“The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”

Working on WEDNESDAY’s portion of the film’s structure is a beast– and that’s putting it so politely. For one thing, the actual length of the entire chapter is an hour: the main bulk of the film. For another, the film which has been marinating in semiotic juicy goodness for 58 minutes, provides no hand-holding. You either know what you’re looking at, or you don’t. Considering I’ve been face-deep in these structure charts for over a year, I figured I knew. I mean, how could I not KNOW what I am looking at?

Well, I did and I didn’t.

I wanted to show you guys what has me screaming “Oh MAN!” for the last few days as it’s pretty awesome.

Let’s start with the beginning of the movie: The Interview.

This section and the first part of Wednesday’s section overlap. I saw some similarities in movement and content, so I wanted to see if the two parts had any interaction beyond their relation to the timeline and thanks to the use of the  same music (in a ‘refrain’ repetition sort of way) they not only overlap, they speak to each other like a conversation. It’s disturbing. Skin crawlingly “this is too uncomfortable for me to handle” disturbing.

This will obviously be handled in the website, but for now, here are some side-by-side movie play. (which for any of you who do not know, was my ‘next level’ of insanity in this project)


This first one gave me goosebumps. The second one is a beautiful demonstration of actual child and ‘man child’


Another element came up yesterday. I definitely knew the film carried the theme of domestic violence– that semiotic information calcified after 6 months into the project, but seeing Upworthy’s cycle of domestic violence in touchpoint-based gifs made the similarities another layer of skin-crawlingly uncomfortable.

Check this:




(for those of you who haven’t seen the film endlessly across 7 years, this conversation shows that Danny + Wendy are ALREADY isolated
before even getting to the hotel… which is another story all together. Back to this one!)



Both sequences center around sharing violent stories and catching the reaction of the listener.



I don’t really need to put a picture under this one do I? 


Oh what the hell. Here’s blatant domestic violence we all overlook
(ha, get it)

Reading these gifs, I’m actually starting to wonder if the viewer of The Shining are grouped in as victims of domestic violence, embedding their emotions in with Wendy and Danny. What’s always interested me is how much the audience is primed to hate Wendy. The audience laughs when Jack mimics her, they become frustrated when she can’t unlatch the freezer, and 30 years later are still quoting Jack treating him like he’s just been misunderstood.

Allowing this movie’s true messaging to unfurl has been unbelievably fascinating.

Which brings me to my final discovery:

The Goya painting: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.


On the surface, the use of the painting in the scene creates an undeniable semiotic connection between reality, sleep as a person’s separate entity while awake, and the self—the addition or loss of  these things creating absolute chaos.

This title, and its appropriated use inside an already supersaturated scene further push the “viewer as victim” idea. As we work through the film, we as viewers are also allowing/Kubrick is forcing our reason to ‘sleep’. We see things we can’t possibly make out in reality, we hear characters say things– and when referenced wrongly, we cannot course correct in real time. The viewer lets their guard down and is blindsided by the content of the film, and then of course that ending.  How many other movies cause (or require) you to be this vigilant?



What I love about the conceptual nature of the title is how perfectly it encapsulates the final scene. Jack, a human with opposable thumbs and an adult male inhabiting strength, is beyond capable of using tools AND logic to get out of situations. Here, he has the exact tool he would need to get himself out. It’s a hedge maze, and he’s carrying an axe. Instead of using it to free himself out of the hedge maze, his mental disconnection (and focus on killing his son) keep him caged in, unable to see the options.

Jack&TheAxe JacksEnd

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters– it certainly does, Goya, and Kubrick knows it too.

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