks through in a hockey jersey, and there’s a number on it that might either be 13 or 43. Her bag covers the first digit. I like to think it’s 43, since Tony/Danny just finished saying his 43 redrums (while writing a 44th) on the other side of the movie. But 13 would be apt here too, if it is a Beatles reference. The Abbey Road Tour is just about to start.
  • In his dart game, Danny’s two stray throws land near the 3 and 10 point wiry bits (while his third dart hits the 16 point section).
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  • Ullman tells us that the walls of the hedge maze are “13 feet high”, and that’s where Danny will enact his Sgt. Pepper lessons to defeat Jack. This is the only spoken “13” in the film, and it comes exactly 3:10 after the (possible) 13 jersey lady leaves the screen (20:08-23:18).
  • The sections of the film called 8am and 4pm take place on December 13th (Hallorann’s rescue mission, Wendy fights and imprisons Jack, Jack is released by Grady, REDRUM, Jack assaults Suite 3, Hallorann interrupts and is murdered, Danny traps Jack in the maze, Wendy overcomes the hotel’s menace, mother and son escape and Jack dies).
  • In Redrum Road, almost the entire last performance of Abbey Road (minus the first 88 seconds and last 88 seconds exactly) takes place on the final Thursday 13th‘s forward action (which means it also dominates the first performance in its backward action).

The first time we lay eyes on a 13 is a twin-13 shot, just as Wendy’s saying “My god!” at the start of the Abbey Road Tour. The 13-value on the north side will not be there when Wendy comes back to fight Jack later, though, and the west side will be too dark to tell. In case you’re wondering, the 16-value only repeats in one location: in the lobby, in the hallway going to the Gold Room (which is never shown during the Abbey Road Tour).

Seems fitting that it would be in the games room. Just as 16 not appearing here seems fitting. Though, again, Danny almost hits a 3 and 10 score, and does hit the 16 score.

I should probably also mention here, that there’s an Olympics poster behind Danny that resembles one of the blue meanies from Yellow Submarine, which came out right before Abbey Road.

13 is the only F21 photo on the southernmost east-facing wall of the Gold Room path, making it the first picture we see after the hotel’s shut down. Although there is a 16 in the same sort of position on the opposite wall in this first shot. So maybe it’s not all fun and games.

That said, I think it’s neat that we had a 13 in both Abbey Road Tour scenes that have F21 photos (there’s photos in the Gold Room, but they’re portrait style), and then it’s here at the start of the post-closing-day life (this is the first shot of Wendy in her post-Tour existence). And it’ll be on the first wall Danny sees in his first lesson.

As seen right here. As the other half of that magic “23” that might sit apart from the other 237-worth of western photos. If so, that 23 is made up of “work” and “Sgt. Pepper”. And Danny’s Lessons and Escapes are all about the work of Sgt. Pepper.

And as we discussed before, it’s part of the 23-7 effect that happens as Danny emerges from room 237. So it’s connected to the Abbey Road Tour, and to the start and end of Danny’s lessons. That’s almost so on-point my brain hurts. I mean, think about it. The lesson key/escape key has that connection to the Sgt. Pepper album cover, and the photo that could be symbolic of the album bookends the sequence. And in it’s final moment connected to Danny, it becomes part of a 23-7 combo. It’s embedded in a 23-7. You see what I’m saying? Sgt. Pepper (13)…is embedded in 23-7. Just like the lesson key itself is embedded in the room of room 237.

The fact that this stuff is almost knocking me off my seat in amazement after 18 months is really blowing my mind, I have to say. I mean, like, I’m totally sick of this project. Like, you have no idea. And even given how utterly spent I am, I’m still transfixed by Kubrick’s depths.

14 – ROOM 237

We could almost think of 13 and 14 as “good play” and “bad play”. Just as 6 and 7 were “good magic” and “bad magic”.

It does seem a little odd that there would be three 13s, three “good play” photos in the lounge, which has so much nasty mojo swirling around in it. But I think it’s a testament to Kubrick’s ability to weave together so many snakes eating so many of each other’s tails.

The only 14 I wrote down in my major analysis of the film’s numbers is that 14 extras walk by during the tour of the Colorado lounge (out of a total 84 during the Abbey Road Tour entirely).

