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Visit the Colorado Sets of These Scary-Bad Movies

Love campy horror films? This story is for you.

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Colorado horror fans were robbed of an important shrine when the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining was shot in Oregon and Alaska. The rightful location? The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which inspired the creepy Overlook Hotel. Other spooky movies filmed in our state may not be as scary as Stanley Kubrick’s classic—unless we’re talking about the quality of the acting—but at least you can visit the sets of these delightfully campy flicks.

Elves

1989
With the help of an ex-cop turned department-store Santa played by Grizzly Adams (aka actor Dan Haggerty), Kirsten learns the two-foot-tall elf who has been stalking her was genetically modified by a Nazi scientist—who, by the way, happens to be her granddad. The creature’s goal? Mate with Kirsten to create a master race.
Set Search: The Old Colorado City Carnegie Library in Colorado Springs was used for a scene in which Haggerty rushes through the doors and asks the librarian for “a book about mystical symbols and runes.” She knows exactly what tome he’s talking about—without even glancing at the card catalog.

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Strangeland

1998
Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider plays Captain Howdy, a sadomasochist using the internet to lure unsuspecting teens into his house of horrors. A chat room provides a convenient way to hide his tattooed face and sharpened teeth from the young, gullible Genevieve Gage.
Set Search: During his investigation, Detective Mike Gage (yep, Genevieve’s father) visits the Church nightclub in Denver. In the movie, though, it’s a body modification club called Xibalba; instead of dancing, its self-mutilating patrons pass the night burning and whipping their bodies.

Phantoms

1998
A subterranean monster rampages through the fictional town of Snowfield, Colorado. It’s up to a sheriff (Ben Affleck), his deputy (Liev Schreiber), a doctor (Joanna Going), and  her sister (Rose McGowan) to figure out what the heck is going on.
Set Search: Louis Dupuy, who opened Georgetown’s Hotel de Paris in 1875, never could have guessed that the building would one day star in a film with a 13 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (The surprisingly star-studded cast finds severed hands and heads there.)

The Shadow Walkers

2006
The movie begins with a group of people waking up in an underground lab with no memory of who they are or how they got there. Soon, they bump into genetically enhanced superzombies that would be scarier if
you couldn’t see the actors’ masks.
Set Search: The Gates Rubber Company complex, demolished in 2014 as part of South Broadway’s redevelopment, made for an eerie set. Flashbacks revealing that the characters are scientists who created the monsters (ah, karma) were shot at the Colorado Film School in Denver.

The Lodge

2008
A young couple embarks on a romantic getaway at a supposedly empty Rocky Mountain lodge. But they arrive to find a caretaker named Henry in residence. Our heroes are too in love to notice that Henry’s kind of a creep. But they figure it out.
Set Search: Most of the movie takes place in the Lodge at Two Rivers, an eight-bedroom cabin in
Breckenridge. That includes scenes of the couple doing, um, adult things when they should be having a serious conversation about certain signs of danger…like blood on Henry’s hands.

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