Some weeks ago (was this before or after the Elisa Lam mystery?) I accidentally chanced upon this guy’s videos on youtube. First I saw (one of?) his stunning video essay on John Carpenter’s The Thing in which (spoiler-ish alert) he makes a strong argument about Childs’ fate at the end of the film [NB: let’s say we now know for certain one way or the other], and then gives us a further hard turn of the screw by suggesting (through some sharp-eyed viewing, a deeper insight into the bookending “checkmate” motifs, and, extra-filmically, testimony from Carpenter’s script– or was that a Carpenter interview?) that the resolution of our fate rests upon one final surprise move.
Then I watched some videos on Kubrick’s The Shining: a stunning pair about the geometric discontinuities of the film’s extraordinary sets, as well as a video essay dedicated to the Grady daughters.
After a late evening of frenzied ad hoc marathon viewing, as these things happen, I tucked this copious trove of argument and insight into the back of my mind, knowing that (as with Elisa Lam, and a thousand other matters of moment) I’d have to get back to it all later.
But then, tonight, over at heartiste, Woodrow Wilson came up, and somebody (wait, is that GBFM(TM)s sparring parter, the DJ A King Matt King?) [UPDATE: No, he’s not! –Sorry, I guess I got a little too excited over the Roth-Hagar implications for world peace or something. Tho I think GBFM would probably ask, like Camille Paglia, “Would Caruso go on stage with Tiny Tim?” lozlzl] linked to a youtube video on The Shining, claiming it was incredible stuff and had to be seen to be believed, etc. Well, I thought, I know there’s this one guy on youtube who has some incredible things to say about The Shining, but would that be–?
Four parts in all. Pay careful attention to the Kubrick quote early in this first clip: “Every face around Jack is an archetype of the period.” The choice of words seems only to evoke period décor, nostalgia, Jazz Age “types”. If Rob is correct, though, the word “archetype” is very knowing on Kubrick’s part, a wry acknowledgement of the extra-long con he’s played on us all.
Besides this four-part series and the others alluded to above, there appears to be even more (he has multiple accounts or “channels”, as he’s run into corporate problems over his educational use of film clips). He’s worthily obsessed with The Shining. Whether you finally are convinced by his many shocking but richly detailed arguments, you’ll thrill to the keenness with which he amasses detail upon detail. What he’s doing with The Shining and a small canon of other films is akin to how G. Wilson Knight constructed his exegeses on Shakespeare. it’s a thrilling display of erudition, and certain to enthrall anyone who has ever submitted to this extraordinary Gothic-baroque horror film– even as, in “Kubrick’s Gold Story”, he takes us into intellectual territory that ranges well beyond the already expansive web of familial, spatial, and supernatural archetypes everybody experiences in viewing the film.
Here’s the start of a series on A Clockwork Orange, which makes some more GreatBooksForMen(TM)-friendly arguments: