'Room 237' will explore the lasting impact of and fans' theories about 'The Shining'

'Room 237' explores the making of 'The Shining' while exploring its lasting legacy. 'Room 237' will also include contemporary debates about themes and hidden meanings in the movie.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
'Room 237' will analyze the movie 'The Shining,' which starred Jack Nicholson (pictured) and Shelley Duvall.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining may have received polarized reactions upon its 1980 release, but the film is widely considered a horror classic today thanks to a terrifyingly manic performance from Jack Nicholson, an immensely haunting setting and disturbing surrealistic imagery. The film has undoubtedly left a lasting nightmarish impact on viewers, as evidenced by the tagline for the upcoming documentary on the making of the film: “Some movies stay with you forever…and ever…and ever.”

The documentary, titled Room 237, takes fans of Kubrick’s adaptation of the famous Stephen King bestseller behind the scenes, exploring how the film was crafted while examining its subtext. This week, we are getting a look at the debut trailer for Room 237, which you can check out above. 

Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t give us a peek at never-before seen footage from behind the scenes of The Shining, but it does create a similar tone and mood that the film did. The very simple trailer builds excitement for the niche audience by scrolling quotes about the film’s cultural significance and its ambiguous nature, while re-creating one of the most memorable images from the film.

The trailer promises the documentary will tackle some of the symbolism and hidden meanings of the film that are still heavily debated today, including literary allusions to fairy tales and the argument that the film is a larger metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans.

Here’s the official synopsis for Room 237:

After the box office failure of ‘Barry Lyndon,’ Stanley Kubrick decided to embark on a project that might have more commercial appeal. ‘The Shining,’ Stephen King’s biggest critical and commercial success yet, seemed like a perfect vehicle. After an arduous production, Kubrick’s film received a wide release in the summer of 1980; the reviews were mixed, but the box office, after a slow start, eventually picked up. End of story? Hardly. In the 30 years since the film’s release, a considerable cult of ‘Shining’ devotees has emerged, fans who claim to have decoded the film’s secret messages addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to a range of government conspiracies. Rodney Ascher’s wry and provocative ‘Room 237′ fuses fact and fiction through interviews with cultists and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick’s still-controversial classic.

Like many of Kubrick’s films, The Shining was not immediately embraced by audiences or critics. Rather, the film slowly built a cult following that helped transform it into an accepted classic years later. Many members of its following became obsessed with what they perceived to be underlying themes in the film, creating intriguing discussion and informative essays – many of which contained what some may call radical, outside-thinking perspectives.

It’ll be interesting to see how the documentary unravels and explores many fans’ interpretations of The Shining and why it still resonates with horror aficionados more than 30 years after its theatrical release. It may not touch on much of Kubrick’s intensity as visionary auteur or the relationships between cast and crew, but its ambitious approach to the subject and the layers beneath one of our favorite horror movies definitely has us intrigued.

Daniel Johnson blogs at Screen Rant.

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