MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
MIRRORFORM ANALYSIS – SKIP TO A SECTION
INTRO ⎔ THE INTERVIEW ⎔ CLOSING DAY ⎔ A MONTH LATER ⎔ TUESDAY
THURSDAY ⎔ SATURDAY ⎔ MONDAY ⎔ WEDNESDAY
SPECIALS: GREAT PARTY ⎔ GINGERBREAD HOUSE ⎔ SHINED & CONFUSED
MIDWAY ⎔ MIDDLE-END
Looks like somebody’s gotta case of the Mondays!
On the placard we see backward Jack saying “Well, he is a very willful boy.” Monday derives from Moon Day, or Dies Lunae. Moons and moon shapes figure in small ways throughout, and it made me wonder if Kubrick was drawing the connection to the word lunatic, which meant moonstruck in late Latin. Whenever a moon appears, are we to think the associated person is a lunatic for doing what they’re doing? Like when Danny steps past his moon-shape of toy cars to approach 237. Or when Wendy passes the Moon and Cow painting to get to the BJ and the bear moment?
The events of Monday are Wendy and Danny watch Summer of ’42 (which it is kinda crazy to be showing a five-year-old, even by its 24-minute mark (which is when Danny peaces out)), and Danny confronts zombie Jack (their only direct confrontation ever) on his way to fetch his firetruck. But this is hardly the only time, before or after, that Jack seems like a lunatic.
It is, in the mirrorform, the first time that Jack has spoken ill of Danny (except perhaps calling him a “little fucker” when describing his own abuse of Danny), which is funny, since, by the end of this forward section, he’ll be saying to Danny directly, “I love ya Danny. More than anything else…in the whooooooooole world. And I would never do anything to hurtcha!”
Symbolically, I wonder if Kubrick sees the repeating red/white of various objects throughout the film as connected to the moon, even on a subconscious level. The sun and moon were the first metrics through which early humans told time (so far as we know), and the thing that freaked early humans out a lot was stuff like eclipses and blood moons. The moon basically has three dominant tones: white, yellow-golden and red. I wonder if Kubrick saw a connection between the centuries of early humans regarding the white-red oscillation, imbuing red with odiousness, and white with safety. Hence the apple in Snow White, with its red poisoned half and its white good half. The witch is murdering Snow, but in another sense, she’s absorbing Snow’s vitality, her life, her time. Here, the Overlook is absorbing Jack’s vitality, life, and time. It’s as if the moon had turned against him. He’s been moonstruck! And he needs to shnap out of it!
At 24:38 minutes into Summer of ’42 we see Hermie (Gary Grimes) has just helped Dorothy (Jennifer O’Neill) bring some groceries home, and here (24:46) he’s refusing her offer to pay him a pittance for his assistance. She courteously offers him some doughnuts and coffee instead, and he accepts the coffee. The film is broadcasting on television in the middle of the day, so it’s probably edited for its sexual content, but the fact remains that Wendy is showing this to her 5-year-old son. And you can only edit this movie so much before it becomes incomprehensible. The entire text and subtext is young people having sex, and the innocent courtship of a 15-year-old and 23-year-old married woman (it plays in this film from 51:20-52:42, which would include the time code 51:32, both ages backwards – in fact, that’s when she offers the coffee). The ending is not pornographic, but it involves a lengthy sequence of intense sexual energy.
