The Treachery of Images: The Redrum Road Cross-Analysis



Before we get into this section, I just want to point out that, if you haven’t read my larger analysis on Redrum Road or the mirrorform, you might think I’m leaving out a tonne of analysis of what the overlays are saying subtextually. But this analysis is only for looking at what the photos do in the mirrorform and in the Redrum Road context. If it seems relevant to point out other things, I’ll do so, but mainly the focus will be on how the significance of the photos’ point values and their contextual significances affect the moments they’re in.


The last we see of the F21 wall at the beginning is accompanied by Lennon singing the line “He bad production”. Now that I know about Kubrick’s grand design with the F21 photos, this seems less like a reference to Danny Lloyd making production of the film hard on Kubrick than to Kubrick making the production hard on his staff. Like, think about the fact that he got Wendy Carlos to compose a whole score that he probably didn’t intend to use, some of which was for scenes he almost certainly didn’t intend to use. That’s not very nice.

During the opening bit of Jack walking through the lobby, which is the audience’s first look at any F21 photo in the forward action, John Lennon’s line is “Got to be good looking cuz he’s so hard to see.” I’ve always thought that “good looking” could be interpreted as “good at looking”, as in, in order to notice all the heavy layers of code I’ve buried in this film, you better be able to see things as they are. And here, as the photos are heavily obscured by being out of focus, and blocked by walls and people as the shot moves, you do indeed have to be good at looking. Also, the first major photo to appear here is the “heaven” photo. And while it is terribly hard to see here, it will be terribly easy in a moment, during the entire interview.

The next line is “Come together/right now/over me” the male attendant back there has a 9 value photo over his head right on “over me”, and 9 is associated with the number of years since the Grady murders.


All the “Don’t wanna leave her now” bits accompanying the 4-value picture are very apt. Jack is bought in to the hilt with this “heaven”.


“Can I take you out to the pictures, Jo-oh-oh-oan?” During this whole line we see the “heaven” photo. And in the mirrorform, Wendy’s running past the F21 location. That always struck me as being what I’m seeing here, but I just have to reiterate part of the point here. As Wendy runs toward the Skeleton Ball there’s a 4 value (“heaven”) photo on the southern west face, just to the left of Jack’s face here, and there’s one to his right in the interview. So it’s almost literally like Jack’s being asked by Ullman if he can “take him out” to the pictures, as in, can I take you and put you on this photo wall? You’ll get to live in heaven if you say yes… There’s also the way of looking at “take you out” where it’s like murder. Can I murder you by way of pictures? I mention that because I’ve often thought that the interview was the hotel’s way of seeing if Jack could be another murder-suicide Grady-type man. So this way of warping McCartney’s phrase isn’t completely left field. The hotel wants to know from Jack if it can cause his death.

“She tells Max to stay/when the class has gone away/so he waits behind” On the distant walls we have a “heaven” and a “hell” photo watching over Hallorann’s corpse. That seems apt for everything going on here.

“Creeps up from behind” The “heaven” photo appears right on “creeps”.

“Painting testimonial pictures, oh, oh oh oh” This is the second and final use of the word “pictures” in the song, and it accompanies the “heaven” photo again. I wonder if the “heaven” photo is the hotel’s “silver hammer” that’s coming down on Jack’s head here. He’s getting taken out to the pictures while painting testimonial pictures.

“The judge does not agree and he tells them so – oh oh oh” This idea of “the judge” and “heaven” go nicely.

“A noise comes from behind” – This is the second and final invocation of someone creeping up from behind leading into the chorus (the first verse ends with “a knock comes on the door”), and again we have the “heaven” photo behind Jack.

As the fade to the next shot happens, the “heaven” photo bleeds into a scene of Woodstock flying through clouds on a rainbow balloon. That seems apt (heaven/clouds, etc.). Also, in the mirrorform, this overlays with the machine that will carry Wendy and Danny to their post-Overlook existence. And McCartney is singing about a silver hammer making sure people are dead.


As backward Jack is passing the “work” photo after killing Hallorann, the doctor is revealing the Teeny Weeny Adventures book. If you’re familiar with my Trapper’s Camp theory, you know that this connects to Jack’s real work being the murder of Hallorann. McCartney, meanwhile, raves about not wanting to be left.

“Well you know I nearly falled down, and died” On “died” the “hell” photo appears as backward Hallorann exits. I could note that the “heaven”, “play”, and “Jack’s doom” (21) photos appear around Hallorann in this moment.

Also, I just have to point out here that the doctor is asking “Where does he go?” just as Hallorann is passing the 2-3-7 photos. That would seem to be something of a nod to the 238 theory, since Danny’s explanation of Tony as a force that hides in his own stomach would be similar to how the ghosts hide in certain rooms of the hotel.

“I’ll never let/you down” During this whole line killer Jack is looking out toward the spot where he’ll kill Hallorann, and seeing the majestic lobby, along with the reception/cashier’s area and the model labyrinth. And in this moment there’s a “heaven” and “work” photo visible in the Gold Room path. So it’s like Jack’s telling the gods of the Overlook not to leave him, because he’ll for sure kill Hallorann, no worries! Just don’t leave me!

“I’ll never do you no harm!” The song ends just as Jack’s passing under the photos that complete the 237-value of the lobby. These include a “Jack’s abuser status” (3), “murder/alcoholism” (5), and “room 237” (14).


The first value we see during this track is the 37 hanging in the distance above the gang here. I feel like that’s apt, given that the round 2 version of this track plays heavily over Jack’s room 237 experience. Also, I like how this 37 overlays with the REDRUM door, since that’s what the hotel wants so bad from Jack.

As the gang moves through the lounge on the tour, on the long “HEAAAAVVVYYY!” the “hell” photo is passing on the south-facing side of the northern west pillar, and the sound carries till the next “hell” photo appears in the southwest stairwell (combining with a 3-value to make 21, the number of Jack’s doom). Cuz it’s heavy, man, how heavy she is. Jack’s doom, I mean. Seriously, though, I’ve always thought that’s what Kubrick wanted this line to express (the heaviness of what the hotel wants to do to this family), and here we have some proof of that.

