A Travellerspoint blog

Where the hills have eyes


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The Moroccan dessert is a great place to shoot films likeBabel (2006), Sahara (2005), Hidalgo (2004)and of courseLawrense of Arabia (1962) But the area also acts as the Himalaya mountains in Kundun (1997) and it suggests to be somewhere in the US in the American Horror movies the hills have eyes 1 & 2(2006 & 2007

On our way from Ouarzazate to Taroudant we passed the film set of the hills have eyes
We had already passed it but made the driver turn around to take a closer look.
Two man were guarding the set and for a few coins we could look around all we want.
Not everything is from the one movie, some egyptian stuff got mixed in there as well (from the Mummy (1999)maybe?)
We just couldn't help ourselves and just had to fool around getting in, on and touching stuff, but apparently thats ok. The set is maybe even scarier than the movie. Back home I watched the movie again to see if I can make out the stuff on the set and I must say it's not really a great movie even for a horror story. Our guide found a big gun in the store so we all went in there to see what else was there, I wouldn't buy anything there though! The pole with the bottles and the gas station are exactly as they were in the movie, there may be a car wreck more or less but it's all very recognizable

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Posted by Stefmuts 05:34 Archived in Morocco Tagged mountains movies movie_locations Comments (2)

Indiana Jones and Transformers in Petra


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As Petra [Petra-travel-guide-1309147] is such a special place its only natural to find it in the movies

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Al Khazneh (The Treasury) stood in for the temple housing the Grail

and in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Ad Deir (the Monastary) hides the Tomb of the Primes, and the Matrix of Leadership

Petra is originally known as Raqmu to the Nabataeans, established possibly as early as 312 BC. The site remained unknown to the western world until 1812 when it was (re)discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. To the locals it was known and used probably continious from when it was founded.

I visited Petra in 2010 on my Jordan trip. I've heard of the special feeling when you walk through the Siq with its high walls and then the treasury appears, and it really is a special moment when you first lay eyes on the beautiful temple

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But Petra is much more that that! The whole area is dotted with temples and buildings, built by the Nabataeans and Romans. The monastary (Ad Deir) is situated well above the rest of the city. I cheated by letting a donkey take me up the stairs, I do have to say I wasn't feeling well at all that day so I wouldn't have managed reaching it on foot.

In both movies the temples are an entrance to hidden chambers, in real life there is lots still hidden in Petra but it's not very likely there are chambers in the back of the temples, there are however tombs found underneath Al Khazneh. Lots of unknown stuff contributing to the magic of Petra.

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Posted by Stefmuts 23:03 Archived in Jordan Tagged landscapes desert gorge movies movie_locations Comments (2)

Tenerife – Spain - Pico del Teide (Mount Teide)

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To start this blog off with a site packed with movie myths: Pico del Teide, Tenerife's vulcano and spain's highest mountain (but that are not the myths)

Planet of the apes (1968)
Many tour guides state this movie is partly shot on the lava field of Mount Teide on Tenerife, so did ours
But lately I discovered this to be not true. For nearly 20 years (It’s that long ago I visited Tenerife) I thought I’ve been on the ‘set’ of the original Planet of the Apes to now discover I wasn’t, or at least not on Tenerife. I might have been on the Arizona set though but I was a child when visiting that part of the USA and my interests in those days were certainly not Sci-Fi

Star Wars Episode III - revenge of the sith (2005)
Here’s another apparent myth, many state this film also was shot at Mount Teide on Tenerife but there’s no proof of that either.large_1297706_14632282302087.jpg
I even found a forum post on a Star Wars fan site where someone looked closely at the films credits to conclude Tenerife is not mentioned there.

So is the beautiful area around mount Teide never been used on the big screen?

Well, there are several movies that were shot there:

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One million years B.C. (1966)

Intacto (2002) – a Spanish thriller movie

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

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I haven’t seen any of these movies yet so I can’t really say anything about them, maybe I will watch them sometime to see if I recognize

The scenery of the lava field in the national park is perfect for Sci-fi and fantasy movies so I expect other movies to follow

I visited Tenerife on my honeymoon in 1997, way before I went digital (and the marriage is history as well) so I scanned some of the pictures I took there and the better looking ones I ‘stole’ from the internet.

We went to El Teide [El-Teide-travel-guide-1321200] early morning in our rental car and passed some of the big busses on our way, getting up there as one of the first. Real pity we couldn’t get past the first station due to ice (it was February) When we were done looking around the visitors center the big busses had arrived and we went on our way back through the lava field, stopping on several places to take pictures. It’s very impressive, specially thinking it’s not really been that long since the last volcanic outbreak (1909)History tells the volcano erupts about every hundred years so another eruption can occur any day now. In 2010 I visited Lanzarote, a neighboring island with similar lava fields only a bit older (last outbreak 1824) You can easily imagine being on another planet on the lava fields on both Canary islands.

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:22 Archived in Spain Tagged landscapes mountains volcano movies movie_locations Comments (0)

Star Wars at Matmata, Tunisia


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You can't go past this one, at the underground town of Matmata [Matmata-travel-guide-1195057] you can still see lots of the film props from the Star Wars movies shot here. InStar Wars IV: A new hope (1976) the town stars as the hometown of Luke Skywalker, with Hotel Sidi Driss as his home and again in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones(2002) The home planet where Luke Skywalker grew up is called Tatooine, sounds much like Tataouine which is another Berber town in Tunisia which also featured in the Star Wars saga (Star Wars I: The phantom menace).

I visited Tunisia in 2001 and not being a Star Wars fan (did see the movies but didn't think much of it) I didn't realize how popular those movies are until I arrived at Matmata. On the surface it does not look like much of a town, only the big letters saying Matmata give away the fact we have arrived.
large_1297706_14645259052291.jpg The cave houses are sunken in the landscape. Up close you can see all the holes in the ground and again a bit closer you can see that every hole has one or more houses hidden in the walls. Even without the Star Wars props you can imagine being on another planet.

Besides the old town the government built a new town above ground but some of the locals prefer living underground and I can understand why. The temperature is more pleasant than above ground and all that without airco. We had a traditional lunch at Hotel Sidi Driss in one of the underground chambers

Another movie shot in Tunisia is:

Pirates (1986) by Roman Polanski, the Pirateship is said to remain in the harbour of Sousse [Sousse-travel-guide-1195332] but I haven't seen it myself. Main reason for filming in Tunisia had to do with the moneylender being a Tunisian producer. This movie would probably not have excisted if it wasn't for that guy

There are many Tunisian movies as well but they are probably only known in Tunisia (correct me if I'm wrong!)

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Posted by Stefmuts 00:19 Archived in Tunisia Tagged movie_locations Comments (0)

Jordan, Wadi Rum; Lawrence of Arabia


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In 2010 I visited Jordan, the land of the real Lawrence of Arabia

The 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean was filmed on site in Wadi Rum [Wadi-Rum-travel-guide-1309145], but also partly in Morocco. It's one of the most famous movies ever but I only just resently took the time to view it. As I came across it in Jordan and again in Morocco it made me curious so I made myself some popcorn and set myself down for the extended version (as if the original version isn't long enough already) The film is based on the true story of Brittish officer Thomas Edward Lawrence and how he became Lawrence of Arabia by fighting on the arab side in the arab revolt in World War I. Actually the movie begins with how Lawrence dies; the motorcycle accident.

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In the whole of Jordan his name pops up, not only in the tourist shops to make you buy stuff connected with the movie, but the guy is a real celebrity, still highly valued by a large part of the Arab population.also: Omar SharifIn the area of the Wadi Rum desert you can find pictures of the real man all around, as for the film posters and Peter O'tool in his role as T.E. Lawrence. I went on a one day jeep safari in Wadi Rum, sadly on the day the weather was overcast so we didn't get to see the beautiful colors of the sunset. It's no less a spectacular area! The red mountains and the sand dunes combined with the camels running freely (not wild camels but close enough)
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It's the red color of the sand that makes the area specially useful for movies situated on mars and that's exactly what happened:

Mission to Mars (2000)

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Red planet (2000)

The last days on Mars (2013)

The Martian (2015)

I guess many like this will follow

But also:

The English patient (1996)

Transformers; Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Prometheus (2012)

Theeb (2014) (filmed entirely in Wadi Rum)

The list goes on and on but I think you get the point of Wadi Rum being a perfect movie location

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:34 Archived in Jordan Tagged landscapes movie_locations Comments (0)

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