Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category

The Top Ten Movies Filmed in Abandoned Places

Written by: Sean L.

When I wrote the original “Top Ten Movies Set in Abandoned Places” article, it was meant to be a throw-away piece. Just something to fill time. We had been busy in the early spring of last year, riding off our recent visit to the abandoned Enchanted Forest in Rhode Island. We needed a fun piece just to keep the site going, so I wrote it within an hour. A year later, it has become our most popular article with hundreds of views every month. There has been much demand for a sequel, and it has taken me a long time to put together. But it has finally arrived. I did the best I could to provide a nice mix of indie gems and Hollywood blockbusters. Enjoy!

Here are the Top 10 Movies Filmed in Abandoned Places.

#10 – Almost Mercy – Woonsocket Middle School

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3480446/

As per tradition, we start this list off with one of my movies (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4649390/). Yes, it’s petty. But it’s my list. Plus, this is the best movie I have ever been in. Even though most of my scenes got cut, it is still my favorite film I have worked on. I wouldn’t call it a horror movie, but it is pretty dark. The film follows outcast best friends, Jackson and Emily, who take it upon themselves to take revenge on the wicked world that wronged them. A good proportion of the film was shot at the abandoned Woonsocket Middle School in Rhode Island. After closing in 2009, this behemoth took on the honor of becoming the largest abandoned school on the entire eastern seaboard. The haunting location just adds an extra layer of darkness to an already eerily fun movie.

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#9 – Session 9 – Danvers State Hospital

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0261983/

Number 9. Session 9. Get it? Though it may have flown under the radar for some, this spooky indie horror film has managed to withstand the test of time. Starring TV veteran actor David Caruso and a young Josh Lucas, the film follows an asbestos removal crew slowly unraveling mentally while working in a ghostly abandoned hospital.  Filming took place in the safe and usable sections of then abandoned (now demolished) Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts. Little set design was said to be needed for the film, and even actor David Caruso reported a few strange experiences while filming in the abandoned asylum.

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#8 – House of Dust – Mansfield Training School

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1309374/

We’re really sticking with the New England theme here. Featuring a few MTV stars and allegedly based on true events, the film was helmed by local film legend A.D. Calvo. The movie may not be a classic, but interestingly it was both set in and filmed at the abandoned Mansfield Training School in Storrs, Connecticut. The movie follows a group of college students exploring the defunct hospital that accidentally release some malevolent spirits from their ashy resting place. One by one, they become possessed by the souls of those long since past. Like I said, it may not be a classic. But the set design and the cinematography make it certainly worth a look.

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#7 – Skyfall – Hashima Island

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1074638/

Number 7 for 007. This one is farther down the list as it is a bit of a technicality. Technically, the film did not shoot on Hashima Island, as the Japanese government forbids anyone to set foot on it. But the production of the movie was permitted to use exterior footage of the island in the final cut. I think it’s still pretty cool. The film follows agent 007 on his latest adventure, pursuing the mysterious villain Raoul Silva, whose evil lair just happens to be the deserted industrial island of Hashima. The crew were forced to built a set and use CGI for scenes taking place on the island, but that is the real place you see in those exterior shots. Not bad for one of the best Bond films of all time.

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#6 – The Road – Pennsylvania Turnpike

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/

I assure you that “The Road” will be the only movie to feature on both this and the previous list. But it is just such an interesting movie with a very unique filming location. After an unexplained apocalypse decimates the world, a man and his son trek towards the coast in hope of survival. In order to capture this, the filmmakers turned to the famous abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. Though it is now a popular tourist attraction, this long stretch of abandoned highway was bypassed by a series of new roads. It was eventually left behind. Though cars no longer travel down it, local cyclists certainly enjoy it. But just like in this movie, beware of the long empty tunnels on the road.

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#5 – Hanna – Spreepark 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993842/

This 2011 action film really doesn’t get enough credit. With a lot of heart and another fantastic performance from a young Saoirse Ronan, it is much more than meets the eye. The movie follows a young assassin, raised her entire life to be a killer, as she treks across Europe on one final mission towards freedom. One of her stops on this mission is at an abandoned amusement park in Eastern Germany. This is in fact Spreepark, an infamous former attraction of East Berlin. Known for its animal and wildlife themes, the park has remained derelict since 2002. Though there are plans to reopen the park in 2018, it makes an excellent backdrop for one of the key action scenes in this sleeper thriller.

