Stephen King Calls This Now-Streaming Documentary About His Own Movie “Academic bull****”

Stephen King

Stephen King has been an outspoken critic of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and it turns out the best-selling author’s disdain extends beyond the film itself. In a Rolling Stone interview, King revealed that he couldn’t even make it to the end of Rodney Ascher’s The Shining documentary, Room 237.

“Yeah. Well, let me put it this way – I watched about half of it and got sort of impatient with it and turned it off,” King told the outlet.

“These guys were reaching,” he continued. “I’ve never had much patience for academic bulls**t. It’s like Dylan says, ‘You give people a lot of knives and forks, they’re gotta cut something.’ And that was what was going on in that movie.”

Also Read: A Forgotten Adaptation of the Author’s Work that Critics Hated Is Now Free to Stream; But Were They Right?

I agree with King’s assessment that a lot of the theories in Room 237 are far-fetched. But I would counter the doc is nonetheless fascinating. Moreover, there are a few interpretations within that make a certain amount of sense. I’m not suggesting there’s merit to the theory Kubrick was using the film to confess to faking the moon landing, mind you. But there are at least a handful of observations that ring true.

King’s frustration with The Shining makes me wish the author could see the picture separate from his tome. The adaptation isn’t faithful to the source material, but to close oneself off to it is to miss out on a cinematic delight, and one of the greatest ghost stories ever committed to celluloid.

Room 237 is an analysis of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, and the people who believe they have succeeded in decoding the iconic film’s hidden messages and symbols.

Stream Room 237 now for free via Pluto or by subscription with AMC+ or MUBI.

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