Alright allow me to say right here, I don’t really have much for taste when it comes to film, in case you haven’t already noticed that. I don’t really like super artsy stuff, I don’t obsess over deep and potentially hidden meanings that may or may not be hidden in pieces of film. Film is art, there is no question, but if you take it too seriously you end up being kind of a dick..
And if you don’t take film seriously enough because you have your head buried so far up your own ass because you are addicted to the sweet pungent aroma of your own farts, you become this guy:
Regardless of whether you take film really seriously or not seriously, there is a lot that can be found offered in film – escape, entertainment, a story, gratuitous nudity, but for some, film can be a very deep and critical obsession – see Star Wars fans, Lord of the Rings fans etc.. And recently Scott, my partner in crime came across a documentary about a group of people whose lives have been touched (and may also generally BE touched.. In the head) by the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining..
I’ll let that sink in for a minute, because if you think about it, that’s kind of a weird film to be obsessed about. My opinion anyways.
The truth of the matter is that prior to all this I had only ever watched The Shining once and that was enough for me. I didn’t really like the film, I didn’t think it was scary really, only that Jack Nicholson was pretty freaky and he refers to his wife as a sperm bank, which is pretty fucked up.. That pretty much all I took from the film. Oh and that it made me feel weird when I watched it. Like my head was hot and I was potentially going crazy (at the time it was 1997 and I was growing paler by the minute spending all my time watching horror movies in my parents basement while the neighborhood children did wholesome things like join little league and drink near beer in their treehouses) and I guess that was Stanley Kubrick’s intention with the film so good for him, he succeeded in what he set out to do.
Maybe it’s also that I was a child of the 1990s and the Simpsons Treehouse of Terror spoof of the Shining is actually more ingrained in my head than the actual Shining.
Also.. I just straight up fucking hate Stephen King.
That’s right. I fucking said it. He’s a pretentious dickhole that is in a band only with other writers and once got ran over and no one really cared too much (I don’t even think he really cared).. and he’s pretty much almost as self-obsessed as Quentin Tarantino. Also I feel the Family Guy bit about him is entirely accurate.
Also, Stephen King is/was a brutal cocaine addict and I found out that he wrote the Shining because he wanted to HURT HIS CHILDREN, and he felt that if he wrote about it, then it wouldn’t happen. Also I guess his wife found him face down by his type writer in a pool of blood because he’d done so much cocaine.. like a whole bunch of times. I mean, hey all the power to ya for not liking children.. I think children are gross, but I don’t know how public I would go about my urges to physically harm them.. that seems like a decision that would get you on one of those sex offender/pedophile lists and might have people following you around if you got too close to an elementary school or public swimming pool.
All cocaine addiction and baby-beating aside, I really did like that one movie/book of Stephen King’s called Pet Sematary.. it was pretty legit. It had Herman Munster in it and also a cat named Winston Churchill, so that’s pretty alright. My childhood pet was a cat named Einstein, and my Grandpa was kinda deaf so he thought his name was Eisenhower.. I mean really what we should take from this is to name our pets after great (?) historical figures. Get an English bulldog, like, and you know name it Margaret Thatcher.. haahaha.. was that too soon? I just keep on ripping on old Madge for really no reason so I will stop now.
What you, my dear readers should take from all of this is that I have the attention span of a six year old, and fall somewhere between Jay and Silent Bob and Beavis and Butt-head. Also, when I worked at a second-hand bookstore my manager was this surprisingly mean hippie lady who would force me to rearrange all the fucking Stephen King books we had whenever she was bored. I seriously have sorted through that man’s books so many goddamn times that I think in part this contributes to my hatred of him.. also that his writing is self serving as fuck.. but that’s beside the point.
Here, look at this picture of him:
Interestingly enough, Stanley Kubrick didn’t much care for Stephen King either, so I guess me and Stanley Kubrick should be friends. I’ll try to conjure his ass on my Ouija board and we can write pretentious things to each other. And without further adieu I give you, Drunk in a Graveyard’s first double feature:
We’re going to start off with the Shining and let me just say I was pretty tanked from the get go with this one, but I sober up a touch for Room 237.
I have to say that I don’t much care for the opening of the Shining, it’s really epic in this sort of bad art school way and it doesn’t do much for me. Also the title comes up in like ELECTRIC FUCKING BLUE disco writing and it looks like the cover of a Praga Khan album or some shit.
Hahahaha, fucking Praga Khan. Look at him. You can see every drug that man’s ever taken, EVER. Like all the drugs ever taken by every generation ever is just written on that man’s face. Also he has a song about breakfast in vegas being cocaine and gin, so he’s pretty much my dream man. Also him and Stephen King probably have TONS IN COMMON.
