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The Overlook Hotel is the fictional hotel from Stephen King's novel The Shining and its adaptations. The hotel is an amalgamation of parts of real hotels across the United Statesmarker. Timberline Lodgemarker, a mountain resort in Oregonmarker, was used as the establishing shot in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the book, while The Stanley Hotelmarker, King's inspiration for the Overlook, was used in a TV adaptation for ABC. Kubrick, along with production designer Roy Walker, used photographs he took of many hotels across the US and England to use as inspiration for hotel in the film. The mockup of the Timberline's rear facade and the hedge maze was built on a back lot in Elstree Studiosmarker, England. The real Timberline does not have a maze. All interiors were constructed and shot on the soundstage in England.

History

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The Overlook was considered to be one of the most beautiful resort hotels in the Rockies, if not the world. It had many illustrious guests: Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Astors, Du Ponts, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, and presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon.

Robert Townley Watson began building the Overlook in 1907. It was located in the Rocky Mountains, 40 miles west of the nearest town, (the fictitious) Sidewinder, Coloradomarker. (The novel references a close proximity to Estes Parkmarker, Bouldermarker, and the Rocky Mountain National Parkmarker.) During construction, workers discovered an ancient Indian burial ground on the site and human remains were unearthed and removed to another location. Following this, a number of mysterious deaths occurred during the building of the hotel, inspiring local tales of vengeful Indian spirits angry about the disturbance of their resting place. The Overlook Hotel was finally completed in 1909 and opened to the public in 1910. Despite the eerie tales about the strange, untimely deaths that occurred, the Overlook itself was an attractive, elegant and spacious hotel with panoramic views of the mountains and it proved immensely popular, receiving more visitors than expected.

The fledgling hotel proved to be a financial burden on Watson, so he sold it in 1915. Many strange events followed and rumors of hauntings and a curse abounded. It was sold and resold in 1922, 1929, and 1936. The hotel was finally abandoned, vacant until the end of World War II, when it was purchased and renovated by a Howard Hughes-inspired millionaire named Horace Derwent. The Overlook became one of Derwent's most valuable holdings in Colorado. Derwent boasted that the Overlook would be the "Showplace of the World," but this did not come to fruition. He spent more than three million dollars restoring the hotel in an attempt to create his showplace before a single patron ever walked through the doors. Even with all of the Overlook's fabulously wealthy guests, the hotel never recovered a single dime.



The Overlook's financial loss proved to be too great, and in 1952, Derwent sold the hotel to Charles Grondin, the head of a group of investors based in Californiamarker. The group ran the hotel for two seasons before selling it to a company called Mountainview Resorts. This company went bankrupt in 1957, closing the Overlook for the rest of that decade. The Overlook fell into disrepair during this period, but it was leased and repaired in 1961 by four writers who reopened it as a writers' school. However, the school closed again when a drunken student died after falling out of his third-story window onto the terrace below.

In 1963, a Las Vegasmarker investment firm bought the Overlook. It reopened a few months later. However, the sale was peculiar because the head of the firm was Charles Grondin, who had bought the hotel from Horace Derwent in 1952. Grondin had been tried and acquitted for tax evasion in 1960, and had become the executive vice president of the Chicagomarker office of Derwent's company. This led to speculation that Derwent controlled Grondin's Vegas organization and had bought the Overlook a second time under peculiar circumstances. In 1964, an investigation revealed that the Vegas firm that owned the Overlook had connections with Mafia kingpin. Grondin denied these charges. In 1966, however, a gangland-style triple murder was committed in the Overlook's presidential suite, one of the victims being a notorious mafia hit man named Vito the Chopper.

The Overlook recovered from the scandal and business continued as usual. In 1970, Stuart Ullman took over as manager of the hotel. Soon after he began his tenure, more unusual and horrific events occurred in the Overlook. A panicked cleaning woman claimed to have seen the corpse of a guest in the bathroom of Room 217 (the guest's corpse was en route to her funeral at the time of the sighting), and Ullman promptly fired the cleaning woman.

Events of The Shining

In 1972, Ullman hired a man named Delbert Grady to be the Overlook's winter caretaker. Along with his wife and two daughters, Grady spent the winter months in the hotel. When the Overlook's staff returned to open the hotel for the summer season, they discovered that Grady had murdered his family with an axe before killing himself.

In 1977, Ullman hired a new winter caretaker named Jack Torrance. Torrance was an aspiring playwright and a recovering alcoholic who saw the caretaker job as an opportunity to repair his fractured family life. Torrance, along with his wife Wendy and son Danny, spent the winter tenure in the Overlook, which was marred by terrifying occurrences.

Jack and Wendy were unaware of their son's psychic abilities, including his ability to read minds. These abilities were referred to as "the shine" by Dick Hallorann, the hotel's cook who had the same abilities. The entire Torrance family was unaware that the Overlook Hotel had been somehow transformed into an evil sentient entity, filled with ghosts and evil spirits that sought to absorb Danny into the hotel to become something more. The Overlook's paranormal inhabitants, such as the dead woman in Room 217 (237 in the Stanley Kubrick adaption) and the living hedge animals on the roque court, began threatening Danny. Jack and Wendy were not aware of these strange events.

Eventually, the Overlook started exploiting Jack in its desperation to get to Danny. The evil spirits in the Overlook, including the ghost of Delbert Grady, told Jack that Danny and Wendy were conspiring against him and that he should kill them both. The hotel also used Jack's past alcoholism against him to get him to start drinking again. After Jack attacked Wendy and Danny in the ballroom, they locked him in the Overlook's pantry. The hotel let Jack out, equipping him with a roque mallet, so he could make Danny "take his medicine." Jack wounded Wendy and Hallorann (who had come back to the Overlook at the telepathic request of Danny) before cornering Danny.

Danny realized that the person attacking him and his mother was not really Jack Torrance, but the hotel itself, which was possessing him. Danny told Jack that the hotel had made him start drinking again and had made false promises to correct past events. The real Jack emerged to tell Danny that he loved him and to get out before the hotel took over again. The creature that remained was prepared to kill Danny until Danny realized that Jack had forgotten to release the Overlook's boiler pressure and the hotel itself had forgotten too. Danny, Dick, and Wendy barely escaped the Overlook before its boiler exploded, destroying the hotel. The hotel's evil entity tried to convince Hallorann to kill Danny and Wendy, but he resisted and they escaped.

In Stanley Kubrick's film, the hotel was not destroyed. Instead, Jack Torrance was absorbed into the hotel in a ghostly time warp of madness and murder. After killing Dick Hallorann and chasing his wife and son outside into a blizzard, Jack died of exposure while trying to find Danny in a hedge maze. Wendy and Danny escape in a Snowcat. Jack's image then appears clearly in the forefront of an old photograph (of the July 4 1921 Ball) inside the hotel lobby.

Ghosts of the Overlook Hotel

Delbert Grady

The caretaker who came with his wife and daughters (ages 8 and 6) to the hotel in 1972, Grady developed cabin fever. Grady mutilated his family with an axe, and committed suicide with a shotgun. Grady tells Jack Torrance he must "correct" his wife and son, Wendy and Danny, in an attempt to get Jack to kill his family, which would allow the hotel to get Danny's abilities of the Shining. Jack is supplied with phantom booze and is possessed by the hotel after being influenced by Grady and the other ghosts. At the end of the novel, the hotel explodes. In the film, it remains standing. Grady is portrayed by Philip Stone in the movie, and by Stanley Anderson in the novel-based miniseries. His daughters appear to Danny earlier in the story and movie telling him to play with them, though while they do so, Danny gets glimpses of the girls' dead bodies with blood splattered everywhere and an axe nearby, indicating how they died.

Mrs. Massey

Lorraine Massey was an older woman who was cheating on her New York lawyer husband with a college student. She and the young man spent many days at the Overlook Hotel, but their affair ended when the man left and never returned. Mrs. Massey died in the bathtub of Room 217 (Room 237 in the film) with a "bellyful of sleeping pills." The ghost of the woman was seen by a maid with the Shining, along with Dick Hallorann and Danny Torrance; the ghost partially strangles Danny. In the film, her interaction with Danny is not shown. In the novel Jack runs out of the room before seeing her. In the movie Jack sees a beautiful young woman come out of the bathtub in Room 237, embracing and kissing her, but looks in the mirror and sees she is a decaying corpse. Jack escapes and lies to Wendy about his encounter. In the film, she is portrayed by Lia Beldam as the younger illusion used to seduce Jack, and as the dead woman by Billie Gibson, who laughs at him for his infidelity. In the film, her backstory is completely excluded. In the miniseries, she slits her wrists and is portrayed by Cynthia Garris.

Horace Derwent

Horace "Harry" was a self-made millionaire who invested millions of dollars into the Overlook Hotel in the 1940s. Derwent was known to throw masked balls at the hotel. At some point, not mentioned in the novel, he died and appears to Jack Torrance in the ballroom as one of the hotel's apparitions. Derwent was married to a woman named Sylvia Hunter. Derwent was also bisexual, and had a homosexual lover named Roger, whom he mistreated by having him dress up in a dog costume. In the film, Derwent's involvement with the Overlook Hotel is not mentioned, but he is shown, unnamed, at the end of the film when Wendy Torrance runs up a staircase and sees two men, one the unnamed Derwent, and the other man possibly giving him oral sex in a dog/bear costume, Roger. His actor is unknown in the movie. In the miniseries, Derwent is portrayed by John Durbin, and wears a dog/wolf mask instead.

Roger the Dogman

Roger is one of the apparitions haunting the Overlook Hotel, wearing a silvery spangled dog costume and a dog/wolf mask, and appears drunk from scotch and champagne before Danny, blocking the path between himself and the stairs. Roger menaces Danny away, and shouts homosexual references to Horace Derwent. Later, Roger is mentioned to be a friend and business partner of Harry Derwent, who is bisexual. Derwent mistreats Roger for his own amusement and told him he would reconsider sleeping with him if he dressed up as a "cute little doggy". In the film, Derwent's involvement with the hotel is excluded, and both men are possibly seen at the end, when Wendy Torrance looks in a room and sees two men, one of which is wearing a dog/bear costume, unnamed Roger and Derwent. Roger also does not try to attack Danny. In the miniseries, Horace Derwent is added and wears a dog/wolf mask instead of the dogman, scaring Danny away in a brief scene in the third episode when he goes to stop Jack from drinking, although another man is seen with the mask on in a dance scene in the ballroom. Roger, renamed Rover the Dogman, is portrayed by Roger Baker in the ballroom scene from the miniseries. His actor in the movie is unknown.

Lloyd the Bartender

Lloyd the Bartender appears whenever Jack Torrance is in need of a drink. Lloyd may be a physical manifestation of the Overlook Hotel because of his/its smooth talking and manipulating persona or "just" be Delbert Grady. In the novel, Lloyd merely listens as Jack talks, while serving him drinks. In Stanley Kubrick's movie, he is played by Joe Turkel and carries on entire conversations with Jack while serving him drinks. It is never identified how Jack apparently knows Lloyd.

References

  1. Kubrick FAQ - The Shining "Where were the Overlook hotel exteriors filmed and is it a real hotel?"
  2. Roy Walker at the Internet Movie Database



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