In Cold Blood (1967)

The 1967 film “In Cold Blood,” based on the classic “non-fiction novel” of the same name by Truman Capote, was filmed primarily around Kansas, with some additional scenes shot in Missouri, Nevada, California and Colorado. Published one year after the book, the filmmakers strove for authenticity by shooting at quite a few of the locations where the crimes actually happened.

The book tells the true story of the Clutter family, Herb, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon, who were murdered in the night by a pair of men they had never met before, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith. While incarcerated in prison, Dick Hickock caught word from a fellow prisoner of the Clutter farm, where the owner, Herb Clutter, supposedly kept a safe filled with large amounts of cash in the home. Unbeknownst to Hickock and his co-conspirator, Perry Smith, this information was false. The pair proceeded with their home invasion plans and tragically murdered the entire family in the morning hours of November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. Author Truman Capote became interested in the story, traveled to Holcomb and began writing, which continued for years until the completion of the book.

For the film adaptation, director Richard Brooks was able to film scenes at the actual former Clutter house in Holcomb. The home sits tucked away along an isolated, unpaved road, where no neighbors heard the gun shots inside on the night of the crimes. The home still looks mostly the same as it did back in 1959. The path up to the home is private and when the surrounding land is harvested and barren, the house looks particularly isolated.

LOCATION: 611 Oak Ave, Holcomb, KS 67851

Here is the long, tree-lined path up to the home, where Dick and Perry, played in the film by Scott Wilson and Robert Blake, drove up in the dead of night to perpetrate their crimes. Oak Road remains paved and open to the public until about this point, before it becomes private.

Upon arrival, if you weren’t paying attention and didn’t know beforehand, you might not even realize the path is private. There is only this small, hand painted sign, noting it as such. This is located at the same spot as the above shot, on the left hand side.

You can in fact see the home from several of the surrounding roads, such as S West St, but the views are all from afar.

There are several other locations that are open to the public, which remain surprisingly unchanged decades later. Dick and Perry are seen driving throughout quite a bit of the film, with Perry stopping at this gas station in Garden City. The building still looks very similar to how it appeared in the film, with the same brick work. Perry walks along the side of the building, to the restroom on the right.

LOCATION: 407 E Kansas Ave, Garden City, KS 67846

Hartman’s Cafe appears a couple times in the film, which is located just down the road from the Clutter house.

LOCATION: 305 N Main St, Holcomb, KS 67851

While a different restaurant now occupies the space, it still operates as a dining establishment.

The courthouse where Dick and Perry stand trial is the Finney County Courthouse, where the real trial took place after their capture.

LOCATION: 425 N 8th St Garden City, KS 67846

After the murders are depicted in the film, the bodies are discovered and the coroner is seen driving to the crime scene from this intersection, which remains mostly unchanged.

LOCATION: Near 102 N Main St, Garden City, KS 67846

Much like reading the book or watching the film, it is a sobering experience to visit what are, in many instances, the real locations from one of the most famous true crime stories in American history. Holcomb is not your typical travel destination city, it is a small town that requires going out of your way to visit, but in many ways, you’ve likely visited towns just like it many times before.

Lost Highway (1997)

David Lynch’s underappreciated masterpiece “Lost Highway” shot around Southern California, Death Valley and the Nevada desert.

Early in the film, Fred and Renee, played by Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette respectively, receive a mysterious video tape at their doorstep.  David Lynch used what was, at that time, his own home as the location.

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LOCATION: 7035 Senalda Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90068

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Fred plays his saxophone at the Luna Lounge.  This was filmed at the Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood.

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LOCATION: 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Fred ends up on death row for the murder of his wife.  The cell block wasn’t a prison at all, rather a creative re-purposing of a decommissioned fire station in downtown Los Angeles.  The same station was used for interior scenes for the original “Ghostbusters” firehouse, as well as “The Mask,” “Flatliners,” “Set It Off,” “Big Trouble In Little China” and more. Only the interiors were used in the film, but here is a view of the exterior.  Today, the surrounding area has become run down and it isn’t the safest of places.