Actually, this might be a good time to point out that the scenes from Carson City that appear in this film are from 51:51-51:54 and 52:07-52:08 of that film (appearing at 10:59-11:02 and 11:12-11:13 of The Shining), and that those codes also fall within this scene of Summer of ’42 playing in The Shining. So from 51:51-51:54 of Carson City, the hero’s boss is saying “That’s not all you’ve been punching lately” and at 52:07-52:08 he’s saying “I got you out of jail for this job” (just as 11:12 Wendy’s saying “Sounds like you got the job?!”). In these time codes from The Shining Danny is turning to ask Wendy if he can go get his fire engine (51:51-51:54), and then promising he won’t make any noise (he’ll “tip-toe”) (52:07-52:08). In the corresponding moments from Summer of ’42 Dorothy is asking “You drink coffee, don’t you?” (25:09-25:12 (51:51-51:54)) and then Hermie is telling her “I take it black.” (25:25-25:26 (52:07-52:08)) What’s more, the 10:59-11:13 period of Carson City features the hero being gotten out of jail, and asking a guy with a black eye what happened, “You did,” the guy replies nervously. And 24:38-26:00 is one of the most romantic scenes in the film, entirely comprised of a sequence where he carries the young damsel across a patch of desert to their coach. At 10:59-11:13 and 51:51-52:08 of Summer of ’42 there happens to be two scenes of the young men finding a book about sex (the first sequence) and then smuggling the book into the house of the one boy (tip-toeing, you might say) so that his friend can make notes on it for him (the second sequence). So, sex and violence are the key elements of the three sequences in both other films, and the 11-minute and 52-minute parts of both those other films interconnect on relatively minute details, given everything else that happens in both films (the black eye, and the sex book).
There’s also the fact that Danny interrupts Summer of ’42 at 51:51 into The Shining to ask if he can get his fire engine. Details in his Boulder bedroom suggest that his love of fire engines comes from his love of the TV show Emergency! That show was about department 51 of the LA County Fire Department. But station 51 was portrayed by real life station 127 in…Carson, California. The hospital they brought patients to? That was in the next city over: Torrance.
In the overlay, Jack is just starting to hear about Danny’s “very great talent” which triggers his insecurities, but there’s a question in all three of the dramas going on here about transaction. Dorothy wants to pay off Hermie, Wendy is elevating Danny in his stature as a member of the family, and Jack is essentially about to be hired by the hotel to commit violence against his family. The question in all three is about the exchange. Hermie is denying that a debt is owed, because he’d rather have Dorothy’s friendship, which might lead to something more. Wendy is showing Danny an R-rated sex drama in exchange for his advanced maturity (another form of time/life theft), and Danny runs away for his fire engine, perhaps as a way to preserve his status as Wendy’s son (which leads him to confront the reason for her longing: her husband has become a reclusive zombie). And Jack is getting the Glengarry Glen Ross treatment from Grady, who is doing a masterclass in making the buyer think he can’t go on living without what’s being sold.
It should also be noted that the name Hermie (which is the name of that autobiographical film’s screenwriter) sounds a lot like the Greek god Hermes, the messenger of the gods. In Roman times the day we call Wednesday was called Dies Mercurii (Day of Mercury). Mercury was the son of Jupiter, the correspondents of Hermes and Zeus in Greek mythology. So, Hermie, you could argue, has a short connection to the notion of Wednesday, and here, Jack and Grady are colluding on a Wednesday evening, and Grady is a bit like a messenger of his gods. Also, Danny is lured into 237 by the promise of “play” with his mom, so perhaps the sexual undercurrent of Summer of ’42, and Hermie’s connection to Wednesday, is how we know that this movie-within-the-movie foreshadows Danny’s abuse. As Danny ventures into 237, he’s wearing the Apollo 11 sweater, an event from the Summer of ’69, which was 27 years after the film’s events, while little Danny Torrance’s voyage was 37 years later.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the song that plays in the Jack-Grady world here is called Home by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles, who took their name from the Gleneagle Hotel, where they performed. It includes the line “When shadows fall and trees whisper day is ending/My thoughts are ever wending home”. I thought that was interesting since it here plays over Wendy. “Thoughts” are “wending home”.
Dorothy’s husband probably dreamed of home, and here, Hermie is seeking to undermine that, perhaps not realizing the gravity of his desires. Wendy, who has recently grown afraid of Jack’s evolving nature, is probably also having thoughts of home.
It was noted in Room 237 that in this scene, Jack and Grady seem to be wearing masks, thanks to the windows and TV here. Masks are a theme of the film proper: there’s a tiger one in Danny’s bedroom in Boulder, and there’s the BJ bear near the end. There’s also the heavy connection the novel has to Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, which is referenced not far from here, on Jack’s walk to the ghost ball, where none of the ghosts wear masks (unlike their novel counterparts). I’m not sure why Kubrick felt the need to almost completely extract King’s literal masks (besides the fact that the ghosts are, themselves, something like projective masks of the hotel’s shine power), but it might have something to do with what I call the shame of being watched.
