In horror movies, setting is everything. This is super apparent in “The Shining”, Stephen King’s novel which was adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick. Both book and film delve into the tricks the mind can play on those susceptible to paranoia, fear and violence when trapped and cut off from the real, rational and sane world.
Jack Torrance, his wife, and their kid move into a secluded and completely eerie mountain resort called the Overlook Hotel to care for it while it closes for the winter. They slowly succumb to the maddening isolation and fear of the beautiful but spooky old hotel.
The Stanley appeared in the 1990s King-sanctioned made-for-TV series version, as he wasn’t a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s atmosphere-heavy, plot-light take on his material. Today you can watch both King’s and Kubrick’s versions on a nonstop loop on the hotel’s Channel 42.
King might not have been crazy, though. The Stanley Hotel was originally opened in 1909, by Massachusetts couple F.O. and Flora Stanley, as a secluded, grand mountain resort. Though the Stanleys have passed, many believe they never actually left. Mr. Stanley has been reported as hovering behind employees at the reception desk, and Mrs. Stanley can still be heard playing piano in the hotel’s music room.
Haunted events have been recorded at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, since as far back as 1911, when Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, a housekeeper, was electrocuted during a lightening storm. Though she wasn’t killed, the room where it happened, Room 217, has become a hotbed of paranormal activity.
Sadly, the hedge maze from the movie was filmed at the studio, but the Stanley has one now in honor of the novel!
The Ahwahnee Hotel
Yosemite Valley, CA
The interiors were filmed at a studio, but heavily drew inspiration from the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park. The interior design of the Ahwahnee is actually pretty distinctive, especially where “parkitecture” is concerned: it’s got the natural wood and stone look of most other National Park Service lodges, but the interior almost featured a Mayan revival motif, as designed by Henry Lovins. Ultimately, the look blends Art Deco, Native American, and Arts and Crafts elements with a touch of Middle Eastern flair.
So we’ve seen inspiration from the Rockies and Yosemite… but to throw another park into the mix, the opening scene was filmed along the famously stunning Going-to-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana.