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)