HOTELS FROM HELL
For most people, the chance to get away from home and spend a few nights in a hotel is something to look forward to, something to enjoy. Crisp fresh bedding, a mini bar and one of those chairs in the corner of the room that no one really uses! However here are ten places that you might probably want to avoid next time you're planning a little break somewhere...
The Overlook Hotel
The Shining (1980)
It may be have gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains but there are other places you might wanna check into if you are after an escape from city life. Inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Colorado (where King himself stayed prior to writing the novel), the Overlook has a rather ominous and complicated history. Built on an Indian burial ground at the turn of the 20th century, the hotel has seen it's fair share of murder and mystery over the years, none worse than when one of the previous caretakers decided to take an axe to his wife and twin daughters. You see, it may seem that an axe-wielding Jack Torrance is the main antagonist in The Shining, it is in fact the house itself that is the big evil. Sure there are tormented spirits that have never left the building but there's something bigger going on, a sort of collective paranormal force that not only lives within the hotel, but that possesses those that stay too long...
If you stay be prepared for: ghostly bartenders , decomposed women in the bath and mental carpet in the hallways.
When your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere when you and your other half when you are in the midst of a break-up, it's bad enough. But when the nearest place to stay is an empty, run-down motel managed by a creep, it's fair to say that lady luck isn't smiling on you. Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson think it's just a shit-hole but it's all a bit more sinister than that. You see, despite being told they are the only people there, they are soon disturbed by noises from the next room and anonymous phone-calls. Then they find a VHS tape in the room and decide to give it a watch for shits and giggs. At first it appears to be a low-budget porno but it soon becomes apparent that they are watching a snuff film – and to make matters worse, it seems as if it has been shot inside the room they are currently staying in. Not only is the Pinewood Motel a trap where unsuspecting lodgers are terrorised and killed (whilst being filmed), the interior décor is dated and shabby to boot. One star accomomdation if ever I saw it.
If you stay be prepared for: dusty bed sheets, prank calls and masked intruders who can let themselves into your room whenever they want.
Now unlike a lot of the entries in this list, there's nothing supernatural going on within this place. There are no ghosts roaming the corridors, it's not built on sacred land and there aren't evil spirits waiting to possess you. However, there is a cross-dressing maniac who will most likely kill you if he is sexually drawn to you or if you know, you get in the way. It's a shame because Norman seems like such a nice chap at first and he clearly loves his mother, which is always an admirable trait. However the problem is that he loves her just a bit too much. The motel rooms themselves are pretty standard (peepholes aside) but it's when you venture into the Norman's house and more specifically, his basement, where things get really messed up.
If you stay be prepared for: holes in the bathroom walls, taxidermy and cross-dressing.
The Dolphin Hotel
Here's an idea. If you get an anonymous postcard with the picture of a creepy hotel on it with the words 'Don't enter 1408', be a doll and DON'T ENTER 1408! Try telling that to John Cusack, who plays a cynical author and sees it as a challenge. He also ignores the hotel manager's (Samuel L. Jackson) advice to turn back. Apparently being told that 56 people have died in that room isn't enough to change his mind either. However it isn't long before he regrets his decision. Soon, Cusack is being tormented by the disembodied spirits of previous guests and having hallucinations of deceased loved ones and when he tries to leave, finds that the door simply won't open. He can't say he wasn't warned.
If you stay be prepared for: doppelgangers, water problems and hallucinations.
Yankee Pedlar Inn
The Innkeepers (2011)
The Yankee Pedlar Hotel is a real hotel that already has a reputation of being haunted. It's also the setting of Ti West's impressive chiller where the only two remaining employees enjoy their last shift before it closes down for good. Both (Sarah Paxton and Pat Healy) are ghost hunting enthusiasts and they use what little time they have to try and capture some phenomenon before the old New England colonial hotel is gone for good. The one ghost they are particularly keen on tracking down is that of Madeline O'Malley, who hung herself during the 1800's and whose body was apparently hidden in the basement by the hotel owners. In a stroke of luck, the only guest staying at the hotel during this time is Kelly McGillis, a former actress turned medium. Her advice: Don't go into the basement. Advice that isn't followed tragically...
If you stay be prepared for: pianos playing by themselves, strange voices and old men wandering the corridors.
American Horror Story (2016)
Loosely based on the 'murder castle' of infamous 19th century serial killer HH Holmes, the Hotel Cortez is a building with a tragic and terrible history. It's also owned by a super hot vampire (Lady Gaga) who resides on the top floor and who lures men and women up there for a quick snack from time to time. Then we have the fact that it is haunted by a variety of ghosts including a psychopathic former owner (based on HH Holmes again), a heroin junkie who killed herself (Sarah Paulson). There's also a living serial killer on the loose called the ten commandments killer as well as a demon who roams the hotel with a drill but dildo. The hotel also happens to be the place where the spirits of famous serial killers from history (Gacy, Dahmer, Ramirez) meet up for an annual shindig. If that doesn't put you off then a knife wielding Kathy Bates might...
If you stay be prepared for: weird kids with white hair, people under your mattress and attractive Scandinavian ghosts.
When a trio of young dudes arrive in Slovakia during their European backpacking holiday, they are on the look-out for a good time. And when I say 'good time', I mean lot of booze and sex. Sure, their accommodation may seem a bit shabby but on the bright side, some of their fellow lodgers just happen to be attractive young women. Jackpot! However this hostel is not your ordinary low budget bunk-bed style lodgings. There's an added catch; there's a decent chance that you'll be seduced by some of your fellow lodgers and end up drugged and tied up in a chair in a torture chamber in a disused factory in the middle of nowhere. If you are American, then you're in even bigger trouble as rich sadists are willing to pay more for the privilege of dismembering you. Just make sure nobody has slipped anything into your drink and you should be fine...
If you stay be prepared for: evasive front desk staff, hot but sinister co-lodgers and terrifying off-site excursions.
Ski Lodge, Jutenheimen
Cold Prey (2007)
I've never fancied skiing. Sure the clothes look cool and stuff but I'm convinced that if I even attempted it, I'd end up breaking my legs or something. The only thing that could make that situation worse (apart from breaking my neck instead) would be to stuck in the middle of nowhere and the only place nearby is a spooky abandoned hotel. Unfortunately that's the fate that befalls a group of fun-loving Norwegian teenagers in Roar Uthaug's slasher Cold Prey. Because although it seems as if the group are completely isolated and alone in this old, dusty hotel – they are not. You see, although the guest book says the last guest checked out in 1975, there is still someone living there and it's not a sweet old lady either. It's a huge lumbering psychopath and he's been watching the group of friends since the moment they turned up...
If you stay be prepared for: lots of snow and a Norwegian Jason Vorhees living in the basement.
Unnamed Motel, Nevada
When a smorgasbord of characters (including, amongst others, an ex-cop, a former actress, a prostitute and a convicted murderer) find themselves stranded in the middle of a torrential rainstorm at a run down and desolate Nevada Motel, you just know that it's a recipe for murder and mayhem – and that's precisely what happens. At times this feels like a film version of Cluedo, with an unidentified killer offing the guests one by one. Tensions soon rise and it isn't long before paranoia and in-fighting threaten to fragment the group even further. There's something else going on here though, something weirder and the killer almost seems to be otherworldly. Of course things are explained in the end but it's safe to say that the survival rate of an overnight stay in this motel is pretty rubbish.
If you stay be prepared for: torrential rain, fights with fellow lodgers and severed heads in the laundry room.
Black Lake Ski Resort
Black Lake (2016)
Yep, another Scandinavian entry here although the goings on at Blake Lake are all-together quite different from the full-on stalk'n'slash bloodletting of Cold Prey. This time, a group of friends heads up to an empty ski-lodge in North Sweden. The complex is up for sale and one of the group is interesting in buying the business, which has been empty for over thirty years since the murder of a family in the basement (yep, it's very Shining like in that respect). The hotel itself is actually in pretty good nick but the weather and isolation invariably leads to power cuts and poor mobile phone signal. What's more worrying is the fact that there are noises coming from the basement during the night and someone or something seems to be trying to communicate with the group. Add to that a creepy caretaker and a couple of sinister locals who seem intent on scaring the group of friends out of the hotel and it makes for a rather unsettling stay.
If you stay be prepared for: mysterious messages on the fridge, eye infections and loud noises from the basement.