There are no sudden jump scares, no ghosts strolling the dark passages in white robes. But despite all that, ‘The Shining’ (1980) still remains one of the most popular horror cult films to be ever made. The chilling novel written by novelist Stephen King was brought to life by none other than master director Stanley Kubrick. One of the most exciting parts of the entire film is its exquisite location – the infamous ‘Overlook Hotel’ with creepy long corridors that will send a chill down your spine. But did you know that most of the location of the hotel was a part of an indoor set?
That is not all. There are many strange and interesting stories that happened during the shoot of this cult horror film.
What town was The Shining filmed in?
Timberline Lodge: Location Disputes
The location disputes regarding the shoot of the film will send your mind into a flurry. Most of the interiors of the hotel were in reality a made up studio called the Elstree Studio in Hertfordshire, England. The majestic exterior of the hotel was however shot at the Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood in the Hood River area in Northern Oregon. The interior scenes too were not all shot at the same place. Apart from Elstree studios, some of them were shot at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, California.
Was any of The Shining filmed at the Stanley Hotel?
If you think this is confusing, wait till you hear further. Some people claim that the film was shot at the Stanley Hotel, Colorado where Stephen King originally stayed while writing the novel.
Is the hotel from The Shining still open?
If only you could visit the Overlook Hotel and feel the bone-chilling energy of the movie for yourself . . . oh wait, you can! While the Overlook Hotel from the movie doesn’t actually exist, it is based on The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO: a 142-room colonial revival hotel nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
Recreating ROOM 217
The Shining film differed in a lot of ways from the original novel. In the novel, the spooky events took place in room 217 and not room 237 as shown in the film. It was the Lodge’s management’s request to change the room number from 217 to anything else. They feared that tourists might avoid that room post-shooting of the film thanks to conspiracy theories and creepy fan fiction. So a room 237 was created for shooting the film. Ironically though, later on the management revealed that room 217 was the most requested by the tourists.
Stanley Kubrick was not even Present During Location Shoots
Stanley Kubrick is no doubt a mastermind when it comes to direction. But he is very temperamental as well. Kubrick detested airplane rides. So when it came to shooting the montage of Jack Torrance driving to the Overlook Hotel for the first time through meandering mountainous road, Kubrick decided to step back. The picturesque scene was shot by the second unit crew from a helicopter, a 1980’s version of a drone camera!
The Lead Character didn’t even know it was a Horror Film
This might be one of the biggest secrets that was revealed after the shooting of this legendary horror film. One of the leads, Danny Lloyd (the little boy) didn’t have the faintest idea that he was starring in one of the most popular horror movies that would scare generations of people. Stanley Kubrick went a long way in protecting the innocence of then child Danny. He thought he was filming a family drama. He was in fact barred from entering the set when the axe scenes were being shot. Kubrick designed a 10 minute special premier for Danny. It was only when Lloyd was 16 that he watched the entire film in all its horror. “I just personally didn’t find it scary”, Lloyd had commented later on.
The Shining Set was burned to the Ground
Did you know that much like the original ending which had the hotel being burned at the climax, the set of The Shining at Elstree Studios was actually burned from a huge fire? Towards the end of the shooting, a fire broke out and destroyed multiple sets. “It was an eleven alarm fire call, it was huge!” said one of the photographers. Rebuilding the set cost Kubrick 2.5 million and in an ironic BTS picture, he was seen laughing in front of the debris left from the fire!
The Overlook Hotel doesn’t make Sense
An observant fan, Rob Ager (and probably a Shining fanatic) wrote that the design of the Overlook Hotel did not make much sense from an architecture point of view. The huge ballrooms seemed too big to fit in a hotel like that. Even the windows were out of context, like the one in Ullman’s office. Agar even took the effort to create a video to list all the weird designs in the construction of the hotel. However, the executive producer of the film, Jan Harlan mentions that “nothing makes sense”. It is a Kubrick film after all!