Rodney Ascher

The Shining Triplets

On this week’s show, we launch a new feature called Convince Me, and in our inaugural edition, Geoff tries to convince me that The Shining deserves a remake (or re-adaptation if you’re nasty). We tie all of that up nicely with a pink bow by discussing the Torrance family conspiracy doc Room 237 with Nonfics editor-in-chief Chris Campbell (who also tells us a bit about the brand new site and how he plans to convert more people into documentary lovers). So come play with us. You should follow Chris (@thefilmcynic), Katy Perry (@katyperry),the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #35 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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S From Hell

Why Watch? Filled with aggressively melodramatic statements about a simple logo and theme song, this short from Room 237 director Rodney Ascher is a deftly funny exploration of something that should be (and is) completely harmless. But it’s got a trick up its sleeve. Maybe it’s the hypnotic throng of the continually repeated synth theme or the queasy presentation of nightmarish scenarios, but after the laughter dies down, you really start to feel uneasy about that damned “S.” The dichotomy is pristine — a joyous sound accompanying a slick-looking, vibrant icon matched with bizarre personal accounts of terror. Ascher and the production stick to their guns the whole way, never smirking, never winking at the audience. When aliens find this in 10 years (yeah, that soon), they’re going to believe this company’s logo really was the handiwork of Satan. And of course you’ll want to stay through the credits for one last twist of the knife. What will it cost? Around 8 minutes. Skip Work. Watch More Short Films.

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Room 237 Teaser

There are a ton of horror classics that get revisited by movie fans around this time of year, but perhaps none are more dense, rich, respected, and downright creepifying as Stanley Kubrick’s unique take on Stephen King’s story of old hotels, hauntings, and Jack Nicholson going crazy, The Shining. Apart from being one of the greatest horror films of all time, The Shining is often just considered one of the greatest films of all time, period. And that’s why it’s developed an over thirty-year history of ongoing post-film discussion. The Shining’s legions of fans are devoted, so much so that many of them spend countless hours poring over ever little detail of the film, trying to suss out and decode what every little splatter of blood, every surreal image, every number on a hotel room door means in the greater scheme of things. The cult surrounding this film is so interesting that director Rodney Ascher and producer Tim Kirk decided to make a documentary about it. Their film is called Room 237, and they describe it by saying, “Room 237 is a subjective documentary feature which explores numerous theories about Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and its hidden meanings. This guided tour through the most compelling attempts to decode this endlessly fascinating film will draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out. Discover why many have been trapped in the Overlook for 30 years.”

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There is something of a perfect storm of artistry in 1980’s The Shining that more than accounts for that film’s widely held distinction as a classic. The novel was written by Stephen King, a guy even your great-grandmother’s skittish bridge partners recognize as a master of literary horror. The inevitable film adaptation was then directed by certified mad genius Stanley Kubrick. Anyone who’s seen the film, and there are probably a few, knows that eerie supernatural atmosphere and strikingly offsetting imagery abound. What may not be so ingrained in the collective consciousness is the legion of conspiracy theories surrounding The Shining. Rodney Ascher‘s documentary Room 237 seeks to shed light on these various conspiracies with the help of a host of unseen interviewees whose explanations are then diagrammed using footage of the celebrated horror film and other inserted images. On the surface, hearing the name and digesting the premise of this doc, Room 237 offers extraordinary promise to genre fans. The idea of actual mysterious, ominous context to our favorite horror films somewhat legitimizes our fandom and presents the possibility of mining new scares out of movies we’ve undoubtedly watched enough times to have memorized  forwards and backwards. In fact, Room 237 actually suggests a new, hidden meaning to The Shining exists in viewing it backwards and forwards simultaneously; one transparently laid over the other. This feat may be difficult to accomplish, but it exists in a realm of intrigue along with the age-old theory of listening to Dark Side […]

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If you’re the sort of person who loves conspiracy theories, hidden meanings, codes, ciphers, clues, and other mysteries that bear unraveling, then Room 237 is right up your alley. Director Rodney Ascher has put together a fascinating movie that will most likely change the way you watch Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining forever, or will at least make you search out some of the things that are discussed in this documentary. Ascher, the director of the hilarious (and creepy) short from The S From Hell about the Screen Gems logo that was shown at Sundance 2010, is behind this clever documentary that mostly uses footage from Stanley Kubrick’s films (including The Shining, of course) to tell the stories of several different interview subjects: who each have a different view of the secret meanings of The Shining.

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For some time now, we’ve been in love with the art of short filmmaking, but we’ve never found a good way to cover them. So once a week, we will bring you a short film that we’ve enjoyed, or that we find interesting, in a new feature we call Sunday Shorts. This week, Sunday Shorts presents…

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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