‘Saw,’ ‘Body Snatchers’ and more: Tour L.A.’s spookiest movie locales

Oct. 28, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.
saw movie1 Saw, Body Snatchers and more: Tour L.A.s spookiest movie locales

Cary Elwes in the bathroom set in “Saw.” (Lionsgate)

Los Angeles isn’t a city known to be particularly spooky. Sun, sand and movie stars, yes. Scary old castles, not as much.

Nevertheless the City of Angels has hosted plenty of demons in its time. L.A. has been the location for countless horror movies that have managed to take even the most picturesque parts of Southern California and turn them into something sinister.

Lovely downtown Sierra Madre has served as the backdrop for an alien invasion; a historic home in the West Adams district has housed a basement full of cannibals. Even a beautiful Malibu beach has welcomed a coven of witches performing an occult rite.

PHOTOS: Horror movie locations around Los Angeles

“Los Angeles is a unique mixture of aging buildings and bizarre natural settings,” said Harry Medved, author of “Hollywood Escapes,” a guide to film locations around Southern California. “Most people who live in Los Angeles don’t really explore Los Angeles, so there are a lot of locales unknown to most Angelenos.”

An array of creatures including the diving-helmeted “Robot Monster” and a giant creature from Venus in “It Conquered the World” have visited the cave at Bronson Canyon, a place that has “something mythical” about it, according to Medved: “Not only was it the Batcave [in the TV series starring Adam West as Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter-ego], but it was the place where Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter hide from the pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’”

Medved also points out that spots associated with creepy on-screen moments, such as the cave at Leo Carillo Beach used by the witches  in “The Craft,” is also the scene of many classic beach party movies of the 1960s.

“This can be a scary place for a lot of newcomers to town,” he said. “Perhaps they don’t realize that part of that fear is the creepy movie locations right underneath their noses.”

– Patrick Kevin Day

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