Stephen King is No Fan of ‘Room 237′ Calls It “Academic Bulls—“
When you're 67 years old and have been one of the best-selling authors on the face of the planet for the better part of 40 years, you're pretty much allowed to say whatever the heck you want. After all, you've earned that Angry, Raving Old Guy status. Stephen King, the horror maestro behind dozens of great and plenty of terrible novels, recently sat down for his first extended interview in 15 years and revealed himself to be just like your smart, political and odd uncle. Well, an uncle that really, really hates 'Room 237' and Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining.'
King has never been shy about his dislike for Kubrick's adaptation of his haunted hotel novel, but in between talk about his writing process, his friendship with J.K. Rowling and his love for his Apple TV, King revealed to Rolling Stone that he hates 'Room 237' more. Directed by Rodney Ascher, this oddball documentary collects a series of increasingly outlandish theories that fans of 'The Shining' have concocted over the years. Some are really stretching. Some are so weird that they actually make some sort of sense. But King was having none of it, calling the theories "academic bullshit."
Well, let me put it this way – I watched about half of it and got sort of impatient with it and turned it off ... These guys were reaching. I’ve never had much patience for academic bullshit. 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.
Naturally, no discussion of 'Room 237' can be complete without talking about 'The Shining' itself and King was, as always, not nice to the infamous film. Sure, many horror fans have come to appreciate the novel and the film as two completely separate and excellent beasts, but not King. Oh, no. It sounds like he's never going to reconcile this one:
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. And as far as I was concerned, when I saw the movie, Jack was crazy from the first scene ... 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.
The whole interview is fantastic (although it's a shame that the interviewer never brings up 'Maximum Overdrive') and it's a must-read for anyone who likes King and his work. But if you're a passionate defender of 'The Shining' or 'Room 237,' you may want to glaze over a few paragraphs or risk having your opinions assaulted by one of the horror genre's living legends.