Stephen King was pretty freaked out the first time he visited the historic Stanley Hotel in Colorado. So freaked out, in fact, it inspired him to write The Shining and share his horror with the rest of the world.
King and his family were the only guests to stay at the Stanley in September, 1974. Calling it a “grand hotel,” he learned that the hotel was going to close for the winter the day after he left, the Denver Channel reported. And he thought, as he wandered its halls, what a perfect place it would be for a ghost story.
“That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”
The Stanley Hotel became Overlook Hotel, and now, the hotel that inspired the horror novel is in the works to become a museum to the horror genre, with Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, and George A. Romero on board.
If it comes to fruition, it would be the world’s first horror-themed museum, according to organizers.
“At 109-years-old, the story of the Stanley Hotel is just beginning,” said Stanley Hotel owner, John Cullen. “The Stanley Film Center is my chance to give back to the millions of horror fans around the world who have supported Estes Park and the hotel for so many years.”
The plan is to dedicate the 106-year-old old building to The Stanley Film Center, transforming the creepy spot into a year-round sight for a museum, film archive, and film production studio, CBS Local reported. The project could cost a whopping $24 million, and the group has applied for an $11.5 million grant from the State of Colorado Regional Tourism Act.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the center would host traveling, interactive exhibits, and several have already been committed: a The Walking Dead exhibit from creator Charlie Adlard, and one from Rick Baker, who’s known for Men in Black and X-Men.
— Eric Kahnert (@erickahnert) October 20, 2015
— Denver Biz Journal (@denbizjournal) October 19, 2015
Designs include indoor and outdoor venues and views of the Rocky Mountains. The Stanley Hotel museum would also have an 500-seat auditorium, a sound stage, classrooms, and post-production and editing space. It also intends to partner with the Colorado Film School in Denver on educational projects and expand to include an apprenticeship and artist-in-residence program. Students would be able to get involved with the center’s operation, curation, and creative elements.
With big names on board like Pegg, Romero, and Wood, the horror museum is expected to lure hundreds of thousands of film fans to the historic and decidedly eerie Colorado hotel. Wood couldn’t be more excited.
“I would love to have a home for which we could constantly come year-round and celebrate with other fans from around the world. There’s really no better place for there to be a permanent home for the celebration of horror as an art form than the Stanley Hotel. It was practically built for it.”
Though the Stanley Hotel is best known for the inspiration it gave to King, it’s been around much longer. Built in the Colonial Revival style, it has 140 rooms and has been open since 1909 — it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Obviously, the hotel owners love its connection to horror — every year, it offers ghost tours and hosts a horror film festival.
What better place to celebrate all things horror and learn how to scare people, just like Stephen King?
[Photo Courtesy Zack Frank / Shutterstock]