From “Dumb and Dumber” to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – The Burlington Record


The writers have, for decades, put their westerns, horror films, and apocalyptic sci-fi / fantasy in the mountains and malleable plains of Colorado. But the holiday special or movie is so low on the prestige list that it usually goes under NORAD’s radar.

Whether they’re shot or staged here (or, much less often, both), most of them are terrible. Partly because of the cheesy, unambitious genre they’re mired in, and part because the themes and storylines of the holiday stories hardly ever change. But there are a few big things to note.

Here’s a sample of vacation shows and movies shot or filmed here, with an emphasis on snow-capped ski resorts that mean the state to strangers. Grab a hot chocolate and a screen, and settle in for a local flavor, but saccharin.

In 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber”, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey, left) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) travel to Aspen to return a mysterious briefcase to Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly). The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park replaced Aspen in many scenes, including the one pictured. (Warner home video)

“Dumb and even dumber”

After setting its hilarious comedic bar with slapstick and crass gags, “Dumb and Dumber” has become an influential comedy classic. It’s also, to paraphrase one of my editors, a vacation movie in our house. When Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) set out on a trip across the country to return a briefcase to the elusive Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly), they ended up in Aspen – actually filmed in Estes Park at the historic (and inspiring “Shining”) Stanley Hotel – for the holidays.

From neophyte costumes that most chic foreigners adopt – fringe over fringe, furry boots and oversized Stetson – to real Colorado locations that add to the boyfriends comedy sense of place, “Dumb and Dumber” is our top pick for. a Colorado vacation movie. Sorry, everything else.

Scenes from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” were filmed in and around Frisco and Breckenridge, and Summit County in general. (Warner Bros.)

“National Lampoon Christmas Vacation”

Wait, isn’t that 1989 Chevrolet Chase vehicle installed in and around Chicago? It does, but we’re including it here because its opening streak – a brutally cartoonish tree-cutting chess series – was filmed in Colorado, along with a few others. The exterior staging of the Walmart shopping spree with cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and the interiors were filmed in Frisco, according to, while the shots in which the Griswold station wagon jumps into the park’s parking lot at the Christmas tree were captured in Breckenridge.

Colorado 9 north of Silverthorne gave the main logging truck scene, in which the hapless Griswold family is briefly trapped under a long haul. Summit County also provided several exteriors that don’t look like Illinois. This is entirely appropriate, since locations near Alamosa, Pueblo, and Durango also graced the first (1983) episode of National Lampoons’ “Vacation” series.

The 1990 sequel to “Die Hard” finds Bruce Willis at Stapleton Airport – replacing Washington Dulles – trying to thwart another evil Christmas Eve plot. (20th century fox)

“Die hard 2”

With the original 1988 film being decidedly a holiday classic, the sequel (also set on Christmas Eve and starring Bruce Willis) is getting a closer look. Many scenes were shot in Colorado, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, and not just exterior shots.

These include scenes in Breckenridge, Mead, Denver, and the old Stapleton International Airport (now the Central Park neighborhood). Stapleton dubbed the role of Washington Dulles, where most of “Die Hard 2” takes place, the Gazette reported, while scenes from the Siege of the Villain were filmed at Highland Lake Church near Mead.

Not to be confused with “Elf,” “Elves” is a low-budget cult horror titled filmed in Colorado Springs about the Nazis, magical rituals and, oh yes, Christmas. (


Before “Elf” there was “Elves”, a low budget horror film from 1989 whose slogan is “They don’t work for Santa Claus… never again”. The plot, which involves Nazis, magical rituals, and a department store, is quite incidental to its irresistible Christmas schlockiness.

Scenes from the cult minor movie were shot in and around Colorado Springs’ Carnegie Library, as well as Colorado Springs School, according to The former Hibbard & Co. department store in downtown Colorado Springs was on display throughout the first half of the year, The Location Scout blog reported. The full film is available on YouTube.

The unique Hallmark Christmas “Winter in Vail” uses romantic comedy tropes to tell the story of a career woman from Los Angeles rediscovering herself and “the values ​​of a small town” in Vail. (Punch)

“Winter in Vail”

By our calculations, dozens of Hallmark, Lifetime, and other mini-series and television specials have been filmed in the high country of Colorado. But 2020’s “Winter in Vail” is one of the most recent and exemplary of what makes these comfort foods for some viewers. As with most of these romantic drama plots, it features a stranger (Hallmark regular, Lacey Chabert as the harassed career woman Chelsea Whitmore), who leaves a big city (Los Angeles) for Vail and quickly becomes more Vail than the people of Vail.

His inherited chalet is in need of repair, and his late uncle Grady’s legacy as a pastry chef stands before his eyes. He created a famous apple strudel recipe, which is quickly becoming one of the greatest symbols of paper-thin plot reinvention. Most of the filming took place in Alberta, Canada, but a few scenes were filmed in Vail. Her generic adherence to “small town values” is driven by Whitmore’s self-discovery (“I’m going to have to find out who I am when there’s nothing on the schedule,” she says) and rolling lines. eyes are close-constant.

Head over to for more, including a dozen truly awesome posters for winter romance specials that look exactly like this one.

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