Prison scenes were filmed at the Sybil Brand Institute, a former women’s prison in Los Angeles. It was here that Manson Family member Susan Atkins confessed to a cell mate named Virginia Graham about the Tate Murders. Graham in turn shared what Atkins had told her, which eventually helped lead to the capture of Charles Manson. The prison shut down in 1997, but today the grounds are still owned by the Los Angeles sherrif’s office, where it’s used by warehouse companies and for filming purposes. Another film featuring Sid Haig, 1997’s “Jackie Brown” also filmed at this location. Here is the front of the former prison, although it is never seen from this angle in the film.
LOCATION: 4500 City Terrace Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90063
Much of the film is set in the town of Durango, Mexico. These scenes were actually filmed on the Melody Ranch Studio Backlot in Santa Clarita, California.
Many people know the lot as the Veluzat Movie Ranch and it is still commonly referred to by that name. However, the ranch has since changed its name to the Melody Ranch Studio Backlot. If you make it to the ranch in person, you’ll see a sign at the gates, referring to it as the Melody Ranch Studio Backlot. The lot is owned by the Veluzats, who also own Melody Ranch in Newhall, California. To make matters more confusing, right next to the Veluzat Backlot in Santa Clarita sits the Diamond V Movie Ranch. This is owned by other members of the Velutats, but not the same ones as those who own Melody Ranch and the Melody Backlot (a.k.a. Veluzat Movie Ranch). People often mistake Diamond V and Veluzat Ranch as being one in the same, but they are two separate properties with different ownership.
While perhaps not quite as well known as Melody Ranch in Newhall, the Melody Backlot is actually larger. To get to the ranch, you make a turn from Copper Hill Drive. There is a very unassuming dirt road there (GPS coordinates: 34°27’36.5″N 118°30’32.0″W). You would never guess from that road what lies at the end of that dirt road, but if you follow the long dirt road, you’ll sure enough arrive at the ranches. However, a locked fence is at the entrance and you can proceed no further without permission of the owners. The good news, however, is that the ranch is available for public tours. You must book by appointment only and if productions are in active progress, that may inhibit their availability, but the Melody Ranch owners are very generous in that they offer tours at all, because most movie ranches do not.
The main attraction of the ranch is the full scale Mexican town set, which is of course featured prominently in this film. There are a few other sets there as well. The ranch was also featured in Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses,” as well as such films as “Dante’s Peak,” “Friday The 13th Part III (1982),” “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” “Last Man Standing,” “Chaplin” and many more. Most recently, it was featured in the TV show “Westworld” as the Mexican town of “Las Mudas.”
Here is the establishing shot of the town square.
LOCATION: Melody Ranch Studio Backlot (a.k.a. Veluzat Movie Ranch), Forest Rte 5N28, Santa Clarita, CA 91390 (GPS coordinates: 34°29’03.5″N 118°30’25.1″W)
The “three from hell “look down on the town from this hilltop before entering.
They make their way down into the town through these gates.
Here is another view of the hill they drive down entering the town.
They then pass through this arched gate toward the main town square.
Baby, played by Sheri Moon Zombie, sees company approaching near the Estrella del Motel.
Baby and Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, played by Richard Brake, sit on this fountain.
Otis Driftwood, played by Bill Moseley, emerges from this church for a showdown.