Anyways, the Shining opens with these real epic shots of the countryside as Jack Nicholson drives along, and is it just me or would you not ever get in a car with him? I definitely wouldn’t. Futurama shows it best:
So Jack Nicholson’s character goes up to this creepy ass hotel for a job interview to become the winter care taker, which seems like a pretty legit job.. while away the winter days doing fuck all and eating free food. I could so do that!
Also when he goes for the interview the manager conducting the interview asks him if he’d like some coffee and I heard “cognac” and I literally spit my drink out and was like what the fuck kind of hotel is this? A year round titty bar of some sort? Anyways, it turned out that he was offering him coffee and not booze, so I had to simmer down. Apparently I’m at the point in my life where I just hear what I want to hear.
Also is it just me or is the wife character in this movie FUCKING HIDEOUS. Never mind that she’s reading Catcher in the Rye (I’m not touching that one.. ), but honestly.. the woman looks like she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down and then rolled around a bit. She also has this habit of just finding the frumpiest ass shit to wear.. I dunno. I’m already feeling like murdering someone..
Anyways the manager at the hotel tells Jack Nicholson you know that basically people have gone crazy here before working this job and killed their whole families sort of en masse or whatever and Jack Nicholson is all “psshaw, murder my family.. I promise I won’t..”
And the scene cuts back to his wife and their son, and their son is talking in this FUCKING TERRIFYING creepy baby exorcist voice and that right there is why I think children are gross.. I would straight up choke the life out of my child if they ever started talking creepy or drawing gross pictures. I’d rather spend my life in prison than endure some horror movie Silent Hill meets the Ring nonsense. FUCK THAT NOISE. Goodnight Billy! SEE YOU IN HELL!!!
Anyways, despite the fact that Jack Nicholson’s character is actually the one who goes crazy, his wife looks on the verge of nervous collapse just pretty well constantly, and that might be because she lives in fear of her husband’s booze-fueled rages, but that’s another story. Also at one point she has on these red leggings and I literally was like, who the fuck is this bitch, Wonder Woman’s dowdy ass cousin Shirl, like come on now. Fuck that lady is ugly. She seriously looks like someone put a black wig on a horse.
Fuck.. imagine the casting call for that one.. Do you resemble a horse and or pony? Would you describe your features as “equine”?.. THEN DO WE HAVE A JOB FOR YOU!
I read somewhere as well that when considering actors for the role of Jack, that Kubrick originally thought of casting Robert DeNiro or Robin Williams, but based on Taxi Driver he found DeNiro to not be as psychotic as necessary for the role, and that Williams based on his role in Mork and Mindy was… get this… too psychotic. Could you fucking imagine Robin Williams crashing through a door screaming? That’s the version of the Shining I want to see.
Also that little kid is kind of gross.. I dunno.. I really don’t like children and in particular I don’t much care for that actor (who apparently had no other roles other than this one.. hahaha.. I wonder why?). Also the little boy says that his imaginary friend lives in his mouth and I’m super hoping his Dad is taking that job to pay for his head doctor because holy moly. Does anyone else get reminded of that bit from Clerks 2 with Pillow Pants the pussy troll? Because I do..
Also at one point they show the little boy’s shrink and she looks surprisingly like the shrink from Donnie Darko. Could you imagine if that was your typecast? Just born to play head doctors, constantly speaking in a calming soothing voice, using “I feel..” statements.. That would suck. Fuck head doctors.
At this point in the movie we find out that during one of Jack’s booze fueled outburts he grabbed his kid and dislocated the child’s arm at the shoulder. What a winner.
There is also a scene where Jack is briefly explaining what the Donner Party is to his son, which is legitimate conversation.. if you’re a fucking member of the Manson Family.. Jesus tap dancing absolute Christ… No wonder his wife looks slightly frazzled all the time.. “Oh my husband is a huge alcoholic who beats me and our young son and constantly talks about murder and cannibalism.. pass the potatoes..”