“You know I want you so bad, babe!” On “babe” Danny passes a “hell” and “play” photo.

On the following “I want you-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo” we get the appearance of the next “heaven” photo.

On the scream that Lennon said was to express what it feels like to drown in the love of someone as awe-inspiring as Yoko Ono, we get another “play” and “Jack’s doom” photo. So, I guess this, in combination with the murdered daughters, is meant to express how there is such a thing as loving something to death. John’s love for Ono murdered the band in a way. Grady’s love for the hotel made him murder his family, and Jack will do the same. Part of why he’ll do this is because the hotel allows his “play”, or, as I see it, his writing, to go on forever…or he thinks it will. He wants to keep hammering out the same line millions of times so badly he’d kill his family to get to keep doing it. But this also plays nicely with the imagery here of the minotaur-esque MONARCH skier, and the cowboy. In order to avoid becoming a Grady twin-type ghost, Danny will have to enter into a kind of game with his father, running through a hedge maze (intended for entertainment), and using this “game” to trap him forever. And this will require Danny to be the opposite of his father, the cowboy, not the bull-man (the third photo is the “identity” photo). This is also probably why the Steamboat promotional posters appear in conjunction with the foosball table: Danny is later wearing a sweater with Mickey Mouse (AKA Steamboat Willie) playing football, and that’s what he’ll be wearing when Jack quotes the Grady twins at him on MONDAY. Danny must be a “player” to defeat Jack. He can’t sit idly by. So perhaps this is the moment he became attuned to the fact that he would need to start planning for something. Remember, all the lessons and escapes happen after this scene.


“One sweet dream/came true/today” This is sung by Lennon as that last photo from the “21” or “Jack’s doom” wall floats above a lounge fight Jack raving about what would happen to his “future(!)” if he were to fail to live up to his responsibilities (killing Hallorann). So, in the Abbey Road Tour Lennon is Ullman, so his “one sweet dream” was that Jack would kill Hallorann, and be absorbed into the photo. And it did come true. It’ll come true this very evening. Also, Danny here is making his third inquiry about room 237, the room that triggers Hallorann’s doom.

Lennon continues singing about sweet dreams coming true, and Wendy passes a few 23 points walls as Jack chases her, and on the other side of the movie, Hallorann is hectoring Danny about staying out of room 237. There’s a few subtle little 237s elsewhere in this scene. But it’s also worth noting that the song that plays over Jack being in 237 is “The Dream of Jacob”. So that’s a sweet dream coming true too. So many sweet dreams for the Overlook.

“234567” On “3” we cut to Wendy blocking the 14 value with her head, meaning that only a 23 point value is visible. If the 14 had been unblocked, this would be a 37 value, and the shot ends on “7”. Starts on 3, ends on 7. 37. What are the odds?

In the first moment of Wendy pushing the breakfast cart, the Beatles sing “4” and there’s a 4-value (or “heaven”) photo right to Wendy’s right. Oh, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, and as I’ll be discussing down the way a bit here, there’s a significance to the time code 20:34. It’s the moment Jack steps foot in the lounge for the first time, and the F21 values on the pillars there are 20 and 34. Well, the time code for this first shot of Wendy appearing is a split second after the end of 34:20, which was a shot of the Overlook in the glorious morning. 20:34 in seconds is 1234, so while the Beatles were singing “1234” leading to this moment of Wendy bringing breakfast, the time code was opposite to 20:34 (and the number of seconds that make 34:20 seem totally random to this context). But what’s the take away? I think this might be suggesting that the Overlook isn’t the Torrances’ true home, their true “heaven”, but for a better explanation of why I think that’s so, either skip down to the Golden Slumbers section below, or just wait.

On “go to heaven” the “Jack’s doom” photo is revealed, and this is the only time Wendy ever looks at it directly (or seems to). I could also point out that Wendy is now standing between a “Jack’s doom” and “play” photo, and a “heaven” and “work” photo on the other side. “Jack’s doom” and “play” we just saw in the games room by the Grady twins. And “heaven” and “work” is only ever seen together again as Jack looks toward killing Hallorann.

Also, there’s a 2-value, 3-value, and 7-value in the collection to Wendy’s left, which all revealed on the “7” in the song.

Also, while a “hell” photo will eventually hang on the northwestern wall, it only appears there once Jack sees the Ghost Ball for the first time, so it’s kind of apt that it wouldn’t appear here during this “all good children go to heaven” business.

But then! In the next shot, as Danny speeds toward the west wall photos, there is a “hell” photo, visible when we hear the next “heaven”. So is Danny not a “good” child for doing his lessons and escapes homework? Why not? Perhaps because he’s only thinking of saving his own skin, and uses Hallorann to do that. But as I’ve said before and elsewhere, I don’t think Danny can be held to account for this. And we don’t really know if it was Danny or Tony who shined Dick the horrors of room 237.

On the final “go to heaven” of this part of Danny’s trip, the “work” photo appears. So maybe Hallorann does go to heaven…

On this “1” Danny passes the “heaven” photo for the only time.

Also, there’s two “Good Beatles” photos here, which goes nicely with the “good children”.

Recall that those two women ascending the staircase here last time might be the hotel’s manifestation of the real Grady girls ascending to room 237. If they’re stuck here, are they not “good children”?

SUN KING – Round 1

At the very start of this track, Danny passes the “Jack’s doom” photo. But also, the two photos on the side of the stair here are 21-value and 7-value. 217. Room 237 was room 217 in Stephen King’s novel, and here we have the “Sun King”. The other cool thing is that this space is visible behind Wendy in the mirrorform. That feels like a double stamp for a double King.

I don’t count the repeat of the “hell” photo at the end of Danny’s first lesson (in terms of adding to the film’s grand total), because it’s all one shot, but it is interesting that it would be attached to Sun King here as a result of him passing over the song boundary.