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#4 – Blade Trinity – The McBarge

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0359013/

This one is actually one of my favorites. Not the movie, but this place. It’s not a bad picture by all means, in fact I think it’s the best of the Blade series. But that really isn’t saying much. Human/vampire hybrid Blade must team up with a gang of vampire hunters known as the “Nightstalkers” to take on the mightiest vampire of all: Dracula. The word vampire gets used a lot in that sentence, but I really didn’t know how else to word it. What makes this new gang interesting, beside being headed by Jessica Biel and a young Ryan Reynolds, is their hideout. A seemingly dilapidated boat, this is actually the fabled McBarge. A failed idea from the 1986 Expo in Vancouver, this floating McDonald’s has been bobbing around in the water ever since. While shooting in Vancouver, producers thought it make the perfect hideout for their new vampire hunting team.

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 #3 – The Blair Witch Project – The Griggs House

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185937/

One of my personal favorite horror films, and the movie that arguably relaunched the “found-footage” genre. Whether you love it, or hate it, you cannot deny the impact that this movie made. The film follows three college students searching for and eventually being stalked by the elusive urban legend The Blair Witch in the woods of Maryland. But what many fans may not know is that the house where the climatic finale takes place was not a set. It was real. Though now demolished, filming of the movie’s ambiguous ending took place in the historic Griggs House in Patapsco Valley National Park (where most of the filming occurred).  The house was over 200 years old, and made for the perfect creepy location to end this creepy movie.

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#2 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Michigan Central Station

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2975590/

I think the title of this movie kind of explains the plot better than I could. Following the events of “Man of Steel”, Superman finds himself in a clash of ideals with the Gotham City vigilante Batman. An interesting piece of trivia about this movie though is that it was one of the bigger ones to take advantage of shooting in the city of Detroit during their financial crisis. With the first few weeks of shooting taking place all across the city, one of the more climatic fight scenes of the film was shot at the legendary Michigan Central Station. With many failed redesign attempts, the station has been abandoned for years. But she may have found a new niche as a filming location as other movies such as “8 Mile” and “Transformers” have used the building as a set.

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#1 – Jurassic World – Six Flags New Orleans

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610/

Just because I’m a big “Jurassic Park” fan. Always have been. The plot of this movie follows a very similar plot to all the other films in the franchise, except that the park is actually open in this one. But one factor that makes this film really unique from its predecessors is a certain location where filming took place: the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans. Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the park was left flooded for some time. After a long legal battle, Six Flags was able to break their lease on the park and left it abandoned. Though many redevelopment proposals have come forward, it still sits abandoned. But much like Michigan Central Station, this old park may have found new life as a movie location. Big budget films such as “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, and of course “Jurassic World” have all filmed at the ruined park. How? Life found a way.

original-jurassic-park-jeep-front

Know of any other movies filmed in abandoned places? Let us know in the comments! Likes/shares/comments/concerns/confessions/criticisms/questions are always welcomed.

Remember the Magic

Journey into the Enchanted Forest

Written by: Sean L.
Photographs by: Amanda H.

Do you feel that? The wind through the trees? The current through the mountain streams? The rays of sunshine peeping through the dark clouds? It’s something that we don’t appreciate enough anymore. They are, dare I say, magic. Our ancestors lived and died with these elemental beings. But magic is something that disappears a little more each day. We’ve forgotten about it. It can be argued that we don’t need it anymore, that it has outlived its purpose. People walk around lost in the screens of their cell phones as opposed to appreciating the natural beauty of our own world. Even as it slowly shrinks from the corners of our universe. But what happens when there’s no more magic? What happens when all that makes the world wondrous and green is gone? What would the world be like without magic? We found out: in the Enchanted Forest.

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It is one of the darker and more ominous places we have ever visited. The Enchanted Forest was a fantasy styled amusement park that opened in 1971. Based out of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, The Enchanted Forest was always more oriented towards children and families with its fairy tale style theme. The main attractions of the park included a live petting zoo, go-cart tracks, a mini-golf course, and a few rides geared more towards its younger audience. For years the park was a mainstay attraction of the local area, with people coming far and wide to visit this fairy tale place. But as time wore on, the magic began to fade. In her final years, attendance and interest in the park began to wane. Finally, in the year 2005, The Enchanted Forest closed forever under financial strain. Though technically still for sale, the park has been left abandoned ever since.

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We made the long journey to The Enchanted Forest on a sunny day during the tail end of winter 2016. She’s not too difficult to find, the only problem is that what’s left of the park sits along a heavily trafficked road. There old parking lot has also been blocked off by large bricks of cement. And to top it all off, the neighbors of this old park do not take kindly to strangers and have no hesitation when it comes to reporting trespassers to the local police. We had heard many stories in our travels of explorers being caught and arrested for trying to sneak into this place. Getting inside is not the difficult part. Slipping inside the park without being noticed and where to park your car are the difficult parts. But, through some strange form of luck, we managed to get inside this former wonderland.

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Regrettably, there isn’t too much to see here. The old rides that once were the star attractions of The Enchanted Forest were sold off to neighboring theme parks long ago. But the large sign still sits out front, bearing a few scars from the elements and the local vandals. Buried in the brush behind the parking lot are the remains of the old petting zoo and mini golf course. Even deeper into the woods is all that is left of the old go-cart track. A couple of old buildings are still standing, though they are clearly very heavily used by the local teenagers. Mountains of trash and liter coat the ground, and the walls have all been defaced by cruel and unusual graffiti. There may have been more left behind here, but it has long since been lost to the think brush and unflinching grasp of the woods.

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If you ever plan on visiting The Enchanted Forest, do not take this journey lightly. It is a dangerous and risky mission, unless of course you know someone in the area. It is a remarkable sight, indeed. Besides the fact it is a local legend, there is just something about this place. Dare I say, enchanting? Or perhaps the better word is magical. You see, whether we acknowledge it or not, there is still magic in this world. And it can be felt strongly here in The Enchanted Forest. You can almost still hear the laughter of the children and families who once frolicked down these old paths. You can almost still see the colorful rides and attractions swirling through the trees. You can almost still feel all of the love and joy that this place must have felt all of those years ago. Though all of that is gone, the magic is still here. You just have to look for it.

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Forgotten Fantasy — The Legend of the Little People’s Village

Posted: July 8, 2015 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, dreams, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fantasy, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, Little People's Village, lost, Magic, Middlebury, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, time, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Forgotten Fantasy

The Legend of the Little People’s Village

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

A small kingdom lies in ruin on the forest floor. Mosquitoes and flies soar through the air in packs. Wild deer trot along the beaten path into the wilderness. An old stone house crumbles into despair. The foundations of tiny buildings liter the ground around it, like something out of a dark fairy tale. It appears to be fixture of the days of magic that are now long since passed, or a world of elves and pixies jumped of the pages of a children’s book and into the woods of New England. This is the Little People’s Village, one of Connecticut’s greatest and most haunting urban legends. Though it is hidden deep in the woods, this place has both captivated and disturbed all who have visited it over the last half century. There are countless rumors as to what this place is and where it came from. But all have proven to be nothing more than just legends and old fashioned ghost stories.

As far as our research has gone, we have found no definitive history of the Little People’s Village. Legends and myths abound about this place, each one darker than the last. One of the oldest stories about the village is that a couple living in the area some hundred years ago began to see small pixie like creatures around their home. They built the small village for them whilst under what is believed to be a magic spell. Another version of the legend is that an old man in the area during the 1900’s was driven mad by the voices of these small creatures, who commanded him to build the little kingdom. The most logical of the legends is that this was merely a former train side attraction for the local amusement park, which eventually fell into disrepair when the trolley system was shut down. But even this story has allegedly been reputed by the owners of the amusement park.

So all in all, this place is just one big mystery. Due to its highly intriguing nature and dark urban legends, the place has since become a hotspot for ghost hunters and vandals. Much like most abandoned locations, the Little People’s Village has suffered greatly at the hands of those who visit it. A curse has allegedly been placed upon the grounds by ancient magic. The throne of the village, which still partially stands, was believed to cause death to whoever sat in it. According to legend, any person who dared to sit in the throne of the Little People would die within seven years. Many who have sat in this throne and live to this day have disputed this claim, yet its legend still hangs in the air. These myths and tall tales have given the Little People’s Village quite the reputation, and it has been deemed one of the greatest haunting hotspots in all of Connecticut.

Nestled deep in the woods of Middlebury, Connecticut, reaching the Little People’s Village was a bit of a hike for us. The village lies along a small path in the woods off a utilities access road. First on the trail is the old stone house that allegedly once belonged to the village’s creators. A small tunnel system lies under the foundation, and a tiny staircase will take you to the top of the structure. Further down the path are the ruins of the village itself. Unfortunately, only one real tiny house remains standing. The rest have been destroyed over the years by vandals. For some reason, just this one has remained spared. Towards the end of the path is what is left of the city. A few foundations still stand here. There appears to be some sort of door built into the earth behind it, but this is actually what is left of the infamous throne. Neither of us quite felt like taking the risk sitting in it though.

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Though we witnessed no fairy tale creatures or heard any magical voices during our visit, there is definitely a presence to be felt here. While taking pictures at one point, we looked up to see a deer less than ten feet away from us. She had been watching our every move, just as fascinated with us as we were with the ruins of the village. If you do your research and know your route, the Little People’s Village isn’t too difficult to find. Just watch where you step and watch where you park. Urban explorers are not looked upon too kindly in this neighborhood. If you are feeling adventurous, it is worth a visit. The Little People’s Village is truly a sight to see. It is as puzzling as it is mesmerizing, spurring the imagination of just where this place came from and what its purpose actually was.  Even as it slowly fades into ruin, this forgotten fantasy continues to haunt the world around it.

Abandon All Hope

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part: II

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Much like the city of Pripyiat, the home to the workers and families of the Chernobyl tragedy, Sunrise Resort was literally abandoned overnight. However, it was not because of a nuclear disaster. Sunrise Resort, which had stood for decades, had become a thing of the past. Over the years, attendance to the once popular vacation destination steadily declined. When it finally went under, the owners were able to sell the land to the state of Connecticut, who hoped to use the grounds as a camp for the disabled. Unfortunately, this never happened. Over the years, Sunrise Resort stood empty and alone, nothing more than a sad afterthought. Because the land had been purchased by the state, it was designated a state park. This created a massive legal loophole, making this large abandoned resort completely legal to visit.

Our return to Sunrise Resort came just two days after our initial discovery. We arrived early in the morning, intent of covering every inch of the property. Luckily, the sun was out and the weather was fair. We drove directly up to the resort this time, rather than walking in. The gates from the guard shack at the front were still closed, so we parked there. At the very front of the property, two large older buildings stand. They have large padlocks on them, and are used by the state for storage. They are the only buildings on the property to still be in use and that have been untouched by vandals. Beside them stand the old dining hall. Windows have been smashed, furniture has been removed, and the old fireplace is now full of trash. A road connects the entire camp together. A large stray dog accompanied us as we began our descent into the wasteland.

Our first stop was the main office. I first walked down these steps was I was in the sixth grade. I was on a class wide picnic, and this place was full of people having fun. I did not return until I was twenty one years old. There weren’t any more people, and the fun times were long gone. The glass doors to the office were smashed, littering the ground with large chunks of broken glass. Inside the office, papers and all kinds of debris coat the floor. We found several first aid kits that had been torn apart, though curiously only the syringes were missing. There were also gaping holes in the walls, with all of the buildings copper wirings torn out by scavengers. This was a common trait throughout the resort, as we found almost every building suffered this fate. On the wall, in red crayon, was written: “No God. No Joy.”

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Beside the main office stood the old pool. The last time I saw this pool, it was full of water and happy children enjoying the vacation. Now, it lies empty. The water and swimmers are long gone, with the pool now only holding nothing but graffiti and debris. This ranged from tree branches, garbage bags, and even a roller chair. The pool had a window on the deep end, where people could watch swimmers from. We moved on into the pool house to reach this window. Lockers had been ripped open. Walls had been trashed. Even a few bathing suits had been left behind. We then reached the room with the window looking into the pool. A large colorful octopus was painted on the wall.

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Moving past the pool, we found the cabins. Sunrise Resort offered all kinds of camping, and cabin camping was very popular. Most of these cabins still stood untouched. The clean sheets were still waiting for the next guests, neatly folded atop the beds. The bathrooms were all still fully stocked. Notes indicating checkout time were still there. Past the cabins, we explored “The Frog.” This was the restaurant of the resort. The tables were all neatly stacked up in one corner. A bible lay abandoned on the ground. An old tabletop Christmas tree had been knocked over. The run down television set had been smashed. Several vending machines still stood against the back wall, though there was nothing left inside of them. Packets of mustard and ketchup were still sitting in their dispensaries, though they had long since gone bad. We continued down the road, leading us to the banks of the Moodus River.

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Along the river stood a series of cabins. They were each three stories high, and completely ransacked. In one of these cabins, the room at the top floor had been converted into a makeshift sex den with a heavily used mattress and condom wrappers galore. Beside these cabins was the now empty boat house and the dining hall that we had originally seen the other day. After a short lunch in the old gazeebo, we explored this large building. Carpet was ripped up, windows were smashed, and walls were demolished. Against the very back wall stood a fireplace with a sturdy chimney. A few fire logs were still inside. The kitchen was completely dark, but most of the equipment had been gutted. Several empty pavilions stood outside. Rather than taking the rickety staircase we had seen last time, we continued up a different path back into the heart of the resort.

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We passed several more sets of cabins until we came up the children’s area of the resort. It was complete with a small building, where kid’s artwork still hung from the walls. An old overgrown wooden playground stood beside it. A small in-ground pool was at the front of the area, though its water was now stagnant green. An old push car had been unceremoniously dumped into it. A miniature golf course was there as well, though now completely overgrown. At the farthest side of the resort stood the apartments. Two large buildings full of apartments were there: one high-rise and one low-rise. They were totally ransacked by vandals, though a small family of raccoons guarded the basement. Finally, there was the spa. Workout equipment and machines were still there, abandoned overnight just like everything else here.

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With our daylight dying, we decided it was time to head home. We began to head back to the car, bidding farewell to the abandoned Sunrise Resort. Though we didn’t know it at the time, this would be our last goodbye. Stay tuned for Part III next week.

Stay tuned for Remembering Sunrise Resort Part III coming next week!!