Tag Archives: film locations

5 Horror Film Locations

Poltergeist

Poltergeist (http://www.free-extras.com)

This post is a great excuse for me to write about a subject close to my heart – great horror films. Only great ones, mind. Having been duped into seeing Hostel and having my hopes dashed by “Nazi Zombies” I know there’s a whole lot of really bad or just quite dull horror films out there. So, without further ado are five horror film locations:

Poltergeist

Outside the Poltergeist House

Outside the Poltergeist House liveinchapelperilous.blogspot.com

A very sweet horror film, this. Cute little blonde girl in peril; an extremely funny yet serious medium played brilliantly by Zelda Rubenstein; weed-smoking, loving parents,an evil pastor and a sinister television set.

The film is set in the fictional suburban neighbourhood of Cuesta Verde, California which is in real life Simi Valley, California. The exteriors of the house occupied by the Freelings were shot at No 4267 Roxbury Street in that area.

At the time of filming, the houses were new, and unoccupied land behind the house offered easy access for the camera crews. Although a swimming pool featured in the film, there was apparently none present at the time of filming, although later owners did build one.

It was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, but it looks fine  now according to this Google Maps image:

4267 Roxbury Street, Poltergeist

4267 Roxbury Street, the Poltergeist house

You’ll be glad to know that the final shots of the house collapsing weren’t real. Here’s a description of how it was filmed from bigwaste.com

“I don’t have any interesting stories about the real house, but the model that stood in for it at the end of the movie had a pretty fascinating, although short-lived, existence. A replica about four feet across was constructed for the final scene in which the house is quite convincingly sucked into the Netherworld. The model was positioned face up over an industrial vacuum through which wires were run and attached to points inside the house. The camera, located directly above the model, was run at 300 frames per second, or twelve and a half times normal speed.”

The house even has its own Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/4267-Roxbury-St-Simi-Valley-CA (So does Quirky Travel)

The Shining

The unsettling opening sequence was filmed in Glacier National Park in Montana According to moviemistakes.com you can see the shadow of the filming helicopter on the ground during it. Interestingly, outtakes from it were used in the final shots of Blade Runner.

A guest post on QT has already look at the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel – the haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. But the exterior shots for the film were taken at the beautifully situated Timberline Lodge in Oregon. Aerial shots and only some of the establishing shots were taken there.

I thought I recognised the area where the snowcat vehicles were kept in this photo …

Timberline Lodge, The Shining

Timberline Lodge, The Shining

… but I find that the largest set ever built at the time (at Elstree Studios) provided many of the shots around the outside of the building where a facade was constructed.

The maze didn’t exist at all – the snowy version was built as a sound stage at Elstree and a non-snowy maze (according to this very detailed information ) at Borehamwood. By the way,  watch those spatial awareness videos in that last link for spectacularly picky insight into the hotel design.

That fantastic tracking shot of Jack’s son on his toy tricycle took place at Elstree and the kitchen was built there also, in a large warehouse.

The interiors were based on yet another hotel – the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Park. Interestingly, the Timberline Lodge asked that the room number chosen by Stephen King in his novel for the spooky room – 217 – not be used in the film as they understandably feared that people would avoid booking it. Therefore 237, a room number that doesn’t exist in the Timberline, was chosen.

For some kooky theories on what The Shining was really about, watch the new film when it comes to your town http://room237movie.com/

Angel Heart

Mickey Rourke in New Orleans

For a long time one of my favourite films of all time, this horror noir featuring Bob de Niro as a bearded, egg-cracking Louis Cyphre (geddit?) and Mickey Rourke at his tweed-coated private-detecting best (I had a coat just like it in the 80’s, and yes, I’m a girl).

The first part of the film is set in a chilly grey New York and the second in a hot and steaming Louisiana, and the director Alan Parker has managed to make the atmosphere in both dark, heavy and wet – and rich in voodoo atmosphere.

The brownstone tenement buildings that Harry walks past can still be seen in Eldridge Street, Harlem – the procession and church scenes were also filmed in the Harlem neighbourhood.

Vazak’s Bar at 108 Avenue B, East Village features as the place in which Harry receives some information on Johnny Favourite from his newspaper contact. (Incidentally, Vazak’s is a regular film star – you may have seen it in Godfather II and Crocodile Dundee).

One of my favourite scenes takes place on a chilly, deserted beach (pic below):  this is of course Coney Island, and Harry then goes off to find Madame Zora in the old amusement park on West 10th Street on the island.

Coney Island, Angel Heart

Coney Island, Angel Heart

Harry arrives in Louisiana at Hoboken Railway Station, immediately starts sweating and getting rained on in the town’s Decatur Street and goes to visit Toots Sweet (geddit?) played by legendary Bluesman Brownie McGhee at the Maple Leaf Bar posing as the Red Rooster. The Laurel Valley Village museum is the location for the plantation where the lovely Lisa Bonet lives.

The church in which the diabolical Mr Cyphre meets with Johnny is the St Alphonsus deconsecrated church in New Orleans:

Angel Heart church </a>)

Incidentally, do you know that Marlon Brando was considered for Bob’s part in the film? And that Alan Parker said he avoided De Niro on set because his interpretation of the part of Louis Cyphre was so convincing?

The Omen

Damien, The Omen http://tvtropes.org

Most of The Omen (the 1976 original), that evergreen story of the birth and childhood of your everyday Antichrist took place in the UK, although Rome and Jerusalem were given brief mentions.

Parliament Hill with its excellent view of the City of London is the location for a picnic with young Damien and his parents (played by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick). And the US Embassy in which Gregory works as the American Ambassador is indeed the real one, situated in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair.

All Saints, Fulham

All Saints, Fulham (http://thegirlwholoveshorror.blogspot.co.uk)

The church that Damien had a hissy fit in is Guildford Cathedral, in the London borough of Kingston. Another church that I can’t now walk past is All Saints Church, Fulham without thinking of the scene where Patrick Troughton is speared by a lightning rod falling from the building. They filmed the scene by having the conductor slide down a wire that was a few feet away from Troughton.

The harrowing scene where Lee Remick is thrown out of a window was filmed at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow.

The last scenes at the burial of Damien’s earthly father was at the American Military Cemetery in Brookwood (that’s where the photo was taken of Damien among the white crosses).

Why did they ever remake The Omen, by the way?

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice house

Beetlejuice house (Ironic Sans)

This comedy-horror pic from one of my favourite directors, Tim Burton was filmed on location in East Corinth, Orange County.

The house that featured extensively in the film, occupied by the recently dead couple, the Maitlands, then joined by the incomers, the Deetzes, wasn’t a real house: just a box shell built for the film – according to one comment I’ve read from a local who lived in East Corinth at the time there was actually a baseball court inside.

The Maitlands’ Hardware Store was a a real general store in the town which has since closed down. In the opening aerial shot if you look closely you’ll see a potato chip truck (that means crisp lorry in the UK) pulling away from the store – which of course is wrong if it’s supposed to be a hardware store. The locals were asked to keep their cars off the road for this shot to work out well.

Winter River Bridge, Beetlejuice

Winter River Bridge, Beetlejuice (http://explodingkinetoscope.blogspot.co.uk)

The bridge off which the Maitlands’ car crashes is actually uncovered and doesn’t lead to the fake house and the river beneath was damned to create a pool of water, presumably to make the shoot look better.

The interiors were shot in Culver Studios, Culver City, California.

5 London Film Locations

American Werewolf in London

American Werewolf in London

As I’m sure you’re well aware, London has featured in many films. Movies of the 70s and 80s couldn’t not have a red bus or a shot of the Houses of Parliament or Tower Bridge to make absolutely sure you knew where you were. Here’s a selection of those films and the parts of the capital they feature:

  • Acton Lane Power Station – Park Royal, NW10. The interiors of 1989 Batman‘s Axis Chemicals factory were filmed here. Rumour has it that Battersea Power Station was the original choice but was not to be.  It’s the one where the soon-to-be Joker falls into a vat of toxic poison. The Atmosphere processing station’s interiors in Aliens (1986) (the one with the orphan rather than the cat) was also filmed here. Unfortunately, now demolished.
  • 2006 film Venus was filmed in a large part around QT’s old stomping ground Kentish Town. The great Peter O’Toole was filmed shopping on the main street, sitting in The Abbey pub (a very pleasant spot for a bit of outdoor grub – burgers and the like), in a cafe, and even lived at the end of my street (Grafton Road where it meets Athlone Street). Other locations for Venus were Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s church Covent Garden. This church incidentally is also known as the Actors’ church and is a quiet haven for having your lunch in, in an otherwise manic area. An interesting bit of trivia – apparently Peter’s only ‘on location’ demand was a heated arctic tent in which he could avoid the weather. See Peter O’Toole unzips for Venus.
  • An American Werewolf in London as the title would suggest, was partly filmed in and around London. Jenny Agutter’s flat is to be found in Coleherne Road, Earls Cort and the hospital she worked in is around the corner at the former Princess Beatrice Maternity Hospital in Finborough Road (now a hostel for the homeless). The city guy was eaten in Tottenham Court Road tube station and Piccadilly Circus was used for the climax of the film. The werewolf is finally cornered in Winchester Walk near Borough Market posing as the West End.
  • Borough Market has been a popular film location – it featured in Bridget Jones’ Diary, Entrapment, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Wilde, The Young Americans, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
  • In The Omen (the classic 1976 version- don’t bother with the more recent one) Parliament Hill appears on a family day out with the young anti-christ. The actual US Ambassador to London’s office in the American Embassy (Grosvenor Square) was used for Patrick Troughton’s confrontation with Mr Elegance himself, Gregory Peck. Former Dr Who Patrick Troughton is not very pleasantly spiked  at All Saints Church, Fulham (on the north side of Putney Bridge).