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A Horror Film Mecca

May 22, 2012

My husband is so kind, so amazing and loves me so much that he has been known to force me to go on vacations with him against my will.

Which at times can include kicking and screaming until it is recommended I be shot with a tranquilizer gun so I don’t swallow my tongue, foam at the mouth and start kicking out windows.

This all might seem disturbing if not for the fact that (1) my life insurance policy sucks; (2) I’m afraid of flying; (3) in five years I have not willingly left my children for more than 62 hours; and (4) my husband is really good at pretending to be being nice to me.

(Oh, also, be encouraged by the fact that Jules from Go Guilty Pleasures! survived a suspicious hot air balloon plot trip with her husband.)

So recently my husband surprised me by announcing he had booked us a flight to Denver and a stay in a mountainside condo in Estes Park.

And when I say “surprised” I mean like the part in Pulp Fiction where Vincent is sitting on the toilet and Butch walks in and blows him away.

I love being surprised.

Anyway, this part of the trip wasn’t bad.

This part wasn’t either.  (I thought I was pointing to mountains but instead I could be flipping off motorists.)

This part was pretty great too, minus the snow in my eyeballs part and minus the standing very close to the edge of the Rocky Mountains part.

And, as an animal lover, I couldn’t help loving a city that has desegregated its wildlife creatures.  They’re like real human citizens to the point where squirrels can share family campsites and elk can ride the same theme park rides.

Guys, they’re tearing down social walls in Estes Park.  It’s all happening.

But this part?  This part I didn’t like.  This part I didn’t see coming.

I thought Danny was just riding his big wheel around in an abandoned hotel.  But then ghosts of murdered twins appear out of nowhere at the end of a hallway.

Sort of like The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado appeared out of nowhere as we were driving into town.

I had no idea until we drove past it that it was located in Estes Park.  How did I not know this?  Being that The Shining is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen about the scariest hotel I’ve ever heard of, you’d think I would’ve mapped it out so as never to end up there.

The original 1980 movie wasn’t filmed here (the forgettable 1997 made-for-TV version was).  But Stephen King’s stay at The Stanley Hotel inspired him to write the book.  He stayed in the infamous room #217 on a night when the hotel was cleared out for the season.  Perfect.

Oh, and the hotel is supposedly haunted.  Of course it is.

Do I look like the devil here?  I sort of do.  When I saw this picture, I thought, I look like the devil here.  Am I possessed?

Or maybe it’s just a really, really bad picture of me.  Because I’m known to have really, really bad pictures on occasion, occasions that I cannot always attribute to being possessed.

Unless by “possessed” you mean “high on Bactine and sugar-coated corn flakes”.

You may be disappointed to learn we didn’t stay overnight at The Stanley Hotel.  Are you kidding me?  I would never.  I couldn’t.  No way.  Never.

Although, it did make it a bit less scary to see that The Stanley Hotel really likes to play up The Shining thing.  Like it’s some kind of theme park.  Only, elks cannot attend this theme park.  Something about how they get possessed and then foam at the mouth and kick out windows.

Cheesy $15.00 ghost tours?  Check.

Movie posters hanging in random places like the restrooms?  Check.

Autographed photos of The Shining cast members?  Check.

I was touched to learn that “Danny,” the psychic boy in the movie, is actually named “Danny”.

Although, disappointingly, “Tony,” the little boy who lived in Danny’s mouth, the voice who talked through Danny’s finger, is actually named “Steve”.

Also, I hear he’s not really that helpful in times of crisis and is actually a total jerkoff.

And that is exactly why I never like to look behind the curtain.

Well, because of that . . . 

. . . and also because of this.

82 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2012 12:04 pm

    Very funny post. I don’t like to fly either:)

    • May 23, 2012 7:51 pm

      Thanks — and lucky you for living in Colorado! Unfortunately, I not only hate flying, I also hate driving. I’d be perfectly fine going by boat if that was a possibility.

