“It’s just a matter a settling back into the habit of writing everyday.”
While Jack condescendingly mocks Wendy for her perhaps naive observation, she’s right. Jack has “lots of ideas, but no good ones,” but good ideas can come from the process of active writing. When Wendy suggests Jack take her for a walk, Jacks says “perhaps I should do some writing first.” Jack applies pressure on himself to try and write all day, but a walk would do his creative mind a world of good. Writing everyday does not mean writing all day, it means incorporating writing into the rhythm of life, making it as natural as eating or sleeping … things which are already causing problems for Jack, sleeping in and not eating meals with his family.
∆ Look at Kubrick, he does his writing in the kitchen. Everyone is doing their thing all around him, but he’s perfectly able to be creative without the extreme privacy Jack thinks he needs.
∆ Jack thinks he needs these grand surroundings to write, that his writing comes from his “ideas” — hermetic, mystical inspiration. But writing is meant to be read. Jack really loses shutting Wendy out of his process. She’s a great reader and you get the feeling all the stacks of books around are hers, not Jack’s.
In The Shining, there are twelve shots of The Twins in the hallway across from the Torrence’s Overlook apartment. Eight of the shots feature The Twins standing, four of the shots feature The Twins covered in blood and lying down. Four doubled is eight, so like magical number 42, we have an instance of something big next to something small, or macrocosm-microcosm … all ties into the essential, oedipal conflict between father and son.
∆ 1: We first see The Twins in the hallway as part of Danny’s bathroom vision at the Boulder Apartment. Note the glass-framed fire hose to the right.
∆ 2: Danny has a second vision of The Twins in the hallway after touching the doorknob to Room 237. Note the slightly darker tone compared to the previous shot.
∆ 3: On his third and final Big Wheel ride, Danny is seen in the same frame as The Twins for the first time.
∆ 4: In the second shot of Danny and The Twins together, note that Danny has moved slightly to the right. Note the framed artwork on the left has lost its shine from the previous shot.
∆ 5: In the third and final shot of Danny and The Twins together, Danny has moved even further to the right. Note how his right hand has cleared the blue carpet. Danny’s overarching narrative of movement to the right is noted in kdk12 essays Tony Speaks and The Games Room.
∆ 6: The first shot of the The Twins covered in blood and lying down. Note only The Twin’s left arms are visible. The axe and the 3-leg chair also point left.
∆ 7: The first of three shots of The Twins standing without Danny in the hallway. Note fire alarms to the left and exit sign to the right. Note the double carpeted paths to the left. Note also the faint outline of a framed artwork directly to the left of the Twins.
∆ 8: Second shot of the bloody Twins. Note the framed artwork to the left, shifted counter-clockwise (or left) from its hanging. Note also the fire hose to the right, taller than the framed artwork.
∆ 9: Second shot of The Twins alone in the hallway. The framed artwork on left and the fire hose on the right are now clearly viewed, as well as the blue carpet running left. Note the cream molding running left along the ceiling.
∆ 10: Third shot of the bloody Twins. Note how the left-pointing 90º angle of the upper molding clearly breaks the superficial symmetry of the hallway sequence. All the shots of the bloody twins are virtually identical, but as Kubrick decoder Rob Ager has noted, The Twins are breathing in the sequence of shots.
∆ 11: Both the third and final in the ‘zooming’ sequence shots of The Twins standing alone , and the third and final almost identical shot of The Twins as seen in Danny’s previous two visions of the girls in the hallway, except for the fact they are talking and the twin on the right now has her right hand covering the twin on the left’s left hand, when in the previous visions it was the other way around. Note that the framed artwork previously on the left has now disappeared.
∆ 12: Third and final shot of the bloody Twins, and final shot of The Twins in the hallway, and final shot of The Twins altogether.
The subliminal message of the Twins sequence is clear: left is death.
Artwork on the left disappears and darkens; in the bloody shots, the weapon and the carpeting points to the left; The left-handed Twin is dominant, smiling with her hand covering the right-handed twin, frowning.
Danny moves to the right. In the final standing Twins vision, the right-handed girl dominates. The exit sign is on the right. The fire hose is on the right. Danny exits the Hotel into the cool blue of night, surrounded by water in ice, snow and mist formation.
Danny speaks as “Tony” seven times in The Shining, switching Tony’s representation from his left index finger to his right index finger (after witnessing the bloody Twins vision.) Danny speaks as Tony twice with each hand and three times without finger display. As shown in The Games Room, the left hand is coded red and right-brained, the right hand coded blue and left-brained. As Tony shifts from left-hand to right-hand, he shifts from being fearful and evasive to being rational and straightforward. As Kubrick tells Michel Ciment in an interview,
Danny has had a frightening and disturbing childhood. Brutalized by his father and haunted by his paranormal visions, he has had to find some psychological mechanism within himself to manage these powerful and dangerous forces. To do this, he creates his imaginary friend, Tony, through whom Danny can rationalize his visions and survive.
