It’s a foggy night. Distant sounds of owls hooting. A gust of wind. Was that a voice you heard? Is it some supernatural terror-fest which you’ve just stepped into?
Just the busy folks hard at work on the Warner Bros. backlot, as you tour through some of that studio’s iconic stages and sets – all in search of some valuable, enlightening and chilling information on some of your favorite horror films.
Members of the press gathered for an awesome sneak peek at the upcoming (and inaugural) Horror Made Here: A Halloween Screening and Twilight Tour at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA.
You’ll get the chance to schmooze and geek out with your fellow horror freaks as you tour the lot – seeing props and sets from The Conjuring films, Gremlins, The Exorcist, Interview with the Vampire,The Lost Boys and many more!
One of my personal favorites was the busy city street backlot – where we saw the entrance to the old Asian shop-keeper’s (Keye Luke) digs – the place where Mr. Peltzer (Hoyt Axton) first picked up the then-harmless Mogwai – later to be christened “Gizmo” – in Joe Dante’s horror/comedy classic, Gremlins!
We also drove by exteriors used in the Vincent Price classic House of Wax, paid a visit to old and grumpy Mrs. Deagle’s (Polly Holliday) home – yes, the one where her electric service chair exploded from her second story window in Gremlins, and we drove by stages occupied by the MGM production of a little haunted house flick from 1982 – perhaps you’ve heard of it; Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist.
For you Elvira: Mistress of the Dark movie fans (like me), you’ll see the town square where Chastity Pariah (Edie McClurg) and Patty (Susan Kellerman) set fire to our beloved horror hostess, before Elvira magically put out the flames with her coveted ring. Of course, as our tram left the area, we were told that Elvira’s (and Great Aunt Morgana’s) home – which Elvira was so desperate to offload in the film – was torn down to make space for new sets… just a year ago. Talk about bad timing for this fan!
But the thing which will most delight you – especially you die-hards – is your viewing of props from the granddaddy of all horror films – considered one of the scariest films of all time – The Exorcist. While perusing the “Hollywood Made Here” displays on Stage 48, you’ll find a recreation of Central Perk from Friends, Christopher Reeves’ Superman Cape, stop-motion animation figures from The Corpse Bride and then there’s a very particular iconic crucifix made famous in Friedkin’s landmark and Oscar-winning film… Hmmm. How do I put this delicately? Here’s a censored version of this legendary, disturbing and nasty phrase, “Let Jesus – you“. I’ll just leave you with that.
And with that memorable image in mind, there’s also the door from Regan’s bedroom in the film. It’s frozen in time – showing you the iconic moment where the door slams shut and cracks to the right of center. It’s been preserved from the film’s shoot (it’s the real deal, folks), and you can see it in person. Shivers.
There will be tales about ghostly sightings and eerie sounds on the lot over the years (including some strange events surrounding everyone’s favorite doll – Annabelle). And of course, in the Stage 48 prop/set displays, you’ll get a chance to see our beloved Annabelle, as well as tons of great props and set pieces from the worlds of the two Annabelle films and the two The Conjuring films. Prepare those cameras, folks! And don’t worry, Annabelle (just as in the films) is kept behind locked glass doors – with ample warnings. You should be fine if you follow the rules.
We were treated to a brief presentation by Ghost Watch Paranormal (GWP) – a group of paranormal investigators who were brought in to see what they could find in the some of the more (believed to be) haunted sites on the lot. More than once – in stage four – GWP member Olivia Pipala heard her name called in one of the deeper recesses of the stage’s vast basement – and not by one of her co-horts.
Composer Joseph Bishara was also on-hand as a celebrity guest. He’s most well-known for his chilling scores to The Conjuring and the Insidious franchise. He has also made appearances in several films (including Annabelle and The Conjuring) as various unsavory and demonic characters.
In addition to all of the horror stuff you’re expecting to see, you’ll get insights into other Warner Bros. non-genre-related legends. Stories about Casablanca (I hope you get the story we got from our tour guide about the Casablanca piano), John Wayne’s final film The Shootist, as well as television shows like ER and The West Wing; will fill you in on plenty more of Warner Bros. history.
You’ll also tour one floor (there are actually 4 football field-sized floors of nothing but props) of the studio’s massive and stunning prop-house, where you’ll see everything from a wall of telephones, hordes of stuffed animals, gorgeous lighting fixtures, tables/chairs and plenty of creepy oddities which are currently in use on several productions and many leftovers from past projects. And word has it that the custodial crew – in the dead of night – will hear footsteps on the creaky floors above in this monster storage facility – even when the building is “empty”.
Tickets are still available for the October 28th, 2016 screening of James Wan’s original The Conjuring, followed by the twilight tram tour and a bit of grub.
And if you’re behind on your Conjuring viewings, you can attend the event on October 29th, 2016 for a screening of The Conjuring 2 as well as the aforementioned tram tour and goodies.
Horror Made Here: A Halloween Screening and Twilight Tour is (per night) $75.00/person. Parking is available on the WB lot for $10.00/vehicle. Have your IDs ready!
If you can’t make it this year, keep your fingers crossed that it will become an annual tradition on the Warner Bros. lot. As with all new things, time will tell if it catches on. But if you’re a horror movie fan, or a movie fan in general, this is well worth the tram trip and the very reasonable fee.