  2. May 22, 2012 12:07 pm

    I think you look great in the Stanley Hotel picture. The school picture is a little um I don’t know slow looking. Love the Shining, The exteriors were filmed at Timberline Lodge here in Oregon but it doesn’t scare me b/c the interiors bear no resemblance to the hotel in the movie.

    Good work, you are a brave woman!

    • May 23, 2012 7:53 pm

      Really? I think I look like Dracula. But thanks anyway. Yes, I think I did know that about the exteriors being filmed in Oregon…and then the interiors were filmed in England. Either way, I’ll never stay at any one of them. ;)

  3. May 22, 2012 12:10 pm

    No, no, no, no – A. I’m not a fan of flying, and 2. Staying in that hotel would not allow for a peaceful sleep – unless I was killed during the night, and then well – I assume the after effect (affect?) would be a peaceful sleep, unless one is doomed to haunt the place if killed in the place, which would take me back to my point of not being allowed a peaceful sleep.

    I wonder … was the surprise the trip – or was the surprise the hotel?

    And it is just like a Tony to insist his character’s name is Steve. Typical. So typical.

    • May 23, 2012 7:57 pm

      A. I’m glad you get me there, Lenore, and 2. I’m glad you get me there too. Even though we stayed a few miles away from the Stanley Hotel, I was pretty sure I took some hitch-hiking ghosts back to our condo with me. I could hardly sleep that night.

      The surprise was in fact the trip. My husband didn’t know the hotel was there either. It was just like a surprise party when we saw it, and I’m pretty sure there were ghosts throwing confetti onto our heads and everything. Oh, fun times.

  4. May 22, 2012 12:14 pm

    I am with you on the whole not staying at horror-movie inspired hotels. I remembered going somewhere in the mountains in southern California and going to check into this quaint little mountain hotel and all the bellhops (is that what they’re called) had long blond ponytails and long fingernails. So I pulled my boyfriend aside and insisted we were not staying at a hotel run by vampires.

    I would have gone on that ghost tour though. I’m a sucker for ghost stuff…in the daylight.. . and then at nighttime, I would have night terrors and dreamt about those twins.

    • May 23, 2012 8:03 pm

      I still remember your post last year about Paranormal Activity 2. I related to that post because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from those previews, feeling all safe on my couch at 4:30 in the afternoon. Then night falls and my bladder promptly releases all its contents into my pajama pants. By the way, I’m certain those bellhops were the inspiration for Interview with the Vampire.

  5. May 22, 2012 12:16 pm

    I don’t think this trip sounds like a vacation. It sounds like medical research.

    • May 23, 2012 8:05 pm

      Yes, I was paid a lot of money to participate in this research, and I’m wondering if it’s too late to back out now? Help me, Elyse. Please.

      • May 23, 2012 8:13 pm

        I work for Pharma. It’ll cost you, but I’ll help.

  6. May 22, 2012 12:39 pm

    Next time, maybe he can just re-carpet the living room with the Stanley Hotel pattern? Might be less traumatic?

    • May 23, 2012 8:07 pm

      He was thinking along the lines of putting in elevators that will release twenty gallons of red-colored water into our living room every evening. Your idea sounds a lot less messy.

  7. May 22, 2012 1:25 pm

    I’m always fascinated by stuff like this. But in theory only. I am the most nightmare-prone person in the world when it comes to spooky stuff. The original version of “The Omen” gave me nightmares for two weeks. And forget about “Sybill”. And then there was the decade where I would awake to Lee Harvey Oswald standing over my bed.
    I feel much better… I think probably because I have transferred some of these nightmares to you and your readers. You’ve lifted my burden.

    • May 23, 2012 8:10 pm

      The Omen — eek! Even bad horror movies freak me out. I can’t even watch Rosemary’s Baby.

      Don’t take this wrong but I laughed out loud about your Lee Harvey Oswald comment.