“Sun king” On “Sun” Wendy’s head passes through another “hell” photo. Also, the mirrorform scene is taking place in Suite 3, and the total points on this wall make 33.

During the last two (of three) lines of nonsense Romantic languages part, the “hell” photo is visible above Wendy.


As Jack slinks back into darkness we see all the weird, out of place photos on the western pillar. Here Lennon sings about a “Mean Mr. Mustard” who “sleeps in the dark”. I haven’t cracked the code to this wall yet, if there’s one to crack. But the neat thing here might be that Ullman’s South Eye appears in the shot. So Mean Mr. Mustard might be the hotel after all. Also, we’ve got an “isolation” photo here. And perhaps Mustard’s condition has a little something to do with his isolation from everyone but Polythene Pam. Actually, I hadn’t noticed this before, but the “isolation” photo overlays with the typewriter almost completely here, so perhaps the comment is about how Jack wanted isolation to create his masterpiece, and it resulted in 31 days of writer’s block.

“Such a mean old man” Jack throwing the ball at the wall with the “hell” photo again, and on the other side the value makes 37.


During the instrumental outro of this song (along with Lennon’s shout of “Great!”), maze study Jack passes 37 points worth of photos in the stairs. This seems to pair well with the 37 from Mustard, since Pam is referenced in that song too.


As backward Wendy is down to just sharing the screen with the last photo on the 21-value wall, we hear “She came in through the bathroom window/protected by a silver spoon”. It’s like she doesn’t want to see Jack’s doom. And she does get stuck in a bathroom window shortly. And she does seem to be protected by a low level ability to shine multiple times.

“Didn’t anybody see?” At this moment Danny’s passing the four photos that connect the lounge to the Gold Room, and for most of this shot he obscures the one F21 photo that’s visible in this shot, the 5-value, “murder/alcoholism”. Danny will “see” as Jack does his killing of Hallorann.


“To get back home/Sleep pretty darling/Do not cry/And I will sing a lullaby” As the shot zooms on typing Jack we hear all this, and the values on the pillars are 20 and 34. The time code when Jack first sets foot in the lounge is 20:34. When Jack hits the carpet for the last time, after Wendy clubs him, the time left to the end of the credits is 34:20. Oh my god, and this shot we’re seeing now ends halfway through 43:19, a split second before 43:20, at which point Golden Slumbers ends and Carry That Weight begins. Aha! I think I’ve thought of something. If you take 1 away from 43 and add it to 20, you’d have 42 and 21, the two numbers associated with the magic of the Overlook and the death of Jack. So perhaps the lounge represents Jack’s home away from home, but it’s imperfect. There used to be a way for Jack to get back home, but now there isn’t. He’s stuck in trying to become this great artist. He’s become addicted to his single-minded pursuit of this impossible object. In fact, this is the first time we see him typing, and I can tell you from experience it takes a long time to type out All Work papers, so my guess is that Jack was always typing them, whenever we see him at work. So the “work/play” of his “All work and no play” writing was about trying to get back to a home that feels impossible. And it feels impossible because 20 and 34 are not 21 and 42. Or, if you like, 21 and 33, 33 representing his actual Overlook home of Suite 3. Oh, also, 20:34 in seconds is 1234, and we just heard a bunch of 1234567s about how all good children go to heaven.


At the very end of this song, the 20-34 pillars appear again, this time seeming to move in the opposite direction thanks to the mirrorform. In fact, right as Carry That Weight ends, these pillars are fading from view. And right as Carry That Weight ends…we get just a few refrains of the riffs from “1234567/All good children go to heaven”. Literally that exact thing happens in the song as these pillars go by. And 20:34 is 1234 in seconds. So the desire to get back homeward is a bit of a death wish, it seems.

THE END – Round 1

During the final part that starts with the piano trios and the “And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love/you make” we just get the slow zoom on crazy THURSDAY Jack staring out at the blizzard and possibly the labyrinth. This shot contains all 70 points worth of North Wall photos, and 70 is our Grady number. By the time the singing starts the zoom has cut it down to 33 points, and we get the whole “And in the end/the love you take” before the 15 is cut out and it’s just Jack and the “hell” photo. Then the “hell” photo goes by the end of “is equal”. So, Jack could’ve taken more love if he’d made more love in Suite 3 with Wendy, hence the 33, perhaps. But I think the “hell” photo being the last to go is pretty telling here. Hell was the end for ol’ Jack Torrance, and he took the no love he made there with him.

As radio murder Jack walks backwards out of Ullman’s in the silence at the end of Abbey Road, he mirrors over the 23 value and then the 33 value next to typing Jack. In the 23 is a “work” photo, and in the 33 is the “hell” photo again. The hell of work.

Special Note: There’s very little F21 photo action in Round 2 compared to Round 1, and I think that’s interesting. The combined values of these sections add to 378 (or 16% of the film’s total). This means that 84% belong to the other thirds of the film (48% in the first third, and 36% in the third third). But if we look at each photo as counting twice for the sake of the mirrorform having two Shinings playing atop each other, the same values would be present on either side of the second third, meaning the 48% and 36% would even out to 42% each. 42!


As Wendy walks between radios, we hear a few lines from Lennon that played over 1921 Jack the first time, and Wendy’s passing through the place where he’ll hang forever, and again, the “hell” photo hasn’t shown up here yet. Also, the values on the walls here are 22 and 41, which is similar to what we just experienced with the whole 20-34 business, except this is the other way. Take 1 from 22 and give it to 41. 22:41 is the first moment Wendy sets foot in the Suite 3 living room/bedroom, to be underwhelmed by its mediocrity compared to the grandeur of the rest of the hotel. And the only other time we see a 22 and a 41 is when Jack’s entering the hotel for the first time and Wendy’s leaving it for the last time in the mirrorform. Wow. So these two numbers seem to correlate to the places Wendy and Jack call home in this place. But Jack’s real home is in the 21 photos, in the year ‘21. I wonder if this is a comment on how close both of them were to making the mistake of treating this place as their home.

