5 Photos That Shatter Your Image of Horror Movie Locations

#3. The Shining's Overlook Hotel Was in a Christmas Movie

Warner Bros.

The real villain of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining isn't a lonely Jack Nicholson, it's the hotel that makes him go insane -- which is why Kubrick put so much effort into making the building into an actual character. The interior makes no geometric sense, and the repeated Native American imagery creates the impression that the building itself is at war with its occupants. And while the interior shots were all done on a soundstage, the building they used for the exterior shots, the Timberline Lodge, had a haunted and violent past involving- oh, wait, no, they filmed a Christmas musical there.

Warner Bros., Universal Studios
We look forward to conspiracy weirdos working this into their moon landing theories.

It tells the "story" of a bunch of wealthy people enjoying Christmas and singing a lot. Jingle Belles was just your standard Christmas-themed musical filler with a misspelled title when it was released in 1941, but after the release of Kubrick's The Shining, it became a bit more unsettling, because it seems to be about the very people who are haunting Jack Nicholson. For example, the guy who spills bourbon on Jack Nicholson's shirt and cleans him up in the bathroom seems like he just might be the butler for the party happening in the dining hall:

Warner Bros., Universal Studios

And does the woman singing "That Sly Old Gentleman" know that people are getting dog-costume-themed blow jobs just one room over? Of course she does -- who do you think the "gentleman" is?

Warner Bros., Universal Studios
Why? What did you think that song was about?

Jingle Belles was directed by Reginald Le Borg, who went on to direct The Mummy's Ghost and assimilate Captain Picard. The whole thing's available to watch on YouTube. Go watch it and pretend it's a Shining prequel -- it'll be the creepiest goddamned thing you see all year.

#2. The Blair Witch's Woods Were Full of Families


We've mentioned before that The Blair Witch Project was basically an eight-day prank where the prankees just happened to have camcorders and the support of a major movie studio. And once again, the horror comes from the setting, not the monster -- you never see the latter. The filmmakers are hopelessly trapped in a wooded area they cannot escape, no matter how far they trudge in any one direction, as if the dead trees and chilled air around them were the real menace. The "witch" is embodied by the landscape itself ... or it could have been one of the hundreds of tourist hikers just off camera.

Lionsgate, John Merhi
Or someone playing a round on the 4.25-star (out of 5) disc golf course.

The Blair Witch Project was shot in Seneca State Park, and according to its website, the park features a host of activities, including fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, and running trails. Many of the "we're hopelessly lost" arguments that make up the majority of the film's 9-billion-minute-it-seems-like runtime were held within sight of happy American families riding on bicycles, innocent people on vacation who probably assumed that all they were seeing was a bunch of dumbass 20-somethings who didn't know how to use a camera. Fun Cracked Fact: That's exactly what they were seeing.

Lionsgate, waymarking.com
"I know we lost the map, but, like, we could just use one of theirs."

That's right, everyone: Nothing in film is real, and the "victims" in horror films were just actors all along, playing pretend in circumstances that were nowhere near as terrible as they seemed.

#1. The Sanitarium That Inspired Arkham Asylum Is Now a Trendy Condo Building

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Danvers State Insane Asylum in Massachusetts is probably one of the most influential buildings ever: Not only was it the basis for Arkham Sanitarium in H.P. Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep" (and therefore the inspiration for Gotham City's Arkham Asylum), but it more recently served as the set for the David Caruso cult horror film Session 9, a movie about a man investigating mysterious circumstances who eventually learns that his alternate personality is killing people (slightly-too-late spoiler warning). On a totally unrelated note, it also may have been the birthplace of the prefrontal lobotomy.

It's from the "deeply disturbing" school of architecture.

The hospital was shut down in 1992 and fell into disrepair. Although it was falling apart even when they made Session 9 and much of it was demolished in 2007, the facade still stands. And in either a genuine attempt to succeed at the real estate business or a savagely satirical critique on the American upper class, someone decided to fill the former insane asylum with fancy new condominiums.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, avaloncommunities.com
A confused Batman keeps swooping in and tackling the clowns at kids' birthday parties.

Apparently, even the scariest of scary movie locations is not immune to gentrification. The new Avalon Danvers building boasts a swimming pool, gym, and basketball court, all in the exact same place where men mad with power cruelly mistreated the mentally ill, and also someone made a David Caruso movie. We have no idea why these two ideas keep showing up next to each other, we're honestly not doing it on purpose.

USA Films, avaloncommunities.com
"The implications for my career choices are..." *puts on sunglasses* *slack-eyed drooling*

J.M. McNab writes and podcasts for Rewatchability.com.

Related Reading: Did you know the abandoned island from Skyfall is a REAL place? It is. And if you've ever seen crazy slanted desert rocks in a sci-fi movie, they were the Vasquez rocks. By the way, there's totally a real version of the Ewok village from Return of the Jedi. It probably smells better than a whole town of furry half-men, too.

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