  8. May 22, 2012 1:45 pm

    Ohh, I love the Rockies! I would have been more afraid of aliens than ghosts, though, if I were you. When I lived in the foothills, alien abductions were all the rage. :)

    • May 23, 2012 8:11 pm

      I thought that was New Mexico that had all the alien abductions? Or wait, maybe New Mexico has all the polygamist abductions? I sometimes get aliens and polygamists confused.

  9. May 22, 2012 1:51 pm

    I will never ever go to Colorado now, thanks.

    Cute pictures! (well, of you guys, not the one with the creepy bear, I’ll be seeing that in my nightmares tonight, thankyouverymuch)

    • May 23, 2012 8:13 pm

      Yeah, I actually couldn’t find the creepy bear picture when I first published this post. The first few readers only saw a creepy hallway. Then I found it and — shazam! Consider yourself lucky, Darla.

  10. May 22, 2012 2:33 pm

    Tee hee I love that I just asked you an hour ago via email why you were in CO, and then came back to my computer to see this post! You did all of this for me?! Man, Angie, you are tops. AND a shout-out! ;)

    You guys are so flippin’ cute. I don’t think you look possessed at all. I’m glad he surprised you before you could say no! But I AM disappointed you didn’t stay in The Shining hotel…

    • May 22, 2012 3:31 pm

      Jules, I think this may be the appropriate time to say that Angie and I were emailing and I just asked her about her Colorado trip soobviously this entire post was her direct response to me.

      Do we have to fight for Angie’s attention now? Huh? Maybe do a dance-off? Can you breakdance, Julie? Hmm?

      p.s. You know I love you. Email me sometime, k? :D

      p.p.s. (or is it p.s.s.?) I wasn’t kidding about the breakdancing.

      p.p.s.s. Hey you guys wanna come over and we can drink some vodka, watch Glee and make some ribbon barrettes?

      • May 22, 2012 4:45 pm

        Darla – your p.p.s.s. is everything I love about life. Yes. I’ll try to make it by 8pm. I think if I take a hot air balloon I have a fighting chance.

      • May 22, 2012 5:00 pm

        May I just insert here that I KNEW that Angie had some sort of connection with the western United States because we’re just like this (imagine my two fingers entwined together in the universal “best friends” -or – “I’m lying” signal)

        I like vodka. (dang it, why’d you say anything in front of PEG? She’s so dang needy, and always wants to butt in our fun. Now my mom will say I HAVE to invite her!!!”

      • May 23, 2012 9:14 pm

        Hey, you and me are Midwesties. We gotta stick together.

      • May 22, 2012 7:33 pm

        Do you have any vodka on ya? If so, C’mon DOWN Pegoleg! when are we going to NYC? First round is on me…

      • May 23, 2012 9:13 pm

        Yes, when are we going to NYC? Mind if I invite myself along? I’ll bring vodka?

      • May 22, 2012 7:34 pm

        Julie, hot air balloon is fine. Just don’t bring that freaky handlebar mustache dude or The Nanny.

      • May 23, 2012 9:12 pm

        Hey, I like that dude!

      • May 23, 2012 8:25 pm

        I love all my children equally, you silly kids.

        I still need to write that post on when my mom planned a ribbon barrette party. And then my friends decided to keep my mom’s sample barrettes and I was devastated. There, I guess that’s the post in a nutshell. No need to write it now.

    • May 23, 2012 8:17 pm

      I often think, what would be the easiest thing here — answer an email or write a new blog post? Seems like this way always wins out. Basically the same result as when the question is write a new blog post or feed my children a snack. Or write a new blog post or empty the dishwasher. I can keep going but I’m bored of this now.

