Over the years, the movie-making industry has given us the best visual entertainment. At some point, movies and TV series gave us the jump scares and goosebumps – from true-to-life documentaries to fictitious yet compelling narratives. Some even haunted us in our sleep as a child and as grown adults.
Abandoned mental asylums, dilapidated buildings, houses, ghost towns in the middle of nowhere– more than the plot and the actors, movie sets were instrumental in building up the ‘feel’ of the story. When the filming process wraps up, some of these movie sets get abandoned for all reasons, financial and private – hence becoming a perfect haunting place for both daring adventurers and (allegedly) supernatural beings. Read on below as we take a sneak peek at the most iconic and creepiest abandoned sets of famous movies.
Old Spanish Mission | The Patriot (2000)
Two of the most iconic movies have featured this wonderful yet creepy place in Cypress Gardens, South Carolina. But, the movie that made the most of the site is Mel Gibson’s The Patriot. The 170 acre-preserve surrounded with blackwater swamp and bald cypress trees was the militia’s secret headquarters and lived up to its promise of giving the historical epic the perfect environment for one of its pivotal scenes.
Prop churches and bridges lay bare in the location, and even after several years, remnants of said props were still present in the place, inviting fans and visitors for a quick photo snap.
Danvers State Hospital | Session 9 (2001)
When can all agree that one of the scariest sets for a horror film would be at abandoned hospitals and mental asylums? After all, places like these are favorite haunting locations of vengeful ghosts and extremely evil auras. Set in an actual abandoned psychiatric hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts, Session 9 did a significant job jump scaring the viewers, and perplexing fans about the human psyche, in addition to the unexplained events in the asylum.
Spectre, Alabama | Big Fish (2003)
Spectre, Alabama, was a fictional town for the 2003 movie ‘Big Fish’. For years, it has made for a curious fishing and camping site not long after the movie had finished wrapping up. Based on the reports, the property owner in Jackson Lake Island near Millbrook asked the director Tim Burton to leave the place and the set as they were once the filming was over. Although the buildings were only built for the exteriors and not to code, the fictional spectral town was still a fascinating place to visit. Some buildings collapsed over time, while some were burned to ashes. However, and the owner plans to refurbish the said property should public interest remains high.
The Death Tunnel | Death Tunnel (2005)
What could go wrong when stuck at an abandoned psychiatric hospital? The Death Tunnel (2005) is an example of those horror movies that subtly build the phobia of going to hospitals. The flick was filmed in one of the most haunted hospitals in the US, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. The former sanatorium has an eerie history of thousands after thousands of deaths during the ‘White Plague,’ so it is not surprising that it captivated the vibe the film was trying to achieve.
The Gas Station | The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Who would forget the clan of maniacal mutants/cannibals that hunt human prey with ingenious traps and accurate ax-throwing skills? Driving down the highway near Ouarzazate, Morocco, would undoubtedly make you rethink your life choices as you pass by the actual gas station used in some of the scenes in the movie The Hills Have Eyes. The abandoned gas station against a quiet desert still has its eerie ambiance, making you look sideways to check for eyes spying from uphill.
District 12 Village | The Hunger Games (2008)
Being a ghost town located at the Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina, this village became an excellent venue to set the novel-based dystopian movie, The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence. The environment of seemingly empty houses and narrow roads captured the post-apocalyptic theme of the film.
After the short publicity that the place received as one of the sets for the acclaimed movie, the village returned to what it originally was – a ghost town, although some tourists still walk its eerie streets.
Witch Hunters’ Village | Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
We certainly wouldn’t forget the German folklore of two siblings who outplayed a witch trying to cook them as dinner. The creators brought the children’s bedtime story to life using a new perspective in the 2013 movie Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. The titular siblings fought witches together in a scene from a small witch hunter’s village — a set located just a few hours drive outside Berlin in Germany.
Even years after the film was launched in theaters, the set remained intact. The iconic town square remains to be an excellent spot for taking pictures.