Shrines of Obsession: The Real-World Locations of 11 Cult Films - Atlas Obscura
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Shrines of Obsession: The Real-World Locations of 11 Cult Films

Some unsuccessful films are quirky enough to capture an underground fanbase, or they are screened often enough in late-night venues that they build a hardcore following. For whatever reason, the fans really love them, enough to sometimes go on pilgrimages to filming sites. Here are eleven cult films and the locations of their various filming shrines.

THE WICKER MAN (1973)
Scotland, United Kingdom 

article-imageScene from “The Wicker Man” (via pds209/Flickr user)

Once called the “Citizen Kane of horror films,” The Wicker Man (1973) concerns straitlaced Scottish police sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), who receives an anonymous letter requesting his help investigating the disappearance of a young girl, Rowan, from the remote island Summerisle. When he arrives in Summerisle, Howie is puzzled that no one seems to have even heard of Rowan. 

The film was shot in a series of small towns scattered across southeastern Scotland. In Creetown, filmmakers used the bar of the Ellangowan hotel for interior scenes in the Green Man Pub, where Howie lodges during his stay. However, he turns down offers of “company” from the pubkeeper’s daughter Willow (Britt Ekland). The staff at the Ellangowan are proud of their association with the film, displaying cast photos on the walls and offering guests directions to other nearby shooting sites. 

article-imageCulzean Castle (photograph by David Warrington)

In nearby Ayrshire, the exterior of Culzean Castle stands in for the home of the enigmatic Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). Lord Summerisle also dodges Howie’s questions about the missing girl, but explains the stranger customs Howie’s noticed by claiming the island practices pre-Christian pagan traditions. 

Shots inside Lord Summerisle’s castle were filmed elsewhere, in the Lochinch Castle at Castle Kennedy Gardens in Dumfrinich and Galloway. Lochinch Castle is not open to the public, but the grounds themselves are, and are host themselves to scenes from the film, including the community’s May Day procession, which Howie joins in secret to find Rowan. He suspects that the “pagan customs” Lord Summerisle spoke of include human sacrifice — and that Rowan is to be the next victim. 

article-imageSt. Ninian’s Cave (photograph by Jonathan Hollander)

During the May Day festivities, Howie rescues Rowan, bringing her to a cave on the beach for safekeeping, only to have Rowan join the town in turning the tables on him. The beach and cave are at the St. Ninian’s Cave site, believed to be a former retreat for the Scottish Saint Ninian. The cave boasts a series of crosses scratched into the stone towards the rear, and Christian visitors often leave small crosses of their own. 

At Burrowhead, on the southwest coast, Howie finally meets the Wicker Man of the title, as well as his own fate. Today, the location of the final scenes are on the grounds of the Burrowhead Holiday Village campground, a 100-acre site overlooking the beach with views of the Isle of Man. The legs from of one of the Wicker Men once remained on the grounds as well — two wooden stumps, several feet tall, in a concrete base. However, recent visitors report that vandals have stolen the legs, sawing off all but a few inches near the base. 

article-imageThe (real) Summer Isles (via Wikimedia)

THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION (1984)
Los Angeles, California, United States

Okay, this film is bizarre. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician, supported by a team he calls the Hong Kong Cavaliers. His experiments in inter-dimensional travel accidentally release three “Red Lectroids,” an alien race imprisoned in the 8th Dimension. Once out, the group of Lectroids — lead by mad scientist Dr. John Whorfin (John Lithgow) — race to spring the rest of their people out of prison, and Buckaroo is forced to stop them, and thus save the world.

 Clear so far?

article-imageEl Mirage Dry Lake (photograph by Mitch Barrie)

The scenes where Buckaroo first tests his inter-dimensional car — and his “oscillation overthruster,” the engine which breaks down the walls between dimensions — take place in El Mirage Dry Lake and in Rabbit Springs Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert. Both are popular destinations for off-road vehicle recreational drivers, and for more conventional auto testing.

In an effort to get Buckaroo’s oscillation overthruster, the Lectroids kidnap Buckaroo’s sweetheart, Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin), and hold her hostage in their headquarters, a building disguised as the tech research firm “Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.” Most of the Yoyodyne scenes were filmed at an old tire factory in Los Angeles, which bizarrely resembles an Assyrian temple.

article-imageCitadel Outlet Mall (photograph by Mark Ou)

article-imageCitadel Outlet Mall (photograph by Eye Tunes/Flickr user)

Today, the building is home to the Citadel Outlet Mall, a shopping hotspot for bargain hunters. While the inside of the building is much cleaner than the Lectroids kept it, the façade has stayed the same.

Penny and Buckaroo first meet early in the film, during a Hong Kong Cavaliers night club gig. The club was actually a recording studio, itself built inside a warehouse for an old lumber yard. Today, the warehouse —  known as 440 Seaton — is an events space, occasionally hosting art shows and flea markets alongside weddings and parties.

article-imageSepulveda Dam (photograph by Mokwell/Wikimedia)

Fans even love the film’s closing credits, in which Buckaroo rappels down a wall and joins the rest of the cast in a victory lap around what looks like an outdoor amphitheater. The scene is at the Sepulveda Dam, one of a series of dams built along the Los Angeles River in the 1940s following a major flood in 1938. The dam’s striking look has made it a frequent location in other films as well, such as Iron Man 2 and The Fast And The Furious, as well as television shows, music videos, and commercials. It’s also a popular site for urban explorers and skaters, even though the dam itself is not open to the public. A safer bet is the surrounding Sepulveda Basin recreation area, sporting bike paths, a cricket pitch, and a Japanese garden. 

OFFICE SPACE (1999)
Austin, Texas, United States

Producers initially asked Mike Judge to set his black comedy classic somewhere like Wall Street, but he refused, placing it in the same sort of unglamorous Texas office parks he’d once worked in himself. 

Office Space is the story of Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), a computer programmer for “Initech,” where he and his friends Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman) cope with dull tasks, office politics, and a malevolent printer. The Initech building is at 4120 Freidrich Lane, and is an active office park in Austin, Texas, currently home to a handful of legal offices and a collection agency.

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Initech Building (photograph by Thomas Crenshaw)

Nearby is the former Alligator Grill, a Cajun restaurant which was renamed Chotchkie’s for the film. Peter takes a shine to Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), one of the Chotchkie’s waitresses, who also hates her job. The site recently reopened as Baker Street Pub and Grill, a Sherlock Holmes-themed restaurant bearing little resemblance to Joanna’s old workplace. 

THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980)
Chicago, Illinois, United States

It’s obvious that a good deal of this film was shot in Chicago. What’s not obvious is that it was one of the first films to do so. So in addition to becoming a cult classic, The Blues Brothers put Chicago on the filmmaking map.

article-imageJoliet Prison Gate (photograph by (Jacobsteinafm/Wikimedia)

The film kicks off when Elwood Blues (Dan Akroyd) comes to collect his brother Jake (John Belushi) after a stint in prison. Jake has been in Joliet Correctional Center, a prison long referenced in blues songs, novels, and other pop culture from the 1920s and 1930s. Joliet closed in 2002, and a local history museum has been working to launch guided tours of the facility. 

The pair learn that the orphanage where they grew up is in danger of foreclosure, and brainstorm how to help. The church where Jake and Elwood finally receive their “Mission from God” to re-form their band and raise money for the orphanage is the Pilgrim Baptist Church of South Chicago. Confusingly, there are two Pilgrim Baptist Churches within a few blocks of each other. The “wrong” one, at South Indiana Avenue, is worth a visit anyway, for its architectural and historic significance. That Pilgrim Baptist was designed by noted architect Louis Sullivan, but recently suffered a fire and is still undergoing renovation. The “right” Pilgrim Baptist is at 91st Street and is a much more modest structure, formerly home to a Lutheran church.

After reuniting, the band shops for instruments at “Ray’s Music Shop,” overseen by Ray Charles. Today Ray’s is now “Shelly’s Loan Company,” at a storefront on East 47th Street. The outside wall still sports a mural commemorating Chicago music greats.

article-imageSouth Shore Center (via Oak Park Cycle Club)

The band scores a major gig at the “Palace Hotel Ballroom, 106 miles from Chicago up north on Lake Wazupumani.” The building is actually right in Chicago. It’s the South Shore Cultural Center, a former country club now hosting art classes, youth programs, and cultural exhibitions. However, interior scenes at the Palace Hotel Ballroom were filmed on a Los Angeles soundstage. Film fans may recognize the inside of the South Shore center anyway — it was used in a completely different film, A League Of Their Own, for scenes set at a “charm school.”

article-imageDaley Plaza (photograph by Jaysin Trevino)

The film ends with a dramatic car chase as Jake and Elwood flee city police, National Guardsmen, an angry country and western band, and Illinois Nazis as they rush their gig’s proceeds to city hall. They park their “Bluesmobile” in Daley Plaza, a courtyard sporting a giant horsehead sculpture designed by Pablo Picasso.

article-imageChicago City Hall (photograph by Lucas/Flickr user)

They flee into the City Hall building south of the plaza, and successfully pay the deed on their orphanage — handing the funds off to Stephen Spielberg, in a cameo as the office clerk — before they are handcuffed and brought back to Joliet. 

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975)
Doune Castle, Dirling, Scotland, United Kingdom 

There were supposed to be several shoot locations for this Monty Python classic. After all, King Arthur (Graham Chapman) leads his band of knights to several castles on their quest for the Holy Grail  — Camelot first, then the castle where a French knight (John Cleese) taunts them from a high tower, the Castle Anthrax where Sir Galahad (Michael Palin) encounters a harem, the Swamp Castle where Sir Lancelot (John Cleese, again) blunders into a wedding. The National Heritage Trust had initially approved several different places, but shortly before filming started, the Trust had second thoughts. 

article-imageDoune Castle (photograph by Jeff Woodgate) 

Fortunately, the Pythons had also approached two other privately owned castles, and they were still on board. So they shot nearly all of the different castle scenes at one castle in particular — Doune Castle, in Dirling — carefully selecting different rooms and different angles to disguise the fact that it was all the same building. The “Camelot” dance scene is in the main hall, and the Castle Anthrax scenes were shot in the kitchen. The wedding scenes at the “Swamp Castle” were in Doune’s courtyard.

article-imageDoune Castle (photograph by Wendy/Flickr user)

The “French Knight” scene, where Arthur and his men face taunting from a very rude Frenchman, was filmed at Doune’s battlements, while the East Wall is where Arthur argues with a pair of guards about the airspeed velocity of unladen swallows.  Doune now hosts a “Monty Python Day” every year to cater to fans, and Python alumnus Terry Jones has recorded a special audio tour of the castle which leads visitors to the specific filming locations. 

article-imageCastle Stalker (photograph by Norrie Adamson)

The only other castle used was Castle Stalker, near Argyll, which appears briefly as “the Castle Aaaaarrrrrggggghhh” where Arthur believes his quest may finally end. 

article-imagePass of Glen Coe Falls (photograph by Martin Grossniklaus)

Elsewhere in Scotland, at Glen Coe in the Highlands, is where the Pythons filmed scenes featuring the “Bridge of Death” over the “Gorge of Eternal Peril,” with a waterfall in the Pass of Glen Coe standing in for the Gorge.

THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994)
New South Wales & Northern Territory, Australia 

This 1994 film chronicles what is possibly the most glamorous road trip ever, after Sydney-based drag performer Tick (Hugo Weaving) ropes his costars Adam (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terrence Stamp) into doing a gig at a remote Australian resort. 

One of the trio’s first stopovers is in mining town Broken Hill, where they check into “Mario’s Palace,” a hotel festooned with an eye-popping variety of “tack-o-rama” murals before an afternoon of shopping capped off by cocktails back at the hotel bar

The hotel still exists — now under the simple name “The Palace” — as do the murals, all done by local artist Gordon Waye. Film producer Al Clark loved the Palace so much he named it “Drag queen heaven.” Writer and director Stephan Elliot also became such a fan he donated “Priscilla,” the bus used as the trio’s transport in the film, to Broken Hill, encouraging the town to display the bus near the hotel. As of late 2013, Broken Hill was still trying to find a suitable place for Priscilla. 

article-imageWhite Cliffs Underground Motel (photograph by Richard Gifford)

The welcome is less warm in Coober Pedy, another mining town where Adam is attacked by a homophobic mob and the trio’s bus is vandalized. This time the group is staying in the White Cliffs Underground Motel. Most residential buildings and hotels in Coober Pedy are below ground for comfort in the brutally hot desert climate (the name “Coober Pedy” is actually taken from an Aboriginal term meaning “White Man’s Burrow”). White Cliffs has been host to frequent gatherings of the film’s fans. 

article-imageLasseters Casino (photograph by Andy Mitchel)

The final stop is in Alice Springs, where Tick reveals the connection he has with the resort’s manager Marion (Sarah Chadwick) and her son Benjamin (Mark Holmes). The resort is the Lasseters Hotel Casino, a splashy hotel with the only licensed casino in Alice Springs. 

article-imageKings Canyon Rim Walk (photograph by Lawrence Murray)

Before the team does their act, they indulge Adam in fulfilling a lifelong fantasy — climbing to the top of Uluru in full drag. Out of respect to the Aṉangu people — who have requested that visitors not climb Uluru at all, much less in formalwear — the actors instead hiked through Kings Canyon, part of the Watarrka National Park southwest of Alice Springs. The Rim Walk hiking trail leads visitors to most of the spots from the movie; one site on the trail has even been dubbed “Priscilla’s Crack”.  

THE “MAD MAX” TRILOGY  (1979/1981/1985)
Sydney, Melbourne, Clunes, and New South Wales, Australia 

Even though the Mad Max trilogy shares some locations with Priscilla Queen of the Desert, it tells a very different story — that of Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), a former cop thrust into a profoundly different way of life after a nuclear apocalypse.  

article-imageSpotswood Pumping Station (photograph by Rexness/Flickr user)

In the first film, Max is still a cop of sorts. He is part of the Main Force Patrol, a self-appointed police force trying to maintain order. Scenes at the “Halls of Justice,” the Main Force Patrol’s base of operations, were shot at two gas pumping stations in Melbourne — Spotswood and Port Melbourne Gasworks.

Spotswood is still operational, and offers guided tours of the plant. However, the tours cater more towards the facility’s current operations rather than the film. Port Melbourne Gasworks was already closed at the time of filming, and has since been extensively remodeled into the Gasworks Arts Park, an art studio and performance space complex boasting 16 artists-in-residence and offering hundreds of annual exhibitions, performances, classes, and workshops.

article-imageClunes Streetscape (photograph by Mattinbgn/Wikimedia)

Max’s main headache in the first film is a team of outlaw bikers making their home in a ghost town they call “Wee Jerusalem.” It’s actually Clunes, a small town 91 miles away from Melbourne. A former gold mining town, Clunes’ council has revived it as an international “booktown,” opening dozens of used bookstores and hosting an annual book festival drawing visitors from across Australia. However, Clunes didn’t do much to change the town’s appearance, and it looks much the same as it did in the film.

article-imageEmu Creek Bridge (photograph by Mattinbgn/Wikimedia)

The biker gang pursues Max even after he quits the force and retires to the countryside with his family. They kill his wife and child and attempt to do him in as well. But Max fights back, dispatching them all one by one before setting out to wander in the Outback. The first film’s final scene, where Max handcuffs the gang’s leader to a burning car and leaves him to die, is at the Emu Creek Bridge just outside the Melbourne suburb of Sunbury.

article-imageSilverton Hotel (photograph by Amanda Slater)

Most of the second film takes place on open roads, so it’s hard to pinpoint exact locations. Generally, though, they were all in the land surrounding Broken Hills and near Silverton, a struggling town with only 50 residents. Silverton has turned its hotel into a museum of sorts, commemorating the many film crews who have passed through over the years. A replica of one of the cars from The Road Warrior is parked just outside. Many Silverton residents can also give driving directions to some of the approximate film sites. 

article-imageBrick Pit Walk (photograph by Gord Webster)

In the final film, Max comes upon the rough city “Bartertown,” where the town’s leader Auntie Entity (Tina Turner) enlists him for a mission.  A former brick quarry stood in for Bartertown, and was nearly bulldozed in the 1990s to make way for Sydney’s Olympic Park, but developers discovered a colony of rare green and golden bell frogs living there. That section of the quarry — and, thus, a section of the Bartertown film set — was preserved as a nature walk in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

After running afoul of Auntie Entity, Max is kicked out of Bartertown and sent wandering again. He comes to an oasis where he meets a tribe of children descended from the survivors of a long-ago plane crash. These scenes were all shot in Mermaids’ Cave, a sandstone cave in Megalong valley in the Blue Mountains north of Sydney.

The children believe Max is the reincarnation of their former pilot, come to lead them home. When he refuses, a team of disillusioned children strikes off on their own, stumbling upon Bartertown. Max springs them and they escape through the desert with Auntie Entity in pursuit — until Max meets Jedediah, a cave-dwelling bush pilot who can fly them to safety.  

article-imageCrocodile Harry at home (photograph by Ben Cooper)

Jedediah’s cave was the actual home of “Crocodile Harry,” a Coober Pedy eccentric whose exploits allegedly inspired the film Crocodile Dundee.  Harry relished his home’s fame, and happily gave tours to visitors, sharing his own stories about his boyhood in Latvia and years as a crocodile hunter and opal miner. Harry died in 2006, but his home has been preserved as “Crocodile Harry’s Underground Nest,” and is still open to visitors. (Look for the collection of bras on one of the ceilings — one of them is allegedly from Tina Turner!) 

WITHNAIL AND I (1987)
London and Cumbria, United Kingdom 

Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and Marwood (Paul McGann) are a pair of struggling actors, sharing a dismal flat in London’s Camden Town neighborhood in the late 1960s. The film begins when Withnail, fed up with their circumstances, suggests they borrow his uncle Monty’s (Richard Griffiths) country cottage for a vacation.

article-imageWest House (photograph by Peter Damian)

Sadly, the pair’s own flat has been demolished, but Uncle Monty’s London flat is still standing. It’s West House, a landmark example of the Queen Anne revival building style, in Chelsea. The house is not open to visitors, but the building’s exterior is obvious to passersby.

article-imageSleddale Hall, 2007 (photograph by Marwood/Wikimedia)

Uncle Monty’s cottage “Crow Crag” is actually Sleddale Hall, a historic farmhouse near the town of Shap in the north of England. Like West House, the interior of Sleddale Hall is inaccessible to the public. Filmmakers used the exterior of the house, the grounds, and the hall’s kitchen, where in one scene, the pair try to cook a chicken very much from scratch.  

article-imageThe Crown (photograph by Roland Turner)

The pair venture into the nearby town once or twice to investigate the “nightlife.” Fans of the film have searched in vain for these locations near Sledalle Hall, but the scenes were actually filmed further south in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, closer to London.

In one scene the pair blunder into a tea room where Withnail demands “the finest wines known to humanity.” Today, the building is a pharmacy, Cox and Robinson. Across the square — also used in the film — is a pub named the Crown, renamed “The King Henry” for the film. The Crown prominently showcases its involvement with the film on its website today.

At the film’s end, back in London, Marwood finally gets a big acting break and has to leave Withnail behind. They take one last walk through Regents Park in London, finally saying their goodbyes just outside London’s Zoo to the north of the park; a heartsick Withnail lingers to perform a speech from Hamlet for three of the zoo’s uncomprehending wolves. 

HAROLD AND MAUDE (1972)
San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States

This film features an unlikely May-December romance between 20-year-old Harold (Bud Cort), a rich kid obsessed with death, and Maude (Ruth Gordon), an almost-80-year-old with unconventional habits.

article-imageHoly Cross Cemetery (photograph by Tom Hilton)

Harold first sees Maude at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, where both are crashing the same funeral. They meet again at a different funeral, in the St. Thomas Aquinas church in Palo Alto. Maude breaks the ice by offering Harold licorice, and the two become fast friends.  Holy Cross and St. Thomas Aquinas are both open to the public. The Holy Cross Cemetery is of particular historic interest, as a number of notable San Francisco residents have been interred there.

article-imageSutro Heights (photograph by Eugene Kim)

Harold’s controlling mother (Vivian Pickles), hoping to sort her son out, enlists Harold’s World War II veteran uncle Victor (Charles Tyner) to persuade Harold to follow him into the military. Victor takes Harold on a stroll through San Francisco’s Sutro Heights Park, where Victor regales Harold with a series of war stories. The park is the former estate of Adolph Sutro, a former mayor of San Fransico, and includes the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a public indoor swimming pool complex Sutro created for San Franciscan’s public use.

article-imageSutro Baths (photograph by Julnyes/Flickr user)

The bath complex boasted seven pools — six saltwater, one freshwater — and an ice skating rink in winter, along with a 3,700-seat amphitheater, private party rooms, and a natural history museum to boot. Despite these wonders, the facility continuously lost money, and finally closed in 1964. A 1966 fire erased everything but the concrete foundations.

Near the baths’ ruins, Harold and Victor come upon Maude “by accident,” where Harold — in a scene he and Maude have prearranged — pretends to kill her in front of a shocked Victor.

article-imageSanta Cruz Boardwalk (photograph by Matt314/Wikimedia)

Harold finally tells Maude he loves her after an outing at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, giving her a token he’s made at one of the boardwalk’s “Metal  Typer” souvenir penny machines. Maude is touched, yet throws the token into the Pacific just off the boardwalk  — “so I’ll always know where it is,” she tells Harold.  

THE WARRIORS (1979)
New York, New York, United States

Some locations in this film are easy to find — like the Ferris wheel in the very first shot. Deno’s “Wonder Wheel” has loomed over Coney Island’s boardwalk since 1920, and is no doubt one of the last things which the film’s stars — a street gang called the Warriors — see before leaving their turf to join a summit of all the city’s gangs up in the Bronx.

article-imageWonder Wheel (photograph by Colin D. Young)

article-image
Roger Hill in The Warriors

At the summit, enigmatic gangleader Cyrus (Roger Hill) preaches a citywide gang truce. Since they collectively outnumber the police, he argues, by working together they can take over the city entirely. But Luther (David Patrick Kelly), a member of the rabblerousing Rogues, shoots him and then frames the Warriors for the killing, turning every gang in the city against them and forcing Warrior Swan (Michael Beck) to lead the gang back to Brooklyn safely. Ostensibly, the summit is far to the north, in the Bronx’s Van Cortland Park, but the scene was actually shot in a playground in Riverside Park, near the 96th Street entrance.

The film relies on Riverside Park for a few more scenes. Near the 100th Street entrance is the Fireman’s Memorial, a 1913 landmark the Warriors pass on an escape from the bizarrely-clad Baseball Furies gang.  Further into the park, the gang loses Ajax (James Remar) when he stops to hit on a woman on a park bench (Mercedes Ruehl), only to learn she’s an undercover cop.

article-imageHoyt-Schermerhorn Station (photograph by Eli Duke)

The gang is chased in and out of a number of subways. Here, too, one stop stands in for a couple different ones. Two platforms at Brooklyn’s Hoyt-Schemerhorn station have gone unused since 1981, making them an easy location choice for film and television shoots. Hoyt has played host to everyone from Eddie Murphy (in Coming to America II)¸ Michael Jackson (in the video for “Bad,” and in the film The Wiz), Michael J. Fox (in The Hard Way), and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In The Warriors, the station stands in for the 96th Street Station, where a group of transit cops give chase and split the gang up, and for the Union Square station, where they find each other again.

Sadly, the location for one of the film’s most iconic final scenes is no longer accessible. When the Warriors finally return to Coney Island, they find that Luther waiting for them.They huddle under the boardwalk to plan strategy and arm themselves as Luther waits outside taunting them. The scene was shot under the boardwalk entrance at Stillwell Avenue and West 12th. However, the city has since redesigned the entrance, filling in under the boardwalk and adding ramps. 

While in New York, you can also visit the soundstages the film used, sort of. The Warriors used the historic Kaufman-Astoria studios, a film studio from the 1920s which had been temporarily taken over by the military for the production of training films. The Warriors was one of the first productions to use Kaufman-Astoria after it rejoined the private sector. It’s still a busy studio today — it’s hosted all the Men in Black films and several of the Bourne Identity films, as well as televisions shows like The Cosby Show and Sesame Street. The Museum of the Moving Image on the grounds gives a fascinating look into the history of the space and into the craft of moviemaking in general. 

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975)
Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor 

This is arguably the Platonian ideal of all cult films. Most of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was shot in Bray Studios in Maidenhead, on the soundstages owned by longtime film production company Hammer Films. Bray Studios’ building is currently facing conversion into a luxury housing development, but a vocal group of cineastes has been working to preserve the site. 

article-imageOakley Court (photograph by George Grinsted)

The only remote locations were at the Oakley Court, a Gothic mansion next door to the studios which turned up in a number of Hammer Films as a result. Its gloomy exterior doesn’t dissuade sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) from asking for help after their car breaks down, but the castle’s owner, the enigmatic Dr. Frank-n-Furter (Tim Curry) has very different plans in store for them.

Today the Oakley Court is a luxury hotel, but has retained its Gothic exterior and the entry hall where Frank makes his grand entrance. The hotel also hosts the annual “Time Warp Picnics” thrown by the film’s official fan club.


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