6 Famous Movies You Can Walk Around in Right Now
For all the time and money it takes to create movie sets, it's kind of a bummer that most of them are discarded like used condoms as soon as the film blows its wad. But sometimes the production crew apparently shrug their shoulders and say, "Screw it, just leave it there." Thanks to that, you can now fulfill your lifelong dream of walking and/or urinating on such famous movie locales as ...
The Fugitive's Train Crash Site
The Fugitive (1993) stars Harrison Ford as a wrongfully convicted surgeon named Richard Kimble who is being transported to death row when the bus he's traveling on crashes and gets hit by Thomas the Plot Engine.
"Choo CHOO, Richard Kimble!"
Before he can be turned into human hamburger, Kimble manages to free himself, and he goes off to track down the man who murdered his wife. So the train scene is really what sets off the entire movie, and it was so important to the filmmakers that they actually demolished a real rail car and bus to film the sequence, which ultimately amounted to 60 seconds of footage. And then, after 10 weeks of preparation and $1.5 million, everyone packed up and ... left the remains of the horrendous crash by the side of the rails. It's still there:
As a warning to other trains and buses.
The crash was filmed outside of Dillsboro, North Carolina, probably because all other locations gave funny looks to the film crew when they said they wanted to destroy a train and just kinda leave it there, you know? While The Fugitive producers weren't total litterbugs and had one of the engines reused by the local railroad to pull a dining car, they didn't know what to do with the rest and figured a friendly junkyard owner would come by and take it all away. But that never happened, and to this day the crash is still on the side of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, where it has become something of a minor tourist attraction.
So if you're ever in the neighborhood, be sure to book a train ride that goes right past this rusted-out, depressing reminder of everything that can go wrong with the outdated mode of transportation you're traveling on.
"And to your left, you can see the real reason why railroads are failing."
The Diner from Looper
If you remember one thing about Looper, we hope it's the fact that the entire plot makes no goddamn sense whatsoever. Most likely you remember it for the scene where a creepily altered Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks in a diner with his future self, played by Bruce Willis. That scene was freaking everywhere before the movie came out, and since the filmmakers knew that they'd milk it harder than a genetically modified cow that shoots cocaine out of its udders, they just went ahead and built the full diner set from scratch.
"Guys, people seriously like these hamburgers. Maybe we could just scrap this whole movie nonsense?"
But once again, after the shoot wrapped, the set was abandoned in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana because, honestly, who would notice one more abandoned building in Louisiana? It was eventually brought to the Internet's attention by the detective work of a dedicated fan named Bailee Grissom. She once read an interview with the film's director, Rian Johnson, where he mentioned that he was surprised the diner wasn't wrecked by Hurricane Isaac, so Grissom decided to go on an adventure. A few hours, some Googling, and a series of cryptic Twitter exchanges with Johnson later, she had found what she was looking for:
Two hours after that, she was sued by the producers of National Treasure.
Although the interior had been gutted, Grissom still managed to bring back plenty of pictures, as well as GPS coordinates for anyone who might want to see this little piece of sci-fi history, or perhaps rub against a surface that Willis or Gordon-Levitt might have accidentally sweated on.
You too can lick a part of cinematic history!
Related: 'Seinfeld's Diner: A History
Port Royal from Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean's portrayal of infamous Jamaican pirate town Port Royal was pretty impressive considering that the movie was made after the 17th century. Which is to say that the historical town -- where the first third of The Curse of the Black Pearl takes place -- doesn't exist in real life anymore, having been all but wiped out by centuries of earthquakes. But instead of just shooting on a soundstage or in front of a green screen, Disney actually decided to spend millions recreating colonial-era Port Royal in Wallilabou Bay on the island of St. Vincent.
Then they recreated the town's residents all Jurassic Park-style.
However, once filming was done, there was a question of what to do with all these elaborate sets. It was then that Wallilabou Bay volunteered to take over the sets and rake in millions of tourist dollars, because that's just the kind of selfless guys they are.
"And if you've got any extra Keira Knightleys, we can be sure to give them a good home."
Although it's been hit pretty hard by various hurricanes over the years, St. Vincent residents have done an admirable job of maintaining their Port Faux-yal. They even converted one of the sets into a working tavern, where presumably you can get drunk on watered-down rum and tell the bartender that public intoxication laws are more what you'd call guidelines, because he surely hasn't heard that joke a million times before.
"Oh, you said, 'Why is the rum gone?' Just like he did in the movie. Hilarious."
To get the full pirate experience, though, you'll have to get in the water, where you can paddle around the iconic galleys seen in the film and sail up to the dock where Captain Jack proudly arrived atop the wreckage of his sinking ship. Even the mast he stood on is on display, among other props and photos taken during the filming. The whole town is a treasure trove of neat relics from the movie, including fortifications, boardwalks, and an array of fiberglass props that bafflingly turned out to be a bigger tourist draw than the fact that St. Vincent is a bona fide Caribbean paradise full of mesmerizing fauna and flora.
"Fuck that! Check out these plastic cannons!"
The Town of Spectre from Big Fish
The 2003 Tim Burton movie Big Fish is kind of hard to summarize, but in a nutshell, it's a tale about the importance of storytelling, and other than a werewolf Danny DeVito, its most memorable element was probably the hidden town of Spectre.
Yup. Everyone here definitely listens to Pat Boone.
Spectre was a weird, magical place: a tiny utopia frozen in time where people walked barefoot, a poetic allegory for life and personal growth or something like that. But anyone can sit around and debate the true meaning behind Spectre. If you really want to crack that particular Burton nut, you should probably just head on over to Alabama, where the Spectre set stands to this day.
Yup. Everyone here definitely listens to Insane Clown Posse.
Yikes. This looks more like the dilapidated ruins of Spectre that Ewan McGregor visits near the end of the movie. What the hell happened here? Sadly, the boring answer is that precisely nothing happened here. After Burton was done with the set, it was left there at the mercy of Mother Nature, but if you ask really nicely and maybe offer some sexual favors, you can walk in and explore this depressing carcass of a movie whose main message was all about hope. The first thing you'll see are the poles that held the clothesline where the Spectre residents' shoes were hung as cinematic shorthand for whimsy. Most of the buildings are facades -- empty shells built to look like homes and businesses from the outside -- but a few notable exceptions include Jenny's house, where some of the film's most emotional moments took place.
You'll still get emotional looking at Jenny's aged, decrepit corpse.
And if that won't sufficiently ruin the movie for you, you can always walk around and admire all the battered Styrofoam trees, because, yup, they even faked parts of the fucking forest.
Field of Dreams' Baseball Diamond
Do we really need to talk about this movie? You all know it, and if you don't, we're pretty sure you can sue your parents for theft of childhood. Just in case, here's a quick recap: Farmer Kevin Costner hears a mysterious voice commanding him to plow his cornfield and build a baseball diamond, which somehow ends up reconnecting him with his dead father.
In the sequel, he builds a movie lot to reconnect with his dead career.
In real life, that very thing happened to farmer Don Lansing, except the voice came from a location scout, and there were probably a lot fewer ghosts. The Dyersville, Iowa, farm was subsequently renovated and became the land owned by Costner, which the Lansings were later allowed to keep, diamond and all. That's right: The Field of Dreams is real, looking just as it did in the film, i.e., seemingly dropped out of nowhere in the middle of a cornfield.
The History Channel still insists it was aliens.
The Lansing family quickly found out that if you build it, they will indeed come. The unassuming farm attracts 65,000 people a year, and the family allows them to park in the dirt lot and wander the grounds for a total of zero dollars, because even though the concept of "middle America" has been hijacked by politicians, there really are some great people out there.
Unfortunately, if you want to have your own emotional moment on the mound, or perhaps weep over third base as you fondly recall playing catch with Dad and how it all went wrong, you're going to have to hurry. Later this year, the field will be swallowed up by a monolithic sports complex sponsored by people who apparently hate magic.
Maybe the kids can defeat the greedy land developers by challenging them to a game of baseball.
The Hunger Games' District 12 and Arena
The oppressive future dystopia of The Hunger Games is seen mainly from the perspective of Katniss and Peeta, two main characters from District 12 who are forced into a twisted battle to the death for the entertainment of rich assholes from the Capitol. District 12 is actually the poorest region of the Hunger Games' future America, and the themes of severe poverty and starvation that are described through its prism remain one of the most important elements of the book series and movies.
Needs more sparkly vampires.
So if you ever feel like taking a stroll through a physical manifestation of desperation that isn't Detroit, you can do it right now, because District 12 is a real town, although thankfully with fewer children murdering each other or dying of hunger. District 12 was mainly filmed on the site of the abandoned Henry River Mill Village in North Carolina, where you can still see the houses where Katniss and Peeta lived. That is, if you can get past the security guards patrolling the private property (as if that won't make the whole thing feel even more real for die-hard Hunger Games fans).
The train station where the challengers of the Games were selected, however, is located a little farther away, in the city of Shelby:
All aboard the PTSD Express.
Finally, the actual Games were filmed at the nearby DuPont State Forest, where you really can zip-line through the trees just like Peeta or brain yourself on the rocky Triple Falls while running around with your bow and arrow and calling yourself Katniss.
May the odds of not getting sued for accidentally maiming a member of your tour group be ever in your favor.
In any case, these locations are sure to become huge tourist attractions for all Hunger Games fans, because as the movies taught us, there is nothing wrong with idolizing entertainment centered on death and misery.
If you want to read more from Manna on her stupid blog or follow her on Twitter, she's not, like, gonna stop you or anything. When not found shopping in Goodwill stores, Evan V. Symon can be found on Facebook.
Related Reading: Some movie sets might be in your own neighborhood, like the house from Up and the house from Halloween. And if you visit the Quality Cafe in Los Angeles, you'll be visiting the cafe in virtually every cafe-having movie you've seen. Hey, there ARE some things Hollywood reuses more than plots.