Post by Graveyardbride on Apr 6, 2018 1:45:41 GMT -5
TV’s Creepiest Small Towns
“Quiet town, peaceful, low maintenance. It can stay that way,” says a federal agent to the sheriff of the small town at the center of the new ABC drama The Crossing. Yeah, good luck with that. In TV and movies, crazy, creepy, sci-fi, monster movie junk always goes down in quaint, tiny, Middle American suburbs far more often than it does in a big city. Who has time for aliens in New York? Give me a full-on invasion or nothing. Leave the odd goings-on and mysterious, unsolved disappearances to the town folk. This list charts the history of America’s fictional small towns from kind of creepy to David Lynchian-grade bananas.
Collinsport, Maine: Dark Shadows (1966-71). The classic soap started out as nothing more than the story of a woman trying to find out who she was and ends up taking a job as governess in a remote Maine fishing village. Things didn’t get really weird until a phoenix showed up and shortly thereafter, Barnabas Collins – who claimed to be a cousin from England, but was actually a 175-year-old vampire – knocked on the door. Before long, Collinsport’s inhabitants included a host of ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves and manmade monsters. (Photo: The Collinsport Inn, actually The Griswold Inn located in Essex, Connecticut.)
Salem’s Lot, Maine: Salem’s Lot (1979). The small Maine town was somewhat normal until a real estate agent sold the old Marsden house to some people “from away” and everyone started turning into vampires.
Cabot Cove, Maine: Murder, She Wrote (1984-96). It might not have been Cabot Cove that was so weird, but that murder and mystery seemed to follow Jessica Fletcher wherever she went, and for the first seven seasons, she spent most of her time in Cabot Cove.
Derry, Maine: It (1990). Clowns are already creepy. Evil demon clowns that eat children in sewers? I’ll visit Derry in between Pennywise’s 30-year intervals, thank you very much.
Twin Peaks, Washington: Twin Peaks (1990-91 and 2017). It doesn’t get any weirder than Twin Peaks. David Lynch’s surreal twists on melodramatic soap operas and crime procedurals have left audiences scratching their heads to this day.
Cicely, Alaska: Northern Exposure (1990-95). Not all creepy TV towns have to be filled with murderers, supernatural creatures and/or aliens. The eccentric weirdos of Cicely remained strange for six seasons and 110 episodes.
Eerie, Indiana: Eerie, Indiana (1991-92). This show preceded the small-town oddities of The X-Files and Buffy, but was a ratings bomb. The show was a mysterious, underrated gem about a boy who collected evidence of strange goings-on in an Indiana town where no one seemed to notice or mind.
Rome, Wisconsin: Picket Fences (1992-96). Like Cicely, Alaska, there weren’t any vampires, werewolves or extraterrestrials, just a lot of really strange characters. (Photo: Mill’s View House, Monrovia, California, from “Remembering Rosemary,” October 26, 1992.)
Bellefleur, Oregon: The X-Files (1993-2002, 2016 and 2018 ). The truth is out there – way out there – in Oregon to be exact. The X-Files pilot established the mythology of the show in the small town of Bellefleur. As soon as Mulder and Scully show up, they encounter bizarre turbulence, unexplained ashes on the ground and visit a psychiatric hospital where the patients are all alien abductees.
Sunnydale, California: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996-2002). Isn’t that just how it always goes? You call your town “Sunnydale” and then it winds up on the site of a demonic gateway called Hellmouth before it eventually sinks into the Earth?
Bon Temps, Louisiana: True Blood (2008-14). Just because everyone’s a vampire doesn’t mean they can’t still be Southern gentleman and belles who like good Louisiana cooking with a bottle of Tru Blood to wash it down.
Rosewood, Pennsylvania: Pretty Little Liars (2010-17). These teenage girls just want to have a normal high school life and go to the prom, but before long they’re being harassed by the sinister “A,” investigating their friend’s disappearance and even digging up graves. This show is insane, so much so that it even spun off into another small town for Ravenswood.
Vermilion Parish, Louisiana: True Detective (2014-Present). Whatever Southern charm or bayou spirit you would usually find in Louisiana is gone in the first season of True Detective, which grimly examined themes of philosophy, religion and more toxic forms of masculinity amid a web of occult murders.
Bemidji, Minnesota: Fargo (2014-Present). The movie is famous for the fact it isn’t really set in Fargo, North Dakota, and the TV show follows up this tradition, with all roads leading back to the title town. The first season of the FX series takes place in Bemidji, Minnesota, known for its statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Jupiter, Florida: American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014-15). Jupiter was creepy even before the freak show arrived. This season of AHS, set in 1952, is complete with conjoined twins, bearded ladies and a clown going around murdering people.
Wayward Pines, Idaho: Wayward Pines (2015-16). Word to the wise: if you’re a federal agent going to a small town, don’t be so naive as to think you’ll be there only a short time, or that you’ll even make it out of alive. Wayward Pines is a perfect example of this age old trope.
Hawkins, Indiana: Stranger Things (2016-Present). Hawkins is small, but clearly not small enough for anyone to care about what happened to Barb!
Riverdale: Riverdale (2017-Present). It’s not explicitly clear where Riverdale is located. Though the series is filmed in Vancouver, same as the fictional Rosewood in Pretty Little Liars, it isn’t revealed that Riverdale is in Rockland County, which is an actual location in upstate New York. Regardless of where it’s set, the new CW series has salaciously subverted the original Archie comics for some engrossing and sexy weirdness.
Sources: Brian Welk, The Wrap, March 29, 2018; “Picket Fences,” InnerMind; James Parker, “How Twin Peaks Invented Modern Television,” The Atlantic, June 2017; Jeff Giles, “50 Years of Vampire TV Series,” RottenTomatoes, September 30, 2015; “A Guide to Stephen King's Maine,” Men’s Journal, October 19, 2015; and Wayward Pines, IMBd.