29 October 2019 12:31
Get the biggest Weekly Travel stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Stephen King's The Shining is iconic. The terrifying novel follows the story of writer Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy and their son Danny who has psychic abilities, who move to the isolated Overlook hotel when Jack becomes its winter caretaker. As Jack suffers from writer's block and Danny's visions become increasingly terrifying, the creepy Overlook Hotel takes hold and turns Jack into a homicidal maniac. While the Overlook Hotel is fictional, the setting which inspired Stephen to write the novel isn't. In fact, in 1974 the author and his wife Tabitha inadvertently found themselves staying at one of the world's creepiest haunted hotels before it closed for winter; the Stanley Hotel in Colorado.
We're talking guests reporting ghost sightings, paranormal activity and plenty of spine-chilling experiences. (Image: LightRocket via Getty Images) The couple only stayed for one night, but it was more than enough for Stephen who came up with the plot for The Shining. He recalls on his official website: "That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. 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." Stephen and Tabitha stayed in Room 217, which the hotel itself describes as a room with "high paranormal activity" (since their stay, the room's been renamed the Stephen King Suite). However, it's not the only room where there are said to be some paranormal presences.
(Image: Warner Bros/Hawk Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock) Rooms 401, 407 and 408 are also particularly popular with ghost hunters, as guests have reported everything from waking up to a ghostly cowboy stood at the end of their bed, to general bumps in the night such a lights flickering off and on, doors slamming shut abruptly, and mysterious shadows. (Image: Denver Post via Getty Images) Meanwhile, the hotel's Concert Hall is where some guests have reported hearing a piano playing ominous tunes in the dead of the night - but no performers could be found. Just like Danny meets the identical twin sisters in The Shining, guests have had spooky experiences with ghostly children - in fact, there are reports of giggling children on the fourth floor. There's been so much paranormal activity that the Stanley Hotel even runs night tours where you can explore the hotel's history, architecture and folklore all after dark. You don't need to be a hotel guest to take part, although you do need to book in advance - you can find out more on the Stanley Hotel website. However, if it's the filming locations for Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of The Shining that you're after, then it's actually The Timberline Lodge in Oregon that needs to be on your list, as this is the hotel which was used for exterior shots of the Overlook. To Stanley Kubrick—formalist artist, literate spiritualist, inveterate chess player, and cinematic explorer at the intersection of society, government, and technology—machines had the capacity for meaningful interaction with humans, the promise of a creative, productive synergy that manages, to this day, to be underutilized and overestimated in equal measures. And despite the director's cinematic warnings that it would all somehow go wrong (think HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey  and the Slim Pickens-strapped bomb from Dr. Strangelove ), Kubrick cultivated a warm fascination with and masterful command over every technical aspect of the film camera and its lenses throughout the breadth of his career. It was a mutually beneficial partnership that produced some of the most lionized and analyzed films of our time. It's not surprising, then, that he came to rely heavily on the use of the moving camera in his films—floating, fluid tracking shots and zooms of varying speeds and thematic intensity—entrusting it to alternately assist and propel the narrative, making it as important, and perhaps more prescient, a character as any human in his filmography. Kubrick's cinematic style often found the director producing, essentially, two films at once: on one plane was the above-ground story and plot, frequently derived from previously written material, yet on another was Kubrick's subtextual—sometimes urgently personal—conveyance of a philosophical and spiritual diegesis, concurrently playing out alongside the more accessible images and themes of the movie. Explored here, then, is the narrative significance of Kubrick's moving camera in 1980's The Shining (playing around Boston in the lead-up to Halloween, including the Coolidge Corner Theatre) and how its function shifts and morphs depending on the film's psychic terrain; in particular, focus will be paid to the aggregate presence of the tracking shot as Greek chorus, guardian phantom, and visually emotive principal character. In The Shining, Kubrick's balletic moving camera may have reached its thematic zenith. Narratively, the camera evokes the haunting presence within the Overlook Hotel, a cavernous spook house with hallways and corridors that simultaneously free the sailing, swooping camera from its previously earthbound incarnation and imprison its human characters. The story, according to Bruce Kawin in his book, How Movies Work, "is all a labyrinth, a telepathic trap"; the tracking and zoom shots employed by Kubrick serve as a deft navigator of the mise-en-scene's space, a ghostly commentator and a spiritual scout, just ahead or behind the characters and action, but always remaining central to exploration. "It's not knowing what's around the next corner, it's pushing into [the character's] kind of reality…" —Garrett Brown, creator of the Steadicam, on its function in The Shining.