TERROR-NEUVE: Five Horror Films Shot in NL

If you’re looking for a scary movie to get you in the Halloween spirit, check out any of these feature-length horror films shot on location here in the province.

If you’re looking for a scary movie to get you in the Halloween spirit, check out any of these feature-length horror films shot on location here in the province.

ORCA: THE KILLER WHALE (1977)

Filmed in: Petty Harbour
Most famous person in the movie: Richard Harris (Dumbledore #1); Bo Derek 

A killer whale goes Blackfish after witnessing his mate’s death at the hands of man. Orca is a lot of things: it’s Jaws, it’s Moby Dick, it’s a 1970’s revenge film, it’s a trip to the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium.

BEHIND THE WALL (2008)

Filmed in: Ferryland and St. John’s
Famous local: Jody Richardson 

This haunted house thriller is set in Maine, but it’s actually the Southern shore. It uses the Ferryland lighthouse as the setting for a horrific ghost story instead of adorable picnic lunches

SCREAMERS 2 (2009)

Filmed in: St. John’s
Is Jody Richardson in it?: Yes 

Paul Pope of Pope Productions admits he’s “a bit agnostic” when it comes to genres, given that the local production house has produced films like Rare Birds (2001) alongside the occasional gory horror movie. Pope says that he’s usually open to any type of film, as long as there’s a creative force behind it.

So, when he developed a relationship with Michael Grais (co-writer of Poltergeist), Grais expressed interest in shooting in NL, and Sony Pictures was soon on board. The studio brought a bigger budget and their prosthetics (“blood ’n guts”) team, which has gone on to work on films including Warm Bodies (2013) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).

The sequel to Screamers (1995) drew inspiration from the tunnels of Bell Island, since Screamers hide underground (that’s kind of their whole deal). Between the CGI and the subterranean setting, it’s hard to spot any specific NL locations, but most of the gunfire and gunplay was filmed in the electrical tunnels of MUN campus, near the Engineering building.

Also, for the big set piece of the film, the massive spaceship, Pope used the biggest space available: the old Dominion supermarket on Elizabeth Avenue. “We built a spaceship — a two-storey spaceship that filled up this entire former supermarket,” says Pope. “Eighty feet long, forty feet wide. It was phenomenal.”

OUTLANDER (2008)

Filmed in: Various locations, including Gros Morne, Bay of Islands, Frenchman’s Cove Little Port, and others; RT Rating: 37%
Most famous person in the movie: Jim Caviezel; Ron Perlman 

Not the smutty (yet solid) Starz drama set on the Scottish highlands, this Outlander is a “Beowolf meets Predator” jam. A troubled production, it still made it to theatres in limited release.

ANCHOR ZONE (1994)

Filmed in: Downtown St. John’s
Most famous person in the movie: Sebastian Spence?

“In this trip into the future, a bankrupt, crumbling seaport has been taken over by a single giant corporation.” Hey, that’s us! Not quite a horror film, but it’s got the Downtown area dressed up like a bleak futureworld. It’s also got Mark Critch as a skateboarding runaway named Radd, who goes all the way with Stephanie Kaye from Degrassi (Nicole Stoffman).

Reminder: You can be a part of local horror cinema by participating in the Nickel’s 48 Hour Horror Challenge (nickelfestival.com). Shoot a short film on your iPhone!

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