The Stanley Film Fest – That’s a Wrap

After a few moments of trying to debunk the shadow moving across the headboard I finally shrugged it off as a large bird flying by. If I had known about the picture of the grand stairway I may have thought differently, but ignorance is bliss.

We headed out to catch our first screening (Rigor Mortis, pretty good martial-arts-ghost story) then we rode the shuttle into town to find some dinner, we were starving since we skipped lunch. We ended up at our go to place in Estes Park, The Wapiti, where they serve your beer in cowboy boot shaped mugs, awesome right?

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We checked out the horror trivia game at The Wheel Bar and then we checked out what was happening at the historic Park Theatre. This theater was built in 1913 and is the oldest working movie theater in the United States and several screenings were taking place there as well as the theater at the hotel and the modern Reel Mountain Theaters. The quaint little town of Estes Park depends economically on tourism, this area was hit pretty hard by flood waters last year and many businesses are still recovering. If you are nearby or passing by, head up for a day of shopping and sight seeing, they could use our support.

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Park Theatre, Estes Park, CO

We made our way back up to the hotel and had some time before the special-secret screening so I made my sweet husband creep around the hotel taking random photos. I didn’t see any anomalies in these photos but feel free to look again for me. The Hall of Owners looked particularly odd in the falling light of dusk.

The hallways are long and narrow. The lighting adds to a creepy vibe.

The hallways are long and narrow. The lighting adds to a creepy vibe.

Hall of Owners

Hall of Owners

Hall of Owners

Hall of Owners

Mrs. Stanley

Mrs. Stanley

Looking up the stairs to the second and third floors.

Looking up the stairs to the second and third floors.

Looking down the stairs, slightly disorienting.

Looking down the stairs, slightly disorienting.

Stairs to bell tower on the third floor. If you climb these you will feel a nanny who is still there watching the children on this floor pull you down.

Stairs to bell tower on the third floor. If you climb these you will feel a nanny who is still there watching the children on this floor pull you down.

 

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The original elevator. In King's story the elevator was operated by phantom party-goers.

The original elevator. In King’s story the elevator was operated by phantom party-goers.

Room 217 where Stephen King stayed.

Room 217 where Stephen King stayed.

We made our way to the Whiskey Bar and had ourselves a very coconutty Redrum Punch in a tip of the hat to the The Shining. Unfortunately, unlike Jack Torrance, our money was good there, good enough for an other round! But now I can say we had drinks with Elijah Wood, well at least in the same room.

Drinks with Elijah, sort of.

Drinks with Elijah, sort of, that’s him back there in the dark sweater.

By now it was dark outside and we headed over to the theater on the grounds to see the super secret screening. It was Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno that is slated for release in September. If you like gory-tense-thrills and an ending you didn’t see coming, this movie is for you. I gave it thumbs up.

The Stanley Hotel at night.

The Stanley Hotel at night.

There was a horror immersion game going on with these weird clues popping up  here and there.

Game Clue

Game Clue

I wish I could report that we had a terrible and terrifying night but I slept like a baby. Maybe even the best sleep I have had in months. In fact, nothing at the Stanley ever felt scary or sinister.

The next  morning we hung out in the lodge to drink coffee, we were a bit late for breakfast because we got stuck watching Room 237, a documentary about Kubrick’s version of The Shining. I have to watch it again, the documentary and the movie.

I don’t know who their decorator is at the Lodge, but I loved it. Okay maybe not the cow-hide chairs but everything else is perfect. I left there with visions of redecorating dancing in my head.

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The screenings we saw were all pretty good. I’m always looking for a movie to scare myself with and some of these were very well done. We didn’t get to see everything we wanted but what we did see was well worth it. The Australian flick, The Babadook, was like every fear I have had as a mother and all my kids’ childhood fears rolled into one. Loved it!

The last thing we did before we left was the Stanley Tour. It was especially fun because our guide was dressed like a zombie as were many festival goers. There had been a fun zombie parade earlier in the day. There was a wedding going on and I felt kind of sorry that there would likely be some zombies in the background of some of the photos, the bride did not seem particularly amused. It made me think about The Shining. Stephen King wrote about the time periods lapsing over each other at his fictional Overlook Hotel and that day with an impeccably dressed wedding party and zombies lulling around it felt that way.

