In an interview with CBS on Tuesday, March 22, critically acclaimed American novelist Stephen King has admitted, after nearly 39 years, that he never actually wrote The Shining himself.
It is common knowledge that Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Horror-Thriller film adaptation of the famous novel maintained many inconsistencies with the book. Perhaps the most well-known discrepancy between the two is that the infamous room, 237, was originally room 217 in the book.
Many theorize that there is a simple explanation to Kubrick’s butchering of King’s novel: Kubrick faked the moon landing and needed a venue through which to admit it. However, we know this is not the case; three days before he passed away, Stanley Kubrick stated in an interview, dismissing the theory, “I didn’t fake the damned moon landing, so please stop asking.”
Finally, 17 years and 18 days after Kubrick’s choice words disavowed innumerable conspiracy theories, the truth about the Torrances has surfaced. In a CBS exclusive, Stephen King announced that he never wrote the novel.
Of course, this isn’t to wrongly imply the novel never happened. The novel did and still does exist. Moreover, the film was definitely based on the novel, but not any novel King wrote. Stephen King’s explanation was as follows:
“Stanley and I met up during the theatrical run of 2001—I saw him leaving the projector room—and I said, ‘You know, Paths of Glory changed my life,’ to which he said, ‘War changed your life….’ Immediately I asked him to read a rough outline for a manuscript I wrote, and I mailed it to him, and then there were just months of waiting. ‘Is he trying to steal it? Did he hate it?’ And you know, I couldn’t call him or anything. He was inaccessible. So three months passed, and I got a phone call, and it was Stanley, and he said, ‘Look, this cannot work. You have no structure. You have no real plot. The reader has nothing to look forward to. It’s just a story that keeps going.’
“After that, I started pumping out stories so I could, you know, like, shove some degree of success in his face. Anyway, years down the road, not long after Carrie got published, I got a phone call from Stanley, and I said, ‘Are you calling to criticize me some more?’ He responded with, ‘I want your opinion on something.’ What it was is he read Carrie and he decided he wanted to dive into horror. So a week later, I got a manuscript called The Overlook in my P.O. box, and it was about this man who killed his family in a hotel, and the guilt ate away at him, and the time passed and passed, but he didn’t know it—essentially it was this guy who went crazy with guilt and lost himself.
“So what I did was I tore off the front page, retyped it with my name on it, changed the title, and I mailed it to my publisher. I never got back to Stanley about it. Two years later, Stanley picked up the book, and when he realized it was his story, he rewrote it in screenplay form, changing it here and there. Ultimately, he was trying to turn it into some schlocky B-movie, hoping to turn people away from the book if they saw the movie first. He thought if he associated my name with a bad story, it would ruin me. Effectively, he accidentally made the best horror movie of the century, thus boosting my career exponentially.”
For years, King has restated that he was angry with Kubrick for ruining his story. Now we know that King ruined Kubrick’s story. Kubrick has always been the caretaker of the story, and finally, the world knows it.