Also, we’ve got a 16-value here or “Bad Beatles”, which is about Abbey Road. The first time this photo paired with a song was this song. The last time was in You Never Give Me Your Money, the song that kicks off the final medley, which is sort of the band’s musical tombstone.

OH! DARLING – Round 2

“When you told me/you didn’t need me anymore” Wendy’s running past an “isolation” photo here.

“Well you know I nearly falled down and died” On “died” Wendy passes between the two “hell” photos. But even more incredibly, in round 1 for this moment, “died” is when backward Hallorann reveals the “hell” photo in the lobby. So Jack is going to hell, I guess.

“I’ll never do you/no harm” Here’s a cool moment of the mirrorform containing a 37 on one side (ghost ball), and a 21 on the other (nightmare Jack). And both of these sums are constructed with a “hell” photo.

“And died” As Danny enters, there’s the 23 and 7 over and beside him. 237 is where Danny died in a way from being left alone. We never really know if Danny recovers from this event (forgetting the plot to Doctor Sleep), but we know that he survives Jack, so he didn’t really falled down and died. He just nearly did. Also the 23 contains a “work” photo.

“I’ll never let you down” This line plays during the whole time we have the 23-33-7 dynamic. Everyone let Danny down, but also 237 is the Get Hallorann number. And Danny does let Hallorann down in the way that he helps organize the man’s death. But Hallorann also kinda let him down just by letting him stay here. I know, I know. They all tried their best. Also, the recent addition of 33 includes the “hell” photo.

Special Note: Incidentally, when this scene ends, it introduces what I’d guess is the longest passage in the film of there being no F21 photos on screen in the mirrorform, which is exactly 17:40 long in the mirrorform, or 19:19 in the film proper. Being the longest gap in the film. The second longest is the gap between the defeat of Jack on the Grand Stair and Jack climbing the stairs in the lobby to kill Hallorann, which is 17:44 exactly. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but being slightly longer than the mirrorform gap almost seems to suggest that this other gap was the result of Wendy having almost successfully blocked Jack from his doom by locking him in the pantry. Perhaps, therefore, the photos represent a kind of special malevolence about the hotel. Perhaps the photos are meant to represent their evil, beyond a purely symbolic code that Kubrick had for expressing forms and ideas. But then I wonder why the other longest gap would involve almost every other scene of Jack encountering a ghost directly. Perhaps that’s a comment on how badly 237 scarred Jack. Like, 237 was almost enough to make Jack not want to be in the hotel anymore. But not quite. He found the idea of the “work” of killing Hallorann revolting. Just not revolting enough.

This also means that—since there’s a sliver of Octopus’s Garden before we cut into the gap—I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Here Comes the Sun, and Because are not affected by this phenomenon. In fact, in Round 1, Here Comes the Sun and Because were also left out, so I guess the middle of the mirrorform itself is fairly photo-free. I wonder if that has something to do with those songs being the “sun” and “moon” songs.

Oh, that reminds me, I wonder if part of the reason there aren’t F21 photos on this side to further distinguish the middle of the mirrorform from the beginning. The first 97 seconds of the mirrorform feature the F21 photos exclusively and they appear regularly soon after. The middle of the movie featuring no photos for 8:40 on either side (except for the Gold Room ones), might be a nod to how different this passage of the film is, how different the genesis of Hallorann’s great deed is.


“But oh that magic feeling/Nowhere to go” This is the first line that brings back our F21 friends, with this visible 15 value, and the 23 value that Danny’s blocking with his melon. These are part of two sets of 237s as we’ve recently covered. But I suppose the thing worth pointing out is that Danny’s head (and mirror Jack’s, by extension) is covering up a “work” photo, and this lyric in this song is part of a larger bit of poetry about getting sacked from your job and then having nowhere to be. The “magic feeling” is the feeling of not having a job. And Jack’s job is to kill Hallorann. But forward Jack here is just starting to get worked up about Wendy’s suggestion to leave the hotel. So he’s not so sanguine about the idea of giving up his “work”. He’d still like to kill Hallorann for the hotel. If at all possible.

“One sweet dream/Pick up the bags/Get in the limousine” This lyric carries us from the 23-33-7 dynamic to the 23-7 dynamic between the various photos in this backward shot. You might recall that the last time we were hearing about sweet dreams there were some 237s floating around a fighting Wendy and Jack.

“True/Today/Came true/Today/Yes it did now” This plays as the 21-value floats aloft here, and Jack gets miserable about chopping his family up into little pieces. Recall that the last time we heard this lyric in Round 1, the 21-value wall was floating over a different sort of Jack ranting about what could happen to his “future”.

“67” As the shot of the Ghost Ball starts, we hear a 6 and a 7. The photo Jack gets stuck in has 76 women in it and 67 men.

“All good children go to heaven” The sum in the first shot is 37, and as Jack moves forward it becomes 55 (which includes the appearance of the “heaven” photo, which becomes fully visible on the word “heaven”), which, again, in conjunction with the 21 on the other side of the film (which appears on the word “children”), makes 76.

In a later “All good” backward Wendy is sprinting past the two “hells”.

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THE END – Round 2

So remember how last time we lost the second half of the last bit of poetry in this song? Well this time we only get the missing part while backward Wendy moves past the western photo walls. “Is equal to the love/you make” accompanies “heaven” “Bad Beatles” “Danny’s abuse” “time” “murder” and two “Grady” photos. Also, remember that the combination here is 22-41, and how that number associates to Wendy stepping into Suite 3 for the first time. Well, I’ve long thought that Wendy’s language with Tony/Danny here was too personal, calling him “hon” like she calls Jack, and Wendy’s not making much love in her 22-41 paradise, and Wendy will confront her conquesting nature during the Four Horsemen passage, so I’d say this all fits rather nicely, if perhaps a bit twisted from its original meaning. Still, I think the point stands: the love you to take and make might not all be good love.

Special Note: We totally skipped over every track but 1, 4, 5, 9, and 16 here. And we basically skipped Octopus’s Garden. But it’s neat that 4 and 5 make 9, which means that those tracks are contained by the time/space that track 9 takes up. Just as the Ghost Ball photos fit into the heart of all the lounge photos from the nightmare sequence. Actually, from the start of photos appearing in the nightmare scene to the end, it’s 2:17, and the Ghost Ball photos appear 26 seconds in to that sequence, and lingers for 12, meaning it’s 99 seconds to the other side. I just thought I should note that. And of course track 1 and 16 are the alpha and omega here.


As the opening “Shoot me” refrains happen, radiokiller Jack is moving overtop the 33 and 23 values, which include “work” and “hell” photos. So, for the umpteenth time, Jack’s murder has a suicidal quality.

“He just do what he please” = the appearance of the “hell” photo over backward Jack’s shoulder again.

More “Shoot me” refrains and the shot widens to try to get that Grady 70 value. Murder/Suicide.

“Come together!” The two shots of the 20-34/1234 pillars occur during the first big chorus and the last chorus. The song fades out during the second one. Maybe not as thematically thrilling as the last time (what could be?), but a nice way to suggest a connection between these moments. Jack is getting a message from his new homeland to come together with it.


“You know I believe in how” On this lyric, Wendy is passing a 17-value or “twinship” photo. So the way to “leave” the Overlook is also the way to stay forever and ever and ever. Get murdered and turn into twins.


“Late nights all alone with a test tube” This plays as Wendy is passing the 34 value on the north face of the west pillars. Remember, these are the photos that used to be on the other side of the 20 value that made up the 20-34 dynamic. So here we’re seeing the 34-20 dynamic, the inversion of the 1234, which, remember, bears a connection to the first shot of Wendy in the hotel after it’s closed. But what does this mean in this context? I’m not really sure. Test tube implies experimentation, and we could be meant to think of this as Kubrick’s comment on his own experimentation with all these layers of forms. This moment is also the moment in the forward-moving movie that we’ve seen every F21 photo in the lounge, totalling 417. This is not the last F21 area total sum to be completed (that’s still coming), but it’s neat to think of this occurring on this line about experiments in pataphysics. Also, the first time we heard this line, Ullman’s Eyes were visible behind him, and here, they’re both present again. Not a rare occurrence for Ullman’s Eyes, but they are here. Perhaps the inversion of 34-20 says something about how Jack is not a good child and is not going to heaven, and is in fact going to the heart of this maze to freeze in some Stormy Weather.

“Can I take you out to the pictures?” We get just a glimmer of what might be that 2-value photo that would give the film a total of 2370. And of course, backward Jack is practically miming a reverse version of his murder here, over top of a tableau of the concerned parties (meaning, the toys on the ground here tell the story of Hallorann’s murder, abstractly). Jack is gonna take Hallorann out. To the pictures. And that moment will be the last picture total to reach completion when that happens. He’s taking him out to the completion of the pictures.

“Made sure that she was dead” Jack throwing the ball near the 37 and the “hell” and “room 237” photos. Maybe that’s why Jack had to make out with the 237 ghost. He needed to make sure she was dead! Try that excuse if your partner catches you cheating. “I had to know if she was a zombie ghost, sweetheart. Luckily for me…she was.”

“PC 31/Said we got a dirty one” The camera slides past the screwy western pillar, with all its photos out of order, across this lyric. The value in this shot is 25, so that’s a near-miss on 31, which sucks. I was really hoping one of the numbers from the lyrics would pair with the photos, and alas, they do not. Ironically, one of the things that kept me from striving for cracking the photo code was the fear that I would discover the photos were saying something mean about the Beatles. Now I’m like, come on, code! Say something about the Beatles! Also, the reference to a police constable in “PC” goes nicely with the one of Ullman’s Eyes that appear here (the last, in fact, of Ullman’s Eyes to appear chronologically). Perhaps that suggests something of a law and order role that these photos play.

Oh man, I don’t know if I ever noticed this before, but the day of Jack’s ball throwing would be 31 days after the closing of the hotel. That’s kinda crazy.

“Painting testimonial pictures” The first time we heard this, the “heaven” photo hung above Jack in the interview, who was testifying that he’s a perfect match for the job. Here, the “hell” photo has just appeared, and Jack’s about to testify that he’s lost his mind a little bit. This photo is still visible on the line “The judge does not agree and he tells them so-oh-oh-oh”. So perhaps Jack has been damned by both sides of the ethereal plane, here. It’s also neat that mirrorform Jack here is talking about having déjà vu, since this lyric and the “heaven/hell” photos are making such opposing statements. Or coming from opposing places.

OH! DARLING – Round 3

There’s a really cool thing happening at the start of this song. In round 1 for this bit we see Jack and Wendy having their call about him getting the job. On “Oh, darling” we see Jack saying about getting the job, and then, in the gap between lyrics we see Wendy in Boulder, reacting, and then on the next lyric, “please believe me” we’re back in the Overlook. In both of Jack’s moments there, there’s 18 points worth of photos above him in a 1 and a 17. Here, it’s the perfect opposite. On the lyrics, Jack is seen advancing on her (“Oh, darling”) and Danny is seen tripping out to a shine (“Please believe me”), and neither has a photo behind them. But in that gap of small seconds we see Wendy reacting to Jack’s menace and there’s an 18 (or “hell”) photo floating over her head. There’s also a 15 photo here to make the 33 this wall is known for, but still. How crazy is that? Jack with his broken up “hell” sum, and Wendy with her real “hell” in perfect opposite to each other.

“Don’t ever leave me/Alone” On “Alone” we cut to the end of Danny’s first lesson, where he’s re-witnessing the “hell” photo on the west wall. He also happens to be directly down from room 237 in this moment. But this seems like weird commentary. If Danny wasn’t left alone, yeah, he might not’ve gone into 237, but he also wouldn’t have received his lessons with which to survive the Overlook. Bit of a chicken and the egg thing maybe.

There’s also a “Good Beatles” photo down there, and while I haven’t wanted to read too much into these, this song can read a bit like McCartney begging the other Beatles not to break up. As in, “Remember when we were good? Remember when we were the best in the solar system? Let’s just go back to that…”

“When you told me/You didn’t need me anymore” On “anymore” Danny starts passing the 21 and 7 photos. Last time, this moment marked the start of Sun King, and we interpreted the 21-7 to be a Stephen King reference. It’s no secret that King saw himself in Jack, and I’ve posited enough times that Kubrick saw Paul McCartney in Jack. So, I don’t think this line is predicting the way King reacted to the movie—his anger over all the ways he felt extracted from what he felt was the story’s “engine”—but it makes for a funny mirror to the first instance. Kubrick didn’t need King anymore to make his movie, and maybe King had a reaction not unlike McCartney is having in this song. (Please don’t hate me, Mr. King. I love you.) This is also an interesting comment on the “Jack’s doom” photo. Danny doesn’t need Jack to survive the hotel, and won’t depend on him ever again.

“You didn’t need me anymore” On “need me” Danny is backwards triking past the “heaven” photo in the only instance of him passing a “heaven” photo. If the hotel is a reflection of life (as I believe it is), it’s funny that Danny is here passing its “heaven” and “hell” photos, and we’re hearing about the wrath someone feels when they’re not needed anymore. Why would the hotel feel that toward Danny? But I think that’s a deep comment on Danny’s having transcended religious literalism. He doesn’t have to look at things as black and white, heaven and hell, extreme and extreme. He’s learned that things are greyer than that all over, and he’ll be seeing with his own eyes from now on. Indeed, one of Ullman’s Eyes is on this very wall. The other thing to point out is that the “work” photo goes by here, too, and that means Hallorann. Just moments after leaving Hallorann’s sage counsel, Danny has transcended him in a way as well, though I doubt it’s meant to be as indemnifying as the comments on the hotel and Jack. Perhaps it’s just the film’s way of saying Danny really has evolved and risen to the challenge. But that is a bit ironic, since Danny really did need Hallorann to come to his rescue, if he and Wendy were to survive.

“Falled down and died” The last two times, on this line, someone was between a “heaven” and “hell” photo, but here, on “died” the shot cuts away from the “hell” before Danny, and Wendy is only passing three photos that don’t have “heaven/hell” significance.

“I’ll never make it/Alone” Wendy passes “Jack’s doom” “play” “heaven” and “work” during this line. Also, the 2/3/7 photos.

“I’ll never do you/No harm” Wendy is backing up into the 23, while her head blocks the 14. Indeed, Jack won’t do Wendy bodily harm, and there will be another two instances of 23s appearing as she backs up the stairs. And Wendy will crack Jack’s skull once she’s reached the top, and while the first flight of stairs has seven steps, the second flight has twenty-three. So perhaps 23 does signal how Wendy will beat Jack.

“Well you know I nearly broke down/And cried” Wendy is passing the 23 sum on the stairs here. The next time we see this sum Jack will be breaking down, but not crying so much. Also, the “cried” carries on across the shot of Jack raving about his “future” while the 21-value photo wall floats over him in the distance. That’s another thing Jack won’t ever cry about from here on out. His doom. He’ll pretend to cry when he’s locked up in the pantry. But it won’t be real.


“I’d like to be/Under the sea” As Jack tumbles down the stairs, he passes the “Jack’s doom” again. Cuz he’d really like to be under that sea.


“Here comes the sun” – This accompanies the “play” and “Jack’s doom” photos that appear beside the twins. As you can see, there’s a sun behind the minotaur man on the ski poster. So, again, it’s like, Danny better prepare for the sun (or axe, in Jack’s case) to come and do some damage. This is one reason why Jack’s weapon in the novel being an object of play (a roque mallet) almost makes more sense than Jack’s mirror-surfaced axe. I do prefer the idea of him coming at his family with a reflective surface, but that “play” subtext is lost there.

The second time this image appears, the lyric is “It’s all right”. So, thinking back to what I was saying last time we were on this scene, I think this just reinforces the idea that Danny now knows he needs to prepare for the coming war with Jack. But, you know? It’s all right.

“It’s been a long cold lonely winter” This lyric accompanies the zoom out on backward Danny, with the 23 sum behind his head, which includes a “heaven” photo.

“It feels like years since it’s been here” This line covers the spread from Danny passing all the photos that sit behind him. The most interesting thing to point out is that there’s a 9 value on the left wall, and 9 is the number of years between now and the Grady murders. And the Gradys are about to pop up. We should also observe that there’s a “play” “hell” and “heaven” photo amidst these sides, so perhaps this room also containing a “Jack’s doom” photo is a confirmation of its connection to the “years” Harrison’s singing about here. Jack goes to 1921.

I suppose we could also point out that the balls on the billiard’s table add up to 78, and Danny Lloyd filmed some of his scenes in 1978. This could be one of them.

“It’s all right” This happens as we cut back to the end of the Abbey Road Tour, which features 9 points of value in isolation (made up out of a “Danny’s trauma” and “bad magic” — so maybe the hotel’s already trying to say to Jack, “Don’t worry. It’s okay that you’re a child-murderer. That just so happens to be exactly what we’re looking for!”). Is this another nod at the Grady murders?

“The smile’s returning to their faces” On this line we see the “Jack’s doom”, “isolation”, and “Danny’s trauma” photos along the stairs and pillar, and Ullman is laughing as he talks about the hotel’s “illustrious past”. Also, the value on this side of the East pillars and stairs adds to 43 (20-21-2), and 43 is the number of times Tony/Danny says REDRUM in this scene. 43 might also be on that one lady’s hockey jersey in the next scene. 

I just want to mark this moment as one of the only moments when a significant series of numbers is flowing by (the 32 on the pillar), and there’s no lyric to accompany it, to extract meaning. This is nearly unprecedented, and how crazy is that? On the other side of the Redrum Road, this was another lyric-light portion in I Want You (She’s So Heavy), with just “She’s so/Heavy!”

“Sun, sun, sun, here he comes” Plays while the Grady daughter ladies are (un)ascending the staircase, and as backward Jack is first setting foot in the lounge. If we think of “sun” as “son”, it’s almost like Jack is the “son” that the Overlook is richly announcing the coming of…while two of its daughters slink by in obscurity. And remember that this scene features the Summers of ’42 and ’21. Jack may turn into a mere photograph, but he does get the place of honour, square in the bull’s-eye of the F21 wall.


During the angelic “aahs” following the “Oh that magic feeling/Nowhere to go/Nowhere to go!” Jack breaks the lengthy gap in photos appearing by passing the 22 sum on his climb to kill Hallorann. This gap started in the forward action after Jack fell down the stairs, and this song bears a strong thematic connection to the lounge, where it plays over the Round 1 fight scene, and the Round 2 nightmare Jack scene. And 22 is pretty close to 21. Does this means Jack’s getting closer to “heaven”? Or does it mean he was a near-miss at “heaven”?

“One sweet dream” During this we see the “Jack’s doom” photo again, making that a hat trick for this lyric across the rounds. So I guess Jack’s doom really was a sweet dream that came true. Krzysztof Penderecki wasn’t lying. We also have the “play” “hell” and “heaven” photos here.

“Soon we’ll be away from here” At this point Hallorann has passed the “hell” photo, and only the “heaven” “play” and “Jack’s doom” remain. Another good omen for the soon to be obliterated Hallorann.

“Step on the gas and wipe that tear away” On “wipe that tear away” Hallorann passes the “Jack’s doom” photo for the last time. By the end of the lyric, the 21 photo has been wiped off the face of the screen by the pan. Indeed, this is the last time the “Jack’s doom” photo will be seen properly in the mirrorform, excepting the final 21 master key at the very end, which I don’t think counts. No more worrying about Jack’s soul from here on out. The redeemable Jack Torrance is no more.

But also, Hallorann just passed the 2/3/7 photos, and they’ve been replaced by the 37-value in the far stairwell. So there’s a bit of an irony there in that it’s like he left 237 behind only to get hit by another 37. But also, this final 37 completes the 158-points-worth of photos he’ll ever pass alive. And that might signal his dawning consumption by room 238.

“3456” Again, not kidding, this is exactly what we hear during the second refrain of Jack’s killing Hallorann. 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 18. The “hell” number. Would it be crazy to suggest this is why 18 equals hell? I mean, the final photo key could’ve been arranged a lot of ways, or made up of any number of photos, really. (Of the four walls of F21 photos in the lobby, one has 9 photos, one has 12 and two have 21. The Gold Room wall has 27 photos. The games room features two sets of 24. There’s lots of ways to formulate.) Also, 1 + 2 + 7 = 10, the work number. And these numbers appear over a Hallorann reacting to his death.

In the final moments of You Never Give Me Your Money, forward Jack passes his last F21 photo, which is the “work” photo. But he’ll never get paid for this work. Or will he?

SUN KING – Round 3

“Come the sun/King” On these lyrics we get the two shots of Jack standing under an 18 points worth. That’s the hell number, broken up. There’s an infamous story about King and Kubrick having a mild disagreement about the existence of hell. So perhaps this was meant as a light acknowledgement of King’s belief in hell. Note how they overlap with the elevators at the 2nd entrance.

During the entire three nonsense Romance verses Jack is seen perfectly in his last two statements to Ullman during the interview, with “heaven” hanging over his shoulder. The singing does not appear over Ullman, the clip of Ullman appearing perfectly in the gap between the second and third verse. These two shots of Jack talking feature him trying to lie about his not being fazed by the Grady story. So perhaps this is a comment on the way Jack talks bullshit all throughout his interview, but especially here. Almost like the story has caused him to dissociate.


“Keeps a 10 bob note up his nose” I just think it’s neat that there’s a reference to 10, our “work” number, atop 4, our “heaven” number. It’s also during this moment that Ullman is detailing what Grady did to his family. So the reference to “work” is not a moot one. Ullman wants Jack to go full Grady.

“His sister Pam” and so on. During this whole description of Pam we’re seeing Wendy and the “heaven” photo. I’m not sure what this means, but it seems interesting. Pam is definitely being set up as the positive contrast to Mustard’s odiousness. Is Wendy the sister to the evil Overlook? Seems like a stretch.

“Only place that he’s ever been” Doesn’t play over an F21 photo, but over Ullman’s Eyes. This struck me as a missed opportunity for a better overlay, since Wendy’s just about to see the spot where Jack will forever hang.

“Something obscene” As Wendy sees dead Hallorann, there’s “real Gradys” “Grady murders” and “hell” photo.

“Dirty old man” On “man” we cut back to Hallorann with the “heaven” and “hell” photos visible above him. This might seem like a pretentious, or obvious, point, but it’s like man is the thing that’s torn between heaven and hell. Heavy, man.

But honestly, I think this is a worthy point. Hallorann had many tough calls to make, and do they really boil him down to a “good” or “bad” person? It might be partly his fault that the Torrances were left alone and unguarded in this terrible place, a place that he’s worked for for years of his life. But does that make him worthy of hell? Is the possibility of him going to hell for any of his misdeeds really worth anything to anybody? Would you choose it for him?


“…see Polythene Pam” on this brief lyric, the “heaven” photo appears again, perhaps suggesting the connection of Pam to heaven wasn’t purely by incidence.