Why I associate it to the evil room is because 14 is what you add to 23 to make 37. And as we discovered in our study on 237s in the film, 23s and 37s are everywhere. But there’s also the fact that the hotel was supposedly built in 1907 which was 14 years before the year Jack transports back to in the evil 11th photo, 1921. And in King’s novel, there’s 14 pages between when Danny enters 217 (pg. 216), and when he emerges from the room (pg. 232): 217-231. Pages which happen to be opposite one another in the mirrorform study of the book.

The other major 14 to talk about, though, is that Jack’s frozen corpse is probably being seen on the morning of December 14th, 1979. And the last time he made this face was on the 12th: “play” day. Does that mean that “playing” in “room 237” is what ultimately gets Jack killed?

And as for the photo, I think it’s interesting that this one contains a woman wearing a witch’s hat (at a Halloween party?), seeming to huddle with her girlfriend and two boyfriends at this event. As far as I can tell, this is the only overt instance of any kind of national holiday sort of day in any of the photos, besides the imposed Independence Day of Jack’s photo, or the New Year’s being celebrated on the cover of the Playgirl. Also, the Tour (CLOSING DAY) happens on October 30th, the day before Halloween.

In my Snow White analysis, I suggest that the 237 ghost is meant as a symbolic stand-in for the witch that renders Snow lifeless. So this witch could be confirming that.

Its first appearance is while Jack hurls the ball into the wall with 237 behind it. And we do get the sense that Jack is engaged in “bad play” here, since we feel that he should be harnessing this unique opportunity to complete his masterpiece.

In its second appearance, only a sliver of it will appear by the head of the Jack staring out the window on THURSDAY, to complete the total 70-value-worth of F21s on these two walls. So, just as “the Beatles at their best” is couched inside 23-7, “room 237” is couched inside 70, the year of the Grady murders (along with “twinship”, “bad magic” “hell” and “identity”).

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The 14 is next to the red box around the 6 in this shot.

As Wendy runs to nightmare Jack’s side, and as Danny is escaping from 237, the 14-value creeps into plain view for the last time on this wall.

As Wendy creeps through here to fight Jack, the framing edits the 14 out.

And as Jack backs Wendy toward the physical room 237, her head sways widely as she back-steps, always blocking the photo from view. This means that only 23-points-worth of photos can be seen here (on either side of the tip of her bat), while a 14 makes 37. 23-37

Perhaps Wendy’s blocking of the photo foreshadows the fact that she will not be pushed to room 237. In fact, as she begins her ascent of the first 7 steps, we can see that there’s another combined 23-value along the 23 steps going up. And as Jack falls back down, we catch slivers of these 23 again. So I wonder if 23 and 37 aren’t as sinister as a complete 237.

The photo’s final appearance is either the last new F21 to be seen in the entire film, or the second last, depending on whether or not that darkness-clotted 2-value is or isn’t what I think it is. If this 14 is the last new F21, then we have the “room 237” photo completing the total 237-value of the lobby, and the 2368-value of the entire hotel. That would be quite apt. Also, right before this picture appears, we hear Hallorann’s first “Hello!” and right after it appears we hear his first “Anybody here?” This could be meant to echo Danny’s calls of “Mom? Mom, are you in there?” as he creeps into 237.


I put “identity” in the box, but only because I didn’t want to have words hanging over the edge of the box. Not that “identity” is the worst way of looking at 15, but I think the “identity” quality of this picture bleeds out from the “singularity” source. And I mean singularity in the “uniqueness” sense, not the Ray Kurzweil sense.

You’ll note that the picture bears a structural resemblance to the one for “work”, in which a long table is shot diagonally in a small room. You’ll also note that the shape of the white table in “work” is almost the exact same shape as the table in “twinship” takes on from being cropped by the surrounding sitters.

And I think this speaks to what makes Jack perform his real “work”: the work of killing Hallorann.

Jack Torrance cannot complete his masterpiece, because Jack Torrance the individual has nothing meaningful to say. This is not the case in the novel, of course (where Jack is trying to use his writing to purge the demons of his recent past), but movie Jack only starts to get “really into” his work once he finds the Overlook scrapbook, chronicling the hotel’s sordid history. So little effort was put into giving this book a context in the film that you can watch The Shining fifty times and never notice it. But this is essentially why Jack shakes off his writer’s block: the hotel fills him with a sense of something important to write about.

