Interview: 'Room 237' Director & Producer On the Doc + 'The Shining'
by Ben Pearson
March 28, 2013
Director Rodney Ascher's documentary Room 237 has stuck with me ever since I first saw it at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is an exploration of the deeper themes and meanings found in Stanley Kubrick's classic 1980 psychological horror film The Shining as told by five different fans who have come up with some quasi-insane but often-convincing theories about what's really going on at the Overlook Hotel. (The trailer is here.) I had a chance to speak with Ascher and the film's producer Tim Kirk here in L.A., and we talked about the movie as a piece of film criticism, getting a release beyond the festival circuit, and more.
Room 237 made my year end top ten list last year, and hearing Ascher and Kirk speak about it reinforced my love for this film as a study of obsession viewed through one of Kubrick's most famous works. Ascher in particular draws interesting correlations between The Shining and Room 237 that fans will enjoy hearing.
Here's my video interview with Room 237 director Rodney Ascher (left) and producer Tim Kirk (right):
We hope you enjoyed the interview. Thanks to Marina and Sara at Marina Bailey Film Publicity for setting me up for this chat, and to Mr. Ascher and Mr. Kirk for speaking with me on camera about this doc. IFC Films originally picked up Room 237 and will releasing it in limited theaters soon, starting with a small release in New York City on March 29th, 2013 at IFC Center and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. It will then expand to Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and Austin on April 5th. However - it will also be available on VOD and iTunes starting this week, so if you've been waiting for that chance to watch this, now is the time.
Rodney Ascher's wry and provocative documentary Room 237 fuses fact and fiction through interviews with cultists and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick's still-controversial 1980 horror.
Reader Feedback - 5 Comments
I want to see this bad. I wish they'd at least release it On Demand with Comcast. I literally check that every few days to see if it made it on there.
PBGray on Mar 28, 2013
Don’t worry, you could watch it if you wanted online for free, but I strongly advise seeing it at allt. Despite this reviewer’s assessment it is absolute crap. While presenting itself as a revelation, it is unfortunately nothing more than a distraction to the real truth behind the film. As “insane” as it sounds, this film serves as more of a counter information propaganda piece. Instead of delving behind the Real truth behind this undisputed masterpiece, it does it injustice by only scratching the surface…on purpose. What blows my mind is how absolute crap the production is too. It completely abuses a tool that so often compliments instrumental parts of a movie, and does so in several ways. First, the music scored is overkilled throughout the Entire film! It uses a badly produced fast paced “dark” synth beat to ascribe an insidious tone to the absolute inane references it claims, and compensate for the half ass low budget voice narration and library film clips. Half way through, one of the commentators interrupts his assertions because in the living room where is recording from his baby is crying and his wife has to take him. This documentary is a complete JOKE! Both trailers led me to believe I was in for a cinematic reinterpretation. While it Does point out the how the room 237 key spells out “Moon room” and goes on to explain the conspiracy of Kubrick’s involvement with the Apollo 11 moon landing (barely), and how Kubrick showed King that he simply used his story for his own devices… it falls short by MILES. WHAT IS INTERESTING is that the original documentary on youtube about the deeper symbolism of this movie is no longer there. This CRAP “documentary” is an information dissemination piece. What’s pretty funny too, is how it fails to mention the true particular symbolism within Eyes Wide Shut, and how it is directly connected to the Shining. Eyes Wide Shut is about ONE THING. Four days after Kubrick showed his films to the wbExecs he mysteriously died, and it became his ONLY film to have ever been edited…and heavily too. In other words, not only did it leave out what Kubrick wanted to show everyone , but he paid the price for trying to. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME WATCHING THIS GARBAGE, and research the MORE RELEVANT symbolism behind the shining, before that gets erased too.
MONOLITH on Mar 29, 2013
1. "... but I strongly advise seeing it at allt." Based on the rest of your review/rant/very long paragraph, I think you mean advise not seeing it? 2. Why would you expect a documentary about The Shining to discuss Eyes Wide Shut? It's not a Kubrick documentary, it's a Shining documentary. Would you find fault in an ET documentary for not mentioning Jurassic Park? 3. It's certainly possible he was 'assassinated', but it doesn't exactly scream conspiracy when a 70 year old man who has been significantly overweight for much of his life has a heart attack. It's not that his other movies were never edited it's that he did the editing himself, and considering he was deceased, SOMEONE had to do the final cut. Not saying they did what he would have liked, of course, but still. 4. You'd be taken far more seriously if you presented a rational, calm argument with proper punctuation that refrained from the more abstract theories surrounding Kubrick's life and death. You can voice your displeasure with the movie and discuss it's shortcomings without resorting to 'the man got him' ravings that will cause most people to dismiss your entire post.
Wafffles on Mar 31, 2013
Such an awful doc based on seemingly nothing more than the fact that Kubrick was eccentric.Terribly made as well, not worth your time unless you must devour anything related to Kubrick or The Shining.
Mike Jones on Apr 1, 2013
Im trying to watch this doc right now and its terrible. It's conjecture and rediculous reading into things. Including the actual structure of the hotel being mysteriously wrong. ITS NOT WRong....its a movie....they do things a certain way for how they look....not how it fits together. OMG....I'm only gonna watch the rest of it cause for some dumb reason i paid for it.
Patrick Foster on Apr 9, 2013
Sorry, no commenting is allowed at this time.