“Yeah!” “Great!” On this moment, Wendy is passing 76 points worth of photos and Jack sits under a 4. That would make 80, the year the film came out. The legend is that McCartney and Lennon shouted these words at each other because of how amazingly the recording session was going, and, presumably, how good the music sounded when they played together. So maybe this was a little comment from Kubrick to himself about how amazingly all these majestic layers came together, right here, a mere 6.5 minutes before the end. This would imply that, like everything else, even the film’s release date was foreseen and planned for. I should also point out that we’ve got a “heaven” and “hell” in the forwards, and a “heaven” in the backwards. That’s two versus one. Sorry, hell. You lose.

And here, in the closing instrumental, we get another “heaven” and “hell” across the sides.


“But now she sucks her thumb and wanders” Another “heaven” shot to accompany this. I thought this was apt because, again, Jack is playing at seeming like he knows what’s going on here, and he really doesn’t.

“And though she tried her best to help me/She could steal” This all appears over “heaven” again. This phrase would seem to apply ironically to Jack in his situation. The “heaven” of the Overlook did not really try to help him. It wanted him to fail. So that it could steal his soul.

“Monday/Tuesday’s on the phone” These are two days in the film with major events, though very minor F21 action. TUESDAY is the day of Danny’s third lesson, and this means the only F21 photo to appear in that whole day is the 5 value, and MONDAY is the day of Summer of ’42 and sitting on Jack’s knee. Which means that no F21 photo makes an appearance. I have speculated that 5 is Jack’s murder number, in part because of his 5-month sobriety, and how Jack invokes these “five miserable months” right before he does his first suicide. In fact, the 5 value photo appears to Danny almost exactly on this lyric of this song in round 1. The lyric then is the preceding “Didn’t anybody see?”


“Once there was a way/To get back homeward” – This all appears over the “heaven” as backward Watson “leaves” the interview. Jack stand up to greet him in that passage, and blocks the “heaven” during the refrain of these lyrics, and as Watson really does walk back out the door. So Watson has a way to get back home, into the heart of the hotel, and waking life, but Jack really doesn’t. Not to belabour the “suicide equals urge to return to non-existence” point, but it’s worth remembering that Jack doesn’t get to go back “homeward” in that sense. He only gets to go into the heart of this terrible, static place.

“Sleep pretty darling/Do not cry” This plays over the fade as Jack sits down and reveals “heaven” again. Jack’s Overlook existence will be a sleepless one. Especially in his last ten days of life. Such that he’ll fall asleep at his desk, sitting. So there’s an irony in Jack’s pursuit of oblivion, because what he really seems to want is endless wakefulness and productivity.


“I never give you my pillow” This is heard just as Jack begins talking to the receptionist, and we get this shot again of the male attendant back there with the 9 value over his head. That’s the Grady photo. And with its sharp delineation of black and white, it does slightly resemble a pillow. It’s funny to think of the hotel’s offer to make a Grady out of Jack as a “pillow”. But it is eternal rest that it’s offering. Just as it offered Grady, who also accepted, it seems. It’s also worth remembering that these first/last walls contain the sums of 22 and 41, and that’s the time code (22:41) that Wendy first sets foot in Suite 3. Jack and Wendy do both have a scene of them sleeping in Suite 3, though, so this is probably more of a figurative pillow.

“I only send you my invitations” On “invitations” the “heaven” photo becomes visible for the last time, as we walk with backward Jack back out of the hotel. This final “heaven” remains in the shot for the next lyric “And in the middle of the celebrations”, and cuts out before “I break down”. I like the pairing of “heaven” and “celebrations”. In the middle of heaven, Jack breaks down. And if he’d been a sincere artist, the Overlook would’ve provided him with everything he needed to harvest his great work, in a sense. Many great writers go into seclusion when they want to pound out a book or script or what have you. But Jack couldn’t do it. Heaven makes him break down.

THE END – Round 3

The zoom on the Final 21 is accompanied by 20 “Love you!” refrains until there’s no more other photos (or their shadows) in the shot. There’s 24 “Love you!” refrains total. So that could be 20 for the 20 non-Jack photos and 4 for the photo Jack photo. Four Love Yous for the great Jack Nicholson! I don’t know.

The final lyric on the album is neatly divided by the two fades into the closer zooms on photo Jack. “And in the end” (fade) “The love you take/Is equal to the love” (fade) “You make”. If you recall the round 1 and round 2 versions, this line broke up the appearance of F21 photos into halves, and correlated them to Jack (“The love you take”/”hell”) and Wendy (“The love/You make”/”heaven”). Here, in our final moment, the line is given completely to the 11 value photo, never elsewhere seen, and it resonates like a thesis statement over Jack’s damnation.


I’m struck by a few things here. First, Because is the only song to never accompany an F21 photo, and I wonder if there’s significance in that. Because was inspired by the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, and Kubrick loved Beethoven it seems, so perhaps he didn’t want to sully it with these evil photos, and perhaps it’s a pure matter of incidence. But while track 8 would be the numeric centre of the album, the temporal centre is track 6, so the fact that Because neatly avoids F21s might’ve taken more effort than it seems. I mean, Round 2 is so bereft of F21s, that part would’ve been easy. But the track starts about 4.5 minutes after the midpoint, and though it is only 2:46 long, that would’ve meant keeping that space F21-free for six times that length, since each of the three performances plays over two sides of the film. That’s almost 1000 seconds of an 8484-second-long film (x2, actually, since it’s the mirrorform we’re talking about). Given everything else going on in this madhouse of layers and connections, I guess it’s not the grandest feat, but it’s noticeable.

Next, putting aside Because, it strikes me that McCartney’s tracks are the most included in this, with 19 hits, Lennon second with 12 hits, Harrison third with 7 and Starr predictably last with 4. On the album, McCartney was first with 9 compositions, Lennon second with 7, Harrison third with 5, and Starr last with 2. So you can see how well McCartney did, over-doubling his album score, while Lennon and Harrison fell under that. This is probably somewhat incidental, but perhaps it’s worth noting that McCartney’s tracks are especially highlighted by the F21 phenomenon.

Also, There’s four tracks that are affected in each Round: 1, 4, 9, and 16. This might be incidental, but three of these are tracks McCartney wrote alone.

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