Jack doesn’t want to write a masterpiece because he wants the world to be a better, more interesting place, he wants to write a masterpiece because he wants people to see him as the big important legend in his field. In THE INTERVIEW, there’s almost never a sense that Jack won’t get this job, once Watson enters the room, Ullman announces that Jack’s got the job, and the only question, really, is whether Jack thinks he’s right for the job. And for all the information Jack offers up about himself to make himself seem more appealing, Ullman and Watson never express amazement or curiosity about any of it. The only thing that’s really said concerning Jack’s identity is a warning that he shouldn’t become like Charles Grady. And this of course leads to a scene where Jack is presented with a servant who reflects him in many ways, to Jack’s satisfaction (Lloyd), and then with a servant who first reflects him in ways that make Jack feel awful (Delbert Grady), then reflects him in ways that make Jack feel submissive. In a few short minutes Jack goes from regarding a man he never wanted to become like with pity and grandstanding superiority to feeling humbled and subservient to this man’s glorious self-confidence. A man so in charge of his identity, he’ll murder everyone around him, even his nearest and dearest, in the pursuit of his will being made manifest.

So, Jack becomes a Dick-killer in order to both attain his singularity as a good boy for the Overlook (where “all the best people” have stayed), and to attain his twinship with the glorious Delbert Grady. And with Lloyd, who was “always the best of them”.

The only other times the number is invoked in the film is when:

  • Ullman says the Overlook runs from May 15th to October 30th.
  • Hallorann says “15 rib roasts” (Hallorann gets axed in the ribs). Also, this statement is followed by him saying “thirty 10-pound bags of hamburger”, so that’s two instances in the film of a 15 followed by a 30 (a single and a double 15).
  • A 15 appears on the payphone Dick uses to call Durkin, seeming to indicate the terminal he’s in.
  • And when we see the 15-point billiard’s ball in the games room.

The bit about “May 15th” has always struck me as interesting since Jack later tells Wendy that he “signed a letter of agreement, a contract(!)” about looking after the hotel until “May the 1st!” Would the Torrance’s have left the hotel on the 1st? Or would they have stayed on to help out with operations until opening day, and then boogied mid-month? On CLOSING DAY we see that the hotel can be wrapped up in about a day, so why would it be different 6 months later? And why would it take 2 whole weeks to get everything back into place? Or is it just less hassle to have everyone come back on the 1st instead of mid-month? I think about things like this for some reason.

Anyway, perhaps all these connections to Dick/Danny, Ullman/Jack are about how there’s a good and a bad way to both be yourself, and see someone who makes you want to be like them.

The first time we see the picture is at the start of the Abbey Road Tour, along with the ascending Grady Twin Ladies. Also, we’ll talk about this in greater detail in a later section, but the only other easily visible F21 photo in the stairwell here is a 6-value, making this a 21-value wall for the moment. 21 being photo Jack’s year.

A 15 accompanies the smirking Grady twins.

While another one hangs almost directly across behind Danny (do two “identities” make a “twinship”?).

A 15 hangs closest to Jack’s writing table, while an 18 (“hell”) hangs not much further. On the far side, again we have a “room 237”, a “good magic”, and a “twinship” photo. It’s funny to think of these five factors adding up to 70, and what that then says about Grady’s descent into madness.

Anyway, this is the first of the 15’s appearances in this location, but it’ll be seen again when SATURDAY Jack is typing, when Wendy wakes nightmare Jack, when Danny enters after 237, when Wendy’s saying she can’t remember why she came to talk with a baseball bat in hand, and…

…most obscurely (and for the last time) in this shot of Jack saying one of my favourite lines in the film, “You’ve had your whole fucking life to think things over. What good’s a few minutes more gonna do you now?” The 15 vanishes offscreen on the word “think”, but I like how it gels with the first part of this concept, that our identity, our singularity is only every moment of our entire lives. In this horrifying reality we find ourselves in, we really can’t help being the individuals who we are. And, again, this is Jack’s big self-hatred. That, in all his time, all his potential greatness, he only managed to do a bunch of shitty horrible things to his loved ones that haunt him relentlessly. The hotel offers him a way out of this, and he takes it.

So it’s apt that the last we see of “identity” is the moment that Jack makes his threats on his wife’s life official. He’s officially embarking on his quest for the hotel to take him in its loving arms forever and ever. Casting off his former identity as a non-murderer. (You might also want to read my section on mirror phrases for an appreciation of how much twinning is going on in this scene. With that section in mind, it’s Jack’s “whole fucking life” line that kicks off Wendy’s retreat into her own repetitious phrases of “Stay away from me!” and “Don’t hurt me!” So, once “identity” has left the building, Wendy turns into her own kind of self-twinning machine.)

