The Shining is my favorite horror movie. Well, I suppose a case could be made that it isn’t a traditional horror movie. It is more of a psychological thriller. While I love the movie, as in so many cases, the book is so much better.
The movie is a sentimental favorite. I first saw The Shining while attending a summer camp at King Mountain Ranch near Estes Park, Colorado. Just prior to viewing The Shining with a group of friends on a dark summer night, I found out that the film was based on a hotel just on the other side of the mountain, the Stanley Hotel. In fact, it was the Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King to write the novel The Shining upon which the film is very loosely based.
When several teenage girls set out to watch a scary movie with local ties in a setting eerie itself, the experience becomes something else altogether. The experience of being scared silly became just as much of part of watching The Shining as the movie itself. Then there was the setting.
How do I begin to explain King Mountain Ranch? There is a lot of history associated with the property. As with the Overlook in the movie and novel, it became a mountain getaway for the rich and famous. King Mountain Ranch even included a private runway for private aircraft. Beyond the similar history, the pure isolation of the Rocky Mountains, even in the middle of summer, added to the sense that the King Mountain Ranch wasn’t too different from the Overlook.
I can thank The Shining for a love of psychological thrillers and horror movies. I just try to remember to read the book, if there is one, before I see the movie. In the case of The Shining, the novel and the movie, the endings are different. I’m not sure which ending I prefer. What I do know is this: I love the fact that the hotel is more of a character itself in the novel. Then again, you can’t argue with the ending of the movie either. See below.