The Shining to Become the World’s First Horror/Museum/Hotel
Built in 1909, the Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado features views of the Rocky Mountains on all sides, as well as a beautiful and stately interior. Its real claim to fame, however is that it served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s 1977 classic horror novel “The Shining.” On October 16, the hotel announced that it is applying for state funding to incorporate a film complex, the Stanley Film Center, which will feature the world’s first horror film museum.
Stephen King stayed at the Stanley in October 1974 with his wife, Tabitha. It was the last night of the season, and they were the only guests in the hotel. The empty grandeur of the space sparked King’s imagination, and he published “The Shining” three years later, in which the Stanely is transformed into the fictional Overlook Hotel. They stayed in the pivotal room 217 (changed to 237 in the film), which was already rumored to be haunted.
The equally famous 1980 film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick has also boosted the hotel’s profile. Although the exterior and interior shots of the movie set were based on the Timberline Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel, respectively, it is strongly identified with the Stanley. The hotel now uses its horror associations to attract visitors. The movie plays on a loop in guest rooms, and the hotel recently recreated the famous fictional hedge maze from the film.
The proposed film center will complement the already successful Stanley Film Festival, currently in its third year. The festival screens movies, hosts panel discussions, and organizes a student film competition. Writer/director Josh C. Waller, who will serve as a Founding Board Member of the new film center, describes the festival as the “Sundance of horror.”
Waller is joined on the board by an impressive roster of horror enthusiasts, including Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, and George Romero. The Center is projected to cost $24 million, and organizers have applied for $11.5 million in funding through the State of Colorado’s Regional Tourism Act. The 43,000 square foot space would include both indoor and outdoor venues, an interactive museum with rotating exhibits, and a film production studio on site. Charlie Adlard, the artist behind “The Walking Dead,” has committed to an exhibition at the museum, as well as special effects makeup master Rick Baker, the recipient of seven Academy Awards.
Plan a Visit
While the project awaits state approval, there are already plenty of reasons to visit the Stanley as is. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the views of Rocky Mountain State Park are stunning. Fans of the novel and the film will enjoy the ghost and paranormal tours offered for both hotel guests and visitors, and the Rockies themselves provide gorgeous hiking, skiing, and fishing.
Estes, Colorado is also only an hour and a half by car from Denver, making it an easy and fun side trip for those looking to explore the capital. The Film Center will be a big draw once it opens, so book a room now before it fills up and to the splendid mix of scenery, architecture, history, and horror at the Stanley. The luckiest visitors (or the unluckiest) may even end up in room 237.
This post was posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on October 30th.