Sunday, December 28, 2014


Well, I finally made it! The Toronto edition of the world-renowned Kubrick Exhibit, which can be visited until the end of January at the beautiful TIFF Bell/Lightbox building in the heart of Toronto's bustling entertainment district. 

I'm no photographer, unfortunately, so you'll have to excuse the roughness of the photographs below. They frankly fail to capture the magnificent splendor on display at this massive collection of unparalleled cinematic delights. Even so, I'm going to keep my comments to a minimum, letting the props and artifacts from Stanley Kubrick's movies do most of the talking for themselves.

I hope you enjoy my report at least a fraction as much as I enjoyed assembling it for your perusal, and I urge any of you reading this, if at all possible, to make your way down to the Kubrick Exhibit and take it in for yourselves. 
Here I am at the threshold, kissing a giant Star Child poster, waiting for the doors to open with my buddy Spider-Man, who accompanied me on this journey and took this photo...

And here's my ticket...
The TIFF gift-shop was nicely stocked with Kubrick-related knick-knacks, from which I selected Taschen's legendary Stanley Kubrick Archives. I'll have an in-depth review of this incredible book in the near future. Keep watching this space!

Stan the Man's chair, which every Kubrick fan has surely seen in photographs before. And there it was, in the flesh... or splinters, so to speak.

Before checking out the exhibit proper, Spidey and I snuck into the back section ans spied this selection of Kubrick's clapboards. 


The first official item on the exhibit schedule? Kubrick's Oscar for 2001's special effects and his Career Gold Lion from the Venice Film Festival for his full body of work.


Monday, December 22, 2014


Quoted by critic/author Michael Ciment in his epochal tome Kubrick - the gold standard of "Kubrickeana" until Taschen's Kubrick Archives came along - Stanley Kubrick described his reaction to the score he commissioned for 2001: A Space Odyssey from one-time Spartacus collaborator Alex North thusly:
Although he and I went over the picture very carefully, and he listened to these temporary tracks and agreed that they worked fine and would serve as a guide to the musical objectives of each sequence he, nevertheless, wrote and recorded a score which could not have been more alien to the music we had listened to, and much more serious than that, a score which, in my opinion, was completely inadequate for the film."
Read more about this ill-fated musical match - and watch sequences from the film that have been refitted to play North's score instead of the needle-drops we've all come to know and love and associate with this movie and with outer space in general - in this Open Culture article.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


From The Simpsons Episode 151: Much Apu About Nothing
So I finally made it to the Toronto edition of the Deutsches Filmmuseum's world-traveling Stanley Kubrick Exhibition, and to call it a success, or "impressive", is just a massive understatement. I am not a photo bug. I rarely take pictures. But today, I took over 130, and I still feel as though I missed out on a ton of great stuff and need to go back. I'll have more to say about the exhibition over the next couple days, but for now, I wanted to bring to your attention what may be the makings of a new "Kubrick conspiracy theory".

Let me explain.

Earlier this evening, while carrying on an email discussion with documentary filmmaker Scott Noble (my recent concordances for his films The Power Principle I: Empire and II: Propaganda, are at my Useless Eater Blog), we found ourselves discussing Eyes Wide Shut

Scott wrote:
"I think Cruise and Kidman were chosen precisely because of their seeming vacuity (Christian Bale modelled his performance in American Psycho after Tom Cruise, who also appears in the book). Kubrick was reportedly a HUGE Simpsons fan (in its early years), and there's a line in one of the episodes where Apu, attempting to become more "American" to avoid deportation, hides his Ganesha statue; ashamed, he states, "Who needs the eternal love of Ganesha when I have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman staring at me from the cover of Entertainment Weekly with their dead eyes!" Perhaps I'm reading too much into this."
Reading too much into it? Perhaps... but something about what Scott wrote gave me pause. 

You see, part of the Kubrick Exhibition is devoted to his unfinished projects. It includes part of the notorious Napoleon archive, and paperwork from The Aryan Papers. However, it also included unused marketing materials, including two posters for Eyes Wide Shut that had been commissioned and printed, but which were ultimately nixed.

Here... have a look:

Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Poster

Complete Set of Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Posters

Rejected "Eyes Wide Shut" Poster

So... what do you think? Do their eyes look "dead" enough to you? Indeed, is it possible that these posters are evidence that Stanley Kubrick - a "massive Simpsons fan" - was trying to have a go at his movie's top stars?

I have to admit, the idea of Kubrick turning the tables and referencing The Simpsons - a show that has referenced his work more times than even an obsessive like me can count - is somewhat of a mind-blower. It even exhibits a Kubrickean symmetry of sorts, mirroring the way Kubrick's artistic visions have been mirrored and refracted through the popular culture by thousands upon thousands of imitations, homages, rip-offs, etc...

So what do YOU think? Was Kubrick taking the piss? Did he have The Simpsons in mind when he commissioned this disturbing promotional artwork? What were Tom and Nicole's reactions like when they first saw these posters? And was the decision to scrap these posters made before or after Kubrick's untimely demise more than three months prior to Eyes Wide Shut's premiere?

I have a lot more digging to do on this story, consulting with fellow scholars of the occult and reviewing my extensive files on Scientology's secret teachings to see if there might be any hidden significance to the unique, bristling color palette used by the artist, or anagrams of anything of a paracultural nature worth mentioning. 

Keep watching this space.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


The fine folks at have put together an intriguing, short history of Stanley Kubrick's mid-career decision to switch from using film-specific scores like those for The Killing, Paths of Glory and Spartacus, to favoring needle-drop selections from his vast collection of classical music, as best exemplified by the iconic, paradigm-shattering soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As it turns out, not everyone was wowed by this musical evolution. No less a light than the legendary composer Bernard Herrmann (Citizen KaneTaxi Driver) declared: “It shows vulgarity, when a director uses music previously composed! I think that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the height of vulgarity in our time. To have outer space accompanied by The Blue Danube, and the piece not even recorded anew!”

Then again, maybe Herrmann was just showing solidarity with his fellow film composer Alex North, who only found out that Kubrick had abandoned his full, lush orchestral score for 2001 when he attended the film's premiere screening. Not cool, Stanley... not cool.

The Open Culture article ends thusly:
Thanks to Spotify, you can listen to over four hours of classical music that Kubrick used in his movies. Find the playlist below, and a list of the classical music in Kubrick films here. The playlist features everything from Beethoven (A Clockwork Orange) to Schubert (Barry Lyndon) to Bartók (The Shining). If you need to download Spotify, grab the software on this site.


According to every good liberal's favorite UK broadsheet, The Guardian, the following info-graphic contains "everything you need to know" about "one of the greatest directors of all time." If any of you get the Shallow HAL 9000 "joke" in the upper right corner, please explain it to me because it's going right over my pointy little head. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This NOW Magazine article begins, sort of condescendingly...
Stanley Kubrick wasn’t known for his personal style, but the visually arresting costumes in his films have haunted our cultural psyche for decades. Here are five of the most memorable...
Of course, it goes without saying that the costumes from 2001: A Spacey Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut are fantastic. But there's something to be said for the simplicity of a grey anorak, a simple white shirt without ties, and an assortment of sweaters. Quite frankly, he's a personal style guru to yours truly!


Formerly of the duo Azure Ray, smooth alternative artist Orenda Fink's new video features her playing "both the victims and their tormentors in the clip, paying shot-for-shot homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist." 

You can find out more about the artist, this song/video, and the album it comes from, at FlavorWire.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


In this year's edition of The Simpsons’ popular Halloween season special episode - aka, Treehouse of Terror XXV - the second segment was an extended riff on one of Stanley Kubrick's most popular, yet controversial, films: A Clockwork Orange.

While some might find it odd that an ostensible children's cartoon should be so thoroughly influenced by a film that was once rated-X for its "ultra-violent" content (including a vicious rape), this episode, like most Treehouses of Terror that have come before, was rated TV-14, and thus aimed at a slightly older, more knowing cohort. In any case, A Clockwork Orange has long since ascended to the pantheon of global cinematic milestones, so the haters had better get used to its (admittedly somewhat ugly) presence on the scene.

Furthermore, Clockwork isn't the only Kubrick film to be referenced during this segment. Here and now, I will attempt to catalog all the Kubrick references to be found in The Simpsons' A Clockwork Yellow.

1. First, the title, which seems to be not just a rather obvious riff on A Clockwork Orange, but also a play on the infamous Mad Magazine parody of said film, titled A Crockwork Lemon… lemons being yellow and all.

2. The Simpsons writers have made up their own version of NadSat - the language spoken by Alex in Clockwork - and it's pretty clever. I won't bother detailing all the lingo used, as that would require me printing the entire script. Suffice it to say that it's a long-running gag, and it works well.

3. The music is essentially the same as Walter Carlos' iconic Clockwork Orange score. The "Duff Dudes" furniture takes the place of the naked lady sculptures, and the entire mise-en-scene and choreography of Clockwork Orange is slavishly followed.

4. Although Moloko signs plaster the wall of the bar, it's Duff that has the variety of flavors. So, instead of Moloko VelocetDrenchrom and Synthmesc, you have Duff TipsySurlyDizzyQueasySleazy and Edgy.

5. "The old in-out, in-out", being a euphemism for sex and/or rape in ACO, becomes a game to be played with the automatic doors (at the UKWIKE-MART) in ACY.

6. In this direct parody of the record store scene in ACO, "Dum" (Homer) strolls past albums titled in parody of various Kubrick films. There's "Dr. Strangelaugh" (a play on Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, featuring the ever-chuckling Dr. Hubbard), "Paths of Gravy" (a play on Paths of Glory), "Full Milton Jacket" (a play on Full Metal Jacket) and "D'oh!Lita" (a play on Lolita).

7. Instead of Beethoven, whom ACO's Alex refers to as "Ludwig Van", Dim wants to listen to soul singer Luther Vandross, whom ACY's Dum refers to as "Luther Van".

8. A clever play on the sped-up sex scene from ACO, in which the Clocwork Orange novel is read by Marge, and Dum just eats stuff. They do flip the mattress, as in ACO, which is a nice touch.

9. A very Kubrickean sans-serif interstitial title card, more likely to be seen in 2001 and The Shining than in Clockwork, but there you go. It's still Kubrickean!.

10. A direct parody of the most popular image from ACO, only this time, poor Moe is watching Fox.

11. The infamous Home Invasion scene from ACO is replayed with only a single victim this time...

12. ...and the infamous penis sculpture murder from the Cat Lady's house in ACO turns into a Shmoo sculpture murder in ACY.

13. Just as Pete and Georgie become police and turn on Alex in ACO, so to do Moe's former cohorts, only this time...

14. ...they decide to rejoin him, just in time to recreate an iconic slo-mo stroll from ACO!

15. Time for another Home invasion.

16. Uh-oh. Looks like they decided to drop in on Springfield's version of Somerton, the evil-dripping Rothschild chateau featured so prominently in Eyes Wide Shut! As Mr Burns declares, reflecting the sentiments of many critics in 1999: "Welcome to the most frustrating, befuddling and, yes, erotic book launch party that you've ever attended!" The book in question just happens to be a great big Taschen coffee table book. The fact that Taschen has put out some of the most coveted (and pricey) Kubrick-related books in the history of publishing cannot be a simple coincidence, here.

17. Just like the party Tom Cruise gate-crashes in EWS, this place is chock-a-block with "be-costumed weirdos".

18. "Sex blockers, keep blocking!" A reference to the egregious censorship suffered by EWS between the time of Kubrick's death and its theatrical run.

19. Moe intrudes on Full Metal Jacket's Private Gomer Pyle in the latrine, getting ready to... well... you know.

20. One of perhaps a dozen or so 2001 references in the history of The Simpsons.

21. And another!

22. "Even I forget what this is in reference to!" Poor Barry Lyndon... it can't get any respect, despite being a masterpiece.

23. Moe was cured, all right!

24. After dozens upon dozens of Kubrick references in The Simpsons, we finally, at long last, get a Kubrick CAMEO! I bet he would have loved it...

25. ...even though they make him out to be a bit of a megalomaniacal sour-puss at the end, there.


Well, that's all the references I could spot! If you were able to find any others, please list them below, in the comments section for this story!


