Stanley Film Festival or Bust!

The Stanley  Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

I have a house full of young kids, a sweet husband who is busy running his business, some needy pets including a big German Shepherd who is afraid of the dark (of all things). It’s rare that my husband and I get some time away together but this weekend we are going away, far away. Okay, not so far away, a couple three hours drive from our house but overnight! It’s pretty exciting. Not just because we will be away but because of where we are going. We are going to Estes Park, Colorado to attend the Stanley Film Festival. We didn’t get to go to the inaugural year last year because of all the things mentioned above and then some.

The well recognized Denver Film Society is behind this horror film fueled good time. It’s aimed at bringing together filmmakers, fans, indie film supporters, and any one else remotely interested in the horror genre. With the sophistication of the DFS involved it is definitely not some cheesy screening of cheesy movies. This year director Joe Dante (Gremlins, The Howling, Piranha) is going to be presented with the first Master of Horror Award. Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings) will be there with his partners in SpectreVision to receive the Visionary Award and screen their sci-fi movie LFO.  The fest will screen shorts and feature length movies over the course of a long weekend as well as other activities and panels. I won’t be able to catch them all but am really looking forward to trying.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this whole film festival is the location. It’s being held at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. THE Stanley Hotel, the same Stanley Hotel the prompted Stephen King to write The Shining. I’ve been to Estes Park and the surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park many times but I have never been to the historic Stanley Hotel.

This elegant hotel was originally built in 1909 by the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, Freelan Oscar Stanley. It’s been called the most haunted place in America, some say it’s because of the quartz foundation acts like a magnet for energy, drawing spirits in. It’s said that every room has had some kind of strange activity reported and guests and staff have had experiences of all kinds all over the property.

  • The ghosts of Freelan and his wife Flora have been seen on the main staircase, the lobby, and the billiard room
  • Some have heard Flora playing the piano in the music room
  • Disembodied voices and footfalls can be heard in the corridors and rooms
  • Reports of phantom hands yanking on clothing
  • A ghost child on the second floor that calls out to his nanny
  • Lights turning off and on by themselves
  • Belongings being moved from place to place
  • Blankets being yanked off sleepers and thrown on the floor

Some of our family and friends think we’re nuts others wish they were going.  My brother is sending his digital recorder with me, in his words, just in case. In case of what, I’m not sure but its going to be awesome to find out. We aren’t going to stay for the whole four days of the festival because of the afore mentioned responsibilities, being a grown up can suck at times. I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming (is that word?) from the event beginning Friday April, 25, so you can follow along if you like. Of course I’ll post here after the event and hopefully I’ll have some pretty cool things to share.

It’s going to be my turn to Never Turn Off the Lights!