Also, it’s 15 minutes to the second (109:34-124:34) from the end of the lounge fight to the start of Hallorann’s rescue mission interrupting Jack’s assault on Suite 3. So, “a few minutes more” did Wendy a whole lot of good, it turns out.


I think I’ve covered this one by now. The only other 16 I noticed is that Danny is referred to as “Doc” 16 times, and he hits the 16 point mark of the dart board while his parents are engaged in the Abbey Road Tour.

This “Bad Beatles” photo is one of three never to be seen in the lounge, the others being “play” and “time”. And it’s the only photo (besides 11, technically) to only appear in the lobby. Perhaps this is a comment on Jack’s murder of Hallorann, and, if those two are meant to reflect Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, how the rage that might’ve existed between those people at that time verged on the homicidal.

And just as “room 237” is the last new photo to be seen, “Bad Beatles”, along with “Danny’s trauma” (2) and “heaven” (4) are the three photos that are the first to be seen, totalling 22 points. That last “room 237” (14), is seen on a wall with “abuser Jack” (3) and “murder” (5), also totalling 22 points.

This is the only place “Bad Beatles” ever appears, so its 8 appearances are all looking this way. These include, Wendy bringing breakfast, Wendy walking between radios, Jack approaching the ghost ball, killer Jack approaching Hallorann, Hallorann approaching his doom, Wendy seeing dead Hallorann the second time, and Wendy approaching the skeleton ball.

It might be odd that there’s so little to say about the photo that has that connection to the album which can be played over the film to such grand effect, but perhaps that’s exactly because you can do that, and because the effect is so otherwise grand.


There’s probably a real word for the state of being twins, but I like “twinship”. As for the photos, each 17-value appears in a scene where it’s shot very similarly to another scene that shoots the same spot, as we’ll soon see.

But also, 17 is what you get from adding 8 and 9, the two Grady photos. And the photo has a loose symmetry to it, with the two guys, two women, and the kerchiefs. And I pointed this out in the section on “work”, but just note again how much the shape of the table in “twinship” looks like the one above it in “work”. I love that, because they are shot at such different distances/angles.

And before we get into the nature of the photo in the film, just a note on this idea of twins. It’s hard to know if Kubrick deliberately chose photos that are hard to tell apart, but part of the hell of figuring out this final puzzle was in the way that so many of the roughly 100 photos he used to express this code look like one another when they’re blurry. So, in the case of the southernmost west-facing part of the lobby’s path to the Gold Room, note how the photo in the red box below looks like the 17-value photo when it’s blurry, but not when it’s not. When it’s not blurry, they really really look nothing alike. And scrutiny will reveal that they are not the same. But also note how the brown box below is the 17 value, and is never seen wholly or clearly in the entire film. This is actually the best, most verifiable view of this photo, so on the one hand, if you’d only done a fleet-footed analysis, you might’ve made this mistake, and you wouldn’t have ultimately been wrong that there’s a 17-value here. And on the other hand, if you went back and rechecked but didn’t look for this one frame when the 17 is visible, you might’ve written it off. This happened to me enough times to bring tears of confused frustration. Was that the point? To frustrate a potential pattern-seeker out of trying to crack the code?

And when you think about it, 100 photos (the rough number of unique landscape-style photos in the film) is not a lot of photos. So how hard would it be to find 21 image-twins for the F21 series, and to sprinkle those around. But yeah, it’s hard to know if this was on purpose, or just a consequence of this whole thing shaking out the way it does.

Other significant 17s:

  • 17 chops gets Jack through the first door to Suite 3 (12 (“play”) got him through the bathroom door). So, Jack’s attack on his family involves “twins” and “play”.
  • A painting of Mt. Vesuvius in Suite 3 commemorates the volcano’s 1774 eruption.
  • The 1700s was when all the paintings outside room 237 were created (Danny gets a flash of the twins while standing there). These paintings were accomplished on Captain Cook’s last voyage before he was murdered by Hawaiians (Hallorann is a “cook” who is murdered here).
  • The phrase “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was first recorded in the 17th century. This century also saw the advent of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which inspired The Masque of the Red Death, which inspired The Shining.
  • If the apartment up the hall from Suite 3 is Suite 19, as it appears to be, this could mean that the door behind Danny in every shot of him reacting to the twins from his tricycle is Suite 17.
  • We see Wendy see 18 “All work” pages, but 1 was in the typewriter, and 17 were in the stack.

