Where Was The Shining Filmed?

Stanley Kubrick‘s 1980 masterpiece, The Shining, is a psychological horror classic that has left an indelible mark on the genre. Based on Stephen King‘s 1977 novel of the same name, the film follows the Torrance family – Jack (Jack Nicholson), Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and their son Danny (Danny Lloyd) – as they take up residence at the isolated Overlook Hotel during the off-season. The father, a struggling writer, becomes unhinged by the hotel’s dark past and supernatural forces, descending into madness and putting his family in grave danger. As the family’s grip on reality begins to slip, the Overlook Hotel’s labyrinthine corridors and eerie atmosphere amplify the sense of dread and unease, making it a masterclass in building tension and suspense.

Jack Nicholson’s tour-de-force performance of Jack’s descent into madness is matched only by the hotel’s imposing presence, which has become an iconic symbol of horror. However, this iconic location has a story of its own. So, let’s explore that.

The Overlook Hotel’s Eerie Demeanour Matches Nicholson’s Menace

Jack Nicholson in The Shining (1980)

The Overlook Hotel, the iconic setting of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, is a character in its own right, playing a pivotal role in the film’s eerie atmosphere and suspense. The hotel’s labyrinthine corridors, with their endless repetition of identical doors and rooms, create a sense of disorientation and disconnection from reality, mirroring the Torrance family’s growing unease and fragmentation. The hotel’s bleak, snow-covered exterior, with its imposing facade and foreboding peaks, looms like a sentinel over the isolated landscape, casting a long shadow over the proceedings. But it is the maze, the most sinister of settings, that truly takes center stage. A seemingly endless, hedges-bound puzzle that seems to shift and twist like a living entity, the maze embodies the very heart of the Overlook’s dark soul. It is here that Jack Torrance’s madness reaches its peak, as he becomes trapped in an endless cycle of repetition and descent into chaos. The maze has become an iconic symbol of the film’s psychological horror, its very presence seeming to exert a malign influence on those who dare to enter its bounds.

Where Was the Movie Filmed?

Jack Nicholson, Vivian Kubrick, and Joe Turkel in The Shining (1980)

The details around the filming of The Shining have long been muddied as many believe the movie was filmed in The Stanley Hotel in Boulder, Colorado. However, this hotel is actually where Stephen King got his inspiration to write the book. After spending a night in the hotel in 1973, King found himself increasingly unnerved. The hotel was about to be closed for the winter, meaning King and his wife Tabitha were the only guests staying there that night. At the time, King was riding the success of his book, Carrie. Furthermore, he had just finished working on his next book, Salem’s Lot. However, in typical King fashion (who averages four books a year), he was tinkering with a new idea.

Originally, King’s new idea was about a young boy with psychic abilities who navigates an abandoned amusement park. Yet, when wandering the long and winding halls of the empty Stanley Hotel, King found himself extremely on edge, which triggered a wave of creative inspiration. To that, he created The Overlook Hotel, and his book’s backdrop changed from an amusement park to a creepy and mysterious hotel.

In Stanley Kubrick‘s 1980 adaptation, The Overlook Hotel was filmed across different locations. The majority of the interior scenes were shot in the studio at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, England. Here, the hotel interior was constructed, drawing inspiration from The Stanley Hotel. The exterior shots of The Overlook Hotel were filmed at Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood in the Hood River area of Northern Oregon.

Unveiling the Cinematic History of the Iconic Locations

As mentioned, the filming locations of The Shining have become both iconic and perplexing in the years following the film’s release. Many often mistake that the 1994 comedy movie Dumb and Dumber was filmed in the same location as The Shining. However, this is false. The Jim Carrey led comedy movie was actually filmed at The Stanley Hotel, the real-life hotel where Stephen King found his inspiration. Interestingly, it has been reported that while filming the movie, Carrey spent a night in room 217, the same room that King stayed in while spending his haunting night there.

In terms of The Timberline Lodge (where The Shining was filmed), many other movies have shot scenes there since. These films include; Hear No Evil, All the Young Men, and The Shining spin-off movie, Doctor Sleep. Want to read about more iconic movie locations? Here are the top 6 most visited filming locations in the world.

Watch The Shining on Apple TV+

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