Sunday night, as we all patiently waited to see how our beloved horror films would fair at the 90th Academy Awards, the Oscars threw us a curve ball. Cut from your run-of-the-mill commercials to: “If you’re looking for a quiet remote getaway, look no further than the newly renovated Overlook Hotel.” Excuse me, what?
Suddenly, a vintage-looking 1980s commercial is promoting the famous and fictional Overlook Hotel, as depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining. The advertisement highlights the hotel’s “beautiful garden maze” and “beautifully appointed interiors”, as their staff is hard at work preparing the hotel for its next batch of guests. The ad emphasizes that the new renovation is so wonderful it’ll make you want to stay there “forever, and ever, and ever”.
While the audio throughout the commercial sounds like it could easily be used for any newly renovated hotel, it is the advertisement’s visuals that will make any fan of The Shining cheer. We see the iconic patterned carpet being vacuumed; a maid shocked by a woman slowly and mysteriously opening a bath curtain (presumably in room 237); REDRUM being wiped from the door; damages being assessed for the door destroyed by Jack’s ax; the twins’ blue dresses being taken out for the laundry; and, of course, the blood outside the elevator being scrubbed up. This advertisement is amazing! The vintage quality and feel of the film transports you back to the early 80s in a unexpected way.
But the biggest tease of the ad is the phone number that flashes on the screen for the Overlook Hotel: 1-833-888-0237. And yes, those last three digits are 237. Feeling brave? Give them a call.
About 25% of the time there is the “this person has a voicemail that has not been set up” message. However, if you try again, you will be greeted with “Welcome to the historic Overlook Hotel’s reservation line”. As eerie, crackly hold music plays in the background you are gifted with little quips and bits of information about the hotel. For example,”Feeling overworked? Come play with us in the world-famous Colorado Room. You’ll never want to leave”. Or,”Our world-class concierge is a little man who lives in your mouth, and he can’t wait to meet you”. Because wouldn’t you want to stay there if you heard that?
After about three minutes of listening to the recorded message, we are told to “go inside the movies at AcademyMuseum.org”. If you, like me, care to venture further down the rabbit hole, this website prompts you to enter your email. Once you do, you are informed that you are “on the list”. The “list” is to receive updates on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, coming to Los Angeles in 2019. The museum is set to be an immersive center for the appreciation of films and we cannot wait to see what they have to offer if this is the kind of advertising they are using.