The Best Theories of 'Room 237'

Theory: The Shining is about the genocide of Native Americans.

Evidence: The Overlook Hotel's Navajo décor; Calumet baking-powder cans (logo: an Indian chief) appear at moments when characters are “making treaties”; Jack Nicholson's character, Jack Torrance, asks a phantom bartender to commiserate about “the white man's burden”; the Overlook is built over an Indian burial ground, which must be where the elevators haul the blood from.

Least Compelling Evidence: The silent, summer caretaker who sulks through Torrance's job interview and walks several steps behind his boss has skin that, on a muddy VHS copy, could possibly seem nonwhite.

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Theory: The Shining is a retelling of the myth of Theseus.

Evidence: Nicholson's Torrance looming over the hedge labyrinth; the hotel's maze-like structure and impossible architecture; a ballroom called the “Gold Room,” and Theseus followed a golden thread through the maze.

Least Compelling Evidence: If you squint correctly, a poster of a skier looks kind of like a Minotaur.

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Theory: The Shining has “a deeply laid subtext that takes on the Holocaust.”

Evidence: Torrance uses a typewriter from the German manufacturer Adler, the name “Adler” being German for “eagle,” the bird that represents Nazi Germany and no other country anywhere ever; Schindler's List had typewriters in it; the frequent appearance of the number “42”; an early dissolve from one scene to another seems to show Overlook Hotel tourists being turned into a stack of luggage; in the dissolve into the film's last shot, Nicholson's receding hairline in the penultimate image becomes a Hitler mustache on his face in the final one.

Least Compelling Evidence: In an establishing shot, there are 42 cars and trucks in the hotel parking lot.

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Theory: The Shining contains Stanley Kubrick's admission that he helped to fake the moon landing.

Evidence: All of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was an R&D project to perfect the front-screen projection techniques Kubrick would use when filming Neil Armstrong on a soundstage; curious lights in the background of NASA's moon-landing footage; the assertion that the fakery occurred on some studio's stage 237; the fact that Kubrick changed Steven King's room number from 217 to 237; the fact that the moon, according to older science textbooks, is some 237,000 miles from Earth; the no-joke, pretty-goddamn-amazing way the carpet young Danny Torrance plays on resembles satellite photos of the Apollo 11 launch site; Danny wears an Apollo 11 sweater as he marches into room 237.

Least Compelling Evidence: A keychain reading “ROOM No 237” has the letters M-O-O and N capitalized on it.

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