It’s interesting that the Jack-Grady masks would be made up of a television screen and the great (blizzarding) outdoors. Since they’re discussing Danny’s “great talent” it’s hard not to wonder if these shining light sources are symbolic of the shine going on between these two men. And perhaps this is the best evidence that the hotel is ultimately weaker than Danny; Danny can fill someone else’s head with a total out of body experience, while the hotel can only lead you into a warped version of where you already are.
Also, we can see here that the TV Summer of ’42 is playing on has no power cord. It’s possible that a cord would go down the leg of the stand and through a hole in the rug into an embedded power source, but the rug here actually changes throughout the film (along with many other rugs), and while the Torrances might’ve changed the rug themselves, they wouldn’t have re-anchored the power supply through a hole in a different rug. 42s in the film have an association to impossibilities, and sure enough (besides the fact that Jack is talking to a ghost), the room that Jack and Grady are talking in is also impossible. They make two right turns upon entering, such that they would be walking out straight through Lloyd’s bar mirror.
Grady is telling Jack that Danny has “a very great talent” and is “attempting to bring an outside party into this situation”. They call Hallorann the n-word. So, if Hallorann is symbolic of the American forces that rescued the Europeans from themselves, Grady is definitely otherizing the American war effort. In Summer of ’42, Hermie and Dorothy are doing the opposite, undermining Dorothy’s husband’s sacrifice by flirting in his absence, though Hermie is still an “outside party” to Dorothy’s marriage. On the backward soundtrack, it’s here that the song playing over the conspirators switches from Henry Hall’s Home (which played over 61 seconds of Summer of ’42) to Al Bowlly’s It’s All Forgotten Now (which will account for the next 21 seconds, though technically we only hear it for 17 of those 21 seconds). But what, if anything, is being forgotten by Hermie and Dorothy? Or could this be a comment on the 1980 audience’s concept of what young love was in 1942?
There is a great number of eras being represented here. The Overlook was built in the 1900s, Grady’s Jeeves status invokes the 1910s, The Solemn Land is from 1921, the Mickey Mouse on Danny’s sweater is from 1928, Home is from circa 1932, there’s Summer of ’42 which includes several references to films of the early 40s, Shelley Duvall (and the boy in the film, Gary Grimes) are children of the 1950s, Coca-Cola and Paysage d’hiver are from the 1800s, and the 1970s references are abundant. Conspicuously, the 1960s feel a bit absent here, given the abundance of references to ’69 throughout. Perhaps this being “moon day” was a subtle nod that way. One of Danny’s toys bears a slight resemblance to a rocket ship. I don’t know if the point was total 20th century immersion here, but if so, the effect was subtle and thorough.
Danny’s “very great talent”, shining, is a lot like film itself. Film floods our heads with images that are not in our present moment with us. So, perhaps shiners make good storytellers. Kubrick considered Summer of ’42 to be one of the finest films ever made. Perhaps that’s another thing he was worried would become forgotten: the tactile, visceral, real quality of being intellectually alive in 1942, when Kubrick was 14, Jack Nicholson was the same age as Danny Torrance, and Shelley Duvall didn’t even exist. And while novels and myths and photography and music doubtlessly filled this role (more abstractly) in centuries past, film is certainly unique for its capacity to capture a more lived expression of an era’s reality. For me, though I wouldn’t be Danny’s age until almost the ’90s, my memories extend vividly back to an absurdly early age, and The Shining (1980), is unparalleled for me in the way it captures what it felt like to be alive in the internet’s (profoundly boring) predawn.
