Room 236

I love Rodney Ascher’s work. The first thing I ever saw from him was an amazing piece of video animation built around those awesome Jack Chick Comics.

A few years ago, he and I collaborated on a pilot for VH1 called “First Person,” the idea of which was that we’d link the audiobook versions of rock stars’ lives to Rodney’s amazing animation style. Our pilot was built around Gene Simmons – you can see it here.

This week, Rodney’s film “Room 237” is premiering at Sundance, in the “New Frontiers” category.

“Room 237” chronicles the obsessions and obsessives around Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Turns out, there’s a LOT of people who think that the film is laced with secret messages and hidden meanings. And, given that Kubrick was an obsessive director who was known to do 100 takes of a shot, they’ve got their reasons.

The doc is very much in the style of Rodney’s “The S From Hell,” which details (in Rodney’s words) “The scariest corporate symbol in history – The 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka ‘The S From Hell.’ Built around interviews with survivors still traumatized from their childhood exposure to the logo after shows like Bewitched or The Monkees, the film brings their stories to life with animation, found footage, and dramatic reenactments.”

Among the amazing details in “Room 237” – the crash of a red Volkswagen, witnessed on the side of the road on the way to the Overlook, is Kubrick’s message to the audience that “this is not the novel.” (The Grady family in the book drove a Red Volkswagen.) Tins and labels in the hotel’s pantry refer to the American “slaughter” of the Native American population – and the tale itself (as detailed by film critic Bill Blakemore   ) might be an allegory about America’s “genocide” of Native Americans. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of numerology and symbolic meanings, and enough loose ends to keep you talking and thinking for days.

Somehow, Rodney’s able to work on amazingly cool stuff constantly. He’s directed videos for Funny or Die, his music video for Matt and Kim features Soulja Boy and Andrew W.K., and… well, he’s just the coolest.

Good luck at Sundance, Rodney!


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