Today marks the much-anticipated release of Catherine Hardwicke's film adaptation of the bestselling novel, Twilight, by author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight is the first book in a series that involves a young teenage girl falling in love with a century-old vampire who still looks seventeen. The series currently contains four novels and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and captured the hearts of a legion of fans.
Meyer set the action of the series in the small city of Forks, Washington and the nearby cities of La Push and Port Angeles. Reportedly, she settled on Forks after searching the Internet for one of rainiest cities in the country to act as a natural shield for her vampires from the sun. Even though she had never visited Forks, it became the central setting for her dark fantasy novel. Then an unexpected thing happened... Fans started showing up to see the very real places firsthand and a whole new tourism industry was brought to the area. The Chamber of Commerce quickly added a Twilight tour that took fans to see the sites and the town proclaimed the fictional birthday of the main character of the series, Bella Swan, "Stephenie Meyer Day".
When the time came to adapt the first novel into a movie, the production company Summit Entertainment was very interested in using the real locations as the setting for their film. However, the state of Oregon came to the plate that offered financial incentives and tax rebates for money spent in the state, which was too good of an offer to turn down. Yet, even after they had settled in filming around the greater-metropolitan area of Portland, they still held out hopes that they would be able to incorporate some scenes in their very real spots. As production began and the filming schedule and budget tightened, they realized it was just not to be.
In the tradition of the Twilight-tourism that has brought legions of fans to the locations seen in the novels, we have been working on providing a similar tourism guide to the sites seen in the movie. For starters, there is Indian Beach in the Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast that doubles as the infamous First Beach in the novels. For some of the action scenes of vampires climbing trees and hunting deer, the production moved down south to the very-scenic Silver Falls State Park (Photo above), which also was the exclusive setting for the horror film, Just Before Dawn. A vampire-attack sequence was shot at the Blue Heron Paper Company industrial lot in Oregon City.
Those interested in checking out the film version of the famous Forks High School will have to travel to two different locations. Kalama High School in Kalama, Washington was used for most of the exterior shots, including the famous parking lot scene and other assorted non-high school related scenes, while Portland's Madison High School was home to the cafeteria and biology room sequences. A school field trip to a greenhouse (that was not in the novel) took place at the greenhouses found at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.
Charlie and Bela's house is found in the "City of Heritage" - Saint Helens, Oregon. The Olde Towne of the city also doubles as Port Angeles where the Italian restaurant became the Bloated Toad and the dress shop became known as Petite Jolie. Before Twilight, Saint Helens had doubled as Halloweentown in the original Disney television movie and some of the same locations are seen in both films. Finally, the prom scene (moved from the high school) and ending of the film (reportedly different than the book) were set at the very scenic and historic View Point Inn in Corbett, Oregon.
Sadly, Saint Helens received some bad news this week when a local mill ended up trimming several hundred jobs. The city was struggling already before suffering the latest blow and is hoping that their exposure in the film might generate some tourism for the area. The same could be said for the View Point Inn, which has gone as far as building a "Twilight Walk of Fame" where fans can purchase their own personalized stone that will forever grace the path where the famous prom scene was held and help raise funds for needed repairs to restore and save the historic building.
Both the city and the inn have completely embraced their moments in Twilight history. Saint Helens will soon be introducing self-guided walking tours of the locations, as well as their ghost stories and city heritage, while the View Point Inn has held Twilight-themed events and plans on continuing the trend. Tonight, the inn has gone so far as to completely recreate the prom scene so fans can catch the movie nearby and then come back and celebrate its release on the very sets and location used for the film.
We are not done yet. There are still several more locations we have yet to cover and are hard at work in getting those locations, from both the literary and motion picture side, on the site for those interested. Stay tuned in the days and weeks ahead as we continue to expand our Twilight coverage.
Tour the Film Locations of Twilight on Dark Destinations.
Tour the Literary Locations of Twilight on Dark Destinations.
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