The Ever-Expanding Scope Of The Shining Put A Strain On London's Film Industry

If you're a character in a horror movie and have just checked into a hotel for an extended stay, there's a very unlikely chance you'll be checking out, especially if your reservation is at the infamous Overlook Hotel. Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of "The Shining" takes its time building dread, as the spirits within its walls implore caretaker Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) to brutally dispatch his family. With the haunted location being a crucial component of the story, it was important to get the details right about how it should look.

Although the Overlook was initially inspired by Colorado's Stanley Hotel on account of Stephen King, the feature adaptation of his 1977 novel of the same name did not use it as a shooting location. (The 1997 miniseries did, however.) Instead, Kubrick opted for a blend of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, of which he shot his exteriors, in addition to the Ahwahnee Hotel near Yosemite National Park, which provided the inspiration for the film's interiors. There was just one issue, though.

According to John Baxter's 1997 biography on Kubrick, the filmmaker had settled in the U.K. quite nicely, so rather than shooting any actual interiors in the U.S., he had convinced the historic Elstree Studios to demolish one of its more useful street sets to make way for the scope he had in mind. Unfortunately, the gargantuan size of the location prompted Kubrick to inadvertently cause a dilemma with everyone else trying to make a movie in the surrounding area.

Kubrick was hoarding all of the equipment

The largest set, of course, ended up being the Colorado Lounge, in which Wendy (Shelley Duvall) would often find Jack typing away into oblivion. Stretching over 90 feet long, the set has pretty much filled Elstree to its full capacity. Crew hands had to be on deck at all times, which led to equipment for the London film industry becoming increasingly sparse (via "Stanley Kubrick: A Biography"):

"Any interior filmed during a snowstorm demanded an army of grips outside the windows strewing expanded polystyrene snow, large quantities of which, carried on the breeze, ended up in Borehamwood High Street. 'The Shining' finally took up every square centimetre of space at the studio, and its hunger for equipment strained the capacity of London's rental companies."

The Colorado Lounge is such a magnificent set that you might have thought Kubrick had commandeered an actual location, but knowing that it's all a facade inside a studio, it's no wonder why he needed everything he could get his hands on. It wasn't a short shoot either, as it lasted just about a year. On top of that, in 1979, one of the sets burned down, so not only did "The Shining" send a bunch of London productions in a panic over the equipment they needed, but it nearly took down "The Empire Strikes Back," which also happened to be shooting there around the same time.

It wouldn't be a Kubrick film if its production didn't cause trouble for everyone else.

"The Shining" is currently streaming on HBO Max.