Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Absentia Tunnel (Halloween 2013)

(GPS: N34° 09.320 W118° 16.005)

It’s time for a movie spot and sort of an unpaid advertisement for an independent movie I think you should see. This is a short interlude from my BSC series which I'll be finishing up soon. As I have said before, the reason I like doing western movie locations is because they are usually the ones that have taken full advantage of the real world outdoor scenery out there. Horror movies tend to be done more indoors on sets and/or at night. Sometimes there are passing shots of something outdoors, but the scenes are really not that significant. For example, some of the old black and white horror movies have Vasquez Rocks in them briefly if you don’t blink, but it is nothing I would care to do on here since the scenes were so quick and not significant enough to do.

Around the end of March of this year I was able to view a dvd of an independent movie called Absentia that I knew I had to search out the location for this time of the year because it is a good creepy one. While watching the movie I knew they used the city of Glendale near Griffith Park as the main shooting location. I believe in the director’s commentary they mentioned the freeway that runs over the tunnel. It was then just a matter of looking for the tunnels that run under that freeway in Glendale. Since this was done in the city, these days just using Google Maps made it take less than a few minutes to figure out. In fact, very easy to figure out, but going there and taking pictures and video at the right spots was a different story.

Early on in the movie, one of our beautiful protagonists (Katie Parker) jogs through the tunnel. One thing that is kind of nice and/or funny about this is the same cars parked on this street in the movie were there at the time I did this.

Looking back to where I was just standing.
The telephone pole with the “missing” picture that, if I remember correctly, one sees stapled into the pole earlier in the movie. Of course, the entrance to the mysterious tunnel before me.
I hope to have a better picture than this done sometime in the future inside the tunnel, but for the time being this will have to do. On the way back from jogging, Katie mysteriously runs across Doug Jones on the ground in the middle of the tunnel.
Keep in mind this tunnel is rather long, not to mention a tad creepy (which what is cool about it). The idea I had, like many movie locations I search out, was just to find something close and not worry about getting the exact spot. I figured it would be dark with very little lighting. While watching the movie, I was thinking I should count the lights in the tunnel from each end to determine this spot or refer to the graffiti. Btw, the city has cleaned out a lot of the graffiti since they shot the movie. Oddly enough, there is something that happens in this tunnel that showed me I was very close to the right spot. I was surprised to see this while I was there because I didn’t expect it. See the leakage on the ground that seeps through? Yeah, that appears to be a permanent thing in the tunnel. There are also two smaller patches of water right behind it. So, Doug Jones was lying just in front of the leakage.

The following picture is much further down on the end from the other side looking back. A lot of the pictures I took were not that good from this direction so I am just using this.
I had a similar issue in taking the video here. There is one video shot that I used down here because I didn’t like the footage I had closer to where the scene took place. Actually, I had a lot of difficult issues taking video in the tunnel. I did a lot different takes for the whole video.

I had a certain idea prior to going how I wanted to shoot the video with me walking from one end of the tunnel to the other. Oh boy, was that not realistic. Why? Because everyone in the city uses this tunnel. I got there that morning thinking that hardly anyone would be around, but that is not the case here. Lots of people traversed that tunnel almost non-stop while I was there. I started out on the street walking down and as I was about to enter the tunnel someone would be entering it on the other side. Stop, go back, wait a while, now, try again, etc. a bunch of times. I got a little discouraged because it took so long. Then, I was hoping no one was watching me since I was in a neighborhood I really knew nothing about. I finally got something I thought was okay so I went to the nearby L.A. Zoo.

I looked at the footage in the parking lot. Some of it was okay, but other clips were just awful. So, after visiting the animals for a few hours I went back. In the afternoon it worked out a little better. The final video came out pretty close to what I envisioned.

I haven’t said too much about the movie itself because I think you should see it if you are into these types of movies. It’s nothing gory because it not that type of movie. It’s more about what you don’t see than what you do see. The fear of the unknown. I liked it because the actors were a lot more sympathetic than a lot of the stereotypical nonsense out there. Of course, as one might expect from what I have said in the past, I just liked the overall atmosphere of the movie. So, see it with the knowledge it is a low budget independent movie, and you might like it. Oh, btw, I believe Mono Lake is in it at the end. Don’t blink or you will miss it. I actually was thinking of finding that one too for this, but decided not to. In any case, you should be able to find the movie on dvd, Netflix, etc.

The Absentia Tunnel (Youtube Version)

The Absentia Tunnel (Vimeo Version)

Yeah, I was really hoping to put the smack down on the “troll” and meet Katie Parker in the middle of that tunnel. Aww, well. ;)

Absentia (Wikipedia)

The background music used in this video is called Gloom Horizon and Long Note Four by Incompetech.