Fictional books and texts that appear in movies have long gripped our imaginations. An ongoing project from Rough Trade Books’ Epiphany Editions aims to make them real. The second entry into the series The Shining: A Visual and Cultural Haunting is funding now on Kickstarter. This is the kind of unique project we just can’t ignore. The beautiful collection features almost 400 pages of loose-leafed essays, scrap books, glossy pamphlets, and image-rich booklets, each entry exploring The Shining. The collection even includes new interviews with Shelley Duvall (Wendy Torrance) and Dan Lloyd (Danny Torrance). It’s truly a treasure trove.
From republished texts that inspired Kubrick, to a scrapbook that focuses on The Overlook, all the way through a tier that includes a replica of Danny Torrance’s iconic Apollo 11 sweater, this is a singular look at The Shining through an artistic lens. And if you’re based in the UK, you can even select a tier that will allow you to watch a 35mm print of the movie on Halloween!
Designer Craig Oldham is behind the collection and he let us into how the project came to be. “The origin of the project was more about the Epiphany Editions themselves—which is to take fictional books from films and make them for real,” Oldham shared. “As props in popular and cult films, these imaginary books provide the pivotal revelation for a film’s narrative, providing a catalyst that changes the course of the characters and the story. We produce them as replicas and this remains their function, hopefully changing the course of your appreciation of their respective film, and renew it, by arguing the film’s importance, exploring its influences, inspiration, and ideas, and making a case for its relevance to us socially, culturally, and politically today.”
He continued. “The Shining was (excitedly) part of this from an early stage as it fits the bill as the scene where Wendy finds Jack’s manuscript is the moment the film really picks up momentum and the major changes of plot and character hinge on that scene with the manuscript.”
The project also works as an archival collection Oldham explained. “A lot of people see archives as static repositories just full of old stuff, but they are actually living, growing things, full of ideas old and new, realized and unrealized. We let the film direct us really and when you come across an idea, you explore and extrapolate that and make connections. Seeing notes and ideas of Kubrick’s that he’d scribbled on a manuscript copy of Stephen King’s novel, for example, whether they were ideas that evolved into the final film or never made it past the margins, directs that creative process and brings it to life giving you a richer source to draw upon. The actual manuscript prop was also so influential as you only see around 16 pages on screen, but there are around 500 in the archive… that’s some serious artistic license right there.”
The collection includes an impressive amount of work from an array of fantastic creators like Gavin Turk, Margaret Howell, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Jen Calleja, and more. When it came to bringing those creators together, it was all about reckoning with the film and director’s legacy. “We’ve tried to address what we saw as imbalances in criticisms of Kubrick’s films and put cultural authorities on these in there,” Oldham explained. “For example, the body of criticism on The Shining is largely male so we wanted to see what the female perspective represented and explored. We also wanted to pick at pertinent issues in the film for a contemporary audience, especially as we all emerge out of isolation ourselves, but also the consequences of that period—increases in domestic violence and domestic abuse for example.”
Years later, The Shining is still at the forefront of so many of our minds, and this project proves that. So why does Oldham think that the film still resonates? “I think it’s lasted because of its ambiguity. It functions more akin to a mirror than formal narrative cinema—whatever you hold up to The Shining, it reflects back at you. If you think it’s about one thing, it will give you evidence of that. I think that is why it’s spawned not only all those conspiracy theories but why it lasts.”
Featured Image: Rough Trade Books