Friday, June 13, 2008

The Crushed Red VW

A lot of what’s written about Stanley Kubrick’s movies is speculation. In this blog I’ve tried to stay away from any unfounded hypotheses (like the possible psychological motivations of characters) because I want what I’ve written to be as accurate and as provable (using pictures and dialogue from the movie and the novel) as possible.

What I’m going to show you here, though, is pure speculation on my part; but I’m sure I’ve nailed it. Recently ZB posted a comment and asked a question about this shot as Dick Hallorann drives up to The Overlook.

He said “The red VW bug is certainly not just some random vehicle” which got me thinking because I actually feel that very little in this movie is random. I noticed the red VW bug early on in this project long before reading the novel. Still being in “finding numbers mode”, I knew of two others and went searching for the last VW certain there would be a total of 4 different colors (yellow, white, red and ????). This was a simple task but I could never find the last one, even in Danny’s toys. This lost VW was one of the only things I looked for but couldn’t find in the movie so I forgot about it before proceeding to read the novel. Realizing that the colors of the two main vehicles in the novel being reversed in the movie was a much bigger deal, I never thought about the crushed red VW bug again until I saw ZB’s comment. The only important red VW in this whole story is in the novel and it’s the vehicle that brings the Torrances to The Overlook. I now feel, after reading the novel, that Stanley Kubrick used this scene to convey a distinct message to someone special.

There’s only one person on the face of this earth whose blood would boil upon seeing that crushed red VW bug up on the screen। Can you just imagine being Stephen King watching this movie in a theater with no graceful way to escape? Watching with your friends who are commenting on everything from your prized story being reversed, inverted and turned upside down in the most brilliant of fashions, than coming upon this scene and seeing a smashed red VW bug on the way to The Overlook? The same VW that brought the Torrances there in your novel and now whose color some dreadful omnipresent director has changed to an awful yellow. I know very little about Stanley Kubrick’s personality but I feel, if I’m right, this is a bit on the nasty side, "Shined" from the mind of one genius to another. The red VW could represent Stephen King’s original story, and it’s been crushed by the towering brilliance of Stanley Kubrick’s movie. This may have been Stephen King’s cameo in this movie. Could he possibly be the driver? I’m sure this is why after seeing it Stephen King described Kubrick’s film as “a big beautiful Cadillac, with no engine.” My, my, what a big truck and what big cajones [ko'xones].

If you don’t buy my speculation than I’ve just wasted some more time and it’s nothing more than a meaningless crushed red VW bug caught up in a bad snowstorm.

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Text (C) 2008 Jonny53 (1)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Where are the Hedge Animals from the novel?

If you ask 10 people who have read the novel haw many Hedge Animals there are you will probably get 10 different answers. The reason for this is Stephen King only tells us at the beginning of the story (page 46) how many and what they are, and every time they’re mentioned in the novel some seem to be doing something else or seem to have just disappeared.

There are 7 Hedge Animals in the book, "a rabbit, a dog (German Shepard), a horse, a cow (buffalo), and a trio of bigger ones that looked like frolicking lions", and they guard The Overlook. Some feel that they’ve been left out of the movie, thinking the animals were dropped in lieu of the Hedge Maze, but that just isn’t true; they are there and I feel they have a definite purpose. To say they’re hidden might be a little much but it seems that no one has really noticed them. I believe they're another example of something that’s hidden in plain site by Stanley Kubrick.

The rabbit is the one I noticed first and it sent me searching for the rest even though at first glance the others aren’t quite as obvious.

Here’s the cow on the shelf.

The horse and the cow seem to disappear later on in the novel but here they’re in posters on the back walls as Danny sees the twins in The Overlook gameroom.

To understand the purpose of them in the movie you have to click here and look at these pictures remembering what I discovered in reading the novel. In viewing the movie we’re looking at the novel through a special mirror and every major plot point is reversed. Not only were the Hedge Animals reversed from the front of The Overlook in the novel to a Hedge Maze in the rear but, Stephen King placed the Hedge Animals as The Overlook’s protectors. Stanley Kubrick changes that and separated the hedges and animals from each other. In another reversal both now end up being Danny’s protectors. Some may not believe this because they don’t seem to do anything in the movie, but I think you'll agree that I’m right when you look at the next few pictures.

Almost all of them are in his room as they appear in pictures and as Danny’s toys. A dog, a lion, and an elephant (two ivory elephants guard the east-wing ballroom in the novel (Chapter 37, Page 206).

Another rabbit on his sweatshirt.

Another dog hanging on the wall.

Even though Stanley Kubrick shows us a tiger ("Tony The Tiger" on a Frosted Flakes box right behind Wendy's head in the kitchen right after she locks Jack in the storeroom) the three lions were the toughest to find because they’re symbolic and not visually seen as actual lions. In the novel every time they appear it’s not clear how many of them are there. Sometimes it seems like two and at other times one. But where could Stanley Kubrick hide them in the movie? If you read the novel there’s a yellow Arctic Cat snowmobile in The Overlook's shed and Dick Hallorann saves them in a Ski-Doo snowmobile (Color unmentioned). Only snowmobiles are mentioned there yet in the movie Stanley Kubrick’s reversal is obvious as only red Sno-cats, a totally different snow vehical with an enclosed cab, are used. The Sno–Cats obviously represent the lions and are protecting Danny by being essential in getting Dick Hallorann up the mountain and, in his and Wendy’s escape after eluding Jack in the Hedge Maze (that also protects him from Jack). The problem is that we see only two Sno–Cats in the movie; right? The one in the garage and the one Dick Hallorann uses to get up the mountain. Maybe not, if you look at the top of the Sno-Cat Mr. Ullmann shows them in the tour it might not be the same one that Wendy looks at in the snowstorm. Who knows????

There are other examples of these animals throughout the movie (no lions though) but there’s one that isn’t obvious. I always thought that the dog barking 13 times before the shot of Danny and Wendy having lunch in their kitchen in the beginning of the movie was one of them also.

If you find any more, or the three lions, post them here.

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Text (C) 2008 Jonny53 (9)