In the not so distant past your Unk, along with his fellow Pennsylvania pal CHRISTINE HADDEN of FASCINATION WITH FEAR, created a couple of conjoined twin posts together. The first concerned our FAVORITE HORROR HOMES and the second explored our LEAST FAVORITE HORROR HOMES. Both were Internet sensations that resulted in mass suicides across the globe and heavily censored high-profile films. Now we’re back with our 3-D third installment, duel listings of our FAVORITE HORROR TOWNS because YOU did not specifically ask us not to!
So below are my TOP TEN FAVORITE HORROR TOWNS. If you don’t see your favorite town there then that means I either don’t feel the same as you, do feel the same as you but totally forgot that I do or CHRISTINE has it listed over at her place. See, we went out of our way not to have duplicate towns for the sake of your entertainment and now don’t you feel like a heel? Check out Christine’s list HERE. If you still feel your favorite town has been neglected then by all means leave a comment. Let me warn you though, I did not include ELM STREET’s SPRINGWOOD on purpose just because I’m still mad about that last movie stinking like a crab dip litter box.
10. SILENT HILL
I guess nobody would want to actually spend too much time in SILENT HILL due to all the triangle head monsters, faceless killer health care professionals and worst of all, swarming cucarachas but hey, at least you get a warning alarm before they appear. I know the place is run down and falling apart, but I’m all about the shabby chic and let’s hear it for snow considerate enough to look pretty but not stick around. It’s like the whole town is a giant haunted house with streets for hallways. Hey, except for that considerate snow thing, it sounds kinda like Philly!
9. GREEN TOWN (SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES)
If I had my way it would be autumn all year round and what better place to spend a crisp fall day then in the town featured in this RAY BRADBURY classic. Maybe the 1983 movie directed by JACK CLAYTON (THE INNOCENTS) pales in comparison to the novel but can the novel boast an appearance by PAM GRIER? I think not. Perhaps your Unkle Lancifer was born in the wrong time, I’d rather deal with armies of tarantulas in my bedroom than people yacking on cell phones any day of the week. Yeah, I know it looks boring but that’s what tall dark transient carnies are for. By the by, Green Town, Illinois is featured in two other BRADBURY works, “Dandelion Wine” and “Farewell Summer.” I admit it, I never read those two but doesn’t that just give me something to look forward to in my twilight years?
8. HOBB’S END (IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS)
Fictional fiction author Sutter Cane’s fictional New England town can be said to be located at the crossroads between STEPHEN KING’s Castle Rock and H.P. LOVECRAFT’s Dunwich. Named after a fictional London underground transport station featured in 1967’s QUARTERMASS AND THE PIT (which altered the moniker from “Hobb’s Lane” a fictional street prominent in the 1958 television serial of the same name) Hobb’s owes just as much of its existence to frequent CARPENTER inspiration NIGEL KNEALE. It’s interesting to note that “Hob” was once one of the Devil’s many call signs. Fictional or not, I dig any town with a covered bridge dimensional doorway.
7. SALEM’S LOT
Speaking of our old pal STEPHEN KING, one of his many great creations is the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Salem’s lot for short. (If you prefer “Salem” to “Jerusalem” thank the publisher’s marketing concerns.) You can visit this unfortunate town via KING’s novel (or through 2 short stories featured in NIGHT SHIFT), TOBE HOOPER’s 1979 mini-series, the RUTGUER HAUER featuring 2004 miniseries or even the 1995 radio play found HERE. I don’t care how you go there, just go there. KING himself, at one point, admitted that it was his favorite of his works and if I thought about it for a while I’d probably agree with him. Also, if you like vampires, there is at least one vampire in this town.
6. BODEGA BAY (THE BIRDS)
DAPHNE (REBECCA, DON’T LOOK NOW) du MAURIER’s original short story took place in a British coastal town but ALFRED HITCHCOCK placed his telling smack in the muddle of the non-fictional Bodega Bay in California. In fact the only element HITCH retained from du MAURIER’s story is those kooky ornery birds. HITCH’s choice is what lands the classic here as what a scenic spot he chose, even if many of the scenes in THE BIRDS are in fact shot on UNIVERSAL sets. The famous (and rumored haunted) schoolhouse shown in the film to be within running distance of the bay actually exists miles away. Bodega Bay has also made in appearance in THE GOONIES, PUPPET MASTER and a little something called THE FOG but more squawking on that film later.
5. KINGSTON FALLS (GREMLINS)
I love this little compact town even though it has the fakest looking snow I’ve ever seen and is merely a Universal back lot fated to appear soon after in BACK TO THE FUTURE. (There sure is a preference for small towns in this compilation; I must be trying to tell myself something.) Kingston Falls seems like a place where everybody knows everybody and the jewel in its crown has got to be Dorry’s Tavern (which was included in our “Best Horror Watering holes” found HERE!) I think the only minus to this burg is the witchy asshole known as Mrs. Deagle (POLLY “FLO” HOLIDAY) but a faulty stair elevator seems to have cleared up that miserable problem.
4. SANTA MIRA (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS/HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH)
Everything is perfect in the fictional town of Santa Mira, California and you can thank mind controlling aliens and clockwork replicants for that. Whether it’s the landing pad for pod people or the home to a Stonehenge tripped booby trap Halloween mask novelty company, Santa Mira is a town like no other. So what if you have to give up your personal identity, think of the peace and quiet!
3. VALENTINE’S BLUFF/ HARMONY (MY BLOODY VALENTINE)
Maybe FOOTLOOSE’s KEVIN BACON would have a hard time in the dance forbidding mining town of Valentine’s Bluff found in the 1980 slasher MY BLOODY VALENTINE but as I’m loath to do a jig and chuck confetti anyway, I’m thinking I’d fit right in. How could I say no to a town with such a hospitable and accommodating laundromat like Mabel’s? The town was renamed and relocated into the dance neutral Pennsylvanian mining town of “Harmony” for the 2009 remake and truth be told, I like it just about the same. Harmony may not be quit as charming as Valentine’s Bluff but it makes up for that by being home to that crapilly built bridge that THE MOTHMAN is always trying to warn everybody about.
2. POTTER’S BLUFF (DEAD AND BURIED)
This place covers all of my bases. It’s small, it’s coastal, it’s lost in time and it’s inhabited by zombified weirdoes. It’s the perfect storm of all of my wants and desires in regards to cinematic towns. Also FLASH GORDON’s MELODY ANDERSON lives there. I’m packing my bags as we speak. DEAD AND BURIED was filmed in Mendocino, California; other notable films filmed there include CUJO, THE HOWLING and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP.
1. ANTONIO BAY (THE FOG)
Let’s face it, Antonio Bay is the coolest fictional town on Earth. Sure the town’s ancestors murdered lepers in the name of prosperity, stole their gold and then strangely just hid the gold in a church wall anyway. If you want omelets in your future, you better be ready to trick some eggs into smashing their boats into some rocks. Many towns were actually used within the course of the film to represent ANTONIO BAY but I’m most interested in Point Reyes, California, the home of Stevie Wayne’s radio station lighthouse. I want to have my ashes dumped from the top of that lighthouse! Not the ashes of my cremated body but the ashes of my set-on-fire copy of the 2005 remake of THE FOG.
EXTRA BONUS TOWN! SUNNYDALE (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)
I did my whole list concentrating on movies and books and forgot that I could include television shows as well. I don’t want to bump Antonio Bay out of the spotlight, but I’m thinking perhaps I should for the fictional town of Sunnydale from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. After all, over seven seasons Sunnydale exists in 144 episodes and that’s not even counting novelizations and comic books. Quite an achievement if ya think about it, Sunnydale was destroyed in the last episode of BUFFY but remember it exists on in all those earlier installments. If you’ve never visited, you should.
So that wraps it up. Don’t forget to let CHRISTINE take you on a tour of her favorite towns HERE and let us know if there are any other horror towns you’d like to visit!