May 2-5, 2013 - The historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado hosted its first ever horror film fest and weekend-long celebration with the tagline, "Yeah, it's creepy."
THE STANLEY HOTEL
Built by Stanley Steamer co-inventor Freelan Oscar Stanley, the Stanley Hotel has operated since 1909, hosting such personalities as the Titanic's "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, and author Stephen King. (Click to part 2 of the coverage for photos of the hotel interior and exterior.)
Notorious for ghost sightings and paranormal activity, it was during a 1974 stay in the hotel's Room 217 that King was inspired to write his novel, "The Shining." Note the screw on the room number plate to thwart souvenir hunters. 217's is the only plate in the hotel drilled into the wall. While the infamous room was renumbered to 237 for Kubrick's film, the real-life Overlook Hotel does not have a Room 237.
Had I not been preoccupied with complimentary Stella Artois at the Chiller Hospitality Lounge, several different scotches at the Whiskey Tasting, and making new friends at the Masquerade Ball, Opening Night Reception, and myriad other goings-on, I might have taken more pictures. But pulling the camera from my pocket was a low priority with good times to be enjoyed everywhere. Instead, I ended up with after-the-fact photos of things like a melted ice luge.
Events included a front lawn screening of "The Shining" and a panel discussing crackpot theories of the documentary "Room 237." Following the opening night screening of "The Purge," guests returned to their rooms to find imitation blue baptisia flowers left outside each door (a clever promotional touch for those who have seen the movie). While in the area, be mindful of local wildlife. As proven on my drive home, traffic is likely to stop for passing elk as much as it is for a red light.
FESTIVAL FEATURE FILMS
24 features played at the theater created in the hotel's Concert Hall and at the Reel Mountain Theater a short jaunt down the hill. Click an image for the full review.
SHORTS BLOCK 1
- The Apocalypse (Andrew Zuchero)
- Legend (Pau Teixidor)
- Hundred Waters "Boreal" (Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer)
- The Root of the Problem (Ryan Spindell)
- The Event (Julia Pott)
- When the Zombies Come (Jon Hurst)
- Bydlo (Patrick Bouchard)
- In (Adam Berg)
SHORTS BLOCK 2
- Hell No (Joe Nicolsi)
- Yellow (Ryan Haysom)
- In Hanford (Chris Mars)
- Henley (Craig Nacneill)
- Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise (Kelly Sears)
- Dance Till You Drop (Juan Cardarelli, Eric Levy)
- The Unliving (Hugo Lilja)
- Bobby Yeah (Robert Morgan)
- Haunted Castle (George Melies)
- Lazarov (Nieto)
- The Bungled Child (Simon Filliot)
- The Cub (Riley Stearns)
- Thumb Snatchers from the Moon Coccoon (Bradley Schaffer)
- Two Fingers "Vengeance Rhythm" (Chriss Ullens)
Ryan Spindell's Brea Grant-starrer "The Root of the Problem" won the Audience Award for Best Short. Personal favorites include Andrew Zuchero's very funny "The Apocalypse" and Jon Hurst's equally crowd-pleasing "When the Zombies Come." Click the images below to link to the trailer for "Root" and to full versions of "Apocalypse" and "Zombies."