rodney ascher songs from the second floor

The ABCs of Death 2 gives twenty-six directors (or, in some cases, directorial teams) the chance to explore whatever mean, violent, strange ideas they want. Each is anchored only with a letter, a small budget, and a running time of just a few minutes. One director is Rodney Ascher, who made Room 237, and is now making a film about sleep paralysis.

We have an interview coming with Ascher where he talks about his work on the anthology film, but for now we’re going to give him room to talk about one of his favorite death scenes. What’s better is that he has chosen a movie I expect most people haven’t seen: the relatively obscure Songs From the Second FloorRead More »

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You know Rodney Ascher from his documentary Room 237, which gave theorists the chance to air their oddball concepts about meaning in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. In between prepping his next film, a documentary about sleep paralysis, Ascher took the time to shoot a segment for The ABCs of Death 2.

The sequel to last year’s genre anthology is a massively-improved collection of horror, sci-fi, and flat-out weird short films. It features Ascher’s contribution at the two-thirds break, and we’ve got an exclusive still from his story, just in time for the film to premiere on VOD.

(Note: as the headline implies, the pic isn’t work-safe for some people.)

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Briefly: The first film from Rodney Ascher, Room 237, investigated horror by diving into the deep strangeness that develops when film fans take the auteur theory so seriously that they can’t imagine that Stanley Kubrick didn’t have specific intent in mind when he assembled parts of The Shining.

Ascher’s next film will be another documentary, and one which focuses on a different sort of real-life horror. The Nightmare will be “a disturbing investigation into the demonic visions experienced by victims of sleep paralysis and provoked by Ascher’s own unsettling experiences with the condition.” The doc likely takes its name from the painting of the same title, seen above. Henry Fuseli painted the image in 1781 as a vision of sleep paralysis rooted in demonic visitation.

Sleep paralysis can manifest in slightly different ways, but in general it is a condition where a person finds themselves unable to move during a period between sleep and waking; it can be associated with fears of imminent threats that the paralysis leaves the sufferer unable to react to or escape from.

ABCs of Death

The horror anthology V/H/S did well enough that a sequel went into production pretty fast, and you can already see the red-band trailer for V/H/S/2 from Magnet. Now another Magnet-released anthology, The ABCs of Death, is also going to be followed by a sequel.

The hook for The ABCs of Death was that the film featured 25 directors (and a 26th crowd-sourced entry) making short films based around a single letter. The sequel will take the same approach, and as with the first film the hook isn’t the concept, but the people bringing it to life. The new crew includes animator Bill Plympton, Day of the Beast and The Last Circus director Álex de la Iglesia, and Room 237 director Rodney Ascher. More participants in the gruesome sequel are listed below. Read More »

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There’s no denying that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a film begging for discussion. A story that seems straightforward on the surface is littered with curious scenes and subliminal suggestions, and wraps up with a final shot that is curiously awesome. Even knowing that, though, you may have no idea how deep the discussions about The Shining can possibly go.

Rodney Ascher‘s brilliant documentary, Room 237, does a fantastic job delving into some of the most fascinating, crazy, and perhaps even true interpretations of the 1980 film. It entertains theories about the relationship of The Shining to Native Americans, the moon landing, super imposition, and oedipal readings. Since premiering at Sundance in 2012, the film has been riding a wave of good buzz and controversy on its way to release on VOD today.

We spoke to the Ascher about that controversy. In addition, our conversation with the director touched on the method of piecing together a the film entirely composted of archival footage, backlash from the Kubrick or Stephen King camps, whether he could do a sequel and much more. Read More »

One of the better movie posters ever made is the Saul Bass design for Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. The eye-catching yellow sheet with a horrified, pixelated face was one of the strangest things I’d seen in my young life when I first encountered it in a theater before The Shining opened. It remains a landmark of simple, effective design.

So it makes sense that the doc Room 237, from first-timer Rodney Ascher, would get a poster that ehoes the Bass design. Room 237 features five theories that explore what Kubrick really meant to say in his Stephen King adaptation. The first US teaser for the film referenced a teaser for Kubrick’s movie, and now the poster design follows suit. Check it out below, side by side with the Bass original. Read More »

An audience favorite film at Sundance and Fantastic Fest 2012 was Room 237, the documentary from Rodney Ascher that attempts to detail and unpack the various secrets of Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining. What messages did he code into the movie? (If any?) Is The Shining just a great horror movie, or does it really feature a hidden conversation about the genocide of Native Americans? That notion is just one of the theories in Room 237.

IFC picked up the film and will release it later this year as part of its IFC Midnight label. The first US trailer is out (the one we posted last year has been pulled) and it is an appropriately simple thing. It won’t take you long to figure out where this one is going, especially if you’re familiar with the teaser for The Shining, but that doesn’t make the payoff any less entertaining when it happens. Read More »

Good news, Stanley Kubrick fans. The fantastic and fascinating documentary Room 237 directed by Rodney Ascher will be released by IFC Films on March 29. The film, which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, is an incredible look at secrets and theories buried in The Shining. Read our review here and check out the trailer below. Read More »

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