Terry Southern, photographed by Stanley Kubrick

From the introduction by Nile Southern, son of author Terry Southern...
This is really the story of two killings. 
In the summer of ’62, my father received a fateful assignment from Esquire to interview Stanley Kubrick whose film Lolita was about to be released. Terry admired Paths of Glory, The Killing, and Spartacus and, despite the list of canned (mostly trivial) questions from Esquire, engaged Kubrick in a provocative discussion about film, literature, and eroticism. After submitting the piece through his agent, it was clear Esquire wanted something more “gossipy” on Kubrick. … As the interview languished at Esquire, Terry began working on the screenplay for Dr. Strangelove, and in 1963 asked Esquire if he could do a piece on the movie.Incorporating bits of the squelched interview, he found the time to write the article during filming.
In the piece that follows, Terry introduces the reader (and the masses) to Kubrick, this revolutionary film, and the all-important (and ever looming) topic of the day: nuclear annihilation. Much to his astonishment, the editors dismissed the article as a “puff piece” and prodded him to go more gonzo. ... Terry protested, quite presciently, that this was one of those “rare instances where something genuinely great was at hand.” He wrote back: I have obviously failed to persuade you as to the phenomenal nature of the film itself — i.e. that it is categorically different from any film yet made, and that it will probably have a stronger impact in America than any single film, play, or book in our memory. To say that the piece is a “puff” is, to my mind, like saying that a piece about thalidomide babies is “downbeat.”
Read the rescued Esquire piece, as finally published in FilmMaker Magazine, 40 years after it was written, HERE.


This is just incredible.

The blog Cinephilia And Beyond has amassed an amazing assortment of documents and videos related to Stanley Kubrick's satirical magnum opus, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This includes a never-before-seen-or-heard "promo reel" put together by Kubrick during the production - using some takes that ended up on the cutting room floor - apparently designed to assuage the rattled nerves of the film's (understandably) skittish financial backers.  You have to watch this thing to believe it.

Also, you absolutely have to visit the above link, which is a true treasure trove of Strangelove-related goodies, including multiple versions of the script, color photos of the shoot (some taken by Kubrick himself, others by Peter Sellers!) and more stuff than I can jam into this space without puking in my own mouth out of how jealous I am that I didn't put it together first! Go... just, go!

I'll start you off with the first part of the aforementioned promo reel. You need to go to the above link to see the rest, and check out all the other great stuff they've got.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Before continuing with this blog post, you should probably read PART ONE and PART TWO. All done? Thanks! - Jerky

Okay, so, where were we? Ah yes… the Internet circa, roughly, 1995. I was spending an inordinate amount of time participating in newsgroup discussion threads on all sorts of topics… but for the most part, I was on alt.movies.kubrick. I made a few friends there, and one or two enemies, but all in all it was an excellent virtual hangout, where the topics ran the gamut from the highest of high culture to the lowliest of current events, all of which we were somehow able to relate to something we’d seen in one or more of Stanley Kubrick’s films.

Some of the more interesting conversations that took place at AMK have been archived for posterity at a number of websites – sites which I have decided to include in their very own section here at KubrickU. You can find them under the heading TOP KUBRICK LINKS. There, you’ll find all of the most useful Kubrick-related websites, including a few obvious ones (IMDB, Wikipedia), and a few more outré selections (the Overlook Hotel site, the Kubrick-Floyd Synchronicities Site). All are worth spending some time on.

The high traffic levels and high quality of the discussions at AMK were particularly noteworthy when one considers that Kubrick fans had been suffering through nearly a decade’s worth of unbroken silence, with nothing but a few scant crumbs of industry gossip to keep our hopes alive. And then, like a thunderous revelation brought down from the mountaintop by bloody-eyed Zarathustra, himself, it happened… Kubrick finished weighing his options and made a decision, and a new Kubrick film was definitely on its way!

Needless to say, Eyes Wide Shut was the object of some high-octane speculation from the get-go. Every step of the way, every aspect of the production was gleefully picked apart by we (mostly) well-intentioned obsessives. And boy howdy, was there ever a lot to pick apart. Considering who was involved with this film – and considering all the myriad cast shuffles, shooting schedule extensions, script revisions and re-shoots – you could hardly blame us for believing that Eyes Wide Shut was either going to be one of the greatest movies ever made, or a fiasco of epic proportions.

