Stephen King Labels The Shining Documentary Room 237 "Academic Bullshit"

Movies News Stephen King
Share Tweet Submit Pin

If there’s one thing that’s really clear about Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining—it’s that King really, really hates it. There are several reasons for his unwavering animosity: Jack Nicholson looks too crazy in the beginning, “the film is “cold, ending is all wrong, and Shelley Duvall’s character Wendy is “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film.”

In a recent interview with the Rolling Stone, King confirmed he not only hates Kubrick’s The Shining, he hates everything associated with the film. King denounced the speculative 2012 documentary directed by Rodney Ascher, Room 237, calling the film “academic bullshit.”

King says he only watched about half of the documentary before having to turn 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,” King said.

Room 237 certainly does do a lot of hypothesizing. For example, one of the conspiracy theorists featured in the documentary points to the number 42 reappearing in the film, relates that number to the year 1942, which alongside the use of a German typewriter as an important recurring prop in the film, equals a Holocaust subtext.


Room 237 represents the cult surrounding Kubrick’s The Shining, and film scholars’ continued attempts to unpack the film’s many mysteries. “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,” King told the Rolling Stone.

Well, as much people don’t understand why King hates Kubrick’s film adaptation, people who aren’t totally obsessed with all things The Shining will probably understand why he hates the documentary. Even Kubrick’s former personal assistant, Leon Vitali, said the theories presented in Room 237 are “pure gibberish.”