A few years ago I was shown a 3D reconstruction of The Overlook Hotel that had been designed as a level for a computer game called Duke Nukem. I was told by an email correspondent that the designer, in constructing the 3D replica, had stumble across spatial impossibilities in the Overlook sets that had made the continuous 3D level impossible. The result is that the Overlook Hotel featured in the game mismatches the wall in the film in order to be continuously playable.
This is how Rob Ager’s tale about Spatial Awareness and Set Design in The Shining starts. Author of the Collaborative Learning, a website that deconstruct movies and offers in-depth analysis, Aber narrates in a fascinating two part videos how this first discovery of spatial impossibility led him to unravel The Overlook Hotel set design’s secrets:
Having found two examples of windows that shouldn’t exist, I decided to go through the film, scene by scene and draw maps of the Overlook sets. It turns out that the Hotel is full of impossible and delusionary designs used by Kubrick to disorientate the viewer and to communicate the illusionary nature of the Overlook Hotel.
There is something fascinating and spooky into realizing that Kubrick and his team went into this level of details to create a “subconscious mood”, and the fact that it worked so well makes it even more brilliant.
Watch “The Shining Spatial Awareness and Set Design” below:
[Thanks to @artdepartmental]