In the middle of all this, Kubrick won the D.W. Griffith award from the Director’s Guild of America (DGA). He couldn't attend the ceremony to accept the award himself – indeed, considering the legends that had risen up around him since he left the United States back in the early 60’s, nobody could have expected him to – but he did send a video acceptance speech that, for a great many of us younger Kubrick fans, was the first time we’d heard the man’s speaking voice*… and its soft, slightly nasal, Bronx-inflected tone was almost as big a shock as the dramatic change in his appearance since the last time he was photographed, a dozen years previous.

And then, on March 7, 1999, over four months before Eyes Wide Shut was set to be released and just days after he’d shown an assembly cut to an assortment of Warner Bros honchos, Stanley Kubrick died of a massive heart attack in his sleep.

I can still remember where I was when I first heard the news. I was sitting in my living room at home when I got a call from my friend and fellow Kubrick fanatic Luis, owner of Suspect Video and Culture. “Did you hear the news?” he asked. “Stanley Kubrick died.”

I went cold, and a sort of denial crept over me. I thanked Luis for telling me, then hung up and turned on CNN. Not that I suspected Luis of pulling a nasty trick on me, but I needed to see the news for myself before I could believe it.

It didn’t take long. News of Kubrick’s death was at the top of the news cycle, where it belonged, so the story was repeating and being updated, every hour on the hour.

Needless to say, this was bad news… very bad news, indeed.

It was a terrible blow, obviously, to his family and loved ones. And it was also a great loss to world cinema, as evinced by the plethora of encomiums that poured from his peers’ word processors, fattening specialty film magazines from every corner of the globe to the point of bursting with special features and “collectors” issues dedicated to the man’s life and work.

But it was particularly bad news for Eyes Wide Shut. Because, as any Kubrick fan worth his salt could tell you, Stanley worked on his films until the last possible moment… and, on more than one occasion, beyond it. With four freaking months of post-production left to go before Eyes Wide Shut’s premiere, no amount of promises from panicking Warner Bros brass could sway me from my belief that Kubrick’s final film was forever, tragically, doomed to being unfinished.

And then – as if the prospect of Stanley Kubrick’s final film being unfinished at the time of his death wasn’t bad enough – The Powers That Be stepped in and began doing their best to turn tragedy into travesty.

First they went after the film’s explicit “orgy” sequence, digitally pasting a bunch of ridiculous, crudely composed figures over sex scenes no more explicit than what you could watch nightly on Cinemax pay cable at the time. Much to my shocked chagrin, there were apologists for this disgusting censorship even among many self-declared Kubrick fanatics. “It doesn't matter!”, I can recall some of them explaining. “Kubrick knew he had to deliver an R-rated movie… so he definitely would have wanted it that way!”

Next, a handful of British Hindus complained about the fact that some of their “religious” music was playing over that same orgy scene. So what did Warner Bros do? They immediately caved and replaced the music. And what did the apologists say? “It doesn't matter! It’s just one piece of music! Surely if Stanley were alive and was told that his musical choice had hurt someone’s feelings, he would have made a similar change!” One repeated refrain heard at AMK was about how other films had suffered far worse fates, so who were Kubrick fans to complain about a few little… um… “tweaks”?

Sad to say, but in those days, I was finding precious little evidence of the “rabid devotion” that Kubrick was alleged to inspire among his fanatical cult of admirers.

Maybe it was denial. Maybe some of them were having a hard time coming to terms with the possibility that a movie they’d waited so long for – five bloody years! – might not be “the real deal”. I don’t know. I’m no psychologist. But I do know that I would rather have an unfinished Kubrick film than a Kubrick film finished by a committee who then try to pass it off as “100 percent Kubrick”. And that’s exactly what I believe we've got with Eyes Wide Shut. I was afraid that might be the case in the weeks leading up to its release, and as I walked out of the theater on opening day I felt as though my worst suspicions had just been confirmed.

