Horror-themed museum, film center could come to Stanley Hotel, pending state funding from Colorado

ESTES PARK, Colo. - A Colorado hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining may get a whole lot creepier.

Stanley Hotel in Estes Park wants to add a horror-themed museum and film center. It would be the world’s first museum of its kind, the hotel said. This would be a “year round horror destination,” complete with an interactive museum, film artifacts, outdoor theater, auditorium, a sound stage and editing space. The hotel says they’ve already received commitments for rotating exhibits; one would be from Rick Baker, know for Men in Black and X-Men, and another would be a The Walking Dead display from creator Charlie Adlard.

According to nonprofit Go NoCo, which works with Loveland, Windsor, Estes Park, Larimer County and more, this would draw hundreds of thousands of more people a year including film students and artists. This is one of many new projects Go NoCo hopes will mean big tourism in northern Colorado.

The hotel’s board includes big names like Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, George A. Romero, Mick Garris, Josh Waller and Daniel Noah.

In a statement, Wood, known especially for his role in Lord of the Rings, said, “I would love to have a home for which we could constantly come year-round and celebrate with other fans from around the world,” said Elijah Wood. “There’s really no better place for there to be a permanent home for the celebration of horror as an art form than the Stanley Hotel. It was practically built for it.”

The film center would have a partnership with Colorado Film School to work with students.

“At 109-years-old, the story of the Stanley Hotel is just beginning,” said Stanley Hotel owner, John Cullen. “The Stanley Film Center is my chance to give back to the millions of horror fans around the world who have supported Estes Park and the hotel for so many years.”

Overall, this particular project would cost $24 million for the 43,000 square foot facility. Organizers have applied for an $11.5 million grant from the State of Colorado's Regional Tourism Act.

On King’s website, he writes:

In late September of 1974, Tabby and I spent a night at a grand old hotel in Estes Park, the Stanley.  We were the only guests as it turned out; the following day they were going to close the place down for the winter. Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect—maybe the archetypical—setting for a ghost story.  That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. 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.

The hotel was built in 1909 and houses 140 rooms.

A state decision is expected in December.

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