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Room 1408 is an infamous haunted hotel room that is possessed by a mysterious and vicious dark force, and it serves as the titular main setting in the short story 1408 by legendary novelist Stephen King (both as the 14th story in King's 1999 entitled book collection "Everything's Eventual and as the 3rd tale in his 2002 audiobook collection titled Blood and Smoke). There is also a film entitled 1408 based on the short story of the same name with the same possessed apartment.
56 people died in Room 1408, most of them by suicide. Presumably, the room cannot kill people itself. Instead it tries to drive it's victims crazy so that they will do it themselves, though several of the deaths have appeared as natural or accidental.
It appears that the room has a consciousness, as distraught skeptical paranormal debunker Mike Enslin, who himself was a book writer long ago, talks with the room over the phone later. When this happened it used the voice of a hotel operator.
The room is situated on the 13th floor of the luxurious Dolphin Hotel owned by the Yasuko Corporation in New York City. Although not all it's victims are revealed, some of the most recent are. A few years ago, a young unidentified maid from El Salvador was locked in the room's bathroom. She survived but was blinded due to the fact she had gouged her eyes out with a pair of scissors. Mr. Kevin O' Malley, a sewing machine salesman who cut his own throat, was the first victim. Mr. Benjamin Johnsons was a factory owner who jumped from the window. Mr. Grady Miller drowned in his soup. David Hyde, a manic-depressive orthodontist slit his wrists and cut off his genitals. In the 95 year since the Dolphin hotel was built in 1912, 56 deaths have occurred, including 7 jumpers, 4 overdoses, 5 hangings, 3 mutilations, 2 stranglings, a heart attack, a stroke and a drowning.
The room was finally destroyed when Mike realized that while he cannot interact with the room from the inside, those outside of the room can. Mike makes a Molotov cocktail with a bottle of alcohol he got from the Dolphin Hotel's owner Gerald Olin and sets the room ablaze so fire fighters would be able to break down the door and quickly pull him out so the room is unable to affect them with their tricks, while everyone in the entire hotel have immediately evacuated. After his ordeal in Room 1408, Enslin gave up writing altogether. He has acquired various physical and psychological problems stemming from his brief stay in the room. He notes to himself (as Olin expressed earlier) that there are no ghosts in 1408, because ghosts were once merely humans, while the entity he encountered was horrifically inhuman. In the end, Enslin sleeps with his lights on, has removed all his house's phones, and always draws the curtains before dark; he cannot stand the shade of yellow-orange at sunset that reminds him of the light inside that infamous hotel room.
Four versions of the film adaption's ending differs on Mike Enslin's status after his successful Molotov cocktail attempt against the room 1408. In In addition to the ending that appears in the theatrical release (also the default ending of the DVD), three alternate endings were shot. The incentive for this was based on the Swedish film director Mikael Håfström's belief that author Stephen King's intention, in his original short story, was to leave the conclusion ambiguous. None of the four endings were able to match the ending of King's original short story.
- Theatrical ending: This one is the default ending of the theatrical release and its theatrical release DVD. Mike Enslin survives the burning room while Mr. Gerald Olin in his office replied "Well done, Mr. Enslin. Well done.", thanking the man for destroying the evil of Room 1408, and he and Lily got back together, though Lily is skeptical of his experience. She finds a box of Mike's possessions that were rescued from 1408 and Mike takes the mini-cassette recorder from it, saying, "Sometimes you can't get rid of bad memories. You've just got to live with them." Lily realizes that Mike is ready to move on from his daughter's death. Suddenly, they hear Katie's voice on the recorder, confirming his account.
- First alternate ending: that the director's cut ending for 1408 was re-shot because test audiences felt that the original ending was too much of a "downer." This first alternative ending was used in the theatrical release. The original discarded ending had Mike Enslin dying from his fire-related injuries, but happy to see the evil room itself destroyed. During Mike's funeral, Gerald Olin approaches Lily and Mike's publisher Sam Farrell. He unsuccessfully attempts to give her a box of Mike's possessions, including the tape recorder. Olin claims that the room was successfully destroyed and that it will no longer hurt anyone else. He later listens to the recording in his car, and becomes upset when he hears Katie's voice on the tape. He sees a little girl walking on the cemetery grass behind the car, in a dress, calling out as if she is lost. He then sees Mike's burnt cadaver in the backseat. Then he sees the same girl holding hands with her father as they walk away. Olin places the tape recorder back in the box and drove away. The final scene is of the gutted Room 1408, where an apparition of Mike Enslin looks out the window while smoking a cigarette. He hears his daughter Katie calling his name, and disappears as he walks toward her. A door is heard closing and the scene fades. This ending itself is the default ending on the Blu-ray release and two-disc collector's edition. Canadian networks Space and The Movie Network, and U.S. network FX broadcast this version of the film, but Space broadcast the theatrical ending on July 23, 2012. This ending is also used on the U.K. and Australian DVDs, and the U.S. iTunes, Netflix and Amazon Prime versions of the film.
- Second alternate ending: Another ending uses elements from both the theatrical ending and the discarded original ending. Mike Enslin dies from his fire injuries. Afterwards, Olin remarks "Well done, Enslin. Well done." Instead of the funeral scene, the sounds of a funeral are dubbed over shots of Los Angeles. Lily and Sam sort through Mike's effects. Sam returns to his New York office and discovers the manuscript that Mike wrote about Room 1408. As Sam reads the story, audio from Mike's experiences in the room is heard. In a final scene, Sam's office doors slam shut and Mike's father's voice says, "As I was, you are. As I am, you will be.".
- Third alternate ending: In this third and final ending, Mike Enslin survives and moves to Los Angeles with Lily. When he plays the tape of Katie's voice from 1408, Lily hears it and looks shocked. Mike stares at Lily strangely. This is the ending shown on the Australian streaming service Presto and on Netflix in Japan. Netflix in the Netherlands used to show this ending, but later changed it to the ending used in the theatrical release.
- In the introduction to the titular story, author Stephen King says that "1408" is his version of what he calls the "Ghostly Room at the Inn", this term for the theme of haunted hotel rooms or haunted motel rooms within horror fiction. King himself originally wrote the first few pages as part of an appendix for his 2000 non-fiction book "On Writing", to be used as an example of how a story changes from one draft document to the next.
- King also noted how the numbers of the title add up to the supposedly unlucky number 13.
- Room 1408 has the ability to manipulate time in great lengths. The time on the clock before Mike Enslin "escaped" the room after it was flooded and he woke up on the beach was about 14 minutes and 30 seconds and the time inside the post office's clock right before he was sent back was at 4 minutes and 56 seconds, meaning Mike was only "out of the room" for only 9 minutes and 34 seconds when it seemed like he was out for several weeks, possibly several months.
- The name of the bottle Olin gives Mike is "Les Cinquante Sept Décès". Translated into English, it reads "The Fifty Seven Deaths", with Mike being intended to be the fifty seventh victim of 1408.
- It is entirely unknown as to who sent Mike Enslin the post card from the Dolphin Hotel to him in the first place. It is doubtful that Olin sent him it since he was so adamant for him to not go in and the room itself seems to only care about people in the room and those who might have gone to the room, such as Mike's wife, so it is most likely not 1408 either.
- The number 13 is commonly seen as an unlucky number (and even corresponding with the 13th floor paranormal phenomena) and it reappears several times throughout the movie:
- 1408 itself. 1 + 4 + 0 + 8 equals 13. Mike even notes this at one point in the movie.
- The DVD's run time is 1 hour, 04 minutes, and 8 seconds long. The director's cut is 112 minutes long, 1 + 12 being 13.
- The movie came out on the 22nd in 2007. 2 + 2 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 7 equals 13.
- Mike Enslin was intended to be the 58th victim, 5 + 8 equals 13.
- The phone in Mike's room is used 13 times.
- 1408 is very clearly telepathic as it managed to know several things Mike Enslin never told anyone else other than his wife. For example, it knew of Mike's daughter Katie dying long before the film, Mike's father being put into a nursing home, and his relationship status with his wife. 1408 then used this knowledge to cruelly torture Mike by having Katie die in his arms again and tricking Lily into coming to the hotel to try and kill her too and then smugly winking at Mike afterwards.