Does that mean I believe Eyes Wide Shut to be worthless? Not at all! I’m actually thankful for it. There are things in and about it that I dearly love, and I look forward to sharing some of the intriguing thoughts and theories that I've come across over the years in my quest to try and figure out what really happened behind the scenes – both pre- and posthumously – on Stanley Kubrick’s final film.

And so there you have it… an all-too-wordy breakdown of my life as an unrepentant Kubrick Nut! Sure, there’s more to the Kubrick story beyond Eyes Wide Shut and the aftermath of its release. There’s Steven Spielberg’s unjustly-maligned completion of Kubrick’s long-gestating return to cinematic science-fiction, A.I. There also remains a lot to be said about Kubrick’s ongoing influence on all of the arts, which, if anything, has only increased since his death.

And then, thanks in part to high-gloss documentaries like the surprise hit Room 237 (and a vast array of far less ritzy D.I.Y. videos on Youtube and the like), there’s the sudden, somewhat shocking rise of Kubrick conspiracy theories, which has resulted in his films becoming some of the most important and widely-discussed subjects of paracultural, or esoteric, analysis in recent times. I hope to bring you some interesting reportage on these subjects in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

Keep watching this space!

*not counting, of course, his Hitchcockian voice-over role as Murph, with whom Cowboy attempts to secure armored vehicle support while crossing through the Vietnamese city of Hue, in Full Metal Jacket. Prior to that, the only chance we’d have had to hear Kubrick’s voice was in Vivian Kubrick’s documentary The Making of The Shining (1980), which originally aired on British TV and on pay TV in the USA, and didn’t become commercially available until a special edition DVD release of The Shining in 2006.

Monday, October 13, 2014


From a think-piece on the legacy of Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, written for the Telegraph UK, published October 1st of this year:
Few writers, whatever the claims made for them by literary critics, ever manage to spawn big cultural moments. One who genuinely did so was Anthony Burgess, with his novel A Clockwork Orange. And, as novelists are often contrary by nature, he was highly ambivalent about this state of affairs. Burgess would disparagingly refer to the book, published in 1962, as a “novella”, regarding it as an inconsequential sliver of his Brobdingnagian canon. He blamed (and there’s really no other term for it) the book’s resonance on the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, which appeared nine years later. 
My generation was obsessed with this stylistic, inventive affair, a movie that spurned both mainstream Hollywood concerns and European art house affectations to stake out a unique terrain for British independent cinema. Kubrick’s movie was an influence on the Ziggy-era David Bowie, and it was those cool credentials that made me backtrack to the film, which I first saw at a late-night screening several years after its release. As is generally the way of those things, far fewer of us had enjoyed any exposure to the novel. As a writer who has had many of his own books adapted for screen, I’m a little uncomfortable at conceding that I was in this camp. 
Much of Burgess’s enmity towards his creation stems from the missing last chapter in the American editions of the novel. His US publisher omitted it on the quasi-religious principle, beloved of that culture, that over here all is good, while across the street evil abounds. This is the childlike thinking that allows authors, film-makers and governments to create monsters in order to terrorise and manipulate the domestic population of that nation. 
In this final chapter, Burgess has Alex growing out of his wrongdoings, looking back and regarding it as all a little bit sad and embarrassing – the antics of daft kids – and, as the cliché goes, determined that his own children won’t make the same mistakes he did. Basically, it’s the beautiful truth of redemption, and the stunningly mundane lesson of real life. It profoundly isn’t dramatic; but it has social truth, intellectual honesty and the intrinsic morality of proper storytelling. This raises the uncomfortable question: which is more important to the novelist? To the reader? 
Burgess originally agreed to dispense with chapter 21 for money but, once he had made enough, insisted that it was reinserted. He was correct in doing this, although you can understand why Stanley Kubrick, though filming in Britain, chose to work from the US edition and omitted it. This understandably was a running sore for Burgess, though his ire was directed not at the film-maker, with whom he remained on good terms, but his American publishers.

