‘Let this be Kubrick’s final word. Do you hear us Warner Bros.?’: Fan reception to the death of Stanley Kubrick and his final film, Eyes Wide Shut

FENWICK, James (2018). ‘Let this be Kubrick’s final word. Do you hear us Warner Bros.?’: Fan reception to the death of Stanley Kubrick and his final film, Eyes Wide Shut. The Journal of Fandom Studies, 6 (1), 21-32.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1386/jfs.6.1.21_1
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    Abstract

    Stanley Kubrick died suddenly in July 1999, not able to control the release of what was to be his final film Eyes Wide Shut (1999). The resultant marketing was misleading, and many claimed that Kubrick had not completed the film before his death, with edits still to be made. Yet, in recent years, the reputation of the film has grown; new fan documentaries abound on the Internet that praise the film and search for symbolism and hidden meaning (such as freemasonry, or the New World Order) as feverishly as they do with The Shining (1980). But, academic attention overlooks consideration of the fan reception of Eyes Wide Shut, in favour of the obvious cult nature of films such as The Shining and A Clockwork Orange (1971). The article will consider, firstly, the initial fan reception to Eyes Wide Shut, via fan forums including the website alt.movies.kubrick (amk) and how this compared with the press reaction in the face of knowing that this was the last ever Kubrick film. It will explore how such knowledge influenced the reception of the film and how, with the passing of sixteen years, this has changed. Secondly, the article will look to what extent the shaping of Kubrick’s legacy via the donation of his archive to the University of the Arts London and the global tour of the Stanley Kubrick Exhibition has created a narrative that has changed the reception and opinion of Eyes Wide Shut; in addition, the Kubrick legacy is not just to prolong the marketability of a dead auteur but in response to the cult fan base in search of ever more knowledge to help in the deciphering of Kubrick’s films, leading to numerous DVD box sets and coffee-table books containing rare archival material.

    Item Type: Article
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1386/jfs.6.1.21_1
    Page Range: 21-32
    SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
    Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
    Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2019 10:26
    Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 10:30
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/25417

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