Entertainment Weekly has called The Room "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" and a number of notable publications have labeled it as one of the worst films ever made. Originally shown only in a limited number of California theaters, the film quickly developed a cult following as fans found humor in the film's bizarre storytelling and various technical and narrative flaws. Within a decade of its premiere, the film was selling out showings around the United States and had inspired a book and video game.
A favorite fan theory among cult fans of The Room involves the scene where Denny has a mysterious run-in with a drug dealer named Chris-R on the roof, whom Johnny and Mark overpower and supposedly take to the police. The two return seconds later.
The theory states that Johnny and Mark actually killed Chris-R with his own gun and then disposed of his body in the alley, where the scene was originally supposed to take place. The reason behind this is because Johnny and Mark took Chris-R to the police station within 30 seconds, which would be borderline impossible, especially when they started from the rooftop.
Another regards the character of Mark's backstory. Beyond being Johnny's friend, Mark receives no exposition; when he is first introduced he claims to be "busy" while sitting in a parked car in the middle of the day, with no explanation ever given as to his occupation or what he was doing. Actor Greg Sestero created a backstory for his character in which Mark was an undercover vice detective, which Sestero felt united several otherwise disparate aspects of Mark's character (such as his secretive behavior, clandestine marijuana use, mood swings, and his handling of the Chris-R incident); however, Wiseau dismissed adding any reference to Mark's past to the script. The makers of The Room video game would later introduce a similar idea as part of a subplot involving Mark's unexplained backstory, much to Sestero's amusement.
Another suggests that the character of Johnny is really a vampire. Sestero recalls in his book The Disaster Artist that Wiseau intended for the film to contain a subplot in which Johnny was revealed to be a vampire, due to Wiseau's own fascination with the creatures. Sestero recounts how, at the outset of production, Wiseau tasked members of the crew with figuring out a way to execute a sequence in which Johnny's Mercedes Benz would lift off from the roof of the townhouse and fly across the San Francisco skyline, revealing Johnny's vampiric nature. Wiseau eventually decided to drop the subplot after learning that there was no practical way to film the flying car scene on the production's budget.
Another theory suggests that the film was made intentionally poorly as a statement on entertaining cinema. Although Wiseau has retroactively characterized the film as a black comedy, audiences have generally viewed it as a poorly made drama, a viewpoint supported by some of the film's cast. A third theory suggests that the entire film was made to cover up a gigantic money laundering scheme.