Abandoned on Film: 15 Terrifying Desolate Movie Settings

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[ By Steph in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

Abandoned Places in Movies Main

Sometimes, the setting of a film is almost more important than the plot itself, and that’s particularly true with abandoned places. Crumbling ruins of hospitals, prisons, houses, schools and other facilities seem to host echoes of past residents and events, often radiating a sense of trauma and loss. Of course, the catch – at least, in fiction and fantasy – is that these places aren’t really abandoned after all. Here are 10 (more!) abandonments, real and invented, that feature prominently in scary movies and television shows.

Abandoned Sanitorium – Death Tunnel

Abandoned Places in Movies Death Tunnel

Death Tunnel may not be the greatest horror film ever made, but it’s the setting that’s the real star of the show. This 2005 movie about five college women locked into a Kentucky hospital where 63,000 people died from a disease known as the ‘white plague’ was filmed at the real life Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville. And that part about thousands of people dying there? It’s actually true. Treated with little more than fresh air and sunlight in an era before antibiotics, the tuberculosis patients admitted to the hospital invariably ended up in the 500-foot tunnel located beneath the hospital, called a ‘body chute.’ The dead were secretly lowered into the tunnel and loaded on a train so that the remaining patients wouldn’t give up hope that they’d get out alive.

Built in 1910, Waverly Hills closed in 1961 after the advent of advanced medical care drastically reduced the number of patients coming in. Plans are underway to turn it into a hotel that will play up its ‘haunted’ history.

Abandoned Town – Silent Hill

Abandoned Places in Movies Silent Hill

‘Silent Hill’ is based on a real place. This seemingly fictional setting of a series of video games and a movie is based on Centralia, a borough of Pennsylvania that has been abandoned as a result of a mine fire that has burned underground since 1962. Prior to the 1980s, it had about 1,000 residents; there are just a handful left today despite the town being condemned. The blaze beneath Centralia has opened steam pits, sink holes and carbon monoxide vents. The fictional Silent Hill is located in West Virginia, and the reasons for its abandonment are far more frightening.

Abandoned House: The Abandoned

Abandoned Places in Movies The Abandoned

In the 2006 film The Abandoned, an adopted American film producer returns to her hometown in Russia after receiving a phone call from a notary public that she had inherited her family’s abandoned farm. When Marie arrives at the house to learn more about the family she never knew, a man tells her he received the same phone call, and that they’re twins. But once inside, the pair find that the dead residents of the house don’t really want them to leave.

Hidden Subway Tunnel Under London – Raw Meat

Abandoned Places in Movies Raw Meat

Released overseas as ‘Death Line’, Raw Meat is a 1973 movie set in an abandoned subway tunnel under London. Inspired by the many real-life abandoned tube stations of the area, Raw Meat envisions these creepy, darkened subterranean settings filled with a family of cannibals descended from Victorian railway workers.

Abandoned City – New York in I Am Legend

Abandoned Places in Movies I Am Legend

The idea of a once-bustling metropolis utterly abandoned (by humans, anyway) serves as fodder for all sorts of fiction, from books to films. The 2008 adaptation of ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith is just one of many giving us a glimpse of what New York City might look like if it were allowed to fall into ruin, taken back over by the forces of nature. Smith stars as a lone survivor of an epidemic that has turned most of the population into bloodthirsty mutants.

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Game, Cassette, Match: 10 Abandoned Video Stores

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned video stores
Once as common as the VHS and Betamax tapes they rented out, video stores these days are fading away faster than the images on a well-worn cassette someone forgot to rewind. These 10 abandoned video stores are caught between the night they closed and the day a more relevant tenant takes over the lease.

Terminal Virus

abandoned video store viral video(images via: Tattoed Steve’s Storage Unit Of Terror)

The store sign’s font absolutely screams “EIGHTIES!” but the name – Viral Video – presciently anticipates the advent of YouTube and the corresponding end of the rental video era. As the poster child for classic Mom & Pop video stores, Keansburg, New Jersey’s Viral Video exudes a folksy vibe even in its abandoned afterlife. Repurposed wooden bookshelves ironically hold video tapes organized by genre and the assortment of admonishing signs are only missing “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.”

Twice Unlucky

abandoned video store Seattle theater(image via: Curtis Cronn)

Kudos to Flickr user Curtis Cronn for composing this cool color-infused capture of a now-nameless abandoned video store on Queen Anne Avenue in Seattle, Washington. The store was obviously a movie theater back in the days when video tape technology was the coming thing. Just goes to show you what comes around, goes around.

Movie Scene No Longer Seen

abandoned video store Movie Scene Savannah(images via: RetailByRyan95)

How many movies could a Movie Scene move if a Movie Scene could move movies? Quite a few, considering the Hayes, VA store was in business for almost 7 years before giving up the ghost in March of 2009. Full credit Flickr user RetailByRyan95 for immortalizing the former car garage, Jeff’s Cycle Center and Video Update (an SNL reference?) before it re-opened as an AutoZone.

Hurray For Hollywood (Video)

abandoned video store Hollywood Video(images via: j4349 and C-Bunny)

Chewbacca’s star on Hollywood Video’s walk of fame serves to date the era of video cassette rentals with pinpoint accuracy but while the empire might strike back, Hollywood Video is down for the count. Occupying the medium-sized niche between small strip-mall stores and large anchor stores like Blockbuster, Hollywood Video – at least, this location in Savannah, GA – just couldn’t survive the big squeeze.

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The Trials and Tribulations of Patrick Chesterfield II

This film is an entry in the Catdance Film Festival. And considering how amazing it is, I think it definitely stands a chance of winning!

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Gallery-Worthy Gadgetry: 10 Terrific High-Tech Art Projects

[ By Delana in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Technology makes our modern lives possible – without it, after all, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. But technology can also make our lives better in less tangible ways. These 10 art projects all use technology in different ways to create some of the most compelling, unique art the world has ever seen.

The Ultimate Souvenir

Artists from the MakerBot community converged recently on New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art with a single purpose in mind: to record every inch of some of the museum’s most famous sculptures. The goal of the project was to make 3D maps of the sculptures that could then be translated into downloadable designs and reproduced at home with the use of a 3D printer. Thanks to the amazing futuristic properties of the 3D printer and the dedication of the MakerBot community, priceless works of art no longer have to be relegated solely to the world’s museums.

Temporary Pop-Up Cities in the Desert

Deep in the desert of Tunisia, a striking sight was recorded in January of 2012: the city of Venice had somehow been transported to this barren landscape. It was all thanks to a German design team called Visual Drugstore; they loaded up hundreds of pounds of equipment into their massive offroad vehicles and set out to transform a natural formation in the middle of the Sahara. Using special projectors, the team “painted” the city onto sand and rocks, bringing an unexpected bit of the bustling Mediterranean city to the desert.

The World’s Largest and Smallest Stop-Motion Films

Stop-motion films can be made using just about any objects, and these unusual films prove that. They were both filmed using Nokia N8 smartphones and some very unconventional materials. The first, a huge project called “Gulp,” was made on 11,000 square feet of beach using a full-size boat and a full-size human. According to the team behind the effort, it is the largest stop-motion film ever created.

The other film, from the same creative team, is the world’s smallest. “Dot” features a 0.35-inch tall model of a girl printed on a 3D printer. The filmmakers had to use a special cell phone-mounted microscope to see and record the itty-bitty action.

Hidden Worlds Become High Art

Scanning electron microscopes capture an incredible amount of detail from even the tiniest of objects. Japanese microscopist Susumu Nishinaga has an uncanny talent for finding and recording some of the most breathtaking SEM images ever seen. Mundane objects like feathers, beetles, flowers and mushrooms become ethereal works of scientific art.

A Hong Kong radiologist named Kai-Hung Fung creates similar images using the human body and a CT scan machine. The graceful shapes and curves within the human body are elevated to masterpiece status once photographed and colored by Fung. Although some of the images depict diseased and dying tissues, the artist’s treatment of the subject matter reveals the beauty even in the end of life.

Weather Wonders

Weather data is not usually among the scientific pursuits that we consider beautiful, but artist Nathalie Miebach adds a unique spin to this mundane subject. She observes changes in weather data, plots them out, and then turns those observations into three-dimensional art. The data are plotted out and represented truthfully, meaning that if you know Miebach’s method you can actually interpret the weather from the time period represented by any of her pieces.

Hiroshi Sugimoto‘s “Lightning Fields” series uses 400,000 volts of electricity, a metal table and photographic film to capture raw images of the power of lightning. The electricity passes through the film, creating incredible images of pure power. The finished pictures tend to look like alien landscapes or even novel living organisms.

Picturesque Pathogens

British artist Luke Jerram does the seemingly impossible with his pathogen sculptures: he makes potentially deadly organisms seem fragile and lovely. His “Glass Microbiology” series captures the unexpected beauty in nasty germs and viruses, turning them into delicate glass sculptures roughly one million times the size of the actual pathogens.

Sculptor Forrest McCluer creates similar sculptures, but with vastly different materials. Instead of glass, he uses discarded computer parts to recreate deadly viruses. Above, a scientific image of the AIDS virus (on the left) is faithfully recreated in a sculpture called “Wilco Toroidal,” created using toroidal inductors found in the power supplies of discarded computers.


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Brush with Death: Street Art Comes Alive (and Attacks!)

[ By Delana in Graffiti & Drawing & Urban & Street Art & Urban Videos. ]

A great street artist can bring his or her art to life almost effortlessly. In this fantastic video from Corridor Digital, the art may have just a bit too much life in it. Shot in the streets of LA, the video is called “Brush With Death,” and it’s definitely worth a view…or two or three.

The guys at Corridor Digital are all about the special effects, and they go full-force in this short film that has the street art literally leaping off of the wall. It’s the classic tale of good vs. evil, but we aren’t quite sure which side is which. Even if you aren’t a fan of street art, it is hard to keep from loving this fun, creative video.


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Inception Park: Impossible Roller Coaster in Buenos Aires

[ By Steph in Urban & Street Art & Urban Images & Urban Videos. ]

The warm air of sunny downtown Buenos Aires is suddenly pierced with screams as a roller coaster zooms along the side of the building. In mid-air. With no tracks. Film director Fernando Livschitz of Black Sheep Films has created a strikingly realistic video in which this exact scenario occurs, a surreal spectacle that bends our perception of reality.

Buenos Aires – Inception Park from Black Sheep Films on Vimeo.

Entitled ‘Inception Park‘, the video references Chris Nolan’s film in which an ‘architect of dreams’ creates fantasy urban landscapes that look real at first, but quickly prove to be physically impossible. Cities can’t fold on top of themselves – and roller coasters can’t glide on air.

The effect is breathtaking, with a series of roller coasters and carnival rides swirling through the least likely of places. Black Sheep Films turns the entire city of Buenos Aires into a magical urban playground. Just try to watch it without smiling.


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