  11. May 22, 2012 2:35 pm

    I don’t know if it was a trick you managed to incorporate into the LIKE button to match the horrow film theme but when I clicked LIKE two of me appeared. It was spooky and weird and I am now a little anxious. I don’t know if I have mentioned that I am the mother of twins (somehow in this context that sounds like “the mother of all tiwns” as in “the mother of all hurricanes” or “the mother of all traffic jams” but I am just the mother of 21 year old twin boys and scary twin scenes are especially upsetting to my comfort) At any rate I clicked on the second image of me and it flickered on and off then disappeared. Since no one else is commenting on this trick, I will have to assume it was just me or that I am the victim of an elaborate practical joke.
    And too bad about the drivers who may have spent the rest of a day wondering how they ticked you off. Ah well. things like this happen

    • May 23, 2012 8:22 pm

      Holy Double Mint gum, Lori-Ann! I didn’t know you were the mother of twins (the mother of ALL twins!). You probably shouldn’t read this post then. Here, I’m posting it so you won’t read it. Whatever you do, don’t read it. And definitely don’t skip to the part where I wrote about twins. You’ll be glad you didn’t read that.

      How weird that you ended up seeing two of yourself. Had that happened to me, I think I’d swear off blogging for a while. Either that or I’d swear off booze.

  12. May 22, 2012 2:43 pm

    Omg…When I saw that bear scene in the Shining when I was little, I was like “Huhhhhhh????” When I watched it much later as an adult and I saw that same scene I was like, “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….Ewwwwwwwwww!” LOL!

    Ahhh, husbands and their surprise “romantic” trips….Great photos though! :)

    • May 23, 2012 8:28 pm

      Exactly! I couldn’t figure out what was going on at first. Not that I really get it now. That scene is like some kind of weird German film metaphor mixed with a touch of porn.

  13. May 22, 2012 3:13 pm

    So glad your hubby didn’t book you guys there for the night. Eeek! Don’t you just love Denver though? Gorgeous!

    • May 23, 2012 8:30 pm

      Thanks, Audrey. I’m so glad everyone here is mostly backing me on the not sleeping there thing. I do like Denver, though I haven’t spent enough time there.

  14. Tony permalink
    May 22, 2012 4:14 pm

    So did they have the hedge animals? And the maze??
    Tell me you visited the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum! That’s creepy, right there.

    • May 23, 2012 8:32 pm

      No, that was probably in the Oregon hotel where the outside scenes were filmed. I forgot all about the maze at the end. In the snow. Yikes. I vaguely remember going to Ripley’s with Mom and Dad when we were kids. Either that or it was a wax museum that I thought was Ripley’s.

  15. May 22, 2012 4:23 pm

    I am going to have nightmares for weeks now because of your inebriated school picture. I mean, because of the last one. Yeah, the last one.

    • May 23, 2012 8:34 pm

      Ha! Good one! Yes, it’s a wonder I sleep at night at all knowing that is actually a photo of me.

  16. May 22, 2012 5:01 pm

    Congrats on the second honeymoon – it sounds lovely. That’s a great picture of the two of you! Except for the wincing eyeball part. I guess the Bates Motel is also out as a destination?

    • May 23, 2012 8:36 pm

      Where is the Bates Motel, Peg? Please tell me it was just a studio made to look like a motel. I really don’t want to know it actually exists and that I may unknowingly drive by it on my next vacation.

  17. May 22, 2012 5:35 pm

    *sighing* You make me want to go back to Colorado! Estes Park was so on our to-do list, but time being what it is. I guess I’ll have to start nudging Scott to take me back there.

    Lovely, lovely, and just lovely. And the mountain in the background looks pretty good too.

    • May 23, 2012 8:38 pm

      Thanks, Shannon. Hey, let’s meet up there. Let’s do it! We can get all loopy on your warm Texas beer and then head on over to the Stanley Hotel for a nightcap. Good times all around.

      • May 26, 2012 9:02 am

        That would be something, wouldn’t it? The nudging on Scott is no longer the problem — he’s sold on the deal. It’s the nudging on Grandma to stay with all four of our bratasses while we go have fun. We’re due. It’s been more than 10 years.

      • May 30, 2012 9:17 am

        C’mon, Grandma! Pleeeeease? Do you want me to call her up and ask her if you and Scott can come out to play…in Estes Park?

  18. May 22, 2012 5:37 pm

    If I entered a bathroom to the image of Shelley Duvall unhinging her jaw like that, I’d soil myself before making it to the toilet.