I will say though that the Donner Party didn’t actually kill anyone and eat them.. they just ate the fallen corpses of people in the Party.. and that’s not as extreme as actually killing someone to eat their skin, you know? You best believe if we were lost in the woods and someone died and it was starve or eat them.. I would be making myself a MIGHTY FINE RUMP ROAST. (I have literally been storing that one up for YEARS.. WAITING.. just WAITING for someone to bring up the Donner Party so I could use this bit… and let me tell you it feels good.. )
All large derrieres aside, The Overlook Hotel is racist as fuck. They are more racist than Urban Outfitters.. The fucking place is just puking pseudo Native American imagery, which is kind of hilarious since it’s supposed to be standing on top of an Indian burial ground which is why the place is all fucky. I mean at least they didn’t build a casino over top of the burial ground.. that would have probably been more offensive wouldn’t it? Actually no.. white people being all hoity toity and “finding a deep appreciation” for Native art is actually more offensive. Just like when you see white chicks with their hair in braids rocking buck skin dresses and calling themselves like “Running Deer Tree Woman”. There’s a lady like this in our town and she is offensive to the senses. You’ll seriously see her in Safeway, frying her tits off on acid, wearing crow feathers strapped to her head. It’s pretty much solid gold.
By the way, how desperate would you have to be for a job in order to take one that’s built on an Indian burial ground? That’s kinda fucked up. That just sort of seems like asking for something bad to happen.. you know working in an old mental institution, working in a haunted house, working on top of an indian burial ground.. it all seems like some sado-masochistic bid to have something truly bad happen to you… and I mean, after knowing all this you can’t really turn around and whine about it.. Everybody would be all, “Bro, we told you it was built on an Indian burial ground.. what did you expect..”
Also there’s just a creepy ass maze out front? Like that’s nice and wholesome to have… if the evil spirits inhabiting this hotel don’t drive you to murder, just take a nice friendly jaunt through this maze.. hope you don’t have claustrophobia.
I would be righteously fucked. I don’t even like people touching me when I wait in line at the grocery store.. I would probably just LOOK at the maze and start to have a panic attack. I’d be killing my whole family the first night, so I mean good for him that he lasts a little longer than that. Who the fuck would go into a maze anyways? I mean.. I guess David Bowie might be at the center but that’s not a guarantee..
Also at this point in the movie. not only was I getting anxious, I started having this feeling that the wife character, Wendy was reminding me of someone but I couldn’t place it.. until finally I realized..
So thanks for that.. i pretty much saw Goofy for the rest of the film. Awesome. That’s perfect. Let’s chip away at my childhood a little more. I didn’t need any happy memories, I swear.
So the family gets showed around the place, and the hotel is pretty terrible but they get shown the kitchen which is huge and there’s just this whole larder full of food and a freezer full of meat which they can pretty much just have.. like you could spend the whole winter just having a different type of meat at every meal and you wouldn’t run out. That’s like the American Dream, I’m pretty sure. Plus PETA would be so mad.
We’re introduced to the chef, a black guy named Dick, played by an actor named Scatman… I’m serious, and it turns out that he can communicate telepathically in much the same way Danny can.. Hey the kid isn’t just crazy.. he’s a mini Sookie Stackhouse.. except with less tits.. neat.
Also at one point he makes a comment about “keeping regular” to Wonder Woman Plain and Tall and I pretty much almost lost it. It’s really just too much.
Anyways, everyone kind of fucks off for the winter and leaves the family to their devices, which in the case of the son Danny means rolling around the hotel on his big wheel and there’s seriously probably a full 30 minutes combined of epic shots of this kid cruising around on his big wheel and the sound of the bike going on and off the carpet is definitely more than enough to bring out the crazy in anyone. It’s literally like the opposite of white noise..
We also learn at this point that Jack has come up here to write his new novel, and god only knows what it’s to be about.. how to drink yourself retarded? How to marry the horse-faced woman and beat your child? It’s really anyone’s guess.
He also just constantly strips his wife of whatever little remaining dignity she may have by yelling at her every chance he can get. She’ll be all, bringing him breakfast in bed and he will just flip shit at the poor woman. She looks like she’s on the verge of tears for the whole movie. Also I noticed, is it just me or does she sort of look like a partially reformed hippie? This movie is set in the 1970s and she looks a bit like a flower child throwback. It might explain the dazed expression on her face, why she lets an ape in a leisure suit with a receding hairline verbally abuse her, and maybe why she gave birth to a kid who has the trappings of severe fetal alcohol/substance syndrome and spends his days having seizures and talking to himself.
At about this time, Danny is having very strange and disturbing ghostly visions.. most of which would drive anyone to have seizures and talk to themselves.. the scary baby twins being one of them.
Not going to lie.. the first time I’d lay my eyes on nonsense like this, I’d be on the first bus home.
Danny also mentions nothing about any of this to his parents, and I mean obviously with good reason, because his mom is off ranting to herself about sandwiches and his Dad might possibly beat the ever loving shit out of him. And when I say ranting about sandwiches, there is one part where Wendy is just muttering to herself about sandwiches and tootling along in a horrible sack dress.. Then we see her in the kitchen opening up an industrial sized can of fruit cocktail or beans or some shit and she’s strapped this goofy ass apron over top of the sack dress, like, “Oh dearie me, better not get any fruit cocktail syrup on my corduroy tube..” What the actual fuck.
More days go by at the murder hotel and we get a nice scene of Jack Nicholson screaming himself awake (I do this quite frequently, and it certainly isn’t something people of sound minds are prone to), and he scares the sweet fuck out of his wife and then proceeds to tell her that he’s been dreaming of killing her, and she takes it pretty well.
Again.. I’d be on the first bus home. See ya later psycho husband of mine, don’t bother to write… But, being a good wife, she for whatever reason sticks around. She does also make it a habit to literally follow her husband around. He’s writing, and she follows him. He’s taking a dump and she’s probably fucking listening at the door. The family dynamic here is pretty fucked up.
Anyways at this point, Jack finds himself wandering into a magic bar and he pretty much goes.. well if I beat my kids when I’m drunk and when I’m sober I might as well be drunk, and starts drinking ghost alcohol. Also at this point he refers to his wife as “the old sperm bank” to the ghost bartender.. like fuck dude, why try to class it up.. just call her a cum dumpster… you know you want to.
Cut to some pretty epic shots of some absolutely terrifying carpet.. like wow. Don’t ever take LSD in this hotel because then you pretty much will either write music that will put the Beatles to shame, or you will kill your family.
Then we see a naked ass old lady corpse thing that Jack for some reason makes out with..
And who could forget this..
So while Jack is in the process of losing his fucking mind, his wife is tootling around the hotel mumbling about sandwiches and looking very much like she could front a folk band, or have a bit section in a Mumford and Sons video.
And of course there’s the blood elevator scene, but the Simpsons bit is better.
Also my notes from this part of the movie are as follows:
Good god this movie is long.
Fuck you stanley kubrick.
I need booze.
He’s got booze. Free booze. where’s my booze.. BOOZE
Back at the bar where he belongs, Jack is chilling out with more ghosts and for whatever reason the Butler just upends a bunch of booze on him and they go together into a bright red bathroom.. could you imagine? That would be the perfect place to rip some fat rails and just get instantly angry.
Maybe that’s why the inside of Target stores are bright red.. to make you angry so you.. spend more money? i don’t know.
Anyways, cut back to the kid who is now screaming “redrum” and saying “Danny’s not here”, I am still firm on my decision to put a pillow over his head and help him gently into that good night.
Also, Wonder Woman Plain and Tall seriously loves smoking.. She is also parent of the year, because she’s practically blowing cigarette smoke into that kid’s face. She really should just blow it into his glass of milk, “you are now in flavor country, son”.
She’s getting pretty sick of playing dowdy house wife so she goes to bug the shit out of her husband and see what he’s been doing and she finds his “all work and no play..” manuscript, and they face off.. her with a baseball bat and him, just generally freaking the fuck out. Apparently Stanley Kubrick demanded 127 takes of this scene, before he deemed it right.. could you imagine having to act that out? i guess Jack Nicholson was SO FUCKING ANGRY at the final take that that’s what it made it perfect. Pretty fucked up, no?
Anyways, Jack freaks the fuck out, grabs and axe and goes mad and starts trying to kill the shit out of his family. The dogfaced woman takes her kid and they try to hide out in the bathroom, and Danny is able to escape outside. Dick, the chef, tries to come to Wendy’s aid, but gets an axe in the gut for his effort.
The kid runs around through the maze a bit, and Wendy somehow escapes, and Jack Nicholson ends up like this:
And this is what he looks like now:
Ugh, so that was the Shining, kids. This is the second time in my whole life that I have watched it and it made me feel crazy. I can’t say that I didn’t like it, because that isn’t entirely true.. it made me feel crazy and also uneasy which is what Kubrick was trying to do, so in that way it was a successful film.. But I have to say I will honestly be just fine if I never ever have to watch it again.
Now we are on to:
Room 237, being an inquiry into the Shining in 9 parts (I’m not even kidding, this is what the movie bills itself as.. it’s so pretentious.. jesus fucking christ).
I will also preface this review in saying that a lot of this documentary was not linear at all and due to being pretty checked out after the Shining, I had some difficulty in following which bizarre theory belonged to which person, so I will apologize in advance for skipping shit and generally being an asshole. I have however chosen the cream of the weirdo crop here for you, and since this documentary is pretty readily available and apparently still touring I highly recommend anyone with 2hrs on their hands just go and have a watch.
Bill Blakemore opens the film and he believes that the Shining is an allegory to the mass genocide of Native Americans committed by white European settlers. He views the Native American motifs inherent in the hotel and peppered throughout the film as representative of broken peace treaties between settles and the indigenous peoples.