∆ The first time we hear Danny speak as Tony in a high voice, nodding his left index finger. Tony says he doesn’t want to go to The Hotel. Note the milk is on Danny’s right side. Danny is right handed (throws darts and snowballs with his right hand.)
∆ The second time we hear Danny speak as Tony, he has his left hand on the sink, while stirring water with his right hand. This time Danny speaks as Tony in a low voice, predicting that Jack will soon call Wendy, which comes to pass in the next shot.
As shown in The Boulder Apartment, Danny faces the mirror northward, with a green sewing room reminiscent of Room 237 behind it. Recall The Games Room formula of left-to-right movement from low/red to high/blue. Note the red and yellow Dopey and red and yellow rubber duckie and pink toilet seat to the left and water and mirrors to the right, with a green horizontal connecting the two sides. When we see this view again after Danny has switched to the bed, Dopey will have disappeared and the duckie will have flown to the window. Warm-colored things will have to move to the right to survive.
∆ The third time we encounter Tony, Danny nods his left index finger (however reflected in the mirror) while speaking as Tony in a low voice. Danny asks Tony why he doesn’t want to go to the Hotel. Tony is evasive at first, but then relents and Danny experiences a vision of the bloody elevator, the twins and himself screaming in the service hallway cupboard. With Bugs Bunny on his chest, Danny is going ‘down the rabbit hole’ and facing the mirror, travelling ‘through the looking glass’ to his own ‘Wonderland’, the Overlook Hotel. Once there in the mirror world, Tony switches fingers to the right.
∆ The fourth time we encounter Tony, after witnessing the final Twins vision, Danny nods his right index finger and speaks as Tony in a low voice. This is the center speech of Tony in the narrative and the key to Danny’s victory. Tony tells Danny,
It’s just like pictures in a book. It isn’t real.
Now that Tony occupies Danny’s right hand, he now occupies Danny’s left brain, and in Kubrick’s words, rationalizes his visions in order to survive. From this point on, Danny’s visions of the bloody elevator are triggered by his father’s angry outbursts, and we can associate the bloody elevator with Jack’s ‘left hand path’ to achieve a higher consciousness through child sacrifice.
∆ The fifth time we encounter Tony is after Wendy attempts to wake up Danny from a trance in which he chants “red rum”. Danny reacts slowly and seriously to Wendy, and with hands down, speaking as Tony in a low voice directly to Wendy, “Danny’s gone away, Mrs. Torrence.” Danny-as-Tony faces right as his shadow faces the opposite direction.
∆ The sixth time we hear Tony, Danny nods his right index finger and speaks (now exclusively) as Tony in a low voice. Note the milk (now darkened) is on Danny’s left side, flipping polarity from lunch in the Boulder Apartment.
∆ The seventh and final time we encounter Tony, Danny speaks as Tony in a low voice, repeating “red rum”, and picks up the knife in his left hand. Note the glass of water present. Danny stirred water in the bathroom sink as Tony predicted the future, and the same will happen here with the “REDRUM = MURDER” prediction. Danny-as-Tony tests the blade with his right thumb, walks across the room to the mirror (however not reflected in it) picks up lipstick in his right hand. Note the knife blade is facing Danny.
∆ Continuing repeating “red rum” in a low voice, Danny-as-Tony writes “REDRUM” on the bathroom door. With sword in his left hand and a pen in his right, Danny is in accordance with the “left hand path” equalling taboo and sacrifice, and the “right hand path” equalling logic and communication.
∆ Danny turns toward Wendy, now repeating “red rum” in his own loud voice. Between the edit, the knife has flipped around and now the blade faces outwards. Danny has switched polarity. Later, during Wendy’s series of night visions, this knife will continue to switch polarities, alternating between her left and right hands.
∆ Wendy sees “MURDER” reflected in the bedroom mirror. Note the short, reddish lamp to the left and the tall, purplish lamp to the right.
∆ Immediately thereafter, Wendy hears Jack’s axe hitting the apartment door to the left. She picks Danny up and moves him right to the bathroom.
∆ Danny seems himself, terrified but alert. We don’t encounter Tony anymore. Note Danny’s left eye is covered and he is looking through his right eye only. From now on, Danny’s focus is on using craft to defeat his father and save his mother and himself.
∆ Jack Nicholson was born April 22, 1937. Danny Lloyd was born January 1, 1973. Nicholson’s and Lloyd’s birth years are reversals of each other making them both two ‘37’s’ like the taboo Room 237 — only father and son visit the mystical room.