A friendly zombie waiting for coffee.

A friendly zombie waiting for coffee.

Our tour guide told us about her own ghostly encounter in the tunnel, not scary really, just one of the “workmen” saying good night to her as she passed through on her way to the dormitories after work. She told us that she feels the ghosts at The Stanley are just coming back to a place they had very good memories of, nothing sinister. I could see that actually. I left there with some pretty good feelings myself.

My hubby in the underground tunnels.

My hubby in the underground tunnels.

We had a really relaxing and fun time and the weather could not have been more perfect. My only complaint, the chairs in the theater at the hotel were a bit too unforgiving for a long sit. On Saturday night I saw a woman come in with her pillows from the hotel, smart girl. I’m not sure if my husband is, but I’m looking forward to maybe going back next year. I want to take another photo of the main staircase.

Until next time Never Turn Off the Lights.

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The Stanley Hotel Does Not Disappoint (chapter one)

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Me, at the fabulous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

It was a bit overcast but warm when we headed for the Stanley Hotel a week ago today. However, I had put my ear muffs and mittens in my purse on the way out the door. When we were about 30 minutes away from Estes Park, Long’s Peak snowy appearance told me I had made a wise decision, you just never know in the Rocky Mountains.

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Driving up through Longmont, CO the still visible scars of last year’s flood were shocking to see. We knew it had been bad but to actually see it drove the point home. It was a sobering moment on an otherwise light-hearted trip.

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View of the Stanley from the highway.

Some people might be shocked to find out that the movie The Shining was not shot at the Stanley Hotel, even though a stay here gave Stephen King the idea for the story. For the movie Stanley Kubrick used the Timberline Lodge in Oregon so this hotel looks nothing like that hotel. It’s clean white exterior and welcoming red roof are clearly visible from most of Estes Park. The mini-series of The Shining was filmed here and some upgrades were made to the interior for that shoot, including painting some of the interior plaster to look like wood.

The first thing your eye is drawn to when you enter the front doors is the split main staircase. Flora and F.O. Stanley’s ghosts have both been reported being seen on this staircase. I thought they had not shown up for our stay but when I started examining my photos closely to write this post I noticed something surprising just to the left of the staircase. Granted it’s in a window so it could be a reflection of some type, but hmmm. As you can see from the next photo looking down the staircase from the first landing there isn’t anything that could really be reflecting from behind me when I took the photo.

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Main staircase of the Stanley Hotel view from the lobby.

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Close up of area in question. ~ Looking down the staircase.

 

 

Blissfully unaware, we headed over to get our film festival passes and schedules first thing and to see if we could get on the Stanley Tour sometime during our stay. This area has a small display of Stephen King’s books and memorabilia from the movie. There was a lot to do and see and we knew we wouldn’t be able to hit everything.

IMG_0077This hotel was first opened in 1909 and the creaking floor boards hidden under impeccable carpet sang out to prove it as we headed for our room. The room we stayed in was clean and cozy with an oversized plush bed. Right below our window was a waterfall and outside patio. We opened the window because it was warm in the room, high mountain hotels rarely have air conditioning. I thought the sound of the falling waterfall would pose a problem when we were ready to sleep but it proved exactly the opposite. However, every time someone walked in the hallway or opened or closed a door our door would bang and rattle. The door didn’t quite sit square in the frame and voices from the hall carried very clearly into our room. I could see how someone could mistake that for ghostly activity.

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Our guest room at the Stanley Hotel

A shot of the waterfall through our window.

A shot of the waterfall through our window.

Hallway outside our room. No, that is not Zak Baggans.

Hallway outside our room. No, that is not Zak Baggans.

I was stretched out on our bed, lying on my side facing the headboard, as my husband and I chatted about what screenings we wanted to see, where we should eat some dinner, and the fact that I wanted to have cocktails in the hotel bar at some point (just like Stephen King did). He was facing the window and reading the schedule to me.

I saw a brief shadow cross the massive headboard from right to left and at first thought someone was walking past our window, then I remembered, we are on the second floor!

To be continued…