    • May 23, 2012 8:40 pm

      “Shelley Duvall unhinging her jaw . . . I’d soil myself before making it to the toilet” — that is fantastic! By the way, no one would blame you; you just had a baby.

  19. May 22, 2012 5:42 pm

    I was reading all the comments and thinking “Bear? Bear? Oh, they’re talking about the DOG.” It IS a dog isn’t it? The Shining was super confusing as well as being scarier than hell.

    I highly recommend keeping the life insurance low. It is always better to be worth more alive than dead. Congratulations on surviving the trip!

    • May 23, 2012 8:43 pm

      Now I’m confused, Lynnette. I thought it was a dog, too. But everyone so far referred to it as a bear so I assumed I was wrong. Maybe it’s like those brain teasers. Or maybe those who see it as a “bear” are actually demons disguised as bloggers.

  20. May 22, 2012 5:49 pm

    They have the GERMAN Shining Movie poster on display?! Really?! 1st thought: That’s awesome! 2nd thought: Well, I guess everything is creepier pronounced in German – similar like everything being more romantic pronounced in French.

    Oh yeah and afterall it IS called “Angst”, right?! ;)

    • May 23, 2012 8:45 pm

      I know, Special K! I knew you’d catch that. My husband pointed out that they also had a movie poster in Japanese. Perhaps that one was in the men’s room. I guess we needed to see these to understand just how universally terrifying The Shining is.

  21. May 22, 2012 6:52 pm

    Wow, such cool photos! I have enough trouble travelling without being scared out of my mind. At least there were pretty mountains, that your husband may or may not have been thinking about pushing you over the edge of. I’m not remembering seeing recent pictures of you before…you are adorable. Not quite like the “bratass” old school photo version of you I’ve aged to an adult in my mind. That was totally supposed to be a compliment. I’ll shut up now.

    • May 23, 2012 8:50 pm

      Aw, thanks! Yes, it’s amazing what a good surgical face transplant can accomplish these days. I’m like a totally normal person now. It’s nice to have the bratass photos around still to remind me how far I’ve come.

      So are you “scared out of your mind” travelling by plane, car, all of the above? Just wondering if you’re as neurotic as I am.

      • May 24, 2012 10:58 pm

        Neurotic, oh hell yes. Not usually scared out of my mind though. Out of my comfort zone is more accurate. I’m a bit of a control freak. I like knowing what’s going to happen and traveling is so not like that. I used to consider myself a world traveler in my youth, but after my study abroad semester in college my jet setting days came to a screeching halt. I thought it was just grad school and work and being busy, but I learned it’s actually that I turned into a crazy old lady who can’t travel gracefully anymore.

        A few years ago I decided we should do a big trip for our 10th anniversary and it didn’t go so well. I was a little worried we might die. And then my jet lag was so bad I didn’t really sleep for a week, which did nothing to soothe my anxiety. I lost 4 pounds on a trip to Belgium. That’s just wrong.

      • May 25, 2012 9:08 pm

        “Control freak.” Two words that interchangeably describe me. And that’s what I hate about flying the most — total lack of control. Based on your comment, I’m pretty sure we’d be the most awesome Amazing Race travel partners ever. Together we’d likely break out in hives and implode into dust on live national television.

  22. May 22, 2012 8:21 pm

    Good thing that poster is in German. Wouldn’t want any travelling Germans to experience confusion in the bathroom.

    • May 23, 2012 8:56 pm

      No kidding! I felt very warmed in the heart that the Stanley Hotel’s shameless self-promoting was done so in a way that included all countries and cultures. My husband noted a Japanese movie poster in another room.

  23. mary permalink
    May 22, 2012 8:59 pm

    If the pics of you and the hubs aren’t the cutest in the world, I don’t know what is! Heart!

    • May 23, 2012 8:57 pm

      (Pssst. I will send you the $5 I owe you for saying that.) Thanks, Mary. You’re always welcome around here.

