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5 Conspiracy Theories About "The Shining" That Aren't In "Room 237"

The acclaimed documentary covers a lot of intriguing theories about Stanley Kubrick's classic film — but what about that mysterious figure in the giant river of blood?

The title of the new documentary Room 237 — which opens in New York this weekend, and expands nationwide through April — refers to the menacing, mysterious hotel room at the center of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, a film that has inspired perhaps more deep analysis, explication, and theorizing than pretty much any other major feature film of the last 40 years. In the doc, director Rodney Ascher and producer Tim Kirk interview five people who have dedicated a rather alarming amount of their lives to attempting to understand the multiple meanings packed inside Kubrick's adaptation of the Stephen King best-seller. Overtop a hypnotic collage of imagery, these five people — veteran journalist Bill Blakemore, history professor Geoffrey Cocks, playwright Juli Kearns, musician John Fell Ryan, and filmmaker Jay Weidner — unspool their always fascinating theories, ranging from keen observations about Kubrick's disorientating filmmaking to, say, how the film is really Kubrick confessing his involvement in faking the footage of the Apollo moon landing.

That last theory was what first inspired Ascher and Kirk to collaborate on a film assembling as many different theories about The Shining as they could find. "It seemed like the most interesting exercise," says Ascher, "would be to explore all of the symbolic analyses and let them collide in a demolition derby of ideas and pictures."

Well, not all of them. "We were going to do a comprehensive overview of every theory of The Shining," says Kirk, "and that's just impossible. Room 237 is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg."

So I asked them what theories didn't make the film — and here are the five most intriguing ones.

1. The twin girls are not Grady's daughters.

2. There is something in the river of blood.

View this video on YouTube

Another theory of Ager's involves the infamous river of blood gushing from one of the Overlook's elevators. If you squint, you can sort of make out a figure who seems to fall out of the elevator doors. Or maybe not. Watch Ager's super-creepy video above and decide for yourself.

3. Kubrick is exploring (and condemning) America abandoning the gold standard.

4. The whole film is a metaphor for the CIA's mind-control program.

5. Jack's position in the final photo is the same as the Tarot card position for Baphomet (i.e. the Devil).

OK, why are there so many kooky theories about this movie?