The 17-value that appears in the lobby’s southeast stair appears the most times (7), and frequently takes part in helping the other F21s in these shots add to 37. This one, and the other lobby 17 are, curiously, never shot in the exact same way, though there is a close call in these two moments.

The 17 in the Gold Room path, first seen as Wendy brings breakfast (the first 17 to be seen in the film), is next seen after Jack’s killed Hallorann, and so becomes the last 17 to be seen. And since we see two 17s in this shot, I’m wondering if this is a comment on Jack fulfilling his mission to become Grady’s twin (if not for killing his family the same way, then at least for doing the hotel’s bidding).

The two shots of Wendy entering the lounge for Jack both show both 17s.

Another thing to note might be how two 17s make 34, a number that will become significant later. The two areas where 17s appear feature two of them.

It’s also strange that there wouldn’t be a 17 in the games room, with the twins.


Our most frequent flier of any F21, with 20 appearances, “hell” or “punishment” seems to be of principal concern for our boy Kubrick.

I don’t want to repeat any of my prior points about “hell”, but it is a rather ubiquitous thing about the film, this idea of whether the “heaven/hell” polarity is a thing that factors in the Overlook or not. Like, is one man’s Overlook another man’s heaven? Did Jack get his “5 months of peace” after all?

And as for other important 18s, there’s basically just the 18 pages Wendy sees of Jack’s writing. Other than that we could look at things from the 1800s, but they appear all over the place. Several of the alcohol brands got their starts in the 1800s.

The “hell” photo is interesting among F21s for being the only one to replace a single other photo midway through the film. Although, there is the curious case of the south-facing side of the northern west pillar in the lounge, where everything gets replaced when Wendy comes for the fight. In that instance, a “hell” (18) is itself replaced by a “Grady murders” (9).

There’s a twin 18 in the stairwell there that I forgot to highlight.

But that wall is only seen twice, and the photos are all completely different. In the case of what I call the final 21 wall (which is seen more than any other, with 11 sightings), a “hell” photo appears at 81:15, when Jack is first seeing the ghost ball. Perhaps part of the reason for this mid-movie appearance is because the 18 has such a high value, and this wall appears so many times (so, if it had always been there, 2368 would be way higher). And then again, maybe it’s just because we’re finally going to…the ghost ball.

Actually, while I’m on this point, this appearance of a “hell” happens at the same moment as the one appearance of Lawren Harris’ Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, which happens to strongly resemble the first shot in the film. Head here for a little more info on why that’s interesting.

Other interesting moments would include how the “hell” photo appears to appear in the “heaven” position of the grouping at the end of the hall for Danny’s 1st lesson. As he gets closer, we realize it’s in the fifth position, the “murder” position, so to speak.

There’s this cool moment when two hells appear in concert around Jack right before being awoken from his murder dream. Of course, in the next sequence of him reacting to the dream, “hell” will float over his head alongside “Jack as abuser” (3), for a grand total of 21, his doom number.

The photo is the last of the F21s to be hedged out by the slow zoom on maddening Jack on THURSDAY. Part of me wishes it had stayed into the stilled shot on crazening Jack, but I suppose the hellish fireplace also gets cropped out by the zoom. We’re left to realize that, at the end of the day, Jack Torrance abandoned himself not by torture, but by being who he is.

18 is also the only F21 visible when the shadowy Jack emerges from whatever underworld he was hiding in. Actually, given what we know of the architecture, the only reasonable place Jack could’ve come from would be the southwest stairwell, so perhaps the implication really is that he came from room 237. What was he doing there? Only the deleted scenes know for sure.

19 – TIME

I doubt this is simply a matter of convenience for the story, and the majority of its references, taking place in the 1900s…but it does have that going for it. Ullman says it the most, by referencing “1970”, “1907” (twice) and “1909”. The news anchor, Bertha Lynn, says “1968” in the line “Rutherford was serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 1968 shooting”. And the number appears twice (visibly) in the date printed on the Denver flood poster (1912), and on the photo of photo Jack (1921)–it also appears on all the magazines and newspapers, but we’ll ignore that.

As discussed, it’s one of three photos not to appear in the lounge along with “play” and “Bad Beatles”. This is how I came to think that what 19 really means is “moving time”, whereas 21 means “stuck time”. Because the lounge has long struck me as a place where time has stopped meaning much. There’s a piece of bog oak, which is basically wood that’s untold hundreds or thousands of years old, preserved by the conditions of a bog. And this timeless presence in the lounge disappears once Jack’s pursuit of artistic immortality has kicked into gear.

There’s two 19s in the games room with Danny, the only F21 to have a twin on Danny’s side of the room (there’s two 12s (“play”) and 15s (singularity), but one appears beside the twins and one appears behind Danny throwing darts). Does this 19-ness signify his status as one unfrozen in time? The other F21 twins in the room are “play” and “singularity”. So perhaps part of the lesson for Danny in this room is “learn to play on your own to survive the rigours of time’s river”. Or else you become like the Grady twins.

Also, as discussed, the twins have a poster of the 1912 Denver flood behind them, and 19 and 12 have twins here. 15 has a twin, and the only other thing that comes close to that would be the 13, since there’s a 13-value behind Danny throwing darts, and two of Danny’s darts hit just outside the rim for a 10-point and a 3-point throw. The year 1315 was the year the Great Famine started in Europe, and it’s theorized that this is where the Hansel and Gretel fable comes from. Wendy is going to reference Hansel and Gretel in her next scene with Danny and Hallorann. So these 19-12/13-15 twins might not be pure accidents, or matters of convenience.

It’s probably worth noting, then, that the balls that have direct correlatives in the F21s here are 12, 13, 15 and 9. Not quite as perfect as twin 19s, which he could’ve had if the other balls out were a 9 and a 10, say. But still. Pretty cool.

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There’s also two 19s in the lobby, and my favourite moment for the first one, we’ve already covered: it helps make the final 42-points-worth of the (2368) movie, as Wendy reacts to the skeleton ball, along with a “murder” and a “hell”.

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There’s also the spot in the lobby’s southeastern stairwell, where it helps make five different 37 totals at the following seconds of the movie: 207, 2077, 2372, 7702, and 7737. The first is Jack coming for the interview (207), then Wendy bringing breakfast (2077), then Jack strolling toward the model maze (2372), then Hallorann approaching death (7702), and finally Jack gloating over Hallorann’s corpse (7737). Probably these time codes are coincidences, but I thought it was neat.

It might be worth pointing out that the 207 one is 3:27 into the film. And Jack’s passing Hallorann’s death spot.


The first invocation of 20s comes when Ullman tells Jack that the area gets “an average of 20 feet of snow during the winter”, so that, in concert with the fact that 20-values only appear in the lounge (besides the F21 Key version, which I consider different from other types of appearances), made me think the sum was about how Jack’s isolation, perhaps more than anything else, is what drives him to do the things he does.

Other references include:

  • “I just so happen to have two 20s and two 10s right here in my wallet. I was afraid they were gonna be there till next April!” That reference to two 10s (making 20), might be a nod to the fact that “work” x2 = isolation.
  • Jack later tries to hand Lloyd a 20, and is denied. It’s worth pointing out that this $20 probably doesn’t exist, since his wallet was empty last time, and he doesn’t pick up a new wallet during his brief Suite 3 visit, and he doesn’t seem to find a $20 while exploring 237. Perhaps the $20 is partly an expression of his enhanced isolation resulting from 237 and the fight with Wendy.
  • The moody ranger asks Dick to call back in 20 minutes. In which time he won’t be able to reach the isolated family.
  • “We’re due to arrive at 8:20, sir.”
  • “…and 20 legs of lamb. Do you like lamb, doc?” Danny says he doesn’t and I’ve been interpreting that as a nod at Danny’s possible vegetarianism, but maybe this is (also) to imply that Danny doesn’t like isolation.

So the 20-value first appears at the start of the Abbey Road Tour, on the southern west pillar, and it appears in the same spot three more times (Danny’s first lesson and the twin establishing shots that look like the one below).

But when we switch to the creeper Jack shot, it’s dropped a place.

You’ll also notice that it’s on the same spot of the south-facing part of the north pillar, when Wendy comes for the fight. So the 20-value appears in two spots it hadn’t before.

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Sorry, this graphic was for a different point. But notice how the photo it’s replacing has moved to the middle of the wall, where there was a 1-value during the tour. So “isolation” is perhaps being connected to “origins” there. Is this the origin of isolation for Jack? That would speak to my theory about these pillars.

