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Wednesday July 17th 2024

House Of 1,000 Corpses | 2003

House of 1000 Corpses filming location: Four Aces Diner, California
House of 1000 Corpses location: ‘Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen’: Four Aces Diner, Palmdale, California | Photograph: flickr / Keary Ingrum

Hooray, as they say, for Captain Spaulding. Rob Zombie delivers the kind of balls-out horror movie all 12-year-old boys want to make, before dreary good taste saps that furious energy.

Sadly, there is no ‘Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen’ to visit in ‘Ruggsville, Texas’, but the building itself is real enough, in a Hollywood kind of way.

It’s the Four Aces Diner, at 14499 East Avenue Q, on the northwest corner of East 145th Street, about five miles east of Palmdale in the California desert. If that sounds like it’s in the centre of a bustling downtown, it’s not. The empty desert is measured out in a grid of streets and avenues, presumably for the inevitable day when the suburbs of Los Angeles sprawl out to the Nevada border.

No longer a functioning diner, or gas station for that matter, the Four Aces is one of several such establishments in the area, now solely used as sets for movies, pop promos, ads and photoshoots. You can see it again in Identity and 2009’s Race To Witch Mountain.

The Firefly family house can be found on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, where it was built for 1982 musical The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. Also on the backlot is the street where Don Willis (Harrison Young, familiar as the older Private Ryan) lives – apparently a neighbour of the Munsters.

One location you could be forgiven for not recognising is the laboratory of Dr Satan and the dungeon in which the Fireflies stock up with cheerleaders. It’s the basement of the old Ambassador Hotel, which stood at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, midtown Los Angeles (seen in films as diverse as The Graduate, Oliver Stone’s The Doors, True Romance, S.W.A.T., Rocky and Se7en.). The famed landmark was shockingly demolished in 2006.