Side note: In King’s Shining, Danny’s virtue is being the one who remembers what was forgotten. Spoilers, he remembers (on page 429) that the boiler hasn’t been dumped, and that if Jack doesn’t do that, the whole place is gonna blow, which is what saves him from Jack’s mallet. In Kubrick’s version, Danny ultimately remembers something much more physically complex, which speaks to the nature of what the film is saying, I think. As overwhelming as the analysis of his subtexts can get from time to time, you realize that not only are you not really to blame for not having photographic memory of every major mythos and religion or every scientific data point, and a comprehension of all their mechanical subtleties and real-world applications…there’s no way for you to learn them all. And use them all on a daily rotating basis. Modern culture has done a good job of holding on to what it can, but the value isn’t strictly in holding on, it’s also knowing what to do with it. You don’t have to know every battle of every war to know that war is made up of infinitely more terrible things than good. In this moment, Danny is remembering, so to speak, that he wants his fire truck, and runs for it, despite Wendy’s protest.
Actually, in light of the fact that book Danny’s self-saviourdom has to do with page numbers, it’s cool that Danny would think of his fire truck at 51:51. Perhaps that’s what Kubrick’s saying: while book Danny seems to realize he’s a character in a book with pages, movie Danny realizes he’s a character in a movie in part by watching videos with significant time codes.
This is Jack’s reaction to being told he’s always been the caretaker, and that Grady’s always been the…Jeevesy? I’ve seen this chain overlay so many times, and never quite known what it’s saying, but it seems significant. There are other shots of something cutting straight down the centre of Jack’s face, like this. They’re reminiscent of the GREAT PARTY guy, with his blood river face. I suppose on a literal level, it’s like it’s Jack’s psyche’s been unlocked by the news of his immortality. This is the moment Jack goes from his accusatory “gotcha!” demeanour to basically lapping up everything Grady says as gospel.
Another interesting structural incidence: Danny enters the room with his father right as the backward conversation is shifting away from Danny. It’s almost as though Danny’s physical presence dispels the hotel’s efforts to defame him. And isn’t that true of most gossip and defaming? The more real the person seems, the more present they are, the harder it gets to hate them.
So, again, we have this chicken and the egg question. Did Danny ultimately create the ghost problems that lead to the end, or did Jack? Was it something about their nature as father and son, or would this have happened to anybody? Is this just what the hotel/labyrinth/life does to everyone?
I like this mash-up because I think it speaks to the way Danny had an idea about where Jack was headed, mentally. Creeping in, he sees Grady assuring Jack of their immortality. When he sees his zombie dad acting strangely in a moment, he doesn’t rush over. He approaches Jack very hesitantly. So it’s as though he knew, having had his experiences with the Grady twins, that the hotel could be playing similar tricks on his dad. If you see the twins and Delbert as two aspects of what we could call GRADY, it’s not so much that Danny sees the literal father Grady talking to Jack (in a mirrorform way) as he’s seeing the GRADYness of the hotel interfacing with Jack. Also, this could somewhat account for Danny’s adventurism, in questing for 237. He sees his father’s already succumbed, and wonders if there’s something he can do about it.
Oh, you know, I’ve tried to ID the flowers in the wallpaper print here, and please correct me if I’m wrong (see below), but I’m wondering if they’re freesias. If so, there’s a species known as a “double fantasy”, which would be apt, I’m sure you realize, for a number of reasons. But also, on the Glenn Rinker news report at the very centre of the film, he’ll report that three people have died in Colorado due to “freezing winds”, which, aside from how that speaks to Jack’s demise, could tie back to these flowers. It’s hard to remember that, as Jack axes into Suite 3, Wendy leaves the window open, so a mountain snowstorm kind of freezing wind should’ve been blowing in just then, in this very room.
Recall that Danny’s shirt shows Steamboat Willie, and how there was the Steamboat poster next to the twins in the games room. So, if nothing else, this scene is telling us Danny’s been touched by the GRADYness already. The secondary effect of the sweater is to keep a film media element present throughout the entire “moon day” experience. And if Summer of ’42 is invoking the war, it’s hard to forget that Steamboat Willie made his debut in the late autumn of 1928, less than a year from the start of the Great Depression, when music like the Gold Room ghosts seem to love so deeply, was all the rage.
Also, the Mickey on the sweater is playing football, just as a very early Mickey did in 1932’s Touchdown Mickey. The song Home is likely from 1932. Danny’s next sweater is Apollo 11 which achieved “touchdown” on the moon. But Armstrong’s actual words were, “The eagle has landed.” And in Jack’s last bedroom scene, he wore the Stovington Eagles shirt. So perhaps that’s our best indication that this is indeed a “moon day”, aside from the blood moon imagery of the Gold Room bathroom.
And, fun fact: Touchdown Mickey was the 17th Disney cartoon of that year, the 11th Mickey Mouse cartoon of that year, and the 37th Mickey Mouse cartoon ever. That’s our two evil room numbers with a little Tower of Babel (11:7) thrown in.
“I’m sorry to differ with you, sir.”
As Grady says this, he’s overlaying with a box of Sewing Cards that has migrated from Boulder. In that other room, recall that there were two boxes on Danny’s shelf, in a yin-yang position, that the Snow White stickers were between them, and that the Emergency! lunchpail and thermos set were east-west to the Sewing Cards’ north-south. So if the Sewing Cards don’t simply allude to the Theseus myth, but to Snow White, that would heighten the element of this backward room that reflects the red-white apple that the queen poisons Snow with. So perhaps it’s ironic that Grady is “sorry” to “differ” with (his soft twin) Jack, when the evil queen’s ultimate desire is to be better than Snow. But I think that speaks well to the queen’s relationship with her “slave in the magic mirror”. He’s simply reporting on the hard truths of the day, which just so happens to include that there’s a younger, better generation, a rather naughty generation, that could use a good talking to.
It’s probably also worth pointing out, then, that forward Jack is staring at where we know there’s a television, and an impossible window, showing some kind of vision of the outdoors. That’s reminiscent of the TV/outdoors masks from the previous scene. Forward Jack’s TV is likely off (another indication of his shinelessness?), but he’s looking for something like what he’ll later get from Grady. And remember that some of the greatest books ever written are just to the side of this TV. So, all the Shakespeare and Dostoevsky and Harper Lee did not save Jack from his destiny.
Also on the “sorry to differ” note: there’s two things about Suite 3 that aren’t the way they’ll be in every other scene. There’s a lamp on a side table that should be between the bed and the bathroom, and there’s a little mobile of butterflies that should be on the make-up mirror table. The mobile will magically reappear in the next shot, but the side table will not. This also indicates that the halo-shaped landscape moves around on the south wall, whenever the bed is moved.
But one thing I wanted to mention here especially: I recently discovered the painting of Mt. Vesuvius in this room, which is the most close-up painting of the volcano erupting. And while I suspect this piece, with its Hercules connection, says something about every scene its paired with, this moment feels especially apt, given the “ocean of blood” aspect going on here.
Actually, in the novel, Danny’s first shine from the hotel is a giant splash of blood (dotted with bits of bone and brain) on the wall of the Presidential Suite. In the film, Danny has just been on screen for a second with Gerard Curtis Delano’s Touch of Autumn. And Delano was pronounced the same as Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And my suspicion about the oval landscape is that it was painted by Franklin Popham Cattermole. There’s a few Mount Roosevelt’s across the United States, though none near where Cattermole was operating (to my knowledge). But that would make a cool hat trick. The fact that Philip Stone here played Hitler’s right-hand man, General Jodl, in 1973’s Hitler: The Last Ten Days, only seems to add to the moment.
Lots going on here. First, let’s talk about the butterflies. As they appear in the image, we have a butterfly standee on the make-up dresser, partially reflected in the image with mirror Jack, and we have a small, Suite 3 painting of another cluster of butterflies overlapping with Grady’s head, and we have a small Kleenex box at the end of the row of sinks behind Grady overlapping with Jack. Altogether, they form a triangle that connects Danny to Grady to Jack and back to Danny. It’s a subtle reminder of the way the hotel is always the third character in the room with them. It’s also a reminder of the larva/chrysalis/imago transitions that Danny, Jack, and Grady represent for each other. Danny could, technically, become like Jack (note the red plaid shirt underneath his sweater, giving the impression of butterfly wings), and Jack does become like Grady.
Butterflies are also mirrorform-esque creatures (their symmetrical wings able to fold over each other, and momentarily mask their symmetricality), and both scenes here feature mirrors prominently. Backward Jack is about to use a mirror to inspect Grady’s likeness, and forward Jack seems unaware of his mirror self hovering to his side, looking equally zonked and shabby.