The other 20-value in the lounge is first seen when Ullman is talking about the hotel’s “illustrious past”, and is last seen when Wendy runs to the rescue for nightmare Jack. The two closest F21 photos in this sequence are for “Danny’s abuse” and “bad magic”, whereas the two closest to the one on the west pillar are “murder” and “the Grady murders”. So it seems like the west pillars are working their bad mojo on Jack, while the east pillars seem to speak more like commentary on Jack’s nightmare.

Curiously, the photo for this one is of a gang of 6 women coming up a wide staircase together, toward the photographer. Perhaps this is merely meant to echo the feeling Wendy has as she’s swingin’ the bat, but in that case, the “isolation” of “isolation” would seem to be more symbolically linked to Wendy’s entrapment at the hotel than Jack’s. And maybe that’s so. But maybe we’re meant to think that Jack put up at least a similar fight against this force, and the hotel just got the better of him. He did, after all, go to the place (237) that he’s pushing Wendy toward when he’s the one at the bottom of the stair.

Actually, I just checked and noticed that the east pillar 20 appears on the word “hay-day”, in Ullman’s line, “In its hay-day, it was one of the stopping places for the jet set.” And right before Jack chases Wendy up the stairs he’ll scream out “May the 1st!” May the 1st is “May Day“. The jet set were wealthy people whose globetrotting pursuits were unavailable to people of normal means. In other words, wealth isolated these people, as extreme wealth inevitably does. And remember, it’s from hearing these lines that Wendy wonders with nervous excitement if even royalty have graced these halls. So perhaps Wendy is more aware of what the hotel’s association to isolation could mean than Jack.


I’ve probably explained enough times why this is what this is. There’s two other 21s I’ve noticed.

  • There’s 21 skeletons at the skeleton ball.
  • There’s 21 sections on a dartboard: the 20 stripes and the bull’s eye. And Jack’s photo is in the “bull’s eye” position of the F21 wall.
  • And of course there’s numerous references to 42, which is 21 x 2.

The first appearance is during Ullman’s “illustrious past” speech.

The second is shortly after, in the games room. With the Grady twins in their own kind of bull’s-eye. And, again, the twins stand before a picture about the 1912 flood, and 1912 is like an inverse 1921, the film’s other visible date.

The next two sightings are also very close together, the first being as Wendy brings breakfast (I’m using the Hallorann pic below to show how close it appears to the moment that Jack becomes a made man of the hotel).

And then during Danny’s 1st lesson, on the exact opposite spot to where it first appeared on the grand stair’s north side, second from the top.

You might recall that the two F21 photos on the north side add to 23 (21 + 2), which is the same as the number of stairs from the first landing to the top. Well, it’s 11 steps to where the pillar meets the stairs, which means it’s 12 more to the top from there. The other F21 on this side of the stair is a 7, so I’ve wondered if this 21 and 7 could be a sly wink at Stephen King’s evilest room being 217 in the novel. But this could also work as another allusion to the stairs here, being 7 up, then 11, then 12.

7-11-12. 21-7.

And while I haven’t gone too much into moments when other values add to the value I’m presently analyzing, I do love how there’s a 3-value and an 18-value over Jack as he’s reacting to his murder nightmare, for how they combine to make 21, his own death number. His status as an abuser (3) plus the concept of hell or punishment (18) equals the reason why he’ll forever be locked in frozen time. This strikes me as a profoundly secular way to frame the notion of eternal damnation: we are finite beings, defined by the limited number of experiences we have in this life. If our entire existence is suffering and pain and what feels like extrapersonal punishments on ourselves, then our lives become very hell-like. Jack can’t let go of his guilt about abusing Danny, and that’s what the hotel uses to achieve its ends.

I’m harping on about this, because there’s this incredible moment when Jack screeches at Wendy, “Has it ever occurred to you what would happen to my future, if I were to fail to live up to my responsibilities?!?!” And as he does so, a single photo from this 21-value collection floats through his head. So it’s like Jack is saying to Wendy, “Have you ever thought that I might not end up as a photograph on the wall of some hotel some place?!?! That could be me–I could be that photograph–if it wasn’t for you!”

In fact, the photo that does the head-floating there even resembles the 21-value photo strongly.

But it turned out to be the one in the top left of this collection. So yeah, like I’ve said, there are twins…and there are twins upon twins.

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