Read the rest of this intriguing piece at the link provided above. Also, if you plan on reading any of Irvine Welsh's novels, I'd recommend Filth. It's pretty crazy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


In this excellent, thorough and wide-ranging essay by Donnie Darko auteur Richard Kelly, he provides a wonderful, thoughtful examination of Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, and David Fincher's latest film, Gone Girl, teasing out some rather startlingly cogent analysis by comparing and contrasting what both films seem to be trying to do, and where they both succeed, magnificently. He even gets in some conspiracy-worthy observations about the suspicious placement of plush lion dolls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


About half-way through this Opie and Anthony radio show riff-fest about Christian performer Lil Markie's act, O&A Show regular Jim Norton begins referencing The Shining, only to have the rest of the crew join in, including the sound effects guy who starts playing Wendy Carlos' iconic opening theme music. The fun starts about half-way through this video, at the point when Lil Markie starts telling the story about his violent alcoholic father. Enjoy! I sure did.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Straight out of Russia, those hilarious Speedrun guys have pointed their (admittedly lowbrow) satirical talons towards Stanley Kubrick's notoriously leisurely-paced sci-fi epic/classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, with eminently watchable results.

Monday, September 15, 2014


There very well may be too many Kubrick references to count in the Imagine Dragons video for their catchy, bouncy alt-pop tune On Top of the World... but we can still have fun trying, can't we? Join me after the jump for an attempt to catalog them all!

Here's my count, anyway...

  1. Kid on a Big Wheels tricycle references The Shining.
  2. The store where they're all staring through the window is called "Stan and Brick". Stanley. Kubrick. Duh.
  3. The tinfoil hat that the trike kid is wearing references the "Kubrick shot the fake moon landing for NASA" theories so prevalent of late.
  4. The vintage TV in the store window is a MONOLITH brand TV.
  5. At 0:17, the pattern on the wall behind the be-turtle-necked singer is one of the infamous carpet patterns from The Shining.
  6. The street number on turtle-neck's house is 2001.
  7. The hippie character drives a yellow VW Bug, just like Jack drives in The Shining.
  8. On the wood paneled wall of the aesthete's home, we see a bust of Beethoven (a la Clockwork Orange), as well as a distinctly Barry Lyndon-esque dueling pistol, as well as a bird of prey in flight. Significant, perhaps, that most of Kubrick's production companies have been named after flying raptors (Hawk Films, Peregrine Productions and Harrier Films)? When the shot becomes wider, we can also see a Freemasonic G in T-square plaque, not to mention a couple of creepy blonde twins.
  9. At 0:51, we can see a sign for Route 237 (Room 237), which takes one on a scenic "overlook" (as in the hotel from The Shining).
  10. At the 1:00 mark, we get a really clever and subtle one. The licence plate on the yellow VW Bug reads V1I707. Not ringing a bell? Try looking at it upside down and in a mirror, in which case it looks a hell of a lot like LOLITA!
  11. The "BEN IS DEAD" plate on the other vehicle doesn't appear to be a Kubrick reference, per se, but I do remember a pretty good independent magazine by that name which came out in the 90's.
  12. The red-eyed 0009LAH machine is a pretty obvious HAL9000 rip.
  13. After a bunch of pretty standard astronaut stuff, we get a glimpse of some very Clockwork Orange-looking furniture at the 1:40 mark. There's even an orange dot on a sleek, white, retro-futuristic lamp.
  14. Dare I try to pass off the Native Indian head that appears on the TV test pattern at the 2:00 mark as a particularly subtle reference to the Calumet Baking Powder cans that are such an important part of the urban mythology that has risen up around The Shining? Nah...
  15. The Fake Moon Landing scenario, complete with heavies in dark sunglasses and an anorak-sporting Kubrick stand-in and a sinister, delighted Nixon, takes up a big chunk of the video from hereon out.

And that about does it for me! Let me know down in the comments section if you spot any more!


There is a wonderful collection of Kubrick-related images over at the Spoke Art Gallery website! Check out the samples below, then head on over to the link above to see a great deal more. And then, if you're in the neighborhood, why not stroll on over to Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco and see the artwork in all its real-world glory? Maybe even pick up a beautiful piece of original Kubrick-related artwork for your home! You'll be glad you did!

There are so many more beautiful pieces, all relating to Kubrick and his films, that I can't stress strongly enough that any Kubrick fan owes it to themselves to check out this link. So what are you waiting for? Go! Go NOW!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today's edition of the right-wing propaganda vector website The Drudge Report (September 11, 2014) features a Kubrick reference by way of an image from 2001: A Space Odyssey used to illustrate a Yahoo News story about stem cells being "reset" in order to study the very beginnings of humans' evolutionary development. The image in question does not appear in the Yahoo News story.

Point of interest: Matt Drudge has a long history of interest in Stanley Kubrick. Some of his earliest stories, back when he was still a celebrity gossip sheet operating via email and Usenet, were Kubrick-related. In fact, I recall personally contacting Drudge over a story he ran back in 1995 insinuating that Kubrick was at death's door. When I emailed him to see if he would part with more information "off the record", he sent me a one-word reply: "Cancer." Of course, Kubrick would die four years later due to heart failure at age 70.

This is how today's visual hat-tip looked in context...


Special effects maven Douglas Trumbull tells The Guardian (UK) via The Hollywood Reporter that Stanley Kubrick - his boss on 2001: A Space Odyssey - did not deserve the Special Effects Oscar he won for that film, although...
Trumbull made it clear he felt the UK-based film-maker should have won many more garlands from the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his writing and directing work over five decades. But he said Kubrick had not been involved in creating the effects for 2001, one of his best-known films.
Considering the quality of the work Trumbull produced after working with Kubrick, on films as diverse and occasionally wonderful as Silent Running and Blade Runner (perhaps the only science-fiction film to ever "top" 2001 in visual terms),  I consider his opinion to carry substantial weight on this particular subject. For all his many great qualities, it can also be said of Kubrick that he was something of a glory hog, always far too eager to take sole and singular credit for the work produced by his employees.


Before I settled on for the name of this blog, I went through a number of different potential titles, some better than others. First there was, but seeing as that's a callback to late-19th century "decadent" novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, I decided to save that one for a blog dedicated to my fiction writing. One of my favorites, however, turned out to be a touch too goofy in the end, and that was This, based on a credit that runs at the end of a great many Stanley Kubrick films. Army of Dave has a funny story about this credit, in which he relates an experience he had whilst watching Full Metal Jacket, which I found to be all too familiar.

Oh, and just FYI, "Leonard" also took care of "Hair" for Kubrick in Barry Lyndon and The Shining.

Another point of interest: when credited for his work in other movies - such as Ragtime, Rollerball and The Bounty - Leonard apparently prefers to be referred to as Leonard of London.

And yet anther Further point of interest: Leonard's first film credit is as wig provider for the very strange, 2001-inspired Hammer Studios Western/Sci-Fi pastiche Moon Zero Two, which isn't too bad a flick in its own right, and is downright magnificent as the subject of a mighty, early riffing by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys.

Here's a review of the film, and here's one of the Misting.


From the fifth episode of the third season of Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade sketch-improv series, we get a rare Eyes Wide Shut reference during a scene featuring Amy Poehler's character in a relationship with a "Mole Man" played by Matt Walsh. The sketch begins at the 9:25 mark, and the reference comes at 10:44, when Amy and the Mole Man are in bed together. 

The Mole Man wakes up in a huff, and the following argument ensues...

MOLE MAN: Aargh!
AMY: What's wrong, Mole Man?
MOLE MAN: I can't do this anymore!
AMY: Is this about Eyes Wide Shut?
MOLE MAN: Itchy! Itchy!
AMY: I just didn't think it was among Kubrick's better movies, baby! I'll see it again if you want to!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Our fellow Kubrick-obsessives over at Dangerous Minds have given us a wonderful gift! In their own words...
Only the most observant of Kubrick-aholics will even remember the Howard Johnson’s reference in his landmark 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it’s right there, around the 30th minute. ... As the beneficiary of a truly special promotional opportunity, Howard Johnson’s did their part, releasing a combined comic book/children’s menu depicting a visit to the premiere of the movie by two youngsters—well, the title actually tells it pretty well: “Debbie and Robin Go to a Movie Premiere with Their Parents.” Neat-O!
There's more info at the link, but now, here are the scans...