Saturday, October 29, 2011 The Real Estate Market Can Be Scary

From the Chicago Tribune:
Altered states: A peek at scary movie houses and their actual locations

By Lew Sichelman, United Feature Syndicate
October 28, 2011

Bill Murray's mansion in the comedy classic "Zombieland" is up for grabs for a mere $22.5 million.

The 2009 spoof of the horror genre — stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin have survived a zombie apocalypse — takes place all over the make-believe map. But before they wind up at the supposedly zombie-free Pacific Playland amusement park, they visit Murray's house in Hollywood.

Only the 40,000-square-foot mansion isn't in Hollywood. It isn't even in California. It's in Atlanta, sitting on two acres on West Paces Ferry Road. And with the approach of Halloween, that annual homage to ghosts and goblins, the fact that the place is now for sale causes one to wonder about other scary filmdom houses and their actual locations.

Take the house in "A Nightmare on Elm Street," the 1984 slasher film by Wes Craven. The first film in the "Nightmare" franchise, it featured Johnny Depp in his movie debut. It also featured a murderous Robert Englund, aka Freddy Krueger, who slashed the house's occupants with his razor glove as they slept.

If the three-bedroom house could talk, it would scream bloody murder. And it would tell you it's not in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, but rather on Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles, according to Zillow, the online real estate marketplace.

The town house featured in "The Exorcist" was in Georgetown, a ritzy section of the nation's capital. The movie about demonic possession was released in 1973, but just the thought of actress Linda Blair's head turning 360 degrees still brings shivers to the spine.

The film was based on a book by William Peter Blatty, which itself was based on an actual exorcism. But the ritual didn't take place on Prospect Street NW, where the movie was made, but rather in a residence in the close-by Maryland suburb of Mount Rainier.

In "Thriller," often called the greatest music video of all time, Michael Jackson and his ghoulish friends break into song and dance, and then Jackson chases his date, former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray, into a Victorian house. The house, of course, plays second fiddle, as movie haunts tend to do, and the video makes no mention of its location. But Zillow found it on a small lot on Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles.

Not far away, in Pasadena, lies the Omega Beta Zeta House from "Scream 2," another Wes Craven slasher flick, this one starring Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Liev Schreiber and Neve Campbell.

The 6,500-square-foot house on East Crary Street sits on 1.5 acres and has seven bedrooms and four full baths. Jada Pinkett Smith, Jerry O'Connell, Omar Epps, Timothy Olyphant and Sarah Michelle Geller met an early demise in the movie.

Across the continent, folks who remember "Rosemary's Baby," the 1968 horror film directed by Roman Polanski, can find Rosemary Woodhouse's apartment building on West 72nd Street in New York City.

In this movie, Mia Farrow played a pregnant woman whose "loving" hubby, John Cassavetes, makes a deal to allow his eccentric neighbors to use her child as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals in exchange for success as an actor. But the building, the Dakota, is probably far better remembered as the place where Beatle John Lennon lived and was killed.

Both "Halloween" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" were filmed in Southern California. So, kiddies, it may be wise to skip haunts in those movies and go elsewhere for treats.

"Halloween," a 1978 independent film directed and produced by John Carpenter and featuring Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut, was set in the fictional Midwestern town of Haddonfield, Ill. But white-masked Michael Myers actually did his thing in a 2,600-square-foot, five-bedroom house on North Orange Grove Avenue in Los Angeles.

In "Buffy," cheerleader Buffy Summers, played by Kristy Swanson, is asked to defend the world against vampires. Exterior shots where she sleeps were of a palm-studded, four-bedroom house on Cota Avenue in Torrance. And just down the street sits Torrance High, aka Buffy's high school, Sunnydale.

The witch's house used in the 1957 film "The Undead" and early silent films was built in the 1920s in a movie studio. But trick-or-treaters be warned: It was later moved to a lot on Walden Drive in Beverly Hills, where Zillow found it as a private residence.

The place featured in the 1959 B-movie "House on Haunted Hill" might just be the only house of any architectural significance to be featured in a horror film. Here, Vincent Price pays guests to stay one night in a house where body parts lurk and the ceilings drip blood.

But the only thing that really drips from this place is history, for the exterior shots were of Frank Lloyd Wright's 1924 masterpiece, Ennis House, which is perfectly sited on a hill in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, with sweeping views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Clint Eastwood's horror/drama "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" featured Kevin Spacey and John Cusack, as well as a cameo by Uga V, the University of Georgia's English bulldog mascot. Also making a cameo appearance is the mansion on Bull Street in Savannah, where the party never ends.