There’s something especially unsettling about the idea of a haunted hotel. Usually a place full of life, energy and human interaction, it’s scary to imagine a hotel where the guests are already “checked-out.” Maybe that’s why haunted hotels have such a rich history in fiction. No matter the reason, here are some of our favorite fictional haunted hotels.
The Overlook Hotel – Stephen King’s The Shining
Probably the most famous haunted hotel of all time, The Overlook sets the stage for Stephen King’s horror masterpiece The Shining. Complete with creepy twins, blood flooding the halls and Jack Nicholson’s famous “Here’s Johnny” scene, The Overlook’s depiction in the Stanley Kubrick’s film version of The Shining had a profound impact on horror films that followed.
Kubrick used some real-life hotels to help bring The Overlook to life. Footage of the Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood Oregon was used for external shots and interiors were based on the Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park (now called the Majestic Yosemite Hotel).
The Hotel California – The Eagles’ “Hotel California”
“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…” The opening line to the Eagles’ famous song “Hotel California” is instantly recognizable. What people don’t recognize is that the hotel the song is describing is far from ordinary. On the surface, the song is a catchy rock tune, but once you delve into the lyrics it’s easy to see that something isn’t quite right with the Hotel California. None of the lyrics specifically say the titular hotel is haunted, but it’s easy to let your imagination run wild with lyrics like: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”
Hotel Cortez – American Horror Story: Hotel
Hotel Cortez was the main setting for American Horror Story’s fifth season. Much like The Overlook, Hotel Cortez is more than just a setting. It supplies the atmosphere for the season and is a character in itself. Contrary to popular belief, scenes of the hotel were not shot at the former Cecil Hotel in L.A. Filming actually took place across several locations. Exterior shots of Hotel Cortez were filmed at the Oviatt building and the hotel’s lobby only exists at a Fox Studios sound stage.
Bates Motel: Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho
Though technically not haunted, The Bates Motel is worthy of a spot on this list because it’s downright scary. Its namesake Norman Bates was the villain in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror masterpiece Psycho. The Bates Motel is where a lot of the film’s scariest scenes take place and A&E even made a TV show with the same name in 2013.
We’re glad that these haunted hotels only exist in our imagination! But stay tuned for Haunted Hotels Part 2 where we’ll explore some real-life paranormal properties.