LOCATION: 225 E 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

After some mysterious events, Pete, played by Balthazar Getty, awakens in Fred’s jail cell.  Baffled by this phenomenon, the police decide to release him.  Pete returns to his home, located in Northridge.

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LOCATION: 16706 Citronia St, Northridge, CA 91343

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Pete’s girlfriend Sheila, played by Natasha Gregson Wagner, lives at this house, located just a few blocks away from Pete’s place.

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LOCATION: 9532 McLennan Ave, Northridge, CA 91343

Pete works as a mechanic at Arnie’s, which was filmed at the Firestone building in Los Angeles.  No longer in service, the building, built in 1937, is designated as an historical monument by the city.

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LOCATION: 800 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The place where Mr. Eddy becomes enraged at a tailgating driver requires a bit of effort if you want to visit the location. It was filmed on Mt Hollywood Dr, near the Griffith Observatory. Contrary to what is seen in the film, the road is actually completely inaccessible to the public by vehicle.  It is found along a fully paved road, but the road is gated off in all directions from motor vehicles.  Aside from park rangers, the road is primarily used by hikers and bicyclists.

The easiest way to visit is by parking at the Griffith Observatory.  The lot at the Observatory itself is almost always full.  You’re unlikely to find a spot in the actual lot.  However, you can park along East or West Observatory Road.  Unfortunately, these are now paid parking spaces and somewhat expensive.  There are a few free auxiliary lots, but those fill up quickly as well, plus they put you pretty far away from where you need to be to get to the location.  You shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a paid parking space on Observatory Road, unless you’re arriving at peak evening hours.  Your best bet is to arrive early.

The easiest way to spot the trail head to reach the location is to look for the tunnel when approaching Griffith Observatory.  Most traffic to reach the Observatory passes through it.  The tunnel was famously seen in Back To The Future Part 2, when Biff and Marty McFly (riding a hoverboard) fight over a sports almanac.  The very first road on your right, once you pass through the tunnel, is where you will need to hike.  It will either be gated off, or if the gates are open, a guard will be parked there, making sure no motorists attempt to drive up it.  The road is freely accessible to pedestrians on foot or bike, however, and you’ll likely see a lot of both.  You simply take that road for about 0.5 miles to reach the location. At least you can take photographs in relative safely here, without concern for traffic on the road.

LOCATION: Mt Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027 (GPS coordinates: 34.126026, -118.306921)

It is a moderate hike.  Much of it is uphill, but considering you can walk a paved road the entire way, as well as the fact that there are resting spots, it’s certainly manageable for most.  A bottle of water should suffice, unless it’s an extremely hot day.

If you want to get the most out of your money for paying for a parking space near Griffith Observatory, we recommend continuing along the same path to the location of the dance scene in “La La Land.” That location is another 1.5 miles up the same road.

After Alice meets Pete at the mechanic’s, the pair begin an affair.  Alice is waiting at the Palm Tree Inn in North Hills, calling down to him from the second floor to say that she already got them a room.

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LOCATION: 8424 Sepulveda Blvd, North Hills, CA 91343

Pete pulls up to this spot in the parking lot, where he talks to Alice.

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The cops watch from the parking lot as the two go into the hotel room.  The same motel has also been seen in the TV series “My Name Is Earl.”

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Near the end of the film, Fred arrives at the Lost Highway Hotel.  This was actually a composite of two separate buildings.  The exterior, seen below, is an abandoned building located at Death Valley Junction, near the California / Nevada border.  The same building was seen in the 1986 film “The Hitcher.”  The interior corridors were actually filmed across the street at the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel (608 Death Valley Jct, Death Valley, CA 92328).  This area is very much in the middle of nowhere.

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LOCATION: Near the intersection of State Line Rd / CA-127, Death Valley Junction, CA 92328 (nearest address is 608 CA-127, Death Valley Junction, CA 92328)

Related articles: Eraserhead (1977), Wild At Heart (1990), Mullholland Drive (2001), Twin Peaks