October 31, 2016

Watch: 'The Shining Forwards and Backwards' Makes a Return to the Internet—in HD

Now you can see Stanley Kubrick's entire film from front to back, with the back-to-front superimposed on top.

Editor's Note: TOO LATE. Big Brother strikes again. The video is now down. Happy Halloween.

Update: You can find the original John Fell Ryan version here: http://thesyncbook.com/the-shining-forwards-and-backwards/ (Thanks, Alan Abbadessa!)

A few years back, two editors named John Fell Ryan and Akiva Saunders came to a startling revelation. If you play The Shining so the ending and the beginning start at exactly the same time, and run each cut super-imposed on top of each other, the scenes come together in a way that seems to be more than just coincidence.

One such example takes place during an early scene where the Torrances still reside in Boulder. Danny asks Tony (the boy who lives inside his mouth) why he shouldn't go to the Overlook Hotel. The "backwards" scene that plays over it is none other than the infamous bear (or dog) scene. The correlation between the two pretty much directly answers Danny's concerns. Perhaps this phenomenon could be best described by saying The Shining is actually a movie that "shines" upon itself. 

Courtesy of KDK12.

In 2011, Ryan and Saunders decided to produce and screen a cut of the film to share their discovery with the world, or at least Williamsburg. Dubbing it an "experimental film," they superimposed the two versions, keeping the opacity of the top layer at 50% and running the audio from the forwards playing version. They called it THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS, SIMULTANEOUSLY, SUPERIMPOSED. After a very limited engagement, some of the footage from their edit was later featured in the conspiracy theory laden documentary Room 237. Up until a certain point, it could be seen online, but it has since been taken down due to "data constrictions." 

Enter Vashi Nedomansky, a film editor and video essayist himself, who has taken up the mantle of Kubrick super-nerds and revitalized the Forwards and Backwards theorem.

He details his intentions in a blog post explaining, "Since I'm a film editor and a somewhat slavish fan of all things Kubrick…I have re-created the experiment and am posting an HD version of it." His process "began by aligning the forward and backwards versions to match still frames available on-line from the original experimental project." From there all he needed to do was "eye-match one frame and the rest would be in sync. It took ten hours to render out the master file and another eight hours to upload. The 720p HD stereo audio version clocks in at 12GB."

You can watch his edit, in full, here:

https://vimeo.com/188961585

Was this an intentional decision by Kubrick or just a by-product of masterful foreshadowing? Is it all just a coincidence? You'd better take a look quickly and decide for yourself before this version is pulled off the net and disappears once again.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

:( "Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the video THE SHINING - Forwards and Backwards as a result of a third-party notification by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. that claims this material is infringing on their copyright."

October 31, 2016 at 5:40PM, Edited October 31, 5:40PM

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John's original edit is now hosted on a private server where it hopefully stays safe from these kinds of take-downs. You can stream the video here: http://thesyncbook.com/the-shining-forwards-and-backwards/

October 31, 2016 at 8:15PM, Edited October 31, 8:15PM

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"The 720p HD stereo audio version clocks in at 12GB." It seems like this sentence is suggesting "the file is huge because it's two movies one one!" but that' not how it works. The file should be the same size as any other similar length file.

November 1, 2016 at 9:52AM, Edited November 1, 9:52AM

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Theoretically, would maintaining the same video quality mean that less compression would be required since every frame will be more complex, and thus the file size would be greater? Not sure about this, but curious.

November 1, 2016 at 8:28PM

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Tim
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This could be fun with other blending modes as well.

November 1, 2016 at 7:56PM

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Nathan Taylor
Jack of all trades, master of none
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