He goes into some pretty intense and deep detail, believing that in the kitchen scene he sees the “calumet” baking powder (calumet being a native term meaning peace pipe) as representing the fractured nature of the hotel. At first all of the calumet powder is faced perfectly and as the film goes on, the tins are all hither thither representing the take over of the hostile Native American spirits.
He also points out that ask Jack Torrance descends into madness that you can see Native American imagery becoming more prevalent in the film, which is sort of true, but that could also be that you’re just seeing more of the hotel.. I don’t really know.
He does describe seeing the Shining for the first time and sitting at the edge of his seat holding his belt freaking the fuck out.. That wouldn’t be awkward to sit beside in the movie theater. I would definitely move. Or leave.
Like imagine sitting down at a flick and some dick next to you is gripping his belt buckle at the edge of his seat having a religious experience… I would not be impressed.
Also this guy rants about the crying indian commercial for a while and rants more about baking powder peace pipes. He does some pretty good ranting, and I wonder what kind of powder he was actually into… what a crackhead.
That takes us to the only person in the documentary who actually makes any sense, and that person is Juli Kearns. She is pretty cray, but she brings up some actually valid points which aren’t rooted in the paranoid or deeply disturbed.
She basically says that she has for whatever reason mapped out the overlook hotel using shots of the film, and that many of the shots show us things that don’t make any sense and this what creates the feeling of unease and craziness that many viewers report feeling during a viewing of the Shining.
She specifically touches on the window in the interview room/manager’s office, saying that how she has mapped the hotel out.. there is no way the window could exist, and that it’s actually kind of a window to nowhere.
As to whether she is right or not I can’t really say, but I will agree that many of the shots in the Shining do make you feel like you’re sort of losing your mind. I felt this way both times I watched the movie, and like she points out Kubrick was something of a genius film maker, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all if her theory was correct or at least PARTIALLY correct.
To her credit she does seem like the least crazy person involved in this documentary, so props to her I suppose.
Next up in this grab bag of humanity is Jay Wieden, and he believes that the Shining is about faking the Apollo 11 moon landing and that Stanley Kubrick directed the faked film.
He’s pretty much as bat shit as you can get, and I do not think with any certainty that anyone has walked on the moon, and I think this dude is fucking bananaphone crazy.
Mr. Jay here believes that room 237 is actually the sound stage where the moon landing was faked, and that Kubrick is dropping hints about this all over the film.
He also admits to having his first religious experience when he watched 2001: A Space Odyssey.
He also has pretty much a psychotic break during his explanation of the room key on room 237 being shown as having “room no 237” on it, and he literally coos like a mourning dove, “moon, room, get it?” probably a million times.. and no I did not “get it”. All I got was that he was a lunatic and probably someone you might see outside the drug store yelling stuff about God.
And next up is Geoffrey Cocks (hehe cocks), and he is a historian who believes that the Shining is an allegory to the Holocaust. He makes note of the typewriter used by Jack (which changes colors through the film), and that it’s of a German Brand… The Adler.
He says that the German eagle on the type writer was a Nazi symbol and makes note of an eagle shirt that Jack is wearing.
He sees images of the Holocaust represented in different shots of the film and is very convinced of his theory.
I think he’s pretty much completely full of shit, because if you think about it, you can put your own views and bias into whatever you want, and pick and choose the parts you like or the parts that suit your needs and say anything is about anything or represents whatever you want.
For example – Watership Down. One of my favourite books.. about talking bunnies. Well the crustcore band Fall of Efrafa made a whole career out of the political messages they found inherent in Watership Down and how they found the book to be allegorical to human nature..
Well Richard Adams went on record to say that anyone taking any deeper meaning from his books other than talking bunnies is dead wrong and that he made up these stories for his children because THEY LIKED RABBITS,
Several members of Kubrick’s entourage have gone on record to say that Room 237 is pretty well bullshit and that everyone is kind of reaching out way too far. But since Stanley Kubrick is dead and can’t actually tell us what he was really trying to say (if anything) with his version of the Shining, we will never know.
So speculate all you want you fucks.
Alright, so since this is a double feature I decided to give each film their own Drunk in a Graveyard intoxicant rating..
The Shining – drink until beating your children is okay, or until your horsefaced wife looks hot
Room 237 – drink like your boyfriend just broke up with you, because no one wants to be your friend, because you clearly are crazy as fuck.
You probably could watch either of these films sober as a judge, but I wouldn’t.. not for all the tea in China. And I’m told that’s quite a bit, so until next time kids, remember to act single, drink doubles and stay spooky.