The Hotel That Inspired ‘The Shining’ Is Now A True American Horror Story & Museum

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It was to the delight of millions of fans that FX announced its current season of its hit show “American Horror Story” would take place in a hotel, a setting familiar to anyone who has traveled. And yet, despite its familiarity and comforting aspects, there is something about a hotel’s abandoned hallways and empty rooms that make it distinctly spooky and now one of cinema’s most notorious hotels is being given a new lease on life in some very terrifying ways.

It’s perhaps one of the most iconic buildings in film history. In its day-to-day operations, it’s known as the Stanley Hotel, an Estes Park, Colorado landmark that was built by Stanley Steamer founder Freelan Oscar Stanley in the first decade of the 20th century. To most, however, it’s known as the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, the fictional lodge where Stephen King’s 1977 bestseller The Shining took place. In Stanely Kubrick’s film adaptation, the Timberline Lodge in Oregon served as the exterior inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, but it was the interior of the Stanley where the true horrors took place, and now the building is being turned into a horror-themed museum, perhaps the world’s first.

stanley hotel

Earlier this week, it was reported that a $24 million plan had been proposed to build the Stanley Film Center, which would incorporate a museum but also a film archive and production studio. According to the Denver Business Journal, other amenities will include “multiple indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, including a 500-seat auditorium; a 30,000-square-foot interactive museum and discovery center that would feature rotating exhibits; a 3,000 square-foot soundstage; classrooms and workshop spaces; and post-production and editing suites.”  Unsurprisingly, much of the hotel’s tourism appeal comes from its literally horrifying history, and the new redevelopment plan serves in part to “give back to the millions of horror fans around the world who have supported Estes Park and the hotel,” according to its owner, John Cullen. And, according to the Film Center’s press release, “The film center has an exclusive, educational partnership with the Colorado Film School to create an integrated educational platform for students and the public. This will include an apprenticeship and artist-in-residence program that allows students to participate in the operation, curation and creative elements of the center.”

While details about what aspects of The Shining, if any, will be incorporated into Stanley’s new identity (twins in a hallway, perhaps?), these developments will certainly make it a haven for horror fans around the world. Would you spend the night there?

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