Grady’s three flutes of advocaat also overlap with forward Jack, just as mirror Jack overlaps with backward Jack’s “bourbon and advocaat”, so it’s as if both forward Jacks have (ghost) liquor in them already. And the fact that both liquors have some advocaat in them, there’s a connection between them. In other words, if the Jack Daniels represents Jack, Grady’s put a little more Grady into him.
As for the forward Jacks, one has a halo, and one doesn’t. The one that doesn’t is obscuring the Paul Peel painting After the Bath, with its 237/Grady twins connections. Why is mirror Jack the “dead/haloed” Jack? Is this purely about forward Jack’s angel/devil quality? Or is Grady, a ghost, also a mirror Jack? In a sense there are three Grady twins: the girls, the Charles/Delbert twins, and Jack as Grady’s spiritual twin. Jack’s outfit, while a similar tone to Tom’s fur (of Tom and Jerry fame–remember, Danny has a cartoon mouse on his shirt), is a soft blue, like the girl twins, who he is about to paraphrase in this scene. “I wish we could stay here forever…and ever…and ever!”
As for the scene as a moving sequence, the bathroom scene is famous among cinephiles aware of the 180-degree rule, for breaking that rule. Basically (if you’re too good to follow my helpful link), when you have two characters in a scene, and you want to cut between shots of them, for the sake of intimacy and the audience’s sense of where everything’s taking place, you keep your cameras positioned on whatever side of them you set them up on. So, if you’ve got Grady on the left and Jack on the right, the more intimate close-up shots should keep that sense of Grady-left/Jack-right. But as Kubrick shot and edited this sequence, the shot jumps around to either side, to show both men on the right and both men on the left. And so, in the context of film grammar, we, the audience, along with Kubrick, are breaking this boundary over and over (three times total, in fact) throughout this conversation. But! So will Danny! Who will not only cross the Jack/Grady barrier in the mirrorform, but also the Jack/Mirror-Jack barrier. More significantly, as Danny approaches Jack in the next shot (see below), the perspective will be from the point-of-view of the Suite 3 mirror, and as Danny crosses the Jack/Mirror-Jack barrier, the 180-degree rule will get a soft break, by having Jack’s eyeline follow Danny from our left to our right, echoing the Gold Room bathroom break.
So it’s a bit like Kubrick is setting up these two mirror lines, and then having Danny smash them both, by walking through them. In both instances he seems to restore a bit of sanity to Jack (backward Jack returns to accusing Grady of being a ghost), and approaching his zombie dad here is not just brave for that reason: remember, Danny is possibly always shining. And it’s possible that he is fully aware of how fizzling his father’s psyche is at this moment. He’s seeing dead girls around the hotel, and bloodfalls, and 237 in Dick’s head, and himself screaming. Who knows what he’s shining from Jack here?
As Tom-and-Jerry Jack has his gotcha moment with Danny here, he’s having his other gotcha moment with Grady.
Also, Jack’s telling Grady how he chopped his wife and kids up into little pieces and then blew his brains out (another good Presidential Suite moment). In the forward background we see the bathroom where Danny and Wendy will hide while Jack enacts this same effort (note the little red toy vehicle on the window sill; Wendy and Danny will escape in a red vehicle).
And just for the record, this is the closest moment to the Golden Shining‘s middle movie start point as I get in this analysis. As you can see, that middle movie, which accounts for the bulk of that section’s analysis, accounts for about 1/7th of this analysis.
As Jack inspects Grady’s face in the mirror, Danny gazes off in the direction of the make-up mirror. Both these portions involve Jack interrogating the other person, feebly, while the other person feeds him mock answers about a pretend reality. Backward Jack will attempt to see through the ruse, but forward Jack doesn’t suspect any (or, much) duplicity in Danny, who clearly is not enjoying himself in this lonesome, haunted place. It’s important to note that Danny is making a similar series of probing questions on Jack: “Why don’t you go to sleep?”, “Do you like this place?”, “You would never hurt mom and me, would ya?”. But it’s unclear how aware Danny is that he might be inoculating Jack somewhat by raising these issues. The drink Grady is cleaning off Jack, advocaat, comes from the Dutch word for lawyer, which sounds like advocate. Here, Danny is being Jack’s advocate, in spite of whatever he’s thinking/shining about his fearsome father, and Grady is about to turn Jack against that advocate.
Note how both Jacks have their hands out in a clutching manner. It gives the impression that backward Jack is holding an emptiness in this moment. Like, forward Jack has his son, backward Jack has his nothing (he’s lost his advocate!). In the image proper, backward Jack even seems to be miming the act of wielding an axe, as if somehow seeing where this is going, and wanting to be led.
As backward Jack does Christ pose for Grady, forward Jack asks Danny if he likes it here, in the Overlook, and Danny says sure, why not, and Jack replies, “Good. I wantcha to like it here, Danny. I wish we could stay here forever…and ever…and ever!” mimicking what Danny just heard from the twins. I go round and round on how much this all was meant as a critique of Christian ideology, in which souls are held in heaven and hell in a kind of spiritual stasis lock for eternity…or until a big judgment day needs to happen. But I think the most likely answer is that Jack’s not a Christ, but an antichrist, as per the apocalyptic analysis near the beginning.
In fact, just as Jack finishes saying “…and ever!”, he’s letting Grady into the impossible bathroom. How do we know it’s impossible? Because of what I call the bloodrug, seen in a mirror here (it hangs in the Gold Room antechamber, as one heads in for the toilets), and which also hangs to the left of the photo that Jack is trapped in at the end. So the idea of staying here forever and ever and ever is being associated to the bloodrug through that photo, and then to this moment through the mirrorform.
Finally, fun fact: the Gold Room bathroom was supposedly modelled after a Frank Lloyd Wright design (I’ve never seen proof of this, but I have seen many, many people claiming it), which could be another Lloyd/Danny Lloyd reference. Jack and Grady make two “right” hand turns to pass through where “Lloyd’s” mirror should be, to (frankly?) talk about the need to chop up Danny Lloyd.
Right after Jack finishes quoting the Grady twins, Jack and Grady enter the Toilet Room antechamber, which floods Danny’s brain with bloodruggery.
Right as Danny finishes asking, “You would never hurt mom and me, would ya?” Jack passes the older, deader 237 ghost, who is glaring at Jack as he passes through the ghost ball to the impossible bathroom. She’s revealed as Jack makes a right turn toward the bathroom. He’d been eclipsing her on his walk over. The 237 ghost is the only figure in the film who does manage to physically hurt Danny, or Jack, for that matter (though interpreting their kiss as “hurting” Jack is probably about equal to the way the ghostbooze “hurt” him).
This is also the moment when, backwards, the song Midnight, the Stars and You re-enters the soundtrack. That song is playing later, when we see Jack frozen in the photo, beside the bloodrug. But more to the mirrorform point, I’ve wondered if that song represented for Kubrick a kind of shorthand for how Jack, Wendy and Danny relate to the minotaur myth. If the minotaur’s name is Asterion (“starry”), Jack could be the “Stars”, and if Wendy is seen in conjunction with the moon, perhaps she’s the “Midnight”, which makes Danny (or even the audience) the “You”.
“Stars, you would never hurt the moon and me, wouldja?” Remember, Jack’s bedsheet is covered in stars.
This also could support my notion that as Danny heads for 237, he’s both symbolically re-enacting the moon mission and trying to return to the womb. On the one hand, 237 has a superabundance of connections to the moon mission (and Wendy has a few key connections to it), and on the other hand, it’s the place that most affects Danny’s character during this ordeal. But which is which? Did going to the moon, going beyond where there’s nothing further beyond, did that screw Danny’s head up? Or was it the regressive act? Was it trying to make sense of the ancient dead woman that wanted to choke him, and how he could’ve ever confused this entity for the benign, playful person who brings him food every day? Perhaps the answer seems obvious to you, but I wonder if the critique here is even as binary as it seems.