∆ It is interesting to note that Lloyd is now, in the early 2010s, approximately as old as Nicholson was in the late 1970s, when making The Shining. In fact, in 2010 (aka ‘The Year We Make Contact’) Nicholson was 73 while Lloyd was 37.
∆ 2010, the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, ends with the destruction of Jupiter and the birth of a second sun. Around the real year 2010, Stephen King began writing a sequel to The Shining entitled Dr. Sleep, concerning Danny’s adult life.
∆ Kubrick himself acknowledges the coincidence of the doubling or even tripling of names in The Shining. There’s Jack Nicholson and Jack Torrence, Danny Lloyd and Danny Torrence … not to mention Lloyd the bartender. But there is another Lloyd in the picture…
∆ Frank Lloyd Wright inspired the design of The Gold Room over which the ghostly Lloyd the bartender presides.
∆ Kubrick mentions the Gold Room being inspired by a “Frank Lloyd Wright men’s room in an hotel in Arizona,” a place that could only be the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, the only Wright hotel in Arizona, and the only surviving Wright hotel in the world.
∆ The Gold Room at the Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona.
∆ Lobby at the Biltmore Arizona.
∆ Exterior of the Biltmore Arizona, featuring the Mayan revival textile block design, a 1920s trademark of Frank Lloyd Wright. Actually, the textile block idea was Wright’s only real contribution to the hotel, as he only served as a consultant for a few months on the project to main architect, Albert Chase McArthur, who in turn was Wright’s student decades before. Wright publicly disputed with McArthur over the final design, preferring a square block design over’s McArthur’s rectangular unit.
∆ Exterior of the Ennis House, Los Angeles, California. Wright had used the textile block design in a series of Mayan revival houses he built in Los Angeles in the 1920s. We can see the pyramid structures and tiled surfaces of The Gold Room more clearly here.
∆ Hallway in the Ennis House, which has been a featured location in a number of movies, notably The House On Haunted Hill and Blade Runner.
∆ In Blade Runner, the Ennis House serves as backdrop and inspiration for the design of Deckard’s apartment house. In the scene above, Decakrd’s car enters the real driveway of the Ennis House.
∆ The familiar Mayan revival textile block designs line the parking lot, the hallway.
∆ And the Blade Runner’s apartment number? Well … Room 237 reversed!
∆ No bartender, the blade runner serves himself a drink.
∆ Like the real Ennis house, Deckard’s apartment is in a crowded neighborhood.
∆ Google street view of the Ennis House.
∆ And what kind of car is parked at the neighbors’ across the street?
Another sighting of the synchromystic Yellow Beetle.
∆ The Frank Lloyd Wright pyramids of The Gold Room of The Shining find analog in the Tyrell Corporation headquarters in Blade Runner.
∆ With the hallways of the Ennis House echoed in Tyrell’s meeting room. Note that the special effects designer of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Douglas Trumbull, also did the effects for Blade Runner.
∆ And who plays the head of the Tyrell Corporation?
∆ Why it’s Lloyd the bartender! (As played by Kubrick regular Joe Turkel.)
∆ There are other Frank Lloyd Wright synchs with The Shining. Above is pictured the first Taliesin House, Wisconsin, Wright’s studio, home and headquarters. Kubrick also maintained a home studio at his Childwickbury Manor.
∆ In echo of The Shining, Taliesin was the sight of an axe murder. In 1914, one night, while the inhabitants dined, a deranged servant locked all the doors, ringed the house with kerosene and set it on fire, killing seven people with an axe as they tried to escape, including Wright’s mistress, Mamah Cheney and two of her children. (Wright was not at home during the massacre.)
∆ This guest house at Taliesin, where bodies were taken to after attack, is said to be haunted by Mamah’s ghost. Her relationship with Wright was a great scandal, as they both left families behind to be together. Wright’s departure with Cheney also marked his departure from the prairie house style devoted to the middle class family and his movement towards serving “all the best people” with more extravagant designs, like the textile block houses in Los Angeles. Consider Jack Torrence’s frustrations with his family as confided to ghosts Lloyd the bartender and later Grady in the fatal Frank Lloyd Wright men’s room.
∆ After rebuilding Taliesin, which burned down a second time, Wright relocated operations to Scottsdale, Arizona. The sun room of Taliesin West pictured above, reminiscent of the writer’s HOME in A Clockwork Orange.
∆ The “Red Room” at Taliesin West, a lecture hall, however plush, but also reminiscent of the movie theater in A Clockwork Orange.
∆ The “Monolith” at Taliesin West.
“Out here in the great spaces obvious symmetry claims too much, I find, wearies the eye too soon and stultifies the imagination. Obvious symmetry usually closes the episode before it begins. So for me I felt there could be no obvious symmetry in any building in this great desert.” - Frank Lloyd Wright