  24. May 22, 2012 9:30 pm

    You have a great husband there. But I’m so sad you didn’t stay at the Stanley!!

    • May 23, 2012 8:59 pm

      You should know that I’m the biggest baby that ever lived. I don’t even like to drive past graveyards. Daytime, night, never.

  25. May 23, 2012 2:27 am

    Nice! Very amusing/touching/disturbing pics (you have to figure out which is which). I’m glad you mentioned fear of flying. I’m gonna write a post about that. Thanks for unconsciously encouraging me. I’m going to take an ax to my door now.

    • May 23, 2012 9:00 pm

      Disturbing = Demon Angie at the Stanley Hotel. Touching = Elks attending a carnival. Just taking a stab there, no pun intended.

  26. May 23, 2012 6:56 am

    Thanks for keeping the world smiling – its contagious :) x

  27. May 23, 2012 7:43 am

    Yeah, man, that last picture is totally creepy. Is it in the movie? I probably wouldn’t know because I watched most of it through my hand over my face, like six years ago. Cool trip though.

    • May 23, 2012 9:04 pm

      Yeah, unfortunately it is in the movie. It’s a quick scene toward the end when things really start spinning out of control, and that is precisely when I start shielding my eyes. So, yes, easy to miss. Thank goodness.

  28. May 23, 2012 8:35 am

    i laughed a lot — awesome pics and what a fun trip. You two are a handsome couple. Bet you got cute kids. :)

    • May 23, 2012 9:08 pm

      Thanks, Simple Life. My kids have super round heads and large wide eyes, like Campbell’s Soup Kids. Um, I guess that’s considered cute?

  29. May 23, 2012 10:14 pm

    Great post. I particularly like the photo of you flipping off the motorists AND grinning at the same time. I stayed in a hotel in Fond du Lac that looked almost entirely unlike The Stanley Hotel but still managed to have no elevators, endless hallways and wallpaper dating back to circa 1979.

    I was on a business trip with a bunch of colleagues and we were all pretty convinced Stephen King had visited Fond du Lac too.

    • May 25, 2012 8:50 pm

      Ugh, that sounds truly icky — both from a decorating standpoint and from a “making of a horror film” standpoint. I have family in Wisconsin and might head out that way sometime. Thanks for the warning so I know never to drive through Fond du Lac.

  30. May 24, 2012 5:55 am

    Great photos!

  31. May 25, 2012 12:03 pm

    Thanks a lot – my husband just took the dog for a walk and now I’m really freaked out. It doesn’t matter that it 10:00 a.m. and I’m nowhere near Colorado – it’s just creepy (first Teddy, now The Shining . . . ).

    • May 25, 2012 8:47 pm

      Sorry, Worrywart! Misery loves company and I really hoped you’d join me in my terror. I’m pretty sure that if I ever watched that movie again it would be too soon. I still need time to heal from the last time I watched it 8 years ago.

  32. russelllindsey permalink
    May 27, 2012 1:11 pm


    Imagine staying at an old ranch on the other side of the mountain in Granby, CO. You and your teenage friends decide to scare yourselves silly by watching The Shining late at night while everyone else is asleep – and after the director of the ranch tells you it based on a hotel on the other side of the mountain.

    It is still one of the scariest horror movies – along with Poltergeist – I’ve ever seen – and one of my favorites. It is one of my favorite movies every.

    Staying at the Stanley is on my bucket list. I know a girl who actually interned there a few years ago. I’d love to ask her if the stories are true.

    Sad they commercialized the whole thing. By the way, Stephen King is writing a sequel after all these years.


    • May 30, 2012 9:35 am

      You need to stay in the Stanley since I don’t have the guts to do it myself.

      A sequel? That is nuts!

  33. russelllindsey permalink
    May 27, 2012 1:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde and commented:
    I’m so envious of Angie Z. right now! I will get to stay at the Stanley Hotel one day. I’m looking forward to Stephen King’s sequel.

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