Back to IndieWire

Stephen King Turned Off “Room 237” Halfway Through, Calls It ‘Academic Bullsh*t’

Stephen King Turned Off "Room 237" Halfway Through, Calls It 'Academic Bullsh*t'

We argue about a lot of things around The Playlist watercooler, but few documentaries had the office grind to a halt like “Room 237.” I found Rodney Ascher‘s exploration of the conspiracy theories and readings into Stanley Kubrick‘s “The Shining” fascinating and an interesting look at the obsession great movies can foster in fans and enthusiasts. Others, however, balked at the implausibility and sheer outlandishness of some of the interpretations of the horror classic (no debate there), and found the whole exercise silly. Well, Stephen King is on their side.

The author has made it clear many times over the years that he’s not a fan of Kubrick’s adaptation of his work. And last year, King made headlines by calling Kubrick’s depiction of Wendy “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film.” Yikes. So perhaps it’s not a shock that a documentary delving elbows deep into the mysteries of Kubrick’s “The Shining” is not something King would find particularly appealing.

“Well, let me put it this way – I watched about half of it and got sort of impatient with it and turned it off,” he told Rolling Stone, balking at the high falutin’ attempts to deconstruct “The Shining.”

“These guys were reaching. I’ve never had much patience for academic bullshit,” King explained. “It’s like Dylan says, ‘You give people a lot of knives and forks, they’ve gotta cut something.’ And that was what was going on in that movie.” But beyond “Room 237,” the author doesn’t quite understand the love for Kubrick’s horror.

“I don’t get it. But there are a lot of things that I don’t get. But obviously people absolutely love it, and they don’t understand why I don’t. The book is hot, and the movie is cold; the book ends in fire, and the movie in ice. In the book, there’s an actual arc where you see this guy, Jack Torrance, trying to be good, and little by little he moves over to this place where he’s crazy,” King elaborates. “And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene.”

And King adds (again): “And it’s so misogynistic. I mean, Wendy Torrance is just presented as this sort of screaming dishrag. But that’s just me, that’s the way I am.”

So what does the author think is the best movie that has been made from his books? “Probably ‘Stand by Me.’ I thought it was true to the book, and because it had the emotional gradient of the story,” King said, adding: “It was moving…When the movie was over, I hugged [Rob Reiner] because I was moved to tears, because it was so autobiographical. But ‘Stand by Me,’ ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ ‘Green Mile‘ are all really great ones. ‘Misery‘ is a great film. ‘Dolores Claiborne‘ is a really, really good film. ‘Cujo‘ is terrific.”

But at the end of the day, King doesn’t take much stock in cinema. “The movies have never been a big deal to me. The movies are the movies. They just make them. If they’re good, that’s terrific. If they’re not, they’re not. But I see them as a lesser medium than fiction, than literature, and a more ephemeral medium,” he said.

We’re sure you’ll want to respond, so hit the comments section below, and be sure to read the full Rolling Stone interview. It’s good stuff. [via FilmDrunk]

This Article is related to: News and tagged ,