This month we look at abandoned movies sets, some of which you can still visit. If you are a set designer, or just a movie nerd, you might like to look behind the scenes of some of these sites.
All but one of the six Star Wars movies had location shoots in Tunisia. Many of the sets are preserved, and as one might expect, businesses have set up on site to cater for the tourists who want to explore the set. Luke Skywalker’s home has been converted into a hotel. The Tatooine settlement of Mos Espa was where his son Anakin built the robot, C-3PO, but in reality it is located 40 kilometres from Tozeur. The desert set, located in Oung el Jemel, consists of around twenty buildings, some of which now have residents who are making the most of the tourist visitors. One visitor, who is clearly not in the props business, expressed disappointment that “all of the machinery and gadgets were made from wood or plastic.” That’s the magic of props!
Some scenes from James Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi masterpiece, The Abyss, were filmed on location in the partially built Cherokee Nuclear Power Plant, close to Gaffney, South Carolina. Cameron set out to build what would become the biggest underwater film set ever constructed. He needed 7 million gallons of water to fill up the tank, which was forty feet deep. Having built the set and used it for the film, the cost of dismantling it was deemed too high and it was left to intrepid explorers and curious film buff. It was finally demolished in 2007, due to health and safety concerns, but you can see photos of it here.
You can see the Sci-Fi props we stock here.
Nestled in Spain’s sun-bleached Tabernas Desert, Almeria lies a movie set which has hosted a multitude of western movie productions, and even an episode of Dr Who. Built back in the 70’s, Fort Bravo is still a working set location, and was used for the TV series Queen of Swords. The Doctor and his glamorous assistant Amy Pond found themselves in the heat of the Spanish sun to film ‘A Town Called Mercy’ in 2012. The site is a tourist attraction, and it is easy to see why. It is the quintessential western movie set, with a jail, military barracks, a bank, saloon and courthouse. Filming for Six Bullets To Hell finished last year, so the set is still very much in use. If you want a desert or Western backdrop, we have both in stock supply.
Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” was filmed in Alabama, and some of the sets were just left behind. Urban explorers go to places so we don’t have to. This group decided to film their exploration of the abandoned set of Big Fish, filmed by Tim Burton in Alabama in 2003. During the exploration you can see exactly how the set buildings were put together, and which parts of the forest are real and which are not – it’s hard to tell the difference. You can also brush up on your Southern American accent while you watch.
Urban explorers tour the abandoned set of Big Fish.
You can see a few glimpses of the set in the trailer, which shows the forest, and a couple of buildings.