Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is the subject of many theories, but the latest presents a pretty compelling explanation for the film's weird clues. The Shining is perhaps the most analyzed film of all-time, or at least up there on the list, and it's not too hard to see why. For one, Kubrick is famous for putting lots of thought into each and every frame of his films, so everything seen may well have some type of significance. Additionally, unlike Stephen King's source novel, Kubrick's Shining tends to leave things more vague.
King's story is a lot more straightforward in presenting a tale of recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance being driven mad by the Overlook Hotel's malevolent spirits, who are clearly both real and powerful, and want to claim Danny Torrance's life in order to add him to their ranks and absorb his considerable psychic power. Kubrick's film is a lot less clear, as while Danny's Shining power is clearly established as real, the ghosts could conceivably all be in Jack's head, with his psychotic behavior brought on by a combination of cabin fever, his ongoing battle with the urge to drink, alienation from his family as a result of that battle, and extreme frustration with his writer's block.
The Shining has had so many theories written about what it "really" means that an entire documentary film, entitled Room 237, was released solely for the purpose of examining it. The latest Shining theory arrives courtesy of Twitter user Delaney King, and makes an interesting case for yet another new interpretation of Kubrick's masterpiece. We're taking a look at the essentials of the theory below, but those interested are also encouraged to read the full thread linked above.
Shining Theory: The Ghosts Aren't Real, Danny Causes Everything
The biggest aspect on which the rest of this new Shining theory is built is that the various ghosts haunting the Overlook are not at all real, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, the theory posits that Danny's powers - which are shown to be quite strong - are broadcasting the horrifying images that Jack sees, leading to Jack's mental collapse. The idea is that Danny isn't knowingly doing this, but his power is so strong that it broadcasts out of him like a beacon, and the images he sends out are made up of things he overhears, reads about, and sees inside the Overlook. This explains why some of the imagery is so odd and doesn't entirely make sense.
Shining Theory: Danny's Powers Are a Metaphor for TV
Building on the idea that Danny is broadcasting images to Jack, the theory suggests that Danny is a stand-in for the medium of TV itself. Much like TV, Danny's projections captivate and enrapture the viewer, and since Jack is frustrated, angry, and looking for a mental escape, he's easily convinced what he's seeing is real. Furthering the TV interpretation is Danny's Apollo 11 shirt, which many people have used to further the crazy theory that Kubrick faked the moon landing. Instead, the shirt is meant to reference how the landing was one of the most-widely viewed broadcasts ever. It's a complex theory, but an interesting entrant into the ever-expanding attempt to figure out what Kubrick really meant The Shining to convey.
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