Ghost in Room 217: Stephen King and The Shining

Our ghost tour guide, a Colorado University student, unintentionally convinced me that we were in the presence of the paranormal during the Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour because the only time she seemed to be relaxed and unscripted was when she was talking about the ghosts nearby.  (See New York Times article about “Scary Mary”).  I’ve been fascinated by the story of Stephen King’s failure, which led him to a frightening night in room 217, which then led to the novel that put him on the map, The Shining.  It’s a beautiful and redemptive reminder to me that failure is a necessary part of the creative process.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to write and produce a dark comedy about the story.  For now, I’ll use it as the topic of a new YouTube series: Better Marriage Through PowerPoint.

The Atlantic reported,

“Jim Carrey requested 217 during the filming of Dumb and Dumber, but checked out—so the story goes—after only three hours. “That’s a shady one,” says the hotel’s tour guide Kevin Lofy. “What happened to him in that room, we don’t know. He’s never spoken of it.” A fantastic, if apocryphal, image: Carrey the rubbery actor-medium, the channeler of presences, windmilling out of the Stanley in a post-ghost panic.”

Room 217

This year at the Sundance Film Festival, director Rodney Ascher premiered his feature documentary “Room 237” which explores Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of the story. (BTW, the hotel asked Kubrick to change the room number for the film.)  Another Stephen King feature was announced last week — “The Breathing Method.”  Congrats to my creative partner from the mainframe videos, Scott Teems, who wrote the screenplay!

Special thanks to Barbara Barna Abel and Ann Handley for the creative support and encouragement on this PowerPoint video series.  Thanks to Garth Beams for the animation, and Justin Balog at HOSSedia for this eerie shot of room 217.