So, I have a probably unimportant theory that the man in the red box here is a cleaned up George Harrison. If you look at photos of him from the era (1979) (see below), he’s just shaved all his facial hair and cut his hair short (short for him). Vivian Kubrick also posted to instagram recently a photo of herself at the ghost ball, including a caption about how Harrison was on set, though she’s not specific about where he was, or why or when he was there (see below). But if this was Harrison, then the timing is pretty interesting. If we look at the film from a Redrum Road perspective, this is halfway through Maxwell’s Silver Hammer Round 2. As Jack pats Grady’s shoulder, leaving his advocaat stain, is right in time with a “Bang! Bang!” Halfway through Round 1 of this song (35 seconds off from this moment), Watson is giving Jack the leery look at the beginning of the Grady story. Watson corresponds to Harrison in the Abbey Road Tour. Does Watson continue looking critically at Jack? Also, Harrison, along with the other Beatles, hated recording this (3:27) track for McCartney, who was quite exhaustive in his insistence that it be gotten just right. Certainly Kubrick could relate, with all his 237s, and his endless repeat takes of every shot.
The opposite side of the film has another interesting lyrical connection. In the middle of Mean Mr. Mustard Round 2, this moment features the lyric, “His sister Pam works in a shop, she never stops, she’s a go-getter”. So both sides are about a violent and/or misanthropic asshole, both of which Jack is. And both moments are about a woman character, and in the first instance, it’s also about violence against that woman. So there’s a consistent connection between Harrison/Watson, and his concern that Jack will do his family harm.
Incidentally, this Harrison look-alike will appear again as Jack approaches the bar, so his “last” appearance on screen is about 30 seconds into Oh! Darling (another song playing for 3:27). Watson will also reappear during the opening 20 seconds of this track in Round 1.
The crone ghost is seated right by the Gold Room bathrooms, and here, as Jack asks Danny if Wendy indicated Jack would hurt them, the Suite 3 bathroom overlays with the spot where the impossible Gold Room bathrooms lead Jack to stand. So, we have the real bathroom, where Jack will try to hurt them, overlaying the fake bathroom where Jack will have such abuse glorified to him (and as we’ve seen, the Suite 3 bathroom has a weirdness to it).
Curiously, Vivian Kubrick, who made the making-of documentary about the film appears (backwards) here, dressed all in black and regarding the spilling of the egg drink on Jack. I’ve often wondered if having a “twin” Kubrick in this scene (who became a director thanks to this film) meant something beyond the cuteness of having another Kubrick featured by the film. Here, we have father assuring child that no harm will ever come to them, so I have to wonder if it was meant as a wry comment on Kubrick’s self-awareness.
Note too that the halo-shaped art, which should definitely be visible at this height, is gone. This makes me think that the dead chandeliers throughout the film (vs. the lit up ones) are meant as sinister crown/halo shapes.
As Grady is spilling the egg drink on backward Jack, forward Jack is telling Danny he loves him more than anything else in the “whoooooole world”. Then, two days later, he has the worst nightmare of his life, followed by making out with a naked ghost, followed by colluding with a murder ghost about the virtues of “correcting” your family. So I’ve wondered if the egg drink represents a kind of inversion of what happens with the 237 ghost. With her, Jack is terrified by the idea of a woman going from the prime of her fertility to way past her fertility, into death. Here, he has egg juice poured all over him by his ghost twin. A drink which “tends to stain” according to Grady (Jack’s real hand will leave a stain on Grady in a second). It’s almost like the crone was a headfuck about forming a connection in Jack’s mind between sexiness and death. And the egg booze is an embarrassment. See? Death is great! We don’t need all these silly eggs. Let’s just put some water to them, sir!
Drinking is also what led Jack to commit his first major act of violence against Danny, so here, the hotel is forcing him to get over his shame about all that, making a spectacle of his fondness for drink in the form of an accident. If the eggs are about life itself, Grady’s denigrating its way of “staining” an environment. This speaks to Jack’s later (anti) Christ pose: the idea of glorifying death.
Another way of looking at this is that the egg drink represents the hotel fertilizing Jack for its own purposes, which would contrast nicely with forward Jack’s admission of intense fatherly love.
Click here to continue on to Through the Mirrorform, Part 9: Wednesday
MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING