Very Local Movies/Shows/Books/Etc


I love low budget B movies. And I love how they can give a glimpse into a particular community. I want to see your various media that’s indicative of your area, the thing you wish everyone else would have a chance to see. My example…

I grew up in Milpitas, California. It’s part of Silicon Valley now. But when I grew up it was mostly open land. And in the early 70s, it’s most notable feature was a giant garbage dump. So a high school teacher decided he was going to make a movie about a monster emerging from the garbage. The cast is mostly made up of his high school students and residents. He convinced the city council that this would actually bring tourism to Milpitas, so the entire town got onboard with making it. There are scenes with the real mayor and city council discussing what to do about the monster. It took 3 years to produce, and it’s a tasty example of cheap effects, questionable acting, and delectable cinematic cheese. I give you THE MILPITAS MONSTER.

You can see the trailer here:

And the full movie here:

Some fun factoids…

  • They were able to raise some money to get voice actor Paul Frees to narrate the movie and trailer. He did a ton of cartoon voices over time. But the thing I most remember him for is being the Ghost Host at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
  • Someone involved in the production had a young sound designer friend who was able to donate some sound effects he had lying around. That’s why this movie is the first film credit for Ben Burtt, who would later create the sounds of lightsabers and Chewbacca’s voice for Star Wars.
  • The movie features a young Krazy George Henderson - professional cheerleader and inventor of The Wave.

So I want to see your hometown faves. Let 'er rip.


This is a great question, and oddly enough, we were discussing The Milpitas Monster movie just last week! (We have a local cryptid project coming up, stay tuned!)


I’m from Salt Lake City, and when the HBO show Big Love came out, there was a ton of “Hey, I used to live right near there!” sort of moments. There’s also the unforgettable angst bomb, SLC Punk, which was the first time I sort of turned my nose up at on-screen locations not matching real world geography (once I moved to New York, I sort of had to get used to that REAL quick). Also, lots of the kid’s classic, The Sandlot, was filmed near where I grew up, including at my elementary school. When I was in grade school, I used to lie and tell people that I had been in the movie. What a desperate nerd. BUT, the very local movie I always think of is called Rubin & Ed. It’s an indie movie from 1991 that was filmed in the Utah desert. Crispin Glover and Howard Hesseman play a mismatched pair of frenemies that get lost trying to bury a frozen cat.


Glad to see Crispin Glover in a movie where he gets to look like Crispin Glover on an average day. I’ve never heard of this one. I’ll have to check it out.


Hollywood has come to my hometown 3 times for location filming. And the REALLY WEIRD unintentionally spooky thing is that (if I squint) the three films makes a sort of trilogy that hits very close to home with me. I list them in order of their internal story timeline instead of their actual release dates.

Film one : THE DEER HUNTER - Here is a story about some young mostly single guys in a factory town who have their relationships with friends, their young families and their settled lives damaged by their vietnam war experience. Set in the 1960’s early 70’s.

Film two: SUPER 8 - Set in the late 1970s A vietnam veteran in a factory town with an emotionally damaged young family deals with the death of his wife and raising his oddball middle school son who gets involved in disturbing mischief with a blond girl from the other side of the tracks.

Film three RECKLESS - Set in the 1980’s, an emotionally disturbed high school oddball in a factory town gets involved with a blond girl from the other side of the tracks while his dad struggles with regrets regarding a wife now long gone.

These are definitely three different sorts of films but with these broad brush strokes you can see how they dovetail in odd ways, and hit close to home with me because I was a middle school oddball in the 1970’s and a high school oddball in the 1980’s hanging out in the very same locations used for these films. With Super 8 especially, it hits really close to home. My friends and I would pass through the cemetery featured in the movie (my grandparents are buried there and as a kid I had occasion to actually be inside the very cemetery maintenance shed which has some import in the film.
The locations used for the homes of Mike (played by Robert Deniro in DEERHUNTER), Alice (played by Elle Fanning in SUPER 8), and Johnny (played by Aidan Quinn in Reckless) are all three within a couple hundred yards of each other at the north end of my old home town, although not all the buildings remain. (I guess location scouts just found that neighborhood irresistable for some reason).
I can’t tell you the million ways these films blur with my real life. all three are loaded with familiar faces from my childhood working as background extras…the romeo void dance scene for example…seems to include half the people from my high school yearbook dancing (awkwardly) as the Aidan Quinn, Daryll Hannah and the Cameraman spiral out of control.
A girl named Judy who occasionally read the school PA announcements at my real school has an actual credit as the school PA announcer in Reckless…and on and on.


The movie Drop Dead Gorgeous was based on my hometown Rosemount, Minnesota and more particularly, my parents’ high school graduating class. To “disguise” the inspiration the screenwriter, Lona Williams, changed it to Mount Rose and filmed it at a neighboring high school. It’s so fun to think of this stacked cast (seriously, it has Amy Adams, Allison Janney, Kristen Dunst, Brittney Murphy, and more!) hilariously capturing my hometown.


I LOVED Drop Dead Gorgeous!

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Some parts of Lincoln were shot in Petersburg, VA we have battlefield sites almost every 5 miles. Also had a friend who swore his big break was coming being a union soldier extra…:tipping_hand_man:


I looked up pictures of your town and, I gotta say, it screams “working class small town America”. I can see why it’s been an attractive place to shoot. And I love the idea that your high school class got to share a scene together in Reckless.


As with Rosemount, my hometown (Weirton WV) has never played itself in a movie. In The Deer Hunter it was a stand-in for another real factory town of Clairton PA, in Super 8 it was the fictional town of Lillian OH, and in Reckless , the fictional town name was “Eberton” which I’ve always suspected was a pretty shallow attempt by the screenwriter to kiss up to influential film-critic Roger Ebert.


Drop Dead Gorgeous is unappreciated comedy brilliance. And can you believe that cast? Adding on the list: Ellen Barkin, Kirstie Alley …


Well, There it goes. The last section of the B.O.P.

Here it is in earlier days, when it was like catnip to location scouts:

JJ.Abram’s SUPER-8 from 2011

and here with Aidan Quinn from the lost 80s classic RECKLESS


I lived for 10 years in Santa Cruz, California, where the 80’s movie Lost Boys was filmed. I got to see some of the filming. At one point in the movie, when the family is first driving into town, they see the words “Murder capital of the world” spray-painted on the back of a billboard. Santa Cruz had that nickname sometime in the 70’s I think, when a rash of murders occurred there. The trestle bridge that the vampires drop off of is a well-known landmark in town. The boardwalk with rides is still there, entertaining families year-round. I heard that the shot where the vampires are flying toward the seaside caves was really filmed near town, and that there actually are caves in those cliffsides, but it might have been just a rumor.


There’s probably too many films to count that have been filmed in the DC area but I remember one day when I was passing through Pennsylvania Avenue that they closed it when Angelina Jolie was shooting a scene for Salt, which is one of my favourites of her films.

Image from IMDB


The Lost Boys is one of my favorite movies! I would love to investigate the myth of the Lost Boys caves…


True crime nerd pushes glasses up over nose…The nickname derives from an era in the 70s when both Herbert Mullin and Ed Kemper were on serial killing sprees simultaneously. They were actually imprisoned together and would bicker that the other guy stole body-hiding locations from the other guy.


Thanks for the info. I hadn’t known that stuff.

Now that parts of the horror movie “Us” were filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, many more people will be terrified of Santa Cruz now. A lot of people were tweeting that they refused to go to the Boardwalk ever again.


Yes! I wonder if people are searching for an entrance to the tunnels…